31st Parliament, 2nd Session

L036 - Thu 13 Apr 1978 / Jeu 13 avr 1978

The House met at 2:04 p.m.




Hon. Mr. Auld: Mr. Speaker, the anti-inflation program will start to phase out tomorrow, April 14. This is an appropriate time, therefore, to review the issues with which the people of the province will be faced in the absence of controls and what should be expected from the government to ensure an orderly transition.

Controls were brought in by the federal government in October 1975 to cope with a situation of emergency proportions where spiralling prices, profits and wages were resulting in double-digit inflation. The potential damage to the competitiveness of the national economy and the threat to the livelihood of those on fixed incomes required emergency action. The government of Ontario supported the federal government’s initiative and has continued to do so during the two and a half years that the anti-inflation program has been in effect.

It has always been clear, however, that such controls can only be temporary. We believe in a free society and in the innovative forces which can flow from an industrious people working in the climate of a market economy. At the same time, we must ensure that the freeing up of these forces does not return us to the perils of spiralling inflation. We are continuously faced with the choice between the moderation of self-discipline or an ever-increasing intervention by government in the economy and in the daily lives of our people.

For our part, we intend to conduct the business of the people in the same manner displayed during the controls period. We remain convinced that governments must restrain spending in order to let the initiative of the private sector develop the strength of our economy. Indeed, this government has been the leader among governments in Canada in controlling costs and introducing efficiencies. We remain committed to our plan to balance the budget by 1981.

Mr. Kerrio: Does the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) believe that?

Hon. Mr. Auld: In 1978-79, for the fourth consecutive year, Ontario’s spending increase will be reduced. In total it will come to about $14.5 billion, an increase of seven per cent over the past fiscal year.

It is quite obvious that it is not easy for a government to hang tough on this mission, particularly, I might say, in a minority government situation where there are extraordinary pressures brought to bear against many revenue-producing or cost-cutting initiatives.

Mr. S. Smith: What nonsense!

Mr. Mancini: That’s nonsense and the minister knows it.

Mr. Breithaupt: Name one.

Mr. Martel: Why would that happen?

Hon. Mr. Auld: But we are facing the challenge, making difficult decisions, and altering our priorities because there is no other way. Labour and business face the same realities.

Mr. Mancini: Who wrote that?

Mr. Kerrio: Darcy McKeough.

Hon. Mr. Auld: For business, the onus is to act responsibly, in the national interest, on pricing and profits, in recognition that excesses on either count will soon backlash against all of us.

For labour, the onus is to act equally responsibly on wage expectations and demands. In our free collective bargaining system, settlements must be designed within the reasonable limits of the ability to pay, and increases should appropriately reflect gains in productivity.

A related factor which will have major significance in the post-controls period is the broad area of employee-employer relations in the public sector. In Ontario the public sector, broadly defined, represents about 22 per cent of all employees in the province. This figure encompasses federal and provincial civil servants, employees in major agencies like Ontario Hydro, those employed by colleges and universities, the health and welfare services, and employees at the local government level including police, firemen, and teachers and other staff of school boards,

Thus the public sector in this province represents a very significant component of our total work force -- and without doubt, the cautions about the need for continued restraint in the post-controls period apply equally to this.

The Ontario government has adhered to the principle that those employed in the public sector should be treated no differently than those in the private sector, and we shall continue to hold to this principle.

In 1975, public and private sector employees went into the controls on the same terms, and in 1978 both will come out of controls on the same terms. In other words, there will be no discriminatory actions -- no special rules -- devised for Ontario’s public sector employees in the post-control period.

Nevertheless, it must be recognized that the public sector has features which makes it difficult from the world of private business. As a government, we continue to endorse the principles of free collective bargaining in the public sector but it is when an impasse is reached at the bargaining table that some of the differences between the public and private sectors become clear.

In many circumstances, it would be just as inappropriate for public sector employees to withdraw their services as it would be for public sector employers to deny services to the public by resorting to a lock-out. In such situations, employers have a special responsibility to ensure that public sector employees are fairly and adequately compensated, and are not treated unjustly.

To this end, the government endorses the conclusions of the conference of first ministers that compensation of public sector employees should, whenever possible, be based on comparisons of total compensation with persons doing equivalent jobs in the private sector.

Some very significant considerations arise from the fact that, for large elements of the public sector, the only legal remedy where compensation cannot be determined at the bargaining table is binding arbitration. Clearly, it is of the utmost importance that arbitrators, in making their awards, adhere not only to the principles of fair compensation but also to the necessity for general economic restraint in the post-controls period.

In this connection, it is the government’s view that the expenditure levels for 1978-79 as presented in the recent Ontario budget represent a realistic measure of the ability of the Ontario economy to pay for public services, including the public payroll.

Because of the obvious importance of the arbitration process in the coming period, the government did consider legislating more precise guidelines for arbitrators to ensure that the kinds of consideration I have mentioned carry due weight in their future judgements. On balance, the government has concluded that the more precise the guidelines, the more the collective bargaining process would be undermined, and hence has decided to rely on the good sense of arbitrators to recognize the need for continued restraint and to rely on public sector employers to convince arbitrators of the limitations in the employers’ ability to pay.

And frankly, given the acute awareness and concern of all citizens about our present economic circumstances, we have faith that all persons involved in wage and compensation settlements, either at the bargaining table or in arbitration, will exercise the kind of responsibility and sound judgement that is so necessary in the period immediately ahead.

This indeed is the challenge we all face, individually and collectively, in both the private sector and the public sector. As we move out of controls, and into a period when our economy can be nurtured back to full health, one and all must share the responsibility of limiting their expectations and respecting the needs of fellow citizens. Were we to fail, our economic prospects would obviously be rather bleak, and the road back to a stronger, more competitive provincial economy would be all the more difficult. But I am optimistic. I believe that all of us can see what we have to do in order that we may all prosper, and that life in this province and this nation will continue to be positive and fulfilling.

In other words, my confidence flows from the belief that we all have been sufficiently disciplined by the controls experience, and are sufficiently relieved to be free of controls, that we will act moderately and wisely in the important period we are about to enter.


Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I am glad to announce that the government has reached agreement with the Ontario Medical Association on the increase to be applied, effective May 1, 1978, to the schedule of benefits payable under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan. This schedule of benefits will be published by the government.


The increase averages six and a quarter per cent for the whole schedule and applies, in differing amounts, to the various specialties and to physicians engaged in general practice.

These differentials, whose thrust the government accepts, remains to be spelled out in detail in relation to the six and one quarter per cent average increase when the necessary computer work is completed.

This agreement represents the unanimous recommendation of the Ontario Joint Committee on Physicians’ Compensation. It has been ratified by the board of directors of the OMA and has been approved by cabinet.

As hon. members know, this is the last year that physicians’ compensation will be subject to the regulations of the Anti-Inflation Board. The agreement is, therefore, to cover the eight months ending December 31, 1978. The joint committee is satisfied that the agreement complies with both the spirit and the letter of the AIB regulations.

The government will be glad to submit the agreement to the Anti-Inflation Board on behalf of both parties so that the board can be satisfied that those physicians who bill on the basis of this amended schedule of benefits will qualify for the reduced reporting requirements of section 27 of the anti-inflation regulations. Essentially, this means that a doctor who conforms to an approved schedule of benefits is not required to submit detailed information on his overhead. This does not apply, however, to opted-out physicians.

The joint committee is expected to reconvene next month to begin discussions on whether further adjustments to the schedule of benefits may be necessary when the present agreement expires at the end of this year.

This is the fifth increase to the schedule of benefits that has been agreed between the government and the OMA since the joint committee was established in 1973 under the neutral chairmanship of Mr. Harold Clawson. I wish to pay tribute to the outstanding contribution which Mr. Clawson is making in this important field and to express the gratification of the government at the continued cooperation of the Ontario Medical Association in the work of the joint committee.



Mr. S. Smith: A question of the Treasurer, Mr. Speaker. Is it correct that prior to the decision to increase OHIP premiums the minister and/or his officials in the Treasury ministry were made aware of the results of a public opinion poll regarding the acceptability of increasing OHIP premiums as opposed to increasing other taxes?

The question I am asking has three parts: (a) can he confirm the existence of this poll; (b) who funded it; and (c) will he share with this House the questions asked in this poll and the results obtained?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, there have been, I think, polls done by Gallup, and two years ago, or a year ago, questions asked in a government-wide poll. But whatever the time frame is that the member is putting on the question -- in say three months or six months -- I am not aware of such a poll and did not see it and therefore I can’t make it available to the member.

Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, would the minister undertake discussions within the government to find out whether other people in the ministry and in other parts of the government were aware of such a poll? As for the so-called government-wide poll that the minister referred to as having taken place about a year ago, if that was the last poll that was done -- which I am questioning -- would he share the results of that poll, the questions and the answers, with the members of the House?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Perhaps the member would like to put that question on the order paper.

Mr. Cassidy: Can the Treasurer say, as a supplementary question, what consultations took place between the Treasury and the Ministry of Health about the OHIP premium increase before it was put into the budget? In particular can the Treasurer say whether he was aware of the advice of the senior officials of the Ministry of Health that to raise premiums would be inequitable, regressive and that the government should instead look at means of finding the increase in health costs, or funding that through the personal income tax?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Normal discussions take place -- and those discussions go on, I suppose, 12 months of the year between myself and my colleagues, and outsiders -- perhaps not on this specific issue -- but normal discussions would take place when decisions have been reached with respect to the premium structure. With respect to the second part of the question, I have not seen the document which the member refers to.

Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker, could the minister be more specific as to whether in the month or so prior to the budget being decided upon there were specific discussions with the Ministry of Health in view of the further fact that their advice was that there was no visible link between health premiums and the public’s awareness of the cost of health and that this was not the route that should be gone upon, particularly since the health premiums had been raised only two years before?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Specific discussions, yes.

Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: Can the minister say what was told to his ministry by the Ministry of Health at the time and whether that advice was taken into account in any way or whether in fact the ministry or the Treasurer decided, by calculations on a sheet of paper or on the back of an envelope, that this was the best way to raise $270 million without having to bring legislation before the Legislature?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: As I have indicated, these are thought processes, discussions which go on over a 12-month period. I am not going to pin them down to a month or two days or six weeks. This process goes on continually.

Mr. Wildman: That’s got nothing to do with the original question.

Mr. di Santo: Answer the question.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Was I aware of the specific reaction of the Minister of Health to some parts of the Taylor committee report? No.


Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, a question of the Minister of Energy. Does the minister recall our discussion in this House on February 22 of this year when he informed the House at that time that he was awaiting Ontario Hydro’s detailed report on their new load forecast? I trust the minister has now received this report. Can he at this time report to us on the details of Hydro’s studies and what the implications are, as far as the minister is concerned, for further study within the House and for the scheduling of the various capital facilities that are planned at present?

Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, it’s quite correct that I did promise this House in February to report back when we had received the report from Hydro and its recommendations. That has now taken place and I intend to table a report to this House on Monday next.

Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, can the minister tell us whether he received a letter that was referred to in a Toronto Star article, a letter from chairman Taylor of Hydro, whether he will be willing to share with this House the contents of that letter and whether he feels he is in a position to do so? Can he tell us whether it is true that Hydro basically has put the entire matter of the expansion program back into the lap of the government? If so, will he allow the select committee to make that particular decision?

Hon. Mr. Baetz: I don’t intend, Mr. Speaker -- and I hope this is appropriate -- to respond to any specific aspect of the report that I plan to table in total next Monday. At that time, I think all these questions or a good many of them will be answered.

Mr. Wildman: Supplementary: Since the minister has assured the House that the priority projects of Hydro will not be removed from the terms of reference of the Porter commission, can he also assure us that whichever ones with which the government decides to go ahead will be subject to environmental assessment?

Hon. Mr. Baetz: As I indicated some weeks ago, the priorities will remain where they are at the present time. And, of course, any action taken by Hydro or by this government which comes under the Environmental Assessment Act obviously will be covered by it. We don’t intend to proceed in any kind of irregular or illegal manner.

Mr. J. Reed: Supplementary: Do I take it from the minister’s answer that he is not going to follow through, as he had indicated to the House at an earlier date, and apply the effect of the load forecast to consideration of whether the Darlington nuclear plant would come under the aegis of the Environmental Assessment Act? In other words, is he copping out now or is he going to use that new load forecast in the way he had said?

Hon. Mr. Baetz: Again, that is a question that I think will become apparent when I table the report next Monday.

Mr. MacDonald: Supplementary: In view of the fact that the report of the first select committee on Hydro spelled out circumstances under which, with a drop in forecast, there could be some reconsideration of the expansion of Hydro -- and that drop in forecast has now been vindicated by events -- and since the committee was re-established to monitor what Hydro has done and what the government has done with regard to its earlier recommendations, does the minister not feel it is appropriate that the committee should have an opportunity to reveal this whole situation before it is presented as a fait accompli by Hydro and/or the government?

Hon. Mr. Baetz: Again, I think the answer to that question would become more apparent when I table the report next Monday.

Mr. MacDonald: Well, I may remind the minister then.

Mr. Kerrio: The minister is as devious as his answer. He doesn’t know any more than that.


Mr. Cassidy: I have a question of the Premier: In view of his comment last week that he would be holding more meetings with the automobile industry and in view of the fact that he has met this morning, I believe, with the president of Ford Motor Company of Canada, can the Premier now say what consequences his meetings may produce in terms of ensuring a better balance of employment and of investment in the automobile industry in order that wet get a fair share of jobs and production here in Canada, and particularly in Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I said to the leader of the New Democratic Party last week, when he asked me this same question about meetings with automotive companies, and I did meet this morning at noon -- with Ford of Canada. The meeting concluded around 1:10. There is a fair amount of information that we will be digesting, if I can use that terminology, and it is my expectation that we will present to the House, not in any voluminous form, some reactions to the meetings we have held with the companies.

We have also scheduled another meeting with the UAW, as I recall; not as it relates to the total industry, I think this has specific application to American Motors. Whatever discussions are held, if there’s anything new there, I’m anxious to have that included. And I believe we are yet to have a meeting with the parts people as well.

As soon as these are concluded, I will share with the House what it is that we have ascertained, and I think we will have an opportunity to discuss it then. It’s still a few days away before I’ll be in a position to do that.

Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Can the Premier say whether he is being a paper tiger in talking with the automobile companies, or whether he is putting any real strong and effective pressure upon them to ensure a better balance of production and jobs here in this province, particularly in view of the fact that after the meeting with Chrysler Canada last week the Premier, who had refused to comment in the House, commented to the Windsor Star -- to the papers in Windsor -- that he was satisfied with the assurances that they had given about the maintenance of 750 jobs that were disappearing at the Tecumseh Road plant and disregarded the fact that those assurances from Chrysler Canada were based on the assumptions both that the automobile industry sales remain strong and that the van production would be strong enough to absorb 350 workers? Is the Premier, in fact, accepting these assurances without any criticism from the companies or is he pressing them toughly?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I have never been able to define a paper tiger. If the leader of the New Democratic Party is asking if I have approached them in the same way he might approach them, I think my answer to that question would probably be no.

Mr. Lewis: Alas, alas.

Mr. Kerrio: And the Premier would have the scars to prove it.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I would think if one were to ask in the longer term whether his approach or mine might be more productive on so many issues, I would have to say with no prejudice whatsoever, that I prefer the approach which I take.

Mr. Martel: It looks that way in the mining industry.

Hon. Mr. Davis: If he is suggesting, did I browbeat the companies, did I use a lot of strong, abusive, unthoughtful language --

Mr. Warner: Or did you cave in?

Mr. Martel: Just give the facts. Did you bow and scrape?

Hon. Mr. Davis: -- as he might do, I’d have to confess to him that I didn’t. I am in the process of discussing with the companies, along with my colleagues, both the present situation and particularly the potential future investment. I know that it will be hard for the leader of the New Democratic Party to understand, but you don’t necessarily produce this new investment by threatening people, by browbeating them.

Mr. Lewis: Why are your trousers fraying at the knees?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I’ve got to tell you that unlike the former leader, I never take that much notice of my trousers.

Mr. Breaugh: Or your knees.


Hon. Mr. Davis: I don’t notice any frayed portions. The cuffs may be a little short or something of that kind. As I say I have never been as conscious of my wearing apparel as he is. In fact, I look at him today and I say to myself how conscious he is.

Mr. Lewis: I am telling the Premier, he is fraying.

Hon. B. Stephenson: The only thing that is frayed around here, Stephen, is your tongue, from overuse.

Hon. Mr. Davis: It must relate back to our great debate.

Mr. Speaker: This is just as much out of order as the interjection.

Hon. Mr. Davis: That is right, Mr. Speaker. I think I should have equal time. I think the former leader of the NDP has been concerned about attire ever since the debate we had when his suit didn’t arrive pressed from the cleaners in time for that momentous occasion.

Mr. Lewis: I have always been a clothes-horse.

Mr. Sargent: He’s got two suits now.

Hon. Mr. Davis: However, in answer to the question, I will share with the House the information that we have been obtaining. I think really it would be more meaningful if we were to discuss it when we make a statement of that nature.

Mr. B. Newman: A supplementary question for the Premier. Did Chrysler give the government any assurance concerning the 400 employees who would not be taken back? I understand the first 350 possibly were going into the panel truck plant and the other 400 were being laid off without any definite date of recall.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I’m not yet an expert in this field and I don’t suppose I will ever become one, but my impression --


Hon. Mr. Davis: At least I admit I’m not an expert, unlike the member for London Centre (Mr. Peterson) who thinks he is. If the member were honest with all of us, he would admit he’s not. He would admit he is --


Hon. Mr. Davis: Listen, my predecessor advised me always to be humble. That is something the member might undertake to consider himself on occasion.

Mr. S. Smith: The Premier has a lot to be humble about.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Oh, I know. The Leader of the Opposition says I have a lot to be humble about. That’s really just borrowing from Winston Churchill -- and he said it ever so much better -- and it had much greater application.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: He is turning over in his grave right now.

Mr. Martel: And you have frayed knees.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, this is all totally out of order. What was the question. I’ll get back to the question.

Part of this does relate -- I think it’s fair to state, and the member for Windsor-Walkerville would know this full well -- to the market for the product of that company and its share of the market.

When I was quoted by the Windsor Star I think I conveyed to them that I was confident that, market conditions being equal, the company had every intention of rehiring the people who had been laid off because of this decision. I have no reason to disbelieve the company when they say that the economy being relatively healthy, Chrysler Canada having its share of whatever the automotive market is, they are confident the employment picture as it relates to their employees in Windsor will be resolved.

But I confess to the hon. member, they couldn’t guarantee me, nor could I guarantee him the extent of the market in 1979, nor can I guarantee to him the extent of Chrysler’s portion of that market. I can only assume he is doing his best -- that he drives a Chrysler product as I do.

Mr. B. Newman: Two of them. I can only drive one.

Mr. Cooke: Mr. Speaker, a supplementary for the Premier. In view of the fact UAW officials from Windsor met with the Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce in Ottawa yesterday and he said that the basic problem is a provincial problem, and in view of the fact that when the UAW people met with the provincial authorities they said it was a federal problem, would the Premier undertake to meet with the federal officials so that the buck-passing would stop? Maybe the provincial Conservatives would accept the blame or maybe he federal Liberals, but let’s quit passing the buck.

Hon. Mr. Davis: One thing about it, the hon. member himself will never be in a position to accept any of the blame. We understand that, we accept that, that is one of the --

Mr. Foulds: Deal with the question. Just be a little humble.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I am. There is nothing wrong with being humble and accurate at the same time.

Mr. Foulds: The Premier is neither.

Mr. Cassidy: The Premier took his self-righteous pills this morning.

Hon. Mr. Davis: No, as a matter of fact, I didn’t take any self-righteousness pills, if that is the supplementary question. I took a little vitamin E and I took a little vitamin C in the form of apple juice.

Mr. Peterson: And a little Geritol.

Hon. Mr. Davis: To answer the question, Mr. Speaker, if I’m not interrupted any further, I don’t know what went on in the discussions yesterday in Ottawa.

Mr. Peterson: Geez, you are loose today.

Hon. Mr. Davis: To my best recollection the discussions we held with the UAW related to Chrysler. The feeling of some there, at least, was that the problem, if it relates to the auto pact, obviously is a matter for the government of Canada. We’re quite prepared to meet with them any time; I want to assure the hon. member that we’re not passing the buck to the government of Canada but we are also realistic enough to know that a certain amount of this situation does rest within their area of responsibility and I’m sure the hon. member himself understands that.


Mr. Cassidy: I have a second question, Mr. Speaker. This is to the Chairman of Management Board. I’d like to ask a question arising out of his statement in the Legislature this afternoon and the implications that the Ontario government is going part way down the route of the federal government’s lead in imposing restrictions on public servants with Bill C-28.

I’d like the minister to explain the reference to the “obvious importance of the arbitration process in the coming period,” and to tell this House whether that means that the government intends to offer so little in the bargaining process with its public servants over the coming months that it will, therefore, force a very substantial number of agreements into the arbitration process?

Hon. Mr. Auld: Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. member and all members of this House are aware that under the Crown Employees’ Collective Bargaining Act if we don’t reach agreements the impasse goes to a board of arbitration.

I said very clearly in the statement that we don’t propose to impose guidelines on arbitrators. But I refer the hon. member to the budget statement which said that the increase in direct government operating costs, that is, other than transfer payments, was to be held and had been held at four per cent and that if wage increases were more than four per cent they would have to be met either by a reduction in other administrative costs or a reduction in staff. That’s the extent of any comment that I have to make.

Mr. Cassidy: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Does that mean that the government has therefore put a cap of four per cent or some lower figure on the offer that it is prepared to make to public servants, and how can it do that if it intends to bargain in good faith with the government employees?

Hon. Mr. Auld: The answer to the first question is no, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Cassidy: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker: The implication of the statement, Mr. Speaker, was yes and that’s why we’re confused on this side of the House by what the minister has got to say.

Mr. Kerrio: That’s nothing new.

Hon. B. Stephenson: The member didn’t listen and he can’t read.

Hon. Mr. Davis: The former leader isn’t confused at all.

Mr. Cassidy: Are the instructions to arbitrators which are contained in this particular statement in the House today not a form of interference in the arbitration process? And should arbitrators, in fact, not be allowed to exercise their independent judgement rather than getting this kind of veiled threat of interference from the government if they don’t behave the way the government hopes they will?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Oh, veiled threat my foot.

Hon. Mr. Auld: Mr. Speaker, there are no instructions to arbitrators in that statement.

Mr. Martel: No, the minister considered legislation.

Mr. Cassidy: One final supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Would the minister not agree that when he says the government considered legislation and then says the government is going to rely on good sense from the arbitrators after telling them what the good sense would be, and that when the government talks about relating compensation to the level of total compensation of the private sector, which is in line with the federal restriction of compensation to the average level of comparable jobs in the private sector --

Mr. Sargent: The member is making a speech.

Mr. Cassidy: -- that these are specific instructions to arbitrators which have the effect of interfering with the independence of the arbitration process?

Hon. Mr. Auld: No, I don’t agree with that, Mr. Speaker. The hon. member is quite aware that any negotiation relates to the ability to pay. I have mentioned that. That is no instruction to anybody.


Mr. Sweeney: I have a new question of the Minister of Health with respect to Psi mind benders once again. Is the minister aware that we have a new casualty here in Toronto? One Michael Topper was admitted to the Queen Street Psychiatric Hospital on the weekend after participating in the Inward Bound IV program of Psi, and given this further evidence, can he give us any specific statement us to what he intends to do about these people?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows, we have had the general question and that particular group under consideration and investigation for some time. I regret to say that at this point we have not reached a final determination. Basically, with respect to that particular group, the investigation is going on under the auspices of my colleague the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry), who is not here today. The general question is still under consideration and that is generating a great deal of interest with certain people. I would hope that question could be resolved and a determination made one way or another on that in the next very short while.

Mr. Sweeney: Supplementary: Given that Psi is using the OPP report as a whitewash, would the minister be prepared to recommend to the Attorney General that a restraining order be put out until something more positive is decided with this group?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I would want to defer that to my colleague, Mr. Speaker. Not being a lawyer, I don’t even know at this point how one goes about it and on what grounds one could obtain a restraining order. I guess to be fair and to follow the precepts of our judicial system, one should not use the investigation by the OPP to either support or attack that organization at this point in time, since the final determination has not been made as to whether as a result of that any legal action is possible.

Mr. Sweeney: Final supplementary: Is there any validity to the suggestion that either this ministry, or Consumer and Commercial Relations, or the Attorney General, has a specific plan to put forward another investigation?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Is the member talking about a police investigation?

Mr. Sweeney: Any investigation.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: This has been discussed. We are looking at the broader question rather than just that particular organization to see if there is any further action that is possible and desirable to try to come to grips with the problems of organizations which, for financial gain, are taking advantage of probably unsuspecting people and affecting their mental health.

Mr. Breaugh: Supplementary: Is the minister now prepared to make a statement to the House as to whether or not he intends to proceed with an inquiry of some sort, and give us some vague notion as to what the frame of reference of such an inquiry would be, into groups such as this one and perhaps others?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: No, Mr. Speaker, not at this time.

Mrs. Campbell: Supplementary: Is it possible for this minister to discuss with the Minister of Community and Social Services and those who are dealing with children’s cases in that ministry to try to ascertain the involvement of children in the Psi workings, whatever they are doing? I don’t know.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I think it would be reasonable to say that every minister who has anything to do with children’s services has a concern for some of the reports which have come to our attention of things which are being proposed to and inflicted on young people.


Mr. Philip: A question of the Minister of Transportation and Communications: Can the minister inform the House what action he has taken since March 28 when I brought to his attention the fact that the Ontario Highway Transport Board may be an accomplice in strike-breaking activities by allowing Taggart Service Limited to run on Jones Transport routes by way of a power of interchange authority, even though Jones is involved in a legal strike at this moment?

Hon. Mr. Snow: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I had intended to give an answer to this question later in the question period, although I had assured the representative who had contacted me from the Jones union that I would not do so without notifying him. He was notified today and as I see he’s in the gallery I would like to give the answer.

In reply to the question which was asked by the member for Etobicoke -- he has repeated the question again today so I will not read it out -- first of all, I contacted the Ontario Highway Transport Board and the enforcement staff within my ministry to get the full details on the licences of both Taggart and their subsidiary, Jones.


I have also asked the staff from my ministry to investigate the operations of Jones and Taggart since the legal strike began. Staff from the ministry have investigated the operations of Taggart and have reviewed a sample of 395 shipments by Taggart since February 20, when the legal strike of Jones Transport began. Out of those 395 shipments, 19 were delivered legally under Taggart’s class C authority from points such as Pembroke and others in eastern Ontario to points west of Toronto such as Welland and Hamilton.

Three hundred and seventy-six shipments destined to points served by Jones Transport were delivered legally to Toronto under Taggart’s class A authority, and then interlined with some 14 other shippers to such points as Guelph, Hamilton, Windsor, Burlington, Owen Sound et cetera. Jones Transport normally would have been used for this interlining had they not been on strike.

At no time has the power of interchange authority, which was referred to in the question, been used by Taggart to the knowledge of my investigators.

Mr. Philip: By way of supplementary, have the ministry’s investigations shown that, perhaps by coincidence, the application for the power of interchange came conveniently at the start of negotiations by Jones with its union? And is the minister at least prepared to advise the Ontario Highway Transport Board to examine very seriously the renewal of an application if it is made on the expiry date of May 1, 1978, to ensure that Taggart is not using its power of interchange to run over Jones’s lines during the strike?

Hon. Mr. Snow: As I think I indicated, we have not been able, through contacting the board or through my investigative staff, to find any case where this interchange authority has been used since the beginning of the strike. The authority was a temporary authority; it does expire, I believe, as the hon. member said, within the next few weeks. Whether there will be an application for renewal, I do not know. But, as I understand it, it is not being used at this time.

This interchange authority is only granted to sister companies or subsidiary companies to allow them to interchange power units during peak periods. It is a normal authority to be granted and, as I say, we have no indication at this time that that authority has been used for strike-breaking or has been abused in any way.


Mr. Bradley: I have a question for the Treasurer. Is the minister aware that a change in the payment scheduled for provincial grants to the regional municipality of Niagara will cost the property taxpayers of the Niagara region in excess of $40,000 in interest payments since, according to the regional finance director, the region will be forced to borrow the equivalent per capita grant for 23 days and the police grant for 47 days? If he is aware of this, would he undertake to advance the date of payment of those grants?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: I am not specifically aware of this case. I will be glad to look into it and get back to the member.


Mr. Warner: I have a question for the Minister of Education. Does the minister realize that his cutbacks in grants to boards of education, coupled with the declining enrolment, have caused enormous frustration at Riverdale Collegiate here in Toronto and at hundreds of other schools throughout the province? Further, since the decline in provincial funding of education will cause a lessening or a removal of remedial reading programs, English as a second language and other essential academic programs at Riverdale Collegiate and other schools, will the minister initiate interim funding to boards so that no teachers presently on staff and no programs will be cut as the result of declining enrolments and his decrease in funding?

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, the answer to that is no.

Mr. Warner: Supplementary: I think we deserve some explanation. Does the minister not realize that there are at least 500 teachers in Metro Toronto who could be fired as the combined result of declining enrolment and the government’s decreased funding of education, and that since the government has repeatedly said that the individual educational needs of students should be met, isn’t the present situation a golden opportunity for the minister to meet previously stated educational objectives? Or is he also knuckling under to the Treasurer’s obsession to balance the budget at any cost, including a lower standard of education in this province?

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I don’t think my friend is demonstrating a complete understanding of the situation.

Mr. Cassidy: You certainly aren’t.

Hon. Mr. Wells: The situation at Riverdale Collegiate, of course, is that Riverdale operates under the Toronto Board of Education and the Metropolitan Toronto School Board. There is a contract negotiated and pupil-teacher ratios, class size -- all these kinds of working conditions -- are part of the negotiated agreement. Metro has an allocation formula for allocating money to the Toronto board which contains certain staffing requirements. All of these provisions tie in together and the application of these provisions, along with any decline in enrolment, sets the number of teachers that each school will have.

That’s precisely the process that’s been in effect in both Toronto and, I understand, North York. It all grows out of the negotiated agreement and the various set-ups in the Metropolitan Toronto School Board vis-à-vis the local boards. Therefore, I think everyone knows what the situation is going to be and the question is whether people are willing to break what has been a negotiated agreement in order to enrich the agreement; and is there money for it? I’ve never heard it suggested anywhere that the reason why any of these teachers are not going to be needed next year is because of the provincial government. It’s because of declining enrolment -- purely and simply.

Mrs. Campbell: Supplementary: In view of the answer and with reference to Riverdale, could the minister explain to this House whether the same answer is applicable to Brown Elementary School, which we are advised will be closing?

Mr. Lewis: Brown?

Hon. Mr. Wells: I would say to my friend I have never heard anyone indicate to me that Brown School is closing. Does she mean Brown Elementary School on Avenue Road which was rebuilt by the Toronto board a few years ago?

Mrs. Campbell: Yes, sir.

Mr. Lewis: Closing?

Hon. Mr. Wells: I would certainly hope that Brown Elementary School is not contemplating for closing after all the controversy that surrounded its rebuilding, as she knows, and the great necessity for it to be rebuilt. I have not heard it suggested that it be closed.

Mr. Lewis: It has a good French immersion program, too.

Hon. Mr. Wells: -- and I would be very surprised. I’ve been communicating with Dan Leckie, the chairman of the Toronto Board of Education, who’s been indicating to me the kinds of procedures the Toronto board wishes to carry out for certain schools that may arrive at the point where closing should perhaps be considered. They certainly want to have a full community involvement process take place. But I have heard nothing about Brown Elementary School.

Ms. Gigantes: Supplementary: Is the minister seriously suggesting that he has never heard teachers’ groups or boards complaining to this minister that a decrease in provincial funding for the total cost of education in this province from a level of 61 per cent in 1975 to a current 53 per cent is causing part of the problems in terms of cutting back school programs and a dropping off of teachers? Is he suggesting he’s never heard that before? Where’s he been?

Hon. Mr. Wells: No, I’ve heard that explained and put to me by teachers’ federations, but it’s been more in the --

Ms. Gigantes: And boards.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Wait a minute; listen to the answer. It’s been more in the context of the share that the provincial government would pay. In other words, they don’t want us to pay --

Mr. Foulds: That’s exactly what she’s asking about.

Mr. Warner: Toronto doesn’t get any, not a penny.

Hon. Mr. Wells: -- more money and the local share to remain the same in order that more staff and lower pupil-teacher ratios will result.

Ms. Gigantes: Your share is going down and you know it.

Hon. Mr. Wells: All right But if our share is to increase --

Mr. Martel: It is supposed to be going up. You promised that several years ago. A great amount -- Bill promised it.

Hon. Mr. Wells: -- it means the local share will decrease, not that there will be services added to the schools.

Let me illustrate this for the hon. members so they will know. If we were to reduce class size on the average in this province from 26 to 25, one less for every elementary class in this province, it would cost between $30 million and $35 million. A reduction of two in class size would cost $60 million, $65 million or $70 million. That money would have to be found somewhere, either at the local level or from us.

Ms. Gigantes: Your share is going down.

Hon. Mr. Wells: The point that will have to be decided after the committee on declining enrolment reports is, which option do you wish to take? Do the public of this province want to pay more taxes, be they local taxes or provincial taxes, or do they want to make do, given declining enrolment, with the kind of system we have got and the kind of tax money we are now putting into education?

Mr. Lewis: Where did you get those figures? They’ve never been used before.


Mr. J. Reed: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Energy. Since only three regionalized areas to date have received new hydro-electric service Acts, could the minister tell us how many mayors who have been defeated at the polls are being allowed to continue to sit on public utilities commissions with the appropriate remuneration in the remaining regional governments where the representation on those commissions was frozen in the year that regional government was imposed?

Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, as I am sure the hon. member opposite appreciates, that is not the kind of specific information that I have at my fingertips, but I shall provide the answer.

Mr. Epp: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Since that is the case, I wonder if the minister is of the opinion that these people should remain on the PUCs for an additional number of years if this legislation to change the PUCs to make them regionalized this year is not going to be introduced?

Hon. Mr. Baetz: I think the policy is to have the members of the commission either elected or appointed. I will certainly look into it to see if I can find the answer to the question that I think was raised opposite.


Mr. MacDonald: I have a question of the Premier. During consideration of the estimates of the Ministry of Government Services the other night, the minister stated that while he approved of providing adequate space for the 125 members of the Legislature, he would not be willing to move to provide this building for that purpose until he personally was assured that adequate space was there.

My question to the Premier is this: Is that a statement of government policy? Does the minister have the support of the cabinet in that position? If so, how does the Premier reconcile that with the whole underlying thrust of the Camp commission which was to establish the independence of this Legislature under the direction of the Speaker and the Board of Internal Economy and to rescue it from the partisan whim of the government or any minister?

Mr. Havrot: Talk about partisanship!

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I think the member for York South (Mr. MacDonald) got carried away a little bit --

Mr. Martel: No, he didn’t.

Mr. MacDonald: Read the Camp commission report.

Mr. McClellan: Answer the question -- just this one question. Give us a straight answer.

Hon. Mr. Davis: -- in his final observation that any sort of partisan whim would determine space allocation in this building. He knows that is not true. It would never be part of the thinking of this government.

Mr. MacDonald: You are twisting what I said.

Hon. Mr. Davis: When I look at some of the accommodation, I know of people who have larger offices in this building than the Premier of this province, and they are not necessarily on this side of the House.

Mr. MacDonald: Will you answer my question?

Hon. Mr. Davis: What was it?


Hon. Mr. Davis: No, I know what it was.

Mr. MacDonald: Well, why is the Premier wandering around verbally?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I really wasn’t wandering around, except that the last part of the hon. member’s question was somewhat provocative.

Mr. Martel: Even though it was true.

Hon. Mr. Davis: True?

Mr. Martel: Yes.

Hon. Mr. Davis: No.

Mr. MacDonald: The Premier is wandering again. Get to the question.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, as I recall, I received a communication from you, which we are in the process of responding to. I understand that you have also communicated to the other two caucuses with respect to the provision of office accommodation. I know this is certainly the single most important priority for the member for St. George. We certainly are giving it very real priority within cabinet and we will have a reply to you just as soon as we can. Hopefully we can resolve the matter in a very constructive and amicable fashion.


I do confess, Mr. Speaker, that I will be including in my reply to you that I think it is appropriate for the Premier, the Leader of the Opposition, the leader of the New Democratic Party, plus some others, to be within this main building. I hope there isn’t any strenuous objection on the part of the member for York South to that being part of our reply to the Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, we are replying to you and at that time there will be an opportunity to discuss it.

Mr. MacDonald: Would the Premier reply to my question? Is the present posture of the minister in stating that he will not make this building available until he personally is satisfied that there is enough space to meet the needs of 125 members -- is that government policy?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I am sure the member for York South would think, if he assessed that statement very carefully, the Minister of Government services was derelict in his responsibility if he didn’t determine, if the decision is to have all 125 members of the Legislature in this building, that there is sufficient physical space for them. In fact, I think the member for York South would be the first on his feet to complain if the Minister of Government Services weren’t assured that there was enough space. I wasn’t there, but I assume that is what the Minister of Government Services meant.

Mr. Nixon: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Would the Premier not realize that at least a major part of the solution lies more or less within his personal control? Would he authorize the removal of part of his own staff into the Whitney Block so that the members could have offices within the Legislative Building? He would, of course, keep a major part of his administrative group, but some of the third or fourth echelon speech writers could work over in the Whitney Block.


Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, some members opposite, in their very constructive criticisms of the Premier of this province, wonder whether in fact we have any speech writer, let alone three or four at the lower echelons.

Mr. T. P. Reid: You couldn’t do it all by yourself.

Hon. Mr. Davis: The truth of the matter is I think it is fairly obvious from my statements in the question period that I really don’t have a speech writer.


Hon. Mr. Davis: I would say that my answers are as relevant as are some questions.

Mr. T. P. Reid: But much longer.

Mr. Breithaupt: That’s the problem.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Tomorrow is the opening ball game. It is a much friendlier atmosphere today than a couple of days ago this week.

Mr. Foulds: Is Lorne Henderson your speech writer?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I am sure I’m like the hon. member when he was Leader of the Opposition. He didn’t divide his staff when he was in that position of responsibility saying, “You are at a lower echelon than you are.”

Mr. Breithaupt: How do you divide two people?

Hon. Mr. Davis: All my staff are equal. They are all of equal competence and importance to me. I certainly don’t think you would want me to discriminate against any of my staff by saying, “Some of you can be here and some of you can be there.” So I think the member would understand if I said no. I really think the staff of the Premier’s office and the cabinet office should remain within this building.

Mr. Nixon: It was the only area where there was the possibility of a solution.

Mr. Martel: Article 43 of the provisional rules says “it is noted that the government will make known its position on the proposal that Mr. Speaker have jurisdiction over the full Legislative building following the presentation of the final report of the select committee.” In view of the fact that was tabled well over a year ago, doesn’t the Premier think it is time he stopped playing games with us and gave this Legislature an answer? Which his House leader undertook?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I don’t want the fact that I have not been completely serious in all of my answers to in any way indicate our lack of interest in the subject. I think the hon. member is sufficiently aware of what has been going on to make him think twice about suggesting that we weren’t interested in finding a solution.

Mr. Foulds: How long does it take?

Mr. Laughren: You are in no hurry.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Certain solutions have been suggested. We have not achieved unanimity, as I understand it. If we had, Mr. Speaker, I wouldn’t have had the letter I did from you. We are in the process of preparing a reply to that letter. I expect that hopefully we will have the matter resolved. I know how anxious the hon. member is to have a larger office, windows, curtains, snow-shoe broadloom --

Mr. Martel: I have windows. You are wrong again. I have two windows.

Mr. Cassidy: Desk, chairs.

Hon. Mr. Davis: -- television sets, and what have you.

Mr. Martel: I don’t want the same office that the Premier has. I just want a workable office. You have all those facilities. None of us have those trappings. Just you.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I know he doesn’t want the same office as I have. He will never have it. I know he still wants the president’s office at Inco or Denison He told me that in Sudbury, and I know it is true --

Mr. Speaker: The hon. member --

Hon. Mr. Davis: -- and I will try to get it for the member some day.

Mr. Martel: You have the trappings. I don’t want them.

Mr. Lewis: I am not sure this question period is an improvement over Tuesday’s.


Mr. McGuigan: My question is of the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development and I wish he would refer this to the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. F. S. Miller). With regard to Rondeau Provincial Park, in view of the fact that there is only one combined entrance and exit to the park and a congested commercial area outside of the gate, would the minister agree that this creates a very real problem to collect the 50 cents per day entrance fee from the residents of 350 leased cottages who are located in the park? Would the minister also recognize that there are two churches and various sports clubs on the park grounds which draw citizens from outside the park? Would the minister consider perhaps a different annual vehicle permit and waive the 50 cent daily fee for certain entrants to the park, including the lessees and churchgoers and members of the sports club?

Hon. Mr. Brunelle: Mr. Speaker, I would like to take that question as notice and I will have the reply for the member in the near future.


Ms. Bryden: I have a question of the Minister of Labour. Would the minister, in her ongoing studies of the minimum wage, include a study of the number of workers in liquor-serving establishments whose pay is at or near the minimum wage? In order to establish if the differential minimum wage for those workers is in fact discriminatory against women and therefore contrary to the Ontario Human Rights Code, as is alleged by the waitresses’ action committee, who have sent briefs to her on this subject, would she also include in the study what proportion of those workers are women?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I am sure I don’t have to remind the hon. member that it is impossible that the concept of the minimum wage, which is universally applied to those individuals who are paid at that level, could be discriminatory. There may, in fact, be some employers who practise discriminatory practices and if that is happening then most certainly the employment standards branch of my ministry would be interested in knowing. It’s an interesting suggestion and I will most certainly take it into consideration in our studies.

Ms. Bryden: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Would the minister also study their allegation that a great number of waitresses perform set-up and clean-up services without any pay and that this is also a section of the minimum wage legislation that should be looked into regarding them? I also question her argument that it is not discriminatory if the great majority of women are affected by this differential minimum wage.

Mr. Laughren: You should know that.

Hon. B. Stephenson: Well, Mr. Speaker, I am aware of the concern which was expressed by the Waitress Action League. They did, in fact communicate that specific concern about set-up and clean-up in their letter to me and that is a part of the investigation which the employment standards branch will be looking at. Whether indeed it will be a part of the study of the validity of the minimum wage as a social tool I would really be unprepared to say. It seems to me to be inappropriate in that area at this time.

Mr. Lupusella: You are always unprepared.

Hon. B. Stephenson: But I would repeat that the minimum wage is not a discriminatory action nor a discriminatory concept.

Mr. Laughren: It discriminates against anyone who receives it.


Mr. McKessock: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. In view of the announcement made this morning in the town of Durham that the government has decided to close the Durham registry office on September 30, 1978; and in view of the fact that the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations’ official, Mr. McCutcheon, admitted that there was no cost study done to determine the amount of the savings; and in view of the admission that they did not contact any of the area lawyers, surveyors, or municipalities to discuss the effects of the closure on all of the 30,000 people in the area it serves, would the minister agree to do nothing further on the closure until a complete public study has been done on the effects of the possible closure in the area it serves?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: No, there will be no further studies.

Mr. McKessock: A supplementary: In view of the fact that Durham is centrally located in the county of Grey and that the registry office in Arthur has just hired a new registrar, even though Arthur has over 1,000 fewer registries per year and $20,000 less intake per year than the registry office in Durham, does it not seem strange that the Durham office should be scheduled for closure with this in mind?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: No; we obviously make these decisions on the basis of where the business can be handled.

Mr. Kerrio: It could be handled anywhere where --

Hon. Mr. Grossman: As I think the member knows, the business out of Durham will be handled in the Owen Sound land registry office, which is very capable of handling the caseload. Indeed, it is clear that throughout Ontario there are instances in which registry offices are simply located close enough to each other that a point in time comes when one has to start to look at consolidation of these services.

The member knows that there will be essentially no loss -- not essentially; there will be no loss in jobs, no loss in employment; the people affected will be offered jobs in the Owen Sound office. He also knows that while admittedly some lawyers will have to travel a little greater distance to have access to the Owen Sound office, I think he would agree if the government is serious about saving money, consolidation of services and increased productivity, that this is a very good place to start.

Mr. Kerrio: Priorities you don’t have.

Mr. Speaker: Supplementary, the hon. member for Grey-Bruce.

Mr. Sargent: Mr. Speaker, may I tell little Caesar over there --

Hon. B. Stephenson: It takes one to know one.

Mr. Sargent: -- that Owen Sound doesn’t want to handle the business from Durham. They can handle their own affairs.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: They do.

Mr. Sargent: You are going too far in the regional decentralization of your powers. Leave us alone up there and mind your own business.

Mr. Martel: Did you get the question, Larry?

Mr. Speaker: I didn’t sense any question there.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Unlike the member, I have a lot of faith in the people working in the Owen Sound registry office and I think they are capable of handling their own work from the Durham office.

Mr. Sargent: Sit down.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Perhaps I think more of their abilities and capabilities than the member for Grey-Bruce.

Mr. McKessock: Final supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: There goes the whole registry office --

Hon. B. Stephenson: The whole thing is going to go to Durham.

Mr. Speaker: If we had an original question and three supplementaries on every registry office in the province --

Mr. McKessock: Is the minister aware how far it is from Mount Forest to Owen Sound? Owen Sound is right up against Georgian Bay.

Hon. Mr. Davis: What do you mean, right up against Georgian Bay?

Hon. B. Stephenson: It is also up against Eddie Sargent, and that’s worse.

Mr. McKessock: The minister stated there would be no further studies done.

An hon. member: Get your act together.

Mr. McKessock: Would the minister provide for me copies of the documents to show the cost-saving studies he has done and also supply to me a breakdown of the number of staff presently in each of the land registry and land title offices in Ontario?

Mr. Peterson: Off the top of your head.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I would be happy to supply that information. Indeed, I think it was available last fall in my estimates and the total complement for the land registry system was available at that time as well.

Mr. Kerrio: It wasn’t important then.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I should also point out for the other members of the House who aren’t as familiar with it as the member for Grey that the total complement in that registry office is three; three permanent and one contract. So there are only those four positions involved. I think the hon. member would agree -- certainly his party ought to agree -- that if we’re serious about cutting costs we have to begin to look at these types of offices.

Mr. McKessock: Three people.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: If we aren’t going to be able to deal with registry offices that have only three employees and a very small caseload, then we’re never going to be able to get serious about consolidation of services.

Mr. Nixon: Why do you always have to do it to Grey county?

Mr. Peterson: You should cut four of your cabinet.


Mr. Foulds: I have a question for the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations: I wonder if the minister, along with his colleague, the Minister of Housing (Mr. Bennett), is aware of the practice in the Thunder Bay area where apparently there is collusion between the mobile home sellers and the owners of the mobile home parks that, even though there are spaces available in the mobile home parks, such spaces are not made available unless someone buys a new mobile home from one of the mobile home vendors in Thunder Bay? Could he investigate that situation to see if there is unethical business practice involved?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I’d be happy to look into that for the member and report back.

Mr. Laughren: It’s been going on for years.

Mr. Foulds: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Could he, along with his colleague, the Minister of Housing, investigate the allegation that I believe has been made in the press in Thunder Bay today, that such spaces magically do become available if an unreceipted $2,000 is paid to the mobile home vendors? A lot also becomes available if a new home is bought from the vendor by the person seeking a lot, who also has to trade in his original or presently-owned mobile home.


Mr. Laughren: That’s tenant protection, Tory style.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Yes, from some of the things the member has said laterally it sounds to me like there may be subject matter for some Criminal Code investigations rather than consumer business practice. However, we will be happy to look into it and if there is any part that violates our Business Practices Act or any consumer legislation we’ll take the appropriate action. As I said, I don’t know anything about it. Unlike the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. F. S. Miller), I don’t read the Thunder Bay press every morning. But we’ll investigate it.

Mr. Foulds: Neither does he, actually.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Oh, he does.


Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Natural Resources.

An hon. member: Is it sensible?

Mr. T. P. Reid: They’re always sensible.

Mr. Kerrio: That will teach you to walk in here.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Could he share with the House his aerial spraying program for the forests of the province of Ontario? What chemicals will he be using to fight spruce budworm particularly in the province? Will he, in fact, be using a chemical that he has used in the past, fenitrothian, which has been banned in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I really can’t comment on the chemicals being used in that program. I’ve read a fair amount of detail on fenitrothian and if that’s the one that’s related to Reyes syndrome, or is alleged to be related to it, I would rather talk to my staff. I have seen some papers on this.

In Ontario we don’t have a great deal of balsam fir relative to the other types of trees. It was felt we would be better off not to spray at all on some of the areas. We tried some around Thunder Bay. I believe we had 10,000 acres one year of spruce budworm and 80,000 acres the year after we sprayed.

Mr. T. P. Reid: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: The time for oral questions has expired.


Mr. Warner: A point of privilege. The rules do specify that I should raise the matter immediately at the end of question period. I’m dissatisfied with an answer given earlier by the Minister of Education and wish to debate the matter later.

Hon. B. Stephenson: That’s too bad. We will get you a crying towel, David.

Mr. Speaker: That’s not really a point of privilege.

Mr. Warner: I am just trying to follow the rules, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. B. Newman: The member doesn’t even know the rules.

Mr. Eakins: The minister will be late getting home tonight.


Ms. Gigantes: Mr. Speaker, I would like to serve notice under the standing orders that I was dissatisfied with the answer to my question by the Minister of Education and I seek to raise the issue tonight after the adjournment of regular business.

Mr. Speaker: Pursuant to standing order number 28, the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere and the member for Carleton East have given notice of their dissatisfaction with the answer to their question given by the Minister of Education concerning declining enrolment. It is my understanding that by unanimous agreement this will be dealt with next Tuesday night as opposed to this evening. Is that understood? So ordered.



Mr. McKessock moved first reading of Bill 62, An Act to amend the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. McKessock: The purpose of the bill is to reduce the size of the Niagara Escarpment planning area to include only those lands included in the scarp and in the scarp protection area described in the maps in schedule A accompanying the preliminary proposals issued by the Niagara Escarpment Planning Commission on February 14, 1978.

The bill places the authority to issue development permits in the Niagara Escarpment Commission or a municipality as the minister may determine. The bill also provides that an appeal for a decision of the issuing body arising from an application for a development permit may be made to the Ontario Municipal Board.

In addition, the bill requires that upon application, a development permit shall be issued for any existing lots as of February 14, 1978, unless the government of Ontario gives notice that it intends to acquire that lot at its fair market value within one year of the date upon which the application was made.


Mr. Samis moved first reading of Bill 63, An Act respecting the Official Languages of Ontario.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Samis: Mr. Speaker, this is identical to the bill introduced in the last session and the purpose of the bill is to make the French language an official language in the province of Ontario.


Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, before the orders of the day and in the absence of Mr. Welch, I wish to table the answers to questions 20, 23 and 24 standing on the notice paper.




Mr. Laughren moved second reading of Bill 46, An Act to amend the Workmen’s Compensation Act.

Mr. Speaker: The hon. member for Nickel Belt for up to 20 minutes, or he may reserve any portion of it for a windup.

Mr. Laughren: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I shall attempt to reserve a portion of my remarks to wrap up the debate when other members have had a chance to speak.

This bill is very direct, very straightforward and it accomplishes three basic things. First of all, it increases and indexes the level of benefits for injured workers and their dependents. Second, it establishes a new way of computing the maximum earnings on which the level of compensation is paid. Third, it increases the level of benefits to dependents and establishes a five-year period before the level of benefits is reduced.

This bill is absolutely necessary. It’s critically necessary at this time, primarily because of the inexcusable, deliberate and if I might dare say it, malicious delay on the part of this government in bringing in any increases for injured workers since July 1975. It is simply unacceptable for almost a three-year period for injured workers to pay a price that the rest of us simply would not pay, and the Minister of Labour is imposing that burden on injured workers in the province of Ontario.

I did some checking on what’s happened to the dollar since that time -- and I know that my colleague from Dovercourt (Mr. Lupusella) is going to talk about this as well -- and I looked at the purchasing power of the Workmen’s Compensation Board dollar since 1961. The purchasing power of the WCB dollar --

Hon. B. Stephenson: Is that different from some other kind of dollar?

Mr. Laughren: Yes, as a matter of fact, it is. Let me tell the minister why.

Hon. B. Stephenson: Non-taxable. Non- taxable.

Mr. Lupusella: Why doesn’t the minister just be quiet and listen for a change?

Mr. Germa: It’s only a 75-cent dollar to begin with.

Mr. Laughren: Even if we assume the WCB dollar was worth $1 when it started out, even if we start with the assumption that in 1969 it was worth $1, since then there have been some increases. I have taken into consideration the consumer price index deflator that Statistics Canada works with. I have taken into consideration the increases in the level of pensions, the legislated increases, since then. And the value of the WCB dollar, the purchasing power of the dollar, has gone down in the following manner from 1961 and in each succeeding year.

Starting at $1 in 1961, and I’ll round these off to even cents, it was worth 98 cents, the next year, then 97, then 95, 93, 89, 86, 83, 79, 77, 75, 71, 66 cents. In 1974 there was an increase and it bumped up to 77 cents. There was a 10 per cent increase in July 1975, and it jumped up to 77 cents and dropped down to 72. In 1977 it was worth less than 67 cents, a little over 66 cents, and now it is even lower.

That is what has happened to the WCB dollar, which is considerably less than anybody else’s dollar because other people have had increases in their level of income, the injured workers of this province have not. We cannot ask the injured workers of this province to pay a price we would not pay. It is very strange that the Minister of Labour in a Conservative government would contradict the whole theory of what the work ethic is all about and penalize people who get injured as a result of being in the work force.

It’s true. What you are doing is penalizing people who get injured.

Hon. B. Stephenson: Your logic escapes me, totally.

Mr. Laughren: My logic escapes you?

Hon. B. Stephenson: You don’t have any logic.

Mr. Laughren: The injured workers are being asked to pay a price that the minister and I do not have to pay. Namely, we have negotiated increases in our incomes.

Hon. B. Stephenson: That’s not what you just said.

Mr. Laughren: That is what I said.

Hon. B. Stephenson: No, it isn’t. Read it again.

Mr. Laughren: Since 1969 the injured workers of this province have paid a price in a devalued dollar that the rest of us have not paid, because the rest of us have had negotiated increases, one way or another, in our incomes. The injured workers have had such small increases in 1974 and 1975 that the value of their purchasing dollar has gone from $1 down to somewhere around 65 cents at this point. Those are statistically correct figures and the minister simply cannot deny that.

I know why it happened. There is a tremendous lobby in effect in this province, and the minister has caved in to it as no previous Minister of Labour has, in my recollection.

Mr. McClellan: That’s right. Dead on.

Mr. Martel: Sure, they talk to us too, you know.

Mr. Laughren: We see it in the occupational health field, and we see it in the workmen’s compensation field as well. The argument always used is if you increase the assessment on employers you will increase their costs and they will become less competitive. That’s the argument used; that’s the argument the minister has bought holus-bolus from the employers of this province, rather than taking the view that the best way to lower the assessment of compensation on employers is to have a lower accident rate. As a matter of fact, even that is not happening.

The statistics I have show the number of claims for lost time for 10,000 workers in this province has gone up steadily, using the same years, 1961 to 1976. In 1961, the number of claims for lost time, not just claims for medical aid and so forth, has gone up from 319 per 10,000 workers in 1961, to 445 claims per 10,000 workers in 1976. That information was received from the Workmen’s Compensation Board.

It is not as though things were getting better and workers were just getting more out of the system. It’s a case of more and more lost-time accidents in the province for the number of workers. That’s why the assessment is going up. You simply cannot ask the injured workers in this province to pay that price. You cannot ask them to absorb the increased cost of increased injuries. That’s not right.


This bill would, in September of each year, automatically implement a review process. That review would be in the following manner: If 10 per cent of the people who claim compensation earned in excess of the maximum wage rate on which compensation is computed -- for example, $15,000 under the present system -- if it jumped to more than 10 per cent of the workers in that category then by January 1 the maximum would increase in increments of $1,000. So if it jumped to 11 per cent, we would make the necessary adjustment to ensure that it dropped below 10 per cent and the maximum would then be $16,000 or $17,000, whatever the case may be.

It’s a form of indexing and it’s appropriately charged to the number of workers who get injured in any given year. That’s what’s important. If high-income workers are the ones who are getting injured -- bonus miners, people in construction, high-steel riggers -- then surely it’s most appropriate that they be compensated in like kind when they do get injured. It’s not right that they be penalized.

The other thing this bill does is adjust the level of benefits which workers receive twice yearly, on January 1 and on July 1. We believe the proper index base is the average industrial wage for Ontario during the previous six months, as shown by the industrial composite average weekly wage and salary for Ontario. That, of course, is computed and published by Statistics Canada. We believe the first adjustment -- and this is built into and stated specifically in the bill -- should go back to July 1, 1975, which was the date of the latest increase.

I know the minister will claim there’s a study going on to determine what the level of increase should be, but we’ve been hearing that for a year now and that’s simply not good enough. It’s not right that injured workers should receive a benefit at the whim of the Minister of Labour and of this Legislature. That’s not right. The way it is now, the Act must be amended every time there is an increase in the level of benefits.

There are too many things that can interfere with justice. There are too many obstacles in the way of justice under this system. Mr. Speaker, you can have the whims and the caprices and even the prejudices of a Minister of Labour who sees that the interests of the employer should come first. Things like the timing of elections, the pressures of work and the order of business in this Legislature should not be allowed to abort justice for injured workers. That simply should not be allowed. This amendment makes increases automatic, as does the section dealing with the ceiling of benefits.

Another important part of this bill deals with benefits to dependents when an injured worker dies as a result of an injury or an illness. At the present time, and I’m sure the minister is aware of this, the level of benefits for a widow, for example, is $286 a month. That borders on the criminal, and bears no relationship to the lifestyle of the family before death. It’s a mean and stingy level of benefits for dependants. This bill would raise the level of benefits to $400 a month for the spouse and $100 for each dependant under the age of 18 years.

We believe when a worker dies and leaves a family, the social dislocation, economic insecurity and emotional burden is a big enough price to pay. As a matter of fact, it’s too big, and to compound the problem with the existing policy of this government is simply immoral. And I’ll tell you something; Mr. Speaker, it speaks volumes about the social policies of this government.

The members will recall that when the Throne Speech was brought down earlier this year there was a statement in it about the interest of this government in strengthening family ties, strengthening the family unit in this province. There is nothing more destructive to the family unit than the policies of the Workmen’s Compensation Board in this province, and the Minister of Labour must bear responsibility for that. I don’t know how she can sit there with this kind of policy for the dependants of workers who die and listen to a Speech from the Throne that says the government is interested in strengthening the family unit in the province of Ontario. It is contradictory and the board, through the Minister of Labour, perpetuates a system that is destructive of family unity.

The bill recognizes the importance of encouraging dependants to become integrated back into society and into the work place. On the other hand, we think that there needs to be time to do that, which is why there is a section in this bill requiring the board to continue paying a level of benefits to dependants as though the worker were still alive; the same level of benefits that they were receiving before the death of the worker for a period of five years, assuming that the dependant’s benefit would not be greater than the level that the worker was receiving when he or she was alive.

We believe that this is a very important part of the bill because it allows time for the dependant, the spouse, to take any upgrading courses they may want to take, to go back to school perhaps, to allow the children to reach an age where babysitting arrangements can be made much more easily. We think that all in all that is a good part of the bill, a very constructive part of the bill.

At the same time, not only does it improve benefits for the dependants but has an encouragement in it to integrate people back into the work force, back into society. There is a real incentive there. It gives them time to do it. We believe that that is a very humane and a very practical way of going about it.

There is a different lifestyle, and we have seen our share of these problems in the Sudbury basin, where a young miner with a young family, is killed, and it places an enormous burden upon the family. This would allow that family time to collect itself, to arrange a different kind of lifestyle while all the time aiming to get back into the work force and become integrated again. The present arrangement is simply unacceptable.

Finally, we in this party do not pretend that Bill 46 is going to solve all the problems of the Workmen’s Compensation Board. As a matter of fact some of the problems of the board could not possibly be solved with legislation; we know that. That was evident when the Compensation Board appeared before the standing committee of this House a month or so ago. I have never seen a servant of the province of Ontario behave in the way the chairman of the Workmen’s Compensation Board did on the day that he appeared before the standing committee.

He was blatantly and offensively partisan. The minister was part and party to it. There was even one attempt to deny that the chairman of the board had said something to my colleague from Scarborough-Ellesmere (Mr. Warner) when some of us clearly heard him say it. He finally admitted he had said it. But we know we cannot legislate that; we know we cannot legislate the attitude of Mr. Starr, we do not have that power. That is why we have no illusions that this bill, even if the government members support it -- which I very much hope they do -- will solve all the problems of the board, because there are not only very serious administrative problems but attitudinal problems of the board that must be resolved if there is going to be any justice at all for injured workers in the province.

The chairman of the board does not carry out all the adjudication with claims, he does not determine the level of benefits; nevertheless, I believe that he sets the tone at the Compensation Board, and that will be followed by people in the organization. The Minister of Labour unfortunately will not deal with that problem and appears to be a partner in the whole process of demeaning injured workers in the province of Ontario.

We know that a compassionate and properly motivated board would solve a lot of those administrative problems. Just a very simple matter such as giving the benefit of doubt to injured workers would go a long way to solving a lot of the problems we complain about every year when the board appears before the standing committee.

Surely it is not asking too much to give the benefit of doubt to injured workers. I was amazed when the minister or someone from the government side interjected at the beginning of my remarks that the dollar was tax free. I will tell the minister something: Right now workers receive a maximum of 75 per cent when they are totally disabled up to a maximum of $15,000 a year. I believe it should be 100 per cent tax free. Unlike the other system out there -- the tort system I believe they call it -- there is compensation for pain and suffering. With the Workmen’s Compensation Act there is no compensation for pain and suffering. It seems to me a very humane, a very sensible way of making that up -- and God knows we don’t want to go to the tort system with compensation --

Hon. B. Stephenson: There are times when I wonder whether you do or not.

Mr. Laughren: Oh no, never. There is an alternative, but I’ll get to that in a moment.

But the one way of making up for the inability of the worker to obtain anything for pain and suffering would be to have a level of benefits that was 100 per cent and tax free. That is the way it should be. I believe there are some legal eagles in the chamber now. Is it not true that if there is a settlement for pain and suffering that the settlement is tax free? Is that correct?

Mr. Bolan: That is correct.

Mr. Laughren: Oh well, the lawyer from Nipissing knows. He has been on the defensive lots of times.

That’s a fact. So why do we not have the same principle under the Workmen’s Compensation Act?

Mr. Kerrio: There is usually some cause of negligence involved. It is not just open and shut the way you are talking -- It doesn’t make any sense at all.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.

Mr. Laughren: We have just heard from the right wing rump of the Liberals.

Mr. Kerrio: Say it the way it is.

Mr. Laughren: We shall see where the Liberals stand on this.

Mr. McClellan: There is the voice of the contractors.

Mr. Laughren: Anyway, this amendment doesn’t solve the attitudinal problem, and it doesn’t solve another problem. I appreciate that. It is not a cure-all. It doesn’t solve the problem of the adversary system we have in compensation in the province. We know that now it is the worker against the employer who is represented by the Compensation Board. We know that.

Hon. B. Stephenson: That is hogwash.

Mr. Laughren: It can be no other way when the board is totally funded by the employers of the province. You know it, and I know it, and every injured worker in the province understands it. That is why there is such suspicion of the board by injured workers all across this province. We think that that adversary system is fundamentally wrong.

As a matter of fact the chairman of the Compensation Board agrees with us. I almost reassessed my position when he agreed with me. He said, “Yes, you are right.” There needs to be a comprehensive social insurance system in Ontario such as they have in New Zealand. He said that is what we need here, so there is compensation paid to people regardless of where they are injured and irrespective of fault. It would be funded in a similar way; employers would pay their share -- individuals would pay their share --

Mr. Deputy Speaker: The hon. member’s time has expired.

Mr. Laughren: Mr. Speaker, I shall conclude. It is not enough to sit and wait for the minister’s self-serving committees to report to her. It is time to act now, and we can do that by approving this bill, and I look forward to the approval of all members of this chamber.

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, in spite of the fact that it was my understanding that debate on second reading was debate on the principle of the bill, not designed as personal and slanderous attack upon public servants who most frequently cannot defend themselves --

Mr. Wildman: Is that parliamentary?

Mr. Laughren: Name one.

Hon. B. Stephenson: -- nor upon those individuals who work within an agency which has since 1916 served very well the working people of the province.

Mr. Laughren: Michael Starr has not served well.

Mr. McClellan: Not Michael Starr.

Mr. Wildman: Withdraw that word slander.

Hon. B. Stephenson: In spite of the somewhat vitriolic nature of the personal attacks of the hon. member for Nickel Belt -- slightly more restrained than he usually is, because he tends to write all of his letters and slather his tongue with vitriol on a daily basis --

Mr. Laughren: I was most restrained.

Mr. Lupusella: You should resign.

Hon. B. Stephenson: -- I should like to comment on Bill 46 as it is written.

Mr. Laughren: You are not being very nice.

Mr. Wildman: Boy, you are a nice person.

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, the Act to amend the Workmen’s Compensation --

Mr. Wildman: Mr. Speaker, is that parliamentary?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I haven’t used any language that wasn’t parliamentary, have I?

Mr. Wildman: You said slander.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Please disregard the interjections.

Hon. B. Stephenson: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I shall really do that. I am pleased to have your support on that position.

Mr. Laughren: Don’t be provocative.


Hon. B. Stephenson: Bill 46, An Act to amend the Workmen’s Compensation Act, defeats the objectives of every party in this House in terms of providing service and assistance to injured workers in the province of Ontario.

Mr. McClellan: You don’t know anything about it.

Hon. B. Stephenson: We are very much aware that the third party has been pushing at every opportunity, for as long as I can remember --

Mr. Lupusella: Why don’t you do something about it?

Hon. B. Stephenson: -- the concept of a single universal income protection plan across the province. I would point out to the hon. members that they are now introducing a bill which would raise compensation benefits so high as to preclude the possibility of any kind of rational integration of that program with a universal protection program. They are defeating their purpose totally.

Mr. McClellan: Your concern is overwhelming.

Hon. B. Stephenson: The hon. member for Erie, (Mr. Haggerty) at a meeting debating or examining the report of the Workmen’s Compensation Board in 1977, introduced a resolution which was supported, I think, by all parties in the resources development committee.

Mr. McClellan: Not all parties.

Hon. B. Stephenson: Did the NDP not support it?

Mr. McClellan: They opposed it.

Hon. B. Stephenson: They did. I’m sorry, I didn’t realize that the third party had opposed this kind of rational action. The resolution imposed upon the government, it seemed to me, a duty which I had already begun to carry out, because I was in the process of finding the group to do this.

Mr. McClellan: Is that why you haven’t raised the rates? Tell us why you haven’t raised the rates.

Hon. B. Stephenson: That was to undertake detailed studies of the interrelationship between all income protection systems within this province, for workers and others, with the object of providing a total analysis of the requirements in this area and examining the improvements which could be made in workmen’s compensation. That study has taken longer, I will admit, than I had anticipated.

Mr. Lupusella: Why don’t you speed up the process?

Mr. McClellan: Is that why you didn’t raise the rates?

Hon. B. Stephenson: It was my anticipation, and it was the intent of the very reputable company carrying out the study, to have it ready by mid-summer of 1977. It has not been ready until this week and I now have a copy of the study which I propose to distribute to all members of the House as soon as I have sufficient copies.

Mr. McClellan: Why don’t you just raise the rates?

Hon. B. Stephenson: I have had very real concern about the rates for injured workers and their dependents and families.

Mr. McClellan: I bet you have. It has been three years.

Hon. B. Stephenson: We are attempting, and will be attempting in the very near future, to provide amendments to the Act which will ensure that an adequate income is provided for those individuals who require benefits from workmen’s compensation on the basis of the rational decisions which are made during adjudication by the board.

Mr. McClellan: Three years too late.

Hon. B. Stephenson: I fully intend to do this. It is no more a deliberate action on my part to delay this than it would be for me to say that I could take off to the moon right at this moment.

Mr. Wildman: If you really want to, we can arrange for you to be the first woman on the moon.

Hon. B. Stephenson: It is entirely responsible, it seems to me, to ensure that we have all of the information on the varieties of programs which might be introduced and on the way in which we can best serve the injured workers in this province through modifications of the existing system; and that is precisely what we have asked for. We have been given a number of alternatives as a result of the study, and as a result of that activity we will be able to provide some very rational improvements in the workmen’s compensation program.

Mr. McClellan: Tell us when; give us a date.

Hon. B. Stephenson: There are a couple of problems which I think the members of this House should be aware of. As most of the members of the House are aware, the expenditure by the Workmen’s Compensation Board in 1977 for medical aid, for pension benefits and for compensation benefits almost reached $400 million. The effect of this bill introduced by the hon. member for Nickel Belt would be to increase overnight the amount of money required for these services and these benefits to $1.4 billion.

I have difficulty even mentioning that amount of money. I’m sorry that I stumbled over it.

Mr. Wildman: You don’t have trouble when you give it to Inco or Falconbridge.

Hon. B. Stephenson: I think this is evidence of the total irresponsibility of the NDP, who consistently state in a holier-than-thou attitude that they are the only people who are concerned about the people of the province of Ontario, and particularly the working people.

Mr. Germa: Why do you hate working class people?

Hon. B. Stephenson: As you know and I know, Mr. Speaker, that is sheer and utter drivel.

Mr. Laughren: Prove it.

Hon. B. Stephenson: It has been sheer and utter drivel since the first day it was mouthed by the members of that party.

Mr. Laughren: That’s ludicrous.

Hon. B. Stephenson: The funding for the provision of this insurance -- or this compensation benefit, it is not an insurance --

Mr. Wildman: Come on, be contrite.

Hon. B. Stephenson: -- for this compensation benefit for the individual workers is the responsibility under our law of the employers of the province of Ontario. To burden them overnight with that kind of an increase would ensure totally that there would be almost no job opportunities left --

Mr. Laughren: Why haven’t you done it gradually then?

Hon. B. Stephenson: -- in the province of Ontario for the people of this province who would like to work.

I believe we are taking a responsible and a rational route to finding solutions to this problem, by legislation which will be introduced in this session of the Legislature, and indeed we shall try to do the very best thing possible for the injured workers.

Mr. McClellan: You’re a disgrace.

Hon. B. Stephenson: We will do it in their best interests, and not in the interests of political partisanship which seems to be the route which the NDP is most concerned about pursuing.

Mr. M. Davidson: Will you make it retroactive?

Hon. B. Stephenson: That is what we’re trying to do as a result of using the Wyatt report, and I am absolutely opposed to this premature and completely ill-conceived patchwork bill made up of components from various pieces of legislation -- stolen, I might say, from other jurisdictions --

Mr. Wildman: Stolen?

Mr. Laughren: Stolen?

Hon. B. Stephenson: -- including some parts of Saskatchewan legislation which, although it has been suggested, has not been, in fact, activated.

Mr. M. Davidson: How do you steal legislation?

Hon. B. Stephenson: The work which the government is doing in attempting to solve the problems of injured workers I think is the right route to follow. I think the members --

Mr. McClellan: Three years delay, that’s all you’ve done.

Mr. Lupusella: That’s nonsense, what you are saying.

Hon. B. Stephenson: The members of this House should support the kinds of amendments to the Workmen’s Compensation Act which this government will bring in during this session.

Mr. Wildman: That’s correct --

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.

Hon. B. Stephenson: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Laughren: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: What’s the point of order?

Mr. Laughren: I just wonder if the minister could clarify. Did she say she was going to support the bill?

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.

Hon. B. Stephenson: Might I clarify it, Mr. Speaker? I think I said, loudly and clearly, that I was utterly and unequivocally opposed to the premature and ill-conceived concept of this bill. Do I have to spell it out any more clearly?

Mr. Bolan: In spite of the assurance of the Minister of Labour that she will be introducing amendments to the Workmen’s Compensation Act which would bring into a better light and more into reality the position of the injured worker in this province today, I am going to support this bill for two reasons: Number one, I don’t know what will be the context of the Minister of Labour’s proposed amendments with respect to the Workmen’s Compensation Act; and number two, I believe there are certain sections in the bill introduced by the member for Nickel Belt which are of such great concern to the workers of the province of Ontario that every effort should be made immediately to implement, at least in part, certain provisions of this bill.

I notice, Mr. Speaker, the short title of this Act is the Workmen’s Compensation Amendment Act. I would like to think of it in a better way, I would like to think a short title of this Act to be an act of humanity.

Mr. Laughren: Are you supporting it?

Mr. Bolan: Yes.

Mr. Laughren: Good.

Mr. Bolan: When you look at the way in which the worker in this province has been treated over the past number of years I think it’s only reasonable that at least, as I said before -- and I used the words “at least” and I’ll explain that in a minute -- at least certain provisions of this bill should be accepted.

I must confess the portion of the bill which deals with indexing gives me some problems, however these are not problems which cannot be resolved. In spite of the fact that the Minister of Labour unquestionably will troop out the 20 right guards or the 20 tin soldiers, who will stand up in what I consider to be mockery to this House and vote against even proceeding any further with the bill, I hope some of them will have the intestinal fortitude to stand up and to say yes, we support it, at least to get it to committee. At least, at that point in time, the bill could be debated clause by clause.

Mr. Laughren: I think the minister is wavering.

Hon. B. Stephenson: Hah.

Mr. Bolan: I am concerned about how an injured worker goes about getting an increase to the pension which he receives. Right now, if a person employed in the labour force, or a member of the Legislative Assembly or a civil servant is not getting what he feels is a just wage in relation to the economy of the country, there are certain mechanisms at his disposal to obtain raises. The employee who works in a factory, or whatever the case may be, does it through his union. The civil servant does it through another mechanism.

What is the mechanism for the injured worker? The only mechanism he has is the Legislative Assembly; that is the only thing at his disposal. For that reason, there should be periodic reviews of the size of pensions, so at least they are taken from below the poverty line, where many of them exist now and brought up to a more realistic standard of living.

Mr. Laughren: That’s the Tory government.

Mr. Bolan: In dealing with the bill clause by clause, I look at section 1. The figure of $286 a month which a widow gets now, is shameful. For us to stand up in this House and ask for $400 a month --

Mr. Laughren: The minister gets that every day.

Mr. Bolan: -- really is not adding that much to it. How this situation was allowed to deteriorate to the point where a widow whose husband was killed in an accident is only receiving $400 a month is beyond me. I think it’s absolutely shameful and I hope that some measures will be taken to correct it.

As I said before, the one concern I had was with indexing, but that could be corrected in committee.

Certainly we’re concerned about costs, because if there is indexing, if this bill is accepted, all of the cost would be borne by the employer. Many of the employers in our society today are small businessmen who can ill afford any increase in costs of operation. However, the increase in benefits which they would be required to pay, together, hopefully, with the passage of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, would make it more incumbent upon the employer to create a safer place for the worker to work in, a result of which would be fewer accidents. I would expect when this Occupational Health and Safety Act is passed the employer will realize it is to his benefit to make the workplace safer and that he will do so.

I would like to see the bill receive second reading today. I doubt if it will, because I’m sure --

Mr. Warner: The guillotine is over them.

Mr. Laughren: Talk to the member for Niagara Falls (Mr. Kerrio) about it.

Mr. Bolan: -- the group in the back is waiting to come in and stand up and block it.

Mr. Warner: There are 58 fish over there.

Mr. Bolan: In any event, Mr. Speaker, I, as an individual member of this party support the bill.

Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, I rise to support Bill 46, moved by my colleague, the member for Nickel Belt. I really don’t think it should take a lot of discussion. The need for some of the changes that are in the bill should be apparent to all but the blind, and I find it unfortunate that half this House seems to be blind.

The need for changes and improvements in the Workmen’s Compensation Board’s procedures, amount of payments in pensions, the indexing, the level of bureaucratic competence, are obvious to all who have to deal with claimants and the board on a day-to-day basis. It’s underlined in a very personal way by the social and human tragedies I’m sure most members of this House get in terms of WCB cases in their constituency offices.

The broken individuals and broken families that result because of frustrations caused by the level of payments, the delays, the actions of the board, their very failure to deal in a humane way with workers already coping with injuries and varying degrees of disabilities, to me is just unconscionable.

It seems everybody is aware of the problem at the board except the Minister of Labour, and I’ve never quite been able to understand the hardlining I find from her and the chairman of the board on this particular issue.


The tragedy, as I see it, Mr. Speaker, is that an opposition party has to bring in such a bill in the first place. Surely progressive changes, indeed necessary and humane changes, the need for which is well established, should be the job of the Minister of Labour and of this government. And it’s not good enough to say that we have just got a report. I remind you that we haven’t seen any increase since July 1975, and there have been some real hardships worked on recipients of WCB pensions.

This bill does not try to cover all of the faults. Some main ones remain, including the need to raise the minimum pension to take care of injured workers of years ago covered under old wage rates that no longer have any relevance to their cost of living. That’s an overwhelming need that hasn’t yet been taken care of. There’s also the need to reform the bureaucratic procedures that cause delays and force proud workers and their families on to welfare. That has been one of the things that has bothered me more, I think, than anything else in this area.

Mr. Wildman: Let them eat cake.

Mr. Mackenzie: The legitimate case that can be made for contributions to UIC or CPP, or indeed to legitimate private or company pensions, to those workers on temporary or permanent time off through injuries so that their rights are not lost down the road at retirement time, is another area that certainly should be looked at. What we are trying to do in the bill in a minimum way is to point the way through a bill that would achieve some justice, from this point on in terms of indexing the payments and dealing with the dependants in a much fairer way.

The need for set dates to adjust compensation payments is underlined by this government’s unwillingness to adjust payments since July 1975. We have not been able to rely on the government or the Minister of Labour in terms of these people and their problems. I don’t have the confidence, unfortunately, in what they are going to do in the future and, therefore, there’s no other approach for us but to try to move such a bill and to give it the maximum publicity so that the public understands exactly what we are up against in the attitude of the Minister of Labour and the government of Ontario.

I rise to support the bill and hope all members of the House will support it. It’s just straight human justice.

Mr. Warner: Well said. Clean up that mess.

Mr. G. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak on this bill, Bill 46, introduced by the member for Nickel Belt (Mr. Laughren), who considers himself the only one in this House with a knowledge of the subject of workmen’s compensation.

Mr. Laughren: Not at all.

Mr. Warner: There are 31 others over here.

Mr. Mackenzie: If you have the knowledge, then you should be really ashamed at what’s happening.

Mr. G. Taylor: When we get down to this bill and we consider that the parties on the opposite side of the House are the only ones with any concern or care for the workers of this province --

Mr. Laughren: Nobody said that.

Mr. Wildman: Then show it, for heaven’s sake.

Mr. G. Taylor: -- they said 1975 was the last time there was an increase. We have had studies going on since then. The Minister of Labour has been concerned about it

Mr. Mackenzie: How do you live since then?

Mr. Wildman: Do studies put food on the table?

Mr. G. Taylor: The members on this side of the House have been concerned with the problem. We have made representations. We have studied it. We have considered it. We are all concerned about the problems of the workers --

Mr. Mackenzie: How many have died while you were considering it?

Mr. G. Taylor: -- but when I hear from the other side of the House that they have the only right, the supreme and sacred right --

Mr. Laughren: You’re setting up a straw man.

Mr. G. Taylor: -- that they have the only concern for the working people of Ontario --

Mr. Mackenzie: You had the opportunity and you didn’t take it.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. The member for Hamilton East has had the floor.

Mr. G. Taylor: I think what they say is total bunk. They bring forth these rules and I hear them saying --

Mr. Mackenzie: The principle or the opportunity, what’s more important? You had the opportunity.

Mr. G. Taylor: The man from Nipissing says, “Oh, I only hope we don’t veto this bill on this side of the House.” They all support it. They can so wholeheartedly support it when they know, and they even hope, that we will veto it on this side so they immediately can run out and put forth their words of how that government is treading on the labour of this province.

Mr. Mackenzie: So you are going to stand up to kill the bill.

Mr. Wildman: What a lot of convoluted whining.

Mr. G. Taylor: They use this private member’s hour for their own personal benefit, for their political partisanships, to bring forth their ideas, saying, “We are the only party.” The man from Hamilton East just said that in those very words.

Mr. Mackenzie: Do something. You’ve got the opportunity. You’re the government.

Mr. G. Taylor: He said, “We are going to veto this bill and we will tell the world what we are doing for the workers but not the government side of the House.”

Mr. Warner: What are you doing to clean up the mess at the Workmen’s Compensation Board?

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.

Mr. Mackenzie: Tell us what you are going to do. You’ve got the opportunity. You’re the government.

Mr. G. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, they continue to put forth these ideas that they are the only ones with the remedy for the workers of Ontario.

Mr. Ziemba: You’ve said that four times.

Mr. G. Taylor: They have been looked after --

Mr. Mackenzie: Why don’t you stop whining?

Mr. Wildman: A bunch of convoluted whiners.

Mr. G. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, the whines comes from the other side of the House -- whine, whine, whine.

Mr. Mackenzie: You’re the government. You’ve got the power. How do you answer that?

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.

Mr. G. Taylor: They will immediately leave this House and say --

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. Would the hon. member return to the bill?

Mr. G. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, the interjections are so heavy that one cannot ignore them. They are so worthless that one must put forward some tidbit so that you can hear the wallowing continuing on.

Mr. Mackenzie: Why don’t you answer why you haven’t done anything?

Mr. G. Taylor: But let’s look at something besides the partisanship they’ve thrown at us this afternoon with their bills, let’s look at what the bill might do.

We instituted a program in this province, with the Workmen’s Compensation Act, a bill that removed some of these workers from the horrendous problems of suing an employer by putting it forth on an insurance scheme and getting him out of that court situation, which the member brought forth that they wanted possibly to head back to. That would be a great increase in the problems of the workers.

Mr. Mackenzie: Haven’t you even thought of what you are talking about? It doesn’t say that at all.

Mr. Laughren: Read the bill.

Mr. Mackenzie: At least you should know what you are talking about.

Mr. Ziemba: Look at the paper.

Mr. Mackenzie: Why don’t you read it before you speak on it?

Mr. Acting Speaker: The member for Simcoe Centre will please continue and ignore the interjections.

Ms. Gigantes: How can he continue when he hasn’t got the bill?

Mr. Mackenzie: He hasn’t even read it.

Mr. Wildman: Someone has gone to get him a copy.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Could I ask the member for Hamilton East to await his turn to speak?

Mr. Wildman: Mr. Pope has gone to get the right bill.

Mr. G. Taylor: We look at the cost of this, and the Minister of Labour has put forth that cost. It’s all very well to put forth a bill saying how well we are going to treat the workers of the province of Ontario, but look at the cost of it. Look at the cost where we are. They’ve said, “Oh, they’ll bring up the competition.” Sure we’ll bring up the competition. We’re in competition with other areas that don’t have the same rates of workmen’s compensation; that don’t have workmen’s compensation. So when you want increased compensation, do you take that or do you take jobs? When you go back to your workers and ask what they want, it will be jobs and not increased compensation.

Mr. Mackenzie: You are sure not supplying that work.

Mr. G. Taylor: So why don’t they listen to their workers and put forth their ideas?

Mr. Mackenzie: Who is the government, who is the government?

Mr. Laughren: You are doing yourself in.

Mr. Mackenzie: Who is the government, who can move bills?

Mr. Laughren: Keep talking.

Mr. Ziemba: You chased the Minister of Labour out of the House.

Mr. G. Taylor: -- and not just put forth some inane bill saying, “Here we are looking after our workers.”

When we look at some of the specific provisions in here, they get a little irrational. They don’t even bring up some of the major subjects of the bill that should be in there. They just amend a bill without looking at its particularity, at what it will do. But that is consistent with their bills, with their private members’ bills --

Mr. Mackenzie: We learned from you that one small step is all you can ever hope for.

Mr. G. Taylor: -- with their legislation and with their policy. They just put forth a bill, thinking, “How can we put it forth in a partisan way, and what can we do on behalf of our people; what can we do --

Mr. Mackenzie: What is partisan about indexing payments and updating them?

Mr. G. Taylor: -- “and how partisan we can be.” Let’s just look at some of the heavy burden this might put on a small trade operation, the small businessmen in this province.

Mr. Mackenzie: Now the truth comes out; now we know where you stand.

Mr. G. Taylor: They are the ones who have to pay these bills; they are the ones who are assessed. It would mean a heavy increase in their cost, as the Minister of Labour has said; and the heavy increase --

Mr. Laughren: What about our accident rate?

Mr. G. Taylor: -- the $1.4 billion would be assessed on the employers’ backs. Are they going to get rid of the employee, then, to carry their burden? The small service industry, the small businessman who looks forward to working and paying his bills, will now be assessed a heavy burden for the cost of this workmen’s compensation increase that the member has put forward.

Ms. Gigantes: Have you ever gone through a workmen’s compensation case?

Mr. G. Taylor: Let’s look at the indexing. Unlike most plans, here they’ve gone into indexing twice a year. How good that will be; twice a year now we can index. Not even once a year like most plans, which have received criticism from all areas, critical denunciation on any indexing in plans.

Mr. Wildman: You would rather do it twice every 50 years.

Mr. Mackenzie: All the contracts are indexed every three months.

Mr G. Taylor: Here he puts forth a method of indexing twice a year. I think we are all in favour of increasing the benefits for the people of the province of Ontario, and it should be done --

Mr. Laughren: Will you support the bill?

Mr. G. Taylor: -- but not by putting forth, with no study, with no background, just putting forth --

Mr. Mackenzie: You want to wait another 10 years.

Mr. M. Davidson: Don’t be so foolish.

Mr. G. Taylor: -- a bill such as this member has brought forth. What are we doing but increasing the burdens of the employers and the employees in this province, and with no great success --

Mr. Mackenzie: Three years for a study, and we don’t have the results. That’s a long time to wait.

Mr. G. Taylor: -- to the individual, other than just their partisanship in putting forth a bill that they know is not worth its particularity, but is very good in the overall plan. The principle is ideal, and we are not against that principle in any way whatsoever.

Mr. Laughren: That is what we are debating.

Mr Mackenzie: Don’t force us to act on principle.

Mr. G. Taylor: Everybody is for the principle of this bill, but when you look at it in its particular characteristics, and its particular function, it is too heavy a burden for the workers of this province to pay for the partisanship of the NDP.

Mr. Mackenzie: Did you ever try to live on principle?

Mr. Laughren: On a point of order, did the member say that he supported the principle of the bill?

Mr. G. Taylor: If the member would listen to the speaker on the subject, he might hear what they say instead of having to ask for a repeat each time somebody speaks.

Mr. Laughren: He just said he supported the principle of the bill.

Mr. Acting Speaker: The member for Niagara Falls.

An hon. member: Here’s a friend of labour.

Mr. Kerrio: I would like to take a most responsible position as I relate my feelings to this bill.

Mr. Wildman: What’s your tack?

Mr. Kerrio: I suggest to those assembled that the injured workers of Ontario certainly deserve the support of the legislative body here, and I’m the first to suggest that that’s uppermost in my mind.

Mr. McClellan: You’re not the only one.

Mr. Kerrio: I certainly cannot support this bill, for a very good reason.

Mr. M. Davidson: We kind of figured that.

Mr. Kerrio: Unless we bring all facets into focus here --

Mr. Mackenzie: This bill depends on how many Liberals can vote for and how many can vote against.

Mr. Kerrio: -- and unless those people who would pass legislation on the floor of this Legislature realize that it’s very easy to do so if they pass on to someone else the responsibility to pay, then we could sit here and pass resolutions and bills all day long; it’s very easy to do.

Mr. Mackenzie: It’s nice for the workers to know they won’t get it if you’re the government then.

Mr. Kerrio: The fact of the matter is that looking after the worker is unrelated to any real responsibility as to who’s going to share the cost in this bill. I’m suggesting that while General Motors or some large corporation can pass on the costs of workmen’s compensation just by increasing the cost of a car and does not have to take any responsibility at all, you’re suggesting on that side that a small business person is not hurt in any way and that he can just increase his charges to anyone. You’re living in a little dream world. You don’t understand because you have never been there.

Ms. Gigantes: Have you ever been an injured worker?

Mr. Kerrio: I’m suggesting it would be easy for me if I were to stand in this Legislature and suggest that the way we are going to be fair to the injured worker is to have everyone in our society assume some of the responsibility by picking up part of the tab. It’s so easy to think that --

Mr. Mackenzie: An overall insurance plan would do that.

Mr. McClellan: Universal insurance would do that.

Mr. Kerrio: -- all of our society is represented only by the socialists. I suggest that the degree of inclination in their posturing is only in proportion to the number of people that are going to vote for them. The fact of the matter is that most of organized labour does not support the NDP. They realize that there are responsible people who are trying to bring responsible government to the country. The way to bring responsible government is to share the responsibility. No one here has suggested that because a worker is injured through no fault at all of the employer that someone else should bear the cost.

Mr. Lupusella: Why should we be responsible for that?

Mr. Kerrio: For example, the employee himself, or the government in many other parts of our society; why should it fall on a small employer who cannot pass it on? Who are they kidding? The NDP think they know what they are talking about. They don’t know the first thing of what they speak about in this regard.

Mr. McClellan: Send us a copy of your speech.

Mr. Kerrio: I say that looking after the injured worker to see that he gets fair compensation while he’s injured, to retrain him, if we will, to help him get back to work to pay a spouse of a person who has been injured if he were to die --

Mr. Laughren: How much?

Mr. Kerrio: -- as a result of the accident is certainly all of our responsibility and not that of one segment of our society. It is so easy for NDP members to sit there and act in that just way; they think they are trying to fool everyone in our society into thinking they’re the only interested people. It is so much bunk and they know it. One of the members suggested that that’s what they were doing.

Mr. Wildman: Dispense.

Mr. Kerrio: I would say there is no place in this bill where they address themselves to the individual who happens to be killed when he’s not on the job. Are we not interested in a worker who isn’t killed or injured other than in the workplace? I’m suggesting responsible government and responsible bills are going to look after anyone that’s hurt.

Mr. Wildman: Move an amendment.

Mr. Kerrio: It does not have to come in this kind of legislation, which would put all --

Mr. McClellan: Universal accident insurance would do that.

Mr. Kerrio: -- the brunt of the cost in a specific area, I say, and I say with sincerity --


An hon. member: I’m sure.

Mr. Kerrio: I will not address myself to any of the interjections because that is a ploy of the socialist to get you to leave your theme. As far as I am concerned this is a most irresponsible piece of legislation. The member hasn’t addressed himself to the real truth of real involvement, of real responsibility. It is one of the real things I say about government.

Mr. McClellan: Vince, you are not real.

Mr. Kerrio: Priorities are very significant and important. We cannot look after a person injured in the workplace to the exclusion of someone who happens to be injured on his way home from work. I don’t have to go around and be defied by people who would suggest that because I would vote against such a bill as this, that doesn’t make any sense at all, that I am against the worker. Nothing could be further from the truth and I would like to see members who say so make that stick.

Mr. Ziemba: You are against the injured worker.

Mr. Lupusella: Mr. Speaker, if anyone is irresponsible and irrational in this Legislature today it is those members who are not supporting this bill on behalf of injured workers. The government and the Workmen’s Compensation Board, and in particular the Minister of Labour (B. Stephenson) have been responsible for protecting injured workers in the province of Ontario since 1914 when the Workmen’s Compensation Act was first enacted. They have been responsible for putting injured workers in a permanent total and partial poverty in the province of Ontario.

I think as MPPs and as legislators, we have an obligation toward those problems which affect injured workers today. Certain members who belong to different parties have been defining this bill as irresponsible because we are not taking into consideration the high cost of premiums in relation to employers in the province of Ontario. The direct cost of work injuries and occupational disease in 1976 in the province of Ontario reached $800 million. The combination of direct and indirect costs is estimated at nearly $3.5 billion.

The rising cost of industrial accidents and occupational disease probably will reach $1 billion this year, and $4 billion when indirect costs are taken into account on the basis of the annual increases in total payments for medical services, compensation for lost earnings and disability pension.

Since 1967, Mr. Speaker, the total payments arising out of industrial accidents and occupational diseases increased from $216 million to close to $800 million. Compensation payments to injured workers have also increased dramatically and have reached $ 17,000 a year in some provinces. The report in the current issue of the Labour Gazette notes that compensation costs are continuing to increase at a higher rate than payroll costs.

In Ontario, the total payout for injuries, fatal accidents and occupational disease was $398 million. A third of all fatal accidents were in Ontario, and more than 75 per cent of the deaths involved workers more than 25 years old.

Mr. Speaker, the reason I emphasize those figures is that if industries, employers in the province of Ontario, and the government, in particular the Minister of Labour, are going to eliminate injuries in the province of Ontario, it should not be any problem to increase or to index the injured workers’ pension to the cost of living increase.

In other words, the Minister of Labour has the responsibility to assure that those billions and billions of dollars are going to be saved in order that injured workers won’t face financial hardship; and they shouldn’t discover a special formula or special reports to increase injured workers’ pensions in the province of Ontario. So they have this great responsibility which was not complied with since 1914 because the Workmen’s Compensation Board, Mr. Speaker, in 1914 was created as a cheap insurance company for the employers and not for the employees.

Just to emphasize this principle, part I, section 8 of the Workmen’s Compensation Act states that an injured employee forfeit his or her right to any legal action against the employer, however negligent the employer has been, if that employee accepts benefits from the Workmen’s Compensation Board. How nice for the employer, Mr. Speaker. By paying a small fixed sum the employer is protected against a great majority of legal actions to which he might otherwise be subjected. So the Workmen’s Compensation Board is a cheap insurance scheme, Mr. Speaker. We have to make changes in the Workmen’s Compensation Act to convince the government, and in particular the Minister of Labour, that a universal insurance scheme is particularly required in the province of Ontario to better protect the interest of injured workers.

There is no reason for more MPPs not to support each clause of this particular bill. The Minister of Labour and the government have been responsible in the past, and at the present time, to make the particular changes which are required to alleviate and eventually eliminate the financial hardship which injured workers are facing today.

In other words, Mr. Speaker, the government is just rejecting and refusing the way of indexing the injured workers’ pension in relation to cost of living increase, but it is also penalizing injured workers in the way in which pensions are assessed as well. So they are penalized twice. In the first place the board is an adversary system against injured workers to protect the interest of the employers; and further the Workmen’s Compensation Board, in assessing injured workers’ pensions, are penalizing them because they are not taking into consideration the physical disability which injured workers really have.

When the board appeared before the resources development committee, Mr. Speaker, I raised the point that the permanent disability rating schedule should be revised in order that the percentage of disability take into consideration the kind of work which the injured workers can do in the province of Ontario. Just to emphasize how stingy the Workmen’s Compensation Board is, let me make particular reference to the permanent disability rating schedule used by the board, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Ziemba: Meat chart.

Mr. Lupusella: It has been called a meat chart, right.

Hon. B. Stephenson: That is your word for it and there is no such thing.

Mr. Lupusella: I hope you are going to change it.

Mr. McClellan: Your doctors used to call it that.

Mr. Lupusella: This book is from the Workmen’s Compensation Board.

Mr. McClellan: Your own staff call it that.

Mr. Lupusella: You can’t say this scheme does not exist or is not used by doctors and specialists working for the Workmen’s Compensation Board. What you are saying is just nonsense. I think it is time you made the right changes --

Hon. B. Stephenson: What you are saying is nonsense.

Mr. Lupusella: -- within the Workmen’s Compensation Act, because injured workers have been waiting for the changes since 1914 and you have done nothing about it since you became Minister of Labour in the province of Ontario.

To emphasize the principle about which I was talking, Mr. Speaker --

Mr. Laughren: You should listen to him more often, you know.

Hon. B. Stephenson: I have better things to do. I listen to the workers instead.

Mr. Lupusella: -- the Workmen’s Compensation Board, and in particular the pension department, is allowing a five per cent disability for those people who are impaired of hearing. In other words, for complete deafness in one ear the Workmen’s Compensation Board is just assessing a five per cent disability. For complete deafness in both ears, the board is assessing just 30 per cent. That’s the way the Workmen’s Compensation Board is so stingy in assessing the disability of injured workers to save money on behalf of the employers.

Mr. Laughren: That’s the Tory government.

Hon. B. Stephenson: That is illogical, nonsensical and idiotic.

Mr. Laughren: You admitted that yourself.

Mr. Lupusella: If the employers would like to become more responsible in the province of Ontario and if the Minster of Labour is so concerned about the money which employers today are paying in the province of Ontario --

Hon. B. Stephenson: I am concerned about the workers of this province, much more concerned than you are.

Mr. Lupusella: -- she had better make sure that Bill 70 is going to be implemented immediately and that she is going to do something about it.

Mr. Warner: A small measure of leadership would help.

Mr. Acting Speaker: The member’s time has expired.

Mr. Lupusella: Mr. Speaker, I think maybe I can use the five minutes which the --

An hon. member: You made your point well.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Your time has expired.

Mr. Lupusella: If I can summarize, Mr. Speaker --

Mr. Kerrio: Your time has expired. That is easy to understand, isn’t it?

Mr. Acting Speaker: I say to the member that his time has expired.

Mr. Lupusella: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Haggerty: I rise to support the bill in principle. An increase at this time by the Minister of Labour is warranted. It has been three years since any amendment has been put forward to the Legislature to increase such benefits.

Bill 46 proposes to increase the scale of compensation payable under section 36 to section 50 of the Workmen’s Compensation Act. Section 4 of this Bill 46 would index all types of compensation payments made by the Workmen’s Compensation Board to the percentage increase in the average industrial wage. As the Workmen’s Compensation Board paid out approximately $270 million in compensation and pensions in 1976, the cost of indexing of these payments would be considerable.

The question is where does the money come from? I know in other studies it has been suggested that an increase in workmen’s compensation benefits can be implemented, provided some other means of revenue is found, perhaps through the consolidated revenue fund. As my colleague from Niagara Falls has mentioned, there will be a serious impact on small industries throughout the province of Ontario. Whether they can afford it at this particular time, I don’t know. I do know in dealing with the select committee hearings on the layoffs at Falconbridge and at Inco the compensation rate for 1976 for Inco was increased 100 per cent. I believe it cost around $18 million in compensation.

Mr. Laughren: Because of accidents.

Mr. Haggerty: The impact of that 100 per cent increase to Inco has been strongly felt by other industries throughout the province of Ontario. I am concerned about survivors’ benefits too in the present Workmen’s Compensation Act. I know $286 a month isn’t enough. Where the breadwinner has passed on, $286 today would just cover the rent. There is nothing provided in there to maintain a family home and to bring it up to the economic conditions that a person must live by today.

I think that is an important area. The hon. member in his bill has mentioned the matter of widows’ benefits. I like the word survivor because I think it is more important. Regardless of what area you look at, survivors’ benefits in insurance plans or any scheme that is available in the province of Ontario have been shortchanged for those persons who have to live by little or no means at all. Sometimes the benefits are not too high in any of the areas.

The minister has indicated that the present study should be completed some time very shortly. I might read this into the record. The resolution was introduced in 1976 but I would like to read it into the record again.


On December 16, 1976, the standing resources development committee carried a resolution directing the Workmen’s Compensation Board “to establish a comprehensive study relating to the accumulation of the many programs available to employees and the measures of integrating all the present programs of assistance to provide a measure of means of economic security to injured persons, and survivors’ benefits.” And it was to be regardless of injury caused in industry or off the job, so it meant we’re looking at other areas that I think are rather important, as the member for Niagara Falls has mentioned before.

It was a good resolution, I might say, and I was delighted to see the government members and the minister accepted it. I think this is the right course that government or the Legislature should follow. I think we should have all known facts before us because we’re dealing with the workmen’s compensation, Canada Pension, unemployment insurance, sickness and accident insurance, private insurance -- a number of other areas. This study will deal with 16 areas that are important. I suggest perhaps the member bringing in this bill today is perhaps premature, knowing full well that we would have --

Mr McClellan: Premature, after three years?

Mr. Haggerty: -- full discussion sometime in the near future to come up with a good change in workmen’s compensation.

Mr. Laughren: It’s a model for the minister to work from.

Mr. Haggerty: It may not even be workmen’s compensation. I don’t know what it’s going to be, but I think there are areas of improvement. I have to congratulate the minister for moving in this area. I’ve been patient and I hoped that other members would be just as patient as I have to see this report come forward.

Mr. M. Davidson: You’re not an injured worker, you can afford to be patient.

Mr. Haggerty: But you know, Mr. Speaker, regardless of which way one looks at it, we’re not going to please the party to the left because they did not support that resolution then. I can remember my former colleague from Niagara Falls, George Bukator, now mayor of the city of Niagara Falls, introduced a similar resolution and it was debated some few years ago, and that party still did not support it.

Mr. Laughren: Because you always have half-baked measures. You always go half way and make it worse than it already is.

Mr. Haggerty: They have the idea that nobody else is interested in the workers in the province of Ontario, and particularly injured workers. I can tell them this, I spend much of my time -- they call it “spare time” -- down at the Workmen’s Compensation Board appearing on behalf of many injured workers, not only from my area but I appeared for them in North Bay and other areas throughout the province of Ontario.

Mr. Laughren: We all do. That place is a sad and sick mess.

Mr. Haggerty: I don’t have the time to do that now -- because my time is taken up pretty well here, but I know there’s a definite need for change in the Workmen’s Compensation Act.

Mr. Wildman: You probably have to go to Niagara Falls.

Mr. Haggerty: I hope when this report comes in this is going to find some of the solutions and the improvements that are needed to bring it up to date.

Mr. M. Davidson: And what if it doesn’t?

Mr. Haggerty: I base it upon the economic factor that any person who’s injured shouldn’t have to go to welfare for that. I think he should have a decent source of protected income there to keep his family well above the water level or sinking level, I should say. So I congratulate the minister for accepting that resolution and I’ll look forward to that report.

But I do support the principle. There is definitely a need to increase the benefits to injured workers in the province of Ontario.

Mr. Acting Speaker: I would point out to the member for Bellwoods that he has four minutes.

Mr. Peterson: That is too much. Cut him down a bit.

Mr. McClellan: In the few minutes remaining to me I want to speak again in support of this very excellent bill. It would not be necessary, Mr. Speaker, to bring in a bill to raise the rates of the Workmen’s Compensation Board if this minister wasn’t prepared to use the excuse of endless studies as a way of covering up for the cheapness of this government and the cheapness of the Workmen’s Compensation Board --

Mr. Lupusella: That is the truth, that is what the government is doing.

Mr. McClellan: -- when they come to the treatment of injured workers. How a government can justify putting the burden of inflation on injured workers for three full years is just beyond us. It is simply incomprehensible, it is simply intolerable. No government should even be able to imagine such a vile and cheap act because that’s what it is.

Hon. Mr. Baetz: Cut the rhetoric; give us the facts, the numbers.

Mr. McClellan: There has been no rate increase in three years. Every other sector of society has had its income adjusted to take inflation into account. We have had our salaries raised in this Legislature.

Hon. B. Stephenson: At your insistence. You were the people who wanted the salaries raised. You are the people who were responsible for it.

Mr. Warner: Talk to your own backbenchers.

Mr. Laughren: No, at $40,000 you are not complaining.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Whose idea was it?

Mr. Wildman: That’s very self-serving.

Hon. B. Stephenson: Talk about self-serving. There is nobody more self-serving than your party.

Mr. McClellan: We have had our salaries raised. Workers in other sectors have had their salaries raised and that was right. What I am saying, if the minister would shut up for a minute, is that that was right and that you have no right to criticize --

Hon. B. Stephenson: That is unparliamentary.

Mr. Kennedy: That is not parliamentary.

Mr. McClellan: -- having had the gall to keep injured workers in their plight for three years without a raise. I come from a riding where --

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Here, here, watch your blood pressure.

Mr. McClellan: -- virtually every family in the immigrant community either has a member or a friend who is on workmen’s compensation.

Mr. Peterson: Then mail them all this speech.

Mr. McClellan: It’s not a joke. It’s not something that I can put up with very easily watching the callous attitude of this government with respect to workmen’s compensation.

Mr. Warner: Especially the minister.

Mr. McClellan: No other group in Ontario has been singled out for this kind of maltreatment, not one single other group.

Mr. Kerrio: Look at the small businessman; you make him pay right through the nose; come on.

Mr. Lupusella: Why don’t you be quiet?

Mr. McClellan: The excuse has been the need for studies. The real reason is very simple; it’s that the government, as the member for Nickel Belt pointed out, has capitulated to the employers’ lobby; totally, in a way that no other Minister of Labour in the history of this province, I think since 1914, has ever done. That’s this minister’s contribution; she can have it.

Mr. Laughren: That’s how you’ll be remembered.

Mr. Acting Speaker: The time for debate on this item has expired.

Mr. Lupusella: You should resign.

Hon. B. Stephenson: I wouldn’t resign because you said so for all the tea in China. You are the most mealy-mouthed individual, the whole bunch of you are. You couldn’t care less what happens to the workers.

Mr. Wildman: You’re a lot nicer than she is.

Hon. B. Stephenson: Anybody is nicer than you.


Mr. Leluk moved second reading of Bill 47, An Act respecting the Age of Mandatory Retirement.

Mr. Leluk: The purpose of the bill, Mr. Speaker, is to ensure that no person -- could I have a little quiet over there?

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order.

Mr. Leluk: That no person shall be required to retire before reaching the age of 70 when the person is willing and capable of performing his or her job.

This is accomplished by amendments to four statutes: the Employment Standards Act, 1974; the Ontario Human Rights Code; the Pension Benefits Act; and the Public Service Act.

I feel that my bill provides the opportunity for a more flexible approach to retirement for those over 65.

Mr. Laughren: Yes, with two million unemployed.

Mr. Leluk: It is much broader in scope than just raising the age of retirement. If passed into law, the bill would have far-reaching consequences in our society, on our economy, pension plans and the role of our senior citizens. I feel that it is timely from the standpoint that there is growing opposition to compulsory retirement --

Mr. Germa: Where?

Mr. Leluk: -- what Time magazine has referred to as “the revolt of the old,” indicating that there are many of our senior citizens who are demanding that retirement age --

Mr. Warner: You are starving them to death, that’s why.

Mr. Leluk: -- be raised or eliminated entirely. They feel that mandatory retirement is discriminatory “ageism.”

Mr. Ziemba: Yes, so you can cut back on their pensions.

Mr. Germa: Sock it to them.

Mr. Ziemba: Work them to 100.

Mr. Warner: Why didn’t you make it 100?

Mr. Leluk: I’d like to quote from an article, How Old is Too Old, where Lauren Selden, the co-ordinator of the anti-age discrimination project of the American Association of Retired Persons told a Senate committee in the United States that “Mandatory retirement is a system that puts the stamp of respectability on age discrimination.”

Miss Selden says: “Men and women, idled solely because of age rather than loss of ability, are forced into dependency ... . The real dollar costs of age discrimination are probably not calculable and that a nation or a state professing to believe in the doctrine of equal protection of the law cannot sanction ageism in employment.

Mr. M. Davidson: Where was that study done, Georgia?

Mr. Leluk: When the German chancellor, von Bismarck, initiated the first social security pension system back in the 1800s, he arbitrarily set the age for receiving benefits at 65 and his model has been followed ever since in much of the western world. In Bismarck’s time only a small percentage of the population lived until 65, since the life expectancy at birth was about 41 years. Today, with the advancement in medical technology, we have millions of people who are healthy and active in their 60s, 70s and even their 80s.

Mr. Lupusella: Even in construction?

Mr. Leluk: The participation rate among Canadians age 65 to 74, that is the measure of those still working, today is approximately 15 per cent. Most of these are self-employed and are professionals like lawyers, doctors --

Mr. Ziemba: Pharmacists.

Mr. Leluk: -- pharmacists, farmers, members of the judiciary --

Mr. Germa: Talk about the real world.

An hon. member: They are starving to death.

Hon. Mr. Baetz: Don’t be such a smart aleck.

Mr. Lupusella: What about people in construction?

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order.

Mr. Leluk: They don’t want to listen over there.

Mr. Lupusella: Would you please give me an answer?

Mr. Leluk: In many fields, age 65 is when both women --

Mr. Kennedy: You will get your chance to speak.

Mr. Leluk: -- and men are realizing their most productive and rewarding years.

Mr. Ziemba: Don’t lose your place, Nick.

Mr. Leluk: No, I haven’t lost my place.

An hon. member: Why don’t you lose your head?

Mr. Leluk: I think the member for Dovercourt doesn’t believe in human rights.

Hon. B. Stephenson: Ziemba has lost his mind, but that’s all right. He didn’t have one to lose.

An hon. member: It is only a small part of his head.

An hon. member: Hey, you are not in your seat.

Mr. Havrot: He is not a human himself.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order.

Mr. Leluk: As John Belanger stated in his column --

An hon. member: Ask him to withdraw it.

Mr. Lupusella: Mr. Speaker, I am requesting that --

Mr. Acting Speaker: Are you on a point of privilege?

Mr. Lupusella: -- the hon. member withdraw his remarks, because I strongly believe in human rights and the human rights values of the people living around the world.

An hon. member: So does every member --

Mr. Lupusella: The point which I would like to raise, Mr. Speaker, is that this particular bill is not applicable, for example, to those people who are working on construction. They would like to retire when they are 60 years old, with a decent pension, it is as simple as that.

Mr. Acting Speaker: The member for Dovercourt has stated his point of privilege.

Mr. Laughren: Well then, withdraw.

Mr. Acting Speaker: You have stated your point of privilege. It is up to the member for York West whether or not he wishes to withdraw the remark.

Mr. Leluk: Mr. Speaker, what I was actually saying was that the member for Dovercourt doesn’t believe that the right to work is a human right.

Mr. Laughren: That is not what you said.

Mr. Cooke: You just don’t want to provide the jobs.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order. The member for Dovercourt has made his point of privilege. The language used by the member for York West was not unparliamentary language. The member for York West has the option to withdraw or not to withdraw. The point of privilege has been made. I would ask the member for Dovercourt to take his seat.

Mr. Samis: Withdraw.

Mr. Leluk: Mr. Speaker, there is nothing in my bill that says if a person wants to retire before the age of 70 they can’t. There is nothing in the bill that says they can’t retire at an earlier age if they so wish, but I believe they should have that freedom of choice and I think if the member had read my bill, he wouldn’t be making the statement he’s making.

Ms. Gigantes: What happens to the pension?

Mr. Leluk: Now if I can get on with the bill.

As Mr. Belanger in his recent column in the Toronto Sun said: “There are many companies in Canada” --

Mr. Samis: Great source, great Tory.

Mr. Ziemba: He is a defeated candidate. Couldn’t even get nominated.

Mr. Leluk: Will you give me the courtesy of carrying on with my bill?

Hon. Mr. Baetz: You are going to have to give him more time, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Leluk: I would think so. “There are many companies in Canada in which good men are lost daily because of an accident of chronology. He says that “age should not be the criterion in determining worth but performance and competence should be the yardsticks. We know there are men in their 70s who perform more vigorously than some in their 30s. The corporate graveyard is littered with bones of men old before their time.” He goes on to say that “mandatory retirement is an idea whose time has withered on the vine.” I believe most members of this House would agree with that statement. I believe the new trend is towards retirement when necessary, but not necessarily retirement.


In the United States, Congress recently passed a bill to raise the legally enforceable retirement age in private industry to 70 from 65, waiving it entirely for federal employees. There are some exceptions in this legislation for tenured university professors, and persons whose annual pensions exceed $20,000. The bill was sponsored by the representative for Florida, Claude Pepper, who is the chairman of the select committee on ageing in the US House of Representatives.

Mr. M. Davidson: That’s your human rights speech.

Mr. Leluk: Mr. Pepper stated that mandatory retirement, and I quote, “is a cruel euphemism, camouflaging age discrimination and forced unemployment. With the surety of a guillotine it severs productive persons from their livelihoods” --

Mr. Laughren: Speaking of guillotines --

Mr. Leluk: -- “diminishes their sense of self-worth” --

An hon. member: There’s a guy to retire.

Mr. Leluk: -- “and squanders their talents.”

An hon. member: And not because he’s old.

Mr. Leluk: “The elderly of this country who want to work and are able to work deserve the opportunity to work.”

The bill passed both Houses with overwhelming majorities -- I believe 359 to four in the House of Representatives and 88 to seven in the Senate. There is a provision in Mr. Pepper’s bill calling for a study of its impact on both the public and private sectors. I understand that Congress will receive that study within two years. If the study finds that these measures have been successful, a complete ban on mandatory retirement in the private sector will undoubtedly be considered.

In Canada, mandatory retirement comes under civil law; it is considered a basic management right. However, this attitude is changing. The Ontario Human Rights Commission, and some of its counterparts in other provinces, have denounced compulsory retirement at 65 and have urged that it be banned. Last year, two Etobicoke firefighters were retired at 60 and appealed to the Ontario Human Rights Commission. In one case the fireman won his case because the board of inquiry ruled that age was applied without reference to his personal ability to do the job.

The Ontario Advisory Council on Senior Citizens, through its chairman, sent a letter to me, stating that they were pleased that I had introduced this timely bill. But the council felt that moving the retirement age up to 70 and not totally removing it has certain limitations and disadvantages.

There are a number of barriers in Canada to working beyond 65. These include the age discrimination laws which only provide protection up to the age of 65; compulsory retirement policies; immigration regulations; unavailability of unemployment insurance after 65; and many pension plans which become payable only upon retirement.

I think it is fair to say that not everyone wants to work beyond 65, but many because of inadequate pensions and inflation are compelled to seek jobs to augment their incomes.

Mr. Laughren: That’s right. Maybe you could start there, Nick.

Mr. Leluk: Others have a genuine psychological need to keep working, and therefore should have that choice. The thought that younger workers would be frustrated if mandatory retirement were abolished, I feel is absurd. My guess is that only a small percentage of workers would take advantage of the changed policy, because many workers are engaged in dull, repetitive jobs which they find meaningless, and I am sure they can’t wait to get out of these jobs.

Mr. Sargent: Like members of Parliament.

Mr. Leluk: There may be some, Eddie.

Mr. Laughren: We’ll help you to get out any time you want, Eddie.

Mr. Warner: He’s waiting for the Senate.

Mr. Havrot: We’re protecting you, Ed.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.

Mr. Leluk: I think it is fair to say that no one knows for sure how many of these workers would stay on the job if the age restrictions were set aside. But if we look to the United States, I think there is an increasing number of employees who are taking advantage of financial inducements offered by their employers which enable them to retire at even a younger age. But if we look at some of the larger corporations and companies, for example, Sears, Roebuck and Company, which recently made a detailed survey of its employees to determine when they would like to retire if the retirement age were raised to 70, they found that one third of the normal retirees would stay on the job. On the other hand, one of the larger insurance corporations in the United States, Bankers Life and Casualty Company, which has no mandatory retirement age, reports that only four per cent of its work force was aged 65 and over in 1977. And the Connecticut General Insurance Corporation, which banned compulsory retirement, recently say only two of 50 employees eligible to retire decided to stay on last year.

At Ford Motor Company in the period 1974-76 only 7.9 per cent of the employees worked as long as they were permitted.

Mr. Speaker, I feel another case for flexible retirement is that in future years the rapidly growing retirement population will place an increasingly heavy burden on a proportionately smaller work force. Canadian statistics show that at present there are slightly more than two million people in Canada over the age of 65, and of these, about 743,000 are in Ontario.

The projections indicate the number of people over 65 will increase to 3.3 million in this country -- that’s about 12 per cent -- by the year 2001, and of these, Ontario will have 1,188,000. The post-war babies will then start retiring a few years later, and by the year 2031 nearly 20 per cent, or 6.4 million people, will be over 65 years of age in Canada.

It has also been projected that at current contribution rates, the Canada Pension Plan will be in the red by 1983, with pension payments exceeding contributions. Sooner or later the traditional source of revenue will dry up.

Mr. McClellan: There is the real rationale. Now we’re getting to the point.

Mr. Germa: Now we know what you’re up to.

Mr. McClellan: Work to 100. Work till you drop.

Mr. Leluk: One solution to this problem would be to raise the contribution rates and it has been estimated that contributions would have to be tripled to keep the Canada Pension Plan solvent.

Mr. McClellan: This is the point of the bill.

Mr. Leluk: This will be a very heavy burden to place on a work force which, as time passes, will decrease --

Mr. Laughren: Given what you are doing to the economy, you are right.

Mr. Leluk: -- out of proportion to the increase in retired persons. In about 50 years’ time it will take about three working Canadians to support every senior citizen compared with the present seven.

Mr. Laughren: With McKeough as Treasurer.

Mr. Leluk: People against a move towards flexible retirement contend that such legislation will clog the channels of promotion, will deny advancement to younger employees and force companies to become harsher in rating the performance of older employees.

It has been well documented in the United States that in areas of productivity, on the job safety, attendance and work performance, older workers in general are equal to, or better than, younger workers. Abandoning mandatory retirement does not stigmatize older workers, demoralize younger employees, traumatize supervisors, clog the promotional channels with doddering incompetents, reduce productivity or jeopardize the financial security of retirees. There are many people who are optimistic about what more older workers would bring to the economy, to business and academic life; people such as California governor Jerry Brown, who last September made California the 14th state to pass laws limiting compulsory retirement on the grounds of age.

Mr. Peterson: Jerry Brown is a liberal.

Mr. Warner: They don’t mind that.

Mr. Leluk: He feels the more human talent is used and the more people’s minds and bodies contribute to society, the more work is creative. People, he says, should not be viewed as liabilities, and jobs as finite quantities.

Mr. Laughren: The Queen is, too.

Mr. Leluk: I am glad to hear that you agree with something.

Mr. Laughren: I said the Queen was a liberal.

Mr. Leluk: The Queen was a liberal?

Mr. Germa: That is a derogatory remark.

Mr. Leluk: Mr. Speaker, I have received several letters of support for this bill from senior citizens’ groups and individuals. Some have not been supportive, I think it is fair to say, such as the telegram I received from the president of the Ontario Professional Firefighters Association. However, I feel that from the number of letters I have had, the majority of those who write me to make their views known on this very important bill did support it.

I feel that Ontario must plan now for our ageing society. If we do not act, we will face social upheavals that will disrupt our economy, our lives and those of our children.

Mr. McClellan: You would bring back the workhouse.

Mr. Leluk: The raising of the present retirement age or its eventual abolition will have to come because it is inflationary to provide moneys to people who are not contributing to the economy.

Mr. McClellan: Shame, shame.

Mr. Germa: Work them to 100.

Mr. Leluk: You don’t understand the bill -- don’t want to understand.

Mr. McClellan: You are unreal.

Mr. Havrot: You are nothing but a bunch of phonies -- always grandstanding.

Mr. Leluk: Do a little reading and you might understand the bill.

Peter Drucker, who is a management consultant and a social scientist -- but you haven’t read Drucker’s stuff --

Mr. Germa: You need about 30 years on the assembly line.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.

Mr. Leluk: Peter Drucker has said that changing or abolishing the fixed retirement age is inevitable, but it will create many problems. I don’t profess to say before the members of this House that there won’t be some problems with this legislation. But I think there are many more reasons for supporting this bill than there are for not supporting it.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: The hon. member’s time has expired.

Mr. Laughren: Let him finish, let him finish.

An hon. member: All the interjections.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Does the House agree to give him one more minute?

Mr. Leluk: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker. I have always prided myself on the fact that this government has shown leadership on significant issues. I feel that the government should show leadership in abolishing the last frontier of discrimination, ageism.

The time has come for all progressive members of this House to rededicate ourselves to the concept of equal opportunity for all. I therefore ask for their support of this bill in principle.

Mr. Warner: Sad, sad day.

Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I am very happy to rise in support of this bill and to compliment our colleague across the floor for introducing it.

Mr. Warner: You are as bad as he is.

Mr. Peterson: I think that no longer will people be asking, “Who the heck is Nick Leluk?” They are going to say that he introduced a bill to do away with compulsory retirement at 65.

Mr. Leluk: It is nice to see some progressive thinking on that side of the House.

Mr. Peterson: I think that there are a considerable number of arguments in favour of it, some touched upon by my friend.


Mr. Peterson: Would you call for a little order, Mr. Speaker? The socialist hordes are getting a little --

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Perhaps the member for London Centre would address his remarks to the Chair.

Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, no one can hear me because of all the rabble to my left.

An hon. member: Now, now.

Mr. Peterson: I think there are a considerable number of reasons for supporting this bill. I think some could be put in strictly financial terms and some in very human terms. Let me address myself at the beginning to some of the human terms as I see them.

Mr. McClellan: Get to the financial part.

Mr. Peterson: I am very proud and have been impressed by the contribution made by some of our senior citizens in this community and in this province today. You take a person like Dr. Robert McClure and even, God bless him, your dear friend John Diefenbaker. Those people still continue to be active and make substantial contributions. Look at what Senator David Croll is doing with his Senate committee on very much the same issue. These people are in a position to make significant contributions on the basis of a great deal of experience. I, for one, do not support any moves that throw them on the scrap heap or into the ashcan when they reach the age of 65. That is why I am favourable of a flexible retirement program.


Mr. Warner: You wouldn’t make it voluntary?

Mr. Peterson: There is no question that it has a great number of implications for the economy, for pension plans and everything else. That is something that is going to have to be worked out in considerable detail and in committee; and I desperately hope that this bill goes to committee so that we have a chance to discuss in the fullness of time and to consider with a great deal of thought all of the implications of a bill like this, because it is profound and I would not suggest for a moment that there isn’t some downside.

Mr. Warner: The one that doesn’t allow any bill to go to committee. You know that.

Mr. Peterson: One of the problems, of course, is that it encourages fossilization of institutions if there isn’t some kind of mobility. We have to make sure that institutions -- academic institutions, governmental institutions -- don’t become too static because there isn’t room for young people to move in. That is one of the considerations that one has to look at.

We have to consider it in the broad context of unemployment, not only in the short term but in the long run. There are considerable implications there when we face the relatively new demographic changes in this country, with a declining birth rate and an ever-increasing population. Those futurists that are looking at these problems today are saying that there is a considerable chance that we will not have the work force 10 years out that will require to build a strong and productive economy.

Mr. McClellan: Look at it again in 10 years then.

Mr. Peterson: What are you yapping about over there? What is your position on this bill?

Mr. McClellan: Look at it again in 10 years.

Mr. Peterson: That is exactly the view --

Mr. Havrot: Don’t pay any attention to those screwballs.

Mr. Peterson: I have no idea what our unionist friends think about this bill. It will be interesting to hear what they have to say.

I very much understand there is considerable pressure in this community to move the retirement age the other way. I know lots of people who would like to retire earlier and would like more generous pension benefits to cover that. That is a noble aim, but some time someone has to sit down and look at the costs of all this kind of thing. Increasingly, we are going to have to look at some of these decisions, not in the light of universality, something that has invaded all of our income redistribution schemes, but we are going to have to look at it very much on the ability to pay.

As was pointed out by my friend who introduced this bill, this has profound implications for the Canada Pension Plan. We are going to have to look at how it affects the Canada Pension Plan, because certainly the experts consider that one of the ways to take pressure off some of those plans is to allow people the option of working longer.

I support the view that there should be a great deal of flexibility in this. I am not one to say that you should automatically retire at 70; there are lots of exceptions to that kind of rule, and I am sure my friend who introduced the bill agrees with that. But with those marvellously productive and vital people that I know who are over the age of 65, I can assure him that I am getting more and more calls from them on a daily basis, saying, “I would like to continue working and I am sorry that I can’t continue working.” We must provide that kind of an opportunity. Not only is it humane, but it is responsible and should be done.

Mr. Germa: How about construction workers?

Mr. Warner: Talk about real workers; not bank presidents. Talk about real workers.

Mr. Peterson: It certainly isn’t any of you guys who are real workers.

Let me talk about some of the financial implications, Mr. Speaker. A very intelligent book was written on this subject, called Pensions and Survival, by Mr. Geoffrey Calvert, in my opinion one of the more important futurists in this country, and I would recommend it to my friends to the left if they ever read books. I am not sure that they do.

Mr. Havrot: They believe in the fairy godmother.

Mr. Peterson: At least they haven’t read any that have updated their philosophy in the last 40 years.

Mr. McClellan: You haven’t updated yours in the last 140 years.

Mr. Peterson: There are certain things that should be pointed out that he discussed when he dealt with this problem. One was that we are going to have to be able to deal with the tremendous pressures we are facing on pension plans today. It is generally conceded that the Canada Pension Plan, for example, will be bankrupt by about the year 1990 or earlier than that. It is generally recognized that a lot of the pension plans in private companies are increasingly in financial difficulty. We are probably going to see more defaults. We are seeing that they are taking a disproportionate percentage of the corporate capital. Generally, the issue is clouded, murky and has profound implications for our financial future.

No less an authority than Grant Reuber, the chairman of the Ontario Economic Council, has said that in terms of the implications for the financial future of this country, the pension issue is bigger and more profound than even the energy question.

Mr. McClellan: You are facing the wrong way. Address your remarks to the Chair.

Mr. Peterson: I am trying to convince you heathens; you need all the help you can get.

Mr. Warner: The bank president won’t panic. The president of Inco will get off the hook. He won’t pay.

Mr. Peterson: We would probably arrange --


Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.

Mr. Peterson: -- early retirement for you right now.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.

Mr. Warner: Make it generous.

Mr. Peterson: I am sure the members of this House would start a fund personally to get rid of some of you turkeys.

Mr. Warner: Make it generous.

Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I am sorry to be sidetracked but they are provoking me and I apologize for that.

Mr. Warner: We wouldn’t provoke you.


Mr. Havrot: We could get more results from the rear end of a donkey.


Mr. Peterson: Let me talk very briefly about some of the financial implications. It’s generally recognized that about 15 per cent of the population is over 65 now, 15 per cent of the population is between the age of 20 and 65. That will double in 50 years according to current economic projections. That means we are going to have far fewer workers supporting far more dependents, which in itself is alarming. When we have --

Mr. McClellan: Spit it out.

Mr. Peterson: When we have the partially funded plans like the Canada Pension Plan, we are necessarily going to have to rob the productive capacity of those young people in the future in order to pay for those pension plans.

Mr. Germa: That is money well spent.

Mr. Peterson: And my socialist friends to the left have never had to answer where all this money they want to redistribute is going to come from.

Mr. Warner: We are going to get it from you.

Mr. McClellan: It is going to come out of your pocket.

Mr. Warner: We’ll take it out of your pocket.

Mr. Peterson: And they are going to have to go back to the young people in 10 or 20 years and say, “We are going to have to double your income tax rate in order to transfer that wealth to other sectors of the community.”

Mr. Warner: Share the wealth, like you.

Mr. Peterson: When you take, Mr. Speaker --

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. Would the hon. member please address his remarks to the Chair?

Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, they are provoking me. And they are making too much noise, I’m sorry.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. I would like to remind the hon. member for London Centre that it is the practice and the custom in this House to address remarks to the Chair. Would he please do that?

Mr. McClellan: Hear, hear. I have been trying to tell him that all afternoon

Mr. Peterson: My apologies, Mr. Speaker. I wanted to give the benefit of my wisdom to them as well as just to you. I don’t want you to be the only well-informed person in the House after this particular little diatribe, Mr. Speaker.

An hon. member: After this, nobody will know anything.

Mr. Peterson: But given some of the down- sides of this, and I fully understand them, I think it is time for studies on a governmental scale. A committee can do that. That is why it has to be taken to a committee for much further study. With great respect to my friend who introduced this bill, he may not have covered all the implications of this throughout the entire financial community. That can be done and it can be done well. It will be done in conjunction with the royal commission on pensions. And we are hoping that will come down fairly shortly and provide new insight into this kind of an area.

But I regard this area as one of the solutions to the bankruptcy of a lot of the major pension funds today. We are still operating on antiquated figures, Mr. Speaker, as has been pointed out. The age of 65 as the age of retirement was created some 100 years ago by Bismarck, when the average life expectancy was about 45 Or 50. Nobody lived to that age.

Mr. McClellan: You are to the right of Bismarck. You want to go to the right of Bismarck. Bismarck was much closer.

Mr. Peterson: With the development of modern medicine, with changes in life expectancy, surely we should make the laws keep up to that.

Mr. McClellan: Why don’t you stand up for Bismarck?

Mr. Peterson: We should adapt to the new reality.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: The hon. member’s time has expired.

Mr. Peterson: And that is why I would urge all members of this House, even our friends to the left, to apply their inflexible and inadequate minds to this and support my friend to take this bill to committee.

Mr. McClellan: I am pleased to join this debate, Mr. Speaker. It is an important issue the member has brought before us this afternoon. But his bill is very misguided and I certainly don’t intend to support it. The bill has implications and impact on two of the most vulnerable groups in our society; the aged and the young.

Mr. Peterson: And the NDP.

Mr. McClellan: No, not the NDP. The needs of the aged, in our society are not for work. The needs of the aged in Canada and in Ontario are for adequate retirement income. That is what they need. I refer you, Mr. Speaker, simply to the Treasurer’s budget of this year, April 1978.

On page 4 of the Treasurer’s own budget statement he gives the more revealing statistic about retirement income in this province, and I’ll read it. “Table 1 shows the distribution of pension income by income class. Approximately 82 per cent of senior citizens have incomes below $10,000, and they receive only one-half of the total income received by pensioners as a group.”

That is bafflegab. What that really means, if one translates it out of bafflegab and into plain English, is that 18 per cent of the pensioners in Ontario get 50 per cent of the retirement income in Ontario. That’s the distribution of retirement income among the elderly in this province. Just 18 per cent of retirees have fully 50 per cent of the available retirement income. That is an even more inequitable distribution of wealth than obtains in the population as a whole.

This gives an indication of the extent of the crisis facing elderly people in this country and in this province. The way to deal with it isn’t to bring in a bill that takes away the safeguard of mandatory retirement and the pressure, therefore, to provide pension income at age 65, inadequate as that pressure has been. Once that pressure of mandatory retirement has been removed, we might as well bring back the workhouse. What the member is saying is that people will just have to work until they drop in order to support themselves.

Hon. Mr. Baetz: It’s not compulsory. You’re distorting the whole thing.

Mr. McClellan: What we need is decent pensions in this province and a decent income. If the minister was really concerned about the needs of the elderly in Ontario, I would suggest he persuade his colleagues to bring in an amendment to the GAINS bill, because the GAINS Act, quoting from the same page of the budget of 1978 presented by the Treasurer of this province, shows that single pensioners in Ontario in 1978 are given a guaranteed income that’s below the poverty line. In January 1978 -- I have updated the Treasurer’s figures -- a single elderly pensioner is guaranteed an income of $3,599. That’s below the poverty line.

Don’t let the member talk to us about their concern over there about the elderly until they are prepared to address themselves to the retirement income needs of the elderly. Don’t let them take away one of the few protections that old people in this province and in the country have.

The second group adversely affected by this kind of legislation are young people, particularly those now between the ages of 14 and 24, that group in the labour force which is experiencing most severely the burden of unemployment.

I don’t understand how the hon. member can bring in this kind of a bill when we have a million people out of work and when the largest group of those unemployed are young people. What is he trying to do? Grow up a generation of dependents, a generation of welfare recipients. All Liberals and Conservatives are making available to the young people of this country is unemployment. What’s the unemployment rate now for the group between 14 and 24 in 1978? I bet David Warner will know. You’ll excuse the name, Mr. Speaker. I’ve forgotten his seat. It is something in the order of 15 per cent.

Mr. Samis: It is higher than that.

Mr. McClellan: Maybe higher. It has been going up steadily every year since 1975. In some parts of the country, it’s probably approaching in excess of 30 per cent. We’re not at that level yet, but we’re not getting anywhere towards solving it.

We have to accept the fact that some kind of work-sharing is essential for us as a society and a community, as long as we have these intolerably high levels of unemployment among our young people. These are levels of unemployment which have been caused in large measure -- not in large measure but equally -- by stagnation in the expansion of economy, by the post-war baby boom, by changes in the population, by demographic forces. Those demographic forces have caused, in good measure, the unemployment we’re facing today.


The member for London Centre said he knows that as well as I do. It doesn’t do any good to give platitudinous statements about the rights of the elderly when we’re raising a generation of young people who can’t find work. We have to make room for the young people in our economy and in the work force. All decent-minded people who are themselves approaching retirement and who would be guaranteed a decent retirement income so they wouldn’t have to work beyond age 65 would understand the justice of that view and the justice of that position.

Mr. Peterson: You say that’s justice when nobody wants to work, just like you guys. Lots of people want to work and make a contribution.

Mr. Martel: Don’t tell us about working. You were born with a golden spoon in your mouth.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Mr. McClellan: You should talk to us about inherited wealth.

Hon. Mr. Baetz: Things were peaceful until you came in, Elie. We had a good time and now we have a fight.

Mr. Speaker: Order. Only one person has the floor at the present time and that’s the hon. member for Bellwoods.

Mr. McClellan: That fat cat member for London Centre who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth talks to us about work. He should talk to us about inheritance, about inherited wealth. And if you want to know who is going to pay for the pension, if you want to know who is going to pay for the decent pension, it’s going to be people like him. Fat cats like him with his inherited wealth are the ones who are going to pay for decent pensions for the elderly people of Ontario.

The issue raised is an important one and I’m not denigrating the member for raising it, but it’s profoundly mistaken to bring in this legislation at this time.

Mr. Leluk: You are going to support it then, aren’t you?

Hon. Mr. Baetz: Why don’t you support it then?

Mr. McClellan: No, I’m not going to support it. I’m opposing it, I thought I made that clear. I will oppose it and if that’s not clear I’ll say it again. I’m opposed to it.

Hon. Mr. Baetz: That’s against basic human rights.

Mr. McClellan: Bring it back when we have full employment and when we have decent pensions. Bring it back then and maybe we’ll support it.

Mr. Martel: Right on.

Mr. Peterson: They are pygmies.

Mr. Martel: The only mental giants around here are about this size. I want to tell you a good day’s work would kill you.

Mr. Kennedy: Mr. Speaker, I’m pleased to join in this debate and to commend the member for York West for bringing this forward. I had the pleasure of seconding the bill when it was introduced into the House.

Obviously, the NDP don’t understand the bill. They don’t know the difference between compulsory and voluntary. It is the latter.

Mr. Germa: You are just protecting your bank account.

Hon. B. Stephenson: You don’t believe in the freedom of choice.

Mr. Kennedy: Along with their misunderstanding that it was compulsory, we’ve had red herrings thrown across the floor since the bill was started. The member for Sudbury East wasn’t here.

Mr. Martel: I have a squawk box and I listened to it. You quoted all those American statistics.

Mr. Kennedy: Most members in this House, I’m sure, have received correspondence and representations from people objecting to mandatory retirement at age 65.

Mr. Germa: Only the boys with the bucks.

Mr. Kennedy: Only last Saturday I had a woman come to see me. I thought she was about my age, around 49, but it turned out she was 65 and had retired two weeks previously. She was obviously very talented and in excellent health with many years of good service to offer some employer. Other cases have been cited and the member for London Centre made reference to the same thing.

Mr. Peterson: And Fred Young is the best NDP member in the whole House.

Mr. Kennedy: Yes.

Hon. B. Stephenson: Agreed.

Mr. Kennedy: The members did pay tribute to some others or make reference to them, such as John Diefenbaker. I just heard on the radio that he’s going to run again in Prince Albert and he’ll get in, of course --

Mr. Handleman: And Tommy Douglas.

Mr. Kennedy: -- and he’ll rattle the cage of your counterparts in Ottawa when he gets back, too.

Mr. Peterson: With great respect, Doug, there is going to be a Liberal sweep in the west.

Mr. Kennedy: And, of course, there were Churchill, Eleanor Roosevelt and many others in their 80s.

With the forced retirement of older workers, Mr. Speaker, society is robbing itself of their experience, capabilities and wisdom. As the member for London Centre said, in a short time there are going to be many, many more people over 65 in our society. The proportion of retired Canadians now is about nine per cent. It will go to 12 per cent by the end of the century and no less than 20 per cent in 50 years.

As my colleague from York West, the sponsor, indicated, there is considerable evidence amassed in the US which indicates that older workers are not incompetent. They have much to offer. A New York survey of 33 state agencies in 1974 compared workers over and under age 65 with regard to absenteeism, punctuality, on the job performance and so on. Those over 65 were equal or better than any other age group in that society.

The stereotyping of older people must come to a halt. Right now, we are pioneers. We have to seek out methods to alleviate certain problems which will arise in the future, due to inaction now. The sponsor of the bill mentioned this. Never before has society been faced with such a problem on such a scale. Our ideas have to change. We cannot segregate and brand older people as not able to contribute.

Mr. Germa: You will have to give up some of your money, that’s what you’re worried about.

Mr. Kennedy: We have many examples of active, useful, needed people over that age.

For many people, in response to some of the concerns that have been recited, retirement is a much sought-after goal. It’s a chance to get away from the daily work grind and do all those things that have been postponed through working years.

Mr. Warner: You are going to force them to age 70 now.

Mr. Kennedy: Most of the people I know, Mr. Speaker, can’t wait to retire.

Hon. B. Stephenson: Why doesn’t the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere read it?

Mr. Kennedy: It’s difficult to estimate the number who might be involved. My feeling is that it’s very few.

The US Bankers Life and Casualty Company has no mandatory retirement age and only four per cent of its work force was over 65. The Connecticut General Life said two of 50 retiring employees wished to stay on and did stay on. But the inadequacy of private pensions is probably one of the main reasons for the growing resistance to retiring at 65. Most workers, those with relatively generous pensions, have to take a substantial cut in income when they’re chopped from a payroll and they have to cope with the steady erosion of their incomes through inflation.

There was an article for my friends opposite in the Canadian Labour Congress. “Canadian Labour. Mr. Patrick Kerwin, director of political education for the CLC, stated” --

Mr. Leluk: A good guy.

Mr. Kennedy: “‘The solution lies in retirement age that is flexible above 65 as well as below.’” You should have read that.

Mr. Leluk: They don’t read over there.

Mr. Kennedy: The Federation of Labour in the States, the CIO, George Meany, when Claude Pepper brought his bill before Congress, did not object to that. They supported it.

Mr. Warner: Don’t talk about George Meany. Jesus!

Mr. Kennedy: They were not in objection to it. That bill is similar to the one put in by my hon. colleague here.

Time magazine expressed a similar sentiment They saw the possibility of replacing mandatory retirement with flexible, functional retirement, as I do.

Mr. McClellan: Tell us about decent pensions.

Mr. Kennedy: The growing diversity of work schedules provide an opportunity for making use of older employees, especially on a part-time basis. There is an emotional need, Mr. Speaker, for people to remain active, contributing members of society. The biological time clock is a poor indication of a person’s ability.

But I know this bill needs a great deal of study. It involves the adequacies of pensions; the impact, if any, on young people, which our friends opposite raised; indexing to inflation or not to index; the selection of fair and acceptable alternative criteria for determining a retirement date; impact on current pensions; union agreements; availability of second careers; and society’s outlook generally on old people. It’s not an easy task, but it’s one that should be studied forthwith.

With respect to the debate here, I did want to remind members that some 10 years ago, there was a select committee on aging. It was chaired by our late colleague, the then hon. member for Durham, Alex Carruthers. He was one of the finest gentlemen to serve in this Legislature and a friend of all of us. Members of that committee, Mr. Speaker, included the members for Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry (Mr. Villeneuve) and Renfrew South (Mr. Yakabuski), and their purpose was to inquire into and review problems inherent in the field of aging in Ontario. I don’t intend to recount all the committee’s recommendations, but I feel this government’s record in providing services and financial aid to its senior citizens is second to none. We have encouraged many senior citizens to remain independent. Through the Ministries of Health, --

Mr. McClellan: Below poverty.

Mr. Kennedy: -- Revenue and Housing, extensive programs are provided, such as senior citizens housing and rent subsidies, to assist those people to remain in their own home.

Mr. McClellan: In poverty.

Mr. Kennedy: The principle of assisting people to be as independent as possible and remain in their community should be carried one step further by establishing flexible retirement for every citizen in this province.

Mr. McClellan: And decent pensions.

Mr. Ruston: I partake in this debate on Bill 47. I have some reservations about it and I really think personally I would have to vote against the bill. I suppose we see the trend now in our own area, where we have the 30-and-out now under the auto pact.

I was talking to a fellow Saturday night who took his retirement at age 57. He drove a transport truck for 34 years and he felt that was long enough to be beating the roads. He got out of the rat race of the city of Windsor and Detroit and took his early retirement. I was asking him how he was making out with his retirement and how he was handling the situation of not having to go to work every day.

He said: “I am just so busy, I haven’t got time to even think about that.” He was telling me that for the next four months he expects to spend four days a week on the golf course and the other one or two, he would be doing odd jobs to supplement his income.

Hon. Mr. Baetz: What about January and February, the golf course?

Mr. Ruston: That’s maybe an interesting concept after so long in one job. I don’t know that I agree with it. Maybe it’s because I happen myself to have moved around to a couple or three different positions and I find it’s kind of a new challenge to sometimes change. Many people at age 60 take retirement from one place and then go into another profession. So I think we have to leave it kind of as a free situation.

However, in the auto pact too we must remember that the mandatory retirement age is 68 under the UAW contract in all the auto industries. Yet we see many people at age 55, 56, 57 now taking their retirement.

I think the main thing with early retirement is that the people who take it can adapt themselves to filling in their time. In some way you do see the odd one who has a bit of a problem because they are so used to working six days a week in many cases. If there is a lot of overtime it is sometimes seven days a week so it’s hard to slow themselves down to a kind of a life of inactivity. That’s something each individual has to contend with, but I think 65 is old enough to be forced to retire.

I suppose, in the Legislature, we have not had many over that age. I think we are a different group here, because after all we are elected by the people. I don’t think we ever will have any retirement age set forth here because the electors have the opportunity every so often to decide whether they want you there and they know your age -- in most cases I guess they know your age; I suppose there may be some people who would run for office and be reluctant to give their age. I know of one case, not in my riding but in one of the adjoining ridings, where one of the candidates was asked what his age was and he said that was none of their business. He wouldn’t tell them; but he was retired from the federal civil service so I assume most people knew his age pretty well.

Anyway, that was a right he thought he had that he didn’t have to tell them how old he was. I suppose maybe the hon. member for St. George (Mrs. Campbell) a member of the fairer sex, often says you are not supposed to ask a lady her age. We are reluctant, I suppose, even to ourselves to admit our ages. However, that was one of the things we were not supposed to ask a lady, I will say that to the hon. member for St. George.


One of the problems in any retirement plan and pension fund is whether we are adequately funding the pensions so that these people will be able to take their retirement and see that their pension is high enough to take care of them over the years. As the age of living longer of our population is increasing that is more of a strain on the pension plan.

The other thing to consider is that one’s highest income years are generally in the later years in any one job. It seems to be the consensus of most people, I would think, that one should not really be obliged to retire at a certain age, but that the matter should be left up to the individual. However, the problem is how does one set aside proper funding for a pension plan and what is a maximum pension, How many years should one work on one job to be entitled to a maximum pension, whether it is 30 years or 35 years or whatever the case might be. That is something that has to be considered when we talk about retirement age.

We have the old age pension in Ottawa that is automatic at age 65. Some people feel that the age should be lowered. We can remember when it was 70. Then over a period of five years it was lowered to 65, a year at a time. I see many cases in my own area where it should be lowered to 60. I see widows or widowers who are perhaps living by themselves, trying to maintain their own home on a small Canada Pension Plan, and they have real problems. I think we should be looking at pensions at 60 in many cases where the necessity is there.

I don’t know that to get up and say we’ll raise the pension age to 70 is the answer. As for the whole pension plan and old age security we have now, once in a while I think someone in Ottawa has a pipe dream. I don’t know where he is now. Under that, in the case of the spouse’s allowance, where the pensioner is over 65 and the spouse under 65, if the necessity was there the spouse could also receive a pension. Yet when the husband in the particular case that I am aware of passed away, they automatically cut off the pension to his wife. She was not able to work. She hadn’t been in the work force for many years and wasn’t able to go out and work. She lost her spouse’s allowance and we had to obtain benefits for her through the Ministry of Community and Social Services. I would think that was a mistake they made in passing an arrangement like that. It should have been continued, under the circumstances, directly from Ottawa, instead of cutting it off automatically. That seems to me to be very unfair.

I think the age of 65 is a pretty good age. If a person puts in that many years, he should be able to retire. I would support the bill on that basis. No, I am sorry, I’m voting against the bill.

Mr. M. Davidson: In the event there may be some question in the mind of the member for York West (Mr. Leluk) when I have finished speaking on this bill, I would like to assure him right at this moment that I am speaking in opposition.

I am speaking in opposition for a number of reasons. I do so because I look upon this bill as not being one which takes away the mandatory retirement age of 65. I think it’s a bill that implements mandatory retirement at age 70. I have heard people across there hollering that we haven’t read the bill. I would like to read a section of the bill if I may. Section 4 reads as follows: “Every civil servant shall retire at the end of the month in which he attains the age of 70 years.”

Mr. Germa: What about the Human Rights Code.

Mr. Leluk: Read on.

Mr. M. Davidson: I can read on. I know what it says. It gives special provisions to the Civil Service Commission and all that kind of thing, but it does not give the civil servant the right to remain on the job if he chooses to do so.

If the member for York West was very serious in presenting this kind of bill to the House, he would not put any age in there at all. He would have allowed people who want to work -- which is the reason that he’s putting this bill forward -- he would have allowed them to work until such a time as they chose to retire and there would be no age in there at all.

The member for York West made the comment that we were opposed to human rights. He said the member for Dovercourt (Mr. Lupusella) didn’t believe in human rights because this was a bill that gave people the right to work. I think it’s a bill that gives employers the right to keep them employed. I think that’s exactly what kind of a bill it is. You are giving employers, in probably non-union plants, the right to intimidate their people by keeping them on low wages to keep them working up to the age of 70 in order to maintain themselves.

Mr. Leluk: Nonsense, nonsense.

Mr. Warner: Sweatshops at age 70.

Mr. Mackenzie: It is a fact of life, it is not nonsense.

Mr. M. Davidson: If the member for York West was concerned about the senior citizens of our province --

Mr. Leluk: You would rather they vegetate.

Mr. M. Davidson: -- I think he would have done as the member for Bellwoods (Mr. McClellan) suggested; he would have been more concerned about increasing the benefits through the GAINS program, he would have been more concerned about the finances of our senior citizens. Don’t anyone over on that side suggest that we’re not as concerned about senior citizens as they are, because let me assure them --

Mr. Martel: We led the first fight for pensions in this country and every Tory voted against it.

Mr. M. Davidson: -- that our concerns are either equal to their own --

Mr. Martel: Every Tory at the federal level voted against old age pensions.

Mr. M. Davidson: -- or I would suggest in some cases greater than their own.

Mr. Leluk: Support the bill.

Mr. Hodgson: Take it easy, Elie.

Mr. Martel: Don’t tell me about what the Tories voted for; every Tory voted against it in this country.

Mr. M. Davidson: We’ve heard from many speakers in this chamber today on this bill about the increase in the number of senior citizens that will develop over a period of years, but not one of those speakers during that time pointed to the fact that the birth rate throughout the entire country of Canada, and in particular in the province of Ontario, is going down.

Hon. B. Stephenson: It is not going down.

Mr. M. Davidson: It is going down and I would suggest that the two groups that that centre group are financing, namely senior citizens and children’s services --

Hon. B. Stephenson: Not particularly in the province of Ontario, more particularly in a couple of other provinces. As a matter of fact, you have got your statistics wrong.

Mr. M. Davidson: Because of a decline in the birth rate, that number that is there remains constant, and that in fact --

Hon. B. Stephenson: I am more expert than you are, Robert, I tell you.

Mr. M. Davidson: -- the overall financing of programs would probably not be changed very much.

Mr. Martel: But not in the union field, in labour.

Mr. M. Davidson: I think we have to take a look at what we’re talking about in this bill.

Mr. Mackenzie: She’s an expert on everything.

Hon. B. Stephenson: I never suggested I was in that area; but I am willing to learn, that is more than you are.

Mr. Speaker: Order, order.

Mr. Leluk: Wait until I tell your constituents, Elie.

Mr. M. Davidson: Certainly one of the problems that senior citizens have when they reach the retirement age may very well be what the member for York West suggests, and that is what are they going to do with themselves. I suggest to you that that problem is something that this government has ignored for the past 34 years. Because there are available and in operation today pre-retirement educational programs that show people what to do upon their retirement, that educate them as to what is available to them upon retirement. There was also a program known as Second Careers for members who may have never heard about it, in which they educate the senior citizen upon retirement to go into a different field and a different career.

Hon. B. Stephenson: But they are in the province of Ontario; this government was responsible for starting some of those programs.

Mr. Warner: Right on. He knows more about the government than you do.

Mr. M. Davidson: It may very well have been responsible for it, but it certainly isn’t doing a very good job in its approach to it, I can assure the minister of that.

An hon. member: There’s you answer.

Mr. M. Davidson: So let us not for one minute suggest that this bill is in any way doing anything for senior citizens. It does not do anything for them. I think perhaps more than anything else I agree with the comment just made by my colleague from High Park-Swansea, that if this bill does anything at all, it does it to senior citizens and certainly not for senior citizens.

Hon. Mr. Baetz: What kind of a statement is that?

Mr. Williams: Mr. Speaker, I’m pleased to rise to participate in the debate on the bill presented by the member for York West.

Mr. Warner: You shouldn’t be, I’d be embarrassed.

Mr. Williams: I do have some reservations with regard to the bill in the sense that I don’t feel it goes far enough in what it’s endeavouring to accomplish.

Mr. Warner: No, you’d make it 100.

Mr. Williams: Notwithstanding those reservations, which I’ll elaborate upon in a moment, I do support the bill because I think it’s a move in the right direction.

Mr. Warner: Yes, to the right; far to the right.

Mr. Williams: As the member who is the sponsor of the bill pointed out, the intent and purpose of the bill would be to provide a more flexible retirement age; and it is the aspect of the bill that maintains a mandatory retirement feature with which I take issue.

The desirability, both from the human and economic point of view, to provide greater flexibility for retirement, such as this bill does, I think has many advantages. Just as people are not born equal, in the same way not all people lose their desire or the mental capacity to be able to work at or beyond the age of 65.

Mr. Warner: They shouldn’t be treated equally either.

Mr. Williams: One’s ability to perform in his or her occupation does not suddenly disappear at that magic age of 65 but can continue for many years beyond.

Mr. Warner: For you, it was much earlier.

Mr. Williams: I think all of us in this House personally know people who have continued to be gainfully employed well beyond the age of 65, whether it is in running their own business or acting as an employee or serving as an employee for a company or corporation.

Many arguments have been made here today about the fact that some of the people who have been forced into retirement find that in their particular financial situation they are not in a position where they have sufficient pension or income to meet the ravages of inflation and, therefore, seek out employment for that reason alone. But, by and large, the point at issue is that many people have the desire to continue to work and are not to be governed, were it not but for the laws, to cease and desist from finding pleasure and enjoyment in engaging in a daily work activity.

Mr. Warner: It’s fun to work in a sweatshop.

Mr. Germa: Did you ever do a day’s work?

Mr. Williams: The fact that the laws prescribe and make it mandatory that people should cease and desist from working is not only demeaning but also encroaches upon a fundamental freedom of choice of the individual to remain gainfully employed as he or she may choose or otherwise.

Mr. Germa: You never did one day’s work in your life.

Mr. Williams: Reference has been made today to the fact that in the United States a new look has been taken at this controversial topic. In fact, legislation is in the works whereby the present mandatory retirement age of 65 apparently will be increased to age 70, as proposed in this bill, in the private sector and removed altogether as it applies to people working in the public sector.

This new law, if it should come into effect in the United States, as has been pointed out, will indeed have far-reaching consequences on the American society with regard to the economy and, in fact, on society as a whole. Indeed, if this type of legislation was enacted here -- if, for instance, this bill should carry in the province of Ontario -- in the same way there would be very significant impacts felt in the economic community and in society as a whole. There would be a difficult period of readjustment that we would have to go through.

The point I would like to make today is that in my judgement the forced retirement of any person by law is merely dealing with the symptom of the problem and not with the problem itself. The real problem is one that has been determined to be the failure of society as a whole to recognize and to attempt to come to grips with the dramatic changes in our society brought about by an increasing individual lifespan coupled with expanding industrial technology and productivity.


While some of the speakers in their comments this afternoon have touched on various aspects of this particular topic and have therefore tended to come to the nub of the real problem, they have not really developed their arguments to come to the full issue before us; and that is, Mr. Speaker, that governments at all levels and in all jurisdictions to date have failed to develop comprehensive long-term programs and policies that will give full recognition to, and provide a plan for the adjustment to a leisure-age society.

I had the opportunity in 1970 to attend the first European congress of the International Recreation Association in Geneva.

Mr. Mancini: Refund the money.

Mr. Williams: At that time I was told in a very forceful manner the magnitude of the problem that faces society today.

I well recall listening to one of the keynote speakers at this conference highlight the magnitude of the problem by pointing out that the four-day work week or the three-day work week were things that will indeed come to pass and be part of our way of life before the end of the century. And one of the highlights of that gentleman’s remarks was the fact that by the end of the century, it was his prediction and analysis, that 20 per cent of our society will be the gainful work force that will maintain and keep the standard of living we have in this society, while 80 per cent of our society will find no need to involve itself in the workplace. Those statistics are staggering.

Mr. Warner: We’re just going to have to share the wealth a bit more equally.

Mr. Williams: The ramifications of those predictions, should they come to pass, point out that government has yet to resolve or come to grips with the problem of a small active work force and what the majority of the people in our society will do in that setting. Government has an obligation to try to develop ways and means by which society will function in that new type of social setting.

I was impressed to hear some of the keynote speakers from the different European countries as well as sociologists and other experts in the field of sociology from the United States address themselves to this particular problem.

We had a tangible demonstration of government initiative to try to deal with this greatest of social problems -- how to deal with the leisure-age society, and that situation is more than germane to this particular problem of mandatory age retirement. Because it is not a question of who will retire and who will not, but rather of the 20 per cent of the population it is predicted will maintain the rest of our society; the question of those who have the capacity and the qualifications and the desirability to be in that work force, to provide the wherewithal by which the rest of society will maintain itself.

The concept, Mr. Speaker, of culture and recreation as we know it today, is only really the tip of an iceberg of a much greater interpretation of leisure and recreation time. Because recreation in the sense of active sports activities is only one small facet of how man, from the date of birth to the date of death, will maintain himself in a society where he will not have to be asked to engage in any way in the workplace. So that how government will assist the individual to find productive ways and means of maintaining himself in society and leading a useful productive life in a leisure-time setting is one question with which we have to come to grips in the very near future.

This is really the basic problem to which we have to address ourselves and with which the mandatory age factor is only coming to grips in a peripheral fashion. I do support the bill in the sense it is a step in the right direction, Mr. Speaker, but we have yet to come to grips with the main problem.

Mr. Warner: Why don’t you retire?

Mr. Mancini: I am not very pleased to rise and speak on Bill 47 as it is printed before me. First of all, I would like to thank my colleague from Essex North (Mr. Ruston) for filling in on my behalf as I wasn’t able to be here at the beginning of the debate. I was at a very important meeting. Nevertheless, under no circumstances could I rise in this Legislature and support this draconian measure. The people on the other side of the House would be well advised to work on issues such as the unemployed --

Mr. Germa: That is class legislation.

Mr. Mancini: -- and to do something with all the overtime permits they are giving out --


Mr. Pope: You are against the older people, are you? Is that why you took the stand you did on OHIP?

Mr. Mancini: -- instead of presenting before this House this piece of trash.


Mr. Mancini: What the member for York West wants to devise is a system where people have to work until they are 70 and can’t build up their pension plans so that they can retire at 65. That is all he is after.


Hon. Mr. Norton: Their concept of social democracy over there is fascism of the left.

Mr. Mancini: That’s a true Conservative measure.


Mr. Pope: That’s consistent with their stand on OHIP.

Mr. Mancini: That is why they are in a minority government and why they are on their way out the door. Shame on the member for bringing this bill to the House.

Mr. Speaker: The hon. member’s time has expired.

Hon. Mr. Norton: They don’t know what the proletariat is, but they believe in the dictatorship of it.

Mr. Speaker: Order. The first matter to be decided this afternoon is second reading of Bill 46.


Sufficient members having objected by rising, a vote was not taken on Bill 46.


Sufficient members having objected by rising, a vote was not taken on Bill 47.

Hon. Mr. Baetz: Members opposite are against senior citizens.


Mr. Speaker: Order.


Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, in the face of the veto from that side of the House, in order to calm things down it might be --

Mr. Lewis: Don’t carry it too far.

Mr. Martel: You are going to get into trouble; don’t tease the bears.


Hon. Mr. Grossman: It is just a business statement.

Mr. Speaker: The acting House leader does not have the floor for the purpose of making a speech. I called for the orders of the day.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: It is a chronic disease, Mr. Speaker. I apologize. I thought I might take this opportunity to talk about the business for next week.

Mr. Peterson: Do you have to be a little squirt to talk about government business?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: That’s the rule. You have to be short with glasses. We would note that this evening, before continuing with the budget debate, we will complete second reading of Bill 19. Tomorrow the estimates of the Ministry of Government Services will resume and probably be completed. Then we will start Management Board estimates, while others may drift off to other events in this fair city.

Mr. Martel: Like the ball game.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: It could be.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Without beer.

Mr. Martel: He will be taking a case with him.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: It goes much quieter when the House leader is here.

Mr. Ruston: With the House leader it does because he is sensible.

Mr. Peterson: Do you get paid extra for doing this?

Mr. Laughren: We sure miss the member for Brock (Mr. Welch).

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: On Monday, in committee of supply, the House will continue the estimates of the Chairman of Management Board. On Tuesday afternoon and evening, we will have legislation in the following order: Bills 60, 61, 26 and 28 standing in the name of the Minister of Revenue (Mr. Mack). Bill 31 will be continued, and then Bill 24 standing in the name of the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough). Then, if time permits, we will have Bills 49 and 50 standing in the name of the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry). On Wednesday, committees will meet as usual; and as is now the practice, I am indicating that it is agreed that in the morning on Wednesday the standing committees on general government, the rent committee, and resources development will meet. On Thursday we’ll have private members’ business, of course, with bills in the name of the member for Huron-Middlesex (Mr. Riddell) and the member for Parkdale (Mr. Dukszta). On Thursday night we’ll continue budget debate; on Friday we will continue with Management Board estimates.

Mr. Mancini: The Minister of Correctional Services for House leader.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Try and be less provocative.

Hon. Mr. Drea: No way, not after that vote.

The House recessed at 6:00 p.m.