The House met at 10 a.rn
STATEMENT BY THE MINISTRY
METROPOLITAN TORONTO ANNIVERSARY
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, the Premier (Mr. Davis) and, I suspect, representatives of some parties opposite are, even as I speak, at the council of Metropolitan Toronto this morning where there is a commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the inaugural of Metropolitan Toronto. It would seem to me to be appropriate that this Legislature might wish to express its best wishes and congratulations on this anniversary.
Metropolitan Toronto came into being not without some controversy and some disagreement. It has stood the test of time and I think on a world-wide basis it is looked on as an example of how local government can adapt to change and come together. I think it is fair to say that some part, perhaps a large part, of the vitality, the lifestyle even, and the enthusiasm, to say nothing of the services and the social amenities which are part of this great metropolitan area --
Mr. Sargent: Now they are going to scrap it.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: -- have been, in some measure at any rate, due to the form of government which this Legislature bestowed on the then 13 municipalities some 25 years ago.
Hon. Mr. McKeough moved that the second session of the 31st Parliament of Ontario extend its congratulations and best wishes to the council of Metropolitan Toronto on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the establishment of Metropolitan Toronto.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: I believe those good wishes will no doubt be conveyed in any case by the Premier, perhaps even at this moment, but I thought all members would like to join through you, Mr. Speaker, in sending best wishes to Metropolitan Toronto.
Motion agreed to.
FLECK MANUFACTURING COMPANY
Mr. S. Smith: A question of the Minister of Labour: Can the minister explain why it seems to have taken six weeks of one of the most bitter and unfortunate strikes in recent memory before she has been able to somehow convince herself about certain aspects of this case? Why has the minister not previously made herself aware of all aspects of this dispute; and why did it require a visit from a number of young women who work at that plant in order for the minister to be able to come out with a flat statement on one side or the other on some aspects of this dispute? Isn’t this a peculiar way to conduct the business of her ministry?
Mr. Deans: Welcome, welcome aboard.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, first, it’s obvious that the hon. Leader of the Opposition is not informed about the activities of the ministry, for one thing.
Mr. Haggerty: You are not.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Second, he has obviously not read the newspaper article but only the headline. Third, there were some presentations provided to me by the workers at Fleck yesterday, for the very first time, in which there is some discrepancy with the reports I have from my inspectors. I promised them that I would investigate those discrepancies.
Mr. Haggerty: It was brought to your attention weeks ago. You have done nothing.
Hon. B. Stephenson: I have been talking to both parties, to the people involved in the strike and to the UAW, for more than six weeks, unbeknownst, I suppose, to the Leader of the Opposition. I shall continue to do so because the role of the Ministry of Labour in this province is to attempt to help both parties in the dispute to arrive at a solution. We shall continue that role.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of a supplementary, can the minister explain what new information she received that led her to take the viewpoint she expressed in support of the striking workers? Can she, at the same time, tell us what she has been able to learn with regard to the discrepancies between the workers’ description of the accident rate and the working conditions and the description she has had from her own officials and inspectors?
Particularly, can she comment on whether she has information to confirm the point of view expressed by the workers on the radio today, that whenever the inspectors show up at that plant there is a rapid cleanup and the dangerous equipment is turned off and so on? Has she made it her business, after six weeks, to know whether these allegations are correct or not, instead of letting this thing fester and then making a public relations statement when 15 or 20 workers come to see her?
Mr. Swart: Why didn’t the member ask before instead of the member for Huron-Middlesex?
Hon. B. Stephenson: The answer to the hon. Leader of the Opposition’s question is that the report of the inspectors in this case was provided as a result of the question of a member of the third party in this House some five or six weeks ago. I provided within this House -- and it was well publicized -- the report of my inspectors. That’s precisely what I provided. It has, apparently, taken this long for the striking workers there --
Ms. Gigantes: That’s wrong. We told you so.
Hon. B. Stephenson: -- to establish the position which they wanted to present to me, They did that yesterday.
Ms. Gigantes: Oh, come on.
Hon. B. Stephenson: I had not heard it before.
Ms. Gigantes: The minister heard it in this House.
Mr. Swart: The minister heard it a dozen times.
Hon. B. Stephenson: There were some allegations raised by the members of the third party. I did provide the information which the inspectors of the Ministry of Labour had gathered.
Mr. Warner: Obviously they didn’t check it out.
Mr. Swart: And we told the minister it was wrong.
Hon. B. Stephenson: There has been ongoing activity in the area of occupational health and safety in our division to look at these differences in opinion, apparently, about what has been going on there.
Mr. Warner: The minister was told weeks ago that she was wrong.
Hon. B. Stephenson: There was some additional information in the document which was presented to us yesterday afternoon, which is again different from what was presented in the House and what my inspectors have provided me, and we’re certainly going to investigate that as well. There wasn’t any public relations statement yesterday.
Mr. Germa: Yes, there was.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Somebody asked me a question and I answered it.
Mr. Martel: I have a supplementary. The minister is reported in the Globe and Mail as saying: “It is inappropriate there should be any question of union security in this day and age when enough membership cards have been signed.” What legislative steps is the minister prepared to take to guarantee union security once certification has occurred?
Hon. B. Stephenson: If the member would read the rest of the quote, I also stated that union security is in all instances a matter of negotiation.
Mr. Martel: I have read it.
Mr. Germa: The minister is weaseling.
Hon. B. Stephenson: No, I’m not weaseling. There are instances in which union security -- there are various kinds of union security which can be negotiated.
Mr. Swart: The minister is not weaseling. She is talking out of both sides of her mouth at the same time.
Hon. B. Stephenson: I think it’s inappropriate in this strike, when a number of modifications to the standard variety of union security could be discussed, that there is an impasse on the basis of lack of discussion of this specific item. That seems to be the only item which is at variance right at this point. I do think that’s inappropriate in a strike of this sort, in this specific strike, at this rime and in that place.
Mr. Makarchuk: Supplementary: In view of the fact that the management at this plant is adamant against having a union established in that plant, has the minister been able to convince the management to move into the 20th century and accept the union there, in which case the whole dispute will be resolved?
Hon. B. Stephenson: I have had reports of this state of adamancy on the part of the owners of the plant. I do not know for a fact that this is so.
Mr. Wildman: Oh, come on.
Mr. Makarchuk: Ask them.
Hon. B. Stephenson: I do not know that for a fact and I doubt if the hon. member knows that for a fact either.
Mr. Makarchuk: For a fact, I do.
Hon. B. Stephenson: We shall continue to attempt to persuade both parties to sit down to negotiate this one item which seems to be in question at the moment. We’ll try to help them find a solution.
Mr. Warner: Why does the minister think there is a strike there?
Mr. Deans: Supplementary: Given that the minister believes union security should be a matter of course -- and we believe it should be a matter of course and I assume the Liberal Party believes it should be -- and since we’re prepared to support an amendment by the minister of any type that will bring about union security in Ontario, guaranteed after a sufficient number of employees of any operation have signed union cards, will she bring in legislation and let us get this thing cleared up?
Hon. B. Stephenson: As I said a few moments earlier, there are a number of variations of the theme of union security --
Mr. Deans: Bring in one of them.
Mr. Renwick: Bring in the minimum requirement.
Hon. B. Stephenson: -- and to impose one of them universally across this province I think would be entirely wrong. I still think it’s much more appropriate for the parties to negotiate the type of union-management relationship that is best for the individual situation being discussed during negotiations.
Mr. Deans: Let’s have a minimum.
Mr. S. Smith: A question for the Minister of Energy, Mr. Speaker: In view of the interesting statement that the minister made in our discussion of energy conservation the other day -- and I want to quote it here to remind him of his point of view; he said he was “quite flabbergasted” that I would suggest a conservation program, which “at this particular stage in our history would result in the loss of thousands and thousands of jobs in this province” -- can the minister tell us what his intentions are with regard to the conservation program currently being employed by Ontario Hydro? Is Hydro to continue its process of putting ads in the paper and on television, encouraging people to conserve electricity? Are they to continue to cause the loss of jobs, according to the minister? Have they been instructed in some way to stop their entire conservation program because of the minister’s philosophy?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: First of all, Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the Leader of the Opposition that one reason the revised load forecast for Hydro was down was that conservation had, in effect, taken place. We said that in our statement.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: That was one reason. It wasn’t the only reason; there was a lagging economy. But one reason is that Hydro has been preaching, and I suppose the consumers have been listening, to practice conservation.
Mr. Kerrio: Maybe they can’t pay for it.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: On the whole question of jobs and conservation, the reason I found so much difficulty in following the logic which the Leader of the Opposition had developed was -- and I quote here from Hansard -- that the Leader of the Opposition asked me: “Why would he” -- namely me -- “not instead go for a major conservation policy and cot all 3,000 megawatts, remembering that 3,000 megawatts is approximately $4 billion in capital costs?” With that kind of a question, I frankly could not understand --
Mr. Sargent: Taylor couldn’t either.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: -- how, by cutting back on expansion programs, we could immediately translate into conservation programs that kind of a capital expenditure and find that kind of jobs for workers.
I think it’s relevant in connection with this subject that I have in front of me here a telegram I have just received from William Hamilton, president of Local 508, United Electrical Workers, in which he says:
“Decision announced in Legislature April 17 re cancellation of two Wesleyville generating units means immediate and continuing layoff of workers in CGE’s Scarborough plant. As representative of these workers, we strongly urge the decision be reversed, especially in view of bleak employment situation. Employment this plant down now to 400 from a high of 1,000 workers.”
When we start talking about cutting back on expansion programs and simply taking those jobs and transferring them to conservation programs, I don’t know how you do it. I am very concerned about the immediate impact of this kind of a move --
Hon. Mr. Baetz: -- and I think this kind of telegram should keep all of us just a little more relevant than some of the pie-in-the-sky stuff we heard the other day.
Mr. Hall: Which side are you going to come down on? You can’t have it both ways.
Mr. S. Smith: It seems to me, by way of supplementary, we should find the minister on one side of the issue or the other. If it’s a matter of spending billions to create construction jobs in unneeded electrical plants, and I would hope, if that be his policy, he might consider building 50 unneeded plants and think of all the wonderful telegrams he’ll get then. The question is this: Is the ministry going to do away with the conservation program that’s presently in place, given the fact that by the minister’s reasoning it must be costing at least hundreds of jobs if not thousands? Surely he should be encouraging people to waste electricity, according to his philosophy, so that he can create even more jobs and receive even nicer telegrams?
Hon. B. Stephenson: That’s nonsense, even for a hypothetical question, for goodness’ sake.
Mr. S. Smith: Is the minister on this planet, or not? Is he going to build billions of dollars’ worth of stations that we don’t need just so he won’t get nasty telegrams from the construction industry?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I regard that as a ridiculous question --
Mr. Sargent: Because you can’t answer it, that’s why.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: -- I mean, this all or nothing at all approach; for heaven’s sake we can surely do both. We can conserve energy and at the same time we have to plan and expand our generating capacity to take into account the still growing needs of our electrical consumers.
Mr. Sargent: You’re exporting power.
Hon. B. Stephenson: We are going to export you next.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: The two things are not mutually exclusive, we have to do both. I just don’t understand the member’s logic.
Mr. Foulds: Supplementary: Could the minister inform us if the Ministry of Energy has done any studies to see what job creation would take place through conservation projects?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: We have not done any specific studies as to what might take place through conservation programs. If one wants to lump conservation in with the development of renewable energy sources I can imagine there could be a substantial number of jobs created eventually. I suspect, for example, that in the solar energy field 10, 15 years, 30 years down the line we will have a very substantial industry as we research and develop solar energy possibilities.
The point is that at this moment, this year, next year, now, it is very difficult and we can’t in a very precipitate kind of way, in an immediate way, in a total way simply transfer thousands of job possibilities from the hydro-electrical generating capacity work to conservation programs, I don’t think it can be done overnight and I suspect most members opposite wouldn’t say it could be.
Mr. Mackenzie: What are you going to hang your hat on next year?
Mr. Foulds: When are you going to start doing the research?
Mr. J. Reed: Supplementary: Is the minister not aware that a number of prominent people throughout the world have made rather profound statements about the impact of conservation programs, saying that conservation programs and the road into the new age of renewable energy is actually job-positive, compared to the construction of large centralized utilities? One of the obvious comparisons is that the capital cost per job in a centralized utility construction program, to keep one man employed, is roughly a quarter of a million dollars --
Mr. Speaker: This is a speech.
Mr. J. Reed: -- Mr. Speaker, with respect, I am asking the minister if he is aware of the obvious -- whereas in the private sector the investment is roughly one-tenth of that. Does he understand that if the government had introduced its insulation program, which it withdrew last year, many new jobs would have been created for half the capital investment of building new generating facilities?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Of course, we are aware of that. As I tried to indicate a moment ago, we are aware of the eventual, tremendous potential for jobs in the energy conservation field, whether we are talking about renewable energy or whether we are talking about actual conservation such as insulation. I think the hon. member opposite knows that one reason why we have not gone into the insulation program the way we might have is because of the substantial intrusion of the federal government into that particular field.
Mr. Cunningham: You are worse than the last guy.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Again, we have to be careful that we don’t start crash programs; one has to move into this slowly or one ends up with egg on one’s face.
An hon. member: You are familiar with that.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I would just like to make this one point one more time -- I’ve made it about six times now -- we are not expanding our generating capacity for Ontario Hydro to build huge unnecessary surpluses of power. That is just not the case.
Mr. Breithaupt: How about a federal nomination for you?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: The 3,000 megawatts are the required reserve. Above that, for the period 1981-86, we are building a surplus of only four per cent of our total generating capacity. It is not the huge surplus we are being accused of here, not at all. The 3,000 megawatts are the required reserve.
Mr. S. Smith: You don’t even understand.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: The four per cent between the years 1981 and 1986 is surplus and we hope to export that for the benefit of the consumers of Hydro and Ontario.
Mr. Kerrio: That will increase jobs on the other side.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, why is the minister following a policy designed to export electricity from fossil fuel-type stations, or any other type of station, when the Americans are quite capable of building their own? In view of the fact that the load forecasts are down, why isn’t he using that capital, and the money it has cost him to get that capital, to do the research here in Ontario in order to produce a technology of conservation in Ontario which we’re going to need on this planet? Why is he instead leaving us in a position where we will end up as a client state of Japan, Western Europe and the United States, where they will be doing the research in conservation-oriented industries and we’ll end up having to go hat in hand to buy those types of technologies from them, while we’re sitting around exporting fuel-fired electricity from our own stations to the United States?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I would like again to draw to the attention of the Leader of the Opposition the fact that the one place where we did cut back and where we reduced by half our generating capacity, namely, Wesleyville, was an oil-fired generating station. Much of our electric generating power will be coming from nuclear fuel which happens to come from uranium and which happens to be an indigenous Ontario product. I frankly don’t see anything wrong with using an indigenous product. We are trying to get away from being the hewers of wood and the drawers of water. Apparently, the Leader of the Opposition can’t see that exporting some hydro is in fact exporting a processed product. I don’t understand.
Mr. Kerrio: Your uranium might as well be on the moon for what it is going to cost you.
Mr. Breithaupt: At borrowed prices.
Mr. S. Smith: That’s a new philosophy of power.
Mr. Kerrio: How are we going to make any sense out of that?
Mr. Martel: A question of the Minister of Labour: Is the minister aware that injured workers with as much as 10 or 12 years seniority are being laid off their light duty jobs at Inco because Inco is eliminating the jobs?
Hon. B. Stephenson: I have been aware for some time that there was a potential for such an occurrence within the Inco plant. My first awareness was as a result of the information that was given to me about the closing down of portions of the Port Colborne plant, because of the fact that the areas affected are those in which some of the injured workers capable of doing light duty are working. Yes, I am aware of it.
Mr. Martel: Can the minister then indicate to me, since these men have adequate seniority and are being laid off because jobs are being removed and because of their health, in view of the fact that they are willing to work, why it is that the Workmen’s Compensation Board under section 41 refuses to make payments to these workers who have lost their work because of their injuries?
Hon. B. Stephenson: It’s my understanding that most of these individuals are already on some sort of pension from the Workmen’s Compensation Board --
Mr. Haggerty: At $60 a month.
Hon. B. Stephenson: -- and have been taken back on by the company, in many instances because they were capable of doing light work. I am sure that if and when -- and hopefully it’ll be when and in the not-too-distant future -- the activity at Inco increases again there will be opportunities for employment.
Mr. Mackenzie: What are you going to do in the meantime? Put them on welfare?
Hon. B. Stephenson: The vocational rehabilitation officers and the employment adjustment service of my ministry are ready to try to assist these individuals to find alternative work at this time.
Mr. Laughren: Supplementary: Is the minister aware that not only are the workers being laid off by Inco and not only are they not receiving full benefits from the Workmen’s Compensation Board, but they’re also being denied rehabilitative services from the board because the board is claiming they’re not being laid off because of their injuries but because the job no longer exists? Does the minister not think that that’s compounding the problem?
Mr. Lewis: It’s called a triple bind.
Hon. B. Stephenson: I suppose it could be considered to be compounding a problem and I shall certainly take this into consideration and discuss it with the board.
Mr. Laughren: Would the minister not go one step further and demand that the board cease and desist in that regulation entirely?
Hon. B. Stephenson: No, because that would deny a number of other injured workers throughout the province the kind of assistance that the board could provide for them under that section of the Workmen’s Compensation Act.
Mr. Martel: Further supplementary: In view of the fact that as the minister said, some of them are on pension, is it not possible that supplementary benefits could be paid? These men are prepared to work and have been working for a number of years, therefore they should be entitled to protection under the very legislation for which the minister is responsible.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I am sorry, I did not hear the full context of that question.
Mr. Martel: The minister indicated that some of them were on pension; they are then in a position to obtain supplementary benefits. Because they are prepared to work and have been working, is she not prepared to give them the protection under the Act? The Act says if one is prepared to work, the board is prepared to rehabilitate you and in the process provide supplementary or full benefits.
Hon. B. Stephenson: I just said that I would be most willing to discuss with the board, if this has been a problem, the full area of vocational rehabilitation for these individuals. I am aware that the vocational rehabilitation branch of the Workmen’s Compensation Board has found 50 jobs in the Sudbury area for injured workmen since January 1. It is not an impossible situation. I shall certainly take it into consideration and discuss it with the board.
Mr. Martel: Supplementary?
Mr. Speaker: Your second question.
Mr. Martel: I would just like to know what they are supposed to eat in the meantime.
CHILD WELFARE PROGRAMS
Mr. Martel: To the Minister of Community and Social Services: In the proposed short-term legislation, particularly of the Child Welfare Act, which is still all crisis-oriented, can the minister not change the direction of that Act and make it preventive?
Hon. Mr. Norton: As the hon. member knows, the short-term proposals are just that. They are for the short term while we work on a major change in the omnibus bill which I hope to bring before the House, realistically, I think, within the next two or three years -- God willing, and the Premier, and the electorate.
Mr. Martel: That’s what I am talking about.
Mr. McClellan: Five or six years.
Mr. Lewis: If that is today’s realism, it will be five to 10 years.
Hon. Mr. Norton: But on the shorter term, we were trying to address those things that were obviously of greatest and most critical concern.
I do have plans to announce in the very near future, a clear set of priorities for expenditures in the next fiscal year and this fiscal year, which I think will indicate to the members a very clear emphasis upon preventive programs as opposed to crisis reactive programs. I would think that within the next two to three weeks I would be in a position to present the members with that list of priorities for spending.
Mr. Martel: Fine. Could the minister indicate when he intends to introduce his short-term legislation?
Hon. Mr. Norton: I intend to introduce it this session, as I have made the commitment to do. There has been a problem in that the response to the consultation paper has been much greater than we had anticipated. We originally hoped that the public consultation process could be wound up by the end of February this year. As that date approached, it became more and more evident, as we got requests from across the province for extensions, that there were many people and organizations who had devoted a lot of time to an examination of those proposals and were preparing briefs in response to it. They were requesting an extension of time so that they could get their response to us before we wound up that process. So I made the decision towards the end of February to extend the consultation process to the end of March.
At the same time, we would proceed with the next step, in fact doing two things at once: Continuing to receive responses to the green paper and processing those responses we had received and beginning to develop the legislation. At the present time, the deadline that I have established for the introduction of that legislation is not changed; it would be by June 1.
There is some concern on my part. I had originally hoped we would have it passed this session. There have been indications from the hon. members opposite that they would like to see the legislation go to committee. In view of that I think, being realistic, the legislation will probably be introduced by the target date of early June. It will probably receive second reading, I would hope, and go to committee. That may be a process that requires it to go to committee over the summer so there can be an adequate period of time in which the committee could hear it, given the load of the committee with estimates and so on during this session.
I would hope that if that is the case it would be a high priority for early introduction and passage in the fall session of this year.
Mr. Mackenzie: Can we add five minutes to the question period, Mr. Speaker?
An hon. member: That was a long answer.
Hon. Mr. Norton: It was very precise and to the point.
An hon. member: You sound like Jimmy Auld.
Hon. Mr. Norton: He is a master.
Mr. McClellan: By way of supplementary, may I ask the minister whether he intends to change the most odious feature of his green paper, which is recommendation 46 dealing with the right of biological parents to appeal a wardship at the moment of adoption placement? That has, I think, been universally denounced as destructive. Does he intend to proceed with that course in legislation or does he intend to change those recommendations for legislation?
Mr. Warner: Yes or no.
Hon. Mr. Norton: The member is correct. There has been a very significant response to that recommendation. It is under review and I expect that it will be changed when it is in the form for presentation to the House.
Mr. McClellan: The minister doesn’t know? He had better instruct his staff to stop saying it is being changed then.
Hon. Mr. Norton: I listen to the people.
Mr. Sargent: Is the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. F. S. Miller) in the gallery, or has he gone?
A question, then, of the Minister of Energy. In view of the fact that our leader is zeroing in on the hopelessness of the situation in Hydro -- and we are going to zero in on you too pretty soon, McKeough --
Hon. Mr. McKeough: I tremble.
Mr. Sargent: -- and because we had hoped the minister would have some intelligence when he took over.
Mr. Makarchuk: Are you implying otherwise, Eddie?
Mr. Foulds: Why would you have had that hope?
Mr. Nixon: What a hope.
Mr. Sargent: We now have the biggest nuclear program in the whole world; and to quote Robarts, we have “ten new Niagaras”; and in our contract with Denison, we have the biggest contract in the history of the world, which is what I am concerned about. In my area we have hundreds of layoffs now.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Question.
Mr. Sargent: We will get to the Treasurer in a moment.
Mr. Nixon: Bob Welch is going to fix him.
Mr. Sargent: We have hundreds of layoffs in my area now -- permanent layoffs.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: There is one more I’d like to see.
Mr. Sargent: We have a great capital program going on, and yet the government is exporting power contracts to the States.
Hon. B. Stephenson: We are going to export you, Eddie.
Mr. Sargent: Bette, you have been in Labour a long time, and you are still labouring.
Hon. B. Stephenson: And I will continue.
Mr. Sargent: I want to ask the minister where the democratic process, as he sees it, comes into this picture. Who makes the decision between the elected people and a $30 billion program? Is he the only link between the eight million people in Ontario and a $30 billion program? I want to find that out.
Mr. Warner: He is the missing link.
Mr. S. Smith: He is the visible link.
Mr. Conway: Are you the visible link, Reuben?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I don’t know whether Friday morning fatigue is setting in for my friend across the road or whether it is me, but I really have difficulty responding precisely to that rather long and many-dimensioned question.
Mr. Sargent: I will give it to the minister again.
Mr. Deans: Why don’t you read it in Hansard?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Is he talking about the decision-making process? What is the $30 billion program?
Mr. Sargent: My supplementary will be this then: In view of the fact that we have a capital program going on, a layoff program going on and a power export program going on, how does the minister justify that? How are the elected people of Ontario being protected? Through him? Is that the only source we have? Is that it?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Justify what?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, first of all I don’t even understand the logic of the question; therefore, I can’t justify it.
Hon. W. Newman: Nobody else can either.
Mr. Kerrio: You had the same problem with the last one. You have the same problem with every question.
Mr. Bradley: The real question is, what happened in Hastings last night?
An hon. member: You can’t justify anything, Baetz.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Perhaps if the hon. member opposite would ask a further supplementary, maybe we could get down to something here. He wants to beef up the layoff program and he wants to expand -- I just don’t understand it.
Mr. Sargent: I don’t blame the minister; I don’t understand either. And the public of Ontario doesn’t understand --
Hon. B. Stephenson: Then don’t confuse them.
Mr. Sargent: I ask the minister a simple question: How does he justify hundreds of layoffs, expansion programs and a capital program -- all in one box? How does he justify all that? Does the minister know what layoffs are? Does he know what export is?
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. Sargent: Does he know what a capital program is? Does he know those three things? How does he mix them all together?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: How do you mix them all together?
Hon. Mr. Norton: The hon. member is the one who does the good job of mixing them all together.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: How does one explain it? Maybe that’s the question. I really don’t know.
Mr. Foulds: Tell him to put it on the order paper.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Obviously if this government were to establish a policy -- and it is not the policy now, I should hasten to add -- to substantially export more of our electric power, I suppose that would mean more generating stations would be required; that would mean more jobs for many people, including those in Grey-Bruce.
Mr. Sargent: But you are laying off.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: But I simply don’t follow the sequence of the member’s logic there at all.
Hon. Mr. Norton: Take the questions as notice.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I’ll take the question as notice, Mr. Speaker, and I’ll try it over the weekend.
Mr. Bradley: Is the Minister of Community and Social Services pulling the strings now?
COMMUNITY LAW CLINICS
Mr. Warner: Mr. Speaker, in the absence of the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry), I have a question for the government House leader, Deputy Premier, Minister of Culture and Recreation, and “Wizard of Wintario.”
Mr. Lewis: And friend of Darcy McKeough -- a close and intimate friend of Darcy.
Mr. Warner: Perhaps be could take this important question as notice to the Attorney General and ask that he make a statement on Monday. It’s regarding the People And Law legal clinic; I would like the Attorney General to table for us the criteria used by the clinical funding committee in deciding which clinics will be funded and how much money each clinic will receive, and to inform the House as to whose jurisdiction the clinical funding committee comes under and what kind of effort the Attorney General is prepared to make so that the People And Law committee will not go out of existence. It is important that we get a statement by Monday, since there is a meeting set up for Wednesday and the fate of that legal clinic will be sealed by Wednesday if we don’t have some leadership from the Attorney General on Monday.
Mr. Kerrio: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Industry and Tourism. It has to do with buying Canadian. I wonder if the minister is aware of the fact that the Ministry of Government Services now is providing members with pencils made in the United States. It may be a small item but it is sort of the thin edge of the wedge, and that prompts me to ask the question: Would the minister provide members of this House with all proposals and details of actions that will be taken or are currently under way, either unilaterally by the Ontario government or in conjunction with the federal government, to promote the buy-Canadian program?
An hon. member: Sharpen your pencils on this one, John.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, as I think the hon. member knows, I have indicated that Ontario would produce a buy-Canadian program. We are in the process of doing that. I think we are very close to presenting all the information to the Legislature as to what that program will entail. We still hope we can have that program --
Mr. Kerrio: Are you going to start with the Minister of Government Services (Mr. Henderson)?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Do you want me to start with that? Yes.
Hon. B. Stephenson: He’s going to start with the member for Niagara Falls.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I certainly cannot explain why that has happened. I have had contact with the Minister of Government Services; I wasn’t aware of the pencils, but I was aware of other items. We have discussed that I would like to see that changed. But I am assuming that maybe the reason for buying the US pencils is the same as why the hon. member was drinking French wine last night.
Mr. Kerrio: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: There is no evidence to prove that,
Hon. B. Stephenson: That you were drinking French wine last night?
Mr. Warner: He wouldn’t know; he can’t read.
Mr. Kerrio: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Hall: Free wine in the press gallery; a cheap shot, John.
Mr. Warner: But true.
Mr. Kerrio: In view of the very successful non-tariff barriers used in the majority of industrial nations throughout the western world which effectively exclude many Canadian firms from sharing in government contracts, would the minister not agree that a key element to a buy-Canadian program in Ontario must begin with the government setting the public an example by ensuring that its own purchasing practices give preference to indigenous Canadian businesses and primarily to products with the highest proportion of Canadian manufactured content? If so, would the minister comment on any review of current purchasing practices?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: As I think the hon. member knows, in Ontario we have maintained a policy when we are purchasing government supplies and equipment that there is a 10 per cent area that we allow which gives preference to Ontario and Canadian suppliers. I should say Canadian suppliers, not just Ontario. As far as the discussions that are going on around government procurement at the GATT negotiations, that is a subject that is being discussed in some great detail by all of the countries involved in those negotiations, in particular those affectionately known as the “big three” -- the European Economic Community, Japan and the United States.
I don’t think anyone can deny that that’s probably quite correct -- that we as a country should be looking at supporting our own industries. We certainly support that position. I would like to ask the hon. member if he would be kind enough to send me over the pencils he was referring to. I have five pencils here, all of which have “Province of Ontario” on them and all of which are made in Canada.
Hon. Mr. Snow: He brought them from home.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I don’t know if the hon. member picked one up while he was visiting Niagara Falls in New York, or somewhere like that.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Or in the restaurant where he had the French wine.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I also want to say, in response to the comment made by the hon. member about the wine, I certainly can’t prove it --
Mr. Kerrio: The evidence is gone.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: -- but I understand it came from the township of St. Emilion, down in the Niagara Peninsula.
Mr. Conway: You’ll make a great Treasurer, John.
Mr. Bounsall: A question of the Minister of Labour: Can the minister give us any adequate explanation whatsoever as to why for the past five to six months workers at Canadian Johns-Manville here in Toronto with proven, documented, Workmen’s Compensation Board accepted cases of either asbestosis or asbestos fibre dust effects, including one person with a rated 40 per cent disability, are now not being allowed to come out of the plant and on to the special rehabilitation assistance program which was set up to remove affected employees from the plants and get them out of the areas where asbestos lung hazards have been proved?
Hon. B. Stephenson: The program which was set up for asbestos workers is certainly one that has been innovative and I think a leader in this area in the world, and I am surprised to hear that there has been any major impediment to that program. I shall most certainly investigate this and report to the House.
Mr. Bounsall: Supplementary: While the minister is investigating why other workers aren’t being allowed out on the program, and speaking to her reply about the effectiveness of the program, would she also investigate why only two of the 17 people who have come out of that plant on that program have been offered vocational retraining to date?
Hon. B. Stephenson: We will add that to the investigation.
Mr. McClellan: A triumph for the Workmen’s Compensation Board.
Mr. Laughren: Supplementary: When the minister is looking into that, would she have a talk with the chief of the chest disease section of the board, Dr. Stewart, to determine whether or not his attitude has something to do with the reluctance of the board to put these people on a code four type of program, in view of the fact that he said at one point that the board must do everything it could to discourage people from getting into that program?
Hon. B. Stephenson: I am aware that that allegation has been made --
Mr. Laughren: What do you mean? It’s in writing.
Hon. B. Stephenson: -- and I am not aware that it is indeed factual. I have already initiated some investigation of that allegation and will report back to the House.
COLUMBUS MCKINNON LIMITED
Mr. Bradley: Could the Minister of Labour tell us what new initiatives her ministry has taken to attempt to solve a prolonged labour dispute in the city of St. Catharines at Columbus McKinnon Limited, a dispute which has now gone on for several months and has caused hardships to both sides?
Hon. B. Stephenson: I am aware that contact was made with both parties by our industrial relations branch this week. I am not aware that any new meetings are about to occur, but I shall look into this and report to the hon. member.
Mr. Wildman: I have a question of the Minister of Transportation and Communications, if I could have his attention. Could the minister inform the House of the nature of his reply to the Hon. Hugh Faulkner’s letter to him regarding the Garden River band’s opposition to the widening of Highway 17 through the reserve?
Hon. Mr. Snow: I did write to Mr. Faulkner, I believe on Tuesday or Wednesday of this week, in reply to his telegram, outlining basically in my letter the negotiations, the plans that have been made to date and the problems that exist. I have invited Mr. Faulkner to join with me in a meeting with Chief Boissoneau and his band council, hoping that we might be able by a tri-party meeting to resolve some of these problems. Whether he will agree to this meeting or not, I don’t know. I have not heard back from him.
Mr. Haggerty: I would like to direct a question to the Minister of Energy. Is the minister aware of the present debate taking place in Washington, DC, in the United States Senate concerning the proposal of increasing water diversion flows from Lake Michigan into the Illinois waterway from some 3,200 cubic feet per second up to 10,000 cubic feet per second? The stated objectives of this diversion scheme are to reduce the shoreline damages due to the high waters from the Great Lakes and to enhance the water quality of the Illinois waterway.
The New York State power authority is raising objections to the proposals because the diversion could force it to replace lost hydro-electric power with imported oil, adding $45 million a year to consumer electric bills. Has the minister or Ontario Hydro completed any studies in this area as to the impact on the possible increase in hydro costs in Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I admit I am not aware of that potential problem. I appreciate very much that the hon. member has brought this to our attention. We will certainly investigate and report back.
Mr. Foulds: Supplementary: Does the minister have observers and representatives at the IJC, which has control over the Great Lakes water system, as does his colleague, the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. F. S. Miller), or does he have to work through Natural Resources on these matters?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: In some matters we do work through the Ministry of Natural Resources. I am also contacting the International Joint Commission on a different matter. I am assuming the modus operandi is that if we want to make a direct contact with IJC we can do so.
HOSPITAL SUPPLY PURCHASES
Mr. Deans: I have a question of the Minister of Health. I think he’s still there, isn’t he? Yes. Has the ministry conducted any investigation into the degree of which, to which or by which -- I can’t get the right word, and anyway it doesn’t matter this morning -- the supplies and equipment of hospitals in Ontario are purchased in the United States? In addition to that, has he looked into the numbers of supplies that are manufactured outside the US and are simply channelled through the United States into Canada through clearing houses and purchasing houses? Has he considered setting up in Ontario a purchasing arrangement whereby we could either buy direct or encourage the manufacture of those products here?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: There is already a fair degree of central purchasing among the hospitals. They do co-operate with one another to a great extent. Several months ago we began discussions with the Ontario Hospital Association on the whole question of purchasing with the view in mind of supporting the government’s overall efforts towards a buy- Canadian policy. There are certain things, such as the very sophisticated diagnostic machinery which is around these days, which are simply not made in Canada and, frankly, for which there would not be that large a market. It’s questionable whether we could even develop Canadian sources for some of those things. But in the day-to-day operations of the hospitals, our view is to work out with the Hospital Association a means of achieving a greater concentration of Canadian goods and services in their purchasing.
Mr. Deans: Supplementary: I assume from that that the minister has conducted some kind of inquiry or investigation into the degree to which the purchasing is primarily from the United States. Can he report to the House on whatever the outcome of that inquiry was, not only in determining how much of the supplies is manufactured in the United States but also how much is manufactured in Taiwan or Hong Kong or wherever else these things are made, exported into the United States and then further exported into Canada, which adds 300, 400, 500 or 600 per cent to the original cost, and whether or not we might be able to take advantage of much lower costs by purchasing directly here?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, the ministry to the best of my knowledge does not have studies which are anywhere near as extensive as the hon. member describes. As a result of the first stage of our discussion with the Hospital Association we would hope to have more definitive data on what is actually happening. Certainly whenever I have raised the subject with hospital people, their position has been that where price and quality are equal, they always give preference to Canadian, but the question is --
Mr. Deans: That’s not my point.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I know it’s not your point. The problem is broader than that, I fully recognize, and to get at that problem we have established this working relationship with the Hospital Association.
Mr. Riddell: A question to the Minister of Energy in connection with his conservation program: Is it correct that Hydro sent out 180,000 envelopes at a cost of $18,000, separate and apart from the customers’ normal billing, indicating that in the future there would be a new box added on to the regular billing showing the average number of kilowatts per day consumed by the customers? Would it not be better to have indicated that information in the normal billing rather than charging $18,000 to indicate this, and wouldn’t it be better to turn $18,000 into revenue rather than try to rise revenue by means of a 37.5 per cent OHIP premium increase?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, I am not aware of the details of this particular mailing but I certainly will look into it. I am not at all sure how the $18,000 saved or unnecessarily spent relates to OHIP and I will not comment on that part.
Mr. Kerrio: That’s why you have to raise OHIP premiums.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: But I will certainly look into the question of that particular mailing.
Mr. Gaunt: A supplementary question, Mr. Speaker --
Mr. Speaker: Well, he has taken it as notice.
Mr. Gaunt: I want him to take another part of it as notice as well. Would the minister not consider that this was an abuse of public money and a misuse of public money and is he prepared to so indicate to Hydro?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: There is no way that I can answer that question at this particular time because I don’t have all the facts.
Mr. Sargent: What can you answer?
PLANT NATIONAL LIMITED
Mr. Mackenzie: To the Minister of Labour: Is the minister aware or can she let us know if she’s aware of a small plant with 50-odd employees, Plant National Limited in New Toronto, a plastics recycling plant, and whether she has been made aware of any health problems in that particular operation?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Not at this point, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Mackenzie: Supplementary then, Mr. Speaker: I am wondering if the minister would check this operation and also check with the Queensway Medical Clinic to ascertain whether or not reports of a significant number of urinary tract infections and of diabetes among workers in this plant are accurate and if, indeed, workers who have left this plant have been denied employment in other plants due to medical examinations conducted when they applied for employment?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I will find that out.
Mr. J. Reed: A question for the Minister of Energy: In view of the much-publicized increase in the amount of research and development money that was stated in Her Honour’s speech, and as it appears that the money has been increased from what was virtually nothing to about half of what we would consider to be necessary for a proper research and development program, how much of the money will be made available to private enterprise as seed money for innovations in renewable-resource development?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I don’t know how far we want to go into statistics, or how much is enough.
Mr. Conway: As much as you know, Reuben.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: The budget for renewable energy projects and for conservation is modest, but it is double at least what it was last year. In a period of restraint, I think that is at least a trend in the right direction.
In terms of assisting private enterprise in developing conservation-related projects or enterprises, that is a matter which falls directly within the mandate of the Ministry of Industry and Tourism. But we are in touch with them, even now, on two or three projects that are energy-related.
Mr. J. Reed: Supplementary: Do I take it from that answer, then, that there will be, or there is, some budget money available for invention and innovation in the energy field, understanding that all improvement and technological innovation comes from individuals and cannot develop any more rapidly in the public sector and probably more cheaply in the private sector?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: As I said, in so far as it entails assisting financially budding enterprises, that falls within the mandate of the Ministry of Industry and Tourism --
Mr. J. Reed: In other words, there isn’t a nickel for private individuals.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I didn’t say that.
Mr. Swart: My question is also to the Minister of Energy and follows up on some other questions which have been asked here today. Rather than go ahead with the billions of dollars of likely unnecessary expenditure on the nuclear power plants, would the minister not consider it advisable to embark on a massive program of solid waste disposal for creation of energy? As the minister is aware it is much more labour-intensive in the operation, is beneficial environmentally, and would replace the dangerous practice of landfill that is rather accepted now.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: In response to the first part of the question, I again would say that we do not think we are wasting money or spending money unnecessarily on creating electrical energy. The other point here is, of course, that the hon. member opposite is really talking about two different kinds of energy. One is the energy derived from biomass, from waste and so forth for heating purposes, which in some cases perhaps could be used for the generation of electric power. But I really don’t see that as happening generally. Certainly that kind of program cannot replace the much-required and necessary electrical power which is generated from nuclear.
On the question of nuclear power, I frankly do not understand why, when we in Ontario have a very valuable indigenous resource, uranium, and have developed one of the most sophisticated --
Ms. Gigantes: We don’t know that.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: -- technologies in the world, we constantly keep knocking this. Why aren’t we proud of the fact that we are world achievers in the development of nuclear energy -- instead of knocking it and trying to be late-blooming flower children?
Mr. Swart: Supplementary: May I ask the Minister of Energy, what ongoing studies are there relative to the conversion of solid waste disposal to energy, and is he about to build or will he build a major plant someplace in this province as a pilot project in this field, because in other areas of this continent, solid waste is being used successfully for energy?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Solid waste is being used in a number of places right in this province at the present time.
Mr. J. Reed: Is the minister not aware that refuse or garbage is also an indigenous resource --
Mr. di Santo: He is not aware of anything.
Mrs. Campbell: In this Legislature.
Hon. Mr. Norton: In some places more than others.
Mr. J. Reed: -- and should get at least equal attention to the nuclear program he is trying to sell to this Legislature on a continuing basis, and that if it is not dealt with it poses a very serious environmental problem on the other hand? Is he not aware that Ontario is probably the last jurisdiction in the civilized world to take up this business of the garbage problem and turn it into useful end products?
Mr. Swart: Always last.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I don’t accept this constant effort of making these things appear to be mutually exclusive. While we develop our nuclear program, we can surely also at the same time develop our waste programs.
Ms. Gigantes: But you are not doing it.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: We can develop energy sources there and we’re doing it at the present time.
Mr. Swart: Where?
Mr. S. Smith: Where?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: In Toronto.
Mr. S. Smith: You are the one who said conservation or jobs.
Mr. Turner: Which would you rather have?
Mr. S. Smith: Conservation.
Mr. J. Reed: And jobs.
Mr. S. Smith: Conservation because then we will have jobs with a future, not just short-term construction jobs.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Go to Westinghouse in Hamilton and tell the workers that.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. S. Smith: You heard it. You Neanderthal.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
FARM STORM DAMAGE
Mr. McGuigan: I have a question for the Minister of Agriculture and Food. Would the minister reach into his briefcase -- I know he’s been waiting to do this -- and bring out the program he has for assisting Ontario businesses who suffered disastrous damage in the January 26 storm?
Mr. Sargent: Better wake him up first.
Mr. McGuigan: Does the minister realize that his policy of waiting for help from Ottawa is costing jobs in Ontario, and when will the minister act on behalf of Ontario as suggested in my original question?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Everything costs jobs.
Hon. W. Newman: I would point out that I have that announcement in my briefcase. I was reading over the application forms for the damage caused by that storm and the terms of agreement for the farmers. These forms are ready to go out to the ag offices the minute we hear from Ottawa.
Ottawa has indicated agreement to us on five different occasions, but as late as yesterday they did not get it to the Treasury Board. They are planning to get it to the Treasury Board next week. We have been efficient here. We’ve had it ready for almost 11 weeks now. They said they would offer assistance but I can’t really enact our program unless they go along with it exactly the way I sent it to them, which I think in their wisdom they should.
I have to wait till I hear back from them. If they don’t act within the next couple of weeks, then I may have to look at a different type of program to the one I have put forward to them. I realize there are severe hardships and we want to help those people. Everything is ready at this end.
Mr. di Santo: I have a question for the Minister of Transportation and Communications. In the past I have attempted unsuccessfully to extract some assurance from the minister regarding the noise on Highway 401. In view of the fact that the minister has told me verbally and in letters that the ministry has been assessing the priority areas vis-à-vis the noise on the highways, would the minister tell me at this point if such an assessment has been made and if the area for which I am concerned, as well as my constituents, is one of the areas chosen by the ministry?
Hon. Mr. Snow: The projects for this current year have been chosen and will be going ahead in this current construction season. I can’t tell the hon. member offhand whether the one he is referring to is one of the ones that’s going ahead or not. The 1979 projects have not yet been chosen.
An hon. member: Are they all in Tory ridings?
Mr. di Santo: I have a supplementary.
Mr. Speaker: The time for oral questions has expired.
Mr. Nixon: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker, I would like to bring to your attention that the Hansards for our standing committees are not normally printed to be available until a number of days after the meeting has occurred. In the instance of the standing committee on social development which has been considering the OHIP premium matter, these Hansards are of some considerable interest and importance. Would it be possible, Mr. Speaker, for you to use your influence and good offices to see that these reports might be available no later than Monday?
Mr. Speaker: We’ll attempt to do that. I see the director of Hansard is nodding in the affirmative and an attempt will be made to do that.
INCREASE IN OHIP PREMIUMS
Mr. Foulds: I have a petition with 335 signatures. The petition is as follows:
To the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. We, the undersigned, beg leave to petition the Parliament of Ontario as follows: That the recent proposed increase in OHIP premiums is unconscionable and should not proceed, and a less regressive method of paying for Ontario’s health services be instituted.
These signatures are in addition to the 2,194 signatures with petitions of the same wording that I presented to this House on April 4, to bring to a total of 2,529 the people in Thunder Bay, northwestern Ontario, who have signed this petition protesting the OHIP premium increase of 37.5 per cent.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
JOHN A. SCHMALZ AGENCIES LIMITED
Mr. Nixon on behalf of Mr. Breithaupt, moved second reading of Bill Pr12, An Act to revive John A. Schmalz Agencies Limited.
Motion agreed to.
Third reading also agreed to on motion.
HARE TRANSPORT LIMITED
Mr. Gregory, on behalf of Mr. Hodgson, moved second reading of Bill Pr5, An Act to revive Hare Transport Limited.
Motion agreed to.
Third reading also agreed to on motion.
A.C. MCINTYRE MOTORS LIMITED
Mr. G. Taylor moved second reading of Bill Pr6, An Act to revive A.C. McIntyre Motors Limited.
Motion agreed to.
Third reading also agreed to on motion.
BEAVER CONSTRUCI’ION (ONTARIO) LIMITED
Mr. Gregory, on behalf of Mr. Handleman, moved second reading of Bill Pr8, An Act to revive Beaver Construction (Ontario) Limited.
Motion agreed to.
Third reading also agreed to on motion.
WHITE QUEEN LIMITED
Mr. Nixon, on behalf of Mr. Stong, moved second reading of Bill Pr11, An Act to revive White Queen Limited.
Motion agreed to.
Third reading also agreed to on motion.
SALSBERG’S SMOKE AND GIFT SHOP LIMITED
Mr. Foulds, on behalf of Mr. Grande, moved second reading of Bill Pr12, An Act to revive Salsberg’s Smoke and Gift Shop Limited.
Motion agreed to.
Third reading also agreed to on motion.
P.W. MACLELLAN CONSTRUCTION INCORPORATED ACT
Mr. Johnson moved second reading of Bill Pr14, An Act to revive MacLellan Construction Limited as P.W. MacLellan Construction Incorporated.
Motion agreed to.
Third reading also agreed to on motion.
LOUBILL HOBBIES AND SPORTS LIMITED ACT
Mr. Mackenzie moved second reading of Bill Pr37, An Act to revive Loubill Hobbies and Sports Limited.
Motion agreed to.
Third reading also agreed to on motion.
CONCURRENCE IN SUPPLY
Resolutions for supply for the following ministries were concurred in by the House:
Ministry of Culture and Recreation;
Ministry of the Environment.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, as we get organized for this, it is my understanding that these estimates have only one hour and 12 minutes to go. Once that time has gone by we will go back into the House and carry on with the budget debate until adjournment time.
ESTIMATES, MANAGEMENT BOARD OF CABINET (CONCLUDED)
House in committee of supply.
Hon. Mr. Auld: Mr. Chairman, I wonder if I might be permitted to clarify the remarks 1 made about seniority and bumping? I read Hansard and I have to say that my explanation doesn’t strike me as a masterpiece of clarity. Since it is important, perhaps the House would permit a clarification.
On Monday there was, of course, quite a bit of discussion about seniority and I thought for the benefit of members I might want to review this and make sure we have a common understanding. Seniority is used for several purposes, and the definitions change and have changed with the different collective agreements. In fact, we don’t tend to use the term “seniority,” but rather refer to it as continuous service.
The most important factor is that continuous service is service with the Ontario government as an employer. In the last collective agreement it was agreed that previous continuous service in the unclassified staff would also be included if it was full-time and not interrupted by separation from the public service. This is set out in detail in article 25 of the collective agreement on working conditions which I read I think last Monday.
Also in that same agreement with OPSEU are the uses of this continuous service. For example, in article 24.3 we read: “In filling a vacancy, the employer should give primary consideration to qualifications on ability to perform the required duties. Where qualifications and ability are relatively equal, length of continuous service shall be a consideration.”
Article 8 of the benefits agreement with OPSEU also refers to continuous service in relation to vacations. Article 8.0 reads: “An employee shall earn vacation credits at the following rates: (a) 1¼ days per month during the first 13 years of continuous service; (b) 1% days per month after 13 years of continuous service, and (c) 2½ days per month after 23 years of continuous service.”
More specifically, what the hon. member may have been referring to when he talked about individuals who transferred from one ministry to another is covered under article 24 of the working conditions agreement with OPSEU. This article, which‘I also referred to on Monday, states:
“An employee shall not be released while there is an employee
“(a) who is in the same classification or position, or in another classification or position in which the employee has served during his current term of continuous employment and for which he is qualified, and
“(b) who is employed in the same administrative district or unit, institution or other such work area in the same ministry, and
“(c) who has similar qualifications, and
“(d) who has a shorter length of continuous service.”
These things are in the agreement with the Ontario Public Service Employees Union and we are bound by that agreement This article basically says the employee has bumping rights but these bumping rights are restricted to a specific work area of the ministry and apply only to bumping people who have similar qualifications required for the job the employee is doing or a job which he has done previously.
If these conditions apply, then seniority or continuous service is the deciding factor. What the hon. member may have been referring to then is that while a person carries his continuous service or total seniority, he may find himself in a situation where other employees have more experience on a given job. Inasmuch as bumping rights do not apply when an employee moves to another ministry or a different administrative area in the same ministry, then their seniority is simply not a factor, but seniority is not lost in such a move.
Mr. di Santo: Mr. Chairman, I wonder whether the minister would also give me his opinion on the point I raised related specifically to successor rights in the area of pensions and pension escalators for those public servants who are transferred from one of the ministries or from the public service in general to other bodies for which they don’t qualify any more as public servants, such as psychiatric care and retardation care in this area.
As I said the last time we were debating the estimates, we have some problems in this area. One of the cases I mentioned was the Mackinnon Phillips Hospital in Owen Sound, where there was a fear that by being transferred to a different authority the workers would lose this specific benefit, and especially the pension escalator which they are enjoying now and which they may not enjoy when they are transferred to a different authority.
I would like to ask the minister whether he is considering if he can do something so that when a case like this materializes, he can ask other authorities to give the civil servants who are transferred the same rights that they were enjoying before.
Hon. Mr. Auld: Mr. Chairman, speaking of the Public Service Superannuation Fund, in the first instance civil servants who transfer to another jurisdiction with which we have a reciprocal agreement, such as the government of Canada, municipalities with coverage under OMERS and certain Crown corporations, they will be able to take their service and contributions with them, and our contributions, although the benefits they receive there may be slightly different.
By the same token, people who come to us from the government of Canada can bring their contributions and the employer’s contributions with them and have that count as though their service had been with us. Say they came to the province from the government of Canada after having worked there as full-time classified staff for 10 years, and brought the total contributions with them, that would give them credit for 10 years of continuous service with us under our conditions. By the same token, it applies, I think, to CBC, to a number of Crown employees, and to municipalities and to some other provinces. I’m not sure whether we have agreements with all provinces, but I know we have with a number.
As far as the Pension Escalation Act is concerned, that is only available to the Ontario public service, the teachers, the OPP association and the Liquor Control and Liquor Licence Board employees.
Item 1 agreed to.
Items 2 to 4, inclusive, agreed to.
Vote 502 agreed to.
Votes 503 and 504 agreed to.
On vote 505, government personnel services; item 1, temporary help services:
Mr. di Santo: I would like to ask the minister if he can give us a detailed report on the situation in this area, because I have had some inquiries from people who have been working in this capacity, as temporary help. I understand that after a while they are either disposed of or they are hired in a permanent capacity, some of them. Since it’s a rather nebulous area, I’d like to ask the minister what criteria he is using in order to assure that people who have been working for a certain length of time with the public service will know exactly at some point what will happen to them?
I had an example, two weeks ago, involving 10 people in Government Services. The person who came to me was working in the mail department of the ministry. At the end of two years nine of the persons who were working in that department became permanent and two of them were laid off. The person who came to see me was a 59-year-old woman, and the other was 19 years old. I inquired of the Ministry of Government Services and apparently there had been no complaint about the work done by the two employees.
I thought, personally, in the case of my constituent, it was a rather harsh decision because of her family problems. Her husband is sick with a terminal disease, so being laid off at this time would be a serious aggravation for her. On the other hand, we have a 19-year-old girl who was fired as well. Apparently this was unrelated to their performances while they were working.
I’d like to ask the minister what are the criteria that you are using in these cases? Also, I’d like to ask the minister to give us some detailed figures on how many people are hired, when, for what length of time, when are they fired and what is their percentage of the total civil service.
I’d also like the minister to clarify for me if it is true that there are certain departments, like the accounting department in the Ministry of the Attorney General, where the majority or a good number of the people working there are not permanent staff but are temporary helpers.
Hon. Mr. Auld: First of all, GO Temporary is supposed to be just that. They fill jobs when people are away ill or on holidays or for some other reason are just not available. They are not supposed to be used for continuous jobs. There has been some abuse of that practice. The rule now is a maximum period of six months or for the approved term of the leave of absence if the person is replacing somebody who is on a leave of absence for educational or maternity reasons or one thing or another.
In the situation that the hon. member refers to, I can I only assume there were nine jobs of a permanent nature and there were 11 GO Temporary people there. All the applicants would be looked at or interviewed -- or perhaps considered would be a better word -- along with other people in the ministry who might also apply who wanted to transfer to get ahead or something like that. Since it was GO Temp, there might also be public advertising and people with no previous experience with the government might apply. There were 11 GO Temp people and there were only nine jobs. I can only assume that the other two were not considered to be as well qualified as the nine who were selected.
I should say we are now auditing the use of GO Temp so that we will not have, as happened in some cases, GO Temp people working for, say three years in a job which is a continuous position. I can tell the hon. member, for instance, in Colleges and Universities, in the fall every year they take on a number of people to deal with student loan applications. Many of those people have been doing it for five, six or more years. The ministry like to have them back because they have the experience and are people who, for one reason or another, don’t want to have permanent jobs elsewhere and are available.
As far as the Ministry of the Attorney General is concerned, I assume the hon. member’s question there refers to people who have been working for a number of years one or two days a week. That is quite normal. They would probably be on the unclassified staff -- and that’s where they should be -- as seasonal or as part-time workers, that is for less than 24 hours a week. There are a number of jobs in ministries throughout the government where it is not seasonal in the sense of being summer or winter or fall or spring work but is part-time, year-round work. That applies with Correctional Services because of their weekend peaks where they have additional staff since experience indicates that Saturday night is the busiest night of the week.
Mr. di Santo: I appreciate the explanation given to me by the minister. I think, though, that in the case I brought to the minister’s attention in the Government Services there was no screening process. That’s what amazed me in a way. There were no interviews, there was no advertisement in the newspapers in the normal way; they were just asked to stay with the ministry. I will give the minister more details if he wishes.
In the case of the Attorney General, I appreciate what the minister said, that there are some part-time jobs, but I was somewhat puzzled by the fact that out of 12 people in the accounting department, eight people would be temporary. Perhaps there is an explanation for that, but I couldn’t find the rationale at the moment.
The other point I raised was how many people we are using, and the minister said the new policy from now on is that they will be kept for a maximum of six months because --
Hon. Mr. Auld: In any one job, I should say, that same person might finish up a job in four months in one place, be recalled in a couple of weeks -- or the next day -- and start another one somewhere else.
Mr. di Santo: This is exactly the point I was trying to make. Are there any mechanisms for ensuring that those people who work within the civil service on a temporary basis, if they wish to remain and if there are places available, can be transferred automatically or do they have to get out and reapply? If I am not wrong, the application process right now doesn’t seem to be very clear because when you go to the Frost building, you apply for a temporary job but without specification.
I would like to ask the minister whether that process cannot be revised because, especially at this time of high unemployment, there are many people who are trying to get a job with the civil service. Perhaps it would be useful if they could indicate at the moment they apply that they wish to work in different capacities with different ministries if they are given an opportunity to do so.
Hon. Mr. Auld: I couldn’t give the hon. member any figures, but I would expect that a number of GO Temp people have made applications for permanent positions with ministries because they have seen advertisements about them.
Somebody with GO Temp can apply for a classified position, a permanent job in the civil service, provided it’s an open competition.
They are treated and considered to be not quasi-civil servants. If it’s an in-house competition, of which we have had a great many in the last couple of years because we are trying to find places for civil servants whose jobs have become redundant, they have had the first opportunity. But if it is an open competition, then GO Temp people can apply in the same way as anybody else. It’s probably fair to say they have a slightly better chance inasmuch as, if they keep their eyes open, they will see the notices on bulletin boards of openings just as soon as they are required.
Mr. Wildman: Mr. Chairman, on this topic, I have a number of questions and I would appreciate it if the minister could tell us the status of his discussions with the Ministry of Natural Resources regarding the whole policy towards the upgrading of the complement, the increases in the numbers or at least the dollar value for personnel, especially in relation to the statement made by the Deputy Minister of Natural Resources, Dr. Reynolds, two years ago in the Ministry of Natural Resources estimates that if Management Board held the ministry to the nine-months-on, three-months- off system, and also held it to the position that people who had been hired as casual employees should remain casual. In other words not be hired again year after year as they have in the past -- the Ministry of Natural Resources could not operate or could not function if that were maintained, because it would mean it would have a number of people who had acquired a number of very important skills and if it couldn’t rehire them it would have to spend a lot of time training people who do not have those skills as casual staff.
He informed us in the Ministry of Natural Resources estimates that his ministry was carrying on discussions with Management Board to try to make it possible for some sort of exceptions to be made in relation to various functions of the Ministry of Natural Resources. I wonder if you could indicate to us the status of those discussions?
Hon. Mr. Add: I can’t tell the hon. member the exact number, but I think it is something in the order of 400 staff we have approved as additional classified staff at the moment. I don’t know how many of that number have actually been reclassified, but it is in the works.
This really relates to the new manpower program of dollar control, which I mentioned, under which complement as such has disappeared. This is one of the reasons it is difficult at the moment, as I mentioned on Monday, to compare this year’s numbers with last year’s.
Those positions that I mentioned, and the classified structure ceiling dollars that go with them, have been judged, on the basis of the information which the commission has received from the ministry, to be full-time positions and probably were being filled by -- sorry, we’ve got the right number now, it’s 672. I was going from my memory, which is not as good as the book.
Mr. Wildman: I thought it was around 700.
Hon. Mr. Add: Those had been considered to be full-time positions. The work had been carried out in the past by a variety of methods. Those people now, of course, will be able to get all the benefits of full-time classified staff members.
Mr. Wildman: I was aware that there had been a significant increase in complement as a result of your dollar approach.
Hon. Mr. Auld: Mr. Chairman, not complement, not complement any more. They have classified structure ceiling dollars.
Mr. Wildman: I realize that. The people in the field still use the term complement. At any rate, I think this has been a very useful exercise in that a lot of people who had been working for a number of years for the Ministry of Natural Resources now are being given the opportunity of a permanent position. That’s very useful.
However, at the same time, when the various district offices in this ministry made application for more people, there were a few in each office, usually a minority, who had been on the same basis as unclassified staff and had worked for a number of years for the ministry; and now they are in the position of being told, “Okay, you are not being included in this increased number, and you now are going to be on for nine months and off for three months.”
Many of them suspect, and I suspect, that after they have been laid off for the three months they will not be rehired on the same basis as they had been for the last few years. I don’t know whether the minister can answer this question, or if it is something that I should go to the Ministry of Natural Resources about.
Hon. Mr. Auld: Mr. Chairman, I think the hon. member should ask the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. F. S. Miller). Natural Resources had had salary constraints like all other ministries. Speculating, I would not be surprised if there are some people who have been on for nine months and off for three months who will not be rehired, simply because there are dollar constraints. The dollar constraints are a lot harder to avoid than the complement constraints need to be.
Mr. Wildman: Just one more question in relation to that particular thing. The policy need to be nine months’ work; then in many cases individuals were laid off for five weeks and then they were rehired again for another nine months. Am I correct in understanding that Management Board or someone in the government has set a policy stating that no casual could now work more than nine months in a calendar year? So that would mean that the nine-month, five-week layoff situation has changed so that you’ve got now nine months of work and a three-month layoff. Is that correct or not?
Hon. Mr. Auld: I guess I would answer it this way: if it is more than nine months, with certain exceptions then really it’s virtually continuous employment.
Mr. Wildman: Right.
Hon. Mr. Add: So you’re either continuous or you aren’t. We have tightened op on the enforcement of the rules. There are a great many jobs that are perhaps nine months or eight months or six months, as you know. Those people aren’t affected. But if somebody is trying to sneak in a full-time person they can’t do it; because there won’t be the dollars to do it, for one thing, and our audit would show if somebody had some dollars and was trying to get somebody on permanently; in effect they just wouldn’t be able to do it.
Mr. Wildman: Previously, the way it worked was that technically you were on for a certain position. You were laid off for five weeks and you were hired for a different position. This was how it worked. You weren’t hired for the same position over again.
Hon. Mr. Add: I know.
Mr. Wildman: What you’re saying now is that if a person has worked nine months in one calendar year, that’s it. Your audit will prevent them being laid off and going out on unemployment insurance for five weeks or whatever, and then hiring on for a different position.
Hon. Mr. Add: A person might find a job with another ministry, like MTC and I think that happens quite often. There are people who work summertimes with one ministry and wintertimes with another -- winter maintenance or something like that. I’d just say that in developing this policy, I and a number of senior members of staff spent some time in Natural Resource offices in the north -- the northeast and the northwest -- so that we were quite sure that we knew all the problems that they had. My information is that Natural Resources are really quite happy with the results, even though they are still going to have problems, just as every other ministry has, in trying to find enough people for all the things that they would like to do.
Mr. Wildman: Just one last thing in relation to that. There is an individual I know in one of the district offices who technically is not a permanent employee. He has worked on this basis of nine-months-on three-months off for a number of years now and, apparently, is still in that position, even after the increase in the numbers; so much so that during his last layoff there was a seminar held, I believe in southern Ontario, in relation to the particular type of job that he has been doing, and the local district sent him to that seminar, although he was laid off. So it seems to me that they intend him to come back to do that job next year or they wouldn’t be sending a person who has been laid off to a seminar. So it seems a little unfair to that individual. If they really believe that he is doing a good job, even to the extent of wanting him to upgrade his information and knowledge in this particular field while he is laid off, it seems a little unfair that he wasn’t included in that increased number of people you have okayed.
Hon. Mr. Auld: Mr. Chairman, it may be that somebody is aware of a retirement coming up or a vacancy for a permanent employee and they are going to transfer the money from one district to another or one vote to another; at least from one kind of an operation to another.
Again, I am just speculating. I would agree with the hon. member if that isn’t the case it seems strange.
Mr. Chairman: The member did say last question. I believe the minister said previously it should be discussed under Natural Resources.
Mr. Wildman: I am going to ask a different question.
Mr. Chairman: The member for Algoma.
Mr. Nixon: What is going on here?
Mr. Chairman: Sorry, the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk.
Mr. Nixon: This will only take a moment. I just want to ask the minister if the government, through the civil service or any other emanation of government, had a special hiring program which was designed to seek out and acquire for the provincial service the outstanding graduates from colleges, universities and other education institutes.
I can recall what I sensed was a special program some years ago in which someone had been designated to find the very best young people, giving them the advantages of a very broad management training in a number of ministries, or departments as they then were, with the idea that probably a larger proportion than usual of these people would be advanced into the upper administrative echelons.
In thinking of the people that I identify with that program, one of them I think is now running the TTC, one is a senior deputy minister in Ottawa. I don’t think it would be too much of an extension to say that one is running the Civil Service Commission. One is president of York University. Some have taken the more obvious political routes with greater and lesser success.
I can remember, as a fairly junior member here myself, thinking that the program was moving the general quality of the civil service here far above other provinces and, in my estimation at that time, above the federal general abilities as well. This in my view was particularly obvious in those days in matters pertaining to the Treasury. I still feel that is one of the most important programs that a government or any kind of an operation can undertake. I wanted to know what the minister’s views were and to know if there was a conscious program with that in view.
Frankly, I had the impression, in those days, that the program was run by the then Premier, whether he did it single-handed or with good advice. I am not at all sure it is the sort of program that can be done with the normal hiring practices, the normal competitive approach -- a very healthy approach
-- the Civil Service must use. I wondered what the minister’s views were.
Hon. Mr. Auld: To my knowledge, the commission does not operate such a program now. Of course, the hon. member realizes there are not as many openings and we have been moving people around. For instance, we have reduced the senior positions by about 90 in the last year. There are people who have moved from one position which disappeared to another senior position when a vacancy occurred.
I know that individual ministries do some recruiting directly by going around to universities interviewing graduating students and so on. I also know that Treasury, Economics and Intergovernmental Affairs have a number of first, second and third- year students every summer and some of us in Management Board and the Civil Service Commission think because of the success of TEIGA’s ball team they are running on athletic scholarships over there in the summertime.
Mr. Nixon: They have a very active group over there in all respects, I understand.
Hon. Mr. Auld: They have, and they are tough to beat in softball too.
Mr. Sargent: You are quite a standup comic. You are good.
Hon. Mr. Auld: How about hockey? We could have a little of that. But seriously --
Mr. Nixon: What do you mean by “seriously”? I thought you were serious all the time.
Hon. Mr. Auld: I am. It is a serious situation. We haven’t won a game, except for two when we were rained out after the third inning, I think. We count those as wins.
Recruiting is done, but it is done, as far as I know, by individual ministries for their own specific needs. I really don’t know how the Premier’s office is operating in that field.
Mr. Nixon: I would be interested to know. Suppose a cabinet minister did have a more or less informal program and if certain students were brought to his or her attention and that minister wanted them taken on service with a special program, that is, moving through a number of ministries, is that possible? Is it possible for a minister to get in touch with the Civil Service Commission and say, “I have this program and the following names appended are ones I would like to have take part in this”? Or would they simply be informed that those names would be considered in the usual course, that is, run through the usual program with the usual results?
Hon. Mr. Auld: I guess it would depend specifically on whether they had the money to do it and whether they were proposing to fill permanent positions for which there were qualified civil servants and whose jobs were being lost somewhere else. The administrative trainee program that we had for a number of years, where we moved people from ministry to ministry --
Mr. Nixon: Do you have it now?
Hon. Mr. Auld: -- has been temporarily discontinued as we are absorbing the people who are being displaced because of reductions in senior staff as well as junior staff.
Mr. Nixon: It concerns me that that program has been abandoned. We talk lots of times about saving money and so on and I think we are all sincere in our own light in this connection. One of the most detrimental things that can happen is if the civil service, because of too uniform an approach, simply becomes a lowest common denominator kind of a thing. It shouldn’t, with the competitive examinations that come with appointment.
But one of the problems of using attrition to manage and contain size is that it tends to remove from the civil service the relatively few outstandingly qualified people. I just want to express a concern in that regard. I thought this province had a program which really was tremendously useful and fruitful in that connection. I just want to bring to the minister’s attention my feeling that we have to be concerned about that because there is nothing that can destroy the effectiveness of policy development and administration more than having inadequate administrative assistants.
Hon. Mr. Auld: I did say it was temporarily discontinued. I don’t want to get into another subject at the moment, but assuming we don’t have to do some more major reductions in the superstructure, I wouldn’t be surprised if we get that administrative trainee program going again.
Mr. Nixon: We don’t want to interfere with any initiatives you might want to take over the weekend.
Mr. Wildman: I would be interested if the minister could tell us what policy he has when permanent staff are displaced because of technical improvements; that is, their job is no longer there because there has been a technical improvement. What policy do you have in relation to them when you have other temporary employees in the same area? Are these people given opportunities for permanent employment or are they transferred to a temporary situation or are they just out?
There is a situation in the northeast where Government Services has eliminated 14 jobs for stationary engineers because of changes in boilers in buildings for various ministries. Most of these people have been told that since there is a shortage of work they might be able to be placed in another permanent employ, and they advise that they might know by May 19, but the letter to the individuals advises them to try to find temporary employ or to find jobs outside the public service. Do you have any policy in that regard?
Hon. Mr. Auld: Yes, Mr. Chairman, actually we should have discussed that in vote 502, item 2, but we have lots of time and I’d be delighted to go back if you don’t stop me.
Mr. Chairman: I would only say we have 27 minutes left for the estimates, so if you could be brief.
Hon. Mr. Auld: If we can do the last three as rapidly as we did the three before this I wouldn’t anticipate any problems. Perhaps I might just give you a synopsis of what the policy is. First of all, for the bargaining unit employees, because this has to do with the agreement, bargaining unit employees are given as much notice of release as possible but not less than that required by the Employment Standards Act or in some cases by the agreement, depending on which is the longer.
The ministry affected attempts to reassign the employees internally subject to the conditions of the working conditions agreement relating to vacancies and promotions. There is a number of provisions there, as I am sure the hon. member is aware. The Civil Service Commission ensures that an employee who cannot be placed within the ministry is considered by other ministries in any competition for a position for which he is qualified. Should a reassignment not be accomplished, the layoff and recall procedures specified in article 24 of the working conditions collective agreement, which I referred to earlier today, will apply. If an employee is terminated, the Civil Service Commission will mail copies of Topical and Topical Job Mart to him or her and grant that person eligibility to enter restricted competitions -- those are the ones that are not advertised externally -- for a period of one year following that termination.
With middle-management employees, those who are excluded from the bargaining unit and schedule 1 of the Public Service Act, they are given six months’ notice of release where practicable. The ministry affected places the employee on a formal individual program for reassignment within the civil service. Should that program be unsuccessful and termination result, the employee’s eligibility for all competition for which he or she is qualified is extended for at least one year from the date of termination with priority in hiring assured.
The Civil Service Commission ensures that the formal program developed for the employee provides for flexibility in application of or changes to established procedures.
Just as a matter of interest, in 1976-77, just in the Ministry of Health alone, there were 653 people whose jobs disappeared. Of those, 222 were terminated, and of those, 35 have since been recalled. This is as of about the beginning of March of this year. In 1977-78 there were 91 surplus -- that is also up to March 3, 1978 -- and 20 terminated, and 35 have been recalled. So there were more recalled from the year before.
Mr. Whitman: Just a short question on that: when they are being reassigned, what happens if that involves a lower classification of job and less pay for someone who has got significant years of seniority? Is there any compensation or does he just have to live with the lower rate of pay?
Hon. Mr. Auld: The salary protection or so-called red-circling would apply, and that applies until the salary of the job to which the person is reassigned reaches the red-circled amount.
Mr. Sargent: Now that the minister has gone back to policy, I’d like to ask him --
Mr. Chairman: I would say to the member for Grey-Bruce, if he could keep his questions on vote 505, it would be appreciated.
Mr. Sargent: I would appreciate the Chair’s co-operation. I was late getting here and I would like to find out one thing, Mr. Chairman, if I may.
Mr. Chairman: Try me.
Mr. Sargent: Thank you. We’ll get you on steady there.
The minister in his policy has a ministry multi-year plan. Is that tied in with the Treasurer’s (Mr. McKeough) program to balance the budget by 1980? The policy in your management planning branch is this multi-year plan, so are you working with the Treasurer towards a balanced budget by 1980? To quote: “The major activities of the branch include the preparation of the ministry’s multi-year plan.” You should know about that.
Hon. Mr. Auld: In vote 505?
Mr. Sargent: No, it’s in vote 502, policy.
Hon. Mr. Auld: Oh, yes, indeed. That has to do with training programs, all the activities of the commission, and to some extent Management Board and management policy and so on -- the various projects that we will be undertaking and when we expect to start them and complete them and so on. It’s the same as all ministries have. Basically, it’s about a five-year plan which is updated every year. You find you don’t need to do certain things you decided you were going to do or else it falls down the list of priorities because something else has come up.
I don’t have a book here with our plan. What you’re referring to, I think, is the briefing note which says that in the programs and estimates part of Management Board we ensure the multi-year plans of the ministries -- that’s the rest of the ministries in the government -- are consistent with the objectives and policies of the government. This is to prevent, say, a ministry starting work on a project and devoting some resources and making some commitments to a project which actually is not included in any approved government policy or conceivably might be in some government policy which is in some other ministry. This is to ensure that we don’t have, in effect, two ministries or more working quietly in the background getting some material together to put forward a scheme which would be duplicating or in contradiction to something being done by some other ministry.
Mr. Sargent: That’s about as clear as mud. I’ll go back on to vote 502, then.
Mr. Chairman: With respect, I gave you a little latitude there. We are on vote 505.
I thought maybe it would come into staff training or staff development there.
Mr. Sargent: Okay, thank you, Mr. Chairman. On vote 505, how many people do you have on contract?
Hon. Mr. Auld: In Management Board and the Civil Service Commission?
Mr. Sargent: The whole ball of wax.
Hon. Mr. Auld: You mean throughout the government? On February 28, there were 14,315. That is 367 fewer than on February 28, 1977, and 1,145 fewer than on December 31, 1976. However, as I mentioned on Monday, that was the number on February 28. I don’t recall what day February 28 was, but if it were a Sunday there would be fewer than if it were a Friday, probably, because that is the snapshot of all the unclassified people who were working. Some of those people, maybe like the ones I referred to a little while ago in Correctional Services where they seem to have more part-time correctional officers who work less than 24 hours a week; they are unclassified people working on weekends rather than during the week. On the other hand, if it were a Saturday or Sunday, a lot of other ministries would not have unclassified people working there.
Mr. Sargent: I take it you’re saying that 20 per cent of our total force is on contract?
Hon. Mr. Auld: Perhaps in my opening statement, or certainly where I gave details of the classified structure ceiling -- I can’t remember the exact figures -- I said the largest number of unclassified staff would be in the summertime, and that was something in the order of 25,000 or 27,000, and the lowest number would be in the middle of winter. In 1977, the size of the unclassified staff varied from a low of 14,426 in January to a high of 29,309 in July.
Mr. Sargent: What year did you start putting people on contract?
Hon. Mr. Auld: Not year one, but not too long after that. As far as I know, there have always been part-time people in the provincial government. But we started keeping track of unclassified people, by numbers of bodies, in 1975. It was sometime in 1975; my figures only go back to that time.
Mr. Sargent: What is the motivation for contracts?
Hon. Mr. Auld: That it is not a continuous job.
Mr. Sargent: What do you call the average term of a person on contract?
Hon. Mr. Auld: There are several kinds of unclassified jobs. There are those who are on short-term, for the term of a project, let’s say up to two years. They can be on contract. At the moment, if it’s more than a year the ministry has to come to Management Board for approval, but we will approve two years and then in the odd case, where it’s a specific project which will take three years to complete, we would permit that.
Then there are people who are seasonal who work every summer in the parks, for instance, or with Natural Resources in tree planting, or fish census work and that kind of thing.
Mr. Sargent: They aren’t civil servants?
Hon. Mr. Auld: No, they’re unclassified staff. That’s what we’re talking about. That’s your question.
There are others who work 24 hours a week or less and who work year round. Maybe the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) has a number in various courts which only meet, say, one or two days a week in a community. Those might work for 10 years, doing a day a week. I think that covers it. It’s the term of the project, the seasonal nature of the work and those who work less than 24 hours a week.
Mr. Sargent: Are we on item 1 or item 2?
Mr. Chairman: We’re on temporary help services.
Mr. Sargent: I’ll wait for item 2 then.
Mr. di Santo: I think the remarks the member for Grey-Bruce made were directed at finding out whether we are really using people on contract and hiding them so that the government can prove it is actually cutting back the civil service staff.
Mr. Sargent: Exactly. It’s a con job.
Mr. di Santo: We have a very high number of people working for the government as civil servants except that they are unclassified. This is the only difference. Even though we take the figure that you gave of 14,000 employees in December -- and, by the way, I should say that from the budget on December 31, 1977, there were 15,205 out of 81,184 -- it’s a very high percentage of civil servants and I don’t think that in the private sector we have the same ratio -- or, as a matter of fact, in any other government.
In your background material you said that for the first time this year we are including the cost of the temporary help service and their salary standard account, while before they were included under the services standard account. That was another way of hiding the fact we are paying salaries for people who are working on a temporary basis; they were camouflaged among stationery and other stuff the ministries buy. But on this specific --
Hon. Mr. Auld: Mr. Chairman, I just interject, if I might, that we will have about 16,000 students this summer.
Mr. Sargent: That’s nothing to do with what we’re talking about.
Hon. Mr. Auld: That’s included in what I am talking about.
Mr. Sargent: It’s the camouflaging of 14,000 people on contract.
Mr. Chairman: Order. The member for Downsview.
Mr. di Santo: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. In the vote we are discussing, 505-1, we can see that we have $12,312,600 for all the ministries for temporary help, which is out of $101 million for the total employees. It is more than 12 per cent, isn’t it?
Hon. Mr. Auld: That’s the commission’s GO Temp operation. The figure the hon. member is quoting refers to the GO Temporary operation and that’s the amount which will be offset by transfer payments from the ministries who actually employ them. We show it there because we pay the employee, but then it is recovered and the recoveries are credited to us if they go to other ministries. If they are Crown agencies, those recoveries go to the consolidated revenue fund, but they still balance out so we wound up with a nil balance.
Mr. di Santo: I understand the mechanism. Mr. Chairman, the point I am trying to make, as well as my colleague from Grey-Bruce, is that all the ministries are spending more than $12 million in salaries for temporary services, which is more than 12 per cent of the total for the civil service. We think this is an unreasonably high ratio, because I don’t think there is any industry, company, or corporation in the private sector which would operate under these circumstances, which would rely so heavily on temporary help. I would like to ask the minister, because time is running out, do you offer any incentive to the people who apply to work on a temporary basis or on contract as opposed to permanent civil servants? I mean financial or otherwise.
Hon. Mr. Auld: The GO Temp payroll is something less than one per cent of the total government payroll, if the hon. member will redo his figuring. As far as incentives are concerned, our GO Temp salary rates compared with private agencies’ are, I guess, somewhat higher. We don’t encourage anybody to use GO Temp.
Mr. Sargent: It shouldn’t be total budget, it should be total personnel.
Hon. Mr. Auld: However, we provide it as a service as requested by the ministries. It was 10 years ago when we set it up. About 60 per cent of the requirements of ministries for temporary help is met through GO Temp. I think one of the great advantages to the ministries is that when somebody applies to be put on the roster of GO Temp he or she is interviewed and sort of assessed along the lines of the job specifications that ministries are used to dealing with -- stenographers, clerical people and so on. If they want a clerk two, they go to GO Temp.
Some years ago, if they went outside they might have got somebody who was overqualified, which wouldn’t matter too much; or they might have got somebody who was underqualified. So we set certain standards. As I say now, there is competition from the private sector and in some cases I guess they are able to beat our price, because we charge into our operation all the overhead of our own staff and that kind of thing. Consequently, we are competitive but we are not always the lowest.
Mr. di Santo: Mr. Minister, I won’t pursue it, because we just don’t have the time. What I was going to try to extract from you was whether you are encouraging people to work on a contract basis as opposed to being permanent; but I don’t think we have the time to discuss it.
Item 1 agreed to.
On item 2; French-language services:
Mr. Sargent: Here is a great indicator of the sincerity of the government’s French-language program: You’re going from $759,000 in your 1976-77 estimates, and an actual of $608,000 in expenditures, down to $189,700. It’s a clear indication that you are not consistent with the Premier’s (Mr. Davis) statement that you are going to work towards this program in Ontario. Would the minister know -- I would suggest he should know -- of the statement from Ottawa the night before last that there are still $30 million left unexpended from the federal government to the government of Ontario for French-language teaching? You are cutting back about 300 per cent on your spending this year on this vote, yet we have $30 million in unexpended federal money available to this province. As part of management and part of the Treasury Board, can you advise us what is going on?
Hon. Mr. Auld: When the hon. member speaks of this year, I assume he is talking about 1978-79.
Mr. Sargent: No, I’m talking about 1976-77 money available.
Hon. Mr. Auld: -- and the $30 million he is talking about, I assume is the money that was provided primarily to the Ministry of Education for the French-language instruction school. I will just tell the hon. member, since we are getting low on time, first of all this is the net, because the government of Canada pays for part of this. We are showing our part of the cost. The government of Canada runs the operation; it has reduced its costs. I think the hon. member will be interested in knowing that in 1975-76 we had 358 of our staff students enrolled, in 1976-77 we had 511 and in 1977-78 we had 820. I can’t tell him how many --
Mr. Sargent: Eight hundred and twenty with the $180,000?
Hon. Mr. Auld: I beg your pardon?
Mr. Sargent: You’re increasing your numbers and you’re decreasing your funds. How can you do that?
Hon. Mr. Auld: Because of the cost, I gather there are larger classes. We are showing the net. We used to show the gross, because we ran the school and paid the teachers. The federal government took over the teachers so that they would have more flexibility in getting into the federal civil service. Now they only charge us for a portion of the cost and the cost is charged back to the operating ministries from whom the students come.
Mr. Sargent: So in effect you are doubling your training program, are you; this year -- from 500 to 800, you figure, during this year?
Hon. Mr. Auld: I gave you the figures -- 611 in 1970-77, 820 in 1977-78, but I can’t give you the figures for 1978-79 because the year isn’t over yet.
Mr. Sargent: I’m talking about the current year. You don’t know. You say these figures are net figures, what was your total expenditure then?
Hon. Mr. Auld: I couldn’t give the member the total expenditure.
Mr. Sargent: Sure you can. If you know the net, you should know the total figure. What percentage are you working on?
Hon. Mr. Auld: I can’t give the hon. member the total expenditure because it would be found in three places: our own estimates, operating ministries which had the cost charged back and the cost that the federal government picked up directly. I can try to get it for him, but I can’t give it to him today.
Mr. Sargent: It’s quite clear. This House sat yesterday on the multilanguage bill we had here, which this member supported.
Mr. Worton: Careful.
Mr. Sargent: I mean the member for Downsview (Mr. di Santo). The minister’s party voted against that. Yet you have $30 million you’re not using.
It shows the hypocrisy of that party over there. The public of Ontario should know what the hell’s going on here. You say here now that 800 people are taking the training course and your costs are down from $800,000 down to $200,000. I don’t know who does your bookkeeping, but that’s why you’re in trouble if this goes on all across the board.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Shall item 2 carry?
Mr. di Santo: I have a few quick remarks.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Remember there are only three minutes left on our clock.
Mr. di Santo: I’d like to ask the minister very quickly how many French-language courses he organized for the ministries and also the other special courses for municipal governments and for public agencies. Can he give that to me very quickly?
Hon. Mr. Auld: There are several different types. In Toronto there are provincial cyclical courses which are six hours a day. There are other provincial cyclical courses which are four hours a day. Then there are provincial evening courses -- these are for provincial employees -- and there are provincial special courses at odd hours through which people get instruction.
In Ottawa there are provincial cyclical, provincial evening, municipal regular cyclical, municipal special and school boards daytime cyclical -- that’s four or six hours -- and school boards evening. In Sudbury there are provincial evening and regional daytime and in North Bay there are provincial evening courses.
Mr. di Santo: You don’t have figures, do you?
Hon. Mr. Auld: I’m sorry, I didn’t get that.
Mr. di Santo: You don’t have the figures for the courses, how many courses you have?
Hon. Mr. Auld: No, I haven’t got the actual number, but I have the numbers of people which I gave shortly as we’re short of time.
Mr. di Santo: Are any courses in French available to the members of this Legislature?
Hon. Mr. Auld: There was one for a couple of years, it seems to me. There would be one provided if there is interest and if there is a group that wanted to take the course. It will have to be paid for but it will be paid by the Office of the Assembly, I would assume.
Mr. Sargent: In the one moment left --
Mr. Deputy Chairman: There are two seconds left. The time now has expired for the estimates of this ministry.
Mr. Sargent: Make it 22 seconds. I have a very important question to ask the minister.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Order. The time has expired for the estimates of Management Board.
Mr. Sargent: You just took over the chair and you haven’t been following the discussion. It’s a very important question. We’ve got to this point and I want to find out something.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: My instructions are that there are five hours for the estimates of this ministry. The time has expired on the clock. I’m in the hands of the House.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: The member for Grey-Bruce had better enrol in that French class.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: This completes all items in the estimates of the Management Board.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Auld, the committee of supply reported progress.
BUDGET DEBATE (CONTINUED)
Resumption of the adjourned debate on the amendment to the motion that this House approves in general the budgetary policy of the government.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: The member for Mississauga North.
Mr. Gregory: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, and thanks, gentlemen, for that resounding vote of confidence.
Mr. Sargent: Call for a quorum vote. Is this an important speech or not? Ring the bell.
Mr. Gregory: I think I will. It is very important. I want the members to listen closely.
Mr. Speaker, I began last evening to a Speaker who I must say -- and I hope you don’t take this the wrong way -- was far more attractive than you are. It was the member for Carleton East (Ms. Gigantes); however, we will try to live with it.
Mr. Speaker, may I offer to you personally my congratulations on your ascension to that lofty position of Deputy Speaker again for this term. I certainly congratulate you and Mr. Speaker as well as my --
Mr. Sargent: It is only temporary, he will be full Speaker in two or three weeks.
Mr. Gregory: Is there a message there for me? Is the member telling me something that I don’t know?
Mr. Worton: It is a smoke signal.
Mr. Villeneuve: Are you going to form a coalition?
Mr. Gregory: I am very pleased to have the opportunity to speak in support of the budget proposed by my colleague, the hon. member for Chatham-Kent (Mr. McKeough). He faced a real dilemma and he did an excellent job. Our Treasurer had to prod a sagging economy without feeding inflation, while holding a line on public spending without unduly curtailing government services and hurting those people in need of them.
I know that my constituents in Mississauga East welcomed the proposals in the budget. Of course, Mississauga is in somewhat of an enviable position having the third highest net income per household in Ontario, next to Oakville and Brampton.
The Treasurer’s budget will probably not appeal to all labour leaders, many of whom have been pleading for the expenditure of public funds to create jobs. Nor will it entirely satisfy those who want a balanced budget at any cost. We all know that the budget will not balance this year, that was not the intent; but the Treasurer has responded well to the circumstances and we are on our way to a balanced budget by 1981.
I know that members of the opposition delight in pointing out that the Treasurer will rack up his fourth consecutive deficit of more than $1 billion. It is time they admitted that this is not the result of large expenditures. In the last fiscal year, Ontario spending rose 9.1 per cent, believe it or not, that was less than the figure predicted by our Treasurer. This year he has forecast an increase of seven per cent which, unlike the increase of the federal government, will actually eat inflation.
Too many people are screaming that our economy is stagnant. That is simply not the truth. Last year average employment in Ontario grew by 73,000 jobs, or two per cent. Employment in December of 1977 was up $109,000 jobs over December of 1976. Of course, we can do better and we will. However, let us remember that it would be most counter-productive and could endanger the progress made to date if we took extreme action; or ignored the inflationary forces in the economy, if we did not first come to grips with the cause of inflation.
The Treasurer did not try to make a virtue out of our public deficits by hanging onto the hope that forced levels of total spending will solve our unemployment problems.
Mr. J. Reed: The Tories in Halton didn’t like it, you know.
Mr. Nixon: They didn’t like it in Mississauga either.
Mr. Gregory: That would be both futile and dishonest. The member told me there weren’t any Tories in Halton.
Mr. J. Reed: Down at the south end.
Mr. Gregory: You mean we are starting to get some now?
Mr. J. Reed: Only federal Tories.
Mr. Gregory: You’re starting to lose out, I see.
Mr. J. Reed: They sure didn’t like the budget.
Mr. Gregory: Such a move would only weaken confidence -- too often consumers and entrepreneurs have been bitten by that approach. Our problem would worsen if we mortgaged the future with excessive reliance on aggregate demand policies, that won’t solve the unemployment problem.
Surely the message we have learned from the United Kingdom and others is that forced levels of economic expansion only invite inflationary income gains and meagre new job opportunities, particularly for the young. That really must be the situation that must be addressed and inflating the incomes of those of us with ample market power is no solution. The ultimate capacity of our society to help those who can’t help themselves, and to reduce the isolation of poverty and unemployment, depends not on artificial and irresponsible public spending but on the real vitality of our economy.
I don’t want anyone to get the impression that I am afraid of growth. There is nothing I hate more than the waste of people and opportunities in our province. What I am not interested in, though, is any kind of growth or policy which limits real opportunities and damns the future of Ontario. Inflationary growth is nothing more than a statistical shell game. It demeans our potential. We would have more low-paying and low-productivity jobs in parts of our service sector, but surely that is not good enough. Inflationary growth would be financed with the money of our next generation and would certainly cost job opportunities in our most productive sectors which must compete in the world.
What I want to say, and what the Treasurer’s (Mr. McKeough) budget is aiming for, is growth that generates real wealth and more secure future growth, which rewards and encourages all who want to excel. He has provided incentives for young people as well as mining and hospitality industries. In addition, the sales tax on storm windows and doors has been dropped as part of the province’s conservation package.
Mr. Cunningham: And OHIP went up.
Mr. Gregory: Not yet, Eric; a few more days.
Mr. Nixon: It has already gone out.
Mr. Cunningham: It likely will. The bills are out. What do they do? Pay them?
Mr. Gregory: The major moves announced by the Treasurer and such new revenues, combined with some other changes such as the taxation of railway rolling stock, mean an additional $359 million. Further, the tax cuts for mining, tourism and energy conservation will amount to $55 million. Youth employment in Ontario will receive a total expenditure of $78 million for 1978, generating more than 60,000 jobs. Approximately half of that total is to be created under the Ontario Youth Employment Program implemented in last year’s budget. Funding for the Ontario Career Action Program will rise 33 per cent to $9.3 million, allowing some 5,750 young people to gain from actual work experience. More important, it will assist them to gain employment.
Also, the Experience program will be enlarged by 2,100 jobs, to a total of 13,500 positions for young people seeking a rewarding summer in public service. The Junior Ranger camps are being expanded for an additional 300 applicants, to 2,200 positions. Naturally, no amount of public job creation programs can do justice to our young people, but that is why the Premier (Mr. Davis) has urged the federal government to find ways of diverting UIC payments to our youth into private sector incentives which create productive and lasting jobs to meet their expectations.
To encourage the search for and development of new mines in Ontario, and to even out the burden of mining tax over the metals cycle, the Treasurer announced three basic amendments to the Mining Tax Act, all of which bear repeating. The amendments provide an exemption for new mines and major expansions of existing mines; the carry- forward of unused processing allowance and the removal of mandatory minimum deductions for depreciation, exploration and development expenditures; as well as a full allowance of foreign processing costs incurred in the processing of Ontario ore.
As an additional incentive, the operation and maintenance of social assets provided by mining companies in isolated areas will be a deductible expense retroactive to April 9, 1974.
A $30-million incentive to the hospitality industry in the form of the cancellation of the seven per cent tax on all taxable accommodation is now in effect. That move also applies to the full price of hospitality services sold as a package under the American plan.
As you know, Mr. Speaker, the hospitality industry, as the second largest sector in Ontario, will experience considerable benefits from these changes; employment growth, new construction and improvements to existing facilities should be quite substantial, particularly with the restaurant and retail trades.
It appears that we can look forward to a strong export performance in 1978, reinforced by more buoyant consumer spending and renewed business investment next year. We can look forward to the creation of some 100,000 jobs this year and a small decline in the rate of unemployment.
With the moderating government expenditures and the restoration of consumer and investor confidence, we can also look forward to a revival of private sector capital outlays this year and next.
What the Treasurer has done is concentrate on encouraging growth and investment in our most productive sectors. He has freed up resources for the private sector and helped to reduce inflationary forces that frighten away creative investment.
Mr. Cunningham: And increased OHIP 37 per cent.
Mr. Gregory: Did you read the budget, Eric, beyond that particular section? It seems to be the only thing I have heard coming out of that party.
Mr. Cunningham: Thirty-seven per cent. That’s really fair to small businesses, that’s really fair to the education budget --
Mr. Nixon: Did you read it that far? How could you allow him to put that in? If you read it that far you might have stopped him.
Mr. Cunningham: -- municipal budgets; really fair to the taxpayer who paid for all of that.
Mr. Gregory: We studied it thoroughly over here, as a matter of fact. I don’t think Erie even read it; somebody told him about it, that’s how he knows it is there.
Mr. Cunningham: Everybody knows about the 37 per cent --
Mr. Nixon: Thirty-seven point five.
Mr. Cunningham: Point five.
Mr. Gregory: The Treasurer has further recognized that selective measures --
Mr. Cunningham: Inflationary.
Mr. Gregory: -- and selective stimulants are the only efficient additional way to expand job opportunities for those with little experience.
Mr. Cunningham: Roy will be the Treasurer on Wednesday.
Mr. Nixon: No, Margaret -- Scrivener, that is.
Mr. Gregory: It is also encouraging from the ministers’ meeting in Ottawa to see that there is a collective voice now and that there is a consensus from our major political leaders that the time has come to get a better balance between private endeavour and public endeavour, and to make a serious attempt to roll back the burden of bureaucracy and red tape that is strangling our country.
Mr. Cunningham: Roll back the 37 per cent increase, that will strangle us.
Mr. Gregory: It’s a shame we don’t have a collective voice among the three parties now when we most need it. The inconsistencies are numerous. Everyone on this side of the House is well aware of the Leader of the Opposition’s (Mr. S. Smith) flip-flop on economic issues.
Mr. Cunningham: Are you going to flip-flop on OHIP?
Mr. Gregory: But being a doctor and not an economist --
Mr. Cunningham: Are you going to flip-flop on OHIP or are you going to get your lawn signs out?
Mr. Gregory: -- perhaps it’s very understandable.
Mr. Nixon: You may be blamed for --
An hon. member: You’ll be back in the insurance business.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.
Mr. Nixon: These are sensitive times, Bud, and these days you don’t want to irritate the Premier. He has all the trouble he wants --
Mr. Gregory: Mr. Speaker, I think they are badgering me.
Mr. Nixon: -- without his whip giving him a hard time.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.
An hon. member: There will be a flip-flop on OHIP.
Mr. Gregory: What about the leader of the third party?
Mr. Gregory: I’m getting to the stuff you like to hear, Bob. What about the leader of the third party?
Mr. Nixon: Well represented in the House today.
Mr. Hall: Out to lunch.
Mr. Gregory: Isn’t he supposed to be something of an economist? Let’s just review his record as an economist, by briefly going over some of his record.
Mr. Cunningham: He says 37 per cent is inflation.
Mr. Gregory: An important environmental issue is the pop can legislation. Nearly one year ago to the day the leader of the third party said, and I quote from Hansard: “As for the tax on pop cans we welcome the government’s initiatives and we are naturally anxious to know what the job impact of this proposal will be.
It is rather interesting to note that at its 1978 convention the NDP dropped its longstanding policy to phase out non-returnable beverage cans, largely because of the pressure from organized labour.
Mr. Cunningham: And where is that bill for that tax now?
Mr. Gregory: Where is the tax now?
Mr. Cunningham: Yes, where is the bill now?
Mr. Gregory: You tell me.
Mr. Cunningham: You withdrew it, you didn’t have the courage.
Mr. Gregory: No, it wasn’t jack of courage. One tends to think, occasionally, over on this side of the House; we don’t just talk like you do.
Mr. Cunningham: It’s not what the Premier said in Dundas last night.
Mr. Norton: You are the government.
Mr. Gregory: We know that the subject of small business has been receiving a lot of attention, especially because of the Liberal Party’s recent introduction of a small business Act -- see, I gave them credit for that, although they stole it from us; that’s okay.
Mr. Cassidy said last October, and again I quote from Hansard: “The fact is that small business would grow and develop more in this country and in this province if they were guaranteed access to a number of markets for their products. That is why it is important to have a very high proportion of government purchases and government tenders directed, either directly or indirectly, to small business” The truth is that small businesses with fewer than 50 employees receive a larger share of government expenditures than do large businesses.
In the year 1974-75, 62 per cent of the dollar value of purchase orders of this government went to small business. Excluding motor vehicles and petroleum products the value of Canadian content in government purchases approached 85 to 90 per cent.
Looking at revenue and in particular sales tax exemptions, the leader of the third party said one year ago machinery investment “rises in Ontario in response to demand and to a growing economy as it did in 1973-74. It does not respond to artificial stimulus where the demand is not there. The 2.4 per cent increase in machinery investment this past year is surely evidence of that.”
It is encouraging to see that the member for Ottawa Centre is paying some attention to market trends. It’s a pity he does not apply the same logic to his natural resources policy. He is advocating the purchase of Inco and Falconbridge in the hope that that would somehow magically increase the world demand for nickel. It appears in this case that the leader of the third party is wrong.
Ontario’s long-term retail sales tax exemption for production machinery and equipment has a considerable stimulative impact on provincial capital investment, output, productivity and employment. For every $1 million worth of government revenue forgone, more than $2 million worth of economic activity is generated within the province. In 1979, we estimate the net cost of the tax incentives as $149 million and the resulting increase in gross domestic product as $442 million, for a benefit-.cost ratio of 2.97.
On the subject of property tax reform, the leader of the third party said one year ago: “It is 10 years since the Smith commission called for the reform of Ontario’s property tax system based on market value assessment. A lot of people, moreover, are now being hurt by the government’s delay.” I must admit that the implementation of market value assessment is very complicated, but who said it would come about overnight? It is currently being examined by a committee of municipal representatives and we have seen their report at this point. Property taxation is, after all, a municipal responsibility. The provincial government is only trying to make the assessment fair. It is only right and proper that the municipalities should get a chance to examine the proposal.
During the 1977 election, the NDP Revenue critic, the member for Brantford (Mr. Makarchuk), spoke against market value assessment as a bad system that could cause household property taxes to rise. In the Ministry of Revenue estimates in the fall of 1977 he said he supported market value assessment, but not as organized right now. It is interesting that the member for Ottawa Centre now fully supports market value assessment and the member for Brantford is no longer the Revenue critic.
On the subject of corporation taxes, just last month the leader of the third party said: “It seems to us the best means of achieving this financing of increasing health costs would be to raise corporation tax by two points, except for the small business rate which would stay at 11 per cent.”
The greatest concern right now of the Progressive Conservative Party is jobs and that, allegedly, is the greatest concern of the New Democratic Party. At a time when unemployment is our most serious problem, all the leader of the third party can suggest is that we stick it to the corporation. Our job at this time should be to encourage business to develop in the province and certainly to attract new businesses to locate in Ontario. You can’t do this by raising corporate taxes.
Mr. Cunningham: Not by 37 per cent for OHIP anyway.
Mr. Young: That’s not what was said.
Mr. Gregory: Who writes his lines for him?
Mr. J. Reed: Who wrote yours?
Mr. Cunningham: Why don’t we just table yours as read?
Mr. Gregory: His attitude towards the business community can best be described as adversarial. It is no surprise that under questioning in the House last fall he could not name one business enterprise in the province which he considered to be a good corporate citizen.
On the subject of income tax cuts he said last year: “There should be a cut in the personal income taxes to stimulate the economy, as substantial as resources permit. This tax cut should be directed to families with low and modest incomes to ensure that it is spent and not saved.” It’s certainly not hyperbole -- I didn’t write that -- to say that such a statement is inconsistent.
Mr. J. Reed: You better check and see what it means.
Mr. Gregory: I’ll try it again. It’s certainly not hyperbole to say that such a statement is inconsistent with other NDP policies. They advocate elimination of the property tax with a shift to greater emphasis on income tax. Now they are talking about cutting income taxes. Just how is the government supposed to be financed?
The government has a number of programs in effect such as the Ontario tax credit plan and OHIP premium assistance which are aimed at assisting families with modest incomes at a time of serious revenue shortfalls both at the federal and provincial levels. The scope does not exist for an across-the-board tax cut of any substantial size.
Another statement made last month by the leader of the third party, I think the members will find quite interesting. He said: “It is outrageous that property tax relief for senior citizens is being deliberately delayed.” Did the leader of the third party forget that with the introduction of property tax reform the basic tax credit for senior citizens will be raised from $290 to $510, thereby offsetting in total more than 80 per cent of their property tax burden?
Senior citizens already benefit from the Ontario tax credit program. Prime Minister Trudeau has praised Ontario’s refundable tax credit system, saying perhaps this is a model that should be pursued on a broader scale.
Mr. Cunningham: Are you going to vote for Trudeau?
Mr. Gregory: I’m not in his riding. I should ask the question, are you?
Mr. Cunningham: You’d be the only Tory in his riding.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. I don’t believe this is in the budget.
Mr. Gregory: I don’t think so but the member for Wentworth North doesn’t really know what is in the budget. He obviously only read one line. Maybe he’ll get around to the rest of it sooner or later.
Mr. Nixon: If only you had read that line, we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in now.
Mr. Gregory: I haven’t heard you say anything about the rest of it. If you haven’t seen the positive action in that budget, you haven’t seen anything.
Mr. Cunningham: Who is going to be the new Treasurer? That’s what I want to know.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Elections are good for the soul.
Mr. J. Reed: They’re good for the Liberals.
Mr. Gregory: They cleanse the soul and they’re liable to cleanse the House too.
Mr. Nixon: Let’s get this through by 1 o’clock for heaven’s sake; and don’t anybody use the word “relevant.”
Mr. Gregory: Of the 661,000 pensioners filing tax returns in 1977, an estimated 625,000 will receive tax credits totalling $176 million. These people represent 13 per cent of the population, yet they receive 40 per cent of all tax credit payments. Because the majority of pensioners pay no income tax, almost $145 million of the credit payments are refunds.
Further, concerning the succession duty, the leader of the third party -- and it’s not hard to understand why the NDP is the third party -- said the following: “In our opinion, the succession duty is a tax that is fair and just. There is no excuse for the government’s continued abandonment of this field.”
I think they should be reminded that in Ontario, succession duty is paid on estates of over $300,000. In the long term, the succession duty will be eliminated when the capital gains tax matures. The two are currently integrated in order to avoid double taxation. If the NDP believes in unfair double taxation, we do not. Only Manitoba, Quebec and Ontario still levy a succession duty.
Returning briefly to the subject of job creation, I would like to remind the leader of the third party that last October he said: “We will need more than the 89,000 jobs that you, as Treasurer, have promised for this year and more than the 100,000 jobs per year that were promised in the Bramalea charter, a political promise which condemned the province to eight per cent unemployment well into the 1980s.”
I would also like to inform the leader of the third party that between January 1977 and January 1978 the Ontario labour force grew by 101,000 people, so we are slightly above target. In February 1978 Ontario’s unemployment stood at seven per cent compared to the national average of 8.3 per cent. The 100,000 jobs per year projected for in the charter for Ontario is not a ceiling. If anything, this represents the lowest number of jobs we would like to see created.
As the Premier indicated to Prime Minister Trudeau in his letter of March 21, 1978: “Ontario is prepared to participate in any programs which will help to curb the national unemployment crisis.” Concerning unemployment, he said last year: “No other government, no other jurisdiction in the western world would dare to set 5.3 per cent unemployment as a desirable economic goal.”
I feel it mandatory that the leader of the third party be reminded that at no time did we suggest 5.3 per cent unemployment was a desirable economic goal, but rather that in view of current economic conditions 5.3 per cent is the level below which macroeconomic, non-selective policies are ineffectual. This figure is a norm, not a goal. Our goal remains to have all our people working.
The leader of the third party is supposed to be an economist. He should know the difference. He should also be aware that national unemployment is running at 8.3 per cent and that unemployment in the United States is now over six per cent. We can be sure that none of the jurisdictions caught in the western world’s current recession regards its high level of unemployment as desirable.
In conclusion, I would like to emphasize that within the limits in which the Treasurer is forced to work, the budget was both fair and responsible.
Mr. Cunningham: Before you go, what about Bill 21?
On motion by Mr. Worton, the debate was adjourned.
On motion by Hon. Mr. McMurtry, the House adjourned at 12:51 p.m.