The House resumed at 8 p.m.
House in committee of supply.
ESTIMATES, MINISTRY OF HOUSING (CONTINUED)
On vote 2101, ministry administration program; item 1, main office:
Mr. Epp: We have dealt at some length with the condominium aspect, but I just want to ask one question of the minister. As he is aware, many condominium units are being sold but others are being rented. Under the Condominium Act they may be rented, I understand, for up to two years if these people have an option to purchase. I would like to know what percentage of condominium units are being rented at the moment, particularly in Metro; what kind of problems renting condominium units creates and what is being done in order to correct these problems.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: The situation, as the member for Waterloo North has indicated, is that in most of the agreements in condominiums there is permission to the developer or whoever happens to be the agent responsible to rent out the units. Optional purchasing of course is included. No doubt it is creating some problems, I gather, in some of the condominiums. To what extent it is rather difficult to determine.
In the higher-priced units it appears those difficulties are not as inherent in the program as is the case with the lower-priced units, where there could be some management problems. Some would argue that management is not all that difficult, but it would appear that in some of these corporations management is a very serious problem.
As for the number, if I interpret your question correctly, that have been purchased by somebody and in turn rented out rather than being retained as an owner-occupied condominium, I will have to try to get that figure for you. I don’t believe we have an exact figure on that situation. We will have to see if we can procure the number from the Ministry of Revenue. They might have it through the assessment rolls. We do know that there are about 6,000 to 8,000 units available on the market at the moment here in Metro Toronto which one of these days could very well show up as rental units. I couldn’t give the member an answer as to the number in Metropolitan Toronto that were built as condominiums and are still owned today as condominiums but rented out rather than owner-occupied. I don’t have that figure.
Mr. Epp: I was wondering if the minister would care to elaborate on the problems that are being encountered.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: On a point of order: As I understand it, Mr. Chairman, the condominium legislation is under the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Drea) and not under the Minister of Housing.
Mr. Warner: It’s too bad the Minister of Housing didn’t know that.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: Of course he knew that, but apparently it wasn’t clear to some members of the Legislature. I want you to know that that wonderful member of yours -- he was twice removed to the left -- the member for Hamilton Centre (Mr. M. N. Davison), chaired a committee that laboured --
Mr. Warner: That’s why he was about to help the Minister of Housing.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: -- through much of the summer reviewing the existing condominium legislation. That is under Consumer and Commercial Relations. The question that was addressed to the Minister of Housing in terms of how do you address these problems, hopefully will be answered because of the labours of this committee that the member for Hamilton Centre chaired.
Mr. Warner: Then he should answer the question.
Mr. M. N. Davison: On a point of privilege: My name was mentioned and I heard it.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: With respect.
Mr. M. N. Davison: Not only was I not the chairman of that committee, but, good Lord, I wasn’t even a member of it. I just dropped in from time to time to help out --
Mr. J. A. Taylor: You took it over, I’m sorry.
Mr. M. N. Davison: -- in the same sense that I would help out the member for Waterloo North by telling him that the rental figure in Toronto, if the minister isn’t aware, is something on the order of 11 per cent.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: Of what?
Mr. Chairman: Order. I appreciate the member for Prince Edward-Lennox on his point of order.
Mr. Warner: I’m glad you did, no one else appreciates it.
Mr. Chairman: However, these are the estimates and it could be left up to the minister if he wishes to answer or not.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: May I make a correction?
Mr. Makarchuk: He is bucking for the new Solicitor General’s job coming open.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: I mentioned that the member for Hamilton Centre had chaired that committee and I’m sorry. One would think he had chaired the committee because of his performance in that committee, but he hadn’t in fact displaced the chairman, his colleague the member for Etobicoke (Mr. Philip). I would like the record corrected that it was really the NDP member for Etobicoke who chaired that committee.
Mr. Epp: I think the record should be corrected as to the chairman.
Mr. Makarchuk: For the first time in his life he has been relevant.
Mr. Epp: Speaking to the point of order, Mr. Chairman, I don’t want to delve into other things --
Mr. J. A. Taylor: You are getting confused over there.
Mr. Epp: -- however, I should be able to speak about this because when we’re talking about rental units and the supply of rental units, this comes under the Minister of Housing and therefore he should be able to direct his attention to that problem.
I have another question which concerns me.
Mr. Warner: I hope it’s better than the first one.
Mr. Chairman: Probably the honourable member did ask a question. Maybe he’d like to give the minister a chance to reply.
Mr. Epp: I gave him a chance. Maybe he’d like to go back at it.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Contrary to what the member for Hamilton Centre tells me or informs this House, the reports and information from my ministry in relation to the condominium factors in the Metropolitan Toronto area show that about eight per cent of the condominiums that have hen constructed in the Metro area are now in a rented position.
You asked what are some of the problems. Obviously where there is a tenant rather than the owner, there sometimes can be a difference in how he treats the facilities or the building he happens to be living in. He may not have the same concern for keeping certain items in a proper state of maintenance as he would if he were the owner.
On the other hand, obviously by having tenants in these units rather than having them unoccupied, at least it gives a rental facility, which is essential and necessary in this Metropolitan Toronto market. Secondly, there is a contributor towards the maintenance costs of that condominium corporation, there is that factor to it. The individual purchase price to owners, or their costs, are reduced somewhat by having it leased out rather than paying everything out of straight capital funding.
Mr. Makarchuk: I think it should be pointed out that if we had a real Ministry of Housing, if we had a minister who was responsible and concerned about housing, you’d have the condominiums under your department. You’d also have the rent review legislation under your department and you’d have some co-ordination and organization in the whole housing field. The fact that you’ve got another ministry dealing with these things, and you’ve got other committees dealing with problems related to housing, speaks to the fact that the ministry itself is rather ineffectual in that department.
That’s proven by the record of housing in Ontario where about 95 per cent of the people cannot afford to buy homes in this province.
Mr. Epp: I also understand that many of the condominium buildings -- and I respect what the member for Prince Edward-Lennox indicated earlier about condominiums -- are being sold as MURBs -- and MURBs come under the Ministry of Housing. These then do not fall under the Condominium Act, if these condominium buildings are being sold as MURBs and these buildings that are being sold as MURBs are then rented out.
I wonder whether the minister would address himself to the question of the extent to which this is happening, that these buildings are being sold as MURBs? And what impact is this having on the rental supply picture in Metro itself?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: First of all, so we get it very clear, MURB is a federal program. It’s a tax program, and it induces capital investment in accommodation. As I said in my opening remarks last Friday, one of the things that does concern us in a market where the number of rental units could and should be increased, and where MURBs have been of some assistance over the last couple of years, is the federal government’s intention to withdraw MURB as a program in the housing industry as of December 31, 1978.
As I indicated to the House, one of the areas where we’re trying to convince Mr. Ouellet he should do some rethinking is the retention of the MURB program.
MURB has provided a number of units in the rental market, and as I’ve already indicated, if it’s removed it’s just one less program that’s going to help produce rental accommodation. Regardless of the rent factor by month, it still is one program out of the way that will certainly be missed. Some of it’s in condominiums, that’s correct. But it’s a federal program.
May I respond to one other remark? When the member for Brantford said 95 per cent of the people can’t own homes in this province, it’s rather strange that at this very moment 65 per cent of the housing units in this province are privately-owned. I indicated clearly to you last week that between now and 1981 that percentage will change drastically again to a very favourable position on ownership.
Mr. Warner: You’re playing silly games. They can’t afford them and you know it.
Mr. Makarchuk: I didn’t say they can’t afford them. I said they cannot purchase homes in the province of Ontario. If I didn’t say that I wish to correct it. These were the figures that were supplied by the Toronto Real Estate Board. They cannot afford on their present income to buy homes.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Surely, we’re not talking about 95 per cent of the families in this province not being able to afford housing when 65 per cent of the houses at this time and in this province are privately owned.
Mr. Makarchuk: If they had to buy them, the cost would be too high.
Mr. Epp: To be fair, I don’t think the minister answered my question as to the extent to which these condominiums are being converted to MURBs and then rented out?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: First of all, you can be investing in a condominium as a MURB right off the bat provided it meets certain dates of construction and whatever other regulations are put in place by the federal government on that particular program.
The conversion of a condominium building from that status to rental status, or vice versa, is really by an approval at the municipal level to grant that type of change of ownership.
I can’t tell you the exact number that will possibly come on stream, but we can tell you this; there are fewer condominiums being built at this time than ever before, and of the units that are unsold a great number of them are either rented at the moment or they are anticipating putting them into a rental position. As I said, there could be as many as 6,000 to 8,000 in the next short period of time in the Metro area that will come on as rental units if there’s no possibility of sale.
There are over 40,000 new units at the moment in the marketplace and a very substantial percentage of them falls within the AHOP price range. So, while you’ve got this glut of units in all price ranges obviously investors are going to try and find the best possible use to get some of their investment back, or some of the costs with that investment.
Mr. M. N. Davison: Just on one point very briefly, Mr. Chairman. Did I understand the minister -- I’m having some trouble because the minister’s microphone is causing his comments to be a bit garbled.
Mr. Makarchuk: No it’s not, it’s the minister.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Never worry, I come in loud and clear.
Mr. M. N. Davison: Oh, it’s the minister; I’m sorry. Did I understand the minister to say that eight per cent of the condominium units in Metro Toronto were currently being rented out? Just shake your head. I shall hear it.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Chairman, to my understanding, from the information of my research people, that is correct.
Mr. M. N. Davison: Would you mind tabling that information with the committee, Mr. Minister, because it conflicts with what I recall from the testimony before the justice committee only a couple of weeks ago, in which an expert witness put forward the figure of 17 per cent? If you have some sort of document --
Mr. Makarchuk: You were there, Jim; remember that figure? So was the minister.
Mr. M. N. Davison: -- that suggests that it’s less than half of that, not only I but other members of the assembly that were on the justice committee would be very interested in seeing it.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Chairman, I’d be very interested in having an interpretation of the 17 per cent maybe from the member for Hamilton Centre; how it was arrived at and whether it included those that were potentially available for rental.
Mr. M. N. Davison: I think, Mr. Chairman, there seems to be a role confusion. I’m not yet the Minister of Housing, it’s the chap across the way there.
Mr. Warner: You will be.
Mr. M. N. Davison: If you could simply produce this alleged document that purports to show an eight per cent figure; as I said if you would table that with the chair, we would all be very interested in seeing it. Will you do that?
Mr. Warner: Or have you been using Liberal research again?
Mr. M. N. Davison: Would you verbalize that nod?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Just about as verbalized as you asked me a few minutes ago to shake my head if I agreed; I said that we would table whatever documents and background we have on this particular subject.
Mr. Warner: We thought maybe you were falling asleep.
Mr. Epp: Mr. Chairman, speaking to vote 2101, I notice that in the briefing book there’s some elaboration with respect to women employees. There is a co-ordinator involved here, it says, “to equalize opportunity in all areas of employment and to redress past and present inequities.” This is in 2101, Mr. Minister. It seems to me there is a considerable amount of bureaucracy associated with this ministry in order to equalize these various opportunities for the women. I’m just wondering to what extent the minister is encountering resistance among the officials in the ministry to equalize this opportunity, because they have all kinds of meetings and so forth in order to give the women equal opportunity.
I might also refer to page 23, for instance, in your briefing book, Mr. Minister, where you state: “To achieve objectives, programs have been developed to promote and initiate changes in attitudes, policies and procedures.” What kind of changes are you anticipating? What kind of attitudes are you trying to correct in that ministry?
It seems to me that the former Minister of Energy, the member for Prince Edward-Lennox (Mr. J. A. Taylor), earlier indicated that you are a man of decision and that you are trying to cut through the undergrowth in a bureaucratic jungle. Obviously, you and your predecessors on that side of the House first created this bureaucratic jungle and this undergrowth that’s there, and now you have to be a man of decision in order to overcome that to try to give equal opportunity to the women in the ministry. I’m just wondering to what extent the problems are there and how you’re trying to correct them.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: Would you like me to answer that?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Chairman, I think the Ministry of Housing’s record over the years has been a good one in frying to change attitudes and relationships to women in the work force and in the senior positions.
Mr. Warner: Prove it.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: You asked the question about the undergrowth. I think it’s not only characteristic of the Ministry of Housing or the government of Ontario or Canada, I think it’s generally an attitude that’s prevailed for many years that the work force was basically dominated by the male situation and they rose to ranks in industry and in government that were not at one time achievable by women. Today that attitude has to be changed or turned around. I think that through the ministry and the work of the council for women and so on, within our ministry and others, that we have been able to make some impression upon the male factor employed within the ministry.
There are men who have never really had the position of where they had a woman boss or director of department, wherever it happens to be. I had the good fortune of starting my political career with a lady mayor known as Charlotte Whitton, so maybe it attuned me to things a little more practical than some other men who have come into the political world.
The fact remains that we have changed things around and I think there is certainly room for improvement. I would be the last one to deny that there isn’t room for improvement, but I think there has been a gradual and steady improvement of women in the senior positions within the Ministry of Housing.
You can look on page 25 of the briefing book and you will see some of the statistics that are there as to the improvement as we’ve gone along. For example, we have at the moment four directors of divisions within the ministry. That is not, I will admit to you, an increase in the last year or two except that the number of directors overall has decreased. So while number-wise it hasn’t gone up, percentage-wise it has.
Overall, the ministry is, along with others, with the women’s co-ordinator, Shirley Mancino, trying to bring an understanding to the male factor of the ministry, and indeed also to give some guidance and help to some of the women who are employed within the ministry as to what are the opportunities that they can achieve in this ministry, or indeed in other areas of the government. Overall, the program is one of information in trying to make people realize that there is a changing society out there and that women are entitled to an equal position within the work force.
Mr. Epp: I can appreciate the fact that you are trying to correct this and I know there is a problem associated with it. It just seemed to me in looking through this briefing book that there was a great deal of bureaucracy associated with trying to correct the problem. For instance, at one place hare it says: “At least three meetings of full 60-member women’s advisory committee of the ministry convened.” We know how difficult it is sometimes to work with 15 or 20 people at a meeting, and when you are convening a meeting of 60 people to try to accomplish what you are trying to accomplish with giving equal opportunity to the women within the ministry, I’m not sure whether much can be accomplished having that many people at one particular meeting.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: That’s a Liberal convention you have in mind.
Mr. Epp: Nevertheless, I do want to commend you on your approach to try to equalize the opportunities for the women.
While we are talking about vote 2101, I would like to get on one other thing, and that is the local housing authority, which also falls under this vote. I have had an opportunity of speaking with some people who are or have been members of housing authorities. They feel there’s a certain amount of efficiency associated with it, but as one person said, it’s the damnedest bureaucracy that he has ever seen. To try and put things into perspective, this person is very often complimentary about programs that the government is trying to undertake.
I’m trying to be very constructive with this point, Mr. Minister, and I am wondering whether more autonomy couldn’t be given to the local authorities. Apparently you always need about three or more stages of agreements to a particular problem where these various areas, the local, the branch and maybe the central office, then has to approve of certain projects. I’m just wondering whether you can’t decentralize some of this, not give more to the branches but give more authority and responsibility to the local authority. This person sincerely felt there were too many chiefs in the sense that they were spread out among various wings of the government and no real decision could finally emerge from it. I wonder whether you could address yourself to that particular problem and maybe indicate to this House and to this committee to what extent we could expect greater decentralization and more responsibility to be given to the local housing authority.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: To the member for Waterloo North, I want to open by saying I think the district housing authorities, or whatever might be their classification, and all of the people that have been appointed, serve this province and their various communities extremely well. They are appointed, as you know, from various government bodies, be it local, federal or provincial, in relationship to the participation of the authorities or the political forces that are involved.
I have been meeting with housing authorities across this province for the last few months as I travelled into various communities to open up senior citizens or other projects to discuss with them some of the difficulties, trying to get from them what they think are some of the areas where more autonomy should be given to them in running the affairs of that particular authority. I would hope that one of these days we would be able to conclude our position by giving certain responsibilities over to them.
I must warn you, first of all, that not all of them are very anxious to take on a great deal more authority. Some of them realize that the time and effort they spend in administrative work, that is the placement of people and the selection of people, take a great deal of time. I am not going to leave that as meaning all authorities think the same way. There are some I have invited to look at the possibility of going much further than just the areas which they have indicated to me they would like to try, to find out whether they might even like to take over in a sense, the whole portfolio in name, so that they feel they have a real vested interest in those particular units.
I will say to the member for Waterloo North that some of the complaints they have are justified and well-founded. They feel there are too many people they have to go through to get a final decision on a given improvement or change in one of their projects. As time goes on in my discussions with them, and with some final conclusions being reached, I hope in a reasonable period of time that I will be able to say to them that these are areas that I think should now go away from our ministry or the Ontario Housing Corporation and its board of directors or trustees and be vested with their authority.
I am again being very cautious. We are dealing with a major project in this province and we have to be careful because some of the authorities are not quite as big and do not have the authority and expertise, let’s say of those in Ottawa, Toronto, Windsor, Hamilton or London. I think we have to be just a slight hit careful we don’t give them a task or responsibility they may find very onerous and one that some of them would like to bow out of. We will discuss it with them, and I hope sincerely we can, as a provincial government and provincial ministry, remove ourselves more and more from the running of those local operations.
I want to conclude by saying that in no way -- and I have said this to each of the authorities that I have spoken with -- will it reduce our financial commitment in the shortfall between rents and cost of operation. If we should give some of the responsibilities back to the local authority, it will not mean that we will reduce in any way, shape or form our financial obligation to that authority on the 42.5 per cent or whatever other obligations we have with the housing units within their portfolio.
Mr. Bounsall: I have a question on a new area of this vote, relating to policy decisions and attitudes of the minister, the ministry and the government on a given program or given area of decision before them. It relates to the conference of provincial housing ministers with the federal minister André Ouellet last spring. It is my clear understanding that at that conference the federal minister indicated that the federal 50 per cent subsidy of OHC rent-geared-to-income programs would continue only if certain increased rents were extracted from the tenants across this country, that is if rather than the range they are paying of 17 to 25 per cent, each and everyone of them paid a full 25 per cent, including all senior citizens.
In addition, all income must be considered, including the baby bonus, which has not been included to this point and which for many families in Ontario would mean if they had three children a direct increase of $15 per month in their rent. Also an exact figure must be added to their rent for the heat and utilities which in some units are partially paid by the particular local authority. depending upon the design of the units and the requirements for all of them to have driers and so on. There has been no resolution, as I understand, of that, but I’m interested in knowing if this minister opposed that proposal at that federal conference. If so, how did he do it and hat counterproposals is he planning to make?
I have three points, but the third one is not so directly related as this one to that first question; it’s another question in the same area. The second question is related. If the federal minister continues to press that proposal and insists on going forward with that program -- but of course that program would allow for the provinces which wish to do so to continue the old and current rental scales which they have, provided they pick up the extra funds -- what is the attitude of this province, if the federal government is pushing this and is going to insist upon it, in picking up that additional money?
I refer to the money the federal government will not put into it because their calculation would be based upon their increased rent scale, a rent scale which is certainly discriminatory against and puts an added burden on all public housing tenants in Ontario. Certainly even the current one is not the rent scale we would like to see used in Ontario. What position has the minister taken throughout, and what position is this government going to take should the federal government insist upon it?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: When we did meet as federal and provincial ministers of housing last June -- I might go back even to February 1 of this current year -- Mr. Ouellet, at the time we first got into a review on the overall rent policies for public housing in Canada, didn’t spell it out quite as specifically on February 1 as he did in June, although I can tell you frankly that at the February 1 meeting I interpreted very correctly what he was about to try to impose upon municipalities.
It’s great for Mr. Ouellet and others to sit back and say, “We, the federal government. don’t establish the rent programs or policies,” and I’ll accept that as being correct. The fact is he said, “I want to know what the incomes are from those people in the housing units, be they senior citizens or family accommodation, and I want all incomes included.” As you said earlier, it included baby bonuses and the various other pension plans and so on that at the moment would be excluded from the income calculations.
We clearly, to a province, said to Mr. Ouellet, “Two things are not acceptable: First of all we don’t buy the fact of the 25 per cent rent-geared-to-income”; more specifically we’re not buying it on the new calculated annual income factors that he was putting together -- or proposing to us, I guess I’d better say proposing.
We also made it very clear to him that any agreements that are presently in place -- and you’ll appreciate every housing development has an agreement where the percentage factor and participation and so on have been recognized -- those would stay regardless of what Mr. Ouellet should propose. We did not take a position -- that’s all provinces -- in trying to resolve Mr. Ouellet’s problem. He said to us, “I’ll be back to you in the fall.” We had asked for a fall meeting to try and give his people and our people a chance to sit down and rework the thing. Herb Cray, the federal member from Windsor, I suppose gave us the first insight as to the change in policy at the federal level last week. He sent a letter to Mr. Ouellet and he wanted to know as a result of some meetings that had been held in Windsor what was going to happen to the rent-geared-to-income program in his community, and I guess on a general basis across the country. The first time that I was aware of the fact that CMHC appears, through the Minister of urban Affairs, to have withdrawn any proposals or even shown any intention of changing the rent scale at this time, or changing the income scales on which rent is calculated at this time in the public housing portfolio, came as a result of a reply to Mr. Cray’s letter. I had the opportunity, as every member of this House did, of reading it in the press last week.
To the best of my knowledge there is no new proposal before me now as the minister for Ontario, nor before my colleagues in the various other provinces, to have any change in rental formula or programs or percentages or calculation of income at this moment; none. We have not been called to a meeting and I can only gather that Mr. Ouellet’s policy indicated by letter to Mr. Cray is the one that will now stand for some period. My people in the Ministry of Housing are still in conversation and discussion with our friends at Central Mortgage and Housing as to exactly what they’re going to announce next.
Mr. Bounsall: That’s a most interesting way for the federal Minister of urban Affairs to operate, letting the ministers of housing across Canada know they may not be called to a fall meeting and may not he proceeding with the program by writing a letter to one of his own caucus members in Ottawa. It must place the ministers of housing and their staff in the various provinces in their proper perspective vis-â-vis backbench Liberal members in Ottawa. But if they should press this, what is the province of Ontario prepared to do? A year will go by before we come to these housing estimates, at which point another federal housing minister or the same one may well revert to this suggestion.
I would like to know the minister’s comments. Would he retain the present scale across Ontario even if that meant Ontario had to pay slightly more than the 42.5 per cent which they are now paying?
A great concern to many housing tenants across Ontario and in Windsor, where they are well organized in these matters, has been the minister’s statements in August and September about his willingness to sell off the geared-to-income housing stock, putting it on the private market. You can imagine the consternation, in spite of the fact the rental-geared-to-income scale under which they operate has not changed for years. We would have supported the majority of the revised FOTA scale proposal of a couple of years ago, hut in spite of all that they certainly recognize and fear, with some great justification, the placing of geared-to-income stock across the province of Ontario on the private market. I may not have caught all the minister’s press releases or speeches, but as far as I know he has not contradicted that statement, which first came forth on a radio program if my information is correct, indicating he would be willing to sell off the geared-to-income housing stock in the province of Ontario. Can the minister unequivocally indicate his attitude in this area at this point?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: On what the minister is prepared to do in relation to any further proposals by the federal government relative to increases in rents in public housing, I’m not one who likes to get into a speculation situation; nor am I prepared at this time to go into it any further. It’s going to have to be an agreement at which we will arrive. If for some reason the province of Ontario has to absorb a larger portion of the downside, I have a problem with municipalities because they’re a partner in this arrangement as well. The province isn’t the only jurisdiction which is going to have to pick up this shortfall. More than one government will be involved. So I can say to the members of this House it’s this minister’s intention, along with my colleagues in the other 10 provinces, and I could care less at this point what their political colour happens to be, to stand solid on the fact that we are not in a position to start absorbing more and more of the federal government’s castoffs in the cost of operating public housing.
We went into this project on a co-operative basis with an understanding it was essential. This government hasn’t backed away from that problem at any time. If we had, we wouldn’t have 93,000 units across the province and another X number of units in the rent supplement program. We know the importance of it. We’re not in a position to continue to absorb what everybody else wants to walk away from. Before we come to any conclusions with the federal government, we’ll have a policy that will make sure our financial commitment is no greater in the operating of these units than possible -- for us or for tenants. I am not going to go any further.
Let me go on to the second point, on the selling of stock. The BC government at this very time, to use the expression, has a trial balloon up to dispose of some of its public housing ownership that it acquired from a private corporation some years ago under an NDP government. They’re looking at the possibility of whether there is any practical move in it. I sent a letter to your leader just a week or 10 days ago answering this very specific question from him.
I said at this time it is not our intention to dispose of public housing stock. I will repeat, not at this time, because I think there are more and more programs going to come onstream, providing we can get the change in some of the situations at the federal level, that could help maybe to look at some areas where we are having trouble with public housing, and there are some areas we are not able to rent them.
In some areas we have people inquiring whether we would think of selling them to them. Rather than say carte blanche we are not going to do it, I say we have to leave it open. It is not basically our intention to dispose of the stock that we presently have under direct control or through the authorities in the various areas. However, I would not want to isolate the possibility that where there are a small number of units and people are interested in buying them, and the real need for public housing may not continue to prevail in that community, we couldn’t be in a position to entertain offers of purchase.
Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Chairman, I’m not going to repeat the arguments that my colleague from the New Democratic Party made in relation to the proposed increases in rental on the geared-to-income stock, especially as it pertains to my city. You have no idea how that upsets so many individuals living in geared-to-income housing in the community. They were so up in arms that were you to come into the community at that time I would have had fears for your life. They were so disturbed.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Thanks a lot.
Mr. B. Newman: I would hope the minister would have come out at that time when you had beard of the concern of those living in Ontario Housing units, that you would have come out there and point blank informed either the local members or the residents that under no circumstance would you permit at this time or at any time in the future a substantial increase in the rentals to these people. It’s difficult enough for them to live on their meagre incomes without having additional burdens placed on them.
I know the minister must have known about this considerably sooner, because you received copies of petitions signed by at least 650 in my own riding, plus those who lived in the Windsor-Riverside and the Windsor-Sandwich ridings. It disturbed me that the minister waited so long before he actually took any real action. I know he did reply to the letter sent to him by myself from the city of Windsor that strongly objected to any rental increases at that time. Could I have some comment from the minister concerning my comments?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Chairman, at the time the news got out -- and I can tell you it was two or three days prior to the conference of the ministers of housing from the provinces and the federal government -- somebody, and I have a fair idea who this somebody happens to be, was trying to fly a kite to see what was going to happen or what the response or reaction might be.
The fact is, I as the minister, and I think it was enunciated by others, knew a study was going to take place, yes. We anticipated meeting in November of this year to try and resolve whatever the study would bring to our attention. That meeting is not now going to take place. I take it as a result of Herb Gray’s letter the issue is dead at the moment.
I thought my position had been made clear in this House because I had been asked the question in this House on what were the discussions that related to the conference. At the time I made a statement in this House and I checked back and I think we also had a press release to try to clear up some of the difficulties and misunderstandings.
I have, indeed, had the opportunity of meeting with one Donna Gamble, who I am sure you are somewhat familiar with, from Windsor, who I am sure has --
Mr. B. Newman: A fine lady.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: -- extremely -- an understanding of the housing problems and the rent problems and rent-geared-to-income and so on. She is a lady who has lived in public housing units in Windsor for nigh on 20 years. Just about six weeks ago I spent an hour or more with Donna and some of my people in the ministry going over some of the programs and she brought up the rent factor, which seems to have been aggravated or agitated by certain individuals down in the Windsor area who seem to want to keep a little bit of stir going.
As often as we have sent letters to the tenants, to the association, Donna Gamble and others, explaining the situation very carefully to them, it seems to continue to fester. I'm not sure how much more as a minister, or as a ministry, or as a government we can do to still what would appear to be turbulent waters.
I would only suggest to you, if I might be permitted to make this suggestion, that your lines of communication to our Liberal friends in Ottawa might be somewhat better than mine and that you might just like to let it be known from your point of view to your friends there who make policy --
Mr. Warner: Are you kidding? These are the Ontario Liberals. Of Ontario.
Mr. Bounsall: They are ashamed.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: “Of” or “in”?
Mr. Makarchuk: The ones that already have a social disease.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Hold on, hold on. Let’s not get into that.
Mr. Bradley: I’m glad you used the term "our."
Mr. Chairman: Order. Order.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Certainly. I have to live in Ottawa so they are sometimes even neighbours of mine, but I still think some of you on that side of the House still have a little bit of influence -- not very much, but a little influence -- to indicate to them that they also should make a statement, more than just a letter to Herb Gray. Even though I appreciate Herb for having disclosed the letter, I think national policy and an announcement would clear the air for the tenants, politicians at the municipal level, at the regional level, indeed the provincial ministers and the Minister of Finance as to exactly what the score is all about at this moment.
Mr. B. Newman: Thank you for your comments, Mr. Minister. I can assure you that the communication between myself and my three federal members in Ottawa -- the Honourable Herb Gray, the Honourable Gene Whelan, and Mark MacGuigan, part of each of whose ridings is part of the riding of Windsor-Walkerville -- is very close. We keep informed very well. We don’t have any social disease similar to what my colleagues to the left keep talking about.
Mr. Makarchuk: We didn’t say you had it. We said the federal Liberals had it.
Mr. Epp: They’re socialists. When they speak of social disease, they know of what they speak.
Mr. B. Newman: Who would know about social diseases more than our colleagues to the left?
Mr. Deans: I demand that you repeat that. I didn’t hear it.
Mr. Chairman: Order. There’s nothing about social disease in this vote.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: We only treat it over here.
Mr. Deans: He’s a wart on the nose of humanity.
Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Chairman, I wanted to ask the minister about another project that apparently has been cancelled back in the community, and that is the Norton-Palmer project. How have you resolved that, Mr. Minister? Do you plan to carry on with it or are you going to dispose of the land and permit possibly someone else to develop it for housing in the community?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Chairman, at this very time there is a tender out for the disposal of this property. We have had some discussions with the municipality, which no longer shows an interest in this proposal. I hope that in the next short while I’ll have a chance to meet with the mayor of Windsor along with his treasurer to review not only this particular project and its problems that have been cultivated over a period of years, and the disposition of it and what the shortfall will be from the time the government acquired it, to the demolition, to the clearing, to the planning and whatever else has taken place, and what we get on the open market for this particular land. There is going to be a shortfall in the cost-to-selling price. We would like to get down to some serious discussions with our friends in Windsor as to who is going to pick up some of this shortfall.
I don’t want to go into the whole discussion tonight because obviously I’m going to be talking to the mayor about it and trying to get his point of view, or his council’s point of view, on this project, but there are others we have indicated we are prepared to become involved in on rent supplement and so on with their non-profit housing corporation. I suppose, in a sense of the word, the project that is going ahead at the moment is one that would take up whatever the slack is that would have been left as a result of Norton-Palmer.
Mr. B. Newman: Has your ministry studied the effects of the new Ford expansion in the community as well as the General Motors expansion, which amounts to some $450 million, and as a result the need for additional housing? Are you taking that into consideration before you decide that should possibly not be developed by Ontario Housing Corporation?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: As the member and all members of this House will know, we have housing reviews each year to assess the stock that is there and the needs that are going to be present with us for a period of four or five years.
The Ford and GM thing is a rather new development in that Windsor market. We have people right now trying to make an assessment of what the housing movement is going to be and the stock requirement. Let us not get ourselves tied into the fact that all housing is going to have to be provided by the government because it is not. The Norton-Palmer site could very well become a private housing development with rental rates in line with those who are going to be working in new establishments locating in Windsor.
We are looking at the housing market. We have been in discussion with people in the Windsor area and with the developers who have some rather large holdings in the Windsor area as to how quickly they are going to come on stream. Some of the money that was loaned through the Ontario housing assistance program, OHAP, obviously now will be made better use of and may be advanced more rapidly than had been intended or anticipated a year or so ago.
In other words, as a result of these funds, services have been brought into the community and land opened up more rapidly than had originally been anticipated. The developers and others are aware of the market situation. Having talked with one or two of them, they are extremely aware of what the pressures are going to be on housing requirements.
Bill Docherty, whom I am sure you know, is one. He has never taken a back seat in trying to provide something on lands that he happens to own. He is aware of what is going to develop and so are some of the associates in other businesses or other construction firms in that community.
We are not without knowing that there is going to be tremendous pressures. One thing we can fear most for Windsor as compared to other cities is that we do not find prices starting to escalate more rapidly than they should.
Mr. B. Newman: In an attempt to resolve the housing problem in the community, I am sure the minister is aware that the shortfall in housing is such, especially in the senior citizen area, that the average senior citizen must wait for approximately two years before he can be assured of getting some type of housing from Ontario Housing.
As a result of that, are you considering the use of the rent supplement program to alleviate the pressures and the need for the senior citizens in the community? There is a substantial amount of housing going on but there is a real backlog when it comes to the needs for housing by the senior citizens.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: There are two things. First of all, this minister and the government has the Hall farm which we are bringing on stream as rapidly as possible for development of some housing for the community.
The second thing is that the Windsor Non-Profit Housing Corporation is establishing senior citizen buildings and we are participating with them in the rent supplement program in those buildings by putting in 25 per cent of the units for people who would be on our senior citizen eligibility waiting list.
You will appreciate also that the supply of senior citizen accommodation is by invitation of the municipality, not by the government of Ontario through the Minister of Housing imposing itself on the community. There is participation by the municipality of 7.5 per cent. We have tried to respond as rapidly as possible in meeting the demands of each community.
I must say to you, that next year could present some difficulties inasmuch as some of the sections of the National Housing Act will disappear. Section 43 which we have been using for financing, 90 per cent through CMHC and 10 per cent by the province, will disappear. All of our funding will now have to come from the private sector and we might have some difficulty in encouraging the municipalities or authorities to start raising money from the private field.
I suppose one of the stronger supportive programs by Mr. Ouellet of recent days -- and I said in my opening remarks that we concur with them -- is in the non-profit co-op where there will be some advantage to the financing schemes as proposed by the federal government for which we have not signed an agreement.
I think one of the things Mayor Weeks wants to meet with us on is to discuss further senior citizen development and further projects for his Windsor Non-Profit Housing Corporation.
Mr. Deans: I want to raise a matter I think falls within this administration vote. Here comes my cigar. Thank you very much. It is awfully kind of you. I want the member for Fort William (Mr. Hennessy) to know something. I can’t be bribed with one cigar. Try another cigar and see what happens.
Mr. Bradley: Light it and it explodes.
Mr. Deans: I was even informed that’s on the record. I am not going to worry about it either. I want to raise this with you because I have been attempting for a long period of time to find a solution to a very delicate, difficult problem that confronts -- oh, I think probably 80 to 100 families in my constituency, and for which there is no ready answer. I met with your predecessor a year and a half ago perhaps and we had carried on some discussion, and I raised it marginally with you in private conversation a short time ago.
Let me be specific: In my constituency there is a privately owned mobile home park. As the result of a sale that took place about two years ago, the present owner no longer wishes to maintain it for his present use. We have got a big problem because I don’t have any other place for those people to live. Let me be bold and say I have 80 families, probably something in the order of 240 people, and they are going to be faced with eviction in the spring of the coming years.
I know Mr. Pope probably wants to talk to you but I want him to understand that I don’t want him to talk to you until I am finished. I would be very aggravated, in fact, if he interrupted.
Now I raise it with you as a last resort because it’s a real problem.
Ah, there’s Smiley back again -- missed his federal calling.
Mr. Eakins: That wasn’t very nice.
Mr. Deans: Anyway the interesting thing about all of this is as follows: The people who bought the mobile home park want to develop it for condominium purposes.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: A little NDP arrogance.
Mr. Deans: The 80 or 90 families -- oh, shut up -- who live there will be sifting on highway number eight in the not too distant future because there’s no place for them to go. The property is valued at something between $700,000 and $1 million depending on who you want to have appraise it.
The families individually stand to lose, as a result of the closure of the park, a considerable sum of money in every single case. For example, some who paid $14,000 to $20,000 to buy the mobile home, when they attempt to sell it, because there is no alternative location for it, find that it’s worth $2,500 or $3,000 or $4,000. So the amount of money that they lose individually, when added up over the total number of families involved, is at least the equivalent of the investment of the individual who purchased it in the first place.
Mr. Haggerty: You should see what their assessment is on it.
Mr. Deans: We had an Ontario Municipal Board hearing, as you may be aware, in the spring of the year and the board; I must be honest, did everything in its power to be of assistance. There obviously is nothing that was done that was illegal with regard to the rezoning application of the present owner. The municipality didn’t have any right to do other than to rezone it since the rezoning conformed with the overall plan of the municipality. So although we made a fairly impassioned plea to the municipality board for understanding, and they did in fact exercise some degree of understanding, they couldn’t delay the ultimate granting of the rezoning application for more than a year.
And that’s what they did. They said in the spring of last year that given the nature of the problem and the tremendous hardship that was to be exacted on these people, they were prepared to grant that although the application would be upheld there would be one year of grace between the date of their award and the date upon which the application was to take full force and effect.
Now you understand the background to it. It’s difficult. I don’t for one moment depreciate the problem. But I want to tell you that I have now been through your ministry; I have been through Central Mortgage and Housing; I have spoken to the local municipality; I have talked to the regional council people. There is no way I can see that these individuals, good law-abiding citizens who in good faith located in an area which appeared to have a degree of stability since it had been there for many years -- there doesn’t appear to be any way that these people are going to be able to find a place upon which to place the mobile homes they own in order to live.
I asked Ontario Housing whether it might be possible to use some land already owned by the corporation, and to develop a model park, and to allow these people to live in that model park to show that not only do we pay lip service to the concept of mobile homes as a legitimate way of life, but that we are prepared to take some steps to legitimize it in the public’s eye and become involved in it. That met with about as much success as many other things that I have suggested. Therefore, I looked for alternatives.
What I need is, I need about $750,000.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: Then we would never see it.
Mr. Deans: I don’t know why you sit muttering.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: Who are you talking to?
Mr. Deans: You. You muttered when you sat behind me. You muttered when you were a minister. And you mutter in the back row.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: And you are still babbling.
Mr. Deans: And not only that, you are consistently wrong.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: You wouldn’t have the intelligence to know the difference.
Mr. Deans: Not only that, but do you know something? You don’t give a damn for people. That’s what worries me.
To get back to the minister.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: You know something? You had better search your conscience and start telling the truth.
Mr. Deans: Why don’t you go and have a coffee or something? You’re more of an aggravation than you are a help.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: You are just a performer. Go out to Hollywood.
Mr. Deans: Are you going to go on yapping for ever?
Mr. J. A. Taylor: Go get yourself an award.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Can we have some order, please, the member for Prince Edward-Lennox?
Mr. Deans: Would you ask him to shut up?
Mr. J. A. Taylor: Don’t be so arrogant.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Would the member for Wentworth please allow me to look after the heckling?
Will the member for Prince Edward-Lennox please refrain from interjecting and will the member for Wentworth ignore the interjections and please continue with his speech, in parliamentary language.
Mr. Deans: It is not a speech.
I’m really at a loss to know what to do in this situation. I frankly don’t see a way out. I can see the Ontario Provincial Police standing on highway 8 in Stoney Creek one day some time within the next six months trying to find a way to accommodate 80 families. I can see people losing their entire life savings because there is no alternative for them, not only in that region but nowhere within reasonable access of where they presently live. That’s why I don’t appreciate the comment of the member for Prince Edward-Lennox. He doesn’t understand the problem.
What I am suggesting is this; there are a couple of things we might consider. First of all, a number of these people would be content, I think, to attempt to form some kind of co-operative, some kind of condominium, to do anything at all in order to allow themselves to have a place to live. But they can’t do it under existing law -- although I understand the law is currently being changed -- as it doesn’t accommodate mobile homes. It hasn’t up until now. On top of that it is very difficult in the circumstances to raise the necessary capital in order to purchase from the present owner.
The present owner has in conversation with me indicated a willingness to sell the property. He is prepared, as I understand it, to arrive at a reasonable price. He has suggested to me that he would be prepared to sell it with a first refusal, in terms of any future sales, in order that in the event those people who purchased wanted at some future date to sell it -- sometime within the next five or 10 years -- he would be given first opportunity to buy at the then going market price. So there is a certain willingness on his part to accommodate the need.
I wonder if there isn’t, somewhere in the ministry, someone who could appraise the property so that we know how much we are really talking about in terms of actual market value, and if the ministry couldn’t find a way, either jointly or singly, to fund the purchase of the property in order that I don’t end up with a number of people who don’t have a place to live.
Perhaps the minister could respond to those two points and then maybe I could pursue it with him at some short duration.
Mr. Haggerty: There is a lot of land available out in Nanticoke.
Mr. Deans: I can’t get it, not for these purposes.
Mr. Haggerty: The government owns all kinds of it out there.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I appreciate the fact the member for Wentworth has spoken with the former minister on the problem. With regard to the proposal the member put forward tonight that we look at using some of the Stoney Creek land, I’m informed I’m not sure whether we have correspondence on it or whether it’s all been verbal discussion with municipalities and so on -- they weren’t very receptive to that type of park being established. I realize most municipalities have frowned on mobile home parks, particularly because of the way they were established years ago, the debris and so on and the reckless use made of the park.
We have some very interesting mobile home parks being developed by various people in this province today. I would have to look this up to be sure, but I am told that there might be a section that affords some support under the new Residential Tenancies Act. I believe Mr. Grossman, when he was Consumer and Commercial Relations minister, said as a result of some discussions by a colleague of yours, Mr. Wildman from Algoma, they would look at introducing legislation in the spring session that would relate to mobile parks and their establishment and retention.
The only other point I could make is that no matter what use the Ontario Municipal Board has made its decision on, it’s been deferred for a grace period of one year.
Mr. Deans: They have no alternative.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: There are a number of things involved here. I have to tell you honestly I have not been that closely associated with the overall review, but I am prepared to ask my people to look at it. There might be some proposals such as trying to get them to establish a co-op at this time. I don’t know whether that’s possible, but it’s something we could determine once we know their financial position.
I’m not about to try to make some great offers tonight without knowing the financial obligations or even the incomes of the individuals involved. If you start that, you can get involved in just about any co-operative purchase and the government would have an ongoing obligation that is unrealistic. I will have my people in the ministry do a further review, both of the new act as introduced by the Consumer and Commercial Relations minister today, and on the Stoney Creek possibility and whether there has been any correspondence with the municipality or whether it’s all been in a verbal form.
Mr. Deans: Let me suggest this to you: we’re not talking about a hypothetical situation, we’re talking about a problem that will reach ahead in the next six months, at the maximum. It’s not a matter of, “Is there something we can do?” I don’t see how we can avoid doing something. I really don’t. I don’t understand how we can sit back and watch this sort of thing happen to people.
I’ve looked at them. They are just people, for heaven’s sake. They go to work every day. They earn a living every day. They have chosen to purchase a mobile home. They discover at some future date they don’t have a place to put it.
It’s not as if they’ve bought it with the knowledge that this was going to happen. The knowledge wasn’t there for most of them. For some, perhaps, but for most it wasn’t there. I don’t have the figures in front of me, but as I recall the collective amount, the people who live there stand to lose in the order of $600,000. That’s the depreciated value on the mobile homes they own. The purchase price of the property was only $500,000 when it was bought, and that’s only four years ago.
I can understand that you’re reluctant, and I can appreciate that not everything can be done immediately, but I don’t know what you do about things like this. I really don’t understand it anymore. I’m sick and tired of it. I have spent the best part of the last three years trying to find a solution. I can’t get this neanderthal council to move. I can’t help it. They come from some other period in history and they don’t understand that there are certain obligations, damn it. We own a bit of property. We own a fair bit of property. This is a valuable piece of property and I understand that.
Frankly, I don’t care who owns it. But I don’t want to see those families deprived of a place to live because on the one hand, the bureaucracy was too difficult to get through or, on the other hand, because we’re too damned stubborn to look seriously at it as a problem.
If I thought I could raise the $700,000 or whatever the number is, privately, I would do it. But I suspect that because of the appreciated land values at this time, to find a way to work out a system that would enable all those families to share equitably in the indebtedness that would result from the raising of a $700,000 or $800,000 mortgage would be virtually impossible.
If it were downtown Toronto, for God’s sake, and they were trying to tear down some buildings on a street, somebody could do something about it. These are honest, hardworking people. I’m sick of the council and I’m tired of the run-around. I’ve nothing to gain by it. They’ll never have to vote for me again. I don’t frankly give a damn. But I don’t want to see them standing on highway 8; and I don’t want to see them lose their investment; and they don’t have to lose their investment.
I ask you: please, please find in your ministry someone somewhere who can find a solution to this problem. It is the most difficult problem I have confronted on a personal basis in the 11-plus years I’ve spent in the Legislature.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I have no doubts that the member for Wentworth is sincere in the difficulties he’s expressed here tonight. I think he has assessed it well. Governments just don’t start running in every time there’s a problem and try to bail the situation out. We’ve got to have a few facts and figures.
I haven’t got the breadth of knowledge of this particular subject that the member for Wentworth has and I appreciate his expressions here tonight. I will try to get myself better informed about the particular case. But on the other band, let me go one step further and say that to the best of my knowledge we have had no direct request from the individuals who sit in that path.
Mr. Deans: Oh yes, you have.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: There are a number of areas. I would like to offer this suggestion: If we’re in a position -- and I don’t know whether we are; I’d have to know something more about their financial capabilities, their incomes, and so on -- they might get into the position of forming a co-op. It could very well be that until December 31 of the current year that co-op financing program is still available from Central Mortgage and Housing. There’s 20 per cent up-front money and the balance would be paid back on a monthly basis, the same as any other mortgage commitment, which would be their land ownership in a condominium corporation. I suppose there are some ways --
Without knowing all the facts, it’s difficult to try and say to the House tonight that we can or cannot handle this problem. But I will ask my deputy, through his good offices, to make sure somebody is assigned to the case, to meet with some of the people, and find out what their financial positions happen to be.
I think you will appreciate it’s very difficult to go to Central Mortgage and Housing or any other corporation and try to put some proposal before them before you have the facts and figures that will support it.
If the member has anything further --
Mr. Deans: Give me a name and let’s get on with it.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: We’ll get somebody in touch with you in the next day or two, and we'll see what we can find out.
If you’ve got any further information on financial capabilities, you can forward it to the minister’s office and I will see that it gets into the right hands.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: I’d like to go bath, if I may, to the question involving Ontario Housing and that particular area of concern which we were discussing before the member for Wentworth spoke.
Mr. Bradley: As long as you don’t mumble.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: No fear of that. That’s only when in doubt, mumble. I look at a lot of that, but I certainly won’t provoke you this evening.
I’m wondering, Mr. Minister, if you could comment on some of the concerns that I see in the housing field, that we’ve been discussing. It’s been said time and time again that it’s becoming more difficult for a citizen of Ontario to buy his own house.
As a matter of fact, it is becoming more difficult just to make ends meet with what is happening in terms of crumbling currencies, the inflation and the total economic problems with which we’re confronted. We have a ministry of government involved in providing one of the essentials to keep body and soul together, and that is shelter. On the one hand, we have a very tortuous process in regard to land development and construction.
Mr. Haggerty: We’ve got 20,000 acres in the city of Nanticoke that we don’t know what to do with.
Mr. Makarchuk: Come on now, that’s a lot of bull.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: We have all kinds of dwelling units vacant, single family because they’re not affordable. We have condominiums vacant for another reason.
Mr. Makarchuk: That are falling apart.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: They may have a bad name right now if you read the papers. Also, people are appreciating better what it costs to live in a condominium, and yet we have more pressure, as I see it, put on the public sector in terms of providing housing accommodation.
If you look at the spectrum, senior citizen housing -- we understand the reason for that. I think all of us here are committed to doing what we can to assist the elderly. Times may be changing there as well, because remember when we got into many of these programs the older people didn’t have the same pensions. They didn’t have the same income that people working now will have when they retire.
Where is that leading us in regards to your role, Mr. Minister, as a landlord? I dare say that you’re the biggest landlord on the North American continent. You said you have over 93,000 units.
Maybe you can indicate how many of those units are senior citizen units and how many of those units are family units? What are your management costs in terms of senior citizen units and family units? I understand it, and you can please correct me and comment on it, that it costs government 30 per cent more to administer family housing units than it costs private enterprise to manage those units. Where are we going in that?
Mr. Minister, what are your programs in terms of auxiliary help to families in Ontario Housing? In other words, you have your craft programs and your playgrounds and so on, but what social programs are you involving yourself in in regard to this housing? Are you reviewing your rents?
Again, we have possibly one or two people working now in a family geared-to-income unit. If you have that, how do you weed out those that really need the accommodation and those who would like to just enjoy cheaper housing? There are a lot of people who are struggling to pay off their own mortgages who may be in a worse position than two people in a family who are working and living in rent-geared-to-income housing.
Remember in the housing market, in rentals, it’s one area where we have price controls in an inflationary period. So some of these matters concern me. Also, if you could respond to comments that you’re getting out of the housing business, do you intend to dispose of the housing stock? You made brief reference to that a few moments ago. What about your mortgage portfolio? Again, I understand that you’ve sold something over $100 million in terms of your mortgage portfolio. Are you making money or are you losing money on that type of transaction?
Again, I’m concerned, and there’s the mention of ministerial pronouncements at the federal level by Mr. Ouellet. What is the federal government doing? I commented earlier that the federal government doesn’t seem to have a housing policy. It’s an ad hoc approach to housing. It’s a tool they use to prime the economic pump. Now I gather the rules are changing again. What do you do? How can you develop a consistent long-term program that people understand and can rely on, if you have people in Ottawa who do up to 90 per cent of the financing under NHA, and are now saying that they are going to withdraw that financing --
Mr. Bradley: You have always taken 95 per cent of the money.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: -- and they will guarantee up to 75 per cent financing if they go to the private sector, through conventional sources, and then they will put some riders on as to whom you can take in that building -- what percentage would have to be low-income families.
What hope of success do you see in terms of that type of proposal? Surely there are social values and problems inherent in that type of a situation as well. Maybe you can give some opinion as to whether or not the federal government is truly serious in involving itself in a long-term housing policy and program, or whether its present proposals are destined to failure. Because I have some very serious reservations as to whether the proposals as I understand them would be workable and I would appreciate hearing the minister’s comments.
Mr. Bradley: Are you running federally in the next election?
Mr. J. A. Taylor: I don’t think so. I made a deal with Mr. Deans that if he quit, I would.
Mr. Swart: Are you trying to get back in the cabinet again?
Mr. J. A. Taylor: No chance.
Mr. Warner: Great speech.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: In relationship to some of the remarks made by the member for Prince Edward-Lennox: The first remark was that it was more difficult to buy a home. No doubt, at this very time in our market and in the history of mortgages, it certainly is not getting easier for any income group to buy a home because of rising mortgage rates as a result of the Bank of Canada adjusting its rates in recent days. I could go through some figures which would indicate that when the mortgage market rises from 10¼ per cent to 11 per cent or a little better, it has a rather substantial impact on those wishing to purchase homes, particularly in the lower income groups.
Mr. Warner: You could do something if you wanted to.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: But there is a greater percentage of Canadians and Ontarians owning their own homes in this province today than ever before.
Mr. Warner: You don’t understand, do you? You just don’t understand.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Our records indicate very clearly that at the present situation about 65 per cent of Ontarians own their own home and 35 per cent are in a rented position.
Mr. Warner: They don’t own them.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: As I indicated in my opening remarks on Friday that if you look at the short-run projections we’ve made for housing requirements and so on that there is still a very keen desire by Ontarians to own their homes. That trend will continue even in greater percentages in the next, four, five or six years. It is projected that by 1981 about 74 per cent of Ontarians will own their own home and 24 per cent will be in the rental market.
Mr. Warner: They won’t own it -- when are you going to understand that? They pay exorbitant mortgage rates. They don’t own them.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I suppose that if you say they have a mortgage on it -- most people in this province and country do have a mortgage on their home. There are very few who are able to go out and pay solid cash. So let’s be realistic, that’s ownership.
Mr. Warner: Then stop saying they own them.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: It’s as much ownership in the house as it is having a car financed and calling it yours and having it licensed in your name. The fact is, they are paying it off and they are accruing an equity in that home and it’s theirs.
Mr. Warner: And they are paying exorbitant mortgage interest rates you are not doing anything about.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Well, exorbitant mortgage interest rates. I haven’t seen your unions who put out mortgage money giving any great breaks in interest rates to anybody in this country, period. So let’s not cut them up -- cut up everybody else.
Mr. Mackenzie: Unions don’t have money for mortgages, you ought to know that.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: No? Co and look at the market situation.
Mr. Swart: Their jobs are to protect themselves against your friends.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: They seem to accumulate a fair amount of revenue for purposes that sometimes are questionable.
Mr. Warner: On a point of order, Mr. Chairman, if the minister intends to malign, then perhaps he would bring out the facts. What is the specific questionable case to which you are referring?
Mr. J. A. Taylor: Stand up when you talk to him.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I wasn’t referring to a specific case. I referred to the fact that the unions have mortgage money out in the marketplace in this country, and I don’t see their rates below Bank of Canada or anybody else.
Mr. Swart: What about the word “questionable”?
Mr. Warner: Give a specific example.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I didn’t give a specific one nor do I intend to.
Mr. Mackenzie: Nor could you; that’s the problem.
Mr. Warner: Of course not, you are not able to. You are totally irresponsible.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Since you fellows all want to offer so much advice, maybe you’d like to tell us what they are getting.
Mr. Mackenzie: It is nice to know what you think of some organizations.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Dealing with the question of aging population and the requirement for more senior citizen accommodation, I want to deal on a more general aspect and why should government continue to build housing for the public sector. I can speak favourably about the programs put in place by Central Mortgage and Housing.
Mr. Mackenzie: What are you going to do, start bashing people just the way you bashed unions?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: We should be looking at rent supplement programs rather than the ownership of units, contracting for a percentage of units in the private sector for family accommodation or for senior citizen accommodation. We have been rather successful. At this point, we have something very close to 11,500 rent supplement units scattered throughout communities where people of varying incomes live within the same project or same apartment building.
Mr. Mackenzie: Fantastic.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: The program itself is a valid one, and one that governments will be looking at much more seriously as time goes along because of the shortage of capital funding.
I’ll have to get that figure, comparing the cost of operating rent supplement units and units which we own, for the member, but I’d like to show some of the figures relating to total operating losses incurred in Metropolitan Toronto and in the rest of the province on an average,
In Toronto right now, the average assisted family unit is running about $3,000 a year in subsidies, which divides out 50 per cent federal, 42½ per cent provincial, and 7½ per cent municipal funding.
Mr. Mackenzie: It says a lot for the state of their income, doesn’t it?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: But the average for the province is just short of $2,700 annually. For senior citizens, the average across the province -- and you will appreciate that the senior citizen portfolio is basically controlled within the Housing Corporation of Metropolitan Toronto -- is costing us just slightly better than $2,000 in shortfall.
The rent supplement program averages out to about $2,230 in Toronto, about $2,102 for the rest of the province, with an average of $2,150 for the rent supplements. So you can see there is a fairly interesting difference between the cost in ownership by the province, and by the private sector. I shall secure the cost of operating for the member.
Mr. Mackenzie: It says a lot about what we are asking them to live on. You ought to be ashamed about that kind of income for people.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: We were asked, if I recall correctly, about the nonprofits and the co-ops, their existence in this province, the help they derive from the federal and provincial governments, and the up-front money we give to both of them in a percentage factor -- 10 per cent of the project compounded at eight per cent for 15 years. In this case, it has been our policy not to exceed the 25 per cent rent supplements in any given project. There have been one or two exceptions to that particular rule as a result of some problems that I gather happened to come into place before the actual agreement had been signed by the co-op or the nonprofit group.
But we have asked that the 25 per cent factor of rent supplements be taken from the waiting list of the housing authority in the very community in which the units are being built. Not all have been completely co-operative. The municipal nonprofits have been very co-operative. Some of the others are not as receptive to taking people off our waiting list, even though they realize they have to have a 25 per cent factor of rent supplements in some of their projects to make them viable. We shall work to gain their cooperation and understanding so that we can take more and more people off the waiting lists that exist in the various municipalities.
Mr. Epp: Could I just get a clarification from the minister? Without getting into semantics of ownership and rental housing, Mr. Minister, you indicated earlier that currently 65 per cent of the people of Ontario own their homes and 35 per cent rent their homes. In 1981, I guess, it’s projected that about 24 per cent would be rental and that would make 76 per cent ownership.
I think that you indicated that the current ownership of 65 per cent is higher than ever before in Ontario’s history. I don’t have any figures to dispute that, but I find that particularly difficult to accept.
I don’t want to suggest that you’re deliberately misleading the House or anything of that nature, but in my own community of Kitchener-Waterloo about 10 years ago there Was about 86 per cent ownership. That has gone down considerably in the last 10 years, and I would have thought that 10, 15, 20 years ago the ownership as opposed to rental housing would have been higher than is currently the case. I presume that your ministry is trying to reverse the present trend, or if the trend is to more ownership at the moment to try to accelerate that trend. I just wonder if you could give a clarification to the House on that particular item.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Chairman, I appreciate there were some cases in the member’s riding where there was a very substantial ownership. In some parts of the province it exceeds the percentage that you mentioned for your particular riding a few moments ago.
The expression is that the demand situation that we will experience would indicate the trend of a 74-26 per cent split in housing demands, ownership versus rental. That is what we see as the situation in 1981. that the demand situation will show about 74 per cent ownership, versus 26 per cent rental.
There was a question asked that I gather I omitted to answer. It was the percentage of units sold in the province in the past year that were at the AHOP or below the AHOP price limit. About 30 per cent of all houses sold in the province were below that AHOP limit. In the Metro area that percentage was 32 per cent that were below the $47,000 AHOP price limit set for this particular area.
Mr. Epp: Without trying to belabour this, can you give me a figure of what the ownership was maybe 10 years ago as opposed to rental, or 15 years ago -- just pick some arbitrary figure, 10, 15, 20 years ago?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Chairman, I’ll look that up.
Mr. Epp: Thank you.
Mr. Dukszta: I would like to ask the minister some questions about his targets for housing started, housing completed for this year and for the next couple of years. I was also struck, in the opening remarks that lie made, by his introduction of a new system of estimating the housing needs for Ontario. I would like to comment both on an appropriate way of dealing with the need for housing and specifically about the minister’s method of estimating housing needs.
If you look at long-term needs in housing I suppose Barnard’s study is as good as any other. It suggests that there will be a need for continuous housing being built in Ontario probably until 2001. That is a very long-term need. if you look on an immediate basis, I don’t know whether the minister would accept it but I would say that there are 18,982 people on waiting lists for Ontario housing. If you multiply by an average 2.5 the 18,982 people on the waiting lists, the minister can confirm for me that figure and also tell me how many people that involves in an average family. I understand there are 6,199 people on OHC lists in Metro. That’s on an immediate basis. I would suggest that there is a continued need for further housing.
The minister said among other things that now there’s a lot of housing available in condominiums and said that one third of all housing available is in the AHOP range. Those were his own words. I suggest to you, Mr. Minister, that that range which you consider affordable is no longer applicable to the majority of people, The latest figures suggest that only about 4.4 per cent of people in Ontario could now afford housing in comparison to something like 17 per cent a few years back. So when you talk about affordability of housing in the AHOP range, I say to you that it’s in fact no longer applicable.
To cover up and to justify for the failure of the Ministry of Housing in providing the necessary houses or planning for the future needs you have invented that new term called remedial planning. On page two of your opening remarks, the reason you gave for this intermediate planning, for the fact that you don’t need to do anything more, that you can rest on your laurels, is that the population is ageing, the net immigration is down to the relatively low level of about 25,000 people a year from the peak of about 86.000 which occurred in 1973-74, and that the birth rate is at a very low level indeed.
Mr. Chairman, I would like especially to look at that, In the most recent Statistics Canada report on international and inter-provincial migration in Canada, published August 18, 1978, it is said that in 1976-77, 62,273 people immigrated to Ontario while 18,583 left, for a total net immigration of 43,690, a figure rather more close by now to 50,000 than the minister’s 25,000. I’m certain that the minister did not intend to misinform the House, nor would I imagine that he would in the future, he was just merely maybe ignorant of the figures.
This will be one of the questions I’m asking: Can the minister indicate what statistical information he has which is more reliable than this Statistics Canada figure? That’s question number one What evidence is there of such a dramatic change in the birth rate which would substantiate the minister’s belief that 10,000 fewer housing units are needed in Ontario between now and 1981? It is my understanding that the number of births per 1,000 has remained fairly constant. It was 15 per 1,000 in 1975, 14.68 per 1,000 in 1977. Barnard himself, the minister’s consultant, says that the changes in the fertility rate are only significant for household growth after 1996.
Following your answer to the first question, which is somewhat methodological, maybe the minister could tell me more generally, how many houses do you expect to build in Ontario this year? CMHC figures now say that 75,000 will be built, so the shortfall will be about 3,000 units. Then you are at least 10,000 units short of what you thought was necessary only three months ago. Maybe you could try to answer both questions now. I have a couple more for later.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: There are a couple of points raised by the member. First of all, he indicated that the gross waiting list, I gather that was his remark for the province of Ontario and all public housing, all housing authorities, pardon me, was 18,982. There are a couple of things that you have to consider. First of all, not everybody on a waiting list will be eligible. There are a great number of people who come to members of this House, including myself, and ask how they go about making application for the possibility of becoming a tenant in one of the provincially owned housing developments.
I am sure their applications go on file and over a period of time they will be assessed as to whether they are eligible for participation in the project or not. Even when their point system is very low compared to the eligibility, or very high, whichever way you happen to look at it, in getting access, they’re still put on the waiting list. So sometimes the waiting list has a rather misleading indication to the political forces.
It’s one of the areas where I have asked the ministry, through the housing authorities, to find out if there isn’t a more logical way of coming to the conclusion on what is an eligible waiting list rather than having everybody on there whether they will be eligible or not, so that we have a very practical understanding of exactly what is the requirement in this province.
The other point -- and I make it very clear -- is, the government at this time, either through the ownership of developed new OHC units, or through the rent supplement, will not get itself into a position where it’s going to need 100 per cent of that waiting list at any given time. Our experience has been, and I’m sure will continue to be, that there’s a rollover factor in public housing, both seniors and family, of about 10 per cent per year. This is a result of people wishing to leave public housing either because their income is advanced or because they’re moving out of town, or for other reasons such as they’ve been able to buy into an AHOP program or something of that nature, and with seniors in some cases it’s because they pass on. As a result we have a rather interesting turnover in the public housing tenancy portfolio.
The other areas I think we ignore at this time are that the city of Toronto and Metropolitan Toronto, along with the non-profit organizations, along with the co-ops and the limited dividend programs and so on, are coming onstream -- by agencies other than the Ontario Housing Corporation or the authorities that report to us. I think those have to be taken into account.
For example, just last Saturday I had the opportunity of being present and participating in the official opening of 107 units -- the first 100; there will be 107 when they’re completed -- in the city of Ottawa. This Saturday I will be in Ottawa again opening up a very large co-op project, and the following week another one. Those, while they’re not registered with Ottawa Housing Authority, or with our ministry, are still there and a percentage of them will come to us as rent-supplement programs to assist us in depleting the number of eligible people on our waiting list. I think you have to take all of these things into account.
My friend opposite asked why did we reassess the number of housing units we require. There are a couple of reasons and I mentioned them in my opening statement, which the member referred to. The fact is that Barnard, when he was looking at the situation a year or two ago, worked on the birth rate to indicate what the needs would be and he also worked on an immigration and migration rate. It has come to our attention through Statistics Canada that rate is not going to be achieved in the years to come. I’m not sure what the member said -- you had some figures of 62,000 and something minus 18,000 and something. Am I correct?
Mr. Dukszta: Mr. Minister, let me repeat this for you. Statistics Canada, in the report on international and interprovincial migration in Canada, published on August 18, 1978, which is probably as recent as you can possibly get, said that in 1976 to 1977, 68,273 people immigrated to Ontario while 18,583 left, for a total net immigration of 49,690. The reason I am quoting this is the figure is much closer to Barnard’s 50,000 than to the minister’s 25,000.
I ask specifically, since the minister is making a decision on this false data that he should not build 10,000 units -- it’s not the minister’s fault, but it is false data. The minister has no support for it; he just sucked it out of his thumb. I can question him on it because I question the whole decision of not proceeding with the building of 10,000 more units, or supporting it or in any sense stimulating it as is his responsibility as a minister.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: May I ask the member one further question of clarification? What period did this figure relate to?
Mr. Dukszta: I say once more that it was published August 18, 1978, and it refers to 1976 to 1977. Those are the most recent figures available.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Chairman, that was referring to last year, which I recognize as their projection on immigration if I understand correctly.
Mr. Dukszta: Correction: this is not a projection, this is a publication from Statistics Canada. I am again pointing out to you -- don’t question their figures, they are published with the work well done. I question the minister’s, which seem to have no statistical evidence or even any type of study done to examine them.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I can only say that the federal government itself is now projecting that the net migration to this country, to Canada, for the coming year will be about 40,000, and that’s what we’re projecting our target requirements for in housing. We’re going to use that along with the birth rate to come to the conclusion that in the range of an annual average of about 78,000 units will be required to house Ontarians between now and 1981.
Obviously we have taken into calculations the migration figures as given to us by Ottawa which is, I take it, the best source we can get at this point Indeed, we have tried to use the live birth rate that we will have in this province, and with those put together we have come to the conclusion that the number of units will h in the range of 78,000.
We can sit here and argue all night about whether the migration to this country is going to be 40,000 or 100,000, but at the moment the federal government has indicated its intention is to try to limit it to 40,000 positions. I think we should wisely use their statistics and their indications of migration for the housing determinations of the province.
I said this Use other night and I repeat it. There’s no sense in us going on and developing more and more inventory if there is no market to buy it. It’s time we in this society stopped constantly trying to use the construction industry, the housing industry, as the economic tool of development and allowing thousands and millions of dollars to be invested in inventory that isn’t moving. It’s ridiculous. The mortgage companies have been telling government at provincial and federal levels for a long time that they should stop and start to assess markets and nut play the political game of numbers only in units. Maybe we should take some advice for a change, us and the federal government. To continue to build units that have no ready markets doesn’t really make a great deal of sense.
I say to you that after meeting with a great number of mortgage companies who have hundreds of millions of dollars sifting in dead inventory at this moment, it’s time we started to assess what the market requires and not just try to produce units for political satisfaction, whether it be federal, provincial or municipal. We’ve got to find a market and we should be building to that market the same as we do in any other commodity in this country.
Mr. Mackenzie: They’ll now ask you to get them off the hook, that’s all.
Mr. Dukszta: Two points: The minister accepted my figures of the people waiting on the OHC lists.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I accepted the qualification, eligibility.
Mr. Dukszta: You accepted the figures, with qualifications. It is very easy administratively to change the criteria and remove in fact the whole 18,000 people --
Mr. J. A. Taylor: You do that all the time.
Mr. Dukszta: -- who desperately need housing just by administrative fiat on your part. I don’t question that you have that power. If you changed the criteria, you could remove all of them.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: That’s your technique.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: We haven’t changed any criteria.
Mr. Dukszta: That does not change the fact that there are 18,000 people still needing some housing. In your own area the Ottawa social planning council says that in that small area there are at least 1,400 households which would fit into the criteria of Ontario Housing Corporation and who need housing better than they are living in at the moment --
Mr. J. A. Taylor: What kind of housing?
Mr. Dukszta: -- because they live in crowded conditions.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: How do you define that? Mr. Dukszta: You did not disagree with my figure of over 6,000 people waiting in Metro.
Again, I said to you that you are ignoring the issue. You are ignoring the issue by simply changing the administrative criteria. By changing these and saying those people have --
Mr. J. A. Taylor: You are ignoring the issues.
Mr. Dukszta: -- no further need, you say there is no further need to build, the same way you have manipulated statistics of your own invention or from your own ministry to prove that there is no further need for housing. Simply, you are wrong about the figures for immigration; you are wrong about the figures for the fertility rate, as you are wrong in almost all your estimates for the further housing needs of Ontarians.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: Oh, you are an expert on fertility. You tell us.
Mr. Gregory: He is not wrong about you.
Mr. Dukszta: We cannot base our estimate of what is needed in housing on your figures since they match nothing which is available at the moment. So at least admit you have not the slightest idea what you are talking about statistically.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: Shame on you.
Mr. Dukszta: I have no doubt that you have not the slightest idea in terms of what’s needed to be done in housing.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: That’s not nice talk. Don’t he vicious.
Mr. Dukszta: Could you comment for me, since I want to end up with a question, on the letter which went to you from the social planning council of Ottawa-Carleton, which suggested that in that small area there are at least 1,000 households which, in the opinion of the council, aren’t on the Ottawa housing authority waiting list, but should be?
Mr. Gregory: Fellow travellers.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I would comment on a couple of things. First of all, I didn’t accept your rate of 18,692 as being eligible. I said there was a great difference between who is on the waiting list and who is eligible. I think you have to draw from your own common sense that there can be a very drastic difference.
You can set the fertility rate at any rate you want to set it at and you can set the immigration rate at anything you want, but I am going to accept the federal government’s position at the moment in relationship to that for calculation, It seems to be the most practical place to start rather than having the province of Ontario or indeed any other province going off in their own flippant way deciding what the immigration rate is going to be for this country and this province.
The fact that we have 6,190 or so applications on the waiting list in Metropolitan Toronto is correct. I didn’t say they were all eligible. Very clearly I don’t know.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: It doesn’t mean anything.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: We won’t know until a complete household assessment is done on each one and a reassessment prior to the time they might be eligible to move into public housing. I do know that with the number of units we have in the city of Toronto, the turnover is roughly 5,000 to 6,000 units per year which will accommodate a fair number of those that are eligible.
We do have some other problems which I appreciate you don’t take into consideration. We have a different situation today. r can go back to my days in municipal council when pretty well anybody who put in an application, provided they were eligible, once they were offered accommodation, they would take it. Today we are experiencing a slightly different trend where people would prefer a particular development or project versus the one they might be offered accommodation in.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: They are more selective.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I am not going to argue that if it is more convenient for work we should accommodate them within that development, but I can tell you there are problems being built into the system that we didn’t experience 10 or 15 years ago. The fact remains that we try to accommodate people as quickly as possible, but let us not get the idea that I said we are getting out of complete development or building.
I said we are going to look more favourably at the rent supplement program, which has greater flexibility for this government and for all governments in the country that are participating in public housing. It has a great deal more flexibility. I think that is what we should have.
I remember when the social planning council some years ago used to say to us “You shouldn’t put 482 people into a development like we have at Pinecrest in the city of Ottawa.” I was chairman of the planning board at the time it was built. They said: “You shouldn’t do it. It is bad for the social development that so many people should be in one spot.”
I don’t think anybody on council or anybody in government could have disagreed, except at the time we were urgently requiring housing accommodation and we didn’t have the funding, nor was the funding about to come about for what we called the salt-and-pepper treatment.
Today we move in the reverse direction in government in trying to get into rent supplement to spread out the number of people into a different environment, to allow them to mix with people of different incomes and people of different social standing so that their children can participate in Boy Scouts, Girl Guides, Cubs or whatever else it might be or any church organization because we think that is good. Now we have a different attitude from some of our social planners. They say we should really be trying to keep these people together because now they find themselves alienated because they are no longer a group, all with the same type of income and conditions.
It becomes very difficult when you try to keep your senses about you in relationship to the housing requirements when people will constantly change their position.
Let me come to the social planning council of Ottawa. The social planning council of Ottawa continues to tell me that our rating for public housing is wrong. It happens to be more in the family line than in the senior citizen, I will say. They come in and tell us that the rating is wrong and it should be altered. I will tell you I am the last person to argue completely with them. There are some areas within the rating program at this very moment which I have told this House and told other committees we are looking at. We will take some advice and guidance, but we are not going to alter the rating system to the point that we are going to be entertaining 50 or 60 per cent of the people of this province.
We will try to do it in a very logical, reasonable fashion to accommodate those that are indeed in need but not to create that need.
The Ottawa social planning council has met with people in my ministry -- Mr. Riggs to be more specific -- and discussed the rating system. They discussed the accessibility of public housing in the city of Ottawa. We have also discussed the co-op and non-profit with them as well. We have taken the whole thing into account, rather than just isolating it to public housing owned by the province of Ontario.
They will say to us that there are X number of people looking for accommodation. I have said to them that as the social planning council they have a responsibility. If you know those people are out there and they have not made application to the Ottawa Housing Authority for the possibility of being accepted in it, then it’s up to you to have them approach the Ottawa Housing Authority and complete their application, and then I will be able to tell you, when the assessments are made by the home visits and so on, as to whether they are eligible. I have said to the social planning council, to their president and to their representatives who have met me at various meetings around the city of Ottawa, that I just don’t accept a carte blanche expression that there are thousands of people out there who know nothing about public housing and there are thousands out there that require your assistance.
A great number of people who require the assistance of this ministry or this housing portfolio are known to us through a number of various public causes or organizations. Most of them are known to us through the welfare departments of the local government or through some social agency that they are in touch with and who have a fairly good working relationship with the people on the Ottawa Housing Authority and, indeed, the other housing authorities across the province of Ontario.
I make no further comment other than to say that the social planning council of Ottawa, like the social planning council in any of the communities, is invited, if they know of some people that are not presently on our waiting list and in their estimation would be eligible under the criteria that presently exist, to go and make application and let’s fine I out truthfully whether they do require the assistance on a bona fide basis.
Mr. Dukszta: I appreciate the offer that the minister is making that all we need to do is put more people on the waiting list and swell the present waiting list from 18.000 maybe to 40,000. Maybe then you will at least believe that there is a need for more housing in Ontario. I asked him a question which he did not yet answer, but I find it more and more difficult to accept, and I give you another example of his obfuscation both in his speech and his responses. The minister said in his speech, just to give you an example, I really don’t understand sometimes how you talk, how you go around the issue:
“Although the idea of putting together sector support groups was discussed in 1974” -- this was, in fact, to something I said -- “the program was not set up provincially until late 1976.”
We are talking of the fact that you have not spent some of the money which is available from the federal government for various housing programs. It is my understanding, Mr. Chairman, that at a tri-level conference involving federal, provincial and municipal officials which was held in March, 1974, to the establishment of the community sponsored housing program, the Ontario advisory committee on non-profit housing was charged with preparing the detailed criteria and guidelines for provincial incentives. The committee report on the non-profit housing sector support group was submitted within six months and a budget of $500,000 was approved through Housing estimates for 1974-1975 for a sector support group. In subsequent years, $300,000 was approved but only last year was any of this money spent.
I would wish to submit to the Minister of Housing that he may in turn wish to provide this House with more accurate information in the future. In the same way, I find his whole approach to the target of housing completely wrong on statistical grounds and I would ask him to provide information on that in more detail. Secondly, would the minister please table the federal government’s estimates of population immigration so that we know that they come from reputable sources, since he disputes the Statistics Canada report of the net immigration to Ontario alone, not Canada, was almost 50,009 in 1976-77. Let me return again to the question which you still have not answered yet, which is, how many houses do you expect to be built in Ontario this year? That’s three questions. Could you try to keep them in your head and answer one after another?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I am not sure that you would follow them anyway, hut I will try. First of all the member for Parkdale refers to the CHOP program, which is the community residential organization forum that’s supported through CMHC. and I said very carefully to you that while you can argue about 1974 certain things being made available, I clearly indicated to you that there was no agreement by Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation until the year 1976. As a result, the opportunities of participating in that $500,000 program didn’t become eligible or even practical until that particular date. I am not sure how much more you want me to tell you, other than that the program has been in effect since then and I guess working rather effectively.
You asked me what we thought housing production was going to be. In this year -- again I am not sure that one should try to give an answer. But in my discussions with people in the various sectors of the industry, I would think that if we hit 74,000 or 75,000 units in the current year in Ontario we would have had a good year in the housing construction field, taking into account all of the things that are adverse to the market position at the moment. Some of them happen to be strikes; some of them happen to be mortgage money -- which is very difficult to get and with high rates.
I should also add, with the surplus of units presently sitting on the market -- as I have said, there are a very substantial number in the marketplace, particularly in the Metropolitan Toronto area -- that have not been sold at this time. That’s having its effect, because developers, contractors, sub-dividers -- whatever you wish to call them -- general contractors, who have several units tied up at the moment, find that all of their working capital is now invested in these units and they have virtually come to a standstill.
I have had a number of them come in to see me. They would like Ontario Housing Corporation to buy some of their units to give them some liquidity so they could continue to produce further units for the marketplace.
Mr. Makarchuk: That’s known as government intervention.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: That’s one of the reasons I must admit to the member for Brantford I have said to them that the marketplace is there and it attunes itself to the needs of the day, and that I shouldn’t be there to try to interfere. If you read Greenspan’s report that is one of the problems.
Mr. Makarchuk: That should have been printed on the stitched rolls.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: He was left of centre when he became the author of that report and it was accepted by everybody. He was left of centre.
Mr. Makarchuk: I don’t care where he was. That is the only place for that report.
Mr. Chairman: Order, order.
Mr. Mackenzie: Is that kind of political blood test mandatory for anything you do?
Mr. Makarchuk: Do you believe it? Do you really believe Greenspan?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Let me tell you, you fellows must have had them, though. Anyway, I was going to say that the Greenspan report clearly indicated that market conditions would be attuned by the needs.
Did I answer the questions of the member for Parkdale?
Mr. Chairman: Order. Before the next question is put, I want to inform the committee, so that they might possibly organize their time a little bit better, that there is one hour and 49 minutes left to go through the balance of the estimates, and we are still on the first vote.
Mr. Dukszta: I will just ask one last question on that. Clearly the minister is not prepared to answer the question about how many houses are being built in Ontario. I will not ask him again about that. If he will table his evidence on which he bases his conclusion that we don’t need further housing, I would appreciate that. That’s all I would say.
Let me point out one last thing: The minister mentioned that the agreement was not until 1976. The Ontario Advisory Committee on Non-Profit Housing, which was charged with preparing the detailed criteria and guidelines for the provincial census, the committee’s report on the non-profit housing sector support groups was submitted within six months and a budget of $500,000 was approved in the housing estimates for 1974-75 for sector support groups. In the subsequent year $300,000 was approved. It was not approved in 1976, it was approved we]l before, and you did not spend any money until last year.
Don’t bother answering it; I can see that you are simply wrong and that you have no idea of what is going on in your ministry. You have denied for two years that the program was approved and said it was only started last year. It is simply not there. It went in housing estimates itself; it was discussed.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: First of all, as I said in my opening statement, as far as the migration rate, live birth rate, the housing requirements in the short-run period from 1976 to 1981, I was going to be presenting that study to this House as soon as we had it finalized. We have taken out most of the statistics and it is in the process of being prepared for printing.
Regarding the last remark of the member, it wasn’t a matter of last year. We got into the funding as soon as we had the agreement ready. I didn’t deny that in 1974 there had been some discussion and that there had been a commitment to prepare for a budget of $500,000. But it was in 1976 when the agreement was reached with Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation in relation to this program. I think that whether we missed 1974 or 1975, the fact is that since the period that it has been implemented we have been financing it, and it has worked very effectively.
As I said to you in my remarks the other day, some of those who have participated in the operation, the labour council and its housing organization, have been very effective in affording us some information and background in certain problems, which we appreciate.
But facts are facts, Mr. Chairman. The program was agreed to in 1974; the arrangements with Central Mortgage and Housing were achieved in 1976 and the funding commenced thereafter.
Mr. Chairman: The member for Prince Edward-Lennox.
Mr. Makarchuk: There’s an hour and 49 minutes. What are you doing on your feet?
Mr. J. A. Taylor: Just trying to contribute something, a voice of reason among bedlam.
Mr. Hennessy: Wake everybody up.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: Mr. Chairman, I’m sure that with the flexibility that you’ve afforded us that we have actually gone into different votes along the way anyway, so maybe the time left isn’t as serious as one might contemplate.
I’m wondering if I could go back to some questions that I had asked the minister that weren’t completely answered and which concern me greatly. That is, what is happening in terms of the housing market and the demand that must be building up. We’ve heard a lot about demands and statistics. Is it the thinking of the ministry that government has to fill the need as housing becomes more unaffordable? Must government step in until the government is the landlord of every citizen in Ontario? In what direction are we going if we all suffer --
Mr. Makarchuk: Going down.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: -- if we all suffer the increasing costs?
Mr. Makarchuk: You’re asking what direction you’re going; you’re going down.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: I’m just wondering, does the minister feel that it’s incumbent upon a government to increase, in ever greater proportions, the amount of public housing because, as the NDP say, we must provide housing to all of our citizens as a right. What’s the next step?
Mr. Makarchuk: That’s right. Right on.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: Right on. This is what you subscribe to.
Mr. Peterson: Point of order.
Mr. Chairman: What’s your point of order?
Mr. Peterson: This is turning into a harangue between the back-bencher there and the NDP here, and there’s no constructive dialogue going on with the minister. I’d respectfully submit that he be cut off. Then we could carry on with something constructive in this committee.
Mr. Makarchuk: What harangue are you talking about?
Mr. Peterson: The minister’s harangue. What’s it about?
Mr. Chairman: Order, order.
Mr. Hennessy: You are reading the paper.
Mr. Chairman: That’s a point of view.
Mr. Hennessy Have you finished the paper. How was the paper?
Mr. J. A. Taylor: You’re an interluder, that’s what you are. Mr. Chairman, I was addressing this to the Minister of Housing --
Mr. Mackenzie: That was a great contribution.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: -- as a direct result of questioning from the NDP in terms of the housing inventory and where we’re going in that.
Mr. Makarchuk: We weren’t asking you. We were asking the minister.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: A little earlier we were talking about the plight of some of the condominium owners. Remember that there’s only one set of taxpayers and somebody has to provide the financing, somebody has to work to produce the taxes to pay for the public housing accommodation. I’m wondering just where --
Mr. Peterson: This is the most juvenile line of questioning, most obscure point. Why are you wasting this committee’s time?
Mr. Chairman: Order.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: I’m not wasting the committee’s time. You just come in here and you get yourself in a tantrum.
Mr. Hennessy: The Globe's out; go get the Globe.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: I suppose the next argument is we should have government food stores because that’s the next -- food, shelter and clothing. I suppose we’ll have clothing stores, too, will we, if we listen to you.
Mr. Swart: Don’t be silly.
Mr. Mackenzie: Don’t fight with him, he’s on your side. He’s more right wing than you are.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: The point that you hadn’t responded to, Mr. Minister, was the cost of administration of public housing when it’s administered by government --
Mr. Makarchuk: He has been infected by the John Williams disease.
Mr. Hennessy: You can go home.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: -- as opposed to the private sector administering the housing; and whether or not in addition to that you have to incorporate in your housing program the other services such as babysitting or day care, playground services, crafts and so on; that type of thing. This is something that I think should be addressed. I’ve asked you earlier and didn’t really get a response to.
Mr. Bradley: Now you know what it feels like over here.
Mr. Peterson: It took you an hour and a half to notice you didn’t get an answer.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: I can tell you that in the very short time that Mr. Bennett has been minister --
Mr. Mackenzie: Nice to see you and the minister arguing like that.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: -- he has a tremendous grasp on a very complicated ministry.
Mr. Makarchuk: Hands around their throats.
Mr. Bradley: Easy Mickey, you’ll injure your punching hand.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: You can hear the applause. I think that applause is unanimous.
Mr. Makarchuk: There must be an opening in cabinet. He wants to get back in.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: Don’t kid yourself.
Mr. Hennessy: He wants to be a whip.
Mr. Peterson: He’ll be back there before you.
Mr. Hennessy: He wants my job.
Mr. Makarchuk: What’s your job, Mickey?
Mr. J. A. Taylor: The other thing I would ask the minister, and I alluded to it in my previous questions, is the distinction in these applications between need and income. A person can have very little income and yet have very substantial assets.
I’m wondering in regard to the tenants in this type of housing, whether you’re getting more people who shouldn’t be there because they’re being supported by people who are sweating it out every day; those people who are buying those condominiums which sometimes aren’t too satisfactorily built, who slug it out to pay the carrying cost and the mortgage and so on and at the same time, have to subsidize people who may have substantial assets but income that would make them eligible for these units. I’m wondering if in your eligibility, you distinguish between need and income.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: The last point raised by the member related to the distinction between need and income and what assets the individual happens to possess at the moment. That’s part of the reason for the review that’s going on at this time -- how do we do a rating on applications?
So there’s no misunderstanding, the problem is very severe. Housing authorities across this province are faced with this difficulty each day while they’re assessing, particularly, the senior citizen applications.
How many points do you give for income, how many points do you give for the present living conditions, health conditions, et cetera? One of the things giving some real concern to the housing authorities is how do you rate estates or values or assets they presently own that may not be producing any revenue for them at the moment, but still have a rather interesting value if they were put on the market.
I will inform the House that’s one of the prime reasons we’re doing this review on rating and how it can be accommodated. The northern part of the province has some situations that are different from the southern and the eastern parts of the province and they’re going to have to he looked at very carefully.
One of the reasons we’re into it is because Mrs. Smith has made an application. Her family has a rather interesting home in the community, maybe one of the only assets she happens to have, and her home is now too difficult for her to maintain. She could be disqualified from participating in public housing because of the assets she and her husband have acquired over the years. We’re trying to give some favourable position to those individuals who need the accommodation, and senior citizens who are prepared to pay close to a market rent for the opportunity of being in one of the senior citizens’ accommodations subsidized by one of the various housing authorities.
We have created an interesting situation in this province with senior citizens’ accommodation; a great number of people, regardless of their means in life, regardless of their monthly income, regardless of what the rent might be as determined by a percentage factor, still want to be in a publicly-owned senior citizens’ accommodation. It’s not because the unit is that large or anything else, but because of the social atmosphere developed in the common room that exists in each one of the apartment buildings.
I can tell you after travelling across the province and in dealing with housing authorities and with seniors and the senior citizens’ council of Ontario this is one of the things we have developed which is creating a really serious problem. There are some people who could well afford to go into the private market and rent an accommodation. Then they are away from their friends and away from people they’ve been associated all through their life and they want to be part and parcel of the public housing program, the senior citizens more for the social accommodation than for the actual physical arrangements within their apartment.
It’s one of the areas that we’re carefully assessing. If some of the members of this House have some suggestions as to how they think we might assess people who have accumulated, not tremendous wealth but accumulated some wealth as the result of their real estate investment from their own home or from other things, we’d be more than appreciative of having their views as to how they would rate an individual in that particular category.
What’s happening in the housing market? V/here is the government’s responsibility going to be? Part of the reason we’re going into the rating program is to try to determine who is eligible by today’s criteria. I would say to the member for Prince Edward-Lennox, no, it’s not incumbent upon the government to provide everybody with a home in this province. We respect the requirements of looking after those who require it. that is, housing accommodation for the less fortunate, but I certainly do not accept the feeling by some that from 16 to the grave is my responsibility, mine being the government or the Ministry of Housing’s responsibility. This system was designed and was built by people who were aggressive and were able to get out and do some work for themselves, but it was also built by a government that is able to respect the less fortunate people in our society.
Mr. Makarchuk: Like the CPR?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: We will not shirk that responsibility.
Mr. Makarchuk: You actually believe it?
Mr. J. A. Taylor: Great fellow.
Hon. Ms. Bennett: As a result of knowing what’s going to develop in the housing market in the next number of years, I think former ministers, ministers of municipal affairs, Treasury and so on have shown a great deal of understanding of what must happen to meet the demands of the market situation.
The Ontario Home Assistance Program was brought into being to try to open as much land as possible in Ontario and the various communities more in advance of need or in advance of what they thought they could do. The objective was to bring more homes on the market at a realistic price so that the cost or the capital invested in the land would not be sitting in non-productive land for a lengthy period of time, accruing to the cost and thereby raising the price of housing. I think OHAP has been a good program.
I doubt very much there is a municipality in this province that could be critical of what they were able to get from that program and for what it’s been able to do for them in opening up land and making available housing. I will admit that in some cases the projection of the population growth and needs in certain communities was greater four or five years ago than it is today and some of the services that we have will have a longer range of life expectancy, that is. through non-use, than what originally had been anticipated.
No doubt Durham and a couple of the other communities which put in major storm and water facilities through OHAP would indicate to you now that their needs are going to take a longer period of time to use up the facilities than what had originally been projected. We’re trying to work out some special repayment arrangements with those communities.
AHOP came on stream because governments realized there has to be some incentive to move people out of rental accommodation into ownership. I’m sure that there are as many views and expressions of opinion in this House as there are members as to whether the program was good, bad or indifferent. It certainly gave an opportunity to a large number of people in Ontario and Canada to move into their own homes.
I will admit that some of them will be in difficulty at the conclusion of the five-year reduced interest rate period. There is no doubt about it. For some of them, I suppose, if we had the chance to turn the clock back, we shouldn’t have predicated the AHOP program on inflation and very substantial increases in pay on which it was based and which now is not going to come to reality.
Mr. Makarchuk: On the one hand, you fight inflation; then you put programs into effect that encourage it.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: That’s right. But don’t think that you didn’t gain by inflation. Your situation in life was improved by inflation as well.
Mr. Ruston: His boat went up in value. He has got a big yacht.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Your boat went up in value and your house went up in value and any of the other great prospects you have in life.
Mr. Makarchuk: I haven’t got a house. My wife has it.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: It may not be in your name but under the new family law you would not have quite the same risk today as you had maybe six or eight months ago by having everything in your wife’s name.
Mr. Ruston: His yacht is worth more than his house.
Mr. Eakins: Ask him about his boat.
Mr. Ruston: Don’t call that a boat. That’s a yacht.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: The fact remains that AHOP has been a good program. Unfortunately, it’s going to disappear at the end of the next few months.
The other program that I think was a good one that helped to stimulate some activity in the housing field where it was most important -- and I’m saying it very honestly, I’m sad to see that the program has been discontinued because I think it stimulated a number of opportunities. That was the ARP, the assisted rental program.
Mr. Peterson: Why are you making a speech?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: If you had been in here earlier and listened to some of the discussion -- but obviously you haven’t, so I’m going to try and bring you up to date, if you don’t mind.
Mr. Peterson: I was listening on my box downstairs. It is even worse.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: What do you mean you’ve got a box downstairs? That’s terrible, terrible. Your presence is supposed to be in the House.
Mr. Chairman: Order. Order.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Chairman, he is out of order.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: The backbench members contributed more to the discussion today than you have. Let me give you that assurance.
Mr. Peterson: You are boring, that’s your trouble.
Mr. Chairman: Order. Order.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: The member for London Centre shouldn’t come in and disturb the House. You’re going to be like the member for Grey-Bruce (Mr. Sargent).
Hon. Mr. Welch: He shot all his bundle in the question period and he’s exhausted.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I was speaking on the ARP program. I think it did a great job in this province and in this country. We produced something in the range of 12,000 rental accommodation units. We would have hoped that it would have been continued because that is the area where the shortfall is being experienced in housing requirements in this province.
Mr. Bradley: Time.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: The fact that ARP is gone and that the MURBs could disappear in a short time is going to, I’m afraid, create some rather difficult times in trying to bring on stream rental accommodations. The fact remains we will continue to press the federal government to try and reintroduce the ARP program, because I tell you the graduated payment mortgage plan they brought into place obviously is not increasing --
Mr. Makarchuk: I hope you are objecting to that.
Mr. Chairman: Order. Order.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Am I objecting to the mortgage plan?
Mr. Makarchuk: Are you objecting to those graduated payment mortgages?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I am going to make a very general comment on it that obviously it isn’t finding very great acceptance in the free market system, because there have been less than 300 units applied for under the graduated payment mortgage plan in all of Ontario.
Mr. Makarchuk: I hope you told them.
Mr. Mackenzie: Where is this free market you keep talking about?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Yes, we have said to Mr. Ouellet that we didn’t think the program was going to be effective. It was obvious that the whole private sector, the financing field, indicated this long before the official announcement came. I would think that from practical experience that we are now finding out that the program just does not have it.
I am not going to say that the federal government is not at this moment receptive and if I can get my Liberal friends on the opposite side of this House to have a chat with some of those fellows in Ottawa --
Hon. Mr. Welch: Oh, they are Ontario Liberals.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: They are Ontario Liberals, but you know they might have some influence as I said earlier tonight -- the ARP might come back.
An hon. member: Passing the buck.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: No, not passing the buck. You see the federal Liberals have a great way of doing things. They introduce a program and then they withdraw from it and say, “Well, Mr. Province, you look after it, you and the municipalities.”
Mr. Bradley: What would you do without the federal government? Now you know how the municipalities feel.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: We didn’t introduce the program but we piggybacked on it to make it even more beneficial to the people of this province. That’s when the program became successful, when we piggybacked it.
So I tell you right now that if we can get the ARP program back, we could very well see us meeting some of the housing requirements we are experiencing today. My job is to try and continue --
Mr. Haggerty: Does the minister agree with Joe Clark’s tax?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: -- to encourage the private sector, to build the type of accommodations that are needed in this province. We’ll enter into some agreements under a PAR program, an ARP program, or whatever it happens to be, in trying to take a number of those units for public use, rather than us getting involved in a capital outlay. That’s where we are working with the private sector in trying to establish more housing in areas where it is needed and also with a portion of it for public participation.
I want to conclude my remarks on this question by the member for Prince Edward-Lennox. He asked why is there a difference between the administering of publicly owned housing and the private sector.
Mr. Bradley: You have run out the clock.
Mr. Peterson: It is a hell of a good question.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Yes, it is, an excellent question. First of all, we have a different responsibility in the rental market as compared to the private market. We have families in family accommodations where we provide social services, We provide special community relations officers. We have a number of programs that the private sector is not required to offer, nor does it offer them.
Mr. Mackenzie: Nor would they, they are all services for people. The private sector doesn’t believe in that kind of subsidization.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: It all runs into money.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: As a result obviously the cost of maintaining and retaining the services within a public housing development is considerably higher. We have at the moment, as you know, a number of units out in the Toronto area that are under private management, versus management by Ontario Housing Corporation. The review of the foregoing costs indicates a 25 per cent cost differential exists between the private management operations and the direct management projects in the metropolitan area. We are continuing to analyse these costs, and we very well could look at -- and I have to caution anyone in this House so they don’t jump to conclusions -- other opportunities of private management, but we do have contracts signed for maintenance and so on in some of these projects and those would have to be taken into consideration if there was any movement in that direction.
We do know that there can be a substantial difference in costs between what we have to do, and are expected to do, as versus the private sector. I think If any one of us looks at the housing projects in the communities which we happen to represent, both senior citizens and family, you will fast come to the conclusion, and obviously come to the conclusion, that there are services provided by the Ontario Housing Corporation that the private sector is not expected to provide, and in some cases does provide but to a very limited degree.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Welch, the committee of supply reported progress.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Welch, the House adjourned at 10:30 p.m.