31st Parliament, 2nd Session

L123 - Mon 20 Nov 1978 / Lun 20 nov 1978

The House met at 2 p.m.



Mr. Laughren: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: On Friday, November 17, the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development (Mr. Brunelle) responded to a question of mine in the French language. I was pleased to see that, and I would hope that he would do so frequently in this chamber, French being his native language.

I would put to you, though, Mr. Speaker, that the privileges of other members of this chamber are being abused if they do not understand the French language, and that the solution is not for the provincial secretary not to be able to respond in French but rather that there should be a translation service in this chamber for members who do not comprehend the French language.

Mr. Speaker: The chair will consider that.



Hon. Mr. Auld: Mr. Speaker, I would like to advise the House on some aspects of the Energy ministers’ conference held last week in Quebec City, particularly inasmuch as there appears to be some misconception that Ontario is in favour of further increases in the price of crude oil and natural gas. That is not the case, and that I so stated at the conference.

The conference discussed two distinct issues concerning pricing, and it is important to keep them separate: first, the question of a price increase on January 1, 1979, for crude oil and natural gas per se and, second, the question of the validity of an agreement between the governments of Canada and Alberta.

On the question of crude oil and natural gas price increases, Ontario’s position has not changed. Contrary to what the federal minister is quoted as saying in some news reports following the conference, Ontario is not and does not support price increases in crude oil and natural gas at this time.

Mr. Deans: Are you having trouble communicating?

Hon. Mr. Auld: We have set out our rationale on numerous occasions over the past four years, and our position has not changed one iota.

Mr. Nixon: You just didn’t understand it at the meeting.

Hon. Mr. Auld: At the appropriate time this afternoon I will table, for the information of the honourable members, statements made by my predecessor, following --

Mr. Conway: Which one?

Mr. Deans: Surely not again.

Hon. Mr. Auld: -- the April and May 1977 Energy ministers’ conferences --

An hon. member: There were so many.

Hon. Mr. Auld: -- at which time the federal government decided to institute four $1 per barrel price increases at six month intervals, beginning July 1, 1977.

Mr. S. Smith: He admitted he didn’t know anything about energy.

Hon. Mr. Auld: Those statements clearly establish that Ontario did not agree to the price increase formula being proposed and was not part of it

Mr. Nixon: Why did you support Alberta last week, then?

Hon. Mr. Auld: I will also table another statement by my predecessor, made this time on June 20, 1978, which states, and I quote:

“I might also say that it seems very strange to me that the federal minister would, in early May of this year, urge the OPEC nations to maintain a freeze on world prices because the western economies were just recovering from the sharp increases of 1973, and then to turn around and one month later impose such an increase on Canadian consumers. This, surely, is the worst kind of hypocrisy.”

Mr. S. Smith: Up to that point. You have gone him one better.

Hon. Mr. Auld: That’s right. The present position of the federal government could well be hypocrisy of an even worse kind.

Mr. Nixon: They want to live up to the agreement.

Hon. Mr. Auld: But whatever his motivation, it is a refreshing thing to have Mr. Gillespie, the federal minister, join the ranks of the concerned consumer. Indeed, he seems to be a born-again consumer advocate.

Mr. MacDonald: Your stance is equally hypocritical, James.

Hon. Mr. Auld: I trust I might be excused a certain amount of cynicism for this unbelievable and scarcely credible flip-flop in federal policy. It is certainly ironic to hear the federal government now use the same arguments to support their case they have always rejected when Ontario consistently advocated them for the past four years. It is still nice to see, however, that they recognize the need to restrain energy prices so as to minimize the effect on inflation, employment, and the competitive position of Canadian industry.

Mr. Nixon: Takes a long statement to correct your boo-boos.

Hon. Mr. Auld: Ontario has long recognized the direct relationship between price increases unrelated to the cost of production and these economic consequences. Now, evidently, so does the federal government.

Mr. S. Smith: Better late than never, but you did accept it.

Hon. Mr. Auld: Let me also state, Mr. Speaker, that our position on crude oil and natural gas pricing did not come as a surprise to Mr. Gillespie, no matter what he may have said. I made our position perfectly clear in a news release which I issued following the federal finance minister’s announcement of August 24, 1978, that the federal government had unilaterally decided to withhold the January 1, 1979 crude oil price increases. A copy of that news release will also be tabled this afternoon.

Moreover, this matter was discussed fully with the federal government at the deputy ministers’ level on October 17, 1978, in Edmonton.

Mr. S. Smith: Didn’t support Alastair when he needed you.

Hon. Mr. Auld: Alberta is aware of our opposition to crude oil and natural gas pricing, and I believe it respects our position even though it may not agree with it.

This leads me to the matter of the crude oil price agreement between Alberta and the federal government and the position Ontario took at the federal-provincial conference in Quebec City.

First, Ontario was not a party to that agreement.

Second, the federal government announced on July 24, 1978, that it had decided to limit energy price increases and that, regardless of the US crude oil price movements, the federal government had decided that there should be no increase in the domestic price of crude oil in January. It is our understanding that there was no consultation with Alberta beforehand.

Third, since then the federal government has backed away from its original position and is now claiming that it is only proposing that there not be a price increase on January 1, 1979.

Without going into the details of the agreement, suffice it to say, the federal minister in Quebec City looked to Ontario and the other consuming provinces to support his position. Simply stated, the issue for Ontario is should Ontario support the federal government’s attempt to unilaterally break an agreement negotiated between Alberta and the federal government --

Mr. Laughren: Here it comes.

Mr. Martel: Quit when you are ahead.

Hon. Mr. Auld: -- in order to gain a temporary suspension of federal policy to increase crude oil and natural gas prices towards world prices? Clearly the answer to that question must be no.

Mr. Martel: You are going to suffer a hernia too like the Liberals.

Hon. Mr. Auld: To do so would mean that the people of Ontario would willingly become a party to the breaking of a fundamental principle --

Mr. MacDonald: You were not in the party. You weren’t in the agreement. You were excluded from the decision.

An hon. member: We remember the Edmonton commitment.

Hon. Mr. Auld: -- the sanctity of one’s word as expressed in a contract.


Hon. Mr. Auld: I am sure no one in this Legislature would support such a shortsighted and poorly motivated action.

Mr. S. Smith: Just because Lougheed’s a Tory.

Hon. Mr. Auld: If the federal government does not like its agreement with Alberta, as we do not like it, the appropriate course is for it to renegotiate it in good faith, not to break it unilaterally.

Mr. MacDonald: But you won’t do anything.

Hon. Mr. Auld: I might add that as a consuming province Ontario would expect to be included in those discussions.

Mr. Nixon: You would be a big help.

Hon. Mr. Auld: Over the past five years, energy pricing has been an emotionally charged issue in this country.

Mr. Laughren: You are not helping.

Hon. Mr. Auld: While few are satisfied with the outcome, compromises have been made and there is now a substantial area of understanding of purpose between the producing and consuming provinces. Progress has been made.

Mr. Roy: You people have not been bothered with the law before.

Hon. Mr. Auld: It is lamentable that the federal government has chosen to be so ham-handed in the way it has gone about the January 1, 1979, crude oil price increase. I am convinced that in Alberta there is much goodwill and understanding of the national economic consequences of such a price increase and that if it had been approached in another way, Alberta might have been found to have been amenable to some modification to the agreement

Mr. S. Smith: And Santa Claus.

Hon. Mr. Auld: I sincerely hope that the events of the past few weeks have not totally eroded that goodwill and understanding.

Mr. J. Reed: Who are you kidding?

Mr. Roy: A weak apology.

Mr. Deans: No wonder you mumbled that.


Hon. Miss Stephenson: I wish to inform the honourable members that the Ontario Teacher Education College will be closed at the end of the 1978-79 academic year on August 31, 1979.

I must apologize, Mr. Speaker, for advising you of the decision three days after the unauthorized announcement of the decision on Friday. I had planned to advise members and employees of the college on November 30, based upon an agreement with officials of the union who were advised of the decision on November 14. However, one or more persons trusted with confidential information regarding the closure saw fit to notify the media of the decision prematurely. This regrettable act has made an already difficult situation even more difficult.

I should like at this time to publicly express my appreciation of the co-operation which we have had from the union since Friday so that this statement could be made today in spite of the agreement which had been established earlier.

The decision to close the Hamilton and Toronto campuses of the college was difficult and was made after a thorough and thoughtful consideration of all possible alternatives. I do believe it is essential that my ministry respond honestly to declining student enrolment. The decision to close the college was taken only after painstaking review. I wish to assure members that the decision should not be construed as a reflection on the competence of the 100 OTEC employees.

Mr. Swart: It’s the government.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: They have provided exceptional training for thousands of teachers. Despite the difficulties, I am sure that they will fulfil their responsibilities to their students with the same dedication, competence and professionalism which they have demonstrated over the years.

However, the ministry cannot in all good conscience continue to train persons at the two OTEC campuses for a shrinking job market, particularly when teacher training is available at 10 faculties of education.

Mr. Roy: You are starting to get the message.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: For instance, during the period prior to the 1976-77 academic year, up to 90 per cent of teachers graduating from the OTEC and the 10 faculties of education were hired. About 60 per cent of the 6,740 graduates of the 1976-77 program were hired. Just over one quarter of the 5,480 graduates from the 1977-78 year found employment. From 1975-76 to 1978-79, the number of students at the OTEC has been reduced to 451 from 1,542. Now, Mr. Speaker, the time has come to close the facility entirely.

The decision affects 33 support staff, 59 teaching masters and eight management staff. I can assure the members of this Legislature that every possible effort will be made to assist the 100 OTEC employees to continue their careers. I will be working with members of the ministry staff as well as with other ministries and government agencies, with faculties of education, with school boards and other institutions on their behalf.


Members of my staff met with OTEC employees this morning to advise them officially of the decision and to clear up any misunderstanding which might have resulted from the premature notification. The deputy minister will be writing to each employee personally. To assist employees, teams of personnel officers will be available to discuss career planning, job search techniques, employee benefits and job opportunities with the Ontario public service.

Again, I do regret having to make this announcement today. My sincere hope is that we will be successful in assisting the 100 men and women on the staff of the Ontario Teacher Education College to obtain positions within the private or the public sectors which will make use of their unique and valuable skills.



Mr. S. Smith: I’ll direct my first question to the Minister of Colleges and Universities. It has to do with the matter of landed immigrants and their ability to qualify for Ontario student assistance.

Can the minister explain to this House why she apparently has so readily accepted the federal initiative in this regard, whereby sponsors are expected to pay for the board and lodging, food and so on, of landed immigrants who go to university, thereby making them ineligible for those expenses to be covered by the Ontario Student Assistance Program? May I ask specifically whether in the request which came from the federal government to apply these criteria very strictly, that request dealt only with Canada student loans and if so, why did she spread that on to the grant portion as well, instead of just the loan application?

What does she think of that policy which basically says that the sponsors are to be responsible when these people become students, over and above the kind of responsibility which citizens take for their own relatives?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I would remind the honourable Leader of the Opposition that the student loan assistance program is based on the premise that the primary responsibility for the provision of funding or money for students in the post-secondary institutions resides with the families of those students, or with the students themselves. The purpose of the grant portion is to help support the students when the families are in need.

I am not aware of all of the reasons involved in the taking of that decision, since it preceded my assumption of this role, but I shall explore those reasons and attempt to provide an answer for the honourable member. I do not know what the basis of the decision was, except that it was a recommendation from the federal government related specifically, I gather, to the federal loan program.

Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary: Accepting that this may be somewhat new to the minister and I appreciate her looking into this, would the minister be willing to recognize that even if the federal government wishes its loans to be administered in that way, the province ought to consider its options as far as the grant portion is concerned? Since the reason given by the federal government is that a sponsor has undertaken for five or 10 years to pay for the food and lodging and so on, can the minister say whether once a student becomes a citizen, and citizenship can be acquired in three years, he or she is still to be treated in this second-class way, simply because a sponsor has undertaken this for five or 10 years? Will the minister at least accept right now, that no Canadian citizen will be dealt with in this discriminatory way by the OSAP program?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: If the honourable member is proposing that those students who are landed immigrants and who live with their families who are landed immigrants in this country be dealt with in a different way from those students who are Canadian citizens, I would say that does not happen and should not happen. But if the student is here, being sponsored by someone other than his or her family, there may be some valid reason why that decision was taken and I shall explore that.

Mr. Cassidy: In view of the fact that the differential fee system which is now in force in the colleges and universities is also a means of discriminating against students who were born in other lands and come to this province in order to study, is the government now prepared to withdraw that particular discriminatory form of fee-charging apparatus in the province?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, that is not a supplementary question. There is no relationship between the fees charged to landed immigrant students and the question raised by the honourable member.

Mr. Roy: That’s for the Speaker to decide.

Ms. Gigantes: You don’t decide those.

Mr. Swart: Don’t you want to answer it?

Mr. S. Smith: By way of my last supplementary on this matter: May I ask the minister to take particular care about this, inasmuch as there are a number of instances where the sponsor is the immediate family and yet the person is not being permitted assistance as would be allowed for a Canadian citizen?

May I specifically ask her to look into the question as to whether, once one becomes a citizen, the fact that a sponsor once undertook to keep a person for five or for 10 years is going to be used as a way of preventing that person from participating as all other Ontario and Canadian citizens in the Ontario Student Awards Program?

I would ask her, please, to raise her voice against what I consider to be a very iniquitous and discriminatory action. I would ask her to tell her officials to act differently from the way they have already been doing.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: As I said, I shall look into it and report.


Mr. S. Smith: I see the Minister of Labour is coming and I would like to direct a question to him.

Mrs. Campbell: Always on cue.

Mr. S. Smith: I will assume he is in his place, Mr. Speaker.

Is the minister aware of a position paper on polychlorinated biphenyls in Ontario, issued by his occupational health branch in March and April of this year? If so, can he tell us what the present situation is regarding existing transformers that may have leakages of PCBs where working people may be coming in contact with and handling these in the manner of normal oils without proper warning?

Can he tell us whether it is a fact that when they did field visits at that time six out of 10 transformers inspected were leaking PCBs? Can he tell us what the situation is now and what further field visits have been done?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I am aware that there was an internal position paper, but I quite frankly admit I am not fully aware of all the contents of that position paper. I am aware, however, as is the member, that we are currently regulating six substances and, of course, PCBs are another substance that we will be considering for regulation.

With regard to the cleanup sites to which he referred, they were studied, they were visited and recommendations were made. But I have no further information at this time other than that.

Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary: Would the minister be able to inform us of the present state of these recommendations to which he referred, which include such matters as contingency plans, proper labelling and precautionary measures of various kinds?

Is he not concerned that six out of 10 transformers should have been found to be leaking? Is he not concerned for a proper inspection system to exist to determine whether there is still a 60 per cent leakage in PCB-containing transformers? Does he have an explanation for why PCBs are still being imported into Ontario, given the fact that we are now stockpiling the transformers and we do not know what to do with them?

Does it make sense to the minister that working people and the rest of society should be exposed to this particular substance? Why should we continue to be importing PCBs even now into Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: First of all, I would like to point out that the reason there is a position paper is with regard to the very concern that the Leader of the Opposition has expressed. Certainly there’s concern about it, otherwise we wouldn’t have spent this considerable amount of time reviewing the problem. As I mentioned to the member, there are several substances now that are being gazetted for regulation purposes, and PCBs will be another substance that we will have to give consideration to. That’s clear.

Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: What directions have gone from the occupational health branch or what encounters have there been between the occupational health branch and Ontario Hydro, as well as major manufacturers or companies using transformers in industrial operations, in order to monitor possible leakages which could involve PCBs endangering the health and safety of workers?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I do not have that information at hand, but I will be pleased to obtain it and report to the member.

Mr. B. Newman: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Would the minister consider colour-coding or identifying all the transformers that contain PCBs so that not only the employees of Hydro could identify them, but also the public would know that PCBs were contained in those transformers and would know how to avoid them?

Mr. S. Smith: That’s one of the recommendations of your group. It hasn’t been done.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: The Leader of the Opposition advises me that’s one of the recommendations of the report he’s had the opportunity to read. I’m delighted to pass the information on to the committee that is reviewing it.

Mr. Speaker: Final supplementary, the member for Hamilton East.

Mr. Mackenzie: Supplementary to the Minister of Labour: Is the minister aware that in the spill referred to on Adelaide Street, the workers were at first sent to their own doctors and three months later checked by Hydro, but there has been no indication of any further follow-up? Does he not think that inasmuch as some 14 were involved and four rather seriously, there should be further follow-up?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: My information is that they have been followed up. The last examination was some time in the late summer of 1978 and no abnormalities were found at that time.


Mr. Cassidy: I have a question of the Minister of Energy, arising out of questions from last Friday and out of the statement he made today, a statement worthy of a medieval theologian trying to balance angels on the head of a pin.

Can the minister explain why it is that his predecessor, at the end of June of this year, said that Ontario opposed the agreement between the federal government and Alberta and would continue to do so and yet at the Energy ministers’ conference in Quebec City last week, the government reversed that position and said -- because the agreement now existed, they were going to support it, even if that indicated that Ontario was now effectively supporting Alberta and the oil companies ahead of the interests of oil consumers in the province of Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Auld: That is not what was said at the meeting last week. I’ll read exactly what I said:

“The abrupt reversal of the federal government’s pricing policy is inconsistent and disruptive of what ought to be a businesslike and co-operative decision-making process. Ontario does not feel obliged, nor do we wish to be drawn into a debate which appears to be based on a breach of agreement between the federal government and the energy-producing provinces.

“We have some sympathy, however, with the concerns of Alberta as to the way the federal government’s announcement was made.”

Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: Will the minister not realize that a statement like that indicates clearly both to the province of Alberta and to the oil companies that in future when they come along looking for increases, Ontario has reversed its position of the last four and a half years and one way or another will find means of supporting Alberta ahead of the interests of the people of Ontario and businesses in the province of Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Auld: Mr. Speaker, I also said Ontario’s policy on crude oil and natural gas pricing has been consistent and clearly articulated on many occasions and has not changed.

Mr. Roy: Given the minister’s so-called enthusiasm for protecting the consumers of Ontario does he have any legal opinion from the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) indicating that the position taken by the federal government is a breach of an agreement? Since when has his government been concerned about legal niceties? Why doesn’t he support the consumers and let the courts determine if there’s been a breach?

Hon. Mr. Auld: To answer what I think is the first part of that question, I took the view of some of the other provinces that were affected. I have not asked the Attorney General, but if I am told there is a written agreement between the two provinces, of which I have a copy, and I am told by the minister responsible in the province that his first knowledge of the change in policy was seeing it on the 11 o’clock news, I assume there has been a breach.

Mr. Laughren: Was there not an escape clause in the agreement that indicated if the price raised was up at the US level or above, the minister did not have to support the price increase? Further, would the minister tell us whether or not there’s been contingency plans made in order to compensate for the impact of this increase on the Ontario economy?

Hon. Mr. Auld: To answer the last part of the question first, there is no way we can stop the impact of any increase on the consumers all across the country.

Mr. Warner: Just say you’re not going to do anything.

Mr. Cassidy: You might have fought it. You’ve fought it before.

Hon. Mr. Auld: Of course. I’m saying we still don’t agree with it.


I am aware of the so-called Chicago base price agreement. The question there has changed radically. At the time that agreement was made in 1977, and Ontario does not agree to the terms of that, the Canadian dollar was about 96 cents or 97 cents. There is quite a difference based on the US-Canadian dollar figure today and depending on whose figures you take, if the Canadian dollar goes up over 90 cents, the increase of the Chicago price might be around a dollar. If it is less than a dollar, under the agreement there would be no increase. However, I am not holding my breath, I’m afraid, to see the Canadian dollar get up to 90 cents by Christmas or by December 31.

Mr. Roy: Neither are the consumers of Ontario.

Mr. Nixon: A supplementary: It was my understanding, Mr. Speaker, and would the minister either correct me on this or affirm it, that Ontario took the lead in having that clause put in the agreement in the first instance, that no price increase would be undertaken if it would mean the price in Canada would go above the American price. If that is so, why is the minister so concerned about whether we’re dealing with 85-cent dollars or 90-cent dollars when it is obviously changing one way or another? Why is he not supporting the federal initiative to stop the increase, rather than supporting the wish of his friends in Alberta to put another dollar per barrel on the price we have to pay?

Hon. Mr. Auld: The question of the value of the Canadian dollar is very important because that Chicago price is in US dollars.

Mr. MacDonald: Oh, come on, the minister is looking for an excuse.

Hon. Mr. Auld: Consequently, if the Canadian dollar is at par, a dollar US will be a dollar in Canada and there is no difference.

Mr. T. P. Reid: That’s good thinking. It’s eating and singing at the same time.

Mr. Makarchuk: That’s the first intelligent thing the minister has said today.

Hon. Mr. Auld: The agreement, at least the formula, means what it appears to mean on the surface. I haven’t got the figures in front of me, but if the Canadian dollar is at 84.91 cents, which it was, I am told, last Thursday when we were discussing this --

Mr. Roy: Bring on Darcy McKeough.

Hon. Mr. Auld: -- then that $1 US means $1.73, I believe it is --

Mr. MacDonald: That’s doubletalk.

Mr. Laughren: That’s bafflegab.

Hon. Mr. Auld: -- in the Chicago formula. Consequently, our price would go up $1.

Mr. MacDonald: Obfuscation.

Mr. Roy: The minister has become a legal expert when he is looking for excuses.

Mr. Cassidy: A supplementary: Does the minister intend in future to protect the consumers of Ontario against unjustified increases in oil prices, or will it be his policy to find all sorts of rationales and justifications and bafflegabs in order to support Alberta against the businesses and consumers of this province?

Hon. Mr. Auld: Unfortunately, I haven’t it in front of me, but our position hasn’t changed from what it was --

Mr. MacDonald: The minister did nothing then and he is doing nothing now.

Hon. Mr. Auld: -- when I said on August 24 that we were opposed to a price increase, that we were very upset at the way the federal government --

Mr. Cassidy: Protect the consumer.

Mr. MacDonald: The government is doing nothing about it.

Hon. Mr. Auld: -- had taken unilateral action --

Mr. Warner: What is the government going to do about it?

Hon. Mr. Auld: -- to apparently abrogate an agreement.

Mr. MacDonald: The minister does nothing about it. The minister is giving us double-talk.

Mr. Speaker: A new question.


Mr. Cassidy: I have a question of the Minister of Correctional Services. What action is the minister intending to take in response to the citizens’ panel report on the Sault Ste. Marie jail, which found the jail to be overcrowded, understaffed and having deplorable sanitary conditions and which demanded the immediate use of portable maximum security units as a stopgap measure?

Mr. Roy: Tell him, Frank.

Hon. Mr. Walker: We are issuing tender calls for proposals on portable units that would ultimately be established in the Sault Ste. Marie jail.

Mr. Warner: When?

Mr. Cassidy: When were the tender calls issued? When is it anticipated that the maximum security portable units will be in place and is it the minister’s intention to have the jail cleaned and painted in order to clean up kitchen conditions and the other conditions which were complained of by the citizens’ panel committee?

Hon. Mr. Walker: They will be issued as soon as Government Services can produce the necessary documentation for proposals on the tender calls. We had planned to have them replaced as quickly as possible, perhaps within two or three months, because we intended to purchase some units that were the only available ones in the United States. Regrettably, Government Services --

Mr. MacDonald: That should take a day or two more.

Hon. Mr. Walker: -- have investigated the ones from the United States and found they will not take the snow load of our northern climate so they are not available to us. Consequently, we are putting out tender calls and it will take a certain amount of time for these units to be in place.

In the meantime, we are attempting to keep the actual count in the Sault Ste. Marie jail at modest number. I should report I looked at the count for Friday, November 10, which happens to be the last count I have available, and it indicates there were 61 people in the jail on Friday, November 10. The jail’s capacity is 64, so we feel we can keep the count at a modest level to some extent, and that will remove the exacerbated situation.

Mr. McClellan: Modest -- that’s capacity is it?

Hon. Mr. Walker: We realize it will probably be at least five years before a new jail could ever be in place, and so it is well beyond the next few years.

Mr. McClellan: You mean it is not above capacity; it is a modest level.

Hon. Mr. Walker: We also realize there may be some very serious complaints expressed by this citizens’ group and we will be investigating those and determining a proper course of action as a result of them.

Mr. Warner: In the fullness of time.

Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: Final supplementary.

Mr. Cassidy: Can the minister explain why, despite the fact that his predecessor has stated building a new jail for Sault Ste. Marie was on his top six in priority, no action was taken on the deplorable conditions in the Sault Ste. Marie jail until the citizens’ panel had told the ministry what it should have already known about conditions there?

Hon. Mr. Drea: That’s not true and you know it.

Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, it is still in the top six. I can indicate that. That has not changed in priority, along with the Barrie jail and the Peterborough jail. With respect to the conditions, we intend to determine the exact situation, and we expect to take a course of action to improve them if they are borne out.

Mr. Cassidy: You have to receive a report on the by-election to get you to clean the place up.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Soon there won’t be any NDPers left.


Mr. Haggerty: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct a question to the Minister of Transportation and Communications. I am sure the minister is well aware of the backlog of vessels waiting to enter the Welland Canal from either Lake Erie or Lake Ontario. Can the minister inform the Legislature as to the date one can expect the ministry to call for tenders for the construction of the new third bridge in the city of Port Colborne?

Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I am having some trouble in trying to relate the backlog of vessels waiting in the lake to the bridge in the city of Port Colborne. In any case, the tenders for the bridge, I believe, will be called by the St. Lawrence Seaway Authority. I am not sure of the date they will be called.

Mr. Haggerty: Perhaps the minister didn’t quite understand the question. The backlog of vessels waiting to get through the canal causes the bridges to be up almost constantly in the city of Port Colborne. There are some 30 or 40 vessels on either end of the canal waiting for entry to it.

Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I am sure the member knows there was considerable delay in obtaining agreement with the federal Minister of Transport with regard to the terms of the construction of that third bridge. That was completed about six months ago, and we finally came to an agreement.

It is my understanding the bridge, as it is across the seaway, will be built by the seaway authority. I believe it is going to take two construction seasons to build the bridge. It has to be co-ordinated with the operations of the seaway itself.

In addition to that, my ministry, I believe, will be responsible for some approach work to the bridge. This is all being coordinated now and I will get the honourable member the latest up-to-date estimate of the starting dates. I am not sure of them right off hand.


Mr. Dukszta: A question of the Minister of Housing, Mr. Speaker: In view of the fact the people of Ontario have the right to know how decisions are made by this government, and to judge whether the public interest is being upheld by the actions of ministers of the crown, will the minister undertake to table tomorrow the information I sought in written questions 132 and 136?

I am specifically seeking, Mr. Speaker, all the documents regarding the Cantrakon decision not contained in the file 478-48 in the plans administration division of the Ministry of Housing, such as the logs of meetings and correspondence of the ministers and his senior advisers’ contact with Cantrakon Limited, McLaughlin Limited, Caledon Mountain Estates Limited, Gary Clarke, and the solicitors and the agents of these parties, and a detailed account of how the ministry dealt with this case between June 13, 1978, and August 31, 1978?

Secondly, I am seeking any correspondence in which the government expressed interest, or potential interest, in utilizing a conference or convention centre which might be established in the town of Caledon.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: I’ll take the question as notice, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: The member for Simcoe East.

Mr. Bradley: One a day.


Mr. G. E. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. Would the minister assure the House that he will take the necessary steps to preserve the dignity of the office of Lieutenant Governor of Ontario and prevent the mayor-elect of the city of Toronto from using this title for his deputy who will act as his official greeter in his absence? And will the minister convey to the mayor of the city of Toronto that the Lieutenant Governor of the province of Ontario is the representative of Her Majesty the Queen --

Mr. McClellan: What’s he got against Fred Beavis? He’s a good Tory.

Mr. Warner: He’s an old and faithful Tory.

Mr. G. E. Smith: -- and does not act as a minor political official in this province?

Mr. Warner: Attack old and faithful Tories, will you?

Mr. McClellan: Look after your old Tories.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend for that question.

An hon. member: Is it going to be Godfrey?

Mr. Yakabuski: Does he wear a blue denim skirt?

Hon. Mr. Wells: Certainly I think any attempt to have anyone in the city of Toronto designated as a Lieutenant Governor would not be a very popular move. I’m sure I would use any moral suasion that I might have to convince them that should not be so.

Mr. Makarchuk: You will talk to Pierre about that.

Hon. Mr. Wells: As I recall from the intent of the comments I read about which were made in the program last night, the mayor of Toronto wants to distribute the ceremonial functions of his job over to someone else, something which I might point out the former mayor and present Conservative member for Rosedale did many times also, so that these people or one particular person could carry out those ceremonial functions. There is no problem with that, except that I might remind the mayor-elect of Toronto he will find, as many of us here who hold certain cabinet responsibilities have found, that many people want the mayor, and not someone representing him, at functions.

Mr. S. Smith: Not a cabinet minister.


Mr. Conway: My question is to the Treasurer. It has to do with the press statement from his ministry on Thursday of last week having regard to the federal-provincial meeting, the DREE-GDA contact of last Thursday. I note that it was a positive and co-operative mood which, according to this statement, characterized those meetings, “meetings which accordingly” --

Mr. Speaker: Question.

Mr. Conway: -- “led to an agreement to new joint measures to create jobs and stimulate the economies of eastern and northern Ontario.” I would ask the Treasurer whether or not he could share with this House what exactly that agreement was and what are these new measures to create jobs and stimulate the economies of eastern and northern Ontario?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, the ARDA agreements expire March 31, 1979. A number of programs in eastern Ontario operated by several ministries have received funding through ARDA. Therefore, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food was particularly interested in finding replacement programs for these. We had discussed a number of programs with Mr. Lessard last Wednesday in what I think was a very congenial and co-operative atmosphere. It may be that he realizes, for a change, the votes in this province matter because in the past we have had some trouble getting DREE money. Even the honourable member would agree that has been a problem.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Right.

Mr. Nixon: Not in Muskoka.

Hon. F. S. Miller: We pointed out that we needed an eastern Ontario agreement and we believe we have agreed in principle to that. Within the cover of an eastern Ontario agreement would come specific programs. We have already announced a sectoral one. I’m sure the member is aware of the details. That involved research on hybrid poplar and various kinds of assessment. We have also had a program in eastern Ontario assessing the mineral wealth of that area. Those are the kinds of things we want to see, not only in the specifics -- rural and agricultural development -- but under the overall geographic sectoral heading.

We have made that agreement. We have told our staffs to work out the details and as quickly as possible have general agreements ready for signing so that specific projects can be enacted under them.

Mr. Conway: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Since, as the Treasurer knows, one of the very serious difficulties of our regional economy is the very high seasonal winter unemployment, I wonder whether the Treasurer can indicate to this House in terms of new job creation what the impact of these new strategies and new programs will be for the winter of 1978-79.


Mr. S. Smith: Zero to be precise.

Hon. F. S. Miller: That may well be. In fact we will have to await the signing of the agreement and the allocation of funds by the DREE minister to that part of the province. We have simply said that Ontario under the DREE formula of 50-50 cost-sharing is willing to go along with programs that will help, perhaps Timbertown specifically and those kinds of things, because we are talking about the tourism components as well as the other components that we have traditionally had under the DREE agreement.

Mr. O’Neil: Supplementary: Does the minister not feel it is more an obligation of his government to see that something is done in eastern Ontario to correct many of the problems we have with economic stagnation, unacceptably high unemployment and the unfavourable per capita income? He seems to be throwing this back on the federal government, but I feel it is an obligation of the Treasurer and this government to see that these matters are corrected in eastern Ontario.

Hon. F. S. Miller: I took that as a statement.


Mr. M. N. Davison: I have a question of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations: I would like to know what action the minister intends to take to control the ever-increasing number of sexually exploitive, suggestive, tasteless and offensive newspaper ads that are appearing in our daily newspapers for topless restaurants, bars and other such business concerns.

By way of example, I am sending him across the floor a copy of an ad that appeared in the Toronto Globe and Mail for the Up-front Executive Lounge today. According to the ad, it is a place where one can “enjoy a little libation, great food and some very winsome waitresses who have (absolutely) nothing to hide.”

Mr. Conway: Clean that up.

An hon. member: License the newspaper.

Hon. Mr. Drea: I must confess I haven’t seen the ad before. I wouldn’t have believed it of the Globe if I hadn’t seen it. We will look into it. Perhaps the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) might also want to look into it.

Mr. M. N. Davison: Supplementary: Has the minister met with the Ontario Status of Women Council to follow up on their 1975 study called, About Face Towards the Positive Image of Women in Advertising? If he hasn’t done so, will he do so, because they may be able to provide him with some invaluable suggestions as to possible guidelines for such ads?

Hon. Mr. Drea: No, I haven’t met with them, but I draw to the attention of the member that, contrary to the Theatres Act, where we do have in this ministry control over advertising for entertainment and where there are very definite guidelines, to the best of my knowledge there are no guidelines anymore concerning entertainment or type of service under the Liquor Licence Act.

Mr. MacDonald: That is the point of the question.

Hon. Mr. Drea: It seems to me that the MacLean and MacLean decision some years ago removed that. Quite frankly, it is really a matter in this case, I would think, for the Attorney General. In any event, I will meet with them. I will look at the proposals of the Status of Women Council.

Mr. M. N. Davison: Jurisdiction never stopped you before.

Hon. Mr. Drea: I am really still getting over the shock of finding this in the Globe.

Mr. MacDonald: Are you not getting co-operation from the Attorney General?

Hon. Mr. Drea: I will look into it with the Attorney General.

Mr. Makarchuk: Supplementary: Can the minister explain why he would allow those types of ads to be put in newspapers whereas a service club or a veterans’ club or a Legion cannot put in a little block ad notifying their membership of coming social events?

Hon. Mr. Drea: I am fully aware of that section of the act regarding clubs and so forth, particularly in regard to special-occasion permits. I can’t give the member a rational answer for it and I am not going to attempt to.

Mr. Cassidy: Then change the rules.

Hon. Mr. Drea: Not quite so fast. The only answer is that in the past there have been complaints from taxpaying, competitive businesses in the community that have a liquor licence six days a week and feel those who operate on a sporadic basis really shouldn’t have the same rights.

Mr. Makarchuk: They operate six days a week and if you let them, they will operate seven.

Mr. Warner: You put big business ahead of the Legion.

Hon. Mr. Drea: Oh, don’t you ever say that, and wipe the smirk off of your face.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Mr. Warner: Point of privilege, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: What’s your point of privilege?

Mr. Warner: The descriptive language which the minister used with regard to myself. If my smiling offends the minister I am sorry, but he needn’t refer to it as a smirk.

Mr. Speaker: It’s not a point of privilege. Does the minister have a response?

Hon. Mr. Drea: Not to that, Mr. Speaker. To go back to the club licence; the club licence, as the House very well knows, is different from a regular liquor licence. There are restrictions that have been placed upon the clubs’ right to advertise. As for the suggestion that was made to me about how do I allow this, I don’t allow this in the Globe and Mail. The restrictions on advertising on the club licence were based upon competitive factors that reflected the viability of the liquor industry at the time that they were made.


Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, last week the member for Ottawa East asked a question regarding the designated-import rule of the Canadian Football League and the possibility that this rule violates the human rights code. He is not so happy today, is he, after yesterday’s game? He is not smiling as much.

Mr. Eaton: You could use some imports. Look at all those Canadian boys in the front line of Montreal.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: As I mentioned at the time, a complaint has been filed with the commission concerning the designated-import rule and the matter is still under investigation by the commission. Thus I believe it could likely be seen as prejudicial to the case in question should I make a detailed reply at this moment. I might, however, take a moment to remind the member of a couple of points raised in supplementary questions.

The commission has for some time been aware of the designated-import rules and the suggestion of some people that this rule may be considered a violation of provisions of the code. However, with this particular case it was concluded that the best way to determine whether the rule does violate the code is to wait until a complaint is filed. This has now occurred and the process of investigation is under way.

Secondly, regarding the member’s suggestion that I either alter the code or attempt to get the Canadian Football League to alter its rules, I would suggest the former is premature and the latter, pending the outcome of the investigation, may be unnecessary as well as possibly being beyond the scope of my ministry. As a final comment, I might point out to the member that as a result of the events of the past weekend and the untimely defeat of his own home-town team, he might well have an opportunity of seeing a Canadian playing quarterback in the Grey Cup next weekend.

Mr. Roy: That was a pretty facetious remark he just made towards the end of his statement. I would like to ask the minister when he expects the commission to make a ruling on the complaint by Jamie Bone? When can we expect that?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I know that the matter is under consideration now and I would hope it would be resolved within a few weeks.


Mr. G. Taylor: I have a question of the Minister of Culture and Recreation. I noticed in an article that Humber College had received a $500,000 Wintario grant for a capital structure. Has the ministry changed its guidelines or is there any confusion on the guidelines, since I was under the impression that capital support did not go to already tax-supported operations such as Humber College or educational facilities?

Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, I will look into the details of that grant and report back.


Mr. Nixon: I would like to direct a further question to the Minister of Energy about the conference last week, in which he supported the Alberta contention that the price for oil in Canada should go up by $1 a barrel, He indicated in a previous answer that he had not consulted the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) as to the validity of what he considered to be an agreement which dictated his position.

Would the minister tell the House just what is the basis of his decision on behalf of the consumers of Ontario that if the price does go up $1 a barrel we will still be behind the American price? Would he not feel that we ought to accept the statement by the federal Minister of Energy that the increase of $1 would put us ahead of the Americans by a reasonable calculation of the costs, and therefore he should not have supported the Alberta position?

Hon. Mr. Auld: My recollection of what the Honourable Mr. Gillespie said on Thursday about the possibility of the US price rising above $1 -- also the Canadian price, in effect, was that he gave two or three examples of how the price might become more than $1. He also suggested that if the Canadian dollar got up to 90 cents, I believe it was although I’d like to look at my notes and I don’t have all of them in front of me, the price would not go above $1.

The Chicago price is calculated by a somewhat involved formula -- and I am sure the honourable member would think I should be the last one who should explain it to him -- but it includes such things as transportation and various arbitrary figures. We have had, in the past, some discussions about that. Perhaps my predecessor is more familiar with that than I am.

Mr. Nixon: Which predecessor was that?

Hon. Mr. Auld: The one closest to my right.

Mr. S. Smith: The guy who said he knows nothing about energy.

Mr. Roy: The Premier (Mr. Davis) thought he was right.

Hon. Mr. Baetz: That’s what you said. You were wrong.

Hon. Mr. Auld: As far as what will happen on January 1, I think it is important to remember that in August when the announcement was made by the government of Canada, by Mr. Gillespie and, as I recall, Mr. Chretien, the Minister of Finance, we said we thought this was improper and breaching an agreement. Also, at that time, there was no assurance the price as calculated in Chicago would exceed $1. It now appears it may well do so, particularly as there is some bearing on the matter by OPEC decisions. If OPEC decides to increase its prices by five per cent, that will have a further effect in the States, which will then affect us.

Ms. Gigantes: You are not very convincing.

Hon. Mr. Baetz: Consistent all the way through.

Mr. Nixon: Supplementary: Is the minister going to phone Mr. Gillespie and say, “he did not understand it completely and that he is now in favour of there not being an increase in Ontario,” so that in fact we will not have an increase either then or in the next quarter? That’s our policy; the minister should be sure to understand that.

Hon. Mr. Auld: I’m quite sure Mr. Gillespie understands it, and I have also put it in writing to him.

Ms. Gigantes: Do it; do it.

Mr. Roy: He thinks you’re supporting Alberta.

Hon. Mr. Auld: The honourable members opposite are really spending an awful lot of time trying to get me to say something which I did not say. They are trying to get me to say the reverse of what I did say.

Mr. MacDonald: It’s what you didn’t do that we are concerned about.

Mr. di Santo: Can the minister tell us if he has calculated the impact of loss of jobs as a result of the increase in the price of oil? Two, can he tell us what is the impact on inflation? Three, doesn’t he think it is contradictory that while we are trying to attract industry in Ontario -- in this case, Ford -- by giving them incentives, we put our manufacturing industry at a disadvantage by increasing the oil price?

Hon. Mr. Auld: My predecessors and I on various occasions have said what we felt a fair arrangement is as far as pricing of Canadian crude oil and natural gas goes. We have said it should be on the basis of a fair return to the consumer. The price should be the same across the country, adjusted only for the cost of transportation, and we have said it is terribly important in industrial provinces such as Ontario, because it does affect our competitive position. That is why we are not in favour of going to the world price --

Mr. Warner: Answer the question.

Hon. Mr. Auld: -- we are in favour of being at least below the US price.


Ms. Gigantes: I have a question for the Minister of Education. Is the minister aware the principal of South Huron District High School has had to use the intercom system in that school to appeal for students to bring wire coat hangers to school so students in the welding shop would have material to weld?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: No, Mr. Speaker, I had not heard that.

Mr. Roy: How about hairpins?

Mr. S. Smith: That’s a hangup they have there.


Ms. Gigantes: I could suggest that she ask her parliamentary assistant. He knows about it. Will she launch a review of the adequacy of materials and the need for new equipment in shop courses and high schools across the province, to ensure that the promise of the government’s public commitment to technical training is not undercut by the reality of inadequate provincial funding from her ministry?

Mr. Nixon: Don’t get hung up.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, that investigation has already been launched.

Ms. Gigantes: Has the minister got any answers?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Not yet.

Mr. Cassidy: You never do.


Mr. McKessock: I have a question for the Treasurer, Mr. Speaker. A minute ago he was talking about his discussions with Marcel Lessard, pertaining to the DREE program, but he seemed to be specifically talking about a new program for eastern Ontario. I assume he’s aware that there is a special ARDA program that covered southwestern Ontario -- Simcoe, Wellington, Grey-Bruce and Dufferin. In his discussions, was there anything said pertaining to a new program coming in to cover that part of Ontario?

Also, new applications for that program stopped as of September 8 of this year and some of the programs won’t be completed before March 31. Will there be money made available to finish these programs that are ongoing throughout 1979?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, most of the money the member is talking about is currently being handled by the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. W. Newman). He was present at that meeting. He stated that he was very concerned about getting assistance for the Grey-Bruce area of the province under some form of federal recognition. We didn’t detect much sympathy from the federal people for that coverage. However, I can assure the member the Minister of Agriculture and Food did stress the need for that area.

Mr. Eakins: Supplementary: Has the Treasurer considered adjusting the boundaries for DREE? I’m thinking of the county of Haliburton, which desperately needs assistance and cannot receive assistance for its industries there.

Hon. F. S. Miller: I know they desperately need assistance. That’s why I drop over every so often.

An hon. member: That’s why they need assistance.

Hon. F. S. Miller: Now, now, it’s my turn.

Yes, Mr. Speaker, I suggested that the boundaries of eastern Ontario be redefined to include Muskoka and Haliburton.

Mr. Conway: Supplementary: Mr. Speaker, I want to elicit if I can from the Treasurer a clarification on the expected signing dates for these new agreements spoken of in his press statement of November 16. When does he expect that these agreements will be signed, and to that degree, made public?

Hon. F. S. Miller: There are a number of agreements referred to in the document, and one at least really has passed all the technical hurdles -- that’s the one that relates to the forests of the north. I think that is the only one where we appear to be ready to sign within the next two or three weeks.

We pressed the minister and I think we had good acceptance of the need to have these new agreements signed and in place before the end of the current fiscal year.


Mr. Swart: I think, Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs is still in the House. I wonder if I could have his attention -- the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs.

Mr. Warner: He’s already leaving. He didn’t know anyone was going to ask a question.

Mr. Breaugh: No need to run out, Tom. You can handle it.

Mr. Swart: Now that he is on the way back to his seat, I would like to ask the minister: in view of certain problems which became apparent in the recent municipal elections, is he going to change the Municipal Elections Act, first of all, to limit the amount of campaign expenditures and require the disclosure of their source in municipal elections? Secondly, will he consider moving the election date to October? Thirdly, will he have the polls open at 9 a.m. to conform with other elections, provincial and federal?

Hon. Mr. Wells: I think those matters are certainly things that should be looked at, although I believe the question concerning disclosure is now provided for. Councils can pass a bylaw requesting disclosure of funds during the campaign.

I must say that personally my feeling is that the new election date worked very well and I don’t see any particular need for moving it further forward. But I am sympathetic -- and I’m just giving you my personal view -- to opening the polls earlier. I think the polls probably should open earlier than they do at the present time.

I’d be willing to look at those matters. As my friend knows, there’s no urgency to decide today or tomorrow about them but rather to have any changes for the better in place for the next municipal election.

Mr. Swart: Supplementary: May I ask the minister if he’s not aware that the vote in Fort Frances had to be postponed because of the weather, that they had trouble in many parts of northern Ontario and that the middle of November in northern Ontario is a very unsatisfactory time to have to go some distances in many cases to the polls? Does he not feel that the limitation on campaign expenditures and the disclosure of the source of the funds should be mandatory rather than just voluntary?

Hon. Mr. Wells: I think the present legislation is satisfactory in that particular area. I would remind my friend of something I was thinking about the other day. I don’t know whether he started working in municipal politics, as I did, when we used to get up at six o’clock --

Mr. MacDonald: You don’t know. He was in it for years.

Mr. Makarchuk: He’s got more time in municipal politics than all of you put together.

Hon. Mr. Wells: -- on New Year’s Day and work all New Year’s Day on elections that happened every year at one time.

I realize the weather does present a problem in certain areas. I suppose if it isn’t snowing, it will be raining somewhere on election day. We should give the present date a chance. I think it’s a better date than we had before.

Mr. Swart: It could be better.

Hon. Mr. Wells: I really don’t see any need to change it at this point in time.

Mr. MacDonald: Like most government measures, it is a half-measure.

Mr. Bradley: Supplementary: When the minister is considering the problem of limiting contributions and disclosure, if the ministry and the minister are not in favour of a compulsory piece of legislation, would he consider formulating a model bylaw that municipalities that wanted to implement could implement so that the system would be somewhat standard across Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Wells: That suggestion has a great deal of merit. I’d certainly be willing to take a look at that. I think it would be something that the Provincial-Municipal Liaison Committee might like to look at with us. If a model bylaw that could be used and adopted by various areas in this field could be developed that might be a good idea.


Hon. Mr. Auld: Last week the member for Kent-Elgin (Mr. McGuigan) asked a question of the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development to pass along to me. It was a request to review the decision regarding the options that are being offered to leaseholders at Rondeau Park. The question was “Would the minister offer these leaseholders a chance to include their children in the leases that run to 1996?”

The answer is that one of the main objectives of the review of the park lease situation was to find a natural and humane way of terminating existing leases while still retaining 1996 as the final termination date. In view of the age structure of existing lease-holders, that objective is contemplated in the option which is being offered to leaseholders, which is that any leaseholder may continue with his present lease and may arrange joint tenancy with his children until the lease expires; or he may opt to join a plan under which he or his spouse may remain in the park until the death of himself, of his surviving spouse or at 1996, whichever occurs first.

His children may, of course, enjoy the cottage as his guests but under the plan they are not eligible transferees. The reason for this is that to extend the plan to the next generation would create in 1996 another situation which might be considered inhumane.

Mr. Conway: Supplementary to the minister’s statement: I want to know whether or not those arrangements that apply to Rondeau are indeed the ones that have been agreed to for Algonquin Park leaseholders. If the statement and the position are similar, could he provide a position or a policy paper to that effect, at least to myself, because there has been some concern that that has not been forthcoming?

Hon. Mr. Auld: It’s my understanding that this was offered in Algonquin Park. It’s based on the same principle.


Mr. O’Neil: Mr. Speaker, I had a question of the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, but since he has left I’ll direct it to the Minister of Colleges and Universities.

Can the minister explain why the ministry’s apprenticeship certificates in plumbing have no validity in obtaining a trade licence in the town of Oakville, even though the Municipal Act overrules local bylaws requiring further work experience and examinations? Does she condone unilateral decisions by other municipalities in rejecting what are legally adequate certificates of qualifications?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, this sounds like a most unusual situation. I wasn’t aware that the town of Oakville had set itself up as a specific certifying body. I shall investigate it and report.


Mr. Laughren: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Labour. Is the minister aware that the Workmen’s Compensation Board in the Sudbury area is, in fact, intervening in the industrial dispute at Inco when it says to workers who are on partial disability that their benefits will be reduced since there is no light duty available because of the strike at Inco?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: If I understand that question correctly, it was asked of me earlier by the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel), and that very issue is going before the appeal board of the WCB for consideration. If that’s not so I’ll check it out and report back to the member.

Mr. Warner: It should be a matter of policy.

Mr. Laughren: Supplementary: Is the minister not aware that that’s not the kind of decision that should be made by the compensation board but should be a directive from the minister, and that not only are workers who are on partial disability and available for light duty being discriminated against but also employees who are on rehabilitation programs and who have applied for and received Canada Pension Plan benefits are being discriminated against? Can we have some direction and some leadership from the Minister of Labour on these two matters? Never mind going back to the appeal board. The minister knows what they do.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: I wasn’t aware of either of these specific circumstances, Mr. Speaker. I’ll check it out and see if they are so and report back to the member.


Mr. J. Reed: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Energy. I wonder if the minister, in the light of the new energy situation and the new electric power consumption reality in Ontario, knows if Ontario Hydro has exercised any of its prerogatives in the uranium contracts to downscale the purchases of uranium fuel between now and the year 2000?

Hon. Mr. Auld: Mr. Speaker, I’m not aware of any. I will inquire. I would be surprised at this early date if they have, but I will inquire and inform the member.

Mr. J. Reed: Supplementary: I wonder if the minister understands there is a lead time, which is very important, that’s involved here and unless action is taken now, which may appear to be early in the game, Ontario Hydro and the people of Ontario who buy the electric power are going to be stuck with the bill five years down the road?

Hon. Mr. Auld: I think it was indicated during the discussion of my estimates that Hydro’s next load forecast has not yet been completed and any major further changes in the plans would hinge to a great extent on that, so I would imagine that it may be a month or so before we hear.

Ms. Gigantes: A supplementary: I would like to ask the minister, on the same contracts, if he would consider an excess profits tax now be applied to Mr. Roman’s holdings of Denison stocks, now that it’s clear that he’s picked up about $44.8 million personally since February 1978 on those stocks?

Hon. Mr. Auld: Mr. Speaker, I would refer that question to the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) who is the one who normally deals with tax policies.

Mr. Mackenzie: It’s an exploitation of the people.

Mr. McClellan: It is a redirection.

Mr. Speaker: There was no indication that the Treasurer was prepared to accept it.

Mr. Roy: His enthusiasm for answering questions is not obvious.

Mr. Speaker: Does the Treasurer find himself in a position to answer that question?

Mr. S. Smith: He is just sulking because he didn’t buy Denison.



Mr. Young: A question for the Minister of Transportation and Communications: Has the minister taken any attitude towards the suggestion, and it’s now a matter being pushed strongly by a newly formed company in Ontario, that drivers be charged for air for tires through use of machines in which one inserts coins, a suggestion which will have very dire consequences for the safety of motor cars and the longevity of tires?

Mr. Warner: Great system when you start charging for air.

Mr. Roy: You never charge anything for hot air.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: We get it free from the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere.

Hon. Mr. Snow: I have to take that suggestion under consideration because I have some problem seeing how any legislation for which I am responsible could be adapted to meet that particular problem which may or may not develop throughout the country. This would be a mechanism used by privately owned service stations in many areas and not necessarily on the highways. It might come under Consumer and Commercial Relations, I really don’t know. I doubt very much that that particular machine is going to go very far. I wouldn’t be investing in it.

Mr. S. Smith: A bit like the dime toilet -- when you need it, you need it.



Mr. Van Horne moved first reading of Bill Pr32, An Act respecting the City of London.

Motion agreed to.


Hon. Mr. Welch: Before the orders of the day, I wish to table the answers to questions 138, 139, and 140 standing on the Notice Paper.


Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Chairman, there is only about one hour and three minutes for estimates of the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs, which we will now consider. Following that we will rise and consider order 42 standing on the Notice Paper until six o’clock. This evening at eight we will start the estimates of Treasury and Economics.


House in committee of supply.


On vote 1103B, local government affairs program:

Mr. Bradley: There are a couple of problems I would like to discuss under the area of local government affairs which affect a number of areas within the province, but specifically I would like to discuss my own experience in the Niagara Peninsula.

First, I would make a plea to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, and through him to the provincial Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller). I know what discussions are going on, and I am happy to see that, with the new minister, who is noted for his flexibility and his ability to solve problems; at least this is the reputation he established as Minister of Education. We are hopeful that the situation that exists with the resources equalization grant and how the formula currently used adversely affects certain municipalities can be solved with discussions the minister would have. The members for Sarnia (Mr. Blundy) and Windsor-Walkerville (Mr. B. Newman) have discussed the problem as it specifically affects their particular municipalities.

The city of St. Catharines, has been placed in a position of being without $1.2 million per year. Over the past five years, that would be $6 million that otherwise might be going to the city of St. Catharines in terms of provincial grants. Because the formula is as it is, and because of the date at which the assessment was done in St. Catharines as compared to other communities, we are not now receiving these funds. Therefore, the people at the local level, are forced to pay out that kind of money for the property tax.

In the past, when I spoke to the previous Treasurer and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, the former member for Chatham Kent (Mr. McKeough), the response was rather negative. Part of the response was based on the fact we would have to await the complete property tax reform package before we could look forward to any resolving of that particular problem, because it really had to be resolved, he contended, across the province of Ontario rather than in specific cases.

The plea I make to the minister is that, even if he doesn’t want to go into the past to redress the problem that has existed over the last four or five years, I have asked that the minister in this particular year, and next year if we do not have an implementation of property tax reform, develop some formula which would at least partially compensate those municipalities which are adversely affected. I would look forward to a comment from the minister on that, either now or at the conclusion of my remarks, whatever is his wish.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Chairman, my reply would be as I replied to similar questions on Friday during consideration of these estimates. That is we are aware of the problem and we are looking at certain solutions, or at least partial solutions, which will become known in the next two or three weeks. I can’t really say anything more than that at the present time. We are looking at solutions which in fact would take effect in the next year or over the next period of time and are not directly connected with these estimates.

Mr. Bradley: I will continue my remarks, then. I am reasonably hopeful something can come out of the discussions that take place, particularly direct discussions with those municipalities that are affected. I know the Premier (Mr. Davis) will be in the city of St. Catharines on December 4 and I think one of the matters the mayor of St. Catharines will be discussing with the Premier at that time will be this specific problem. Hopefully we will have some kind of a solution at that time.

The other area I would like to discuss this afternoon is that of regional government. I think it is particularly significant that we discuss this matter in the light of the fact we have a new minister, in effect, in the chair.

The minister -- and I was encouraged by these remarks -- both in a speech in Sudbury and in Hansard of November 6, talked about the fact the provincial government is no longer going to be in the business of implementing large scale restructuring, at least in the foreseeable future. He has made the promise that we are not going to have further regional governments in the province of Ontario for some time to come.

He makes the statement, for instance, that the provincial government has gone as far as it intends to go with regional government, and says he wants to make it clear that he does not intend to legislate any additional regional governments or large scale restructured municipalities.

I think for the parts of Ontario that do not now have regional government this is certainly good news. For those areas that do have regional government at the present time, it offers only the hope that the minister, having said this, may re-evaluate, on his own, with the resources he has available within his ministry, and through the reports that have been made public from the various regions; and that he would be able to implement the kind of changes which are going to bring about a redress of the problems that exist in those specific areas which I think have been adversely affected by regional government.

The minister, when I interjected during his initial remarks, suggested that Metropolitan Toronto was one area where regional government had worked. I think there are few people in this House who would quarrel with that particular contention. Regional government seemed to make sense in Metropolitan Toronto, where there are several large municipalities side by side, and where there is an almost continuous flow of urban development. However, to apply what is good for Metropolitan Toronto in the rest of the province doesn’t always work, as many of us who do not reside in Toronto nor represent ridings in Toronto have often discovered.

I think if the minister were to discuss with some of the back-bench members in his own party, plus some of those members who represent ridings in which regional government has been implemented, he would find, not to his surprise, that it is a very unpopular concept even today. That’s probably because of the manner in which it was implemented rather than the idea that was down on paper originally.

We know from the results of various referenda that took place across the province on November 13 that regional government is not popular among the population. One can say it’s because the people don’t understand. I tend to view that as a rather condescending attitude, “the people don’t understand.” I think the people understand very well what the implementation of regional government has meant to their particular areas, and for that reason they are reacting in a rather negative manner.

Last May, during the private members’ hour, I introduced a resolution which would have provided for a referendum covering those areas affected by regional government at the present time. This way the people could at least pass judgement, and the results of that referendum would be made known to the general government committee where the matter could be discussed. I recognize that the House is not obliged to discuss these matters simply because a referendum takes place and some people express a negative point of view. By introducing this resolution, however, I felt we could allow people across Ontario to pass some kind of judgement before major restructuring is implemented and after it has been implemented. It would then place the onus on those who had implemented it, in the past, or who were going to implement it in the future, to sell it in the proper package so that the people would be aware of its benefits, if indeed there were any benefits to be gained.

Many of the comments we heard during these referenda across Ontario, when these matters were discussed in the various municipalities, really confirmed what some members of the Legislature who sat on the official opposition task force on regional and local government found as we went across the province. I’m sure the minister has had the same complaints made to his ministry from various sources. The feeling is certainly not a secret known only to us and something the ministry is not aware of.

I know one of the goals of regional government was probably to have one group of people providing a specific service. Unfortunately, where regional government had been implemented, we found we had the various area municipalities not always reducing their own staffs to take into consideration the fact the region had been given new powers. One of the reasons for that is that local councils tend to be jealous of their own power; they feel they are most familiar with the problems that exist within their municipalities. They are naturally reluctant to give up those areas in which they have had influence and decision-making powers in the past.

It’s my own view that many of those powers should have remained with the local municipalities and that the solution lies there. It is not, as the advocates for regional government now seem to be saying: ‘We know there is a problem with local government, but the problem is the area municipalities. If we get rid of those and just have one big regional government, all of the problems will be solved.”

I was happy to see that the former Minister of Treasury, Economics and Intergovernmental Affairs on one occasion did not wish to tamper. This was in the city of Hamilton. He didn’t wish to tamper with the fact that there are area municipalities in existence. They can often best reflect the point of view of the local people.

We have found a tendency towards another level of bureaucracy, then, in the implementation of regional government; it is also a tendency towards empire building to a certain extent. We know that many of the people -- excellent people, fine civil servants in the various area municipalities -- following the implementation of regional government went to the region. Immediately it was contended we’d have to pay those people a lot more money. After all, they had a greater area of jurisdiction, they would be dealing with larger dollar amounts; and therefore somehow they would have to be paid substantially more money, they would have to have secretaries, they would have to have assistants; we see a great buildup.


I noticed in the regional municipality of Niagara, for instance, the engineering department of the region came to the city of St. Catharines and suggested taking over more of the roads and the looking after of those roads. One of the reasons, and probably the primary reason, is the region had excess capacity in terms of the equipment and personnel that it had. It had to give those people and those machines something to do. We see a primary example of over-extension, if not empire-building -- and that is an unkind word sometimes -- an over-extension of the enthusiasm of those within the engineering department of the region.

The costs that we have seen associated with regional government have been tremendous, particularly for those municipalities that end up footing a lot of the bill for a specific area. These costs, unfortunately, were masked. To the people of the area, when a regional government was implemented, for instance in Niagara in 1970, the transitional benefits for five years were good in that they kept the local taxes down.

One of the problems was that they tended to mask the real cost of this additional layer of government. While the province was doing the area a favour on the one hand, on the other hand people really couldn’t measure the true cost of regional government. It was being implemented and extended further and further, getting more areas of jurisdiction with which to deal. This tended to be a real problem.

The incentive for economy within a region, we have found as well, has not been rather great. It is the old idea that there is one big economic pie within a region. Each of the area municipalities, and each of the politicians in these areas, seems to feel that somehow they should get their fair share of the economic pie in the form of revenues generated within that area.

If an individual municipality wishes to construct a bridge within an area, the total cost of that bridge might be $100,000, and if that area municipality or the people within that area municipality have to pay $2,000 of that, of course they are going to be much more inclined to go after that bridge to get it built than they would if they have to assume the lion’s share of the cost.

In addition to this, we see examples of political back-scratching. The politicians who were around in the county days -- I see the member for Welland-Thorold (Mr. Swart), who may recall this, in the House -- tell me that in the olden days, and it seems to have happened again, some back-scratching went on whereby individuals from one municipality would go and say: “We need this major new road construction in our area, but I don’t think it can be done unless we have your vote.” The politician from the other area was quite willing to give his vote, as long as the other person agreed to a major public works project in his own area.

Mr. Swart: I never heard anything like that before.

Mr. Bradley: They tell me it did take place. His experience would tell the member for Welland-Thorold that it took place on many occasions. It still takes place within a region, which is an unfortunate thing. We find regional councillors, who are elected from their own municipality and whose interests are primarily in their own municipality, making decisions for other municipalities without the knowledge.

In essence what happens, it seems to me, is one of two things. Either the back-scratching takes place and they accept the word of the local politician from another area municipality that it is required; or the decisions are thrown into the hands of the civil servants. In effect, they are saying the only fair judgement they can get on whether these projects are needed or not is to consult the civil servants, who make a decision which the local politicians will just rubber-stamp. Neither solution is satisfactory.

We still have a duplication of effort. I know there are some within regional governments who will say, “Show us the duplication of services. There isn’t any duplication of services.” Then we see what happens on the main street of a municipality where a local city council wants to have a lot of say about what is going to happen on that main street; and yet it is a regional road, so much time and effort are expended. If time and effort are expended within the local city hall to make a presentation which they hope will convince the region that certain action should be taken on those roads, duplication of effort does take place.

I know we are trying to eliminate that, and I appreciate there is streamlining when we can clearly define the role of the region in an area and the role of an area municipality.

There’s also the contention, Mr. Chairman, that there is somehow an economy of scale when you have regional government; and that somehow if it’s larger we are going to see efficiencies effected which will help the local taxpayer. This happens, I suppose, to a certain extent in industry where you are producing one product, like the automobile industry for instance. If you have a large company and that company produces a large number of automobiles, one would assume since they are dealing with the same product, the machinery can be set up so there is economy of scale.

This isn’t always true, however, in local government. There have been studies, particularly south of the border. Dr. Hirsch, as I recall, made a study which indicated there were not necessarily considerable savings in going large scale, because of course many of the services that have to be provided are different, you are not dealing with one product. It’s almost a myth that there are economies of scale that take place within regions, particularly where the needs of those regions and the various municipalities within those regions are somewhat diverse.

I have an idea I would like to see the minister look at. It’s something I discussed with Mr. McKeough when he was the minister. The Archer report covered an area such as Niagara. The Archer report, to be kind to it, was irrelevant to what went on in the region, and there are many who said it was very disappointing. I think if the ministry officials were allowed to say what they really thought of the Archer report they wouldn’t be very complimentary in their remarks, because it really didn’t delve into the problems that exist in Niagara.

The member for Brock (Mr. Welch), who is in the House, would recognize this as well. Many of his own friends within the Niagara region recognized the Archer report really didn’t produce the kinds of solutions for which we had hoped.

Hon. Mr. Welch: What kind of solution would you have liked?

Mr. Bradley: Abolishment.

Hon. Mr. Welch: Yes, that’s what you want.

Mr. Bradley: We must look at it in more realistic terms, because I think we recognize the minister has to deal in very realistic terms and not just with the pie-in-the-sky suggestions of opposition members. Looking at it, then, in realistic terms, I would like to see the minister look rather carefully at one of two possibilities and I know it’s going to be controversial.

One of the two possibilities is scaling down the region by taking away some of the powers the region has and returning those powers to area municipalities. Another possibility is breaking the region down into perhaps four, five or six viable municipalities; forgetting about the very large region we have at the present time and looking at some of the services we have shared in the past.

I know that’s not an easy task, politically it never is an easy task. The local political people and the local electorate are not always happy when change takes place. We recognized that when regional government was implemented, but there are certain municipalities whose interests are common and who could make up a viable unit. There would be some kind of incentive for efficiency and some kind of incentive for saving when all of the people within that one area municipality know they are paying for the services within that municipality.

A second advantage, it seems to me, would be the fact you would have people dealing with problems right in their own area rather than with problems at the other end of the peninsula.

I hope the minister, when he is considering the present regional governments, might just look at that. He may reject either of the suggestions I have made as being impractical, but I don’t think Mr. Archer in his evaluation of the situation in the peninsula really looked at those carefully enough.

There were those, including the former mayor of St. Catharines who represented us very ably down at regional council and fought many of our battles. Mackenzie Chown and Joseph Reid, both fought the battle for St. Catharines regional council, and I think they felt this should at least be considered as one of the possibilities. I know I sat on a committee with former Mayor Reid and Alderman Willmot in St. Catharines, along with senior staff members, who composed, for ratification by council, a presentation to be made to the Archer commission. One of the things we thought he might look at is change in the political boundaries which would better reflect the servicing end of things within the municipality. We have a tendency, and it’s a natural tendency I think, to want to have a uniform level of service. But it doesn’t make sense to have the same level of services in a rural municipality as you have in an urban municipality.

At the same time, if the people in the rural municipality don’t have those services they shouldn’t pay for those services. However, they see they are paying part of the shot in the region, so they have an appetite for some of the services the city people have.

We have another example of the city folk who want the country living but they want city services. They make demands. It is not really the farmers so much as those who move out of the urban centres into the rural areas because they like the retreat and it is quiet. They are the ones who really seem to cause the problem in terms of demanding services.

We have to get away from this idea of having a uniform level of service, for example, where you stick the region with one uniform water rate. The member for Brock knows that I always quote the figure given to the St. Catharines city council of the water rate increasing by over 800 per cent since the inception of regional government. We know we can’t attribute all that to regional government itself. There is inflation and other factors. But for the municipality represented by myself and the member for Brock, much of it results from the fact we have a uniform water rate within the region, which means that water rates went down for a lot of other areas and up for the city of St. Catharines. We were Santa Claus in that case.

We see something similar happening with sewage rates at the same time. The present minister is not the guy who implemented regional government. He is not Mr. McKeough who lived or died by it -- and I admired the fact that Mr. McKeough was a very strong-willed and adamant individual who knew his ministry well, I don’t deny him that. What I am saying is that since you are a new minister with a good degree of flexibility, you have the opportunity to look at it and make the substantial changes that might be required to affect economies and make local government within the region more efficient

I look forward to any investigations you make and the results you come up with. Even if you reject some of the suggestions that have been made over the years and that have been made by me today, if you would at least suggest to us why you think they are not practical that would be a useful exercise in itself.

I won’t go into a number of the other areas I covered when I spoke on my particular resolution before this House. I dwelt on those areas I would like the minister to look at most carefully. I appreciate any efforts he can make in this direction. I know the people of St. Catharines look forward to the deliberations of the new minister, along with his staff. We have just a flicker of optimism that we are going to see the kind of change we have wanted to see for some time.

Mr. Swart: I took part only briefly in the debate the other day because we were dealing purely with the issue of the restructuring of a local government and I didn’t think we wanted to get off on that subject at that time. But there are a number of other matters I do want to discuss now.

I don’t intend to discuss regional government, except to say this: in some items, like regional government and many municipal matters, there can be unanimity in this House; there can be parallel views on a number of issues which cross political lines more often than they do on many issues. I endorse what has been said by the member for St. Catharines relative to regional government and the problems that exist with it.


Sitting in front of the minister is a gentleman I have known for many years. He and I had some lengthy discussions and took part in many meetings relative to the establishment of regional government in Niagara. He knows that the brief I submitted to the commission which sat at that time proposed a substantially different type of regional government than that which exists in Niagara. Perhaps he might like to supply the minister with a copy of that brief if it still exists. If not, I still have one, even though that was some 11 years ago.

Many of the problems with services being moved to the regional level and with regard to having one huge regional government instead of two were matters I commented on. I think, in retrospect, my views may have proved to have been the ones that should have had further consideration at that time.

I’m sorry the member for St. Catharines left. I too want to mention the resource equalization grant very briefly, because I have some reason to believe that it is very near to a solution at the present time. I would point out to the people on the right that if they had supported the amendment put forward by this party, by myself, a year ago, we would have had -- and if we’d lifted the freeze on equalization -- we would have had a new equalization. Municipalities would have had an opportunity to appeal that; Windsor and Sarnia and St. Catharines and many of the other places that are now suffering, as they say, in relation to the new assessment program -- they’re really suffering a loss in grants in an unfair sharing of the common costs -- wouldn’t have had that happen this year if they had supported the resolution I submitted last year. It will be submitted by us again this year, although I think perhaps the government is going to beat us to it and provide that equalization and appeal.

Be that as it may, there is very real need for this change. If this minister or if the Minister of Revenue (Mr. Maeck) is proposing to bring in such an amendment on their own, then I commend them for doing that, belated as it may be.

I want to pursue a little further the matter of municipal elections which I raised in the question period. I suggest to the minister that although it is an improvement, as he said, to have the municipal elections moved ahead three weeks from what they were previously -- which puts them just before the middle of November -- I think if it could be worked out from a practicable point of view in getting the proper enumeration and other procedures done prior to election day it would be preferable to hold those elections in October.

Some members of this House will remember that I moved an amendment to the Municipal Elections Act last year which would have provided for the election to be held 45 days after Labour Day in every year. I also proposed procedures which I felt were workable, and which perhaps would have not meant as much rush and imposed such short time periods as we have under the present Municipal Elections Act.

I would ask the minister to look at that. I made those proposals in detail. I suggest to him it is possible and practical to hold that election around the middle of October, or just after the middle of October, without having to move the start of the enumeration ahead at all.

Let me just put in two or three sentences what needs to be done: If the list assembled by the enumerators is supplemented by the list of non-resident voters which comes from the Ministry of Revenue’s assessment branch, and if the latter is compiled at the time the enumerators finish their list, you can have a preliminary list of voters shortly after the middle of September. Granted there will have to be some changes in it, perhaps a few more than now. Just that one step would enable the election date to be moved up by two or three weeks. I ask the minister very seriously to investigate the possibility of doing that.

As I mentioned in question period, in northern Ontario you have some very bad weather when you get into November. We normally don’t hold elections in this province and in most other provinces from November to March. The main reason is the weather. It’s not a desirable time to hold elections.

I suggest again that it is possible to hold municipal elections in October, 45 days after Labour Day. That is a uniform period of time, which we don’t now have. That causes and will cause some real difficulties to returning officers in elections in the future, when sometimes they have eight weeks and sometimes nine weeks to implement the procedures between the start of enumeration and election day. Enough about that. I do hope the minister will look into it in some detail.

I wanted to mention the matter of the guarantees of transfers from the province to local government. I was a bit perturbed by the minister’s comments earlier in these estimates that, “the municipalities” quoting from the PMLC -- “wanted the Edmonton commitment to be abandoned.” The impression was left by the minister, perhaps not deliberately, that they no longer wanted that kind of a commitment. If he has any doubt at all, I just want to assure him that the municipalities do want guaranteed transfers from the provincial government to the local governments in this province.

They want, preferably by legislation, a percentage of government revenue -- perhaps total revenue or perhaps the revenue from certain tax bases -- to be guaranteed to them from one year to the next and into the future. There’s a very real reason for that, of which I’m sure the minister is aware. Nobody in this House has mentioned it, including the member for Waterloo North (Mr. Epp), although he mentioned the matter of the breaking of the Edmonton commitment and the municipalities wanting to get out of it.

The municipalities want the minister to abandon that Edmonton commitment now for a very specific reason, that is because the former Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) unilaterally changed it. By changing it, the new formula required the municipalities to repay $298 million or to have it taken out of the grants which were coming to them during the next two years. The then Treasurer said that would hardly be fair, so he was going to spread it over two years. He took it out in 1978 from the grants which were to be transferred to the municipalities in the subsidies. If the Edmonton commitment should continue according to that formula the municipalities still owe the Ontario government $150 million.

That’s not all they owe. Because of reduced revenues this year and the formula which they have used, they will also owe the government another $75 million by the end of this year. That’s about $225 million if you stick with the Darcy McKeough formula for the Edmonton commitment.

No wonder they want to get out of the Edmonton commitment; but they do want legislated revenue-sharing between the province and local governments. I hope you will give some consideration to that and that in your reply will give some indication whether you are going to move in that direction, as British Columbia did a year ago and as Saskatchewan has done this year.

The lead-in remarks which the minister made with regard to his responsibilities and the great many questions concerning municipalities, stated that although he was not going to incorporate the municipal finance administration within his ministry -- I hope I’m quoting him correctly -- he would be advocating policies to the Treasurer and would be a spokesman on behalf of the municipalities.

Incidentally, Mr. Minister, we will be debating the bill establishing your ministry at some time in the not-too-distant future, and I have some very strong reservations about not including the financial administration section in your ministry. I think it should be, but I’ll debate that at a later time. Even in the role of an advocate for the municipalities and municipal associations, I would ask you to take a very close look at the matter of the property tax credits and the fact that they have not been increased to any degree over the last few years. I believe this will be four years that they have not been increased.

I would point out to you in the last year, up until 1977 -- I don’t have the figures for 1978 -- the last increase in property tax credits showed that they went up from $421 million to $434 million. Those figures are from the Treasury department. That is an increase of three per cent.

According to your own figures, property taxes went up this year approximately 6.5 per cent. That means that a person receiving a property tax credit which formerly amounted to half of the amount of taxes which he paid; somebody paying $500 taxes, an old age pensioner for example, was entitled to $250 property tax credits. But property tax credits only went up by three per cent. That meant he had to pick up the difference, so that instead of the net taxes going up 6.5 per cent to those taxpayers who don’t get any property tax credits, his property tax net would have gone up by something like 13 per cent. If he was getting more than 50 per cent property tax credit and a real low income, his net taxes would have gone up 15 per cent or 20 per cent.

In my lead-in remarks I pointed out to you, Mr. Minister, that some figures relating to that show that a person in the $7,500 property tax range over the last four years has had an increase in net property taxes of something like 75 per cent.

This is unacceptable. It is a reversion to the regressiveness of the property tax. This government, up until three or four years ago, as most provincial governments did in the province, instituted certain plans whereby the property tax was less regressive and whereby the level of the property tax was diminishing over the years. Your government, Mr. Minister, and I’m sure you’re aware of this, I’m sure you will even admit it, over the last three or four years, particularly four years, has reversed that and more of municipal and educational expenditures now are having to be borne by the property tax; and because the property tax credits have not been adjusted those on the lower incomes are having to pay a higher proportion of the net tax in their property tax.

In the budget this year, the then Treasurer stated that he was moving towards abolition of the property tax according to the charter which was put out for senior citizens. We won’t go into it, because I want to leave enough time for a reply to some of the questions and there may be other speakers, but he specifically intimated that he would next year dramatically increase the property tax credit to senior citizens.

I want to ask you whether that policy has now been totally abandoned because you are indefinitely postponing the reassessment program. He did tie it to that, but he also committed his government to proceed with the reassessment program, and as they did they would increase the property tax credits to the senior citizens. I would hope that you might deal with that, again recognizing that you do not make that decision but recognizing that you have committed yourself to being an advocate to the Treasurer.


I want to make one very brief suggestion again, if I may, Mr. Minister. I realize this overlaps different ministries too. In view of the serious unemployment in this province, the serious situation with regard to energy resources and the equally serious situation with regard to solid waste disposal, I am wondering if your ministry would consider speeding up dramatically the conversion of solid waste from the municipalities into some form of energy or perhaps recycling some of it. I suggest to you that, as you likely know, in West Germany, for instance, the great majority of the solid waste is being used for central heating in their cities. Europe is generally far ahead of us in the recycling and the use of their solid wastes.

It seems now that with the massive unemployment we have in this province and with the other items that I mentioned, this would be the appropriate time for financial encouragement. I realize that the Ministry of the Environment has a policy whereby it pays 50 per cent of the costs. That doesn’t seem to be enough. I know there are some bugs to be ironed out in this whole matter of conversion of solid waste to energy. It is at the point where there is a breakthrough and I would hope that your ministry would give the highest priority in proceeding with that conversion of solid wastes.

I want to speak very briefly again about the matter of proceeding with property reassessment. It is not unfair to point out that this has been an extremely lengthy and costly procedure, the reassessment program, running somewhere between $100 and $150 million of costs to the provincial Treasury to this date. A great many proposals and refinements have been made, perhaps to the point where a few more refinements could have made an acceptable system. Today, I am again urging the minister to make some further refinements in that.

I said before and I say again, I know this implementation of a new assessment system is not easy, that governments that have done it don’t particularly make a great deal of political mileage on it. Having said that, everyone in this House recognizes the injustices that exist at present. The politics of it may be that people don’t realize the injustices and therefore they are not ready to kick out the government or to heartily condemn the government for these injustices.

If you put in a new assessment system, if some companies have not been paying their fair share and they will have to pay it, then it is recognized that they are going to feel very strongly against those changes and react accordingly. In spite of that, I think that we have to go ahead at this stage. The situation is such that it demands some equalization and some reform in the assessment system.

I mentioned rather briefly that I think one of the major solutions to this is some sort of inflation reduction factor for land. In a place like Toronto, where single family residences would have had a dramatic increase in their taxes because of reassessment, it was due largely, almost solely, to the increase in the land values, the lot values in the city of Toronto. I am sure I don’t need to tell the minister, because he represents one of the ridings of Scarborough, that a new lot in Scarborough now costs in the neighbourhood of $50,000 for a full size lot to build a house on. That’s probably equal to the value of the house that would be put on that lot.

Of course all the people who had houses built years ago when both the lot and the cost of the structure were fairly reasonable, now are going to be assessed at that kind of value. That is why the single-family residences in Metropolitan Toronto would have had the dramatic increase. The construction costs on a house in Toronto is not really worth a new house. Building it doesn’t cost any more, or very little more, than the same house does in St. Catharines, or in Hamilton or in Windsor or in Sudbury. It is land prices that have driven houses out of reach and if we bring in this assessment system, property taxes will rise to an excessive level.

You have made reductions, Darcy McKeough made reductions in various other areas to reflect the realities of life. I say make the reduction here. If you assess the land at 20 per cent of market value instead of 50 per cent of market value, you will find there will be greater fairness across the province and there will be no increase, there will perhaps be a lowering, in the average single-family residence property tax in the city of Toronto.

I urge you to take a very serious look at this. It is a simple adjustment, it is not a complex adjustment; but it solves a lot of problems. It solves equalization throughout the province. It will solve the problem, to a very large extent, of Toronto receiving such a low percentage of grants from the province because their assessment per capita is so high.

The people who live in single-family residences here may not have a much higher income than they have in other places in this province, yet their net property taxes are 60 per cent higher, and this is largely due to the fact that their assessment per capita is so high in these municipalities that they get very little in the way of provincial grants; whether it be to the municipalities or to education. If you can make this kind of adjustment it will solve that and give a fairer distribution across the province.

With this I am going to close because I only have a bit of time. We think it is possible to apply the property tax credit directly at the payment of taxes. Admittedly there will be some administrative difficulties in doing this. The whole question of tenants comes into it, the people who move from one place to another, but I would be glad to discuss with you privately, Mr. Minister, ways and means by which we think we can make this work.

If we are going to put in a new assessment system in this province, and I don’t know whether your government is going to go ahead with that or even a desirable type of assessment reform, we are going to need a formula for applying the tax credit at the time the people pay their taxes, because even now they may have to wait eight months or so to get the money back on their tax credit through the income tax. But there is going to be a dramatic shift in taxes if we go through with tax reform, and there is going to be equality. There may be places where people have been paying $500 taxes. They will have to pay $800 taxes, even though they are on an $8,000 a year or $10,000 a year income. If you apply the property tax credit at the time they pay their taxes, and if they are on a low income, it will nullify that increase in taxes that would take place to bring their assessment even with others in the municipality.

Mr. Epp: That’s four times a year?

Mr. Swart: Or at the very first of the year, Mr. Chairman. A further explanation: it would seem to me that this property tax credit can be applied to the municipality at the time the tax rate is set. Instead of a person on an $8,000 income having to pay $800 and then getting $500 of it back a year, eight months, or six months later, the only thing that would be applied against that person would be the net, which might only be $300 and they could pay that in the four instalments.

I would be glad to have a further private discussion with the minister about this. I may be wrong, but I think there are ways of applying this which are workable.

Finally, as you are a new minister in this portfolio and as it is a new portfolio, I hope you will be open to these new proposals. I think we can work out a lot of the problems that now exist with regard to relationships between provincial government and municipal government; we can work out a lot of the injustices. I’m quite happy to make any suggestions and to work with you in any way I can to bring this about.

Mr. Epp: I’m glad to be part of that long private discussion that the member for Welland-Thorold just had with the minister, and he has indicated he wants to have a further one. Nevertheless, I do want to speak particularly on two things that are of interest.

One concerns the police forces and representation on police commissions. As you know, the province gives $10 on a per capita basis to non-regional police forces and $15 to regional police forces. Regions such as Toronto, Waterloo, Niagara, Hamilton-Wentworth, Halton, Peel, Durham, and Haldimand-Norfolk get $15 on a per capita basis.

There is one problem, however, that has developed in the last few years which has to do with representation on regional police commissions. As the minister knows, there are five members on a police commission. The Association of Municipalities of Ontario would like very much to have all the representatives on these police commissions appointed by the municipality. We on this side of the House are not prepared to go quite that far at this time in trying to get five members appointed by the regional municipalities, but we support having the majority of members appointed.

The president of AMO indicated that the municipalities would like their friends on the police commissions as opposed to the friends of the provincial government. We feel that because the lion’s share of the expense is borne by the municipalities as opposed to the province, whoever is paying the piper should call the tune. If the municipalities are paying the lion’s share of the expenses incurred by the regional police forces, obviously they should have the majority representation on those police commissions.

I would hope the minister would use his good offices to change their representation from two to three. This may not seem like a major step, but it would give majority representation to the regional councils which have requested this. There has been some indication by some provincial cabinet ministers in the past that leans towards this. I would hope you would endorse that particular move and prompt your colleagues to move in that direction.

Mr. Swart: It is very reasonable.

Mr. Epp: Thank you. Certainly it’s not asking too much for you to do this small thing for the municipalities. After all, as the new minister you are on record, as your predecessor is on record, as trying to give more autonomy to municipalities. This is a step in the right direction.

I just want to touch on one other thing which falls under this vote. It has to do with disaster relief assistance to victims of floods and storms. Last year the ministry allocated about $300,000 for this particular item. You ended up spending about $1,997,000. This year you have allocated $500,000 for this particular item. I would hope you would seriously look at allocating more money for this particular measure simply because in the past experience has shown that more money should be in that particular area. It is much easier to deny areas which are affected by floods or storms the money they require if you can say it is not in the budget. I would hope you would allocate a more realistic figure to be able to compensate the areas that need the money when those storms or floods occur.

I look forward to a reply on those items.


Mr. M. Davidson: I realize there isn’t much time left in this debate.

Mr. Chairman: Five minutes.

Mr. M. Davidson: I shall try to speak as quickly as I can.

I would just like to bring to the minister’s attention, although he may be aware of it, the results of the referendum on regional government held in Cambridge on Monday last, and the views of the citizens of Cambridge about regional government.

I understand the minister’s reason for not being here last Tuesday and I would extend to you my personal sympathy for that. I expect the member for Brock (Mr. Welch) did relay the questions that were raised to you. In order that you may give even more serious consideration to the questions that were raised, both by the member for Waterloo North (Mr. Epp) and myself, relating to that vote, I would like to give you the figures:

The member for Waterloo North pointed out to you that by a vote of five to one the citizens of Cambridge voted on a question which read as follows: “Are you in favour of the city of Cambridge becoming completely independent from any regional government?”

The figures on that were 17,353 saying yes, they would like to get out of the region; and 3,544 saying no, they felt there was some validity in remaining within the region.

This is not the first time this type of figure had emerged. The Cambridge Daily Reporter conducted a write-in ballot and their figure also indicated a five-to-one margin; the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce also conducted a telephone survey, and by a five-to-one margin they also recorded a similar response. Obviously a five-to-one majority of Cambridge citizens would like to opt out of regional government.

Mr. Bradley: Too bad they didn’t have one in St. Catharines.

Mr. M. Davidson: Yes, I would like to see you have one in St. Catharines; I am quite sure the results would be similar or maybe even higher, it depends. But I do know, and it should come as no surprise to the government -- it may come as a surprise to you, Mr. Minister -- that the figure would be that high. Since I was first elected in 1975, I have spoken in this House on this issue many times and have pointed out to the government the feelings of the citizens within the city of Cambridge. It was quite interesting also to find the re-elected mayor of North Dumfries applauded the decision of the citizens of Cambridge. He felt the only reason he could not conduct a similar referendum was because the people on his council would not support him in having it put on a ballot.

So having those figures before you I would urge you to consider seriously conducting a provincial referendum in the city of Cambridge, and in any other municipality within a regional structure of government that cares to hold one, with a view to allowing them to opt out of the regional structure in which they exist.

Mr. J. Reed: They know they would lose.

Mr. M. Davidson: I don’t know how you as a minister, nor your government, can deny the people the right to have such a vote. The referendum has indicated that the citizens of the city of Cambridge do not in any way wish to be a part of the Waterloo region and would prefer to operate with their own local council.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Chairman, I would like to respond briefly, and since there will not be enough time to respond to all the questions let me just deal with the regional government question.

Regional government has been around this province since some time in the 1840s. It is not some new innovation. It has been supported by governments of at least the Liberal and Conservative persuasions in this province --


Hon. Mr. Wells: -- in varying forms. It has been suggested that there is need for changes and improvements in existing regional governments. I think I stated in the speech, my friend from St. Catharines quoted, exactly how that is done. The local people set up their own evaluation procedures, decide what they want and come to us and suggest what they would like us to do. That’s all, it’s very simple. Of course, the same applies to Cambridge, which already has a review going on.

I have talked to the commissioner who is conducting that review and suggested I don’t want a report from him to me suggesting this is what should be done on the Waterloo regional government. I suggested that he should devise a procedure whereby that report embodies his suggestions and recommendations. He would then get together with the local people to decide with them what should be done by them and what should be done by us. They should then come back and suggest to us where we can help them or make some changes.

Don’t lay it all on us. Remember that regional government came about because there were problems. There were problems such as we were discussing here just a few days ago regarding annexation, sharing industrial development, developing areas in the province, sharing costs; and even a matter like handling solid waste. I suggest to you that in a lot of the areas solid waste can be handled much better by a regional government than it can by local municipalities --

Mr. J. Reed: They’re sure not doing it in Halton.

Hon. Mr. Wells: -- and the problem probably wouldn’t come about if that kind of arrangement was made.

You can make arguments on both sides. Regional governments have been here for many years in the form of counties. What we are looking for are suggestions from the regions themselves and their elected people to come to us. We will then look after them and consider them very carefully.

Vote 1103B agreed to.

Mr. Chairman: This completes the estimates of the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs.

On motion by Hon. Mr. Welch, the committee of supply reported certain resolutions.



Consideration of the first report of the standing statutory instruments committee, tabled June 15, 1978.

Mr. Williams: Mr. Speaker, it’s with a great deal of privilege I rise in the House this afternoon to speak to the sessional paper before us, and to lay before the Legislature for discussion and debate, the first report of the standing committee on statutory instruments.

I would say from the outset, the subject matter of regulations and statutory instruments is probably one of the matters of law least known and understood by the largest number of legislators. It is, indeed, one of the largest fields of law and it gains scant attention. For this reason, I think it is a landmark that we should be debating in some detail the whole subject matter of regulation, which up to this point in time has received precious little attention. For this purpose, I think it behooves myself and other members who have served well on the committee with me to touch on the history of regulations and statutory instruments, as well as the history of our committee in this Legislature, and to speak at some length about the recommendations that have been brought forward in this first report of the standing committee on statutory instruments.

With those thoughts in mind, what I would like to do is bring into focus the very reason for which the 10th report of the committee is before us this afternoon for some detailed debate. I stress the fact that it is the 10th report of the standing committee, but while it is the 10th, it is in fact the first substantive report on the subject that has been made to this assembly.

For this reason alone, I feel it is a privilege to participate in this discussion and to have had the privilege of being the chairman of the committee, working with my colleagues in developing a report that does have what we feel are some very substantive recommendations that I believe, will prove in hindsight to be long-standing guidelines to this Legislature today and into the future.

Just to make the uneducated in this field aware of the manner in which the standing statutory instruments committee operates and is in a position to report to this House today, I would like simply to draw attention to the fact that the committee exists because of another relatively obscure, yet extremely important piece of legislation, namely the Regulations Act. It is from this statute that we gain our authority to exist as a committee and to deal with this very important matter of regulations and secondary legislation.

I would draw the attention of the members of the House to the most relevant section of the Regulations Act, which is section 12. If I might be permitted, I would like to read the content of that section into the record because it is from this section that the very existence of the committee and all of our activities and, hopefully, positive recommendations have flowed.

Section 12 of the Regulations Act provides that at the commencement of each session of the Legislature a standing committee of the assembly shall be appointed to be known as the standing committee on regulations with authority to sit during the session. Subsection 2 provides that every regulation stands permanently referred to the standing committee on regulations for the purposes of the following section, which deals with terms of reference, namely, that the standing committee on regulations shall examine the regulations with particular reference to the scope and method of the exercise of delegated legislative power, but without reference to the merits of the policy or objective to be effected by the regulations or enabling statutes, and shall deal with such other matters as are referred to it from time to time by the assembly.

Subsection 4 of section 12 provides that the standing committee on regulations may examine any member of the executive council or any public servant designated by such member, respecting any regulation made under an act that is under his administration.

Lastly, the section provides that the standing committee on regulations shall from time to time report to the assembly its observations, opinions and recommendations.

It is apparent from the content of section 12, as I have read it into the record, that it gives this committee very broad powers in giving consideration to regulations and statutory instruments. Of course, the concluding part of the section is being recognized today by virtue of the presentation of this first report of the committee to the House, where we are acting on our mandate to report our observations, opinions and recommendations to the House.


I would hasten to say at this point in time, before getting into the depth of the report, that were it not for the dedicated effort of the clerk of the committee at that time, Mr. McFedries and our legal counsel, Mr. MacTavish, the substantive nature of our report would have left something to be desired. It was through their individual efforts and assistance to the committee that we have before us today a report which my colleagues on the committee and I consider to be a report of note and deserving of the attention to all members of the House in our ongoing field of enacting legislation and secondary legislation.

The committee indeed was privileged to have the talents of such an esteemed and well-recognized counsel as Mr. Lachlan MacTavish, QC, serving the committee as legal counsel. Mr. MacTavish has a wealth of experience in the field and his contributions and accomplishments during his legal career, not only in the municipal field but also in the provincial arena, are many. In particular, he acted as a commissioner to prepare revised statutes of Ontario and revised regulations through the period 1950 and 1960 and served as consultant to the commission to prepare revised statutes of Ontario and regulations into the 1970s. Mr. MacTavish did come to the committee with a wealth of experience and it was largely through his guidance that the committee was able to present, in the short period of time it had available, the report we lay before the House today.

In concluding my comments on the historical aspects of the committee, the way in which it developed and the way in which we have arrived at where we are today, if I can use the common vernacular, I would point out that there have been some difficulties experienced in the past by predecessor committees, by the regulations committee as it was once called I believe. There seemed to be a great deal of frustration experienced by the members of our predecessor committee, the feeling being that very little could be accomplished by the committee continuing to sit and consider regulations that had already been considered and brought into force and effect. In other words, a great deal of frustration existed with prior committees and I must admit to some extent with our own committee at the outset. It seemed somewhat frustrating to be dealing with matters of law after the fact.

This was something about which previous committees felt so strongly that in fact the frequency with which the committee continued to meet was almost minimal at times. It felt great frustration in having no real authority to tackle the subject and make meaningful recommendations on the subject in reporting to the House.

Fortunately, that problem was recognized by the Legislature and it was first recognized at the time that the fourth committee of the statutory instruments committee reported to the House. That report was somewhat less than substantive because the report simply stated: “Your committee recommends to the Legislature that in view of the committee’s limited statutory powers that regulations be referred to the committee from time to time for review and examination of their merits.” That was the extent of the report of the fourth committee. But it did highlight the problem I’ve just referred to in that the committees felt this sense of frustration in being unable seemingly to make any worthwhile contribution in making the members of the House aware as to how important a field secondary legislation was in the form of regulation and statutory instruments.

It was probably because that warning signal was raised in the Legislature that the subject matter of how the committee could better improve upon itself in reporting in a meaningful way to the House was turned over to a commission chaired by Mr. Dalton Camp. This was the Ontario Commission on the Legislature that was to report on the practices and procedures in the House. At that time, the fourth report of the commission drew attention to the fact that there was almost universal dissatisfaction with the functions of the regulations committee as currently constituted. That really was the highlight of the report as it dealt with the role of secondary legislation, regulations and statutory committees.

Because the problem was further highlighted by the Ontario Commission on the Legislature in this fashion and because this recommendation of the Camp commission, as it is commonly known, was adopted by the House, some beneficial results flowed from that. The first beneficial act that came from the tabling of that report and the expression of that concern was that the terms of reference of the regulations committee were broadened from those set out in the Regulations Act. The terms of reference of this committee were expanded. So that the members will have an appreciation of the importance of the action taken by this House in March 1978, I should again read into the record what expanded terms of reference were given to the committee.

You may recall, Mr. Speaker, that by order of the House on March 6, 1978, the standing statutory instruments committee was again appointed for the session to be the committee provided for by section 12 of the Regulations Act. It was given the same terms of reference as set out in section 12. But by the order of the House the committee was given additional powers that day. They were basically twofold.

The committee was given the power to review and consider, firstly, the role of the committee with particular reference to the recommendations of the select committee on the fourth and fifth reports of the Ontario Commission on the Legislature and the practices of the parliaments of Canada and the United Kingdom.

Secondly, it was to consider the establishment of guidelines to be observed in the delegation by statutes of power to make statutory instruments and the use to be made of such delegated power.

These were the two main broadened terms of reference that were given to the committee. They gave us the necessary impetus and initiative to embark seriously on the development of a report that we would feel would have some significance in reporting on to this House. We feel this has been accomplished by this first report of our standing committee.

I might at this time refer to the last major expanded terms of reference first and deal with that, because it deals with one of the most fundamentally important considerations in the field of delegated authority. That consideration is to ensure there is a clear set of guidelines that will provide there is no excessive abuse made of the use of secondary legislation, such as regulations have come to be known. It would also ensure they are brought into being with the specific intent and purpose as prescribed by the statutes themselves which create the regulatory process.

From the very outset, the committee felt it was imperative to determine that the rules and regulations that have been prescribed down through the years in this Legislature have been used wisely and have been developed judiciously so that there has not been an overabundance of regulation and there has not been an excessive use or abuse made of the regulatory process.

Mr. Lawlor: Don’t push it so hard. There may be a few extra ones around.

Mr. Williams: I am sure that my learned friend from Lakeshore who has served well on the committee and has devoted a great deal of time and effort to the deliberations of the committee will point out that there may be some exceptions, to which I too will be referring as we continue the debate this afternoon. But there has been no substantive abuse made of the system; that is probably the very reason why it continues to be a little-known field of law that has received little attention from this Legislature.

In this context it serves as a credit to those who operate the regulation system. I think in particular of Mr. Anderson, the registrar of regulations, who has served so well in that capacity over the years, and senior counsel Mr. Arthur Stone. Those two gentlemen have the prime responsibility of seeing that the regulatory process continues to function well and is kept within the strict guidelines.


It was imperative that this committee, for its own edification, set out guidelines which made it clear to them what were the proper structures within which the whole matter of regulation should be contained, so that it would ensure that it remained as secondary and did not inappropriately become a primary form of legislation that supplanted or replaced the statute law itself. For this purpose, the committee looked long and hard at other jurisdictions to find the best sources for material that would give us assistance in developing appropriate guidelines that would be available to legislators not only today, but those who will follow us so that there would be a consistent set of guidelines that would be relevant and meaningful and equally pertain 15 or 20 years from now as they would pertain today.

The committee did look at other jurisdictions. I think there were guidelines that had been developed in at least six other jurisdictions at which we took a careful look as a committee. Interestingly enough and perhaps appropriately so, we found the best set of criteria that had ever been developed on the subject, to the best of our knowledge after this exhaustive search, was to be found right here in our own province. This was a set of criteria that were developed by a learned jurist who is well known to all of us, the former senior member of the bench, the Honourable Mr. McRuer, who developed a set of criteria that will undoubtedly stand the test of time.

It was the initial recommendation of this committee that stressed the importance of these guidelines that we have established and set out as the primary recommendation of the committee, at least in the order in which they are laid before us in the report. Because these guidelines are so fundamentally important to the whole area of regulation and the propriety of regulation, again I think it is important that these guidelines be read into the record. At least with regard to this first recommendation, I would like to present it verbatim to the House. That recommendation provides that the following guidelines should be observed in the preparation, making and reviewing regulations:

They should not contain provisions initiating new policy, but should be confined to details to give effect to the policy established by the statute. They should be in strict accord with the statute conferring the power, particularly concerning personal liberties. I will be referring to this particular item again later in the debate because it came up as recently as two weeks ago when we were debating the Discriminatory Business Practices Act when this whole question of concern for personal liberties and the use of regulation to preserve that concept surfaced very largely in that debate.

The guidelines provide that any regulation should be expressed in precise and unambiguous language. They should not have retrospective effect unless clearly authorized by statute. They should not exclude the jurisdiction of the courts. They should not impose a fine, imprisonment or other penalty. They should not shift the onus of proof or innocence to a person accused of an offence. They should not impose anything in the way of a tax as distinct from fixing the amount of a licence fee or the like. They should not make any unusual or unexpected use of delegated power. General powers should not be exercised to establish a judicial tribunal or administrative tribunal.

These are the guidelines we recommend to this House be followed in the use of regulation. They indeed are guidelines that have been followed at the administrative level by those people charged with the responsibility of vetting regulations and ensuring they conform strictly with the intent and purpose of statute law. I think that this committee so recommending setting out these guidelines in such a formal fashion will ensure those who are developing legislation in the other ministries will be more mindful and aware of the need to adhere to these guidelines.

I would point out, in discussing regulation, we are really talking about three different types of regulations. While I have outlined the guidelines, I perhaps was putting the cart before the horse in the sense of not really identifying what regulations are all about. I assume we, at least, have a basic understanding of what regulations themselves are. I have made reference to the fact they are a form of secondary legislation that gives largely administrative powers to permit the intent and purposes of statute law to be carried out in a practical way.

A regulation, in fact, is said to be a law made under authority conferred by a statute. In the Regulations Act the term regulation is defined as meaning a regulation, rule, order or bylaw of a legislative nature, made or approved under an act of the Legislature by the Lieutenant Governor in Council, a minister of the crown, an official of the government, or a board or commission, all the members of which are appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council. From that definition, Mr. Speaker, we have in fact developed three types of regulations. They may be classified as regulations made by the Lieutenant Governor in Council; regulations approved by the Lieutenant Governor in Council; and the third type of regulation, that is neither made nor approved by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.

I would hasten to point out the first class of regulation in the type predominantly in use today; that is, regulations made by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.

The second class, regulations approved by the Lieutenant Governor in Council, include those made by ministers but which still require approval of the Lieutenant Governor in Council.

Mr. Speaker, I have tried to outline the history of the committee and how this House has tried to keep before it the importance of the regulatory process. It’s not a subject matter that gains a great deal of attention from the Legislature. It does not take on a high profile. As I think I mentioned earlier, the very reason for this being so is that perhaps the system has basically worked so well in this province. But without some supervisory mechanism for ensuring there is a continuing high quality of regulation and development or regulation, the situation we find ourselves in today could deteriorate. I think the committee found that one of its main functions and purposes -- its raison d’être if you will -- is that it is considered to be a form of preventive undertaking. All the ministries of the government are aware of it and for that reason they are certainly to be more careful in the way they prepare and present regulations, knowing that this committee can at any time make recommendations to the Legislature on any statutory instrument it considers to be not in keeping with the intent and purpose of the legislation under which the regulation or provision was made.

The members of the committee have had an opportunity to meet with people from other jurisdictions to compare our system with theirs. In particular, we have most recently met with the legislative counsel and deputy minister from Manitoba to discuss how the system works in that province. As recently as last week, the committee met with our federal government counterpart in Ottawa -- the joint committee on statutory regulations. Hopefully this committee will have an opportunity to present a second report, although not as voluminous as this, dealing in particular with those comparative jurisdictions, to report on our findings, and to find how our investigation of those other systems may help us to further improve upon our own system.

I think the role of the committee has been spelled out in my comments and the history. I have indicated the type of regulation that exists and the need for establishing guidelines under which regulations will be dealt with.

If I might expand a little further on the matter of regulation itself and the general power to make regulation, I would like to take this opportunity to do so, because this is the nuts and bolts of the system and determines whether it works well or otherwise.


There is a general power to make regulations that is found in another provincial statute, the Interpretation Act. The relevant section in that act, section 22, provides that the Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations for the due enforcement and carrying into effect of any act of the Legislature and, where there is no provision in the act, may prescribe forms and may fix fees to be charged by all officers and persons by whom anything is required to be done.

Over and above that general power, because its limits are somewhat uncertain, it is usual for specific statutes to give specific powers to make regulations. In effect, that is what this committee is also recommending, namely, that it is preferable to give the power in a specific, precise fashion so that there is no ambiguity or misunderstanding as to the powers intended to be given or the scope of the activities that can be carried out under the regulatory process because of vagueness in wording within the statute law itself.

That is really what we are talking about in the second recommendation of our committee when we say that as a general rule the authority of the Lieutenant Governor in Council to make, approve or to veto regulations should be unencumbered. Yet, on the other hand, we state that the authority of any other person or body to make regulations should be subject to the approval of or the right to veto of the Lieutenant Governor in Council.

While those recommendations keep the control of the regulatory process with the Lieutenant Governor in Council, recommendation three goes on to point out that important key words and expressions used in an act should, if they require definition, be defined in the act and not in the regulations.

What the committee is saying really is that there should be very precise and strict control over the use of the regulatory process and unless the statute itself specifically spells out the authority and the circumstances under which the regulation is to guide the administrative process, then it is bad law.

The authority to impose penalties for infractions of an act or the regulations under the act and the sanctions for such infractions should be in the act and not in the regulation. That is our fourth recommendation and it is one that we consider to be of considerable importance. As a follow-up to that, our fifth recommendation to the House is that all exemptions from the Regulations Act which are not set out in the act should be transferred to the act.

The Regulations Act that I referred to at some length in the beginning does contain in itself certain exemptions from regulation. The Regulations Act does name 14 specific laws and statutes on our statute books today that are exempt from the regulatory process. That means that any regulation passed under those statutes does not have to be reported and does not have to be published in the fashion prescribed under the Regulations Act. They do not have to be put in the Ontario Gazette and they do not have to be subjected to the scrutiny of the cabinet and of the registrar of regulations and go through the formalities of publication. It is only in specific situations that it would appear appropriate that these exemptions should be permitted to exist. You will note, Mr. Speaker, that indeed over the years we have limited the number of statutes in which this type of exemption is permitted.

It can certainly lead to a great deal of abuse if these controls of filing and publication are not applied, almost on a universal basis. A great deal of abuse could creep into the system. It would prevent people from being aware of the fact regulations are being enacted, that could in some way greatly prejudice their personal rights and privileges. We, as a legislative assembly, may not ourselves be aware of regulations because of the fact the regulation in question would not have received the scrutiny of the registrar. The registrar has the expertise to assess and recognize inappropriate regulations or proposed regulations, and has the ability to weed out, if you will, those excesses that might occur in regulation that has been prepared by people less experienced in the field and which have been brought forward. They may be well intentioned but nevertheless may well exceed the obvious intent and purpose of the statute law.

This committee is certainly not recommending there be a liberal attitude displayed in the expansion of legislation that would permit regulations to be developed that would be exempt from the Regulations Act.

The committee, in considering this particular aspect of regulation, set about reviewing our other laws to determine what other statutes may within themselves exempt themselves from the Regulations Act, while still having the power to make regulations. We felt perhaps there was other existing statute law that was not clearly identified in the Regulations Act as having the exemption provision.

As a result of our research, we did find there were perhaps as many statutes again as those that come under the Regulations Act which do specifically exempt themselves from the controls and procedures under the Regulations Act by reason of the fact the right to make regulations under those statutes is, nevertheless, exempt from the provisions of the Regulations Act. At this point in time, Mr. Speaker, we have found another 13 statutes, which are reviewed at some length in the report and which are available for the scrutiny of the members of the House. I won’t touch on them specifically, but it does point out this right does exist in other statutes.

We felt this was somewhat of a dangerous trend that was developing. As such, the committee felt it would be most appropriate that any statute that had authorized the making of regulations, if it was also going to exempt those regulations from the Regulations Act, that such a statute should itself be brought under the Regulations Act so that any statute which has this particular privilege or right could be located at one source. It is for this reason that the committee recommended in recommendation five, that I referred to a few moments ago, that all exemptions from the Regulations Act not now set out in the act should be transferred to the act.

One of the areas of great concern to legislators is the retroactive effect of regulation that does occur from time to time and which permits something to occur that really at the time was not legal. Regulation after the fact has permitted the full force and effect of some action that has been taken at law to be remedied, rectified and given full legality. The area in which we most often find the retroactive features of regulation occurring is in dealing with tax laws and in dealing with ministries that are continually passing regulations changing the amounts of benefits that might be payable in organizations such as nursing homes that might be dealing, for instance, with the Ministry of Community and Social Services, or in other such areas where there are private organizations providing services to the community, but under the regulation, control and supervision of the government.

Quite often in those cases some guidelines and controls are imposed as to fees that may be charged. It is in those types of areas that sometimes regulations have to be enacted that will permit charges that have been made at an earlier point of time to be regularized by use of the retroactive feature. This occurs too when tax bills come in where it would be impossible really to debate and enact a new tax law on the same day without tipping the hand of the new tax changes that are coming. Quite often the act may be introduced, but the right to impose the new taxes and for officials to collect those taxes may not have been in existence at the time it came into force, and the regulation alone will provide the retroactive feature that will permit the preceding act to be regularized and permit the tax to be collected, even though the regulations come into force and effect somewhat after the prescribed time period.

I was mentioning earlier one of the main concerns of the committee with regard to the use of the regulatory process. I referred very briefly to a debate which took place in this House earlier in the month on the Discriminatory Business Practices Act which was enacted, but not before much discussion and debate, not only in committee but in the House.

I found it interesting that in the concluding discussion with regard to that bill one of the most important sections that received the consideration of this Legislature was section 15. It provides that the Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations exempting any person or class of persons from any provision of this act.


This well illustrates the fact the regulatory process can take on a significance and importance that we as legislators tend to overlook. Certainly in the area of human rights there could be no more important concern with regard to whether regulation would in any way inhibit or prejudice the rights of the individual. This was the great concern expressed with regard to this regulation in the debate on that piece of legislation.

It was interesting to note that for perhaps the first time in some while regulation and the potential important effect of regulation had been debated in this House. I think it is also interesting because this regulation gives more discretion to the minister than any other regulation I’m aware of that has come into existence in recent time. The interesting point is that all of the members of the House, in participating in that debate, recognized that a great deal of discretion was being given to the minister on this situation. It is only because of the unique nature of that legislation, as was stated by members in the House that evening, that such broad discretionary powers were being given to the minister. The fact that this debate did occur, I think, was timely, with this report coming forward to the House for discussion today. It simply highlights in a very meaningful, tangible way, the importance of regulation.

I’m going to touch on one or two other matters over the next four or five minutes and then allow my other colleagues on the committee to make their observations with regard to the report.

One of the matters that received a great deal of attention from the committee was the question of penalties. While it probably is the shortest chapter in the report, nevertheless it is again a very fundamentally important consideration in the field of regulation. This committee found, without any equivocation whatsoever, that penalties for contravention of a regulation should not be in regulation but rather in the act itself. At no time is there justification for government at the administrative level having the right to impose penalties that have not been clearly spelled out in statute law.

While this was dealt with in brevity in the report, it certainly is one of the cornerstones in preserving proper forms of regulation and the regulatory process. Those considerations and concerns were expressed in the eighth recommendation of the report. That recommendation provides that the powers, as distinct from duties, of a public body or official should be set out in the act and not left to be prescribed in the regulations.

There are many other aspects of the regulatory process that we could discuss here today. Indeed, our committee is charged with the responsibility of continuing this ongoing review of the process. We will be reporting back to this House on the results of our findings, based on future studies. Through our legal counsel and the efforts of the committee, we will continue to vet the regulations and to ensure that a high quality and standard of form of regulation continues to be applied in the secondary field of law, if you will.

In so doing, the committee will, in my judgement, be carrying out the most important part of its work; that is, as I said at the outset, continuing to act as a form of watchdog over the regulatory process to ensure that those who are charged with the responsibility of preparing regulations and of presenting them to the registrar and the senior government officials who have to carry out in an administrative fashion the directions provided by regulation will have a set of guidelines and a supervisory body on an ongoing basis that can assist in their work and ensure that there will be a high standard of performance in this field.

The fact that the committee deals with regulations after the fact is no longer the frustration that the committee felt at the beginning because we now have a clear direction from the House, with the expanded terms of reference, to continue this ongoing work of reviewing the regulations perhaps in a much more thorough fashion than we have in the past.

The results of meeting with our colleagues from other jurisdictions have shown too that the supervisory or watchdog effect of committees in those jurisdictions also has had the beneficial effect of ensuring that a high standard of performance continues to exist in the field of regulation and statutory instruments.

It is with these thoughts in mind that I feel this committee is making a worthwhile contribution, albeit a quiet one, to the whole legislative process. By continuing to meet regularly and report regularly to the House in this fashion, we will indeed have served a worthwhile purpose. I want to thank the members of my committee, in their ongoing work in the committee, in fulfilling this mandate.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to present this first report to the House. I now defer to the other colleagues on my committee.

Mr. Eakins: I want to take a moment or two to make reference to some parts of the report. I want to commend the chairman of our committee for his interest in the committee, his enthusiasm and attendance. As members know, this committee is not the most high profile committee, but I think it is one that one must serve on for some time to really appreciate what is being done and what the committee is endeavouring to do. For myself, certainly it has been an interesting experience.

I am just going to take a couple of moments to comment. I know that my colleague, the member for Grey (Mr. McKessock), who is unavoidably absent, would have liked to have commented at this time. He has served as the vice-chairman. I would like to make a couple of remarks in his absence.

We appreciated the number of people, the deputy ministers and other officials, who appeared before the committee relating their experience with the regulations in Ontario. Their viewpoints have been most helpful to myself and other members of the committee.

The committee, in the short time in which I have been a member, has endeavoured to keep itself informed. As the chairman has mentioned, we have had meetings with the deputy minister from Manitoba and recently we visited Ottawa. The committee also has visited the offices of the registrar of regulations and examined at first hand the operations of the system of filing, indexing and publishing regulations of a legislative nature that come within the Regulations Act.

There has been set in motion a detailed examination of the 1978 regulations. I would also refer to the regulations already made under a number of the statutes which have been selected by the individual members of the committee. These include the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act, 1973, the Conservation Authorities Act, the Planning Act and the Health Insurance Act.

The committee, as members will note in the report, is in agreement with the views expressed in the report by the Royal Commission Inquiry into Civil Rights under the chairmanship of the Honourable J. C. McRuer that the importance of delegated legislation has been too long ignored and neglected.

The committee is prepared to go forward with the task which it has been given in its terms of reference. It must be kept in mind that regulations are as much laws as the statutes under which they are purportedly made and are frequently more voluminous. While regulations often touch the lives of people -- and I think this is important -- in a more intimate way than the statutes, the former do not receive the scrutiny of the legislators that is always afforded the latter.

The committee -- and I appreciate this -- intends to be an ongoing watchdog to ensure that the system of dealing with delegated legislation in Ontario is functioning properly in the public interest and that the powers which the Legislature has seen fit to delegate to lesser authorities are being exercised in the manner intended by the Legislature.

As I mentioned, we had the opportunity to visit Ottawa this past week. It is interesting to note there, as our chairman has touched on, that in Ottawa a joint committee of the House of Commons and the Senate is at work under the Statutory Instruments Act, 1971. Prior to this, they operated under a different name.

We have also, as mentioned in the report, pursued the comprehensive third report of the MacGuigan special committee on statutory instruments which was published in Ottawa in 1969. It is interesting to note that out of this report the basis was formed for the present federal act. It is also interesting to note that while the committee has not studied the situation at Westminster, I’m sure that this could also be very informative and helpful to our situation here.


I would like to refer to the summary of recommendations, Nos. 13 and 14, which I think are very important. They state that every ministry, agency of the government and other organizations that administer regulations should examine their current regulations with a view to updating them, simplifying them in substance and in form and removing obsolete provisions. Also the manner in which compound references in the regulations and in the statutes are expressed should be simplified by the adoption of a style that can be more readily comprehended.

I know there are many other areas in which one could touch on, but I know that some of the other honourable members will want to speak before the time runs out. I just want to say that I was pleased to serve on this committee. Perhaps this is one committee that more members should have an opportunity to serve on.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Lawlor: Let me say quite bluntly initially that the regulations committee is not the most glamorous one. There are not many neon lights or Hollywoodesque features with respect to the work of the committee.

Mr. B. Newman: Everybody fights to get on it.

Mr. Lawlor: Quite bluntly, it’s the dullest committee I have sat on. However, what does that say about it? It’s dry bones, hard, gruelling work. That’s all it comes to. I often think that in the field of education something that is not given the proper attention is the uninteresting, the boring. Part of life is that way. A good deal of life is not scintillating exactly. If one is going to get through it with a fair amount of éclat one has to learn to accommodate it. After all the stress in our civilization on the merely interesting -- that everything has to be interesting -- is a purely artistic category. That has nothing to do with the merits of a particular problem or the seriousness with which it should be approached.

We were in Ottawa last Wednesday. The committee attended on our opposite number, the federal committee on regulations. I think we would agree among ourselves that a small band of very dedicated individuals ran that show. I am very pleased I went. Jed Baldwin as he comes over the television wasn’t, as far as I was concerned, an overly attractive individual. Yet I sat next to him at the same table and I had a delightful time conversing about this and a multitude of other matters.

That gadfly of the Senate, Eugene Forsey, was with us for a period of time. It takes an interesting man to be interested in double-dull subjects. No subject is intrinsically uninteresting. Everything, if one looks at it with some depth, takes on some kind of life. For the dead, let the dead bury the dead. For the dead, everything is dead. For those who happen to be slightly alive, everything is slightly alive.

As I say, it was a very rewarding aspect of the kind of work in which we have been engaged in this committee. In the federal arena and I suspect in the other jurisdictions that have such committees a very small group carries out the function and is bloody well left to carry it out pretty much as it sees fit. That’s just the way it is. There is no point in kicking against the pricks in this instance -- or, I suppose in most other human affairs. You can say with Voltaire that nothing human is alien to me, and the study of regulations is almost human. You have to push a bit, but it comes to the light.

The area of which we are talking, and which we are concerned about, and the reason why the committee came into existence at all, I suppose, can be referred back to the time around Lord Hewart, and something called The New Despotism. This is a small aspect of it. Lord Hewart didn’t like the proliferation of administrative agencies, the derogation from the courts, et cetera, of certain judicial functions. Lord Hewart simply wasn’t prepared to put up with much in contemporary civilization at the same time.

That again, is an ongoing and necessary feature if there is going to be any efficacy in contemporary government at all. In the area of subordinate legislation, or delegated powers, more and more agencies out there are referred powers, responsibilities, privileges and rights that we in this House have conferred upon them and on which we exercise, or have exercised, no supervisory function.

That can be darned dangerous. It can be more dangerous, curiously enough, in theory than in practice, but it is there. The mere fact the committee exists, as has been pointed out here, is a prophylactic against abuse in that particular area. It defends against subordinate government officials, subordinate agencies and boards exercising powers, which everyone tends to do, which trespass beyond the limitations that have been by wiser heads disposed to them; in order, I suppose, to puff up and give self-importance, and simply to carry out a function as they see it. That has to be supervised and watched closely. Again, the role of this committee is precisely in that area.

I won’t speak at any great length on this bill. Our chairman has covered the ground quite thoroughly and with a great deal of refinement has laid out the dimensions of the work. The committee report, I think, has validity.

These regulations are as much law as the law that comes through this House by way of legislation, and are three, four and maybe even some years, five times more voluminous. The members know how we nitpick and parse and, I suppose, the word is analyse the legislation as it comes through here and the time it takes in some instances. I suppose if we really worked over the regulations at the same time there wouldn’t be enough days in the year.

The committee was deputized to do what is very demanding work. The work had no particular accolades attached to it. It is the same kind of function, only it was carried out in a detailed area. It is very demanding.

I want to say a word commending our counsel. Mr. MacTavish, known popularly as Duke, for the work he has done. He was given the basic background work to look back at those regulations, and to concentrate particularly on 1977. To bring the matter forward, he is working on 1978. We are trusting, as we get caught up and are in line with all past regulations, that the new regulations coming through might be referred to the committee, except in certain instances of emergency and great need, prior to their actually going into force and becoming law.

The other name that has to be mentioned under this head as our chairman has indicated, is the former Mr. Justice McRuer. He has a lengthy chapter in this thing on civil rights with respect to this matter. I won’t go into it. It is very valuable.

We have 50 pages of reports, 14 recommendations. I think if the members of the House look at the recommendations and take a few minutes to read them, it would give the tenor and the pith and substance of what we have been seeking to do and what the ongoing work of this committee is.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Are there any other honourable members who wish to speak to this matter?

That concludes the debate.

The House recessed at 5:40 p.m.