The House resumed at 2 p.m.
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
TORONTO ISLAND HOMES
Hon. Mr. Wells: During the course of this session we have several times, in answer to questions, talked about the matter concerning the homes on Toronto Island. I thought I would bring the members up to date on this particular matter before the House adjourns tomorrow afternoon. I would like to say there is no question that the most recent court decisions affecting the status of residents on the island has again brought considerable public attention on this matter.
The discussions that have ensued indicate clearly that there are still sharply-differing opinion and attitudes on the question of whether people should continue to reside on the island or not. This is evident in the views expressed by the general public and apparent differences are also reflected in the general views held by Metropolitan council on the one hand, and by Toronto city council on the other.
Amidst this controversy has come the suggestion that the government, through this Legislature, should take action to prevent Metro council from evicting the present residents of Toronto Island. It would be so much better, I believe, if the government, with the support of the members of this assembly, could serve as a mediator rather than an arbitrator in this particular dispute.
There are, of course, many facets to this question which have been argued by members of successive city and Metro councils over a period of many years. Clearly, therefore, there are also a number of alternative courses of action which might be taken in an attempt to find an appropriate solution to what we now call the island issue and bring once and for all the arguments to an end.
One might explore, for example -- and I stress that I use this as an example only, rather than an advocacy of a position -- one might explore the idea of returning all the islands to the jurisdiction of the city, including the various services needed to maintain them, as well as the appropriate debt charges, provided that the park facilities that are now there and their use by all the residents of Metro could be protected. This, as I have stressed, is one of several other ideas that I think can still be explored.
The key point is that it will take time to carry out a reasoned and, I trust, rational approach to solving the island dispute. To avoid putting the government into a situation where it must take immediate action, I am suggesting today that the writs of possession not be enforced for a period of time, say six months, in order that these various alternatives can be explored.
Therefore, today I am sending a letter with this proposal to the chairman of Metro council. I believe that it is a reasonable proposal. I must say that to this point in time, of course, he and Metro council have not seen fit to enforce the writs which the courts said they could enforce as of their recent decision. I am hoping that they will now agree officially to postpone any action on those writs for up to about six months. Then, given all the circumstances, I believe that within that time frame we can figure out a proper course of action.
If this postponement is acceptable -- and I hope and expect that it will be -- then I am going to arrange to meet immediately with the chairman of Metro and the mayor of Toronto in an attempt to find some solution to the problem and, hopefully, solve it.
In my opinion, the question of the future of the Toronto Island and the related question of residents upon the islands need not be a matter of divisiveness within the Metro community. The uncertainty and upset arising from the issue has gone on long enough for all concerned, not only for the residents of the island community but also for the various elected councils involved.
We do need a little more time and a little more discussion, I think, to soften the hard lines that have developed and in order that all parties might find common ground upon which a final solution can be based. I am confident that with the assistance and cooperation of the members of Metro council and of the Toronto city council such a result can be achieved.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I would like to report to this assembly on my recent visit to Geneva and to report the current status of the Tokyo Round GATT negotiations which are now nearing completion and some of the possible implications for Ontario.
These negotiations, which will alter the rules governing international trade, are of key importance to Ontario since exports make up 30 per cent of our gross domestic product. Although talks began in 1973, progress was slow until this autumn when pressures exerted by Ambassador Strauss of the United States to bring the talks to a successful conclusion by December dispelled growing fears that this GATT round would fail to conclude an agreement. It is now possible that a substantive agreement might be reached in the next few weeks. It is hoped that the remaining details will be worked out in the early part of next year and a final pact ready for signing before mid-year.
The liberalization measures comprising the Tokyo Round agreement are expected to be phased in, beginning January 1, 1980, over what is generally expected to be an eight-year period. In terms of Ontario’s objectives in these negotiations, the impact to the outcome on Canada-US trade has been a prime concern. Approximately 80 per cent of Ontario’s exports are to the United States. We understand from what has been said by Canadian spokesmen that the American tariff offer is of considerable interest, in that the United States has apparently offered either the full tariff reduction allowable under their Trade Act or the Swiss formula reduction on a wide range of interest to Canada and Ontario.
In this regard, we would hope that the United States offer will provide opportunities for more resource upgrading in Canada than has previously been the case. This is of particular importance to the mineral and forest products industries of northern Ontario.
In order to realize these concessions, however, Canada will undoubtedly be expected to negotiate further on items of interest to the United States. The earlier proposals for tariff reduction by the European Community and Japan would seem to have been less satisfactory. The possible reinstatement of offers on products of interest to Canada which were withdrawn last summer is, it would appear, under active negotiation.
Meanwhile, Ontario is concerned about reports of non-existent or inadequate tariff offers by the European communities in chemicals, non-ferrous minerals, agricultural and forest products. Similarly, the Japanese offer is said to have gaps remaining in many of these same areas, as well as in fabricated metals. While reports indicate that the current Japanese offer is an improvement over their initial offer, Ontario remains concerned about the real measure of improvement in access to the rapidly growing Japanese market likely to be achieved in the negotiations.
The most serious problem relating to the tariff negotiations is the concern that the United States might feel it necessary to reduce their offer in the event that the final European Economic Community package is not satisfactory. Should this happen, Ontario would view the possible outcome of the MTN, Multilateral Trade Negotiations, with increased concern.
As a country, we have made limited use of nontariff barriers such as quotas, government procurement preferences and technical standards. Instead, we have relied more heavily on tariffs. As a result of the harmonization element in the tariff proposals, Canada’s tariffs will be lowered by greater amounts than many of our trading partners
-- an outcome of particular concern to Ontario since import-competing firms in our manufacturing sector, now protected by tariffs, will be more vulnerable.
In the light of this, one of Ontario’s major objectives from the talks has been to ensure increased market access for Ontario manufacturers through the lowering of these non-tariff barriers, or NTBs, in order to offset increased domestic competition resulting from tariff reductions. A degree of progress in the NTB codes, as they are called -- the first time these codes have been included in GATT negotiations -- has been achieved in the last few months, but the outcome for Ontario is by no means yet clear.
For example, government procurement is a crucial code for Ontario, since many of our sophisticated manufacturing products such as heavy electrical generating equipment, rapid transit and railroad equipment and telecommunications equipment are blocked from the United States, Japanese and European markets by government agency purchasing practices.
A few months ago, it appeared that an agreement would not be negotiated, which we think would have been a major setback for Ontario. The code is net yet resolved, but I am told that recent progress has been more encouraging.
The scope and coverage of the code, however, is still an issue, and the possible inclusion of foreign government agencies of significance to Canadian export trade is still under negotiation. Canada could stand to benefit if certain key entities in the United States, the European Community and Japan were included, but there would seem to have been only limited progress to date. I would very much like to be able to share with honourable members greater optimism in this area than I am able to at this juncture.
Canada’s interests would appear to be better reflected in the subsidies and countervail code. Negotiations in this area are moving rapidly to conclusion. It appears probable that an injury clause will be introduced into United States countervail legislation and that there will be greater international discipline in the area of export subsidies.
Initially, Canada did not participate in the negotiations on customs valuation, but has recently entered these talks along with the United States. The full implications of adapting to a transactions basis for valuation are not yet clear. I understand, however, that Canada has chosen to be involved in these negotiations in order to see whether Canadian interests can be accommodated in any code which might be negotiated.
Negotiations in the trade-disruption, anti- dumping area, under the GATT Safeguards Group, have yet to resolve a major issue of interest to Ontario. I am referring to selectivity in the application of safeguard measures. Whereas Japan has been totally opposed to selective measures, the European Community has been at the opposite end of the scale. We would like to see some scope for selectivity under specified conditions.
Agriculture remains a highly selective area of the negotiations. Canada, along with the United States, would like to see improved access to markets in Europe and Japan, along with greater control over agricultural subsidies, particularly in Europe. The European Community and Japan, however, have offered little in spite of considerable pressures. Once viewed as the key element in the MTN by the United States Congress, this code is now perceived as less directly pivotal to the successful conclusion of the Tokyo round. It remains, however, an important area of the negotiations for Ontario.
In dealing with the positions of the less developed countries, Ontario has taken the stance that as these countries become more developed -- Brazil, India and South Korea, for example -- and compete more broadly with the industrialized nations, they should gradually take on the full burden of the GATT obligations. Some headway has been made in this area but progress in putting this notion into the MTN framework has been limited.
Ontario has been aware from the initiation of these talks that even if the outcome were favourable, new trading opportunities would not automatically result in expanded production and new jobs. Hence, Ontario has stressed to Ottawa the need for priority to be given to a comprehensive adjustment assistance program which facilitates the transition to the new trading environment. This program must include:
1. A clear and concise statement of national industrial development objectives;
2. Emphasis on creating a favourable business environment, including deregulation, government restraint and improved labour relations, with enhanced investor confidence as the goal;
3. Federal and provincial government assistance in innovation, marketing, mergers and intra-industry specialization;
4. The harmonization of provincial and federal policies; and
5. Industry-specific, firm-specific and product-specific adjustment programs to reflect special considerations.
The results of the Multilateral Trade Negotiations will be implemented beginning January 1, 1980 -- 13 months from now. Recently announced federal adjustment initiatives are a modest step in the right direction, hut they are by no means sufficient. Ontario fully supports Canada’s participation in the MTN, but we must make preparations now to deal with the costs as well as the benefits, the challenges as well as the opportunities. This government is determined to ensure that every available assistance is provided to Ontarians -- industries, firms, workers and communities -- to facilitate their adjustments to the world trading environment of the 1980s and beyond.
TOWNSEND TOWN SITE
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, I would like to comment briefly to the House on the Townsend new community.
First, however, I would like to express my appreciation to the Legislature for the dispatch with which the amendments to the Ontario Land Corporation Act were passed recently. The amendments give OLC the statutory authority to develop its own lands, including Townsend.
The Townsend town site is located within the city of Nanticoke and the regional municipality of Haldimand-Norfolk. My ministry is actively considering the region’s official plan at this time and, although staff discussions will be necessary in January, I am hoping that I will be able to approve the plan early in the new year.
Construction of Stelco’s $1-billion steel mill in Nanticoke is proceeding well, and I am informed that it will come into operation in the second quarter of 1980, when approximately 1,500 persons will be employed there.
The new Texaco refinery, the company’s largest plant in Canada, commenced production last month with a staff of about 300.
The third component of the huge Nanticoke industrial complex, Ontario Hydro’s thermal generating station, has been operational for some time and at present has an operating staff of about 500.
Refinements to the Townsend community plan are nearing completion, and arrangements are under way for a joint meeting in February 1979 of members of the councils of Haldimand-Norfolk and the city of Nanticoke and officials of the Ontario Land Corporation to discuss various items to be considered by the local councils.
The water treatment plant and trunk main which will serve Townsend are under construction and will eventually serve nearby Jarvis and Hagersville, which have been plagued by serious water problems.
In view of the progress made in servicing, the present status of industrial development and the resulting anticipated housing demand, our policy is to start construction of houses in Townsend in the spring of 1980. The new community will be a benefit to the people of the area and will be part of the orderly development of the region of Haldimand-Norfolk and the city of Nanticoke.
OHC FRAUD ALLEGATIONS
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, I have a second statement which I have only been able to put together in the last few minutes.
I wish to advise the House that I have today received a copy of statements prepared by several persons employed by a company providing services to the Ontario Housing Corporation that allege extensive maladministration and fraudulent practices on the part of the company and its employees in the supply of services to OHC.
My staff are examining this material to determine what action should be taken.
My initial reaction was that the material should be turned over to the Ontario Provincial Police for investigation by them, and I am pleased to be able to advise the House that the material had been referred to the OPP as a result of the actions of one of the employees concerned. Appropriate action will therefore be taken.
However, there are very serious allegations contained in the material I received this morning which, if true, indicate that OHC tenants are not receiving the services that OHC is paying for; and, quite apart from any cost implications, the allegations suggest a totally unacceptable impact on the tenants.
The information we have received about the recent history of these reports is cause for my concern. We understand that former employees of the company involved took their information to the third party in the belief that some action would be taken on it. We were informed that they were advised the third party would not use the material until March 1979. One of the former employees then turned to the member for Mississauga North (Mr. Jones) for assistance. As soon as he obtained the material he turned it over to me as the Minister of Housing.
If our information is correct, then I can only deplore the conduct of the third party in withholding the information from the ministry for what would appear to be crass political reasons. One must wonder if concerns over OHC tenants is just as opportunistic as their present leader’s earlier comments about rent in OHC.
Mr. Martel: On a point of order. The Minister of Housing made a second statement and he neglected to supply copies of that statement to us. I don’t know if it was in his eagerness to make an accusation or not, but I wish he’d send that over so we could see precisely what he said. This should be done according to the standing rules.
Mr. T. P. Reid: That particular member never does.
Ms. Gigantes: Where is it?
COMMUNITY SERVICE ORDER PROJECTS
Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, I have a statement about work and community service orders by offenders.
In keeping with the spirit of the season, I wish to inform honourable members that offenders under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Correctional Services have provided the citizens of the province with a substantial gift in the form of extensive work and community service.
On a fairly typical day, over 500 inmates of correctional institutions are working or providing service on an individual or group basis in communities across the province. A number of the projects have been directly related to Christmas. Inmates of Guelph Correctional Centre and Maplehurst correctional centre constructed floats for local Santa Claus parades. Inmates of the Maplehurst facility also put the decorative touches on two Christmas cakes for the Big Brothers of Peel county.
Christmas trees for churches, homes for the mentally retarded and other service clubs were cut by inmates of Monteith and Maplehurst correctional centres. Monteith inmates also made and painted Christmas displays for the Salvation Army to use in the Timmins area.
In addition to the inmates who are serving sentences, Mr. Speaker, approximately 700 offenders are working or performing helping tasks on community service orders issued by the judiciary as a condition of probation. Since most persons on community service orders are employed, they do their community tasks in their own time on weekends, or other time off from their regular jobs. Two-thirds of the 700 community service orders are in areas where the ministry is funding pilot projects.
Obviously, the sentencing of persons by the courts to perform community service is preferable to sentencing them to an institution. Not only is community supervision far less costly than incarceration, but the community service performed requires an individual to accept responsibility for his actions in a meaningful way and to be more directly accountable for his crime.
I am very pleased that judges are demonstrating increasing interest in using community service orders; I plan to urge their broadest possible use in public speeches and when I meet with members of the judiciary during the coming year.
Public acceptance and appreciation of the work performed by offenders has been dramatic during the past year. The ministry and it various institutions have received numerous thank you letters from municipalities, agencies and private individuals. A fairly typical letter was one from an elderly lady for whom inmates of Mimico Correctional Centre trimmed hedges, mowed the lawn and did other odd jobs. “The men sure work hard while here,” she wrote. “I am in my eighties now and not able to do the work myself. Keep up the good work and God bless you.”
Mr. T. P. Reid: It was your mother.
Hon. Mr. Walker: The executive director of the Durham region family YMCA wrote the Whitby jail to thank inmates for assisting in getting out 13,000 brochures. “Your help in assembling brochures was invaluable at a time when a crucial deadline was to be met,” he stated.
The ministry has kept its commitment to only undertake work and projects which would otherwise not be carried out because there are no people willing to perform the tasks, or there are no funds available. The inmates are not paid, but the fact that they work willingly ensures they receive favourable consideration for the reduction in their sentence through earned remission.
Staff of the ministry have done an outstanding job in responding to the needs of their respective communities. They are anxious and willing to co-operate in the provision of help for worthwhile projects. A variety of tasks have been undertaken for this winter in cities around the province, including snow shovelling in emergency situations and for senior and handicapped citizens, the clearing of ice and snow from bus stops, and the clearing and maintenance of outdoor skating rinks.
Among other projects, Mimico Correction Centre has made a commitment to shovel snow blocking the driveways of 250 seniors and handicapped persons in North York who have provided their names to community information and referral services. Inmates of the Barrie jail will clear ice and snow from 246 bus stops. Public outdoor skating rinks will be cleared and maintained by inmates in a number of communities.
These are only some of the many worthwhile projects under the ministry’s inmate work program. In addition, the ministry has produced a new poster aimed at encouraging communities to consider projects which could be undertaken by inmates. Examples of the poster will be provided to the party leaders and critics of the two opposition parties.
I would like to take this opportunity to invite all honourable members to contact directly the superintendents in their constituencies to discuss projects which they would like to see undertaken. I would draw your attention to the fact that the names and telephone numbers of the superintendents of all our institutions are listed in the government telephone directory. The ability of each institution to respond will depend on various factors, including the number of inmates who meet the carefully selected criteria.
I am also circulating a list of names and addresses and telephone numbers of the co-ordinators of the community service order projects. I would invite honourable members to make direct contact with the co-ordinators to determine the extent to which community service orders are being utilized and to make suggestions for new initiatives in this field.
Mr. Bradley: Who says the minister has no heart?
SALE OF SYNCRUDE EQUITY
Hon. Mr. Auld: I am pleased to be able to announce that agreement has been reached for the sale of the Ontario Energy Corporation’s five per cent interest in the Syncrude project to Pancanadian Petroleum Limited of Calgary for $160 million. As members know, our primary objective when we invested in the Syncrude project in 1975 was to ensure that the plant was constructed.
Mr. S. Smith: You should have put in the half million they wanted.
Hon. Mr. Auld: That objective is now largely achieved. We are satisfied that the Ontario Energy Corporation has negotiated a good deal for Ontario.
Mr. Peterson: That should help your debt this year a little.
Hon. Mr. Auld: Our actual expenditure to date is approximately $106 million, to which could be added about $19 million if one allows for the interest cost of that money. This means that Ontario taxpayers will receive an excellent return on their investment.
Mr. Kerrio: A first after many losses.
Hon. Mr. Auld: Since October 12, when I invited offers for Ontario’s interest in Syncrude, the Ontario Energy Corporation has held discussions with a number of companies and completed final negotiations with Pancanadian today.
Mr. Martel: You can pay off Minaki now.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: You sure know how to hurt a guy.
Hon. Mr. Auld: Closing of the transaction is scheduled for December 20, 1978. While no decision has yet been taken by the government on the use to be made of the proceeds of the sale, consideration will, of course, be given to possible reinvestment in other energy projects along with other priorities.
Mr. Foulds: Make sure you take equity.
Hon. Mr. Auld: I should also like to advise the House that the Ontario Energy Corporation still retains its five per cent interest in six other tar sands leases, which were acquired in 1975 under the Winnipeg Syncrude agreement. This is a valuable asset and has not yet been sold.
ENERGY BOARD HEARINGS
Mr. S. Smith: I would like to ask a question of the Minister of Energy. Has the minister been following the Ontario Energy Board hearings with regard to marginal pricing and the possibility that there will be a change which might favour the consumer over that of the large power user? Is he aware of Task Force Hydro and also the electricity costing and pricing study of Hydro?
If he is, is he aware of an apparent change in Hydro’s position in front of that board that took place at some time following a June meeting which is alleged to have occurred; a meeting which, according to Mr. Alderson, president of AMPCO, the large power user, involved at the very least himself, the vice-president of Hydro and the chairman of the Ontario Energy Board -- he does not recall whether it also involved the then Minister of Energy (Mr. Baetz)?
Can the minister confirm such a meeting took place? Does he feel it appropriate that such a meeting could be arranged, in the middle of the hearings of the so-called impartial tribunal which the Ontario Energy Board is supposed to be? Why was the chairman of the Ontario Energy Board present at such a meeting, if in fact he can confirm that that is the case? What is the relationship between that meeting and the new policy adopted by Hydro in front of the board, which seems basically to ask for the status quo to be continued?
Hon. Mr. Auld: Mr. Speaker, I am not aware of any such meeting. I will certainly inquire. To my knowledge, it is not the practice of the minister to monitor Ontario Energy Board hearings of any particular kind. I really cannot say, but I will find out and I think I will be able to report tomorrow.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary: Since the former minister sits just a few seats over from the present minister, would he find out from him whether he was present at the meeting, as has been indicated to us from certain sources?
Can the minister also find out why the chairman of the Ontario Energy Board would be at a meeting, in the midst of these hearings, with one of the interested parties in the case being presented namely, the large power users, and why, according to Mr. Alderson, the pricing and costing study was one of the things that was discussed at that particular meeting?
Will the minister be able to report back to this House tomorrow on this very important matter so we will know whether the hearings that are currently before the board have been compromised in any way and whether there is any reason to believe that it is now a situation where Ontario Hydro may have already thrown in the towel according to some pre-existing arrangement?
Hon. Mr. Auld: As I said, I will inquire about this, and I assume there is no reason why I will not be able to report tomorrow.
Hon. Mr. Auld: Mr. Speaker, I have an answer, perhaps. The Leader of the Opposition asked me earlier whether I was aware of an alleged meeting; my immediate predecessor, the Minister of Culture and Recreation (Mr. Baetz), tells me that he neither attended nor was told of any such meeting. I will find out more about the rest of it.
Mr. Conway: They didn’t tell Reuben very much we gather.
Mr. Kerrio: He wasn’t there long enough.
OHC FRAUD ALLEGATIONS
Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask a question of the Minister of Housing. I am somewhat hampered because, like the member for Sudbury East, who mentioned it earlier, I do not have a copy of the minister’s statement, and I was simply listening to it as best I could in the House.
Could I ask the minister, therefore, whether the first matter which he took up, having to do with allegations of wrongdoing in a company doing business with the Ontario Housing Corporation, is the matter that was raised by my colleague for Waterloo North (Mr. Epp) and about which we sent material to the minister and to the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry)? Or is this some completely different matter of which we have not previously had knowledge?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: No, Mr. Speaker, it is not the same matter. It is a matter that we have been able to get some information on just late yesterday and early this morning. It is not related to the subject that the member for Waterloo North raised with me a week or so ago.
Mr. Speaker: Order. I want to remind the honourable minister that if he is prepared to make a statement in this House, he should observe the courtesy of providing copies of such a statement to the opposition parties. They might wish to question him on the contents of that statement, and I would suggest that he provide them with copies as soon as he possibly can.
Mr. M. N. Davison: The minister has been here long enough. He should know that.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, I have asked for copies of the statement. There have been some changes made to it, because of the lateness of the hour; there has been some difficulty in even getting the statement put together because of the relative importance of the information that came to me at a very late hour today.
Mr. Martel: The rules say you must provide copies two hours in advance or save your statement until tomorrow. You don’t make an accusation.
Mr. MacDonald: Mr. Speaker, on that point of order: If the minister had a statement from which he could read, all he needed to do was walk past a Xerox machine, make copies and bring them in here. And when the minister uses that statement as an opportunity to attack the party and fudge the issue, for which perhaps he and his OHC are guilty, then he is doubly compounding the breach of privilege.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: You are worried, Donald. You are in trouble.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Embarrassing, isn’t it?
Mr. MacDonald: We’ll find out.
Mr. S. Smith: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I would ask the minister if he could tell us what is the stains of the matter that was brought to the minister’s attention by the member for Waterloo North? It seemed to be a serious matter, with allegations of very serious wrongdoing, but again in an unsigned letter and therefore one does not know how seriously to take it. Has the minister consulted with the Attorney General? Has the matter gone into some form of investigation? Where does the matter sit as of this point?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, the point raised by the leader of the Liberal Party in relation to the question asked of me a week or so by the member for Waterloo North is absolutely correct. The letter that was received in my office, a copy of which was received by the member for Waterloo North, was an unsigned letter from some employee who would appear to have been dismissed at some period of time in the past from the Ontario Ministry of Housing.
I have asked that all the allegations that were made in the letter be checked out, each and every one of them, for whatever accuracy there may or may not be in them. At this point, we are going through each portion of it. I think that both the leader and the member for Waterloo North will appreciate some of the statements made will take a little bit of time to do some fairly in-depth investigation. They go into some pretty interesting areas of the ministry.
I can assure members that if there is any accuracy in the statement, even though the letter is unsigned, there will be corrective action taken in those particular areas.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: I have finally, just, received a copy of the minister’s statement. Will he be specific in terms of allegations he has been making about people in the third party? I think this kind of statement he has come along with at the last minute is a presumption, to come before the Legislature in this particular way. Let him name names and tell us what he is trying to say, rather than making grave and unsupported general allegations.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: If that is to be considered a supplementary, yes I will be pleased to say to the leader of the third party, who is fully aware of exactly which member of his party -- the member for Etobicoke (Mr. Philip) -- was given all the information over a week ago. He has had consultations with the leader of his party about the information.
I have to admit to you, Mr. Speaker, that the remarks came to us via the individual who supplied the information to the member for Etobicoke; he had consultation with the member for Etobicoke, who indicated to him their party preferred not to take any action at this time but to defer anything that might happen until March 1979.
I think the importance of the information -- this was addressed to the member for Etobicoke on December 7, and in this one letter that I happened to see it is indicated that there had been previous discussions -- but the importance of it in relation to the people of this community in the units under OHC management, is that I would think a member responsible in this House should have seen to it that the information was given to the Minister of Housing for him to follow up on its accuracy. The minister could have seen if there were some areas of correction that should he made within the Housing portfolio, and seen that through the responsibility of our ministry OHC tenants are treated fairly and properly.
Mr. Philip: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker; The minister has made a number of statements. I just received his statement and I haven’t had an opportunity to read it, but I think certainly some inaccuracies seem to have been supplied to the minister.
In the first place, a gentleman by the name of Robert Jewett did come to me with certain information. At that time he informed me he was going to see the RCMP. When I asked him why the RCMP and not the OPP or the Solicitor General, he said he had some friend, or some contact, in the OPP.
At that time I suggested to the gentleman that since he had given some information to the RCMP already, it would be appropriate for him and his colleagues to meet the RCMP, and to suggest they would be willing to supply any information they had to the OPP for an investigation.
I also suggested to him, during a superficial summary or covering of the documents he had, that there appeared to be two kinds of matters: those that might involve what might be called a police matter of a fraudulent matter and those that might simply be labelled mismanagement on the part of certain officials, be they of the security company involved or OHC in terms of dealing with the problems of security.
I suggested to Mr. Jewett that I had raised the matter of security and the terrible manner in which security was being conducted in OHC on a number of occasions, not only with this minister but also with the previous minister. In fact, the minister knows I have letters concerning security at 75 Tandridge and a number of OHC buildings in my riding, and I have written to him on these matters, but the minister has failed to do anything about this.
I suggested the matters that were of a political nature should be dealt with in the House in the appropriate way during the minister’s estimates, where we can deal with the incompetence of the Ministry of Housing. So I think I have successfully separated the two: One, that he was going to the police and the police would investigate; two, the matter of incompetence by OHC which would be dealt with in the appropriate forum, namely the House during the minister’s estimates.
Any suggestion, then, that I withheld information -- having told this person to go to the police, having suggested that they go to the police, having witnessed his documents and having shown them also --
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Are you going to get his resignation, Michael?
Mr. Philip: -- to another lawyer to look through them -- I think it is completely unfounded and the minister owes me an apology.
Ms. Gigantes: Yes, he should resign.
Mr. Martel: He should get out of the gutter for a change.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: You were in it last night.
Mr. Martel: You don’t know how.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: But you sure don’t know how to take anything.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Speaker, I rise on the point of order; and I think, really, it is a matter of privilege.
I think under section 7(42)(a), in view of the statements of the minister and in view of the statements of the member for Etobicoke, this whole matter should be referred to the committee on procedures and privileges.
Mr. Lawlor: Oh God, spare us. I have seen that committee in operation.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Some very serious allegations have been made by the minister. We had the response from the member for Etobicoke. We had the matter placed on the Order Paper by the member for Waterloo North, and it’s been a subject of questions here today. I think this should he done because of --
Hon. Mr. Welch: It is not the same matter.
Mr. MacDonald: The minister’s neglect is the real problem.
Mr. T. P. Reid: I think this should be done partly because of the allegation of criminal charges, the anonymous letter and having to deal with that sort of thing.
Mr. Mackenzie: The minister can’t squirm out that way.
Mr. Speaker: That’s not a part of this point of privilege.
Mr. T. P. Reid: All right. In regard to what has happened here and the allegations or statements made by the minister, the response by the member for Etobicoke, I think the only way to resolve the issue is for it to go to that committee which is set up to deal with these kinds of things. I feel, personally, the remarks of the minister have reflected on the member for Etobicoke and they should be dealt with in that manner.
Mr. Lawlor: It should be dealt with here.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, on the question of privilege: I gather from the member for Etobicoke’s remarks that he’s not denying the fact the information was supplied to him back as early as December 7, if not earlier than that. I think you will understand that it’s only two or three short weeks ago that my ministry was in this very House with its estimates relating to Ontario Housing and to the entire portfolio for which we report.
Just so there’s no misunderstanding in this House, the member for Etobicoke has written to me on two or three occasions in respect to security on specific buildings in his riding that are under the management of OHC. We never discussed the general philosophy of security as a ministry or as the Ontario Housing Corporation. There’s no misunderstanding. Clearly, the statement I made today indicated the information that came to my attention late last night, and again this morning, had been in the hands of the member for Etobicoke. Instead of the member for Etobicoke, as I clearly said, it should have been referred to the minister, who I think does have some responsibility for answering to this House for the security --
Mr. Deans: Why?
Mr. Cassidy: Why? It should be in the hands of the police.
Mr. Mackenzie: Why are you squirming, scheming?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: The fact is it did not come to me and it was referred to other authorities.
Mr. Deans: Why would they refer it to you? This is a legal matter.
Mr. Speaker: Order. Does the member for Etobicoke have anything substantive to add to what has already been said?
Mr. Lawlor: You take yourself too seriously.
Mr. Philip: Yes, Mr. Speaker. On a point of privilege, I would like to file for the record of this House a document dated November 29, 1978. It’s witnessed by one Gillian Parker who is now my riding office assistant. It’s a document titled Distribution of Reports. These are the reports the minister is talking about.
It’s signed by Robert Jewett in her presence and in my presence. It says: “The following people will receive copies of these reports accompanied by signed affidavits: the Honourable William Davis, Premier of Ontario; the Honourable Claude Bennett, Minister of Housing” --
Ms. Gigantes: Resign, resign!
Mr. Deans: Why didn’t the Premier come to the minister and ask him to look into it?
Mr. Philip: -- “the Honourable Stuart Smith, Leader of the Opposition” --
Hon. Mr. Bennett: What date was that?
Ms. Gigantes: Slander.
Mr. Philip: I’m sorry, the list is much longer and it is a signed list: “A. J. Trusler, chairman of Ontario Housing Corporation” --
Mr. Deans: Why doesn’t the minister resign? He is the first person to resign the place, he is a disgrace.
Mr. Philip: -- “D. J. Beesley, general manager of Ontario Housing; K. Wallace, manager of Ontario Housing; D. Lougheed, security advisor to OHC; the Honourable Ed Philip, MPP Etobicoke; the Honourable Terry Jones, MPP Mississauga; the Right Honourable Pierre Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada” --
Mr. Deans: Had it since the 29th; incompetence.
Mr. Mackenzie: If you are going to discuss philosophy, what about a resignation?
Mr. Philip: -- “the Honourable Joe Clark, Leader of the Opposition; the editor of the Globe and Mail” --
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Read on, read on.
Mr. Philip: -- “the editor of the Toronto Sun; the editor of the Star.” This is hardly a personal document I’m holding when in fact this document shows this was being sent to all of these people.
Mr. Rotenberg: It just says they will be sent it, it doesn’t say when.
Mr. Martel: You dog, you slur a member. He slurred a member’s reputation.
Mr. Deans: The cabinet would be better off without him.
Mr. Mackenzie: Caught in your own trap, eh?
Mr. S. Smith: May I say on this same point of privilege or order that is being discussed, subject to the possibility that something may have arrived that I don’t know about? I received no copy of any such document to my knowledge. I don’t know if the Premier did.
Mr. Eaton: Better check with the post office.
Mr. S. Smith: I wanted to make that clear, since allegedly I am on the list to receive such a copy.
I also want to add a word in favour of the point made by the member for Rainy River for your consideration. I believe that in accusing the member for Etobicoke of actually withholding information for what would appear to be political reasons -- I’m quoting from the minister’s statement -- I would say that is a very serious allegation to make about a member of this House. Having heard the explanation of the member, it’s my view that the matter should be looked at properly, and the committee suggested by the member for Rainy River would seem to be the only place where this could be done.
Mr. Speaker: We have to establish whether or not there is a prima facie case for an abrogation of privileges of a member. I will take it under advisement. I will attempt to get all the information and report back to the House. I don’t know whether that’s possible by one o’clock tomorrow afternoon, if that’s a significant time.
Mr. Deans: Then we will come back next Monday.
Mr. Martel: We will come back next Monday.
Mr. Speaker: I will make every effort to do so, I make that commitment.
Mr. Cassidy: On the matter of privilege, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: I’ve already dealt with the matter of privilege.
Mr. Cassidy: May I make another contribution on the matter of privilege?
In view of what we have heard, in view of the fact this matter of privilege would not have arisen if the minister had not made his statement a few minutes ago, and in view of the statements by the member for Etobicoke which indicate that he had every reason to believe that both the police and also the ministry were fully informed about the allegations which were brought to him a few days ago, will the minister now apologize for the statements he has made and the accusations for making political capital, or seeking to make political capital out of this issue, and will he withdraw that statement that he made a half hour ago?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: The member’s in trouble.
Mr. MacDonald: As you look into this matter, Mr. Speaker, may I ask you to clarify one point? The minister in his statement said: “My initial reaction was that the material should be turned over to the OPP for investigation by them. I am pleased to be able to advise the House that the material had been referred to the OPP as a result of the action of one of the employees concerned.”
I think it was the employee who came to the member for Etobicoke and on his advice took it to the police.
Mr. Pope: Not to the minister.
Mr. MacDonald: So why the whole attack? Would you mind looking into that aspect to see whether it was that employee or somebody else who did it, just to clarify and indicate how shallow and cheap was the political attack the minister made?
Mr. Cassidy: Make him quit.
Mr. Speaker: I thought I had already made that commitment, but I will look at all aspects of it.
Mr. Speaker: Could I have the attention of honourable members for a moment.
Earlier today, the Minister of Housing made a statement in the House which caused several interventions on questions of order and privilege. I have now had an opportunity to read Hansard.
In part the minister stated: “I can only deplore the conduct of the third party in withholding the information from the ministry for what would appear to be crass political motives.” The minister later identified the member for Etobicoke as the member who was given all the information more than a week ago. The honourable minister has clearly made an allegation that the honourable member for Etobicoke has, in some way, acted improperly. The member for Etobicoke has had an opportunity to explain his position to the House. I feel that the imputing of motives, and the allegations made by the minister, must be withdrawn. I would invite the honourable minister to do so at this time.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, this afternoon I also prefixed my remarks with the phrase “if our information is correct.” I have the greatest respect for this Legislative Assembly and for the Speaker and his rights to protect the interests of the members of this House in connection with remarks made by ministers, members of the government or by members of the opposition.
With respect to ministers of the government, I only wanted to indicate clearly, Mr. Speaker that I consider it imperative that members of the Legislative Assembly, regardless of political party, who possess information indicating some shortcomings in government operations, whether in my ministry or others, should bring that information to the attention of a minister. Then we can make sure that the taxpayers, the tenants of OHC or whoever, are protected and given the greatest service possible.
Mr. Speaker in the future I hope members of this Legislative Assembly with information relating to operations not in the best interests of the eight and a half million people in the province of Ontario will present it to government ministers.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, I respect the position -- .
Mr. Deans: We don’t need a lecture from you.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Well I tell you what, you might be --
Mr. Speaker: Order, order. Will the honourable minister continue?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As I was saying, I hope in the future when members have information that might help ministers in making sure government services are the best possible for the taxpayers of this province, they will bring it to our attention.
I respect this Legislative Assembly. Indeed, Mr. Speaker, I respect your office and the rights that you exercise in honouring members of this House and protecting their reputations.
With your advice offered this evening, I withdraw those remarks I made this afternoon, even though the intent, I hope, would be that people would keep us in mind when certain things come --
Mr. Deans: Oh, stop it and sit down.
Mr. Speaker: The honourable member has clearly withdrawn the remarks. I consider the matter closed.
Mr. Martel: May I ask for the Speaker’s guidance regarding a request for a member to withdraw remarks? In the past it has been simply a case of the man or the member withdrawing without being given an opportunity to make a statement. I well recall my exodus about a year ago now from this building, when I was not given an opportunity --
Mr. Martel: On that occasion I was not given an opportunity to make a statement. I am asking for the Speaker’s guidance in this matter, because I think it sets a precedent. If you are going to allow someone to make a statement before they withdraw, then it should apply in all cases. I’d ask the Speaker to look at that and let us know.
Mr. Speaker: All I can say to the honourable member is that we all mature and mellow with time.
PULP AND PAPER INDUSTRY
Mr. Cassidy: I have a question of the Minister of Energy and the Minister of Natural Resources arising out of the statement he made today about the intentions of the government to sell its five per cent equity share in Syncrude.
In view of the fact the province of Ontario has made a $35 million profit on its equity stake in Syncrude over the course of the last three years since that was acquired in 1975, can the minister explain why the province will not also seek equity if it intends to make any investments in the pulp and paper industry here in the province of Ontario? How much profit are we forgoing by the decision of the province not to seek equity?
Hon. Mr. Auld: I think that’s a rather tenuous connection, but it seems to me the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) dealt with that question a few days ago.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: He did, completely.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary, to the minister wearing his hat as Minister of Natural Resources: Does the minister anticipate that profitability will continue at a high level in the pulp and paper industry? If that is the case, why shouldn’t the taxpayers of this province share in that profitability if they’re making an investment in that industry, in the same way that they’ve taken $35 million in profit from the sale at the end of this year of their investment in Syncrude out in Alberta? Why do we have one rule for investments in Alberta and another rule for investments in the province of Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Auld: I suppose if I could answer the question of profitability in the pulp and paper industry in the future I should be in the investment business. I would like to be able to predict those things.
Mr. MacDonald: Do you forgo it totally?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Some of you weren’t that enthusiastic about Syncrude.
Hon. Mr. Auld: It seems to me again that the Treasurer addressed that principle and that concern in his reply the other day.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: Can I have an answer from this minister, as the minister who, among other things, is responsible for the pulp and paper industry, wearing his hat as Minister of Natural Resources?
Does the Minister of Natural Resources believe that if Ontario advances money to the pulp and paper industry it should stand to get any money back in terms of dividends or in terms of having an equity stake; or is it his belief that while Ontario charges interest to small business and while it taxes the little people of this province, the money going to the pulp and paper industry should be given to them as a gift and for free?
Hon. Mr. Davis: You are writing off the workers again.
Mr. Rotenberg: It’s a two-way street.
Mr. Foulds: Yes.
Hon. Mr. Auld: Once again I can only say that the Treasurer dealt with this. It is the Treasurer’s scheme and I generally agree with the Treasurer.
Mr. Laughren: They are without logic over there.
PAPER MILL CONTROL ORDERS
Mr. Cassidy: I have a question of the Minister of the Environment, which also affects the pulp and paper industry. In view of the report last week of the task force on the pulp and paper industry, which stated that since the control orders established by the Minister of the Environment have been tailored to the conditions at each individual mill and incorporate proven technology, that the task force believed the current control orders should be fully enforced in terms of substance and timing; and in view of reports by the ministry’s economists in 1974, 1976 and in June of this year that the pulp and paper industry was financially capable of meeting its environmental obligations; can the minister explain why he is now acting directly contrary to the recommendations of the task force and of his own experts, and why he is going to let the industry off the hook again by granting them further extensions on theft control orders?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: The leader of the third party is absolutely wrong in the last part of his statement, of his question.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: He usually is.
Mr. T. P. Reid: At least he’s consistent anyway.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: At no time have I said that to the pulp and paper industry. I want that very clearly on the record. I made the statement, in talking about control orders in general and not specifically about the pulp and paper industry, that some control orders would be made tougher and some would probably be extended, but never as it specifically related to the pulp and paper industry. I hope I have made that very clear today.
I was talking about control orders in total, as a package for all of industry, and I emphasized at that time that some would be made tougher. Just recently we did that. As a matter of fact, there was one yesterday where the increase was rather significant.
While I have the opportunity, Mr. Speaker, perhaps I could follow up and answer a question that was asked of me previously.
Ms. Cassidy: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker --
Hon. Mr. Parrott: It’s on the very same subject.
Mr. Cassidy: -- can the minister finish this question and make his ministerial statement at some other time?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: No, it is not a statement; it is a reply to a question asked previously and it is on the same subject.
Mr. Cassidy: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: Do you want an answer or not?
Mr. Cassidy: If the minister wishes to reply to a question asked previously, the appropriate time is some time during the question period, but surely not tagged on to a reply to a leader’s question.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Not during your part of the question period.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I would suggest now is the question period time.
Mr. Martel: He hasn’t even asked a supplementary.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Go ahead.
Mr. Martel: I am just trying to be helpful.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: Mr. Speaker, do I have your permission to reply to this question?
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, would you pay attention to this?
Mr. Speaker: I resent that inference that I am not paying attention. The Minister of the Environment.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. On December 11, the Leader of the Opposition inquired as to the status of a number of pulp and paper mills in Ontario which faced deadlines on December 31 for the completion of requirements made under control orders. I suspect that we would agree we are talking, therefore, about exactly the same subject as raised by the leader of the third party.
As promised, I have complete details with me today and I am sending these across to the Leader of the Opposition for his information, The information shows that of the 11 companies which are to have certain works completed by December 31, all but two will comply. I think it is worth noting that several of the companies completed the work required of them well in advance of the deadline. I think that is really very noteworthy.
With respect to the remaining two companies, Abitibi Paper Company Limited at Smooth Rock Falls will be unable to comply with the December 31 deadline due to the fact that its equipment suppliers have run into unexpected difficulties. It is expected that the equipment will be delivered to the mill in six weeks time so the company has, for all intents and purposes, at least as far as I view it, complied with the deadline. I might point out that the same company was ahead of schedule in another component of the work required.
Great Lakes Paper at Thunder Bay is experiencing severe technical difficulties in its installation of a closed cycle water system. The company has developed solutions for the problems which will cost them an additional $16 million to implement. We are, of course, pressing for speedy action on the problem, but I believe that court action is not warranted under the circumstances. The ministry will, of course, continue to monitor that progress.
The information does show the majority of the pulp and paper industries involved are in total compliance with the orders placed upon them.
There is one further short comment with respect to the supplementary question asked by the member for Beaches-Woodbine (Ms. Bryden). I can confirm that Abitibi Paper at Smooth Rock Falls did comply with the requirement for separation of all sanitary sewage from processed waste by the October 31 deadline. As regards the discharge of suspended solids and BODs at the mill in question, I will have a table giving comparative figures for the 1977-78 year tomorrow and I will forward it to her at that time.
Mr. Speaker: What was that in response to? To whose question? It was a series of questions.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: The first one was to the leader of the Liberal Party; the second was to the member for Beaches-Woodbine, and followed directly the leader of the third party’s question.
Mr. Martel: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I think that’s what caused the problem. The leader of our party asked the question and before he was allowed a supplementary the Minister of the Environment attempted to give the reply to an unrelated question, although in a similar field. The supplementary should have been allowed, I think, before the statement was given.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, in his reply, the minister said that he had been referring to an easing up of control orders on polluters in general, but tried to fudge the issue as to whether or not he intended to ease up on control orders for pulp and paper companies in particular, even though that had been very clearly the indication given in his newspaper interviews over the weekend. Is the government easing up its control orders on a number of pulp and paper companies; and if so, what new concrete evidence can the minister bring in order to justify his going directly contrary to the findings of studies over the years by his ministry, and of the task force report last week, which were that the current control orders should be fully enforced in terms of substance and of timing?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: Mr. Speaker, I would be very pleased to go over the direct quotes to which the member is referring. I think he will find the words, “reasonable” and “practical” are included. I think he will find that I said within a very few days that prosecution of various industries will be placed. I have signed the authorization that those should proceed. There is no direct quote that says that I am easing off; indeed it is to the contrary.
Ms. Gigantes: The minister knows what that meant in the past.
Mr. Martel: Do it some other time.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: If I have to say it a thousand and one times I will. At no time did I say we’re easing off; it’s a total misconception of my statement. There was an interview, but I think if one will read past the headlines one will see that as minister I was trying to be practical, reasonable and enforce those orders which I think are for the good of the people of this province.
Mr. Gaunt: Mr. Speaker, may I ask the minister what has happened to the ministry negotiations for an amending control order on the CIP mill at Hawkesbury?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: On that particular one, given the importance of the Treasurer’s statement, I have two or three companies with which I would like to discuss their particular orders in person. I have already done that with one. I have had several interviews, as a matter of fact, not just with the company hut also with the mayor of one particular municipality as recently as this morning.
I want to take a very balanced view of what should be done. It will not be done, let me assure my friend, just in consultation with the pulp and paper industry. It will be done in consultation with the people of that community, with the unions of that community and indeed with a very broad cross- section of society.
I have not yet addressed myself to the one in Hawkesbury to which the member referred. I will do so in the very near future. I wanted the Treasurer’s statement fully known, not only by the industry, which knew previously, but also the community and indeed, all of society. Once they have that opportunity, and I think a matter of weeks should be given, then I will discuss those orders with them.
Mr. Cassidy: Since the minister is quoted directly in the weekend press as saying that his policy will mean “rewriting the orders to be more practical in the date set,” and since the rewriting of orders in the past has always meant delaying the control order deadlines for the pulp and paper industry, can the minister say when we can now expect that the water quality objectives for the pulp and paper industry, which were set as long ago as 1965, are going to be met in Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: The sad part of our discussion right now is that we seem to overlook that out of the 11 companies that were asked for information, nine of them were either on target or ahead of target. Surely to goodness, that must say something. They were practical and reasonable requests of those industries. Nine out of the 11 have complied.
Mr. Cassidy: You are not answering the question.
Mr. Foulds: How many of those nine took two- or three-year extensions?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I do not think it follows logically, therefore, that one can say we are always extending the deadlines. We are not. In fairness, we have to say that some have met their deadlines in advance. That’s important to remember.
Mr. J. Reed: Supplementary, Mr Speaker: Now that we have some control equipment in place and, as the minister says, these control orders are being complied with -- to a certain extent, anyway -- I wonder if he would be able to assess the positive economic impact of the development and installation of this kind of equipment.
Would he be able to say to Ontario industry, “Look, pollution control is a good business, because it has created X jobs and has had a certain dollar impact on the economy of Ontario”?
If we can look at pollution control from a positive point of view, possibly we can improve the situation substantially. I wonder if the ministry could do that.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: Mr. Speaker, I have to concur completely with the honourable member. I have tried to do that already. I am not like some of my cabinet colleagues; I don’t have a whole repertoire of good speeches. But that is one I try to work at, because I share the honourable member’s view that it is essential for the people to understand that controls can work to the benefit of not just the industry in modernizing their plant; they go hand in glove with increasing job opportunities and improving our competitive position with foreign countries -- all of that goes together. I am very supportive of what the honourable member has said and will do my best to amplify what he has said.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, I would like to extend my apologies to you for the untoward comment I made during question period with regard to your attention to the Minister of the Environment’s answer to my leader’s question.
STORAGE OF PCBS
Mr. Gaunt: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of the Environment. Why is industry allowed indiscriminately to store polychlorinated biphenyl liquids and solids with no protective material, contrary to his ministry’s guidelines? Secondly, why is industry not required to notify the ministry when such material goes into storage?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: The bill I will introduce later this afternoon, Mr. Speaker, I think will go a long way towards -- no, it will start to address that problem, because the bill is not specifically designed to answer that problem.
However, I bring to the member’s attention that much of this was done long in advance of when the Ministry of the Environment even was in existence. There are large numbers of various materials around this province which slowly, but surely and very positively, we will understand where they are and how they are contained.
I find it very difficult to accept the past generation’s actions as part of the responsibility of this ministry. I accept that it is our job and our mandate now to learn of those, and accept that responsibility.
I don’t think it would be fair, if I can put it in those terms to expect us to be held accountable for actions of the private sector long before the ministry even existed.
Mr. Gaunt: Supplementary, on a matter of clarification: This particular material about which I was speaking has been stored recently. If the minister wants the details of the circumstance I would be pleased to give it to him. My question was directed specifically with respect to material being stored currently or in the recent past.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: In that case, Mr. Speaker, I would be very pleased to have it. There have been a couple of recent news items on which I made a bad assumption, and apologize to the member for that bad assumption that had, I think, fitted the answer. But if these are recent, certainly let me see them and we will look at them very carefully.
Mr. Martel: A question of the Minister of Labour. Will the minister look into the cases of Mr. Rheal Gignac who was reduced to 50 per cent after he was advised on November 20 he could resume light duty at Inco; the case of Mr. Conrad Leconte, who was discharged from Downsview on December 4, reduced to 50 per cent although he was advised he could only do light duty; and the case of Gilbert Spencer who was reduced to 50 per cent on November 16 by the Workmen’s Compensation Board, having been dismissed from Downsview and only advised he could resume light duty and not regular work?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I thank the member for pointing these cases out to me. We spoke about them in a more general way yesterday, and I will look into it.
Mr. Martel: Supplementary: In view of the fact that these are three more that I received in my office yesterday, is the minister aware that Downsview is dismissing the patients, reducing them to 50 per cent, and having them go to Sudbury where they have to go to the compensation office and attempt there to give all the information necessary to the local office? It is then returned to Toronto, and in Toronto they determine here at 2 Bloor Street whether the man is eligible for 100 per cent. Just how much longer do all of us have to go through this nonsense that you yourself enunciated some time ago shouldn’t be occurring?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I can only reiterate that I will look into the cases complained about, and my staff are already preparing a letter to the board requesting clarification of that decision.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, I would like to respond to the member for Niagara Falls (Mr. Kerrio) on the matter of the Ontario government grants to the Kensington Arts Association, and about my ministry’s efforts to recover a Wintario grant to that association due to the sale of its facility at 15 Duncan Street Toronto.
The Kensington Arts Association is a registered, incorporated, nonprofit organization with a charitable number and was established in 1973. The centre is an artists’ co-operative and parallel gallery at 15 Duncan Street, Toronto. In 1976 it began publishing a monthly magazine entitled Art Communication Edition, which in 1977 was awarded a grant by the Ontario Arts Council of $2,500.
As members will recall, this magazine was re-entitled Strike in its January 1978 edition. Subsequently, and in light of the changes in the magazine’s editorial policy, the Ontario Arts Council declined awarding further grants to this publication. In addition, in 1978-79 the operating grant to the Centre for Experimental Art and Communication was cancelled.
Contrary to some reports in the press, Wintario has at no time funded the magazine Strike. The small grant to which I made reference on Monday night in our estimates debate was Wintario noncapital grant of $4,000 to the Centre for Experimental Art and Communication in December 1977 to help acquire audio-visual equipment.
The present concern deals with a Wintario capital grant which was awarded to the Kensington Arts Association in June 1976 to help acquire the property necessary to construct and renovate a structure for housing the growing needs of the association as a museum gallery. The total purchase price of the building located at 15 Duncan Street in 1976 was $325,000. As one half of the facility was to be rented commercially as a revenue producing source, one half of the purchase cost was deducted from the total for purposes of calculating the Wintario grant of $55,000.
When the grant was given, the Kensington Arts Association signed a letter of agreement under its corporate seal which stated in part as follows and I read: “In the event that your association should sell the property and not reinvest the proceeds from the sale into a property to be used for similar activities and likewise in regard to subsequent transactions of such properties, the ministry reserves the right to request the repayment of this Wintario grant in full or in part without interest at the ministry’s option.”
I am advised by the ministry’s legal counsel that the subject property, namely 15 Duncan Street, was sold by the Kensington Arts Association to Joseph Pope in trust on November 15, 1978, for $415,000. Following the sale of the subject property the association paid off all of the mortgages owing. The ministry is in the process of contacting the officers of the Kensington Arts Association, especially a Mr. Hubert Corley.
We want to determine whether or not the association has reinvested the proceeds from the sale into a new property which is to be used by the association for activities similar to those for which the grant was originally made.
Let me assure the House that my ministry is prepared to enforce the provisions of the letter of agreement which it has with the Kensington Arts Association and request the repayment of the entire $55,000 Wintario capital grant should the ministry determine the association has not purchased a new property which is to be used by that association for activities similar to those for which the grant was originally made.
Mr. Kerrio: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Number one, I wonder if the minister could tell me if he knows the whereabouts of this group right now? Number two, I wonder if he could look in the future to some kind of guarantee for any funds that we put to this use, so in the event there is a sale, we don’t have to chase down the people who have had the money put to their use?
Mr. Breithaupt: You could logically have a lien on the property.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Right. In response to the first question as to the whereabouts of the officers, I must report we have not yet been able to contact them in spite of all our efforts to date.
Mr. Gaunt: Have you tried Cuba?
Mr. Foulds: Have they disappeared?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: It may well he they are not aware we are trying to get in touch with them.
Mr. Nixon: On the other hand, maybe they are.
Mr. Foulds: Quit while you’re ahead.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: If, through this exercise here today, they should know we are trying to find them, I hope they will be in touch with us.
Mr. Foulds: You’ve got a hope.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Failing that, I can only assure this House we will continue our pursuit.
Mr. Conway: Pretend they are Dow Chemical.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: On the part of the guarantee, the second part of the question, I have been assured by our legal counsel that really the present wording of the agreements should provide sufficient protection for Wintario. I think if you will listen to the reading of that, or read it when I send it across the floor, I think that should be sufficient.
GERALDTON ARENA GRANT
Mr. Havrot: I would like to direct a question to the Minister of Culture and Recreation.
Mr. Conway: The anti-culture member for Timiskaming.
Mr. Havrot: I wonder if the minister could give us the status of the Wintario grant for the arena in Geraldton which was approved in August for $732,367?
Mr. Laughren: Subculture member for Timiskaming.
Mr. Havrot: Anti-Cassidy member for Nickel Belt.
Mr. Laughren: That’s not fair.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased that that question was raised. I think perhaps the Speaker is also pleased that it was raised, and especially the way in which it will be answered.
Mr. Speaker: I am also anxious to hear the answer.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I know that, sir.
A final approval was made August 26 for a grant of $732,367 for the arena in Geraldton. A cheque of $116,039 has been sent and more is on its way. I would like to take this opportunity to refer to the presence of His Worship Michael Power, the mayor of Geraldton, who I understand -- at least, Mr. Speaker, you told me so -- is in the gallery here someplace.
COMMUNITY SERVICE ORDER PROJECTS
Mr. Bradley: My question is for the Provincial Secretary for Justice, Mr. Speaker. This is in light of the statement that was made by the Minister of Correctional Services (Mr. Walker) which affects the policy field in justice where he makes this statement: “I plan to urge their broadest possible use,” he’s talking about community service orders there, “in my public speeches and when I meet with the members of the judiciary during the coming year.”
Since it is, as I understand it, the policy of the justice end of things here in the province to use the community service orders in lieu of or as much as possible in lieu of sentences, would the minister undertake to use his persuasive powers or the persuasive powers of the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) to ensure that even more emphasis is placed on the use of community service orders in light of the facts that, first, the intermittent sentences seem to cause problems at institutions, and second, the use for inmate labour purposes of those on intermittent sentences is not as easy as it is when you have community service orders? Would he give us the assurance that through the Attorney General’s ministry the judges across the province perhaps would give even more of an open mind to the use of community service orders on a general basis rather than seeking other sentences?
Mr. Conway: What do you think, Frank?
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, I would be very pleased to communicate the concerns of my colleague from St. Catharines to the Attorney General. I certainly know from first hand, as perhaps he should, coming from the same area, that there have been meetings with the chief judge on this particular subject. I am sure the Attorney General would want it handled that way as well, but I will communicate the member’s concern to the Attorney General.
Mr. Peterson: He never shows up around here. How can you talk to him?
COKE OVEN EMISSIONS
Mr. Mackenzie: I am wondering if the Minister of Labour is keeping up to date on the latest developments in the setting of the six basic coke oven standards in the United States and of the fact that the U.S. Court of Appeals has recently rejected an appeal by the steel industry against the standards and upheld them in total? Given the very high rate of cancer fatalities in the coke oven operation, can he tell us why Ontario is lagging so far behind in setting the same standards or equivalent standards here in the province of Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I haven’t had an opportunity to speak to my staff directly about the material the member is referring to but I am certain that they would be keeping up with it. As the member knows, we are constantly involved in revising standards.
Mr. Mackenzie: As a supplementary, the standards were set in 1977 to be totally operative in all phases not later than 1980, which they have worked to, and in most cases they are now. The appeals have been done away with. Could we have some indication of the time when we might get at least what they have now proven to be effective in the United States?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I will inquire into the matter and report to the member.
Mr. G. I. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Housing. In my view of the announcement that the minister made today, I was wondering if the minister is aware that the work force in the area now is less by perhaps 2,000 people than it was back in the construction of the Hydro, and Texaco and the Stelco complex. I think there was a total of approximately 5,500 workers on the site during the construction period. Now there are 300 employed at Texaco, approximately 400 at Hydro, and perhaps 1,000 workers at the Stelco plant which with 1,500 new employees, makes a total of 3,200.
I wonder if the minister is aware of that. If so, in view of his announcement today that the construction of houses will start in the spring of 1980 and that he is contemplating a meeting in February with the members of the Haldimand-Norfolk regional council, I wonder if they are aware of it and support the startup of this project at that time.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: First of all, we are aware of the fact that any time a large development takes place anywhere in Ontario, whether it is a nuclear station, the Texaco development or the Stelco development, a large transient work force moves in to look after such construction. Obviously, when that particular type of sophisticated or specialized work is completed on those projects, a number of them will leave the community.
My understanding is that there have been some differences of opinion in the preliminary negotiations or discussions that have taken place between the regional government and the municipal government. But I understand that there now is a general common concern that Townsend should move forward. And it was a vote of the regional council which indicated Townsend should become the focal point.
As to the meetings we will have in February, Mr. R. M. McDonald, the assistant deputy minister in charge of the Ontario Land Corporation, and his people will be meeting with the local people and trying to finalize the details required for the completion of the plans, the drafting of subdivisions and so on, so they can get on with the development of housing early in 1980.
Mr. G. I. Miller: Supplementary: I am wondering whether the water service will be provided to Hagersville and Jarvis, as the minister has indicated in the report, since they have been plagued with a serious water problem. Is this going to be used as a lever to develop the Townsend site rather than providing water which is really badly needed in the Jarvis and Hagersville area?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: It certainly will not be used as a lever to get on with Townsend. The reason for the main going in obviously is Townsend. If Townsend were not to come into being, the capacity of the water system would not be as great as it will be. Also, the capacity for Hagersville and Jarvis will be sufficient to serve those particular communities.
The design and development of it was (1) to serve the development industries, (2) to serve Townsend, and (3) to make sure there was sufficient capacity for the other two communities.
Mr. Speaker: Supplementary; the member for Brantford.
Mr. Nixon: I wonder if -- Brantford?
Hon. Mr. Davis: That’s that other town.
Mr. Havrot: That’s where all those turkeys come from.
Mr. Makarchuk: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: will the minister ensure, when the land at the Townsend site goes on stream, that it will be provided to builders at cost and that he will prevent the land from falling into the hands of speculators and thus driving up the cost of housing in that area?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, I can assure this House that the policy of disposing of land through the Ontario Land Corporation will be as enunciated in the past; in other words, we will sell land at the low end of market value. Obviously that’s the position the government and the Ontario Land Corporation should be taking.
Mr. Roy: That sounds logical.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: It will put housing in place, moderate-priced housing. Indeed, there will be other types of development --
Mr. Peterson: Six hundred million dollars’ worth of housing?
Mr. Roy: You pay the big price.
Mr. Speaker: Just ignore the interjections.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: That’s very difficult, because the profiteers over there only think it goes one way when they are involved in it personally.
Some hon. members: Oh, oh.
Mr. Peterson: The committee of privileges should call this man.
Mr. Roy: My God, he’s fast and loose.
Mr. Mackenzie: I would crawl into a hole if I were you.
Mr. Roy: You’d better keep him in the House or he’ll be in jail.
Mr. Conway: I think he needs one last trip up the Credit River.
Mr. Laughren: It’s time for a cabinet shuffle, Bill: Cord Walker and Claude Bennett.
Hon. Mrs. Birch: Methinks they doth protest too much.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: That’s two nerves I’ve touched this afternoon, Mr. Speaker.
We will dispose of the land on a subdivision basis, and it will be available to more than just a contractor; there will be a number of them involved in the development, and there will be different types of housing proposed at various price levels, including housing for public use.
Mr. Nixon: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Can the minister assure the House, as he will no doubt assure the councils of the city of Nanticoke and the region of Haldimand-Norfolk, that the costs for the planning, servicing and development of the new cities will be paid 100 per cent by his ministry or some other provincial emanation?
Hon. Mr. Davis: What’s a provincial emanation?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Obviously, the costs of development, the planning, the installation of services and so on --
Mr. Nixon: How did you buy them in the first place except through elimination?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: -- directly related to Townsend will be absorbed in the overall cost of development of Townsend. Of course some of it will be absorbed back into the sale price of units that will be sold for residential, industrial and commercial purposes.
There are other parts of the cost of servicing Townsend that will be laid off against some of the industrial development because the capacity is built into it. Jarvis and Hagersville obviously will have some costs related to the water system put on to their water bills at the rime the system is installed in those particular communities.
Mr. Breithaupt: Point of privilege: It is my understanding that the minister in his comments earlier on used the word “profiteers” with respect to some allegations apparently concerning members on this side of the House. Would the minister either clarify those remarks or kindly withdraw them?
Mr. Mackenzie: You don’t expect any better from him.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Very simply, Mr. Speaker, I said that on occasion if the government happens -- as we did with the sale of oil operations that we disclosed this afternoon, -- make a bit of a profit for the people of the province of Ontario which we’re delighted to be able to announce --
Mr. Van Horne: What is a government? How do you spell government?
Mr. Philip: It’s not your day.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Obviously, in the selling of some of this land which we have held for a period of time, if we make a profit I think that is all to the credit of the corporation.
Mr. Nixon: Just withdraw.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: If Mr. Roy happens to own some land and sells at a profit, good, I congratulate him.
Mr. Roy: Withdraw.
Mr. Speaker: No, that’s altogether different from somebody getting up and accusing another member of profiteering. That has sort of unsalutary connotations and if you said that, I suggest you withdraw it.
Mr. Nixon: Just withdraw it.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, I thought that was paying a compliment to the member for a change. There are so many in this province at this time on certain lands who are making -- if I insulted the member, I withdraw the comment.
Mr. Nixon: It’s you he’s talking about. How much did you make?
Mr. Roy: Things could be worse. He could have been mayor of Ottawa.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Are you selling land in Ottawa?
Mr. Roy: Not at all.
Mr. Peterson: He doesn’t even own that suit, how can he own land?
Mr. Philip: A question of the Minister of Labour: I wonder if the minister is aware of a company called Wigwamen Incorporated which is apparently trying to get out of its obligation to pay normal employee benefits, by having employees sign contracts designating themselves as independent contractors?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: No, I was not aware of that. I’ll be glad to look into it and report to the member.
Mr. Philip: Supplementary: I wonder if the minister then can inform the House if this particular company’s scheme as I’ve just described it is one that he has had experience with in the past, and if there are a number of companies engaged in this kind of practice. If so, how many? What is the minister prepared to do to see that employees who win successful decisions from his ministry, as employees of this company have done, collect their benefits immediately rather than go through the long delays of companies going after appeal after appeal and delay after delay?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: No, Mr. Speaker, I am not aware of any rash of complaints such as this, but again I’ll inquire into that. With regard to the collection of moneys owing to employees, I think the member will agree that the employment standards branch is very vigorous about those followups. To my knowledge, and I’ve had to look into it a few times, the branch is successful in by far the majority of cases. When they’re not, it’s not through lack of diligent work. We’ll continue to endeavour to seek redress wherever it’s humanly possible.
Mr. Speaker: The Premier has the answer to a question previously asked. We have one minute. Is that sufficient time to capsulize the answer?
Mr. Breithaupt: The Premier can’t stand up in that length of time.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I’m being insulted by the member for Kitchener who has more difficulty standing up than I do, I’d say for obvious reasons, on some days.
Mr. Young: That’s being provocative.
Mr. Speaker: We now have about 40 seconds.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I’m just talking about corporate holdings, that’s all I’m referring to. I hope the members noticed that survey that came out of Paris where it said that those with -- they saw that, did they?
Mr. T. P. Reid: Yes, we saw that. We all have copies.
Hon. Mr. Davis: They all have copies and Patrick feels much better. Anyway, the member for Halton-Burlington (Mr. J. Reed) asked a very important question with respect to Ontario Hydro. I would have had the Minister of Energy (Mr. Auld) answer this question but he was busy negotiating an excellent deal for the taxpayers so I undertook this personally.
In March 1978 three television ideas were accepted for production to support the current conservation advertising campaign which is entitled Wasting Electricity Turns People Off. I know other things that do, but that’s the title of the general program: The areas covered were (a) lightbulbs, (b) animated cartoons, (c) Shields and Yarnell robots. I’m not familiar with the one that the member raised but it’s the third one.
(a) was produced, acted and directed by Canadian talent, that’s the one on light bulbs. (b) was produced by Nelvarna, a Toronto animation house; those are the animated cartoons, the second part of the three-part program. The third was Canadian-produced with US talent. Ontario Hydro informs me that this is the first recorded use of US talent by Ontario Hydro since as far back as its records go, to 1960.
As a policy, Ontario Hydro believes in and supports using Canadian talent whenever and wherever possible. Apparently, the people who were retained to do the one program, Shields and Yarnell -- and I must confess, Mr. Speaker, I’m not familiar with them -- apparently do robot-like acts and they were concerned that in a professional sense if you retain people who imitate them, that would be in artistic terms less than the desirable way of doing it. That is the explanation.
PRESENT FOR PREMIER
Hon. Mr. Davis: While I’m on my feet, a matter of personal privilege -- and it’s not often that I rise on matters of personal privilege in this House. Mr. Speaker, you know I’ve totally supported you in all of your activities in this House and have never been critical. But this personal privilege does reflect on you, sir, in that I was informed last evening that you were part of a conspiracy to impose upon the Premier of this province, the member for Brampton, a third addition to his household, a totally unnecessary household pet, in conjunction with the member for London Centre. I regret, Mr. Speaker, I missed your party. I’m delighted I didn’t receive the gift. I will not ask that this be referred to a select committee.
Mr. Peterson: It is fair that this becomes public knowledge now because it is a matter of public importance. There were some people who wanted to borrow my dog -- and I have a large dog -- to give to the Premier, because he has shown a certain unwillingness to have other canines in his house before. I want the House to know that I was quite willing to give the dog away. My wife would have given me problems, because it’s her dog. I was quite willing to give the dog away --
Mr. Nixon: She wanted to give you away.
Mr. Peterson: -- however, the one stipulation was that it go to a good home. In this circumstance, we couldn’t let him go.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Attack me, but don’t attack my house.
Mr. Speaker: The time for oral questions expired five minutes ago.
Mr. J. Reed: That was urgent public importance?
Mr. Speaker: Your colleague thought so.
OHC FRAUD ALLEGATIONS
Mr. Roy: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: Did you give us extra time from that point of privilege; or did you consider that to be a point of order, the point of privilege raised by the member for Etobicoke?
Mr. Speaker: I haven’t had too much time to reflect on the alleged point of privilege, but to the extent that I have, I took it that if there were any infringement at all, it was a point of order. Page 12, item 8: “The Speaker will call a member to order if ... ” --
Mr. Roy: Yes, but you didn’t call him to order.
Mr. Speaker: I had to hear the other side of it. I don’t know whether it is a point of order until I’ve had time. It very well may be, if a member makes allegations against another member.
Mr. Deans: It is.
Mr. Roy: It’s a point of privilege.
Mr. Deans: You should buy a muzzle for that fellow.
Mr. Speaker: That is what the member for Etobicoke alleges the honourable member did. I have to see whether he has in fact made an allegation against another member. It is a point of order, not a point of privilege; that’s why the time was deducted from the question period.
Mr. Speaker: Before any more time passes, can I remind all honourable members of this House that this excellent group of pages we’ve had with us for the last four weeks will, hopefully, be spending their last day here tomorrow. In keeping with tradition in this House, I would like to read their names and their ridings into the record:
Fabrizio Alberico from Oriole; Jennifer Baird from Durham-York; Stephen Celestini from Humber; Andrew Chazalon from Middlesex; Ian Chuang from Scarborough East; Paul Erickson from Halton-Burlington; Doreen Hammond from Grey; Tim Heeney from Peterborough; Mary-Jane Hobden from Renfrew South; Karen Johnston from Etobicoke; Stewart Kamada from St. Catharines; Michael Liebmann from Armourdale; Cindy-Sue Martel from Timiskaming; Mary McCann from York Mills; John Milloy from Kitchener-Wilmot; Melanie Moore from Windsor- Riverside; Sarah Nelson from Durham East; Grant Stirling from Leeds; Wendy Thompson from St. Catharines; David Vink from Oxford; Janette White from Oakville; and Kelly Yurkow from Burlington South.
I’m sure all members would like to take advantage of this opportunity to wish them a Merry Christmas and thank them for their service.
STANDING SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE
Mr. Riddell, on behalf of Mr. Gaunt, from the standing social development committee, reported the following resolutions:
That supply in the following amounts to defray the expenses of the Ministry of Health be granted to Her Majesty for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1979; Ministry administration and health insurance program $1,131,886,000; institutional health services program, $2,641,789,000; community health services program, $170,874,000.
That supply in the following amount to defray the expenses of the Office of the Provincial Auditor be granted to Her Majesty for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1979: Administration of the Audit Act and statutory audits, $2,090,000.
STANDING STATUTORY INSTRUMENTS COMMITTEE
Mr. Williams from the standing statutory instruments committee presented the committee’s second report.
Mr. Williams: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to present a report from the standing statutory instruments committee and in so doing I would like to make a few brief comments with regard thereto.
You may recall, Mr. Speaker, that on June 15 last the first substantive report of the standing statutory instruments committee was tabled and debated in the Legislature on November 20. At that time the first report presented 14 specific recommendations within its term of reference. Today, Mr. Speaker, the second report of the standing statutory instruments committee is being tabled as presented by the presently constituted committee.
This report, deals specifically with five matters. As the terms of reference of the House point out, the committee was to investigate and consider comparative systems in other jurisdictions. With this purpose in mind, and as was pointed out during the debate on the first report, this committee has met with representatives from the province of Manitoba as well as from the federal government to consider and understand the manner in which they deal with regulations in those specific jurisdictions.
The first two chapters of this report, Mr. Speaker, deal with that topic and report to the House on our findings in that regard. The third chapter of the five chapter report deals with penalties, and points out that indeed this House has appeared to have given some recognition to the recommendations in the first report, wherein it was clearly and strongly recommended that the matter of penalties should be dealt with solely within statute and not within regulations. As a result thereof, it appears that some amending legislation has recently come before this House that has corrected that situation where a penalty has existed in regulation rather than in statute. It would appear that other steps will be taken implementing those remedies.
The fourth chapter of the report, Mr. Speaker, indicates that all regulations, now and in the future, should give close attention to the prime consideration that the right to regulate should remain within the control of the Lieutenant Governor of this province.
Lastly, Mr. Speaker, the report points out to the Legislature the work it has in progress and what it intends to do in the future in the way of continuing to monitor and control regulations, and to vet existing regulations. As pointed out in the closing comments of the report, the 1978 regulations are presently being vetted by our counsel, Mr. Laughlin MacTavish, QC. In concluding, I would say that all of the members of the committee are highly indebted to Mr. MacTavish, and to the clerk of the committee, Mr. Forsyth. With those comments, I table this report to the Legislature.
SITTING OF THE HOUSE
Hon. Mr. Welch moved that the House sit through the normal supper recess.
Motion agreed to.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Parrott moved first reading of Bill 209, An Act to amend the Environmental Protection Act, 1971.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: The amendments concern spills of toxic substances or contaminants into the natural environment. The objective of this legislation is to impose clear responsibility for cleanup and to enable my ministry to take immediate control of the situation if required. This includes directing cleanup in some cases, and then sorting out questions of responsibility and payment after we get the mess cleaned up.
To achieve this, I want to broaden the authority of the ministry to order control, cleanup and restoration, and to create liability for compensation for damage resulting from a spill which clarifies and extends the right to compensation at common law.
The amendments will assist any injured party by placing initial responsibility on both the persons who own and control contaminants, that is the people who manufacture, store, transport and market hazardous materials. Those responsible will be required to restore the environment affected and will be made liable for damage. By this we mean we expect to reduce the number of spills, to hasten cleanup, and to reduce damage to the environment.
I believe those who create the risk should pay for restoration as a reasonable condition of doing business; it is not up to an innocent party whose land or property has been damaged. At present, persons manufacturing and handling contaminants are not legally responsible in the absence of fault or other legal ground of liability. Common law and the existing provisions of the Environmental Protection Act are inadequate in spelling out the necessary procedures to control and clean up spills and restore the natural environment.
Section 68(d) of the amendments authorizes the minister to order a cleanup without any hearing. This will be done where the minister believes that adverse effects are likely, and if the person responsible cannot he identified or located or will not conduct the cleanup. It also applies where the party which has created the spill requests the minister’s assistance to clean it up. The minister’s direction may deal with cleanup in general terms or may specify the measures that should be taken.
We are broadening the requirement to report spills more promptly and efficiently to our ministry. Several million gallons of industrial products are transported in Ontario each year, out of which 1,000 spills occur. About 600 of these are reported to my ministry and the remainder are handled by other agencies. The accidents reported to my ministry involve a total of approximately 1.25 million gallons of petroleum products, non-petroleum oils, toxic chemicals and other hazardous materials which require immediate remedial action. In addition, about eight million gallons of non-hazardous liquids are involved.
I am also considering further amendments to authorize the provision of alternative goods and services necessary to assist innocent parties when required. While I believe this is unique legislation in Canada, I am introducing the bill at this time to provide an opportunity for those people who are concerned to study the proposed changes during the legislative recess. I would welcome their input before proceeding with passage of this bill in the next session of the Legislature.
INCO LIMITED ACQUISITION ACT
Mr. Martel moved first reading of Bill 210, An Act to acquire the Assets of Inco Limited.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Martel: The purpose of the bill is to vest the title and control of the assets situate in Ontario of Inco Limited in a crown corporation, the Ontario Nickel Corporation. If compensation cannot be agreed upon, provision is made for arbitration. The objects of the Ontario Nickel Corporation include the task of operating and maintaining the assets of Inco Limited so as to provide employment and other economic benefits to the province of Ontario, the head office to be located in Sudbury.
Mr. Foulds: I would like the record to show there were no objections in the entire House to the introduction of that bill.
Mr. Breithaupt: No, not one.
Hon. Mr. Welch: It is always a matter of courtesy to allow a bill on first reading.
Mr. Foulds: That never stopped you before.
ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ON NOTICE PAPER
Hon. Mr. Welch: Before the orders of the day, I wish to table the answers to questions 164, 165, 166 and 167 standing on the Notice Paper.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
House in committee of the whole.
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY ACT (CONTINUED)
Resumption of the adjourned consideration of Bill 70, An Act respecting the Occupational Health and Occupational Safety of Workers.
On section 8:
Mr. Deputy Chairman: When we adjourned this bill, I believe we were on section 8(1)(b) and I had a motion standing in the name of Mr. Cassidy to delete section 8(1)(b).
Mr. Bounsall: I must say I fully support the amendment made by our leader to delete section 8(1)(b) of the bill before us.
This is the section of the bill that deals with the exclusions of those persons who should be forming or be allowed to form health and safety committees. I feel most concerned about this because of the number of persons in Ontario who will be excluded from the mandatory health and safety committee provisions. The number involved is considerable. I quote from the employment by province statistics released by the federal government: “In the province of Ontario there are 3,953,000 workers.”
By exempting office workers, who are essentially clerical workers, you exempt 720,000 workers. In the managerial professional field, most of whom work in offices, there are 886,000 workers. In the sales field, you exempt another 390,000 workers. Those involved in the service industry, which is by and large covered by the hotel, restaurant, motel section of the amendment including, I suppose, theatres and public entertainment, another 507,000 for a total of persons who will be exempted from mandatory health and safety committees of 2,503,000 out of 3,953,000. So by this section of this bill you exempt 2,503,000 and keep only 1,420,000 persons in this province covered by the mandatory sections of this bill.
That is a disgrace. That makes a mockery out of mandatory establishment of joint health and safety committees. Some of those 2,503,000 may well be in establishments with fewer than 20 employees; they are exempted anyway. So with the exemptions of fewer than 20, and all of these exceptions to those over 20, we are exempting roughly 60 per cent of the people in the province, and it is just not acceptable at all.
One could run through the list group by group, and there is simply no way one can see why any of them should be exempt.
Office buildings: There are hazards in office buildings. The situation that comes up -- there are a couple that I know of -- is the refining plant in Port Colborne where chlorine gas is used in a section of the plant connected with the office building, and that chlorine has leaked in the vicinity of the office building itself. Yet there would be no health and safety committee in the office section of that combined office-manufacturing situation, which would immediately be trained to spot that situation and deal with it.
Other examples are of office buildings that have garages in connection with them; perhaps underground parking. In one instance there was leakage of carbon monoxide into the rest of the office building. Here again there should be trained people in health and safety committees in that office building to deal with those kinds of situations when they arise.
There are many shops in the province in which the number of employees exceed 20 and which should have normal mandatory health and safety committees. There are many library establishments in this province that have more than 20 employees. It may not be a very high hazard work place. But none the less, if it is not high hazard then why, in continuing to try to bring forth a bill which is supposed to promote health and safety in the work place, do you exempt any group from a health and safety committee? It would be very useful to include employees of libraries. There are the big museums that employ more than 20, and the large art galleries.
Why, where there are more than 20 employees, would you have any exemptions to forming a health and safety committee? One can envisage unsafe work in them all. There are displays to be taken down and displays to be erected in both the museum and art gallery situation. And why there should not be a joint health and safety committee made mandatory for those situations is very hard for me to visualize.
There may be large restaurants employing more than 20 employees outside the kitchen portion thereof. I can see no reason why those employees should be exempt. There may well be a table distribution requiring a certain mode of movement of the traffic on the part of the waitresses or waiters which should be discussed in terms of a safer way of doing it for both the customers and the persons serving the food. That could be easily cleared up by a joint discussion between the management and the employees, provided they have the right to form a committee and have an ongoing monitoring system of the safety procedures in connection with that restaurant.
The same with hotels and motels -- large hotels, large motels. None of their staff is going to be covered, except for those in the kitchen and in the laundry. There may well be, in each and every case, instances where their work is unsafe. I am not that familiar with the employees and the kind of work they do in hotels and motels to know what might be unsafe. I would suggest that probably neither is anyone in the ministry until we give them those health and safety committees and see what emerges from those discussions. If it is nothing, fine, then we are admitting they are normally safe work places. But if there are things found to be unsafe in those hotels and motels those conditions can be corrected.
I don’t know how many fraternal or social organizations or private clubs there are that employ 20 or more workers, but if there are some, why on earth are they exempt? The workers in there, irrespective of whom they are employed by, are workers, whether it is a fraternal order that employs them on a regular basis, a social organization, such as many of the ethnically organized social clubs around the province with their own buildings and establishments, or any sort of a private club. They are still employees there, employee-workers. Why cannot those workers have a health and safety committee?
Surely there are instances throughout those clubs and social organizations where employees outside of the kitchen force must encounter unsafe working conditions, whose safety can be improved. The conditions can be improved by the sitting down of management with theft employees in a joint health and safety committee. Goodness knows, in the bill we don’t make it mandatory that they meet very often and it seems to me that not much time is going to be taken up by the meeting of these committees where there is not normally a highly unsafe environment.
Therefore, if one really wants this act to have real impact on the people of Ontario in work places where there are 20 or more employees, irrespective of where they work or how safe we may feel their work locations are normally, I just can’t imagine the attitude of this ministry not saying, “Look, it is normally safe, but have your joint health and safety committee and make sure, therefore, that by joint consultation between management and workers in the context of that health and safety committee your work place is safe.”
It raises the consciousness right across this province that the work place must be safe and must be healthy for the workers involved. You sure don’t have that when, as a result of these exclusions for mandatory committees, you exempt 2,503,000 employees of the 3,953,000 employees in the province.
We will certainly move with a great deal of enthusiasm to delete this section of the bill before us, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. S. Smith: I rise to speak with a good deal of warm feeling and pride in the fact that Bill 70 has come back in a form which allowed the Liberal Party to support the bill with some minor changes. Also, it goes so much farther than the original bill which was introduced by the previous Minister of Labour (Miss Stephenson).
In addressing myself to the precise section that we are now discussing, namely, the question of the mandatory committees, I want to remind the House of the fact that when the original Bill 70 was presented, it was thought by some members of the House that it would be better simply to give the bill back to the ministry and to have it brought back in at some future date, supposedly in an improved state. We suggested instead that the bill be seen by a committee, that hearings be held and that we amend the bill to make it truly one of the better pieces of legislation.
In my view, once the amendments came in, there resulted a couple of objections as a result of those amendments but, by and large, I believe the amendments that were brought in by both opposition parties were excellent amendments and made this bill into a far better piece of legislation than it otherwise would have been. I had promised on behalf of our party that we would strengthen the bill to have mandatory rather than ministerial discretion committees in a good many work places. We chose 20 as the number of employees as a minimum in each instance.
Mr. Bounsall: That’s too large.
Mr. S. Smith: We said that we would as well have the toxic substances much more clearly dealt with and, in particular, we would arrange for pretesting of toxic substances, something that’s very much needed in industry and will be more needed as industry progresses in this modern era. We also felt that public sector employees should be brought under the bill and given coverage under this bill, something which, as you know, the previous minister did not wish to have happen. In fact, so keen was she not to have the public sector involved that she held up the bill for a very long time and threatened ultimately not even to bring it back because of the unwillingness to have the public sector involved. I salute the present minister for taking a more enlightened view on these matters.
I also feel a certain sense of pride that we were able to improve the bill in our amendments in committee with regard to taking out any threats that might exist against the employee who wishes to use the bill to protect himself or herself. In the bill that is returned to us, I note that once again the minister has seen fit to include a provision, which we will be discussing in committee at the appropriate time which allegedly forbids so-called frivolous use of the bill, a provision which, frankly, I feel to be nothing but a gratuitous insult to labour and a provision which we will move to strike out of the bill.
By and large then, I feel a great sense of pride that most of the amendments that were presented in committee by our party and frequently jointly with the other opposition party have been accepted. But, as I said earlier, there were two kinds of objections once the bill came out of committee. Some of these objections, in our view, were unreasonable, namely, the objection to the inclusion of the public service and so on, and some objections were reasonable. I would just refer to two of these objections now because it precisely deals with the matter under discussion under this section.
The first objection, which I think is a reasonable one, has to do with the growth of bureaucracy, the idea that tens of thousands of committees would have to be set up frequently in areas of very low risk and that the bureaucracy involved, the paper work, would really be yet another burden in an economy which is already far too burdened with government paper work. We took that objection very seriously and we felt, therefore, constrained to offer a compromise, which the Toronto Star recognized in its editorial as a reasonable compromise, a compromise which said that office workers at places like the Toronto-Dominion Centre and so on and other very safe places of employment would not have mandatory committees. But I would point out that they could still have voluntary committees in certain instances.
Apart from that, if for some reason there was found to be a poor safety and health record in that area, or any reason whatsoever to be suspicious and fearful for the safety of the workers, the minister still has the discretion, even in those instances, to insist that committees be set up.
We feel the second kind of objection was reasonable after the bill emerged from committee and it had to do with some of the people who serve the public in a way where it is expected by the public that they will, in fact, take certain risks from the point of view of protecting the safety and health of other members of the public. I speak, of course, of firefighters, police and certain of our people in correctional institutions, and certain hospitals, and so on.
We found two remedies for that, which of course will be discussed and have been discussed at the appropriate times. The remedies are that in some instances the right to refuse work is simply taken away, with the exception of the present grievance procedures which already protect those who attempt to protect themselves by refusing work. Secondly there is a remedy by limiting the right to refuse in certain instances to situations where imminent jeopardy is not found to exist with regard to the health and safety of the public, or of other persons. These were again reasonable compromises. We were pleased to make those particular compromises so we could get on with Bill 70, which is a very important step forward in our view.
The question of mandatory committees for the agricultural sector was discussed this morning. Frankly, I think agricultural workers require some kind of protection, and quickly, indeed. There is no doubt there is a tremendous accident rate and a very severe safety problem with our agricultural community. There is no question in my mind but that they must he brought under some form of coverage as quickly as possible.
However, it is our view that such coverage would be better arranged in consultation with the agricultural community. The kind of co-operation which I know we can always expect from that community has, in fact been promised to the minister. I hope he will take better advantage of it than his predecessor did, and will meet rapidly with those people in the agricultural community to draft legislation appropriate to our agricultural sector.
In the meantime, of course, there is nothing to prevent the toxic substances section applying there. I would hope the minister would also take whatever other steps are required in particularly severe dangerous situations.
Another aspect of this bill which I should mention, of course, is the levy which has been discussed. In my view, it would have been unjust, and is in fact an unjust suggestion, that only the construction industry and perhaps the mine rescue people bear the full cost of these aspects of the bill. Everyone else goes without paying anything.
Mr. Mackenzie: Is this section 8(1)(b), Mr. Speaker?
Mr. S. Smith: Sorry?
Mr. Mackenzie: I thought we were on 8(1)(b).
Mr. S. Smith: Yes. Clearly, the member for Hamilton East is correct that I have strayed somewhat from the actual section under discussion. I am pleased to report that in his three years here, I have never noticed him to stray from a matter under discussion one iota.
Mr. Breaugh: Absolutely.
Mr. Makarchuk: We’ve noticed the same.
Mr. S. Smith: He is a man of such perfection that words are difficult to find, even at this Christmas season, to describe the excellence of that member. I also find it difficult to find words to describe his charity and patience with others.
As you will appreciate, Mr. Chairman, I did move a little away from the actual matter under discussion, but I do think it is important when we’re speaking of things like mandatory committees, for instance, and trying to recognize the need to compromise, that we also recognize there are not only workers involved, but also management; and that from time to time when you take away on the one hand it is reasonable to give something on the other.
I would just mention once again it is not reasonable that only the construction industry bear the cost of these matters. We, therefore, are quite insistent upon the idea that the levy basically not exceed what it would have been had we remained with the Construction Safety Act and that such a levy now be spread among everyone in management rather than simply over the construction industry. That will be a real load off the shoulders of the construction industry in Ontario.
Getting back to the actual matter under discussion -- and I assure you, Mr. Chairman, I will be brief in my further remarks -- I personally feel we have reached an interesting and useful compromise. I am of the opinion that questions of discipline in the police force, among our firefighters and in our correctional services, should be aired generally. It is my view that we ought to have a little more open discussion about what happens to people in these highly disciplined paramilitary organizations when they wish to complain about some matter that relates to their safety or their working conditions.
It seems to me it is a healthy matter to have this type of thing aired from time to time, and I trust we will see some possibility of doing so in the near future. Waiting for that, and in anticipation of that, I believe we can trust the minister to act in the best interests of our policemen and firefighters, even though we feel it essential, as he does, to make certain special provisions for them with regard to this bill.
I simply say that from the very start we have moved to be a constructive force in the building of this bill. We have made the suggestions that have created the broadened coverage of the bill. We have made the suggestions that have created the pre-testing for dangerous chemicals. We have finally helped to have the step forward taken with regard to having committees in all industrial places with more than 20 employees.
We have found useful ways to remove the provisions that allege there might be some workers who would use this matter frivolously. We have also made sure that any workman who wants to bring a matter of safety to the attention of his employer can have a representative there with him right from the start. He need not tackle the boss without the help of a knowledgeable representative or other knowledgeable worker at the point where he wishes to make his complaint.
In my view, all these are tremendous steps forward.
Personally, I salute the minister for having taken a much more enlightened view in these matters than did his predecessor. I think this bill is going to be an excellent step forward for labour and management in Ontario. I say management as well, because what is the alternative to this bill? The alternative is a veritable army of inspectors combing the province at public expense and taxpayers’ expense. This way, at least, there will be committees in which labour and management together take responsibility for policing their own situation, and the government is involved only as a second or third step in the process. Surely that is a reasonable way to do things.
Although it is conceivable that jail guards and so on might be treated a little differently from policemen and firemen, none the less it is my feeling that the minister has yielded to common sense and good reason in the vast majority of instances in this bill. To the extent that he and his government have certain strong feelings on certain matters, we are prepared to recognize those.
My feeling is that the bill is a tribute not only to the Liberal members who were on the committee, but also to all the Liberal members who acted so constructively from the very first day. I personally am very proud of the performance of my colleagues in this regard.
I also am pleased, as I say, with the performance of the new Minister of Labour. We look forward therefore to continuing this discussion and ultimately to supporting Bill 70.
Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Chairman, there are two or three specifics on section 8(1)(b) that I want to question the minister on. I would also like to say that I’m very pleased to have the leader of the Liberal Party put so clearly on the record his support for provisions, such as we’re talking about under 8(1)(b) right now, which, in effect would eliminate mandatory committees, as my colleague has said for 2,503,000 workers in the province of Ontario, which is well over half.
Mr. O’Neil: They’re still covered under the bill and you know it.
Mr. Bounsall: Not under committees they’re not.
Mr. Mackenzie: It’s very nice to have it on record, but without the representative, it’s useless. You should know that or you’ve never worked in a work place.
Mr. O’Neil: Come on! You don’t know what you’re talking about.
Mr. Mackenzie: It’s very nice to have it on record. We might have had an even better bill had some people not run from the supposed threats that the bill might be withdrawn and indicated clearly in a press release last May where the government could retreat. And they’ve retreated in every opening that the Liberal Party gave them.
Mr. J. Reed: We’re not embarrassed.
Mr. Mackenzie: To leave the politics aside, I’m feeling fairly kindly, in spite of my concern over the real weakening of the bill that’s taken place. Suffice it to say that two parties in the House have clearly put themselves on the side of those who argued against the broadened coverage for workers.
Can I ask the minister specifically why he would eliminate -- and I’ll be brief on this because my colleague has raised it -- libraries, museums and art galleries. I’ve talked to some library workers, both in Hamilton and here, about this provision. Though some libraries are a little more up to date than others, in some there is a considerable climbing problem. There is a weight and a lifting problem with many of them all the way through. Are there any more responsible people? I don’t really want to indicate that they’re more responsible than anybody else, but do you really think you would have frivolous misuse? If these workers want it, why do you specifically eliminate library, museum and art gallery workers?
In terms of the restaurant provisions -- “except that part used as a kitchen or a laundry” in a hotel, motel, or restaurant -- whether that kitchen coverage extends to some of the specialty restaurants that now bring the burners out, do the cooking right at your table in the restaurant and, do some of these fancy -- I’m not sure what you call them -- flambés. I’ve got a scare from the start of some of those once or twice.
I know a number of restaurants are doing the cooking right at the table. I’m wondering whether or not that is counted as a kitchen facility or if there is not a safety hazard there that should be taken a look at. In a case like that, when do you separate the kitchen from the restaurant portion or the eating portion of the restaurant?
I also have to ask you once again -- I did raise it with you and I thought it was clear in my mind until I read this exclusion -- the question I raised twice now over the last two or three years of the brewery workers and delivery. I want to be very clear. I’m concerned with those workers in respect to a restaurant, hotel, or motel. I just want an assurance from the minister that when they are engaged in delivery, which, as you know, is one of the highest accident rate areas of the brewery workers, to a hotel, motel or restaurant that they are covered and not left open because of this particular clause in the amendment you’ve moved in the act.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I’d like to thank the Leader of the Opposition for the remarks he has made about the amended bill. I’d like to reiterate both to the member for Windsor-Sandwich and the member for Hamilton East that the decision -- I won’t say to exclude because, as is clear to all of us, these committees can be ordered in these situations upon application and review -- was based solely on the fact that these are extremely low-risk areas and the reality that this has to be a practical and a workable but still effective bill. Thus, we have workers in these situations who are covered and who do have the right to refuse. Upon application and review, they may have a committee appointed if the situation warrants it.
You’ve asked particularly about the offices. Again, those general remarks I’ve made simply apply to offices for just those reasons. With regard to what is called by some people the flambé part of cooking in the dining room, I’m advised that that is part of the dining room and not the kitchen.
I want to give the member for Hamilton East my assurance that the remarks I made yesterday with regard to brewery workers still apply.
Mr. Bounsall: On that point, with respect to the flambés --
Mr. Mackenzie: Not just flambés, but straight cooking too.
Mr. Bounsall: -- that’s a short-term fire situation in the dining room. But there are restaurants in which the entirety of the meal is cooked right in front of all of the patrons of that restaurant. They’re seated around the table and at that table right in front of them is where the cooking is actually done.
Mr. J. Reed: Only socialists can afford to go there.
Mr. Bounsall: I want assurance that all of those employees who do the cooking at that location --
Mr. Mackenzie: Nothing is too good for the workers.
Mr. Bounsall: -- will not be excluded from this section of the act, by these general exclusions.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Chairman, I do recall having had breakfast or brunch at one such situation where there was what one might call an ambulatory kitchen and it is our opinion that such an ambulatory kitchen, for want of a better word, would be covered.
Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Elgie has moved an amendment setting out a new section 8(1)(b) and a further amendment by Mr. Cassidy moved that section 8 (1)(b) be deleted.
Shall the amendment to the amendment carry?
All those in favour will say “aye.”
All those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion the nays have it.
Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Elgie moves that section 8 be amended by addition of the following subsection:
“(2) Subject to subsection 3, where,
“(a) 20 or more workers are regularly employed in the work place;
“(b) a regulation made in respect of a designated substance applies to a work place, or
“(c) an order to an employer is in effect under section 20,
“the employer shall cause a joint health and safety committee to be established and maintained at the work place unless the minister is satisfied that a committee of like nature or an arrangement, program or a system in which the workers participate is on the date this act comes into force established and maintained pursuant to a collective agreement or arrangement and that such committee, arrangement, program or system provides benefits for the health and safety of workers equal to or greater than the benefits to be derived under a committee established under this section.”
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Chairman, I have no opening remarks. I think the section is self-explanatory.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Elgie moves that section 8 be amended by the addition of the following subsection:
“(3) Notwithstanding subsections 1 and 2, the minister may by order in writing require a constructor or an employer to establish and maintain one or more joint health and safety committees for a work place or a part thereof and may in such order provide for the composition, practice and procedure of any committee so established.”
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I have no remarks. The section is self-explanatory.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Elgie moves that subsections 4 to 13, inclusive, remain as they came out of committee.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Elgie moves that a new subsection be added:
“(14) Where a dispute arises as to the application of subsection 2 or the compliance or purported compliance therewith by an employer the dispute shall be decided by the minister after consulting the employer and the workers of the trade union or trade unions representing the workers.”
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Chairman, I felt that there might conceivably on occasion be some dispute as to the location or number of committees required and that there had to be some section in there to allow the resolution of that dispute.
Motion agreed to.
On section 9:
Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Elgie moves that section 9(1) of the bill be amended by inserting at the beginning thereof, “for work places to which the Workmen’s Compensation Act applies” and by striking out “incidence” in the 10th line and inserting in lieu thereof the word “incidents.”
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Chairman, these amendments are simply because, clearly, the Workmen’s Compensation Board can only be involved when the act covers the workplace. Secondly, I’m advised by the board that they are unable to give us frequency rate information and, thus, the change in the word “incidence” to “incidents.”
Motion agreed to.
Section 9, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 10 and 11 agreed to.
On section 12:
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Chairman, the Leader of the Opposition made some reference to this section.
Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Elgie moves that subsections 1 and 2 of section 12 of the bill be struck out and the following substituted therefor:
“(1) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may fix an amount that shall he assessed and levied by the Workmen’s Compensation Board upon employers in schedules one and two under the Workmen’s Compensation Act to defray the expenses of the administration of the act and the regulations.”
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I have an addition to subsection 1, Mr. Chairman, which will add the following words: “such amount not to exceed $4 million for the fiscal year in which this act comes into force and to be subject to increase in each subsequent fiscal year by a sum not exceeding 10 per cent of the amount fixed for the preceding fiscal year.” I might say that up until this time for the past few years the construction portion of the industry has carried a levy in the amount that has been approximately $4 million. It is estimated to be that for the forthcoming year. It was felt, I believe by all parties, that this was a discriminatory type of levy and for that reason it was decided to defray that particular $4 million among all of the schedule one and schedule two employers and thus that amendment.
Mr. O’Neil: Mr. Chairman, this was mentioned by our leader a few minutes ago. We’re very pleased to see this amendment come forward. As the minister and our leader mentioned, we felt this was very discriminatory against the construction industry and I know members of our party discussed it in committee last spring.
We’re also a little upset with the figure that appeared, I believe it was in the Globe and Mail of this week, mentioning that it would be a figure of approximately $30 million. We have expressed concern, or did express concern to the minister on this amount because this would place quite an additional burden upon the business community across this province.
Of course, we’re always worried that any additional costs put on to the businesses or the industries could be the cause of losing jobs. These people might have to lay people off to meet some of these additional costs. So we are quite pleased that the minister has said an amount not to exceed $4 million and has mentioned the 10 per cent of the amount fixed for the preceding fiscal year.
I wonder if the minister could give this Legislature some information so that there is not concern in the business community as to what an amount of approximately $4 million would place on an average business, medium-size, large and so on.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I don’t have the figures at hand but I recall that we had worked on this matter over the past week or so. That level of $4 million in terms of let’s say, a small retail shop, we’re talking about 15 or 20 cents a year. In terms of a large auto manufacturer, one of the big three, you might be looking at something in the neighbourhood of $40,000 to $50,000 a year. That is the sort of range you are talking about.
Mr. O’Neil: So, Mr. Minister, it has been proved by your ministry staff that this amount and this percentage should place no real burden whatsoever upon the business community of this province.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I would like to just join with the member for Quinte to assert that this government and this minister had the same concerns that he did. Nevertheless, there was that amount of money that was presently in the operating costs. It had to be obtained from other sources. Therefore, the decision to distribute it evenly among all industries we felt, and I gather that you feel, is fair.
I can only assure that any additional amount that is added to it each year, we will just try and maintain that proportion and nothing more. Indeed, it will probably be likely less than 10 per cent.
Mr. Bounsall: I was interested in hearing the minister’s explanation for that $4 million. The way it stood when the bill emerged from the committee last January, in which the assessment would remain on the construction industry, would not apply to the rest of the work places and employers covered by this act, was certainly unfair.
The Liberals indicated in their release in May that they wanted that removed. I have always felt that it either should have been removed from the construction industry or am plied right across the entirety of industry. I didn’t particularly care which way it went except that with the cutbacks envisaged by the government and the austerity program which has been in place for some two or three years, I didn’t trust the Treasurer at the time not to make cutbacks in the inspection staff, cutbacks in funds that would require cutbacks in inspection staff to make the bill operative.
The ministry has taken not even an in-between position on this in taking the levy that one would have normally got out of construction employers in this province and applied it to all employers in the province. I gather that is the explanation as I understand it, that the minister has given. It is not even a mid-mark point. You have taken that levy which solely supported the construction industry inspection in the past and spread it to all employers in the province.
We are trusting to the general revenues and the budget you can get from the Treasurer to pay for much more than that share of your inspection in all of the other fields, both the industrial and mining. I would like to confirm that that view is correct. If in fact there is further austerity in funds imposed upon the ministry in the occupational health and safety division by a Treasurer in Ontario, the minister will make up any financial shortfalls by applying the full 10 per cent or be prepared to come back in and make amendments to this amount section so that the entire cost of the administration, if necessary, of the occupational health and safety division is borne where it should be, where it has been in the construction industry up till now for the last four or five years, by the employers in all those industries collectively.
I don’t necessarily agree that all of the funds should be provided by the employers of this province, but there should be some public funds expended in the administration of the occupational health and safety division of the ministry. Should funds become tighter than they are from any Treasurer in Ontario, you will have no objection to raising the amounts as indicated in this bill from employers. If necessary you will raise the majority. or even all, of the funds via this route; which is the method, as I understand it, that the construction employers have been paying totally through this method of assessment for the entire costs of the construction safety division.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Chairman, if I may just clarify a question asked me by the member for Quinte so I don’t mislead him. In terms of what it means in dollars to a few of the industries involved; to a retail store, it will mean about $2.50; to a service station, it will amount to about $9.50; to a foundry about $150; in the terms of major automotive dealers something between $25,000 to $55,000 depending upon their volume, and to a major steel company something in the neighbourhood of $45,000.
Ms. Gigantes: Annually?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Annually. With regard to questions asked by the member for Windsor-Sandwich, I think I have reviewed our feeling that this was an amount presently in the budget which was used for purposes of operating costs. It amounts, at the present time, in our present operating costs, not our total costs, to about one third of our total operating costs. We feel it is fair that industry-wide should maintain that one-third figure. That is why we have chosen to assess that amount.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Elgie moves that section 12(2) of the bill be struck out and the following substituted therefor:
“(2) The Workmen’s Compensation Board shall add to the assessment and levies made on the Workmen’s Compensation Act upon employers in schedules one and two a sum calculated as a percentage of the assessments and levies and which percentage shall be determined as the proportion of the amount fixed under subsection 1 bears to the total sum that the Workmen’s Compensation Board fixes and determines to be assessed for payment by employers in schedules one and two, and the Workmen’s Compensation Act applies to such sum and to the collection and payment thereof in the same manner as to an assessment and levy made under that act.”
Motion agreed to.
Section 12, as amended, agreed to.
On section 13:
Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Elgie moves that subsections 1 and 2 of section 13 of the bill be struck out and the following substituted therefor:
“(1) A constructor shall ensure on a project undertaken by the constructor that,
“(a) the measures and procedures prescribed by this act and the regulations are carried out on the project;
“(b) every employer and every worker performing work on the project complies with this act and the regulations, and
“(c) the health and safety of workers on the project is protected.”
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I hope you will forgive me, Mr. Chairman and members, if I elaborate generally on the next few sections that we are going to be dealing with because the same sort of principles apply to them. In particular I am talking about the principle of strict or absolute liability upon an employer, a duty to ensure.
Absolute liability requires that the person be convicted by proving merely that the accused -- and in this case it would be an employer -- committed the act prohibited. There is no mental element involved -- or, as the lawyers call it, no mens rea, or guilty mind -- and it is no defence that the accused was entirely without fault. He may be morally innocent and yet is convicted and punished as if he has done a wrongful act.
To be frank with you, the purpose behind the imposition of absolute liability is and was administrative efficiency. To prove a guilty mind requires expenditure of time and money and lengthy evidence from which such a guilt could be inferred.
It also has the opposite effect than its intended one of requiring a person to take every precautionary measure to avoid doing the act. If a person is taking all reasonable precautions, why should he take every precaution knowing that, no matter how much care he takes, he still cannot defend himself?
Sections 13, 14 and 16, read in the context of section 37(2), impose a strict responsibility except where the accused established that he took all reasonable precautions. Included in this is the defence that the reasonable precautions were taken upon an honest and reasonable mistake as to the facts which, if true, made the precautions that were taken reasonable in the circumstances.
There are, however, some circumstances where strict liability has been retained, as in sections 14(1)(a) and (e).
Mr. Bounsall: Did we carry section 13, Mr. Chairman? We dispensed with the reading of it. But did we carry it?
Mr. Chairman: It didn’t carry.
Mr. Bounsall: It didn’t carry? Just a question with respect to section 13. Rather surprisingly, I have had a series of telegrams coming in from construction associations, indicating that we should hold the bill until they had a chance to give thorough comments on the changes in section 13. As best as I can read section 13, and I have gone through it a couple of times, the only change here is of a housekeeping nature. There is no substantive change in section 13 of this new bill as opposed to what emerged from the committee, except a better wording of the section.
That is my impression. Is that correct, Mr. Minister?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: It is true that the wording was cleaned up a bit but, from the point of view of the telegrams you received, the main addition is that section 37(2) reduces the strict liability to one of taking all reasonable precautions.
Mr. Bounsall: I understand what you are saying is what I perceive, that there is nothing substantive in section 13 except as it is modified by section 37, and we will have remarks under section 37 when we get to that.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: We did, of course, as you can see, remove section 13(2), because it seemed redundant now that section 37(2), should it pass, relieves responsibility.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Elgie moves that subsection 3 of the said section 13 be renumbered as subsection 2.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: We have removed section 13(2) from the old act, and thus we have to move --
Mr. Chairman: I thought you had included that in the --
Hon. Mr. Elgie: No, I didn’t.
Motion agreed to.
Section 13, as amended, agreed to.
On section 14:
Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Elgie moves that section 14(1) of the bill be amended by relettering clause (d) as clause (e) and by adding thereto the following clause:
“(d) the equipment, materials and protective devices provided by him are used as prescribed; and”
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Elgie moves that section 14(2) be struck out and that subsections 3 and 4 be renumbered as subsections 2 and 3 respectively.
Mr. Bounsall: I have an amendment to section 14(1) that there be a new clause (f) as follows: “A copy of this act is posted in a prominent location in the work place along with any explanatory material prepared by the ministry, both in English and the majority language of the work place, outlining the rights of the workers.”
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Chairman, I thank the member for giving me notice of his amendment. I have reviewed it and if he would agree to the following three changes, then I would agree with it.
Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Elgie moves that section 14(2) of the bill be amended by striking out “and” at the end of clause (f), by adding “and” at the end of clause (g) and by adding thereto the following clause (h): “Posted copy of this act in the work place and any explanatory material prepared by the ministry both in English and the majority language of the work place outlining the rights, responsibilities and duties of workers.”
Mr. Bounsall: Mr. Chairman, if I could comment at the moment. The amendment proposed by the minister in essence places in subsection 2 the intent of what we were trying to do in my amendment except that it’s in a different subsection. Looking at both of the amendments I feel there is no reason for me to carry through with our amendment. We will accept the amendment as outlined by the minister.
It does essentially the same thing which ensures that a copy of the act is prominently in every work place and that explanatory material relating to duties, rights and privileges of the workers under this act in the majority language used in that work place, as well as English, be in a prominent position in the work place. That was the intent of our amendment as well.
Mr. Chairman: As I had not placed the amendment and you have withdrawn the amendment, shall the amendment moved by Hon. Mr. Elgie carry?
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Chairman, I have another housekeeping amendment due to the fact that we have changed numbers here.
Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Elgie further moves that section 14(3), as renumbered, be amended by striking out “three” in the first line and inserting in lieu thereof “two.”
Motion agreed to.
Section 14, as amended, agreed to.
On section 15:
Hon. Mr. Elgie moves that section 15 of the bill be amended by striking out “or group of employers” in the second line.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Elgie further moves that said section 15 be amended by adding thereto the following subsection:
“(2) For the purposes of clause (a) of subsection 1, a group of employers with the approval of the director may act as an employer.”
Motion agreed to.
Section 15, as amended, agreed to.
On section 16:
Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Elgie moves that section 16(1) of the bill be amended by striking out the words “take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances to” in the first and second lines.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: That is just in line with the previous comments I made.
Motion agreed to.
Section 16, as amended, agreed to.
On section 17:
Mr. Mackenzie: I am not rising to disagree with section 17. I am rising only to raise once again with the minister a problem that I am still getting from some of the workers in the coke oven operations. I am talking about the respirators.
I understand from our discussions during the estimates that there was to be some testing on the equipment here in Ontario and to the best of my knowledge that is not being done at present. The only reason I am raising it is that we are requiring the workers to “use or wear the equipment, protective devices and clothing ... ” Obviously we all understand the purpose of that, but I am still told very strongly that some of the protective equipment being worn may be more dangerous in terms of them being able to function and operate in the situation they are in than if they were not wearing it.
I suppose you are weighing immediate breathing problems against the long-term problems you might have in an operation like this. But I would like to think we are going to see some fairly quick action in testing and looking at, in particular, the breathing devices that are used in a number of operations and that without weakening what is obviously a necessity in terms of protecting workers we recognize that on occasion there is going to be a problem like this where I think we may have to weigh the obvious benefits against what may be a very immediate problem with some of this equipment.
I just want it on record that it is something that is not resolving totally to my satisfaction.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the comments of the member for Hamilton East. We discussed it in estimates and I share many of his concerns.
Mr. Bounsall: On section 17(1)(e) -- the duty of the worker, where it is so prescribed, to have at the expense of the employer such medical examinations, tests, or X-rays that would be required.
My one question here is again one that we touched on in the estimates just last week, where those tests of whatever kind -- X-rays or examinations -- are required of a worker because of presumably an unhealthy situation arising in the work place. Can the minister assure us that those workers will, in fact, receive the results of those tests directly from the medical person who con- ducted the test, or from the laboratory or hospital, as the case may be, rather than through the company? In other words, will they get a copy of the test results as well as the employer, without having to receive that test result through the employer?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I am advised by counsel in the process of drafting those regulations that the worker will be receiving a copy of it.
Mr. Bounsall: Directly?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Directly. That’s what I understand.
Mr. Mackenzie: One further comment under 17(2) and it relates to just what I was raising earlier. I’m not sure that you could have worked it into the bill, in any event, but I guess it’s a pity that we really hadn’t an amendment that took into account a situation, once again like the coke oven operation, that can cause serious problems related to the need to achieve and continue a certain production rate. If for various reasons they have fallen behind, then you have an immediate buildup of some of the gases because of an attempt to keep production up to a certain level.
The workers on the site tell me that this is the point where it can get very difficult and uncomfortable with some of the protective equipment, equipment the necessity for which wouldn’t be anywhere near as great if they could get some concessions in many cases from the companies to not try to accelerate production in the operation to make up for whatever problems they’ve had. You can have really serious problems by attempting to increase production or make up for a slowdown or a problem you’ve had previously.
Regulating the production in some of the hazardous operations so that it’s an even production rate or schedule can be as effective as some of the safety measures we’re taking. I’m not at all sure that that’s not one of the ways we should be going about this whole safety and health question as well.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I think it’s acknowledged that we may not achieve perfection but I hope the member agrees that the duties imposed on this bill, particularly in the sections we’ve just been discussing, go a long way to try to help to ensure that the worker is given greater protection that he is at the present time.
Section 17 agreed to.
On section 18:
Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Elgie moves that section 18(3)(a) of the bill be amended by striking out the words “and the same have been reviewed for such compliance” in the seventh and eighth lines.
Mr. Bounsall: I’d like an explanation from the minister for this. I would infer that what’s being said here is that there’s a duplication and that if the plans, drawings, layouts and so on, have been submitted to the ministry f or review for compliance with the act, that review for such compliance will have in fact taken place.
You’re removing in this amendment that phrase “and the same have been reviewed for such compliance.” Are you saying that in each and every case where those plans have been filed for review for compliance that that review will in fact always take place and therefore it’s redundant to have “and the same have been reviewed for such compliance”?
Will we ever have a situation where drawings, layouts and so on are submitted for review for compliance, but somehow for some reason that review does not take place? What is the mechanism? Perhaps it’ll be in the regulations or so on, but when the plans, drawings, layouts and so on, are submitted for review for compliance, what then happens?
Is it understood that nothing will go forward until the employer receives notification from the ministry that they have been reviewed and have been approved? Will there be any possibility of an instance where those plans submitted for compliance, as required here, in order that the minister review it, in fact not get reviewed and the construction begin?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I made the same query myself when the amendment was posed to me. I’m assured by my staff and my counsel -- and I guess because I was once involved with the construction of an addition to a hospital, that plans come in incrementally. They felt that this would have required approval of the whole overall thing rather than allow approval for a section and then review the next set of plans for the addition or alteration. It’s simply to facilitate that sort of approval procedure.
Mr. Bounsall: That explanation is fine in the sense that I can see that there would be pieces allowed to be built while another addition or another alteration is in the proposal stage. But may I ask very explicitly, having submitted for review for compliance a set of drawings, layouts and specifications, nothing can be, even though it’s staged and at various times drawings may well be presented, nothing can proceed until in each of those submissions indication comes back that they have been reviewed and have been approved?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Again, I’m assured that that sort of procedure as you envisage and as I envisage is encompassed in subsection 4, “where an engineer of the ministry may require the drawings, layouts, and specifications to be supplemented by the owner, or employer with additional information.” I’m told by my staff that that covers that sort of problem.
Mr. Bounsall: I’m not too sure about that. What if the engineer may not require additional information, but is concerned about something in the drawings which have been presented? He may not like what’s been presented. He may not require any more additional information. I presume if he didn’t like it he would give that information to the employer or the owner involved in the construction. That I suppose would be covered by section 4. But I don’t think section 4 actually answers my question.
What I’m saying is, if they submit their plans for review -- what happens if there’s a slip-up and somehow it isn’t reviewed? Does the owner or the employer have to wait to receive word from the ministry that they have been reviewed and that they are in compliance? There may not be more information required -- which is what’s covered in section 4. What I’m asking is the very clear question: Does the owner receive back approval or indication saying they have been reviewed and everything is in compliance with this act?
Section 4 speaks about additional information. Section 3 speaks about being in compliance with the act. What happens between the ministry engineer and the owner or employer once those plans have been submitted? At some point in each and every phase of it, if it’s a staged operation, does the ministry engineer report back that yes, we have reviewed it, they are in compliance and until they receive that word back from the ministry no construction can take place?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: The present procedure -- and I’m advised that this section will encompass the same sort of routine -- is that plans or partial plans are submitted. A stamp of approval is applied, and until that is there, construction can’t go ahead.
I am also advised that that is covered under regulations which will have to be transferred to new regulations once Bill 70 is passed.
Mr. Bounsall: It will be covered by the regulation?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Yes.
Motion agreed to.
Section 18, as amended, agreed to.
Section 19 agreed to.
On section 20:
Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Elgie moves that section 20(8)(f) be amended by striking out “related” in the fourth line.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: It is felt to be an unnecessary and a confusing word in that particular section.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Elgie moves that section 20(10) be struck out and the following substituted therefor: “A person appointed under subsection 5 shall be paid such remuneration and expenses as the minister, with the approval of the Lieutenant Governor in Council, may determine.”
Hon. Mr. Elgie: This change was made at the request of Management Board which objected to the tying of such fees to those of the chairmen of the conciliation board.
Mr. Bounsall: Yes, I would like to query that. Was it because it was anticipated that you would have to be paying more or less for a person appointed under subsection 5, this person to bear the appeal? Why was the unease about them being paid at the same rate as someone who would be a chairman of the conciliation board under The Labour Relations Act? Are you trying to pick up cheap appeal hearing officers or do you anticipate that the experts in this field at the moment might be sufficiently few that you may well have to pay substantially more in order to obtain the services of such persons?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Chairman, it was felt that to tie this amount of remuneration to a position which might change from time to time or year to year was really not appropriate. Similarly, the amount that might be paid for such remuneration might vary from person to person or situation to situation. It was a matter of flexibility and not tying oneself to something such as a conciliator’s wage income level.
Motion agreed to.
Section 20, as amended, agreed to.
Section 21 agreed to.
On section 22:
Mr. Bounsall: I have rather a major amendment to section 22, Mr. Chairman, which I can send to you. It is a long one which was presented in committee. I’ll take your guidance as to whether or not I should read it. Perhaps I could just send it down and explain the intent of it. If there is a good possibility that it may be accepted then we could read it or someone could read it in detail.
Mr. Chairman: I must say it is really necessary to read it in the record at least once. Could I ask the member before he reads his amendment, does he have copies for the minister and for the table and for the Liberal Party?
Mr. Bounsall: It has been tabled with the minister.
Mr. Chairman: There is no copy for the table. Does the Liberal Party have a copy?
Mr. Nixon: We don’t have one.
Mr. Chairman: There is no copy for the table. If I could have one it would be appreciated.
Mr. Bounsall: Yes, I’m attempting to find a copy for the table.
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Bounsall moves that section 22 be deleted and the following substituted therefor:
“(1) The minister may prescribe a standard for any biological, chemical or physical agent or combination of agents to which a worker is exposed which standard may prohibit, regulate, restrict, limit or control the handling of, the exposure to or the use and disposal thereof;
“(2) An agent or combination of agents for which a standard is prescribed shall be called the designated substance;
“(3) Prior to the substance being designated under subsection 3 of section 22, the minister,
“(a) shall publish in the Ontario Gazette a notice stating that the substance may be designated and calling for briefs or submissions in relation to the designation and;
“(b) shall publish in the Ontario Gazette a notice setting forth a proposed regulation relating to the designation of the substance at least 60 days before the regulation is filed with the registrar of regulations;
“(4) Notwithstanding subsection 3 above, a worker, a group of workers, a trade union, an employer or group of employers or any interested person may request in writing that the minister prescribe or review a standard for any agent or combination of agents;
“(5) Upon receipt of the request the minister shall, within 30 days,
“(1) refer the request to the advisory council, or
“(2) reply in writing giving reasons for not referring the request;
“(6) The advisory council, upon receiving the request shall hold a public meeting and make a recommendation to the minister with respect to the standard for use, intended use, presence or manner of use of the biological, chemical or physical agent or combination of agents and any other recommendations that council feels appropriate with respect to the use, intended use, presence or manner of use of the agent or combination of agents;
“(7) The advisory council, in making its recommendation, may consider as relevant factors,
“(a) the relation of the agent, combination of agents or byproduct to a biological or chemical agent that is known to be a danger to health;
“(b) the quantities of the agent, combination of agents or byproduct used or intended to be used or present;
“(c) the extent of exposure;
“(d) the availability of other processes, agents or equipment for use or intended use;
“(e) data regarding the effect of the process or agent on health and,
“(f) any criteria or guide with respect to the exposure of a worker to a biological, chemical or physical agent or combination of such agents that are adopted by a regulation related to exposure to a toxic or potentially toxic substance;
“(8) The minister, within 90 days, shall either adopt the recommendation of the advisory council or shall give reasons for not doing so to all parties involved in the public hearing,”
Mr. Bounsall: This, Mr. Chairman, is a long involved amendment which has a very specific intent -- that is, the designation of substances and the procedures for which substances are designated clearly laying out in the act the time limits and what is expected and the procedures for the setting of standards in the designation of standards.
We have here in the act only the part of a substance being designated, but it shall be published in the Ontario Gazette in a notice setting forth the proposed regulations. What is needed clearly written right into the act is the procedure which will be followed by the ministry.
In the committee stage discussions of the bill last January the procedure was indicated quite clearly to us by the ministry. A fact sheet was handed out with respect to the procedures the ministry was going to follow with respect to the time limits contained in my amendment and what it would be doing with respect to the sending to the advisory council the receipt of a request to have a look at a substance and so on. What this amendment does is put it clearly into the act so the public can clearly see the procedures and the time limits involved when a substance is to be designated. It follows what the ministry internally expects to do.
Our time limits, that we presented in committee, were somewhat different, and were taken, by and large, from the Saskatchewan legislation, from what we have in this amendment. In this amendment, we have specifically taken and agreed with, although there were some small differences, the times as suggested by the director of occupational health and safety as being the ones that he would be following. In arriving at these designations he distributed a copy to each member of the committee.
It’s a long amendment, but not a very complicated one and not difficult to understand. We would hope that the ministry would see clear simply to write into the act those time limits and the procedures for designating a substance which the ministry intends to follow in any event. Rather than sending these fact sheets out upon request as to the procedures and the times for designation and the times involved in that procedure, we would hope that the ministry will simply write thoroughly into the act what that procedure is and what those time sequences are so that it is known widely across the province by anyone who picks up a copy of the act just what can be expected and what those procedures are, rather than the ministry getting a request about them or people not knowing if they can even request the ministry for the procedures and the time limits expected in the designation of substances.
I wouldn’t expect the procedures to change, but if your experience since January has been different in terms of the times in which you would expect persons to reply and the advisory council perhaps to act, I am not particularly tied to times. I am more particularly concerned that the procedures outlining reasonable times are clearly in place in the act.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I appreciate the reasons why the member is proposing this rather lengthy amendment. I understand that the same amendment was discussed in some detail in committee. Be that as it may, I think he will agree with me -- and he has already -- that with the proposed section 22, plus the powers that will be given under the revised section 41(5) on regulatory power, we have the power to alter the protocol -- that’s not in the old bill but in the new amendment. That gives us the flexibility to alter the protocol, should it not be found to be satisfactory.
I might say as well that the advisory council shares this view with me and that they feel that they want to have that flexibility to adapt and adjust, should the situation change from time to time. They have already, as I am sure you may be aware, gone quite heavily into the question of regulations and designations.
I am also advised by counsel, although you may not feel that this is a complicated type of amendment, that it is very similar to what was proposed by NIOSH. We are advised that it got them rather bogged down in the process of designating substances to the point that only five have been designated so far since OSHA was passed in 1970. I would hope that you will agree that the degree of flexibility is important. Section 22, as we propose, along with the regulatory powers and along with the existing advisory council of protocol, which may be altered, gives us a flexibility which is important as the years go on.
Mr. Bounsall: We were informed in committee that it didn’t really matter in a sense whether we wrote it into the act or whether the ministry had in its possession, as it does, the outline timewise, as is indicated here, to be passed out and sent to anybody in this province who would ask how are you going to designate it, what are the procedures and what can we expect timewise. But instead you are now sending out a statement that is not what is contained here. Is that correct? It says, “What we had intended to send out, we can’t send out because under that procedure only five substances have been designated by NIOSH in eight years.”
Are you really saying you are not going to send that out now; there will be no procedures sent out upon request, and that will be the reason given as to why you can’t send them out? I just don’t think the fact there are so few designations in United States jurisdictions is adequate for not proceeding with this.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Chairman, I would like to assure the member that I think we are really not at odds about what we want to accomplish here at all. We are talking about method. I just want to tell him I am assured by my staff and by the advisory council that they feel the degree of flexibility and the right to change a procedure if it is not working is an important aspect of the bill.
As to publishing or making available the process that has to be carried out when a substance is designated, I think there is no doubt that will be public knowledge. We have already started the designation process, as you know. Before it is gazetted the first time it goes to the advisory council. They have so many days to respond. If they agree, then it is gazetted for briefs. When briefs are received, then the gazetting process goes on.
So we are already into it, and there is no attempt not to make it public knowledge.
Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Chairman, a question to the minister on section 22 about the first sentence; when you talk about a substance being designated. I want to know whether or not noise in the work place will be a designated substance. To what extent are you going to describe aspects of noise?
The problem, as I am sure the minister realizes, is that in heavy industry, with very large hydraulic presses, noise is a major complaint of many of the workers. First: Is it going to be a designated substance? Second: What aspects of noise are going to be taken into consideration? Third: what particular limitations are going to be described in terms of monitoring devices, in terms of equipment where the noise abatement is built in, and in terms of isolating noise? Precisely, what is the ministry’s intention there?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Chairman, I would like to advise the member for Kitchener-Wilnot -- he will not sometimes, but he is Wilmot today -- industrial noise was gazetted in the fall of this year. All of the information you have requested was also requested in the briefs that will be coming in.
If he wishes further information about that, I would be pleased to give it to him.
Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Chairman, I understand it was gazetted with respect to the Industrial Safety Act, but we are now dealing with this particular piece of legislation. I am looking for assurances that when you use the term “designated substances” in section 22 that, in fact, it does include this and that it is going to be covered adequately under this act, given that this act will, when passed, supersede the Industrial Safety Act.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I am sure the member appreciates it had to be gazetted under the Industrial Safety Act in the fall since we didn’t have Bill 70. I want to assure him it will be included in Bill 70’s regulations.
Mr. Sweeney: As it was printed.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Could I ask the indulgence of the members? Mr. Bounsall has moved an amendment to section 22 to strike out the substitute. The honourable minister had a technical amendment. If we could take the minister’s amendment first and get it out of the way, then we would take Mr. Bounsall’s amendment. Would that be acceptable?
Hon. Mr. Elgie moves that section 22 of the bill be amended by striking out “23” in the second line, and inserting in lieu thereof the number “14.”
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Chairman: All those in favour of Mr. Bounsall’s amendment will please say “aye.”
All those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion the nays have it.
Section 22 agreed to.
On section 23:
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Hon. Mr. Elgie moves that subsections 1 to 5 of section 23 of the bill be struck out and the following substituted therefor:
“(1): This section does not apply to
“(a) a person employed in or who is a member of a police force to which the Police Act applies;
“(b) a full-time firefighter as defined in the Fire Departments Act, or;
“(c) a person employed in the operation of a correctional institution or a facility, training school or centre, detention or observation home or other similar institution, facility, school or home.”
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Chairman, I would like first of all to reaffirm the great trust and faith that the public has in the members of our police force, our firefighters and the people employed in the correctional institutions.
I would emphasize that this section does not take away present and existing rights, nor does it alter any future rights which may be obtained in collective agreements or under other statutes. Indeed, I would like to point out and stress that this act confers certain new rights. First of all it allows these groups to have mandatory health and safety committees; and, secondly, it allows them an inspector and an occupational health and safety division which is beyond the control of their own employers.
Thus, by their individual requests, or through the requests of the health and safety committee, directions can be given to correct unsafe situations and by regulation, standards can be applied.
The sole reason for the exclusion of the right to refuse in these situations is one of public safety and public certainty about the availability of persons employed in these very important tasks.
I ask for your support in the light of these comments.
Mr. Haggerty: On the proposed amendment put forth by the minister which refers under (b) to a member of a fire department as defined in the Fire Departments Act. I believe you said clause (b) would exempt paid firemen. What about volunteer firemen?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: First of all I would remind the member that the definition of work requires that there be monetary payment, so if the person is not receiving payment, he is not covered.
If he is receiving payment, then it is still our feeling that only full-time firefighters should be covered by this section, but I would value the member’s opinion.
Mr. Haggerty: I am sure that the minister is aware there are a number of cases where volunteer firemen do receive remuneration for their services. It is not much, but it is something. There is perhaps a difficult area in trying to interpret the act or the section we are making reference to.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: We have talked about this among ourselves and we realize it is an anomaly, but surely in a situation where there is a volunteer, someone doing part-time work virtually as a service to the community, the same duties and obligations shouldn’t apply as to someone who is a full-time fire department member, who has made that his life’s profession and who is fully aware of all the consequences and duties that go with the job.
Again I value your opinion about it because I have toiled over the same issue myself.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Mr. Bounsall moves that the words “this section” in line 1 of 23(1) be deleted and the words “subsection 3(b) of this section” be substituted therefor; and further moves that clause (c) be deleted.
Mr. Bounsall: We are quite concerned that policemen, firemen and correctional institution employees including those in training schools and centres and so on do not have the right to refuse work where their safety and health is in danger. It has been quite clear from the submissions made to the ministry by both the police and the firemen that what they anticipate is not in any way a situation where they would refuse to go or operate once their call has come in. In the case of the firemen they would most certainly go to a burning building or a fire site.
The firemen wish to be able to discuss the equipment which they would use at a fire site when that call comes in. This will often include the condition of the vehicle and the section which is pertinent to them in terms of a right to refuse is, therefore that one dealing specifically and only with the equipment, machine, device and so on which they are to use at the scene of a fire. It’s the physical condition of the work place -- in the case of firemen their fire site -- that they never anticipate in any way exercising any sort of right to refuse. This was clear from the very start of discussions on occupational health and safety with respect to members of the fire department.
With respect to members of the police force, the same sort of situation applies. It was never a case of their saying, on site, their work place if you like, that they would not engage themselves in the normal hazardous duties that occur out there -- being sent to the scene of a robbery or a mugging or what have you and involving themselves in their normal way in that situation. What they want, however, is coverage and the right to talk about the equipment they have, to deal with whatever situation they have out there in the work place.
Both the police association and the firefighters’ association have made clear the kind of coverage they want -- never refusal in dealing with their physical, normal work in the work place but their very strong right to exercise whatever strength they can use in order to see that they are properly equipped to deal with the fire or crime situation when they arrive on the scene. That crime situation they are called in to deal with, in the case of the police, may be one of, “Look, in that given area of town, at that time of night, there should be a two-person patrol.” They are not going to refuse to patrol it in a one-person vehicle, but they want the right to bring up and thoroughly discuss the conditions and the equipment they would need to undertake those patrols.
In the case of the firemen, it may well be a situation where they know a vehicle to be unsafe. In the absence of an alarm being responded to they should have an opportunity to talk with management through their health and safety committees and say that that machine, that fire truck, is unsafe to take out, that they feel that hose in that condition is unsafe to use out there -- or whatever equipment they are talking about. Having registered that complaint, if that machine continues to be used they should be able to inform management of their right finally to refuse to take, in the case of the firemen, that particular vehicle out until it’s repaired; or in the case of the police, perhaps it is a cruiser which is malfunctioning. That cruiser should be taken out of service until it is dealt with.
The distinctions in subsection 3 between (a) the equipment and (b) the work place are very clear. It is very important that the police and firefighters be given the right to refuse work unless the equipping of both policemen and firefighters adequately deals with the situations they will encounter in the work place.
That is the purpose of this amendment, to bring police and firefighters back into the right to refuse because of their equipment, but not to grant them the right to refuse, which was understood by them right from the start, to respond a call in a crime situation, with respect to the police, or a fire situation with respect to the firemen.
At the same time we are dealing with subsection 1(c), which deals with the right to refuse by persons employed in correctional institutions or facilities, training schools and centres, and detention and observation homes. I have a further amendment which would put them into sub 2 of this section where, along with hospital workers, they would have the provision of the right to refuse except as another person or the public may be in imminent jeopardy.
I might say we don’t feel at this time that there really should be that kind of right to refuse delineated or boxed around by “imminent jeopardy,” whatever that means, in subsection 2 of section 23. But should section 23(2) survive, it is in that subsection, along with the hospital workers, laboratory workers and so on, that the correctional service workers should fit. There is no reason why those correctional service workers would be in the same section, 23(1), as are the policemen and firemen. There is no difference in the operation by correctional service officers in their right to refuse; it should be no different from that of hospital workers. There cannot be a coherent argument made, for any right to refuse being taken away from correctional service officers. If they are to be denied their basic right, which I feel they should have under this act, then surely they should be no less denied than are those groups of workers outlined in sub 2.
The deletion of clause (c), the correctional workers and so on, from subsection 1 is proposed because they could be placed quite happily and readily along with hospital workers in sub 2, if there is going to be any sort of restriction at all on theft right. I feel there should be no restriction on theft right. We could have a long discussion, perhaps, here this afternoon and this evening over what is meant by “imminent jeopardy” and who is going to decide when imminent jeopardy under sub 2 pertains, and no doubt we will. But there is no reason why correctional services should not be treated differently from hospital workers if they are indeed to be in some separate category.
I simply draw to the minister’s attention that all the members here today who were on the committee in January will recall the incidents in correctional institutions that were presented to that committee by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union. We were made aware of the exercise of the right -- which they should have, but didn’t at that time -- at the Walkerton jail, where a patient was transferred in with a clear case of hepatitis. They exercised the right to refuse, which they expected they would get in the near future but didn’t have at that time, in insisting that the inmate be isolated from the rest of the prisoners and from themselves. There was a very short work stoppage under a right to refuse which they expected and trusted would be imminent under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, this new omnibus one which we have before us. What happened was the inmate was isolated. It was resolved, as most of these rights to refuse are, within minutes, on the spot. Happily, none of the other prisoners and none of the guards, if I recall, came down with infectious hepatitis.
However, almost a year and a half to two years ago, a prisoner with a clear case of TB was transferred to the Fort Frances jail. It certainly upset the guards at that institution. They registered their disapproval as strongly as they could. They did not have the right to refuse in legislative statute at that time. They did not do what was done at Walkerton jail and say, “It’s about to come anyway in a form which will protect us and, therefore, well assume we have it now and exercise that right.”
They did not do that, but clearly they should have because the management of that jail did not isolate that tubercular inmate. I believe 32 guards at the Fort Frances jail moved from negative TB skin tests to positive TB skin tests and were treated for a year by that chemical treatment that has so many deleterious side effects in order to protect their health.
It’s very crucial, obviously, from those two clear examples before us in the correctional services field, that they have some right to refuse, however that right to refuse is limited by that imminent jeopardy clause in subsection 2. To deny a right to refuse in correctional institutions, where it’s been applied once on the assumption that its granting was just around the corner anyway, though in one other case it wasn’t but should have been in terms of the health of the guards involved, just has no right to be in this act in subsection 1, where there’s a fiat denial of the right to refuse to correctional service workers.
Their disappointment and dismay when this act was tabled, when it is so clearly needed in the case of correctional service workers, was quite marked. Unless they are put into subsection 2, as one of our amendments this afternoon may do, if they still end up in subsection 1 of this section, what you may well be having, where it’s sufficiently necessary, is public servants of Ontario, in order to protect themselves from infection and infectious diseases brought into their correctional service institution by inmates being transferred, having to exercise the right which they should be granted under this legislation, even if this legislation in its unwisdom doesn’t grant it.
I would hope very much that the minister will consider this very seriously and accept this amendment which we have made to section 1 which grants the police and firemen the right to refuse when talking about their equipment, machinery and so on, and exempts for the moment correctional services with the intent, if necessary, to put them into section 23(2).
Mr. Sweeney: I share some of the concerns about the use of equipment by firemen, policemen and correctional service workers. I have two questions of the minister. First of all, going back to section 14(1)(b) where it reads, “the equipment, materials and protective devices provided by him are maintained in good condition” -- the “him” refers to the employer -- to what extent would that cover policemen, firemen and the correctional officers?
Two, in section 23(3), the section we’re on now, to what extent is it possible to include police, fire, and correctional officers in 3(a)?
I think it is clearly understood that we would support section 23(1) in terms of a policeman or a fireman or a correctional officer in the line of his duties. I have a question, though.
We understand that because of the nature of their work, there are training sessions. During a training session -- not going out to a regular fire or apprehending in a robbery or something like that -- a policeman, a fireman, or a correctional officer might be asked to do something which is definitely hazardous. Does he have any protections there?
For example, it was brought to our attention that a fireman during a training session was asked to go up a very high ladder in very strong winds. He refused to do so and his refusal was subsequently upheld in a court case.
Is there any way we can take those factors into consideration? The first factor I’m trying to draw to the minister’s attention is this whole question of equipment. I think it’s a serious problem we’ve got to do something about.
Second, there is a difference between the regular line of work of a fireman, policeman and correctional officer in protecting the public and in that part of their work which could be considered training.
Can the minister respond to those two situations?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: First of all, if I may respond to Mr. Sweeney. I already had section 14(1) in front of me. I would agree that sections 14(1)(a) and 14(1)(b) are responsibilities that are placed upon the employers of the workers in this particular section we’re dealing with.
I would also refer the member to the proposed regulatory section, section 41(2), subsections 9 and 10. If I may read them, that gives the ministry the power to regulate or prohibit “the installation or use of any machine, device or thing or any class thereof,” and, 10, “requiring that any equipment, machine, device, article or thing used bear the seal of approval of an organization designated by the regulations to test and approve the equipment, machine, device, article or thing and designating organizations for such purposes.”
It’s clear that under this act the occupational health and safety division will have the power to designate safety features and that the employer has an obligation to provide safe equipment.
Mr. Sweeney: Could I interrupt for a second?
I hear what the minister is saying. I guess my concern is how does the employee -- the policeman, fireman or correctional officer -- get redress if he believes that a piece of equipment is not proper? How does he get around it?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: There are several answers to that and it encompasses many of the questions the member for Windsor-Sandwich posed too.
As I pointed out in my opening remarks, we must remember that the employees in these situations now acquire rights and privileges, as well as duties and obligations, that they did not have before. First, they are included in an independent act, independent of their employer. Second, they now have mandatory health and safety committees. Third, they have access to an inspector who is independent of their employer’s control.
Through that route and through the inspector issuing directions for correction of certain activities or certain machinery, that can be dealt with.
Above and beyond all that, we keep forgetting -- and I know it’s easy to do -- that the cases the member for Windsor-Sandwich referred to, where people did refuse to work even though they didn’t have the legal right to do so, were under the common law. There is always a common law right to refuse to work when someone is exposed to unnecessary risk.
It’s true that that’s not the same as having it in legislation, but we all have that common law right to refuse.
I would like to stress really that it’s the peculiar situation, as we see it, with regard to public safety and public certainty that leads this government to feel that this section, as is, without the amendment proposed by the member for Windsor-Sandwich, has to be accepted.
Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Chairman, I don’t think the minister has replied to my query about a policeman, fireman or correctional officer involved in a training session -- as I said before, going up a very high ladder in a high wind. If there is an actual fire he has just got to do it, but if it is a training session it is less serious.
Is there no way that we can protect him from being told by his employer to take what would be considered an unnecessary risk? Isn’t there some way we can deal with that?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Well, Mr. Chairman, again I would just like to reassure the member for Kitchener-Wilmot that the fact that there are now mandatory health and safety committees allows these committees to lay down procedures for these training sessions. If they can’t reach a satisfactory conclusion about the training program, then an inspector can be called in to issue direction. That is one route.
The second I have mentioned before and I have to mention again, and that is the common law situation. At common law there is an implied term that although a worker assumes the ordinary risks incidental to his work and the employer is not insured, the employer is nevertheless under the duty to take reasonable care for the safety of the workers and not expose them to unnecessary risk. That common law right always resides there and we feel that added to that, with the new additional rights and privileges that go with the legislation, there will be adequate protection afforded.
Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Chairman, I would like to reinforce the arguments of my colleagues that those in the correctional institutions should have the right of refusal. I would like to just briefly comment on the question of police and firemen, because this is another area where there were some false allegations, or red herrings, if you want to use the term, spread around. From the talks we had with the police association and the firemen’s group, I don’t think their intent ever was to refuse to perform their legitimate duties. It was almost always related to the argument over the safety of equipment and there I think they should have the right to refuse.
If I accept the minister’s argument that we don’t need to give these people specifically the right of refusal, at least in terms of their equipment, because section 14 says they have the right to have decent equipment, and if I accept his argument also that they should be covered under common law, you might just as well say we don’t need the right to refuse in any operation. You could use the same two arguments.
Mr. Minister, they just don’t wash. I think that with regard to the equipment at least they should have the right of refusal.
Mr. O’Neil: Mr. Chairman, we too have something along the same lines as the member for Hamilton East has raised. I know that we were approached this week by a member for the Toronto firefighters’ group -- you may already have a copy of this and I would like to ask for your comments on it. It states: “The committee recommends that council request the Ontario Legislature to amend Bill 70 so as to reflect the intent of the following under section 23.” This is what they are requesting and what I would like some advice from the minister on. Some of the comments he has already made pertain in depth to this.
“This subsection shall apply to full-time firefighters who shall be exempted from all other subsections of section 23.
“Any full-time firefighter who has reason to believe that a piece of equipment be unsafe may, before an alarm is registered, request that the equipment be examined within a reasonable time by the appropriate safety officer. If it is not examined within a reasonable time, or the hazardous condition is found and not corrected, the firefighter shall have the right to refuse to use it. If the request for inspection ‘has not been made before an alarm the firefighter shall not have the right to refuse it.”
I wonder if I could have your comments on that.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I thank the member for Quinte. I have covered that area in other comments, but, quite briefly, again I still feel that the additional rights and privileges given under this act -- the coverage, the independent inspection, the mandatory health and safety committees and the obligation on employers to provide safe equipment and to maintain it and the right to regulate we have, all taken together I think will achieve all of the concerns raised in those remarks.
In addition to that, there remains the common law right to refuse. For all of those reasons I’m satisfied that the hope expressed in the remarks you’ve just made can be satisfactorily achieved.
Mr. Deans: I don’t want to engage in this at any great length.
Mr. Sweeney: A conflict of interest.
Mr. Deans: I declare my conflict of interest immediately.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: I would put it to the member that if he declares his conflict of interest he should not participate further in the debate.
Mr. Deans: I want to suggest that as in most things the Chairman misunderstands the law. Once you’ve declared it you can then participate.
I want to say this to you. My recollection of the role of firefighter -- one that I hope to gain some additional insight into in the not too distant future -- was that the mile was clear. You did what you were told and then you complained.
That worries me, because that was applied not only out at the fire, or at the incident, but it was also applied equally within the fireball. When you were told to do something, you did it. You didn’t say, “I’m not going to do it.” You didn’t use what you claim to be the common law right of refusal -- which does not exist in the firehall, let me tell you, I’ve been there. If you didn’t do it, if you did not obey the direct order of an officer, then you were subject to having your services terminated, or perhaps to being suspended for periods of time at the discretion of the chief.
That’s the way it works and there is no point in pretending that works any differently than that. You’ve got to face reality when you’re dealing with legislation. And in this particular instance, it is important.
Firefighters’ duties extend to far more than just simply going to fires. They carry out a fair degree of maintenance on and around the premises, in addition to the maintenance they undertake on the equipment they have to use. I want to tell you that some of the things that I can recall being required to do I would have considered then and consider now to have some degree of safety hazard attached to them and to be quite unnecessary.
I want to tell you that most of the firefighter’s life is spent in the firehall and not out fighting fires. Most of it is spent in firehalls puttering around and training so that his -- or her, I suppose nowadays -- reflexes are sufficiently well honed to be able to deal with the emergency situation when it arises.
I do think it is important that we first of all recognize we’re dealing with adult human beings. And one of their main fears in life is of losing their job -- the next one being, of course, of losing their life, maybe; but it seems to come in that order, strangely enough, for most people. The threat of losing their job for one reason or another always seems to loom much larger than the threat of personal injury or losing their life. I’ve never quite understood that psyche, but it happens to be true.
So it is really important that you pay some recognition to the fact that by far the vast majority of the hours that are spent by people working in an emergency service such as that are spent working in and around the firehall itself, and that they be given the right, as other people are given the right, when in that environment to bring to the attention of people, equipment and circumstances which they deem to be hazardous to their life and well-being and that they be entitled to refuse to use equipment or take part in exercises they believe are likely to cause them some harm, subject to it having been checked out.
I don’t understand why you would feel that that doesn’t make sense. I can appreciate the difficulty in dealing with the emergency situation. I have been associated with many people in the emergency forces across the province and outside the province and there isn’t anyone I know who ever refuses to go and do the job. Not only do they not refuse to go and do their job, but quite frequently, without any concern at all for whether or not their own physical well-being is placed in jeopardy, they go and do it far, far better than one might have ever expected them to in the circumstances, think we all recognize that. I’m not telling you something you don’t know. There is no one going to refuse to do what he must do in order to save life and property in the event that he is called upon to do that.
I also want to tell you that you have to have some confidence in their ability to exercise good and sound judgement. I am saying to you I don’t want to be in a position of being stuck back in the firehall working in hazardous situations and of looking back and thinking to myself, “Elgie could have saved me from this if only he had listened.”
Hon. Mr. Baetz: You will be ordering them to go up; you are not going to go up the ladder.
Mr. Deans: I’m not going to fight with you about it. That’s why I think it is important that you give them the opportunity to exercise proper discretion and control over what might well prove to be of some considerable hazard to themselves and to co-workers. It’s really quite important to do that, in my opinion. It’s the same thing as yesterday’s argument, only perhaps a little more enlightened.
We cannot categorize people and make them into two or three classes as their life and physical well-being are going to be affected. People are people. They are no different, no matter where they work. Their futures and their lives are to be protected, no matter where they work. To the greatest extent possible, we must afford them protection.
We all understand that some jobs are more hazardous than others. Therefore, you cannot afford the ultimate in protection, guaranteeing them that nothing will ever go wrong. But you damn well make sure that in every case where you can do it, you do it.
As it applies to people working in fire halls, I want to say that even although it may turn out that the provisions are never used -- and chances of their ever being used, incidentally, are very slim -- which give them the right to do what I am suggesting ought to be done, just to have that right will make for a much safer environment and will give greater guarantees that the equipment that required to use will be properly inspected and will be safe.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: You can’t have a committee meeting before somebody goes up the ladder.
Mr. Deans: If you think that is what I was saying, then you are in real trouble.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Mr. Bounsall has moved that the words “This section” in line 1 be deleted and the words “subsection 3(b) of this section” be substituted therefor and that section 23(1)(c) be deleted.
All those in favour of Mr. Bounsall’s amendment will please say “aye.”
All those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion the nays have it.
Mr. Bounsall: In the light of that, I would submit a further amendment to this section that deals with exactly the terms and conditions of the situation with respect to both firefighters and police that was read out by the member for Quinte (Mr. O’Neil).
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Excuse me, are you still wanting a further amendment to 23(1)?
Mr. Bounsall: Yes, on section 23(1) I have one of these weaker fall-back positions for which I always hate myself later, but it is an attempt to get some protection and provisions for the policemen and the firemen.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Mr. Bounsall moves that section 23(1) be amended by adding to clause (a): “except where a request to examine any equipment, machine, device, thing, or procedure is made before a call upon those items is received,” and by addling to clause (b) “except for a request to examine any equipment, machine, device or thing is made before an alarm is registered.”
Mr. Bounsall: Mr. Chairman, the effect of this would be to cause the subsection to read: “This section does not apply to: (a) a person employed in and who is a member of a police force to which the Police Act applies except where a request to examine any equipment, machine, device, thing, or procedure is made before the call upon these items is received.”
And (b) would read: “This section does not apply to (b) a member of a fire department as defined in the Fire Marshals Act except for a request to examine any equipment, machine, device or thing is made before an alarm is registered.”
These would be the amendments for both police and firemen which would follow, if not the exact letter certainly the full spirit and the intent of Toronto city council’s motion with respect to the firemen. This section was read out by the member for Quinte, in which in speaking to the coverage of firemen said: “This subsection shall apply to full-time firefighters who shall be exempted from all other subsections of 23. Any full-time firefighter who has reason to believe that a piece of equipment be unsafe may, before an alarm is registered, request that the equipment be examined within a reasonable time, by the appropriate safety officer. If it is not examined within a reasonable time, or if a hazardous condition is found but not corrected, the firefighter shall have the right to refuse to use it. If the request for inspection has not been made before an alarm the firefighter shall not have the right to refuse it.”
That was the resolution passed by Toronto, and it is put into effect by the amendment I have presented. I might say, that by presenting it in what appears to be rather a short form, it accomplishes exactly what is anticipated by the city of Toronto.
The right to refuse does not apply in the case of the fire department to a member of the fire department as defined by the Fire Departments Act, except where you have the request to examine any equipment, machine, device or thing, and that request is made be- fore an alarm is registered. When that request is made, if there is a refusal by management to sit down and look at that piece of equipment, device or thing, it is at that point when the refusal becomes clear. The statement by management would be; “No that is perfectly safe and I want you to use it.” It is at that point the right to refuse would be exercised and the inspector called in.
If the inspector arrives and makes the order or finds something unsafe then, of course, they will not use it. In the unlikely event the inspector has not yet arrived, and an alarm is received and registered, at which point the firemen in the fire hall would be responding, they would respond to that. If that equipment was key to use in response to a particular situation, the issue not yet being determined, it perhaps would depend upon how strongly they felt about it whether that piece of equipment was used.
My impression of all those persons in the fire department who respond to fires is that if that were a key piece of equipment, even though there was an inspector coming to view it to see whether or not it was safe, in that instance it would in fact be used.
I have full confidence in the attitude that I found with both police and firemen in protecting citizens and property in Ontario, but this amendment allows them to state beforehand their objections to any piece of equipment, machine, device or thing in terms of the firemen and the procedure in terms of police, but that if the refusal then is exercised, that refusal must take place before a call upon that equipment is used by the police or before an alarm is registered in the firehall, and if an emergency did arise, I would suspect those employees of police and fire departments would still use that piece of equipment. If it wasn’t absolutely necessary, that equipment would still be there to be examined by a safety inspector and resolved.
I think it is the very least we can give in the way of a right to refuse to the firemen and policemen in the province. I would hope the minister might consider very favourably this amendment which, in essence, follows the spirit of the resolution as passed by the city of Toronto with respect to firemen.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the intent of the proposed amendment but I can only reassert that I think the problems and concerns the individuals have presented will really be solved by mandatory health and safety committees.
I can only again reiterate my views that section 23(1) as stated is the desirable route for this legislation to take.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Shall this amendment carry?
Those in favour will please say “aye.”
Those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion the “nays” have it.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Hon. Mr. Elgie moves that section 23(2) be struck and the following substituted therefor:
“Where circumstances are such that the life, health or safety of another person or the public may be in imminent jeopardy, this section does not apply to a person employed in the operation of any of the following institutions, facilities or services whether granted aid out of moneys appropriated by the Legislature or not, and whether operated for private gain or not:
“1. A hospital, sanatorium, nursing home, home for the aged, psychiatric institution, mental health or mental retardation centre or rehabilitation facility.
“2. A residential group home or other facility for persons with behavioural or emotional problems or with physical, mental or developmental handicaps.
“3. An ambulance service or first aid clinic or station.
“4. A laboratory operated by the crown or a laboratory licensed under the Public Health Act.
“5. Any laundry, food service, power plant or technical service or facility belonging to, or used in conjunction with, any institution, facility or service referred to in paragraphs 1 to 4.”
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I don’t want to prolong the discussion, but similar arguments to those that were given with regard to public safety and certainty about the availability of services referred to with regard to police and firemen apply to this section as well.
However, we do feel that where the life, health and safety of another or of the public are not in imminent jeopardy, the right to refuse to work should exist.
Again I ask for your support and remind you that new rights are conferred by this act in this area and particularly mandatory committees and, again, an inspector and occupational health and safety division which is beyond the control of the employer.
In previous remarks the member for Windsor-Sandwich asked about “imminent” and “jeopardy.” I would remind him that the Canadian Occupational Health and Safety Act does include the words “imminent danger” and thus jurisprudence developing from that can be used in this area. I would similarly remind him that the words “unusual danger” have been introduced in the Manitoba legislation and will have some relevance from a jurisprudence point of view with regard to this definition.
The word “imminent” is defined as “threatening, menace, likely, inevitable, inescapable or unavoidable.” Jeopardy refers to “injury, death, risk of loss or harm, danger or peril.” Accordingly, where risk of injury or harm to life, health or safety is threatened, menaced or likely in the particular circumstances, the right of refusal given by this section does not apply to workers in the classes of undertakings set out in paragraphs 1 to 5.
Mr. Bounsall: I thank the minister, Mr. Chairman, for his very brief explanation of imminent jeopardy. We need be in no hurry and need not be concerned with avoiding lengthy explanations on what imminent jeopardy is here and exactly how it’s going to apply.
I might say, Mr. Chairman, that our party’s view is very strong at this point. We feel we should have no restriction on the right to refuse for the groups of workers outlined here. What is the point of giving these workers coverage under this act if you appear to be taking away any force with which they try and make their points by taking away their ultimate final weapon if they have to resort to it, the right to refuse, which has been done here in subsection 2 or very carefully circumscribed by the phrase “imminent jeopardy”?
One could go through the five categories here and give instances all the way along of the need for coverage. I won’t do that, at least at the moment, but I will zero in on the imminent jeopardy.
The minister has mentioned jurisprudence in the federal scene where it’s imminent danger and in the Manitoba jurisdiction -- I am not sure what the phrase from the Manitoba jurisdiction was that he quoted -- but I would like to hear from the minister -- we have all kinds of time -- just what jurisprudence has already built up in this field with respect to imminent jeopardy. What eases have been decided in which it clearly indicates what is imminent jeopardy to another person or the public by a refusal of a right to work by someone in a hospital or a nursing home or in the ambulance service or in a laboratory operated by the crown, psychiatric hospitals and so on? Just what is the jurisprudence so far? I would be quite interested in that.
I wouldn’t like to attempt, and I suppose the minister wouldn’t either, to give a definition in this act for imminent jeopardy, preferring rather to go through the slow buildup of case situations before the Ontario Labour Relations Board, cases brought up by a hospital worker or a laboratory worker exercising their right to refuse, being told that there’s an imminent jeopardy situation around and, I suppose, refusing to continue to work because they feel so strongly about it, then being disciplined because of it and then having to take that whole situation to the Ontario Labour Relations Board with the loss of pay that results and all the rest of it until that case is heard. That is a very unsatisfactory way for the worker involved to get a final definition for imminent jeopardy, which may or may not be clear for years anyway in the decisions which might come down on it. Meanwhile, disciplinary action would be taken as someone exercises the right to refuse and imminent jeopardy would be thrown at him.
I assume that is the way the case law is going to be built up. Or is it going to be built up some other way? Is the minister intending to say to all of these groups of workers, “In all of your work sites now you really don’t have any right to refuse, because I’m going to say beforehand that in the operation of a laboratory” -- it seems incredible there -- “or in an ambulance service, or a hospital or nursing home, any right to refuse places another person or the public in imminent jeopardy”?
That I think is what concerns many people out there in the public; that there is going to be some blanket imminent jeopardy clause applied to those persons outlined in paragraphs 1 to 5. However, if not I would like to know how this imminent jeopardy is going to be determined -- not so much a definition, but how the minister sees a right to refuse being exercised where it is necessary for most of these workers. We don’t expect very many of them.
Again, these are very well-intentioned, concerned people that work in our sanatoria or psychiatric hospitals and our ambulance services, et cetera. We don’t expect to have a situation develop where the right to refuse will be exercised very often, but if that right to refuse which they have under subsection 2 is exercised, how is that imminent jeopardy, if it isn’t given in blanket form by the minister in the first instance saying, “You are all working in areas where, whenever you have a right to refuse it will be an imminent jeopardy situation”? If that isn’t the case, just how is it going to work?
Will the refusal take place and then be brought immediately to the attention of the local health and safety inspector and he or she make a determination whether there is an imminent jeopardy situation to the public or another person? Or will it be brought to the attention of one of the directors, and he or she will decide whether or not an imminent jeopardy situation exists, so that the right to refuse cannot be granted in that particular case? Or does it go to the minister? However you determine imminent jeopardy, just how will it be determined in each and every individual case whether that imminent jeopardy pertains?
Perhaps if there is a procedure to be written down as to who decides in those individual cases that procedure should be written into the act. I would be very interested in knowing how imminent jeopardy is going to work.
If there isn’t going to be a right to refuse where it absolutely comes down to that; if it isn’t that sort of procedure, but rather some declaration by the minister, blanket-wise, that all of these people are automatically in an imminent jeopardy situation, then we will most certainly vote against subsection 2 with a great deal of enthusiasm. It would mean they don’t have any more of a right than those that were denied in subsection 1.
What we have to have, I think, is a complete explanation of how you intend to apply it; who gets to make the decision if it isn’t going to be a blanket one -- and if it is a blanket one it is completely abhorrent -- and what jurisprudence you have that backs up the imminent jeopardy situation at the moment from the federal and from the Manitoba jurisdiction.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I thank the member for his comments. I have to tell him, however, that as he well knows the jurisprudence in determining the jeopardy will have to be determined by the Ontario Labour Relations Board, just as the term “good faith” was developed by them and in other courts. However, I can mention some common understandings with regard to the words.
For instance, “jeopardy” and “danger” are said to be synonymous although jeopardy has a little wider connotation. In that case it involves severe loss or harm. “Imminent” is interpreted to mean “impending, or soon to happen.” It’s pretty clear what everybody’s talking about.
I’ve worked in the health setting and we know. I can very easily recall situations where there was imminent jeopardy and although we can all be concerned about this or that and what will happen, I really have pretty good confidence that it’s not going to be a problem.
As to how such a situation will be resolved, it’ll be resolved the way the right to refuse is documented in the bill. A right to refuse will be exercised, there’ll be the stage one procedure, then there’ll be the stage two procedure where a decision is made. If it’s a decision with which the worker doesn’t agree, then there’s a grievance for that decision. It’s just as one would expect with any right to refuse situation, and the jurisprudence regarding the term “imminent jeopardy” will have to be developed as time goes on.
Mr. Bounsall: Could I ask two points on that? In the minister’s general remarks when he introduced this section, he said that, of course, we’d have to develop our own imminent jeopardy jurisprudence but there was the federal situation and the Manitoba situation, implying by the way he said it and by the context in which he said it that there was some jurisprudence already in existence that would help guide us as these cases come before the Ontario Labour Relations Board in the initial instance in the determination of what imminent jeopardy is.
Perhaps I inferred too much and the minister wasn’t implying that. If there’s none there at the moment to guide the labour relations board in determining imminent jeopardy then I’d like to know that now.
The other thing is, I’m still not clear on what the minister has said on how one is to determine imminent jeopardy. I gather from what he said that he’s not going to give a blanket imminent jeopardy -- You are in imminent jeopardy -- in these five areas to those persons working there. There is going to be a right to refuse exercised and at some point it’s determined whether there is in fact imminent jeopardy.
But who does that? Is that the supervisor in the psychiatric hospital and the right to refuse is exercised until he or she can determine that there is some person or group of persons in imminent jeopardy? Is it an inspector? Is the right to refuse exercised until an inspector comes in and before he looked at the unsafe or unhealthy situation and says, “Hey, there’s imminent jeopardy here. Let’s declare that. The person goes back to work on that unsafe device or in that unsafe situation and now we’ll look at the unsafe device or unsafe situation”? Just who determines that there will be imminent jeopardy to another person or the public when the right to refuse is exercised by, let’s say, a psychiatric hospital nurse?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: First of all, I’d like to reinforce what the member has said. I don’t intend to issue a blanket statement defining the situation. I intend to let it follow the ordinary course of events and If there’s a grievance as a result of the right to refuse a procedure designated in this act, then it will be heard by the labour relations board and the jurisprudence developed.
I think he has inferred more than I intended from my initial remarks regarding Canadian and Manitoba law. We know of no cases yet which may or may not be significant. There hasn’t been a problem in defining it. I simply mentioned that to you to point out that the word “imminent” has been used by another jurisdiction because clearly they had the same concerns we did, whereas in Manitoba the term “unusual” was used. I didn’t think that was appropriate. I hope that clarifies it for the member.
Mr. Bounsall: Continuing on, let’s say I’m a psychiatric hospital worker and there is a situation which we haven’t been able to rectify through our safety committees. It’s probably, in that instance, some sort of a situation in the hospital I say is an unsafe situation. I’m exercising my right to refuse. I quit doing what I’m doing. How am I different? I call in my safety rep. The supervisor, the safety rep and I have a look at that unsafe situation and we determine it’s still unsafe.
Let’s say two others determine it’s unsafe in this instance, and we call in the inspector. The inspector comes down and says he should write up a work order on this one. He proceeds to so do. Where does the consideration of imminent jeopardy come in at all? If it has some reason for being there, some person at some point in the situation tells me I can’t exercise that right to refuse because that places some other person in imminent jeopardy. Where do I expect that to come in and intrude itself in upon the situation which has resulted in this whole new subsection 2? Where does it enter upon the scene? I’m not at all clear where it enters upon the scene. Where would it enter upon the scene and then, would I subsequently agree if I felt strongly about it?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I’m not quite sure how the member feels this differs from ordinary right to refusal situations, but clearly if there is a refusal then the first step will take place. If the employer says there is no immediate jeopardy, and the employee feels there is, and there is a disagreement, then there’s a penalty imposed or a discipline procedure from which the employee can grieve, just as in any other situation. I don’t understand what the problem is.
Mr. Bounsall: Are you saying when I make my first refusal in the presence of my safety rep that it is the employer at that time, right then and there, who says you can’t do it because this is going to place person X in imminent jeopardy? Is it right at that point? That was my explicit question: Where does it intrude itself into the normal right to refuse of those persons who aren’t boxed in by this imminent jeopardy phrase?
I gather from what you’ve said it’s going to be my employer in that very first stage of the right to refuse. I hope the minister would clear that up. If that is the situation, having each and every employer, supervisor and so on state that imminent jeopardy exists right in that very first stage of the right to refuse, before an inspector is called in, then I am not at all happy with subsection 2 of section 23 being in this bill at all.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I think we have to say the member has interpreted what I said correctly, that the issue can be joined at one stage when the employer says there is imminent danger. If the worker refuses to work in that situation, then a discipline is imposed. I see no other alternative. If you do, I would be pleased to hear it.
Mr. Bounsall: I’ve been a psychiatric worker for some 10 or 12 years. I finally get promoted to a supervisor and two days after I become a supervisor, I’m the senior person on the floor and there is a right to refuse exercised. As that supervisor, I, and I alone at that point when it’s first brought up, am the one who says, “No, ex-fellow worker, I’m going to apply the imminent jeopardy clause under the act and say someone else or the public is in danger.”
It’s right at that first stage and it could be a fairly inexperienced supervisor, even though under the act the particular hospital has designated me as having some expertise in health and safety matters and determination of imminent jeopardy in terms of the other people or the public.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I have gone over the interpretation situation as I understand it. I think it is clear from my counsel that I have interpreted it correctly. I really have nothing more to add.
Mr. Cassidy: I want to raise the question that bothers me about this whole section 23(2) and this business of imminent jeopardy.
As I look through the section and consider it, it seems to me that the section itself is indicating that almost any activity which is carried on in a hospital, a nursing home, a home for the aged or the other public facilities that have been mentioned, should be deemed to be so important that the right to refuse would not realistically exist. In other words, no matter what function an employee was carrying out in one of these institutions if he tried to refuse because he thought there was an unsafe condition he could be told, “No, you stay at the job because otherwise you put the life, health or safety of some other person or of the public in imminent jeopardy.”
I want to illustrate that by referring to section 23(2)(5) which indicates that there may be circumstances in a laundry, in a food service, in a power plant, in any kind of a technical service or facility -- maybe in a gift shop -- which is in a hospital, sanatorium, nursing home or psychiatric institution, where a refusal to work could place somebody else’s life, health or safety in imminent jeopardy.
I cannot imagine for the life of me why a refusal of an employee to use an unsafe machine that is employed to dry hospital laundry could in any way put the life, health or safety of a patient in that hospital or a member of the public in imminent jeopardy. I cannot think of anything going on within a laundry that would put the life, health or safety of a patient or the public in general in imminent jeopardy, unless it is the view of the ministry in drafting this that any activity within a hospital, if not carried on, could therefore put the life of a patient or his health or safety in imminent jeopardy.
That is the kind of broad-scale interpretation which we suspect is being pursued by the ministry and which is the reason why so many telegrams have been coming in to me -- I’ve just been looking at them -- from public employees across the province who are concerned about the deprival of their rights under the proposed health and safety act.
The fact that eventually some kind of case law may be determined because of arbitration and appeals before grievance boards does not help people now. It does not help people, particularly if they are working in nursing homes or in other institutions, where there is already a great deal of intimidation of the employees and where in certain cases they don’t have the protection of a trade union and the protection of having people knowledgeable in health and safety laws to whom they may turn.
I just ask the minister that if it was intended that there be a narrow definition of the restrictions of the right to refuse, why can’t the government come forward with that narrow interpretation now? If it was intended that there be a broad definition of this restriction on the right to refuse, then how can he credibly say that the omnibus health and safety bill really applies to the tens upon tens of thousands of employees in the areas that are enumerated in paragraphs 1 to 5 of this subsection?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I think the member is asking me to define words for him. Words, as they have been put in this section and as they are in a variety of legal documents, are intended to be interpreted by jurisprudence as has been the practice in common law countries for years.
Just for example, the member has asked me if there is any situation where I can conceive of someone, say, working in a power plant where someone’s life might be in jeopardy. Yes, I can. I can recall a situation when I was in the operating room when the lights suddenly went out. If the power plant hadn’t been there with secondary power, there would have been more than imminent jeopardy. So there are unusual situations and there are normal situations wherein jeopardy would apply.
In the ease of a laundry, if it applied once in one year I would be surprised.
Mr. Cassidy: What would that one instance be, because if you can’t name it you shouldn’t be getting into jurisprudence?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I don’t intend to get into the question of settling the jurisprudence now with the member, but I’m telling him that those are the intentions we have and I would ask the Legislature to support the section.
Mr. Cassidy: I want to ask the minister, why should we leave to the courts what this Legislature has a duty to seek to define? It seems to me that this section is so central to the effectiveness of the bill we should take a very good crack at trying to define it for tens upon tens of thousands of people who do vital work in this province. We may not be able to define it so it covers every instance, but ordinary people who will be governed by this bill should get some clear idea of what the devil the darn thing means.
I’ve asked the minister whether this applies in every instance for everybody who works in a hospital or whether, in fact, it will only apply very narrowly. He doesn’t even seek to reply. Surely, the government must have an idea about whether imminent jeopardy means every activity in the hospital, as certain hospital boards and the administration will seek to argue, or whether imminent jeopardy means only such an instance as one in which the lights go out and you’ve got 10 minutes to finish the operation before the patient dies. If that’s his definition, then let’s find a means of putting that into the bill.
But it’s wrong to say that the hospital cleaner asked to use an unsafe machine will be stopped from exercising his right to refuse and getting redress because the hospital administration is going to say that there might be germs on the floor if it is not cleaned up immediately and, therefore, the right to refuse cannot be allowed. This is the kind of situation which is being left wide open.
We shouldn’t put those kinds of responsibilities onto jurisprudence. It’s surely not beyond our wit to come up with some definitions here and ensure, to the best of our capacity in the Legislature, the workers of the province know where they stand.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Chairman, I would suggest to the member that the term “imminent jeopardy” will be understood by the layman. I’ve worked in that setting, as I have indicated to him, and I don’t think there will be any problem in terms of life, health and safety about commonly used words such as “imminent jeopardy.” I think his fears are unwarranted and I really have nothing further to add after that.
Mr. Mackenzie: I just have one final comment. Is the minister not aware of the extent of the feelings of some of the people in these various groups and their representatives to have this kind of right to refuse? Doesn’t it indicate that they have some fears about having the courts decide what is imminent jeopardy?
Mr. Cassidy: You won’t give them the right to free collective bargaining. You won’t give them the right to refuse?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Again, the member will really find that those fears that may have been expressed by him are not warranted and are unjustified.
Mr. Mackenzie: Have none of them come to you?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: No.
Mr. Bounsall: This inclusion of this entire subsection 2 is certainly, as I explained, unacceptable to me. The determination of imminent jeopardy, as it’s been described, is going to be done by the supervisor of the person who finally is driven to claim a right to refuse. Forget about the jurisprudence that will need to be built up on what imminent jeopardy is which is a long, complicated and costly way of proceeding under this section, for all these workers anyway. Leaving that aside, with the determination being made by the local supervisor, rather than having some reference at least to the senior health and safety inspector in the area, or a director of the health and safety division of the ministry, or one of those people down the line the minister may designate, if that is not what is going to occur -- a situation arises and a top level person informed as to the circumstances under which imminent jeopardy is going to be claimed -- but rather, instead, the supervisor on the situation is going to have the determination of imminent jeopardy, then this is completely unacceptable.
What is going to happen is the administrators in each and all of these areas, faced with this imminent jeopardy situation for the workers under them who would come under this definition, are going to say, “Don’t take any chances”. If there ever is a right to refuse attempted to be exercised, you say, “You can’t, there is imminent jeopardy.” That is what the administrators are going to say, for administrative purposes and simplicity and to avoid taking responsibility upon their shoulders. It is just not acceptable.
If some top level person were making the decision I would feel a bit better about it, but no, it is only going to be the immediate supervisor in charge of the worker who is claiming a right to refuse. That is not acceptable because that person is going to be under a general guideline from the institution in which he works to declare imminent jeopardy in every case.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: The only comment I have is that the member surely is aware the common law really means that the first decision acts as a precedent. That is how all of the law in the English jurisdiction has developed. It is not a new principle. It is an entirely accepted principle which has passed from Commonwealth country to Commonwealth country and it is the same procedure in this country. The first decision acts as a precedent to the meaning or the interpretation of sections. That is what will happen here.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Chairman, what can happen then, according to what the minister says, is that when the hospital administrative association meets in camera they may well say to each other, “Look, let’s interpret this section in a way which is as favourable as possible to us and as unfavourable as possible to workers who are trying to exercise their right to refuse.” Therefore, the early precedents are going to be ones which go against workers and not in favour of workers. This is a pattern we have seen in the treatment of hospital workers in particular across this province in every area.
Why is it that these workers are denied normal collective bargaining rights under the Hospital Labour Disputes Arbitration Act? Why are they singled out by the government in that particular field? How do they feel when they look at this particular section of Bill 70, which tells them that they are to be singled out again?
How do they feel when they are told, “You are not going to be treated like professionals, like people who are proud of what you do and who know what your responsibilities are. Oh, no, we are going to put a special provision in there in order that you may be put into a situation in which you are forced to tolerate an unsafe machine, an unsafe working condition, a condition which could in fact lead to injury or to death because of the decision of a supervisor concerning imminent jeopardy. There is nothing you can do about it, nothing at all”?
Why do hospital workers always have to have that kind of second-class status? Why couldn’t you just agree to take this entire section out and review the experience over the course of the next couple of years to see whether in fact any of the abuses which you seem to fear will actually occur?
I want to say that it is our belief, if the government of this province were to start to treat hospital workers on the same basis as other workers in our economy, as people who have 100 per cent rights and not just marginal rights, they would prove worthy of that trust.
I urge the minister not to proceed in this particular way, but to treat these workers with respect, to withdraw this second-class status and to withdraw this amendment.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I think to suggest that this government or anyone in this Legislature doesn’t have respect and admiration for hospital workers is ill-founded and inappropriate. I come from that world. I have the greatest respect for all the people in that world and these amendments are designed solely for the reason that was said at the outset: public safety and public certainty.
Now, will the member please accept that and not try to suggest that people on any sides of this House don’t have the same respect, admiration and concern for hospital workers? I resent that.
Mr. Bounsall: I have a procedural question to ask the Chairman, if I may at this point. Needless to say, we’re not at all happy with subsection 2 being in this at all and will no doubt vote against its being in the bill. However, however costly it might be and however many days they may have off work and be subject to discipline because they exercise the right to refuse, it might be just marginally better for those groups of correctional service workers who are excluded. I can’t see any difference between them and hospital workers in terms of taking a refusal that might put a person or the public in imminent jeopardy.
I will vote against the clause, but if the clause stays in the bill I would like to move an amendment that would move the correctional institution persons into section 23(2) of the act. I would ask the Chairman’s advice as to how one would proceed in doing that. Does one vote against the section and then introduce the amendment, if that vote is unsuccessful, or should one place the amendment putting correctional institutions into this amendment first before we may inevitably end up voting against the whole section?
Mr. Chairman: Section 23(2) is the amendment before the committee. If you want to amend part of that, I suggest this would be the proper place to place that subamendment.
Mr. Bounsall moves section 23(2) be amended by renumbering paragraph 5 as paragraph 6 and adding a new paragraph 5 as follows: “A correctional institution or facility, training school or centre, detention or observation home or other similar institution, facility, school or home.”
Mr. Sweeney: Unless I missed something, did we not carry subsection 1?
Mr. Chairman: We stacked it.
Mr. Bounsall: Unfortunately, the debate on subsection 1 in terms of the correctional institution clause, which is clause (c) focused mainly on the way in which police and firemen should be included or excluded under this act, rather than dealing with the correctional institutions. If there is a similarity between correctional institution workers and comparing those with police or firemen or with hospital workers or workers in homes for the emotionally disturbed, I would think that those workers in correctional institutions would be very much more like hospital workers.
Whether a right to refuse to work and a consideration of whether another person or the public is endangered by so doing would put them very much more like hospital workers than like the police or fire situation. This amendment at this point would highlight that strong feeling that they are much more like these hospital workers. That’s why I separated it out and included it in this section.
I would ask the minister to perhaps convince me that a correctional institution worker is much more like a policeman and a fireman than he or she is like a psychiatric nurse in a psychiatric hospital. I would think they’re much more like the psychiatric nurse situation than they are like the policeman and fireman. If so, they should be in subsection 2, and not in subsection 1.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I would suggest to the member that obviously he and I don’t agree on this or I wouldn’t have had them in subsection 1. I feel that correctional officers are much closer in their duties and responsibilities to police officers than they are to hospital workers. Therefore. I have no hesitation at all in opposing your amendment and recommending that they remain under subsection 1.
Mr. Cassidy: I have spoken to some people from the public service employees union who are very concerned about this. In fact, I have a letter they have written to the minister on this subject. It is worth noting that the police and firefighters asked for a provision, not of total exclusion from the right to refuse, but simply that the right to refuse be limited when they were at the scene of a fire or of a crime.
The proposal of the member for Windsor-Sandwich, it seems to me, meets the needs of the correctional officers who otherwise don’t have any means of insurance, of enforcing safe working conditions and procedures in the jails across the province. This year in fact, one of the members of OPSEU lost his life because he was forced to work with insufficient backup to perform his job safely.
As the OPSEU points out, “Without the right to refuse we have no means for dealing with this kind of problem. For example, we cannot negotiate an item such as adequate staffing because of prohibitions in the Crown Employees Collective Bargaining Act. On the other hand, we cannot rely on the powers of a safety inspector because he has no regulations or standards to enforce in this area.
“While joint committees are useful to discuss these problems there is nothing to obligate management to rectify a serious hazard. The lack of any suitable means for resolving such burning problems leads to acute frustration among our members and eventual confrontations.”
The minister himself is aware that because of the very difficult conditions for jail officers, it was just a year or so ago that the government had to breach its guidelines and come up with a very large increase in pay in order to help attract people to work at that particular occupation. The turnover there is enormous. One of the reasons the turnover is enormous is because of the kind of medieval working conditions which the government has sought to impose. That’s not this minister’s responsibility, but it seems to me that the request for a qualified right to refuse where life, health and safety is not at stake is surely a reasonable kind of compromise. It is surely better to give correctional officers some rights to enforce the need for safe working procedures than to give none at all.
I want to say as well, Mr. Chairman, that I understood from the contacts that took place that the Liberal Party was prepared to support this particular amendment. I want to just say that I regret the fact that having heard that the minister would not go along, they decided they would not go along either. I think this is an important amendment and it is one which should go through in this House tonight.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I think the member is being unfair when he suggests there is not going to be a significant amount of protection -- and, indeed, a greatly increased degree of protection -- offered to correctional services workers under the new Bill 70. I have gone over that in great detail with regard to coverage, mandatory committees and inspectors beyond the control of the employer. Contrary to what the member for Ottawa Centre says, there will be regulations passed to deal with the work setting. I think it is clear, to me at least, that this situation as we propose it will be a great improvement. I will not support the amendment of the member for Windsor-Sandwich.
Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Elgie has moved an amendment replacing section 23(2). It has been amended by Mr. Bounsall.
All those in favour of Mr. Bounsall’s amendment to the amendment will please say “aye.”
Those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion the nays have it.
Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Elgie has moved an amendment replacing section 23(2).
All those in favour will please say “aye.”
Those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion the ayes have it.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Elgie moves that section 23(3) be struck and the following substituted therefor: “A worker may refuse to work or do particular work where has has reason to believe that,
“(a) any equipment, machine device or thing he is to use or operate is likely to endanger himself or another worker, or
“(b) the physical condition of the work place or the part thereof in which he works or is to work is likely to endanger himself, or
“(c) any equipment machine, device or thing he is to use or operate or the physical condition of the work place or the part thereof in which he works or is to work in contravention of this act or the regulations and such contravention is likely to endanger himself or another worker.”
Mr. O’Neil: I wonder if we could have the minister give us an explanation on the last part of that or some clarification of the last two or three lines and “such contravention is likely to endanger himself or another worker.”
Hon. Mr. Elgie: The reason I felt those additional words were necessary was that in the unlikely circumstance there was a technical breach, for instance supposing a regulation hadn’t been presented properly, there would be a contravention of the act and that’s hardly a case that warrants refusal to do some work.
Mr. Chairman: Any further questions or comments? The member for Hamilton-East.
Mr. Mackenzie: Has the minister given us that key part of that, because I don’t seem to have it?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Do you not have that?
Mr. Mackenzie: No, I don’t, Mr. Minister.
Mr. O’Neil: We were going to propose a section 23(3) and I think what the minister has done is take our amendment and added to that that last section.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: To the member for Hamilton East, I just added the words and “such contravention is likely to endanger himself or another worker,” at the end. I apologize, Mr. Chairman. You have that though, do you?
Mr. Chairman: Yes, I have now. Any further comments?
Mr. Bounsall: We still don’t seem to have any clear amendment over here. Is that an entirely new clause (c)?
Mr. Chairman: Clause (c) has been added and it reads, “any equipment, machine, device or thing he is to use or operate or the physical condition of the work place or the part thereof of which he works or is to work is in contravention of this act or the regulations and such contravention is likely to endanger himself or another worker.”
Mr. Bounsall: Having now seen it, it looks like all three parties in the House are in agreement that this section 23(3) be added. We’ve all got the amendments in the exact area. So it’s certainly acceptable.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I apologize for it.
Mr. Chairman: Shall the amendment carry?
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Elgie moves that section 23(4) be struck and the following substituted therefor: “Upon refusing to work or do particular work, the worker shall promptly report the circumstances of his refusal to his employer or supervisor who shall forthwith investigate the report in the presence of the worker and that there is such in the presence of one of,
“(a) a committee member who represents workers, if any;
“(b) a health and safety representative, if any, or
“(c) a worker who because of his knowledge, experience and training is selected by a trade union that represents the worker or, if there is no trade union, is selected by the workers to represent them,
“and who shall he made available and who shall attend without delay.”
Mr. O’Neil: Mr. Chairman, I, for one, would say that we in the Liberal Party are quite pleased to see this addition that the minister has made. I know there was considerable concern about any delay that might be caused by the safety rep being away or not being able to be brought in, and we’re quite pleased to see this being added.
Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Chairman, I would just like to echo that. We had an amendment that would have taken care of that. It’s a positive move and appreciated.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Elgie moves that section 23(5) of the bill be struck and the following substituted therefor:
“Until the investigation is completed the worker shall remain in a safe place near his work station.”
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Elgie moves that section 23 of the bill be amended by adding the following subsection:
“(6) Where following the investigation or any steps taken to deal with the circumstances that caused the worker to refuse to work or do particular work the worker has reasonable grounds to believe that
“(a) the equipment, machine, device or thing that was the cause of his refusal to work or do particular work continues to be likely to endanger himself or another worker; or
“(b) the physical condition of the work place or the part thereof in which he works continues to be likely to endanger himself, or
“(c) any equipment, machine, device or thing he is to use or operate or the physical condition of the work place or the part thereof in which he works or is to work is in contravention of this act or the regulations and such contravention continues to be likely to endanger another worker,
“the worker may refuse to work or do the particular work and the employer or the worker or a person on behalf of the employer or worker shall cause an inspector to he notified thereof.”
Mr. Bounsall moves that section 23(6) as amended be amended by deleting the words “reasonable grounds” in the third line and substituting therefor “reason.”
Mr. Bounsall: Mr. Chairman, my amendment is the one very important amendment here which we feel very strongly about, dealing with the initial right to refuse.
Subsection 3 says a worker may refuse to do particular work where he has “reason to believe” and so on. When we get down to this subsection, where the health and safety inspector is to be called in, the wording moves from “reason to believe,” as used in subsection 3, to “reasonable grounds to believe.”
If the difference doesn’t mean anything, we should make the wording consistent and have it read as “reason to believe.” If it means anything at all, then it’s a detrimental step backwards, because you move from the feeling in subsection 3 that something is unsafe, which may still persist right into the inspection by the health and safety rep, the health and safety committee person or the union rep under subsection 4, but it moves from there to having to have “reasonable grounds to believe,” which implies there must be some means of proof at that point before one can call the safety inspector.
The feeling that it is unsafe may well exist with the worker, and the feeling that that worker is right may, upon inspecting it, be engendered in the health and safety rep, the health and safety committee person or the union rep, and that should be adequate enough reason for calling in the safety inspector. But we have moved to “reasonable grounds.” In other words, I am very concerned that there must be some readily pointable reason as to why the machine, device or place is unsafe, rather than just the feeling, which is what is implied in simply having reason to believe.
“Reason to believe” may also be backed up by some good, solid substantial facts, but there can be instances where the reason to believe is based more than anything else upon a feeling, which gets communicated to the workers’ health and safety rep.
This section requires that there be grounds. I don’t think it is very helpful to have the health and safety rep feeling leery about a situation, as well as the worker feeling leery about it, because they can’t point to a piece of the act or to the regulations, or they can’t articulate a concrete reason for the grounds for bringing in the safety inspector -- something really concrete, apart from a feeling that it is not safe the way it is.
We shouldn’t have that word “ground?” in there. We should retain the same wording in subsection 6 as we have in subsection 3, “reason to believe,” and not move to “reasonable grounds to believe.”
We went through this whole argument in committee last January, as I recall, and we went back and forth convincing each other all the time as to which way we should go on this.
We should have “reason to believe,” as is in subsection 3, in subsection 6, and not have “grounds” in there. It could be argued that you have to have some definite proof at that point of it being unsafe before you can call the inspector in, and it is the inspector’s job to come in and show that it is safe or to allay those feelings. It can be achieved by reverting to simply “reason to believe,” as I have phrased my amendment, Mr. Chairman.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: The member quite properly referred to the discussions and the bat-ball situation that went on in committee last January. I am sure he will be as surprised as our counsel was dismayed that the bill came out of the committee misprinted.
It was clearly understood and agreed in committee that this was to be acknowledged as a two-stage procedure. The first stage was to be what the member has called the “feeling” stage but which in the act has been called “reason to believe.” The second stage, after the investigation had been completed, was to be an objective test; in other words, there had to be some concrete evidence that the worker, having gone through the investigative process, believed that there remained an unsafe situation.
I would suggest as well that it was an error -- and this has been confirmed by members of my staff who were there -- in the printing of the bill.
I think the member will well recall that it was the general wish of the committee that this two-stage procedure be accepted, and it certainly seems logical to me.
Mr. Bounsall: I am still quite concerned that “reason to believe” is changed to “reasonable grounds to believe.” I was aware that it came out of the committee misprinted. After a couple of weeks I was aware that it came out in a way that was not the way we finally resolved, I think by one vote in committee. I haven’t listened to that portion of the tape since to see how close that vote was, but certainly in committee we batted it back and forth quite some time. Initially, just two or three days afterwards, when I first got the reprinted bill, it didn’t surprise me. In fact, I couldn’t recall that it hadn’t been resolved in the way it came out in the printed form.
It was a close decision all the way around. Members of the committee were not at all sure as to which way to go in this argument.
What if the refusal to work is based more on a feeling than it is on tangible facts which can prove that the thing is unsafe? If your workers are still feeling very unsafe about it; feeling very unsafe about that worksite or that machine; and their health and safety representative isn’t sure whether it is or not; then surely you resolve it by calling in the inspector? Yet, that may not constitute what one would call “grounds.”
The objective test is to bring in the health and safety representative or the union representative to examine it. But what about a situation where that union rep is not sure? The worker feels that it is very unsafe and is worried about it. Management believes it to be safe. The union rep, as the outside third person -- or the safety representative -- can’t make up his mind about it. There may not be very good grounds for calling in the safety inspector. But surely four heads are better than three. It would be better to call in that safety inspector, even though you might not be able to point to grounds, good solid grounds as to why that situation is felt to be unsafe.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I can just reiterate our feeling that this two-step procedure, with the first being on a subjective or feeling basis, and the second requiring more objective evidence, is a realistic approach to it.
I also would remind the member that under section 24(5) on an inquiry by the Ontario Labour Relations Board into such a complaint, the onus rests on the employer to prove that it was a safe condition. The burden still rests on the employer, even though the second step requires a certain amount of objective evidence. I hope the member will agree that that is a fair situation.
Mr. Bounsall: I’m close to being convinced, but not quite.
Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Elgie has moved an amendment. Mr. Bounsall has moved an amendment to the amendment.
All those in favour of the amendment to the amendment will please say “aye.”
Those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion the nays have it.
Mr. Chairman: All those in favour of Hon. Mr. Elgie’s amendment will please say “aye.”
Those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion the ayes have it.
Motion agreed to.
Section 23(6) carried.
On section 23(7):
Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Elgie moves that subsections 6 to 11 of the said section 23 of the original bill be renumbered as subsections 7 to 12; and that the internal references to subsections 2 and 6 be amended to be references to subsections 4 and 7 respectively.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Those are all the amendments I have to section 23.
Mr. O’Neil: We have section 13. Would the number be changed on that? That’s the frivolous --
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I have completed my amendments to section 23.
Sections 23(7) to 23(10), inclusive, carried.
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Bounsall moves that section 23(11) be amended by deleting the words “unless the worker to be so assigned has been advised of the refusal of another worker and the reason therefor.”
Mr. Bounsall: Mr. Chairman, this is an amendment about which we in this party feel very strongly. That is, asking another worker, when a right to refuse has been exercised, to come in and perform the duties that have been refused. It is important that another worker not be asked to do that job because of the circumstances pertaining in the work place for those few public sector workers who are still allowed the right to refuse and there are very few of them. The majority has been cut out by the amendments to sections one and two of this act. But regarding those few groups of workers to whom the right to refuse still pertains; what will happen is that all those workers on contract will be asked to perform duties refused by one of their fellow workers -- many of them in the public service. So, usually, they can turn to a whole host of people in any one of their departments who are on contract, and say, “Do it.”
All right, When that happens, of course, and if they try to exercise the right to refuse they know not only that the contract will not be renewed, but that it can, in fact, be terminated on the spot, as has occurred in instances in this province. Not over the right to refuse, but simply at the whim of the particular person in charge of that area of the public service. I know of one instance where for no particularly good reason the terms of a contract were not even lived up to.
Or with the probationary period of one year in the public service, any probationary person can be asked to do the work which has been refused. That worker would feel quite intimidated by that request and obliged to do the work. Because the worker would be afraid of not surviving through the probationary period. The probationary period argument, of course, applies to anybody in any industrial or mining establishment in the province of Ontario.
It’s for that reason that we want subsection 11 to read very clearly that pending the investigation and decision of the inspector, no worker shall be assigned to use or operate the equipment, machine, device or thing that has generated a work refusal. There have been too many past instances in this province, under previous legislation, where workers have refused to work under unsafe conditions and then the replacement worker has been killed or injured very severely.
I refer to a very well known 1968 case, Kerry Sixe the one back in 1968 who refused to work in a mine chute because of the existing water conditions. He was told to continue working or go home. He picked up his lunch pail and went home and the worker who replaced him, Mr. Polowich, was dead in 20 minutes. Twenty minutes later, there was a cave-in.
It is interesting to note, following up that case, that the shift boss who gave the order wasn’t even found negligent. However, that’s the kind of thing that can happen. An inexperienced worker can be ordered to replace the worker who exercised the right to refuse, under this section. If that replacement worker happens to be on contract or a probationary basis, he is going to feel very strongly that he must do it, or that’s the end of his job, period.
That’s what’s going to happen in this province. There should be absolutely no right to ask another worker, of any kind, to do a job which has been refused and while the safety inspector is on his way, and pending the decision of that safety inspector. We were told in no uncertain terms when we were at the committee stage of this bill last January, that in most centres in Ontario, the health and safety inspectors from any of the divisions would likely be on site within a couple of hours, certainly within the day. The longest length of time that would be required for a health and safety inspector to arrive at a work place, to investigate a right to refuse, would be into the next day and those situations would be in the ease of the mining inspectors in northern Ontario who would have some distance to travel.
In southern Ontario, the situation would invariably be that day and usually within two hours. In the mines in the north, at most it would be into the next day before an inspector could get there. That’s not too long to wait with no one performing that job if it means that the person performing that job is going to end up dead or injured because of his feeling that he couldn’t refuse to take the job because of his particular circumstances.
There are other examples of it as well. A miner at Inco in 1973, with 21 years of service was asked to remove a large particular chunk of material in a particular ore pass. He refused. A worker of 31 days’ service with a probationary period of 45 days was asked to do the job. He felt, no doubt, having worked only 31 days of his 45-day probationary period he had to do it. He was buried by the muck and one and a half days later he was dead. The funeral took place six days later, over the very spot that the refusal was exercised by the miner of 21 years’ service who knew what he was talking about when he refused to remove that particular large chunk of material in the ore pass. He knew that the removal of one that size would result in serious and hazardous safety problems.
I recall back in 1972 or 1973 in the coke ovens in Stelco in Hamilton, a worker refused to work in a given location. I forget the person’s name now, I didn’t look it up but it’s clearly outlined in the estimates of the Ministry of Labour two years running. He refused to work at a given location because of what he felt was an unsafe grating situation. He exercised a right to refuse and was disciplined subsequently and the case ran on for ever in terms of the resolution; it ran on for months. But the worker who replaced him lost four fingers of one hand in the exact way that worker from Stelco said the site was unsafe.
There should not be any right for another worker to be asked to fill in, in a job which has been deemed to be unsafe by the worker in co-operation with his health and safety committee rep or his union rep while they are waiting for an inspector to come in and issue the work order or indicate that the situation is safe. The person who invariably will be asked is the contract worker in the public service and the probationary worker in both public and private employ. None of them is going to feel he’s in a position to turn it down. We should state quite clearly, as this amendment would do, that no worker can be assigned to work on that machine, device or to work in the workroom. My amendment achieves that and I would hope that there would be support for that position from other members in this House, apart from those in our own party.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I had heard one of the tragic stories the member reported from a friend of mine. I would also remind him that subsection 11 as we have proposed it was not in effect at that time either. I would also point out to him -- and I hope he accepts this remark of mine -- that under the proposed subsection 11 the worker has to be advised of the refusal of another worker and has to be given the reason therefor.
That, taken in conjunction with 24(1)(d), which requires that no employer shall intimidate or coerce a worker, in my view puts the second worker almost in a better position vis-à-vis the situation than the first worker was in. I hope the member will see that there is some logic in that, because I think it’s a fair statement; he certainly is in no worse a position and he may even be in a better position. That worker having been told that another worker has refused to work and having been given the mason for that refusal, I have every faith the tragic situations you referred to would not have occurred at this time.
Mr. Bounsall: The only problem with this is that if that worker that’s asked is a probationary worker, even if -- and I’m quite aware of what’s in the act -- he’s been advised of the refusal by another and the reasons therefor, but none the less is asked to go in and do it, if he is a probationary worker he either does it or he knows he’s gone tomorrow or won’t make his probationary period. When the end of the probationary period comes up -- they may not phrase it in terms of his refusal to do the job under subsection 11 if that’s what he’s done; they can find other reasons -- he just won’t he there beyond his probationary period. That’s the kind of intimidation that will take place. This is the person were trying to protect.
I know full well that in those work places that have health and safety reps and union reps the word will go out in a very organized way that none, but none, of those who are beyond their probationary period and full members of a union are to do the work where there’s been a right to refuse. It’s going to be particularly strong in the construction industry. Not that they’ve had many rights to refuse exercised in the construction industry, but where that right is there the unions will ensure that an awareness campaign takes place so that their workers never take the work of someone who has exercised a right to refuse.
But there’s no protection for the probationary person and that probationary person knows. Sure he can be informed that there’s been a right to refuse. Sure he’ll be given the reasons therefor. But management is asking him to do it because they still think it’s safe and by that very asking they’re refuting the reasons for refusal given by his fellow worker. He knows he’s going to have to take it or look for another job, because he won’t make it past the end of his probationary period. That’s one heck of a position in which to put probationary and contract workers in this province.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I have only one comment and that is that although I may appreciate some of the concerns expressed by the member for Windsor-Sandwich I would have had the same concerns in the first situation where that person could have been a probationer. Surely if the first worker who refused to work had been a probationer, why shouldn’t the same concerns be expressed as you’re expressing about the second?
I think we all have the same concerns about workers, but my point to you is that I think the second worker is in exactly the same position, or better, than the first. With regard to your argument that the second man might be a probationer and be coerced into it for fear of losing his job, well, so could the first man.
For those reasons I would suggest that section 11 as we propose it probably puts the second worker in a better position, because at least he is aware of someone else’s refusal and the reason therefor. The first man didn’t have that chance, If that first man was a probationary person, then he was at greater hazard, in my submission, than this second person, should he be a probationer.
Mr. Bounsall: I don’t want to prolong the debate here except to say that maybe each year when we come to the occupational health and safety part of the estimates, the first question we’ll ask of the directors of each of the operational divisions is how many of the rights to refuse exercised under their jurisdiction were exercised by, in the first instance, a probationary worker. I wonder if they have those statistics now, and if there are any such instances.
But sure, what the minister was saying about the probationary worker being asked, and about the second worker, applies equally to his right to refuse in the first place. I am willing to bet right now that of those -- what is it? -- 160-something rights to refuse under Bill 139 that were exercised to the extent of bringing in the safety inspector not one of them involved a probationary worker. Each year we will ask how many of those first rights to refuse were exercised by a probationary worker in a unionized plant.
In a non-unionized area where no one is organized, in the initial instance you may get the odd person exercise the right to refuse, because the whole situation there is not as cut and dried as it is in a unionized shop. But I bet there has not been a right to refuse in the first instance exercised under Bill 139 by a probationary worker because, again, they know full well that if they do something like that, they are gone. But it applies equally to them both.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I have no further comments, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman: Shall Mr. Bounsall’s amendment carry?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: No, I oppose that.
Mr. Chairman: All those in favour will please say “aye.”
All those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion the nays have it.
Mr. Bounsall: Having lost that one, I have a further amendment to section 23(11). Has the minister got that one? I may not have sent that one over, and the Chairman may not have it. It is one of these fall-back positions in which we strengthen the section 23(11).
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Bounsall moves that section 28(11) be amended by deleting all the words after “worker” in the final line and substituting therefor “in the presence of the person mentioned in clause (a), (b) or (c) of subsection 4, the reason therefor and be advised of his right to refuse under this section.”
Mr. Bounsall: If the ministry insists that workers, even probationary ones and those under contract, can be asked to replace a worker who has exercised his right to refuse, we should make the situation for that worker who is being asked just as powerful as possible and as complete as possible.
Under the present subsection 11 he has to be advised of the right of refusal and the reasons thereof. To those two things we have added that he must be advised of the refusal by another worker and that that advice take place in the presence of those persons mentioned in (a), (b), (c) of subsection 4, which means the committee person, the health and safety rep or the union rep. It must take place in their presence. They must ensure that it takes place, and that the reasons are given, which is already in the bill, and that he be advised of his rights to refuse under this section, lest that probationary worker, which in most cases it will be, does not know of his full rights under this right to refuse section.
So it adds the two things over and above what’s in there: that he be strongly advised of his rights under the section; and that that takes place in the presence of the occupational health and safety representative, committee person, or union representative -- that the asking of it just not be by the management of the plant.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Chairman, I would only review what I’ve said before. I honestly feel that section 11, as we have proposed it, already puts the second worker in a far better position than the first worker was. He knows that there’s been a refusal. He’s been given the reason for the refusal and that was an advantage that the first worker, who might have been a probationary worker, didn’t have. I submit that this amendment is quite unnecessary.
Mr. Chairman: Are there any further questions or comments?
All those in favour of Mr. Bounsall’s amendment to section 23(11) will please say aye.
All those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion the nays have it.
Mr. O’Neil: Mr. Chairman, I want to make a comment on section 23. I raised a question a minute ago concerning subsection 13 and the minister mentioned that he didn’t oppose the amendments.
We, in the Liberal Party, are very pleased to see that section 23(13) was removed from the bill, because I know we’ve had representations made to us by both people in the labour movement and also in business that they thought the use of the word “frivolous” was redundant and we’re very pleased to see that that has been removed.
Mr. Chairman: I would like to advise the member that there is no section 23(13) in the bill. Section 24?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Chairman, before we go on, I assume that we have passed subsection 12 as well?
Mr. Chairman: Yes. Shall subsection 12 stand as part of the bill?
Section 24(12) carried.
Mr. Bounsall: Yes, I just wanted to make sure that the reason I haven’t seen it is because it isn’t here. The frivolous conduct subsection is still in the amendments I have from the ministry. You have not proposed it, is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I did not introduce it.
Mr. Bounsall: Fine. Again, that’s a positive step forward by the ministry. There would have been all kinds of problems with that section if it had been introduced.
I have an additional subsection to add to section 23 of the bill, a new subsection 13.
Mr. Chairman: Subsection 13? Would it be possible to get a copy of that amendment? I don’t have one.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Is that the same amendment that was given to me in the package yesterday?
Mr. Chairman: The table has not received one.
Mr. Bounsall moves that a new section 23(13) be added as follows:
“(13) A worker exercising his right to refuse under section 23 shall be paid by his employer at his regular or premium rate as is proper pending the decision of the inspector under subsection 9.”
Mr. Bounsall: Mr. Chairman, I’m still concerned with the fact there is no clear statement here that the worker who has exercised a right to refuse will in fact receive normal remuneration pending the decision of the inspector. Under subsection 10 of the bill, pending the investigation and decision of the inspector, the worker remains at a safe place and may be assigned reasonable alternate work.
If there is no reasonable alternate work or it’s not practical to assign such work to that worker, other directions can be given to the worker. Those other directions may well be, “Go home. There is no other practical work we can assign you pending the arrival and then the decision of the inspector, therefore go home.” There is nothing clearly in this section that indicates, unambiguously, that he will receive his pay whether he is at another work place at that company or sent home pending the arrival and the decision of that inspector. That makes me very nervous. This must be made clear if this bill is to have any force and effect at all in badly unsafe situations where a worker feels strongly he should have the right to refuse, If it becomes fairly clear or well known from other precedents that his refusal will result in no pay at all until the inspector has come in and made his decision, he is going to think two or three times, say at this time of year with Christmas approaching, of exercising what should be a right to refuse to work in those unsafe and unhealthy conditions as he sees them.
The bill indicates that he can be assigned other work, but we must very clearly put in the bill, that if he is told to go home, he is paid until the decision is rendered by the inspector. That’s all this amendment does. It makes it very clear that payment to the worker who exercised the right will be made until there is a final decision from the inspector. Anything less and we’re severely limiting the ability of the worker to take action by way of a right to refuse to work in an unsafe or an unhealthy situation. They just won’t do it. If they have a large family or other obligations, the financial squeeze is going to be a consideration and it may be too much to allow them to legitimately take the safety precautions they should be taking, for themselves and perhaps other workers.
This amendment guaranteeing that payment will be received will, without question, make it very clear there is no monetary loss in trying to achieve one’s health and safety rights under this hill.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I have to oppose this amendment. The situation as it is now is very clear and very satisfactory. That is, if a worker who exercises his right to refuse to work is found to be correct, then he is paid. If he is found to be wrong, then he is not paid for that period of time. That’s part of the whole process that has to be accepted in this bill.
Mr. Chairman: Is the committee ready for the question?
All those in favour of Mr. Bounsall’s amendment to section 23, will please say aye.
Those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion the nays have it.
On section 24:
Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Elgie moves that section 24 of the bill be amended by adding thereto the following subsection:
“(8) Notwithstanding subsection 2, a person who is subject to a rule or code of discipline under the Police Act, shall have his complaint in relation to an alleged contravention of subsection 1 dealt with under that act.”
Hon. Mr. Elgie: A person subject to a rule or code under the Police Act is subject to a code of discipline which is quite explicit and quite detailed in all its areas. The Police Act provides procedures for settling disputes respecting neglect of duty as a disciplinary offence. The matter is heard in the first instance by a person appointed by the chief of police. From this decision, there is a review by the chief of police who can reverse or confirm or mitigate any disciplinary action. There is then a right of appeal to the board of police commissioners, or if there is no such board a county court judge or provincial court judge. There is also the final right to have the matter reviewed before the Supreme Court upon a judicial review.
I therefore submit that the procedure available within the Police Act is a most appropriate area to deal with discipline.
Motion agreed to.
Section 24, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 25 to 36, inclusive, agreed to.
On section 37:
Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Elgie moves that subsection 2 of section 37 of the bill be struck out and that the following be substituted therefor: “(2) On a prosecution for failure to comply with
“(a) subsection 1 of section 13,
“(b) clause (b), (c) or (d) of subsection 1 of section 14, or
“(c) subsection 1 of section 16,
“it shall be a defence for the accused to prove that every precaution reasonable in the circumstances was taken.”
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I reviewed the question of strict liability in great detail earlier on and I trust the members recall that.
Mr. Bounsall: I have an amendment to this amendment, Mr. Chairman. I believe you have it at the table.
Mr. Chairman: I do not see it.
Mr. Bounsall: It is to be amended 37(2).
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Bounsall moves that section 37(2) as proposed in the amendment be deleted and the following substituted therefor: “On a prosecution for failure to comply with this act or the regulations, the burden of proof that any employer, employer’s organization, constructor or supervisor did not act contrary to this act or regulation lies upon the employer, employer’s organization, constructor or supervisor.”
Mr. Bounsall: We need not go on with this at very great length except to say that this wording pertains to the Labour Relations Act with respect to liability. That section has served very well in the Labour Relations Act and should be carried over directly into this act.
I am very dissatisfied with the phrase in the bill that it will be a defence that every precaution reasonable in the circumstances was taken. That can mean almost anything with respect to the type of defence which will be put up. Every employer being prosecuted for an offence under this act will claim that every precaution reasonable was taken. That is just not acceptable. The same burden of proof, and the same wording in fact that is in the Labour Relations Act, is what I propose in this amendment and it does put further strict liability where it belongs.
I might say that this follows the general practice in other health and safety acts. The British act does it this way under the codes of practice: “Regulations will be supplemented by approved codes of practice which will have a special legal status. They will not be statutory requirements but they may be used in criminal proceedings as evidence that statutory requirements have not been contravened.”
In essence, this is saying the same thing in other words in imposing a strict liability, as has been attempted by this amendment.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: First of all, Mr. Chairman, I would like to clarify one matter. What the member for Windsor-Sandwich is referring to with regard to the Ontario Labour Relations Act really has no relevance to this section, because this would be a charge in the criminal court. Such a proposition as the one he proposes would be highly unusual in the criminal court.
I must sincerely stress the situation with regard to strict liability, as I did earlier on. Let me just record this once again: Absolute or strict liability requires that the person be convicted by proving merely that the accused committed the act prohibited. There is no need to have a mental element involved, and it is no defence that the accused was entirely without fault. He may be morally innocent, yet he is convicted and punished as if he had done a wrongful act.
Surely if a person is taking all reasonable precautions, why should he take every precaution, knowing that no matter how much care he takes he still cannot defend himself? I ask members to reject the member for Windsor-Sandwich’s amendment and support my amendment.
Mr. Chairman: All those in favour of Mr. Bounsall’s amendment to the amendment will please say “aye.”
Those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion the nays have it.
Amendment to the amendment stacked.
Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Elgie moves that section 37 be amended by adding thereto the following subsection:
“(3) In a prosecution of an offence under any provision of this act, any act or neglect on the part of any manager, agent, representative, officer, director, or supervisor of the accused, whether a corporation or not, shall be the act or neglect of the accused.”
Motion agreed to.
Section 38 agreed to.
On section 39:
Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Elgie moves that section 39 of the bill be amended by striking out “a justice of the peace or a provincial court judge of’ in the third and fourth lines and by striking out “(criminal division)” in the fourth line.
Motion agreed to.
Section 39, as amended, agreed to.
Section 40 agreed to.
On section 41:
Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Elgie moves that paragraphs 1 to 39 of subsection 2 of section 41 of the bill be struck out and the following substituted therefor:
“1. defining any word or expression used in this act or the regulations that is not defined in this act;
“2. designating or defining any industry, work place, employer or class of work places or employers for the purposes of this act, a part of this act, or the regulations or any provision thereof;
“3. exempting any work place, industry, activity, business, work, trade, occupation, profession, constructor, employer or any class thereof from the application of a regulation or any provision thereof;
“4. limiting or restricting the application of a regulation or any provision thereof to any work place, industry, activity, business, work, trade, occupation, profession, constructor, employer or any class thereof;
“5. respecting any matter or thing that is required or permitted to be regulated or prescribed under this act;
“6. respecting any matter or thing where a provision of this act requires that the matter or thing be done, used or carried out or provided as prescribed;
“7. respecting any matter or thing where it is a condition precedent that a regulation be made prescribing the matter or thing before this act or a provision of this act has any effect;
“8. providing for and prescribing fees and the payment or refund of fees;
“9. regulating or prohibiting the installation or use of any machine, device or thing or any class thereof;
“10. requiring that any equipment, machine, device, article or thing used bear the seal of approval of an organization designated by the regulations to test and approve the equipment, machine, device, article or thing and designating organizations for such purposes;
“11. respecting the reporting by physicians and others of workers affected by any biological, chemical or physical agents or combination thereof;
“12. regulating or prohibiting atmospheric conditions to which any worker may be exposed in a work place;
“13. prescribing methods, standards or procedures for determining the amount, concentration or level of any atmospheric condition or any biological, chemical or physical agent or combination thereof in a work place;
“14. prescribing any biological, chemical or physical agent or combination thereof as a designated substance;
“15. prohibiting, regulating, restricting, limiting or controlling the handling of, exposure to or the use and disposal of any designated substance;
“16. adopting by reference, in whole or in part, with such changes as the Lieutenant Governor in Council considers necessary any code or standard and requiring compliance with any code or standard that is so adopted.
“17. adopting by reference any criteria or guide in relation to the exposure of a worker to any biological, chemical or physical agent or combination thereof;
“18. enabling the director by notice in writing to designate that any part of a project shall be an individual project for the purposes of this act and the regulations and prescribing to whom notice shall be given;
“19. permitting the minister to approve laboratories for the purpose of carrying out and performing sampling, analyses, tests and examinations and requiring the sampling, analyses, examinations and tests be carried out and performed by a laboratory approved by the minister;
“20. requiring and providing for the registration of employers of workers;
“21. providing for the establishment of equipment, operation and maintenance of mine rescue stations as the minister may direct, and providing for the payment of the cost thereof and the recovery of such costs from the mining industry;
“22. prescribing forms and notices and providing for their use; and
“23. prescribing building standards for industrial establishments.”
Motion agreed to.
Section 41, as amended, agreed to.
On section 42:
Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Elgie moves that paragraph 5 of section 42 be struck out and the following substituted therefor:
“5. Part IX of the Mining Act, being chapter 274 of the Revised Statutes of Ontario, 1970, except sections 176, 611 and 616.”
Motion agreed to.
Section 42, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 43 and 44 agreed to.
Mr. Chairman: I would like to inform the members of the committee that the dining room will be open until 8:30.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Welch, the committee of the whole House reported progress.
STANDING PROCEDURAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE
Resuming the adjourned debate on the motion for adoption of the December 11 report of the standing procedural affairs committee (re standing orders of the House).
Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, we are going to use a form of debate this evening which is perhaps a little different, but which, we understand, is in order. We have tabled a report to the House and adjourned the debate on that. We are resuming that now. We have also attempted to have printed on the order paper, any amendments which might be considered this evening. I have two small amendments which I will move after I make my remarks, if that is considered desirable. I believe we may have one other amendment which may be proposed this evening.
I want to acknowledge the work that has been put into this review of the standing orders of the House. It has been done by a great many people. It was begun some time ago. It has been reviewed by a commission of people outside of the House and has had some discussion by the Morrow committee. A committee report tabled in the House has been under consideration by the members of this House for better than a year now and has more directly been examined by the procedural affairs committee. I want to recognize the work that was done in providing a revised draft form of the standing orders for the committee by the Clerk of the House. There was a monumental job done during the course of the summer by the Clerk in preparing these new standing orders.
We are reasonably pleased as a committee that we have looked at alternatives. We have looked at suggestions from various members on new forms of procedures and new standing orders. We took those matters under consideration. We tried to provide to the members of this House the broadest possible opportunity to inform the committee of difficulties that they were having with the standing orders and of areas where they felt there was a need to revise those, including suggestions, in the form of amendments, even, that they wanted to have the committee consider. As chairman of the committee, I’m certainly satisfied we at last heard all of those arguments and provided an opportunity for the members of this House to debate it.
I would say that the new standing orders that we are proposing in this resolution this evening are not intended to be the ultimate goal. I don’t believe that any Parliament will ever operate with the perfect set of standing orders, nor would I propose that that is even desirable. I would think that the conditions of the Parliament of the day would change somewhat and the makeup of the House would change somewhat. In this House we have had some alteration in the size of the Parliament, so that there will be different circumstances continually evolving as Parliaments attempt to go about the job that a Parliament has to do.
There are some definite changes in this report --
Mr. Breaugh: One of the first things members could do with regard to standing orders is to attempt to provide that in any Parliament a member has a right to be heard. If members want to engage in irrelevant exchanges there is the hallway, the bar and the front yard, but in this House it’s most sensible to continue with the debate; that wouldn’t be a bad idea for most of the members of this House to consider.
Mr. Speaker: I thank the honourable member for those comments.
Mr. Breaugh: If I might add a small note, I recognize that there are certainly problems with members on all sides in terms of understanding the rules of the House and the rules of debate that apply here. In this House, I think there is a considerable amount of work to be done in terms of putting together the precedents of the House, which in every Parliament is considered to be foremost, and in providing that the standing orders can be understood and used by each and every member of the House.
One of the things I regret about this House is that so few members are familiar with and able to operate under the standing orders. I recognize that it isn’t the most exciting piece of business for a member to sit down and read the standing orders and I recognize that it’s not always the newsiest thing to do, but I do feel there does need to be some order and that the members have to agree on the form and format of their debate. I think that’s important enough to warrant at least some further consideration on the part of the committee.
As I said previously, we did look at a number of areas where I suggest there is no agreement. We looked at the matter of committees. There has been considerable discussion on all sides of the House as to precisely where we will go with the committee system in this Parliament. It was discussed by the members of the committee.
We feel there is a need to continue that discussion. We have not been able to arrive at a consensus on precisely what, if any, alterations to the terms of reference ought to be made to the powers of committee. In fact, we have suggested some alterations in the standing orders providing for the current practice of taking committees and dividing them up into sub-subcommittees, thereby attempting to broaden somewhat the ability of a committee to hear delegations and to meet in different parts of the province on different issues. We have attempted to recognize that.
Where we could get consensus, we put that into our new proposed standing orders. It is clear, though, that not all the problems in that regard have been satisfied. We will continue, in between the sessions of this Parliament and in the spring session of the Parliament, to deliberate on that and other matters.
The matter of privilege, which has been raised again in this House during the course of this session, is one that we are not convinced is as clear as it should be either in the standing orders or in the Legislative Assembly Act of Ontario. We think that too requires further consideration on the part of the committee.
We would like to put to the members of this House the opportunity to continue to use the procedural affairs committee as a vehicle for trying on new ideas, for resolving problems that fall between the standing orders of the House. We think it is useful to have a standing committee of this House continue to function in that regard, although not always in a formal way. We would like to put that to the House as well.
We think there is room for the procedural affairs committee to act on occasion without having the matter formally referred to it by the House, and we recognize that Mr. Speaker on occasion has referred matters to the committee.
We looked at some things where, frankly, we could gather no real consensus in terms of writing into the standing orders such things as the question period, where we are leaving relatively alone the provisional standing orders, which have lasted us through the last year or so.
It became apparent to the members of the committee that you cannot always write a set of rules which apply. More important than that, there is a need to have an intent on the part of the members to function in a certain way. It may point out that there is a need to have some of the formal organizations of this House address themselves to this kind of a problem. For example, this may well be an occasion where the vehicle that has been set up in this House and known as the Speaker’s panel might continue its deliberations in that regard to see if a consensus can be formed among the members in this House as to what alterations might be made without substantially altering the standing orders.
There are a couple of other matters which might well fall into that category. There is a need, I think, to have a number of matters put before us. We do have a tradition in this House, for example, of allowing appeals to the Speaker’s rulings. That is not the tradition in many other Parliaments. In our committee, we went through that rather thoroughly over a rather lengthy period of time and decided we were not prepared to amend that particular standing order. That may well be something that should be the basis of continuing discussion in the procedural affairs committee and perhaps at the Speaker’s panel.
There are a great many matters that we thought about, argued about and discussed; I think that will be an ongoing thing, and at least in my opinion there ought to be an ongoing discussion by members of this House in the procedural affairs committee, in their private caucuses, at the Speaker’s panel and at the House leader’s meetings.
The major concern I have is that the standing orders of this House are not written for the pleasure of any individual member of the House, the House leaders or any particular party. They are written so that individual members of the House can understand how things ought to be done.
So that the members can become familiar with the standing orders, we are suggesting that there may well be a need to put together, in some form, some information that is gathered and known by a select few around this House but not widely known by all members. The precedents from the Speaker’s rulings in the House, or the chairman’s ruling in committees, is a matter that is not widely known by all members. We are attempting to find some means whereby other members of the House can share in that knowledge. The matter of putting together some kind of informal manual for members that might be of some further assistance to them, other than the standing orders, is one that has been considered.
There are a number of ongoing considerations of the standing orders that we feel will eventually lead us to a better understanding of the rules of the House and, we think, to more efficient and effective debate in the House. That, of course, is our ultimate goal: to provide the rules which allow individual members of this House to participate fully in the debates that occur here, and to see that the rules of the game that are provided for in our standing orders are fair, effective and efficient and not necessarily very cumbersome at all.
We did arrive at a consensus, and we have presented recommendations to this House in the form of a new set of standing orders. This is the kind of task that is not going to happen regularly. We hope there will be a regular review of those standing orders. The terms of reference for our committee provides for us to continue that. What we are suggesting is that it be done not only by our committee, but also by a number of other people and committees of this Legislature.
We did have some difficulty in getting to the point where we were prepared to recommend a new set of standing orders to the House for its consideration. We admit that we were a little rushed in the last few days of the committee’s deliberations to put together a report which, in our view, reflected the consensus that was arrived at.
Frankly, throughout all of our deliberations in the spring, during our summer hearings and in the fall session of this House, we searched for a consensus among our own members. We think that consensus reflects fairly accurately the feeling of all parties in this House and of most of the members.
I do apologize in one sense to those members who brought before us very legitimate concerns for which we do not have a specific answer at this moment in time. We make no pretence that we know all there is to know about anybody’s standing orders. We have suggested to the House on a number of occasions that it would do the members of this House considerable good to become more familiar with the way that other Parliaments operate and to check out other jurisdictions on a reasonably regular basis.
Mr. Nixon: What’s the best way to do that?
Mr. Breaugh: I think by mail, except that Canada Post causes us a few problems.
There are other jurisdictions experiencing similar difficulties with their standing orders. I think we should be aware that the standing orders and the way that the rules are applied in this House are rather widely respected among other Parliaments in the world. In fact, this is one Parliament which at least has been active in looking at the problems involved in standing orders and which has sometimes shown a real eagerness to accept change and to see that the rules of this Parliament reflect the needs of the members. That, in my view, is the basic purpose of anyone’s standing orders.
A number of members of the committee are rather distinguished in this House; a former Speaker now sits on the committee. A number of us have had the opportunity to visit other jurisdictions and to see how they function. It is my personal opinion that the rules in this House are as good as any in any Parliament in the world and that in fact they serve the needs of the members. I do not mean to suggest for an instant that they are perfect or that there is not a great deal of work to do. But I do feel that, through the kind co-operation of the Clerk’s office and as the result of the efforts of the staff and the members of the committee and of members of all parties in this House, we have arrived at a good and workable consensus which we are presenting for the members’ consideration this evening. Further problems will be investigated and, I think, resolved by the same consensus-making operation that we have used successfully to date.
As I said, there was some difficulty in putting together this report, and I want to point out that I do have some amendments that reflect that. In fact, in some cases there are some typographical errors. There are others where, on a fine reading of the printed report, we were made aware that some things we had discussed and considered in committee did not find their way into that printed form. If it is the pleasure of the chair, I would like to read those amendments into the record now.
The first two are rather non-contentious matters. In order 99(a) I will move to insert the words “Clerk Assistants” after the words “First Clerk Assistant” and in 99(b) I will move to add thereto the following words: “and in the absence of both the Clerk and the First Clerk Assistant their duties shall be performed by the Clerk Assistants.”
Mr. T. P. Reid: Oh, we can’t go for that.
Mr. Breaugh: A most contentious issue!
I would also like to point out that there are three matters on the order paper, which all members have read faithfully I know, regarding amendments to be put this evening. I would like to move those now.
Mr. Speaker: Mr. Breaugh moves that the report of the standing procedural affairs committee re the standing orders of the House be amended by adding thereto the following words in order 80(d) “approximately” in the sixth line before the words “date that the information will be available.”
Mr. Breaugh further moves that the report of the standing procedural affairs committee on sessional paper 273 re the standing orders of the House be amended by adding thereto the following: “That at the end of part I, regulation and management of the House, the following standing order be added: The government House leader shall announce the date upon which the assembly will be reconvened prior to the adjournment for recess.”
Mr. Breaugh: There are two other motions, one standing on the Order Paper in the name of the member for Wilson Heights (Mr. Rotenberg) and another one that I believe will be moved later on by the member for Essex North (Mr. Ruston), also a member of the committee. We shall put the latter to the House for consideration later this evening.
Mr. Pope: I rise to bring the attention of the House to an announcement of great importance and interest to all members. We now have a new member from the riding of Sault Ste. Marie, Mr. Russell Ramsay. With 170 of 188 polls reporting, the votes are: Liberals, 4,294; New Democratic Party 9,400; the Progressive Conservative Party -- Mr. Ramsay -- 15,455.
Mr. Ashe: A clear majority.
Mr. Pope: I would just say that your leader should not announce any more plans to travel to Sault Ste. Marie because they won’t do him any good.
I just know that all the members of this House would like to welcome the newest member-elect from the riding of Sault Ste. Marie, Mr. Russell Ramsay. Quite frankly, Mr. Speaker, I consider this to be a ringing endorsement of the Progressive Conservative policies for Ontario, and in northeastern Ontario particularly.
Mr. Roy: We are the only ones who got an increased vote.
Mr. Speaker: Is there a member from the Liberal Party who would like to speak? We have already heard from the Conservatives.
Mr. T. P. Reid: In rising to speak on the report of the standing procedural affairs committee, I must say I have one slight reservation in talking about this tonight because the report was only tabled two days before. I don’t think in the rush of finishing up other business of the House, that the report is getting the attention in fact that it deserves.
I might say I think the committee has done a fine job in bringing this ‘before the House at this time. In my time here, I think this is the third, fourth, or perhaps even fifth study of the rules of the Legislature.
Mr. Nixon: I think you wrote the new prayer, didn’t you, “using power wisely and well?”
Mr. T. P. Reid: Yes, it was the 10 commandments I wrote, Robert.
I am glad to see the committee saw fit to include the recommendation from the standing public accounts committee. This will allow the committee to be struck for the life of the Parliament. I think this is a very important step forward to provide the continuity to that particular committee, which is relatively esoteric in the workings of this House in that the members gain knowledge of what is involved.
I have just a few small comments for the chairman to consider as well as other members of the committee present. Under rule 31 of the standing orders, it states, in section c: “On the introduction of a government bill, a compendium of background information shall be delivered to the opposition critics.” This was in the old standing orders, but in fact was honoured more in the breach than in any other way.
However the point I wish to make, if I can find it, is on rule 47, page 22 of the report. It states: “Before a minister’s estimates are considered, he should provide advance briefing material to the opposition critics in a format to be determined by him ... ”, et cetera.
It seems to me if we’re going to require under section 31 that a compendium of information be provided to the opposition critics, the same kind of information should be required in the estimates. I would suggest that in section 47 “should” be changed to “shall,” so that ministers will be required under the standing orders to provide that kind of briefing material which some of them now do and some of them don’t.
The other small matter I wish to comment on is the fact that there are 420 hours in which to do the estimates of the province. I’m of the opinion at this particular moment in time that we don’t need 420 hours. That is too much time. Perhaps the estimates would be dealt with much more efficiently and regularly if we had only half as much time.
We’ve found that when people are restricted they tend to tighten up their speechmaking, if I might put it that way, to restrict their comments instead of covering not only the waterfront but the back 40 and the whole land mass of Europe and Asia as well. If we cut it down, to 220 hours perhaps, the critics of those ministries would have to do a little more homework and a little more research. The questions would be a little crisper, and hopefully the answers would be a lot more so. That time then would be available for the legislation to which we should be devoting more time here.
Having said that, the whole procedure of estimates and public accounts, the idea of the responsibility of the executive to the Legislature for parliamentary responsibility and accountability for the funds before they’re voted to be spent, and the management of those funds and the way they have been spent afterwards, needs a great deal of study by a committee, perhaps again procedural affairs.
I don’t feel we’re really doing a very effective job in scrutinizing the estimates before the fact. The estimates should be completed three months after the Treasurer’s budget is presented. We’re now completing the estimates in December when 90 per cent, and in some cases 100 per cent, of the money has been spent. We’re all going through a charade. We all accept that and we have trouble even getting people into those committees to deal with them because the money has been spent.
I would suggest to the House leader and the whips of the party, and our House leaders, that they consider taking a look at the entire system.
While I’m on the matter of accountability and responsibility, in section 50 it states that “Management Board Orders shall be printed in the Ontario Gazette with an explanation of significant variances from printed estimates and a summary of special warrants shall be tabled on the first sitting day following the issue of warrants.”
The public accounts committee, on a number of occasions, has recommended to the Legislature, and it has been followed, that at the first day of the sitting in a new session, the list of Management Board Orders and special warrants be tabled with the Clerk of the House and then find their way into Hansard and so on. Our recommendation from public accounts, however, has been that there be an opportunity to debate that action of government, which sometimes exceeds two percent of the budget of the province of Ontario. When we’re talking about a budget of $14 billion, two per cent is a fairly healthy amount of money that is being spent under special warrants and Management Board Orders completely at the discretion of the cabinet without any reference to the House and without any accountability or requirement that the executive stand in their places and justify those expenditures and allow the opposition to question them in some way. If we still cling, which I hope we do, to some kind of notion of parliamentary control over the executive and the finances of the province of Ontario, then that should have been placed somewhere in the standing orders, and perhaps the House leader will consider an amendment in that regard.
I have one further subject if I can just whip through here. In part XV of the standing orders, page 23, orders 92(a) and (b), with witnesses being summoned to a committee of the House and the paying of expenses if that is necessary, and further that if a witness’s attendance is required after three days it must be an order of the chairman. This comes up particularly in the public accounts committee, and while it’s on the record at Hansard it might be worthwhile to have the legal situation of people appearing and giving testimony before a standing committee or a select committee of the province of Ontario outlined in the standing orders. We had a slight problem during public accounts in the last year over a matter dealing with one of the royal commissions in which there were certain statements made that were taken by some people to be perhaps libellous. The rights of witnesses and their legal protection should perhaps be added into order 92 as subsection (c) of the bill so that it will be there and be intelligible and understandable to people who are going to appear before these committees.
As the chairman indicated, there are some matters not dealt with in the procedural report, particularly concerning the whole matter of privilege. You and I, sir, were at one of the meetings of the procedural affairs committee in which I suggested that perhaps there should be codification of exactly what the privileges of members are. I realize we can’t do that, but after 11 years here I’m still not sure what my privileges are as an individual member. I’ve been somewhat stumped on a couple of occasions in the last year when I thought that certain actions taken by certain people did offend the privileges of the members of this House and found out that supposedly they had not. I would suggest that the large area, other than the business dealing with the committees, is in fact privilege, and that as much as possible those matters relating to privilege be annotated in the standing orders so that we might have a clause at the end, as we always do, saying, “and such privileges as by tradition in the British House and the House of Commons and the Ontario Legislature exist.” We should try and put as many of them down in specific order as possible so, as one of the other speakers said, the rules will be simple and clearly understood, not only by members of this assembly but by the public at large.
Mr. Rotenberg: I would like to speak briefly to this report of the committee and basically concur with many of the remarks given by the chairman of the committee. The bulk of the committee work was run on a non-partisan basis. As the member for Oshawa (Mr. Breaugh), the chairman of the committee, has indicated, the committee was ordered to bring the rules into shape so that they would be understood by all members, accepted by all members and be capable of being enforced as far as all members are concerned.
I would like to compliment the chairman of the committee for the way he chaired this committee. For the sessions of the committee work I attended he did it in a very impartial and non-partisan manner, and he conducted the business with dispatch. I am just wondering had the events of last spring been a little different in the party, whether we wouldn’t be welcoming the new member who will sit two seats to my right in the same way this evening had that party had a different leader, but I guess that was our gain.
Mr. Handleman: Don’t give them the idea; keep him please.
Mr. Rotenberg: As the member for Oshawa has indicated, this is a review of the standing orders and is not meant to be the be-all and end-all or the final standing orders for many years to come. There are a number of matters, as the committee indicated in the preliminary report and which I won’t repeat that the committee feels require further review. One of them was mentioned by the member for Rainy River (Mr. T. P. Reid), the hours of estimates. I personally happen to concur in what he said, but the committee couldn’t reach any agreement. Everyone says to have less hours for estimates, but when one starts to cut them down then for some reason it is a little more difficult. I think that is a matter we will get to.
As I say, it is not to be considered a final report for ever and ever. It is simply an interim report on standing orders that we can live with for the foreseeable future. The committee will be bringing in another report sometime next year to indicate further changes which the committee will recommend to this House.
The philosophy of the report and the philosophy of the standing orders which I feel is implemented in this report, is that the standing orders have to be flexible to a point. They can’t be totally rigid. There has to be room for a certain amount of discretion; especially by yourself, Mr. Speaker, because one cannot cover every foreseeable situation in any set of rules. The rules have to be written in such a way that the general guidelines are there, but for each particular situation something will come up that wasn’t foreseen and the rules have to have room for the discretion of the Speaker, for a little flexibility so that we can run this House in a proper manner, as we are doing now.
The other point of philosophy is I don’t feel that every “i” has to be dotted and every “t” has to be crossed and that we have to spell everything out in total detail. For instance, on the sub judice rule which we have rewritten but on which we haven’t gone into total detail. The problem is if you go into too much detail and say what can and cannot be done, as well as including things in the rules, you are quite often excluding things which you would really want to have set out. You lose flexibility by being too particular in the rules; you lose flexibility by spelling things out in too great a detail.
On another thing about this report I would quote the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon), who indicates that the rules do not recognize agreements which are made “behind the Speaker’s chair.” There were a number of suggestions that items be included in the rules which really apply to those kinds of agreements. These were not put in the rules and were not put in the standing orders, and quite properly so because I think the standing orders as they are here cover the situations.
Within those standing orders, there has to be room for certain agreements among the House leaders and certain agreements among the parties, which by their nature have to be flexible enough to meet a particular or peculiar situation that arises on a certain day. If we try to put those things in the rules and be specific, they will apply to one day but on another day we will find ourselves with our hands tied and unable to properly run the business of the House in an expeditious manner. For this reason I feel the report is correct in not spelling out all these minor details.
As I indicated, I do not want to get into much of the detail because the member for Oshawa, the chairman, outlined very well the feeling of all members of the committee on the total report, even though there is some slight disagreement on one or two of the minor problems.
Mr. Speaker, I would ask your advice as far as the amendments are concerned. Do you want members to speak to each amendment now or will you be taking each amendment and we can speak again on the amendment?
Mr. Speaker: You can place your amendment now if you wish.
Mr. Rotenberg: First of all, my amendment is as printed in the order paper and I don’t have to read it, but I would place the amendment. It refers to rule 42. This was rewritten, I believe, by the staff and presented to the committee. As you know, Mr. Speaker, I came into the committee halfway through. I guess it’s as much my fault as anyone else’s, but I wasn’t aware that there had been an apparent -- I stress “apparent” -- change in the rule from in the previous standing order. As this was not controversial in the votes we took, it sort of went by and wasn’t drawn to my attention until after this report had passed.
Basically, rule 41, indicates there shall be not fewer than eight sessional days for the debate on the speech from the throne and the speech from the throne debate must be completed before the budget is presented. That is fine, that was as before and that is the system again in these rules; but rule 42(a) says the budget motion in effect must be presented by the Treasurer on the sessional day following the completion of the reply to the speech from the throne. That is new. It has always been that it must be presented after the reply but not on the sessional day after the reply.
The initial effect of this motion that someone might see if the standing orders as in the report are adopted, would be there would be eight days of throne speech and on the ninth day the Treasurer would have to present his budget. But really, that is not what it says in actual fact because there is nothing in these orders that say the throne speech debate must be eight consecutive days. If the standing orders are adopted as in this report in effect what will happen is we will have the throne speech debate except for the last day of it; it will be deferred one week or two weeks or one month until the Treasurer is ready, and the day before the Treasurer is ready the throne speech debate will wind up. This, I think, will not be good for the House. I don’t think it was ever intended that the standing orders would mandatorily set the day the Treasurer must present his budget.
For this reason, Mr. Speaker, I am moving that in 42(a) those four words “on the sessional day” be taken out, so it will simply read “the budget motion shall be moved by the Treasurer following the completion of the debate on the reply from the speech. which means it can be the next day or two days or two weeks or two months later, but it indicates, as previously, that it will be after the throne speech debate is concluded.
I would hope the honourable members will support the amendment that I have placed.
As for the other amendments that are before the House, the chairman has presented what I consider two technical amendments, amendments to 99(a) and (b) and an amendment to 32, I believe it is. Those technical amendments, of course, are quite in order. One appears on the Order Paper and one he has presented tonight -- pardon me, to 99 and 80(d).
The new amendment which is proposed is that the government House leader shall announce the day upon the recess that the assembly will be reconvened. I cannot support that amendment.
Really, the amendment doesn’t mean all that much. It doesn’t mean there is a resolution in the House, it simply says the House leader shall stand up in his place and announce the date, whether it is the date or an approximate date.
Again, I feel this is the kind of thing that should be done “behind the Speaker’s chair.” It is something the House leader should let the other members of this assembly know. He should indicate to the other members and the other parties the intention of the government as to when the House will be called back after an adjournment.
But I don’t think, with respect, that can be made a mandatory thing, because the government does from time to time require the flexibility to come back possibly later or possibly earlier than the date the House leader might indicate -- say, in June when we adjourn -- is when we will come back.
As an example, last summer he might have indicated a date and then we would have had to come back for the emergency debate and that might have negated the resolution.
I understand the intent of the member for Oshawa’s motion but this party and I will not and cannot support it.
I understand also that there may be another amendment put, Mr. Speaker. If another amendment is put, I would like the opportunity to speak on that amendment if put by another party.
Mr. Ruston: I would like to participate in this debate briefly. I attended to replace the member for Nipissing (Mr. Bolan) for the last two meetings of the committee so I was a little green on what was going on and hadn’t been aware of the discussions that went on previously. The last two meetings were mostly spent in voting and so forth.
I think we have added some things of importance to the rules and I am satisfied to some extent that they have been improved. One looks at the operations of the House over the period of years you and I have been here, Mr. Speaker, and I feel they certainly have improved, not only as far as the average member is concerned. I think they have improved considerably. As far as decorum goes, I guess that will always be a bit of a problem when it seems to get out of hand or rather noisy on certain days. I am not sure just what the reason might be. There could be a number of reasons, I suppose, if a person were to research it.
One of the things that has bothered me to some extent, and the member for Rainy River (Mr. T. P. Reid) mentioned it too, is dealing with the estimates. I suppose one of the problems may be that we do take too much time in dealing with them, but I am not sure if we are dealing with them at the right time and in the right manner. I have a feeling that the estimates end up being a discussion in philosophy between the parties in many cases. You’ll notice maybe in a standing committee or in committee of the whole that one person goes on for an hour, a hour and a half, or two hours.
We had that in the MTC estimates this year. I think we had to vote the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow) $800 million in half an hour, whereas we discussed the other $150 million for 18 or 19 hours. It seemed to me that we maybe are not using the time properly. That’s part of the problem. Maybe we should have some rules governing the estimates, just the estimates themselves, a little better. I don’t know whether that could be done on agreement or if it could be put in writing.
It has been mentioned previously that rather than go through all the estimates over the 420 hours perhaps we should take three or four ministries, do them in detail and make sure they’re done in the early part of the session so the money isn’t all spent. We would then have a better idea -- and the minister and his officials would probably have a better idea -- of just what they’re doing.
I think that’s one of the methods we should be looking at. We would look at the estimates in particular detail and maybe spend more than 20 hours on one ministry.
We should be trying to get some rules down on how we deal with the money and how it’s spent and what the end results are. I think that’s important. We had a problem today with the Ministry of Culture and Recreation where Wintario funds went to an organization and the ministry now finds it doesn’t know whether they can get the money back because it wasn’t used for the original purpose.
It seems to me that looking in to see just how the money is spent should be part of our job. We know the auditor has a little more leeway now in investigating whether we are getting value for money spent, similar in some ways to the auditor in Ottawa, who has great investigative power and says in his reports whether the money was spent wisely or not and whether value was received for the amount of money spent.
That’s one of the things that concerns me most in our rules and procedures, that we are not using the estimates time to its best advantage or to the best advantage of the people of Ontario. This is not necessarily to condemn in any way what the government is doing, but I think it would satisfy us and the people of Ontario if we could look at estimates in a little more detail.
In the last few years committees have been playing a much wider role in the business of the House -- I suppose more so with minority government. Sometimes we think they’ve broadened out too much, but on the other hand they have the opportunity of hearing the public and so forth and maybe that’s part of the expense of being a democratic society. We may feel the repetition is quite bad in some of them, but we have to balance that with the rights of the democratic society we have here.
As to whether we should be broadening out the committees, we might look at the committees in the United States. The problem I find with the committees in their system is that some of the members of the Senate and so forth who have been there for maybe 25 years get control of a committee. Then it seems they can hold back legislation or whatever in that committee fur such a time that it never does get on the floor to be voted on. That’s one of the problems they have.
I would be a little leery of something in that line if that would ever happen here. I believe the final vote has to come eventually in this Legislature and be voted on by the majority of the members; that’s another matter.
I would have no objection to the proposed amendment of the member for Wilson Heights. I think that’s quite in order.
I must apologize, Mr. Speaker. I had an amendment and in the rush of the last couple of days I guess I didn’t look at the orders and didn’t have it put on the Order Paper. I should have had it on by five o’clock the previous day.
The Deputy Speaker advised me today and since he’s well versed in the rules -- I’m sure not as good as the Speaker but, I mean, he’s learning quite well -- I would appreciate the consent of the House to put my motion, Mr. Speaker. I think it’s a fair motion and of course people have a chance to discuss it. If I might, I will put it, Mr. Speaker. It concerns private members’ public business.
In our new rules and procedures, on page 15, 63(e)(ii), it says “20 members stand in their places when the question is about to be put.” My amendment would be that the names of those members objecting will be reported in Votes and Proceedings the following day.
I don’t think we have ever worried about whether our names were put down in voting.
We do that on many occasions on second readings, and we sign petitions of 20 people to have certain things done if we so desire. I don’t think that in any way infringes on anybody’s rights as a member here. We are members and I’m sure we’re not afraid if the public out there knows how we vote. After all, that’s part of the democratic system.
I would ask for support for that motion and I would support the other motions that are on the Order Paper.
Mr. Rotenberg: Mr. Speaker, an amendment has been put since I spoke. Could I comment briefly on that amendment?
Mr. Speaker: I will be putting them in order and I’ll give you an opportunity to speak as I put them.
The first amendment that we have is: Mr. Breaugh has moved that the report of the procedural affairs committee sessional paper 273 be amended by adding thereto the following words: “That at the end of part I, regulation and management of the House, the following standing order be added: The government House leader shall announce the date upon which the assembly will be reconvened prior to the adjournment for recess.”
Is there any debate on this amendment?
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, may I very briefly raise some questions? Holding the position of government House leader at the moment, I’m a bit concerned with that.
I have no argument with wanting to give some indication as to when the House will be reconvened following the recess. However, as one who may have to make that announcement and there being some unforseen circumstances that may militate against actually fulfilling that intent, I’m wondering -- this is maybe a bit unusual -- if I could put the word “approximate” before the word “date,” so that we could indicate that I shall announce the approximate date upon which the assembly will be reconvened prior to the adjournment for recess.
If the chairman would agree to that then I’d feel just a little bit more comfortable with the amendment, that’s all.
Hon. Mr. Walker: Well, I think it’s altogether unnecessary.
Mr. Ruston: While you are waiting, Mr. Speaker, I was advised by the Clerk --
Mr. Speaker: We will get to that a little later.
You’ve heard the amendment --
Mr. T. P. Reid: What about the amendment to the amendment?
Mr. Speaker: I haven’t got any amendment to the amendment
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, I’m sorry, I did raise the question as to whether or not the member for Oshawa, in moving his motion 33, would agree to put the word “approximate” in front of the word “date,” so that it would read: “The government House leader shall announce the approximate date upon which the assembly will be reconvened prior to the adjournment for recess.”
Mr. Breaugh: I would indicate to the House that I have no difficulty whatsoever with that particular suggestion. If it is in order I would be prepared to accept that we insert the word “approximate,” just before the word “date.”
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Speaker: Taking them in order, the second amendment I have is Mr. Ruston’s motion.
Mr. Ruston moved to amend standing order 03(e)(2).
Mr. Rotenberg: Mr. Speaker, with respect, mine is on 42.
Mr. Speaker: This is kind of cumbersome. I’m dealing with three different pieces of paper here.
Ms. Gigantes: It’s a long night, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Martel: That was some party you had.
Mr. Speaker: If I was going strictly by the rules, I would demand that all members write out their amendments and send them to the dais. I’m trying to be helpful to members.
Mr. Nixon: Darn right.
Mr. Speaker: Mr. Rotenberg has moved that the standing orders of the House be amended by deleting therefrom the following words, in order 42 (a): “on the sessional day” on the second line.
Do you wish to speak on it?
Mr. Rotenberg: I indicated my reasons when I spoke on it at the time.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Bradley: Why is everybody so agreeable tonight?
Mr. Speaker: We will revert back to 47(a).
Hon. Mr. Welch: Wait a minute. There is no notice of that. That is a complete surprise.
Mr. T. P. Reid: If I may, Mr. Speaker; I’m sorry I didn’t realize that we had to give notice to amend these things.
Hon. Mr. Welch: We didn’t have difficulty with Mr. Ruston’s amendment because we did have notice of that.
Mr. Speaker: Yes, we are up to Mr. Ruston’s motion on 63(e)(11), which is to amend the standing orders to read: “Twenty members stand in their place when the question is about to be put. The names of those members objecting will be reported in Votes and Proceedings for that date.”
Mr. Rotenberg: May I speak briefly to this amendment?
Mr. Speaker: Yes.
Mr. Martel: It has been agreed.
Mr. Rotenberg: This amendment, I think, is not a proper amendment. I think it may be one of the few amendments in the standing orders which has some political motivation, not that I at any time --
Ms. Gigantes: You guys never learn.
Mr. Rotenberg: When I stand in my place I do so in public and I have no objection to having my name recorded, whether it be in the House, in committee, in committee of the whole or a committee of any other kind.
Mr. Bradley: That’s what the amendment does?
Mr. Kerrio: Are you speaking for the other members then?
Mr. Rotenberg: This is not the only part of the standing orders where members can stand in their place and have something done. It has been the tradition in this House that on that kind of a procedural motion, such as an adjournment motion, the votes aren’t recorded. I would submit to the members who support this motion that if they want to say, when 20 members stand in their place to veto a private members’s bill they should be recorded, then that should also be recorded on a second reading when five members stand in their place to force division; and also when a report is tabled in the House and 20 members require it to go to a standing committee, their names should be recorded.
Mr. Bradley: They are.
Mr. Rotenberg: No they’re not, not when they just stand in their place in the House.
There is another occasion: when a bill is being given second reading and the Speaker asks: “Shall it be referred to committee?” The minister asks that it be referred to committee of the whole and 20 members may stand in their place and ask that it be referred to a standing or select committee. Those 20 names should be also recorded.
What is going to happen? We are going to clutter up Votes and Proceedings and spend a lot of time and effort, for whatever motives, to record these things.
Mr. Nixon: We would if we follow your suggestion, but not if we follow ours.
Mr. Rotenberg: I would suggest, Mr. Speaker, that if we’re going to record the members who stand in their place to force something or block something on a procedural motion, we should record none or all of them.
Mr. Roy: You’re trying to cover an abuse.
Mr. Rotenberg: I would suggest, Mr. Speaker, if the members opposite, the member for Ottawa East (Mr. Roy) and his colleagues -- think it is abuse to veto a private member’s bill then the veto should not be in the orders. Anyone who suggests that a member or any honourable members, or 20 members, simply cop out through what is laid down in the standing orders, as agreed to unanimously in this House, then I think that member is, in effect, casting a reflection on all honourable members. I think he should withdraw that remark.
Mr. Bradley: Let the public know who is thwarting the system.
Mr. Rotenberg: I will not support this amendment at this time. I would suggest that it not be passed tonight, but that when the procedural affairs committee reviews the standing orders again next year this be placed before it and the committee discuss whether all of these should be reported or none of these should be reported. We shouldn’t pick one out and not the others.
For those reasons, I will not support the amendment.
Mr. Bradley: It has happened all too often.
Hon. Mr. Walker: It needs to be a proper motion.
Mr. M. Davidson: In speaking to the motion that has been put forward by the member for Essex North (Mr. Ruston), I might say my colleagues and I will be in support of his amendment.
Mr. Kerrio: It is a good amendment.
Hon. Mr. Walker: The same old gang.
Mr. Martel: You sure know how to hurt us.
Mr. M. Davidson: The member for Wilson Heights (Mr. Rotenberg) has somehow or other come to the conclusion that there is a political motivation behind the amendment being placed. I do not really know how he can say that when it means 20 members of the House, not necessarily 20 members of the Conservative Party, which has been the practice in the past.
Mr. Eaton: Are we not members of the House.
Mr. Martel: Don’t split hairs, you know what he’s been saying.
Hon. Mr. Walker: All 58 of us?
Mr. Rotenberg: We will be 59 after Scarborough West.
Mr. Martel: Place your bets.
Hon. Mr. Walker: Will the member for Sudbury East take a bet on that?
Mr. M. Davidson: I would suggest that some of the arguments put forward by the member for Wilson Heights, though they will make good reading in Hansard tomorrow morning or next week, do not really speak to the section of the report that the amendment is placed to. Whether or not 20 members can stand in their place and have a bill referred to a committee, or whether or not 20 members can sign a petition has nothing at all to do with the section of the report we are talking about.
What we are talking about at the moment is whether or not under section 63(e)(ii), when 20 members stand in their place they should have their names recorded? I would suggest in most cases when there are crucial things taking place in this House, such as votes, the names of the members are recorded. They are put into Hansard, and there is nothing wrong with that.
I think the member for Essex North was absolutely correct, that if a member of this assembly is so convinced that any private member’s bill that is placed before the House is such that it should not come to a vote, then there is no reason in the world that he or she should be ashamed to have his or her name recorded in Hansard, none whatsoever.
One day it may be 20 New Democrats who stand in their places --
Mr. Handleman: You don’t have 20.
Where are you going to get them?
Mr. M. Davidson: -- or maybe 20 Liberals who stand in their places; or it could very easily be 20 Conservatives, or it may be 20 members from all sides of the House who stand in their places. If they feel so strongly that a bill put forward by a private member n this Legislature should not be allowed to come to a vote, then they certainly should not be ashamed to let the rest of the world be aware of that.
Hon. Mr. Walker: We are just trying to protect the minority.
Mr. Bradley: We just have to record it as the same old gang.
Mr. M. Davidson: I therefore suggest that the amendment to the order is proper, that it is well thought-out and that the meaning behind it is simply to have those who would not allow a vote to take place in this House recorded within the records that are kept in the Legislature.
Mr. Speaker: Does any other member wish to speak to the amendment?
Mr. Ruston: One of the previous speakers -- I think the member for Wilson Heights -- mentioned other votes for which people stand up. I think this is a little different because this action stops a bill. Some member of this Legislature brings in a bill or a resolution and this stops it from coming to a vote. That is a little more important. I think it is a good and reasonable amendment, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: All those in favour of Mr. Ruston’s amendment to standing order 63(e)(ii) will please say “aye.”
All those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion, the “ayes” have it.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Speaker: I declare the amendment carried.
Mr. Bradley: Now we see who the real enemies of democracy are.
Ms. Gigantes: A bunch of bluffers.
Mr. Speaker: Mr. Breaugh has moved that the standing orders be amended by adding thereto the following word in 80(d): “approximately” in the sixth line before the words “date that the information will be available.”
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Speaker: Mr. Breaugh has moved that the proposed standing orders of the House, as contained in the report, be amended as follows: 99(a), by inserting the words “Assistant Clerks” after the words “First Clerk Assistant”; and in section 99(b), by adding thereto the following words: “and in the absence of both the Clerk and the First Clerk Assistant their duties shall be performed by the Assistant Clerks.”
Motion agreed to.
Report, as amended, adopted.
Hon. Mr. Welch: I wonder if the House would allow me one or two comments. First, I do want to pay tribute to the members of the committee for what I think has been a remarkable job in a short period of time. I do not want it to go unacknowledged.
Mr. Nixon: We ought to do something nice for them -- especially the chairman.
Hon. Mr. Welch: I also want to pay tribute to the Clerk of the House, who has done a tremendous amount of work and whose expertise and experience was made available to the committee in great detail. I want to pay tribute to him as well.
Once again, we have some rules that we need a little more time to work with and, indeed, we invite the committee to continue its research. I say to all concerned, thank you very much.
Mr. Speaker: If I may be permitted, since I so seldom get an opportunity to comment on anything that happens here, except when we’re in controversy, I would like to echo the sentiments expressed by the government House leader in paying tribute to the excellent work done by the procedural affairs committee, with the able assistance of the Clerk and the two researchers, who are sitting in the gallery. I certainly appreciate what they have done, and I think it will all help us to do a little better job within the standing orders. Thank you very much.
MUNICIPAL AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Ashe, on behalf of Hon. Mr. Wells, moves second reading of Bill 203, An Act to amend the Municipal Act.
Mr. Speaker: Does the member for Durham West have an opening comment?
Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, might I ask for time? The member for Hamilton East (Mr. Mackenzie), who has agreed to carry this bill for us, was in on the labour debate and is just finishing his dinner. Could we move to some other order of business and perhaps clean up some of the Order Paper?
Mr. Ashe: He was just about finished. I don’t know where he is.
Hon. Mr. Welch: How about the 12th order? If this could stand down, Mr. Speaker, we could call the 12th order.
PYRAMIDIC SALES REPEAL ACT
Mr. Pope, on behalf of Hon. Mr. Drea, moved second reading of Bill 208: An Act to repeal the Pyramidic Sales Act, 1972.
Mr. Speaker: Does the member for Cochrane South have an opening comment?
Mr. Pope: Very briefly, Mr. Speaker, I commend the explanatory notes to the attention of the honourable members. Also, this matter was discussed yesterday morning during consideration of the estimates of the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations and I would refer the honourable members to pages 29 through 32 of the Instant Hansard for the content of that discussion.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I want to speak very briefly, because the matter was discussed in the context of the ministry’s estimates, as was referred to by the parliamentary assistant.
I can recall the controversies and questions in the Legislature that led to the introduction of the bill back in 1972. Frankly, I am very glad that for a number of reasons -- including the bill itself to some extent, I suppose -- pyramidic sales are obviously not nearly as popular as they were, since they have to come under the regulation not only of the government of Ontario but also of the government of Canada.
I recall from the discussions that took place a few days ago that there really is only one company using this type of selling still operating in the province and the argument that we should withdraw our bill so that the regulations are federal and uniform certainly makes a lot of sense to me. We have no hesitation in supporting the bill.
Mr. Foulds: I have a few words to say on behalf of my colleague, the member for Hamilton Centre, the critic on consumer and commercial relations. We support the bill. We believe the government is moving in the right direction in ensuring by this bill, that those people who have some funds coming to them as a result of the one company left outstanding will have that assurance guaranteed, as I understand it, through the sections of the bill that remain in place for a certain period of time.
Now that the ministry has dealt with the problem of pyramidic sales, I might suggest it take a look at pyramidic sales and expansion in other areas. I don’t think it directly affects Ontario anymore, but the minister might have some influence with colleagues in other jurisdictions with the WHA and the pyramidic sales happening with regard to professional hockey.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Is there any other honourable member wishing to participate?
Mr. Foulds: I will be glad to continue my remarks for a minute of two.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Is this before or after his heart attack?
Mr. Martel: He ran all the way from Hamilton for this, you know.
Mr. M. N. Davison: I’m sorry I was late for the debate. I didn’t realize this bill was coming up. As you are probably aware, Mr. Speaker, my party has no objection to the bill and is supporting it.
During the estimates debate I put a series of four questions to the minister in regard to the last remaining company registered under this act. I don’t know if there was any response coming from the minister earlier on in the debate. I would have appreciated very much if the minister could have told us the answers to those questions. I take it the minister made no statement about those questions?
There were some fairly serious matters raised, in that case, if the minister is trying to sneak a bill through wiping out pyramidic sales legislation without responding to the questions I raised during estimates on Wednesday morning. Those questions were quite central to what’s happened with this company.
I asked at that time if the minister would inform us why on earth he ever registered Bestline when he was aware of the absolutely horrible record of ripping off consumers that company had in the United States. I would appreciate a response 10 that before this House passes legislation to get rid of Best- line because he was so inept in his handling of the case that it got thrown out of the commercial registration appeal tribunal and he had to go this mute in trying to deal with the company.
He has been inept and registered a company he should never have registered. He’s registered a company that has very suspicious dealings with another company by the name of Golden Canada Products Limited, its predecessor company, which had such a bad record that charges were laid against it and the company was closed clown by the Metro fraud squad. Fifty people were charged in that operation and all of them who didn’t escape across the border in time were taken into court and convicted and fined for ripping off consumers. Almost the day after Metro fraud squad put that company out of business, the ministry allowed Bestline to come into Ontario.
Bestline went into the same offices as Golden Canada Products Limited, it sells virtually the same product as Golden Canada Products Limited. It has behind it the same people as Golden Canada Products Limited. All of this is something the ministry was aware of before it allowed Bestline to operate in Ontario. Now they have ripped off people in Ontario to the tune of probably $2.5 million, maybe more. The minister has to go through this door now to stop them.
I would like to know why he ever registered them in the first place. I would like to know it before we pass this legislation, in case there are factors behind the scene that members of the assembly should know about.
I raised another matter with the minister at the time and I would appreciate a response to it. I don’t know where he is. I don’t know why he is not in the House to answer these questions.
Hon. Mr. Walker: The parliamentary assistant can answer them. A very capable parliamentary assistant is handling it.
Mr. M. N. Davison: He told us on Wednesday morning that he would answer the questions. The member wasn’t here so what on earth would he possibly know about it?
Ms. Gigantes: He knows everything. Go play with your shovel.
Mr. M. N. Davison: The Minister of Correctional Services should go back to colouring his book. The other question raised which also disturbed me -- Bestline did not file under the Corporations Information Act for the years 1974, 1975 and 1976. You are not supposed to do that in Ontario. You are supposed to file and you are supposed to file with the ministry. The ministry didn’t have records for those years, yet nothing was ever done to Bestline about that. It leads me to wonder how close the relationship was between some people who should have been after Bestline in those years and the people behind that company.
There is something else that disturbs me; somehow the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations managed to accidentally destroy some of the records they had on file in regard to Bestline. I would like to know if an investigation was made in the past few days to find out just how accidental the destruction of these records was. There are many questions about Bestline which are outstanding. I wish the minister was here to answer those and other questions, fairly serious questions about the relationship of that company and this ministry.
Mr. Gregory: You wouldn’t be talking like that if he was here.
Mr. M. N. Davison: I already told the minister about these problems on Wednesday, at 10 o’clock in the morning. The minister was sitting there.
Hon. Mr. Walker: Then you don’t need to repeat them.
Mr. M. N. Davison: His eyes were open and he was listening and his staff was making notes.
Hon. Mr. Walker: Then why would you repeat the arguments here?
Mr. M. N. Davison: I asked him at the time to come to the House during the debate on this bill and answer those questions. There may be quite good reasons for the government not having moved against this company earlier. All I would like to know is what they were. Why were the records destroyed? Why did the government, through the ministry, never move against this company? These are reasonable questions to ask. They are questions to which the minister should have had answers before we proceeded with this bill today.
Hon. Mr. Walker: You are so efficient you want to do everything twice.
Mr. M. N. Davison: Nobody on this side of the House wants to see Bestline get away with anything. I don’t think there is any way they can use this piece of legislation before us to get away with anything. I can’t see it anyway. For that reason, we are going to support it. But the Bestline issue is not going to lie down and die on its own. It’s not going to disappear just because the minister refused to answer questions about his ministry’s relationship with this company. That issue is going to remain. There are people out there who are out thousands and thousands of dollars because this government took so long to act to protect consumers.
Ms. Gigantes: Same on condominiums; still no legislation.
Mr. M. N. Davison: That issue won’t go away. We will make sure that at some point in time, there are answers to those questions.
Mr. Turner: On your white chargers.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Is there any other member wishing to participate in this debate? If not, the parliamentary assistant.
Mr. Pope: I wouldn’t want the honourable member to think we were attempting to sneak this bill through. I apologize to other members of his party if that was their feeling about the matter.
This matter was raised, the honourable member is quite right, in the estimates of the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations yesterday. I understood the honourable member had raised some questions. Indeed, the honourable member and the minister engaged in some dialogue on the predecessor company, apparently, to Bestline and some of the principals involved in that company, if I recall the discussion correctly. The honourable member is right that he did raise these issues during the estimates.
I had interpreted from listening to the honourable member and from reading Instant Hansard that the honourable member had posed some questions that he hoped the minister would be answering, but that in any event, he would not be participating in the debate on this bill and would be supporting it. So I apologize to the honourable member. I wasn’t trying to sneak it through. In discussion with your colleagues, I indicated to them that that was my impression and showed them a copy of Instant Hansard.
Mr. M. N. Davison: My impression was the minister would answer the question.
Mr. Pope: I see. I understand that.
Mr. M. N. Davison: My impression was the minister would come to the House.
Mr. Pope: I would say that I don’t think the honourable member meant to imply that there is any relationship between principals of Bestline and any ministers or any predecessor ministers. I don’t think he meant that phrase. He was wondering about the details involving the registration of this company in view of the fact that the principals involved in that company had had a bad experience. Our discussion yesterday took place about that company and what took place in the state of Florida, if I recall it correctly. But in any event, the honourable member did raise questions.
Mr. M. N. Davison: They chased this company half-way across the United States. Why did the ministry ever register them?
Mr. Pope: Perhaps the member would like to read Instant Hansard and interpret for himself then.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Pope: I can only say to the honourable member that the minister has the questions raised in the estimates. If the honourable member wants to raise them during question period tomorrow, he’s perfectly at liberty to do so. The only thing I can tell him is that Bestline must have been registered because it met the qualifications under the act, that it was normal practice in the corporations branch of the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations to allow for a three-year delay in the filing of annual returns and at the end of that time the director of the corporations branch would have a hearing to determine whether or not the charter of that company should be terminated.
We have no evidence that there is anything untoward in the activities of the director of that branch with respect to the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations. I have no indication that any files were deliberately destroyed. I understand the feelings of the honourable member. I’ll convey them to the minister and perhaps the minister will have an answer for the honourable member tomorrow.
Mr. M. N. Davison: I’ll ask the question at the end.
Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, might I ask the House leaders, if they are prepared to expedite the business, if we could get a statement from the minister tomorrow in response to the four questions that my colleague raised so that we won’t delay the passage of the hill? I think my colleague is entitled to the answers to the questions he raised.
Hon. Mr. Welch: The member for Hamilton Centre has been very reasonable in his expectations with respect to this matter. Because of the expedition of some earlier legislation, this matter was reached tonight. I don’t think the minister thought it was going to be reached tonight. With the help of the parliamentary assistant, we will communicate these concerns and hopefully have a statement from the minister tomorrow with respect to these concerns, if that would be all right.
Mr. M. N. Davison: Thank you.
Motion agreed to.
Third reading also agreed to on motion.
MUNICIPAL AMENDMENT ACT (CONCLUDED)
Ms. Ashe: I’ve already moved second reading of this bill. At that time, I was going to speak to it, but the item was set down for a few moments. If I may, I’ll make a very brief statement. I think all members of the House are quite familiar with what this bill is doing. There’s very little change.
What is happening is that eight words are being removed from a permissive section in The Municipal Act, allowing municipalities to pass a bylaw. In the section, as it now stands, there was an exclusion that the municipality could not establish bylaws for premises licensed under the Theatres Act. This is still in the proposed new section and, consequently, you could not pass bylaws on establishments that were licensed under the Liquor Licence Act, 1975.
The new proposed subsection 8 of section 386(b) of the Municipal Act will now take away that prohibition that did not allow municipalities to pass bylaws pertaining to establishments licensed under the Liquor Licence Act. So, it will be permissive legislation enabling municipalities, depending on local needs, local standards, local problems, to pass bylaws relevant to the standard of dress in establishments licensed under the Liquor Licence Act of 1975. It would be more familiarly known, I suppose, as the “topless waitresses and others!”
Mr. Nixon: We are going to support the amendment, Mr. Speaker. But I am concerned that by leaving this matter to local discretion a pattern of “custom” will be established across the province. Somebody has facetiously suggested that municipalities will compete for the raciest waitresses or maybe waiters. Really, there is more than a grain of truth to that kind of joke. I don’t think anybody in this House feels provincial laws should require anybody to wait on table or work topless, particularly women -- like the one under discussion -- as a condition of employment. It really is a degrading sort of a thing and generally is rather disgusting.
I feel a lot of sympathy with those who say that the government -- and even the minister who is not with us tonight -- has copped out on this. He was very clear, within six seconds after becoming minister, that he was going to use his authority under the Liquor Licence Act to bring these people using topless waitresses into line. I admit the legislative assistant is nodding and shaking his head a little bit. He has heard all this before and so have we all. But this is the government’s answer to the situation.
In one sense, it is a Frank Drea situation. In my view, we could have taken a more orderly approach to the problem and eliminated this sort of thing from the province of Ontario. The minister was so well described, I thought frankly, by the honourable member for Hamilton Centre when he talked about the new minister flashing the statute around and saying: “With this, they are either going to cover up or I will see that they do.” It is a little bit pathetic, frankly. That word “frankly” keeps coming in here because, I suppose, it describes the situation in more ways than one.
I am not keen about the idea of the municipal council sitting down and saying: “Now, it’s our responsibility. Are the waitresses in South Dumfries going to be topless or not?” I am not just sure how they would decide there. I really don’t know what their decision would be. But it doesn’t seem reasonable that, in a matter where agreement could be reached by the members of the Legislature, we don’t have general legislation. It seems a weakness on the part of us all that this is the best response that we can come up with.
The minister has insisted, however, that his honour is at stake, or something, and has threatened that everybody who continues to disobey his personal order, is going to be closed down. Then he puts up this legislation. This bill before us is a pretty inadequate bill.
The only other thing I am concerned about is that even the minister was under the impression that the Liquor Licence Act would permit him, as Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations, to order these places closed. Thank goodness, we have got away from that sort of autocratic application of the Liquor Licence Act. Failing general legislation, which we really ought to have, probably in the Ministry of Labour, this is something that I suppose in the circumstances is weak and in some respects completely ineffectual but, in these circumstances, supportable.
Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, just so the minister or his assistant will not be kept wondering, I am going to recommend that we support the bill. I must tell you, however, that we will do so with some considerable reservations.
I do not often agree with the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk, but I think he hit the issue directly on the head. The Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations, using his considerable talent for grabbing a headline -- and one has to admire that talent -- decided within minutes of his appointment that he could make a lot of mileage out of ordering, within a matter of days, the “girls”
-- and that was one of the things that was wrong with it -- to cover up. Right from the beginning, the onus was entirely on those who, in effect, are really the victims of what is going on.
What he did and what he said turned out to be a heck of a lot of wind and little more. After a matter of days or weeks, we saw him floundering; he was not able to come up with an answer to deal with the question of topless waitresses and some of the rather degrading ways the profession was being used. Immediately, we were into a frantic search for a way to recoup a bit for not being able to deliver on an instant promise.
It is an instant promise that did need some action, and there were a number of ways we could have taken a look at it in a sane and sensible way. One of them was the private member’s bill that I moved in this House. We never said at any time that it was intended to deal with the entertainment industry as such. Nor did we say it would solve all the problems. But it was a decent, practical way of dealing with the problem of the waitresses who were involved.
What had happened was that clearly the waitresses were being exploited. The attempts that go on constantly to exploit them, even in a trade that may not have as high a profile as that of waitresses, were of concern to a number of sincere and honest people who are trying to upgrade the trade. They were finding that if they were not willing to appear in some of the restaurants and hotels in particular in a state of undress, partial or total, and to do some serving and usually a bit of a shimmy or a bit of a dance at the same time for a few minutes, that in effect they would not get the jobs.
Some of the legitimate waitresses were asked to do that. The union involved was asked to supply them. I have never yet been able to find out why, but one of the conditions always when the union was called and asked for X waitresses to appear at a certain club was that they would spend seven minutes out of the hour topless.
What was happening was that the trade itself, in its attempts to upgrade it, was being downgraded. It was a further degrading move, as far as I am concerned. At the same time, the legitimate profession of entertainer -- and I include in that a chorus line or a professional stripper -- was being downgraded as well. The girls who were involved in the waiting on the tables and who were being required to go topless were not getting paid anywhere near the entertainment rates; they were doing a little better than the waitress rates.
In effect, we had a lowering of one standard and one trade -- and a lowering in many ways other than wages, I might say and, at the same time, it was made difficult for legitimate waitresses to hold their jobs and certainly to upgrade that trade when they had to subject themselves to this kind of performance.
I think a simple amendment to the Employment Standards Act probably would have dealt with better than 50 per cent of the problem. The onus, I might point out here, would be on the operators of the establishments; an employer could not insist as a condition of employment that the girls had to go nude or partially nude.
I think that bill made sense and that it was a good substantive step to answering some of the problems. I can’t for the life of me understand why it wasn’t brought in. As a matter of fact, I think it still should be moved by this government, and without too much of a delay, because it makes sense. It does put the onus on the operators, and some of them are sharpies in this business. It gives both the organized and unorganized employees a tool to work with, if you like, in the labour standards by which they cannot be required to submit to this degrading kind of a request or demand indeed.
This House should be aware that it caused the people who were representing these women some considerable troubles because one of the things that has been happening, as we seem to loosen the standards and allow just anybody to have a liquor licence in the province of Ontario, is that a number of hotels are changing ownerships and changing hands. Toronto is probably the place where we see it most often. They are trying to change the operation, obviously going after the big buck. They are opening up the topless area downstairs in a variety of operations.
In some of the clubs where the union has gone after successor rights, they have been having a real fight because one of the first things the new owner or the new operator does is phone up the union and say, “Hey, I want you to provide four girls of a certain age range.” I think that is wrong to begin with. One of the conditions is, as I mentioned earlier, that they will spend so many minutes out of the hour going topless.
I give credit to people like Julius Troll and the Hotel and Restaurant Employees and Bartenders’ Union because they made a conscientious decision that they were not going to be sucked into this kind of a game. When they refused, they find they have got problems with successor rights because the company is then arguing that it is a new type of an operation and it shouldn’t be able to carry the certification and the union contract it had previously for that new operation. That’s one of the additional fights they have been having in this particular field.
I think there was a number of positive moves in the suggestion of an amendment to the labour standards. Because the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations couldn’t deliver on his promise so glibly and quickly made, what we have instead is a bill in this House which in effect says one of the ways we may be able to deal with it is by giving the responsibility to the local municipalities. Let them pass the bylaw to deal with it.
That’s a copout. My Liberal colleague was correct. That’s exactly what it is. We are not dealing with the prostitution of the trade of waitresses or entertainers which is going on under the current deal. We may be increasing that problem. Some municipalities think pretty clearly about it and are going to come in with some pretty positive bylaws to try to control this kind of an operation. Some of them quietly by default won’t bring in the bylaws.
There are two or three places, which I could name, but won’t in this House, which are suburbs of a major city where they are pretty wide open in terms of the clubs and operations they have. We are going to see this happening, whether it is direct competition for that kind of trade, which I am not particularly fussy about, or whether it is competition by default, the quiet kind where they say: “Let our neighbours be the do gooders and bring in the amendments and the legislation. We’re not going to do it but we will pick up all the business that some of these sleazy operators will bring us.” Either way we are going to end up with some competition between the municipalities because the approach across the province is not likely to be standard.
Mr. Bolan: What about Timmins?
Mr. Mackenzie: There is another danger. As well as those who will bring in decent legislation and decent amendments to the Municipal Act to try to deal honestly with the problem, there are going to be those that will go too far.
Mr. Bolan: It’s already there.
Mr. Mackenzie: It’s not too hard today to do that too. There is a danger also in becoming, forgive the expression, a little bit too much of a puritan. An awful lot of rights will get trampled if we decide we are just going to get as tight as blazes and not allow any kind of expression whatsoever. There are dangers in a number of ways in the kind of standards we can have through an amendment through the Municipal Act because the problem is a great one and because there are some sleazy operators in this business. You have only to talk to the union trying to organize them or some of the girls involved to realize that there are some real pressures on them and some real sleazy operations.
Because this exists and because I think people do want to see some decent standards, I think you are going to see some of the municipalities take advantage of it. To that extent it’s good, and for that reason only, we at least support the bill to have this particular piece of legislation to help us.
I can see it, very frankly, causing almost as many problems as it solves. I don’t see it as solving the problem of the individual dignity of the people involved in this particular trade. I think it is a rather sad copout. I wish the government had moved in the other direction. I wish they would move in that direction now or very quickly because I think it would be much more effective. I worry about leaving it open to interpretation by any one of a hundred or a thousand different municipalities across the province of Ontario. But because I think the people do want some action and the situation is a little bit out of hand, in terms of some of the operators and the things that are being done, I would support the bill. I want to make it clear that I have reservations, I have done my best to express here tonight on this bill.
Mr. Haggerty: I want to address myself to Bill 203, An Act to amend the Municipal Act. Like other members who have spoken previously, I myself feel that the bill will not work in a municipality. I’ll give you the reasons why.
I’ve written a number of letters to the liquor control board. I have expressed my views on previous occasions in the House here concerning the matter of questionable entertainment in a liquor establishment in Ontario. The more I look at this particular bill, the harder I find it to accept it. I have to agree with the member for Hamilton East that perhaps if you had brought in amendments to the Employment Standards Act, we would have then had some control in this particular area. I think that’s a good suggestion and I think that’s the area where we should have been looking.
Consider the matter of questionable entertainment, for example. If it’s permissible legislation now, and one municipality accepts this and passes the normal municipal bylaw, but the adjoining municipality says no, then it will be wide open in the other area, in a sense. It can happen.
For example, the regional municipality of Niagara, the town of Fort Erie, might pass the bylaw but I don’t know who would enforce it. Under the present administration right now, it’s difficult to get enforcement through law enforcement agencies, such as the regional police force. When it comes to policing municipal bylaws, it is up to the municipality to appoint a bylaw officer to administer that bylaw. I suggest that’s not working too successfully.
Where there is a regional municipality I suggest that policing it should come under their administration. The Municipal Act should cover this. I bring that to the minister’s attention because it’s a difficult problem in my particular area. As previous members said, it’s degrading to those persons to be subject to that kind of employment.
I question the matter about the topless waitresses and the exotic dancing that’s going on too. I’ll tell you, that is questionable. Perhaps the matter comes under federal jurisdiction, under the criminal code. I suggest again that you’re going to have an overlapping of jurisdiction here. I don’t think this bill will cover that under a municipal bylaw. I draw to the attention of the minister here, or the parliamentary assistant, that this is another area at which you have to look.
I suppose I could get into quite a lot of detail on that but, as the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk has said, this is a copout by the minister here. It’s just a halfway measure. It isn’t going to do the job. I suggest that you include a regional municipality in here. I think you’ll get better results. Then you’re going to have the law enforcement agency police it. It’s difficult now, even under the present federal and provincial legislation.
It’s rather odd that years ago the liquor control board had that authority to administer the type of entertainment permitted in a liquor establishment.
Mr. Conway: In the good old days of public morality in this province.
Mr. Haggerty: Maybe it should be referred back to that time but, in any case give them the power to administer under their jurisdiction.
Mr. Conway: Bring back Howard Ferguson.
Mr. Haggerty: That is perhaps the area that should be looked at, because they do have an inquiry officer or an officer there to police their own establishments, and it would not put additional cost on municipalities to go out and hire another bylaw officer. For example, in the town of Fort Erie there is a member of council elected at large who is an employee of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario. And, if this act is passed, I am sure there is going to be a conflict of interest. That is another area we are going to have to look at.
I suggest that this will not solve the problem. It is a halfway measure. I think we should be looking at referring it back to the liquor control board and giving them the authority to police their own establishments and the type of entertainment they want to permit in those establishments. Unless the regional municipality is included, this will not work in the Niagara Peninsula.
Mr. M. N. Davison: Mr. Speaker, the bill before us, Bill 203, is pretty poor stuff. This is a pretty crummy way to deal with such a fundamentally important issue. I have a feeling we are going to be back in this House in March, or whenever it is the government calls us back, to pass some legislation that will effectively deal with the problem of topless waitresses and give some protection to women in that position.
Yesterday, in the debates on the estimates, I spoke at length about the kind of wild statements the minister has been making within two minutes of being appointed. It didn’t stop then; he just kept it up and went on and on with a series of nonsensical statements on the issue -- no action, a few threats and absolutely no accomplishment.
Now we have come to the point where it has been taken out of his hands and dumped on to the municipalities by some other more senior minister in the government. That is just not the way he should be dealing with these problems.
I know that the minister got himself into a bit of a bad spot, where he said he was going to do this thing and just wasn’t able to do it. I understand he had to be rescued from himself; somebody had to do something to protect him and to take the heat off him on that issue. Thus we have this Bill 203.
I really think the minister should have paid more attention to the suggestion put forward by my colleague from Hamilton East in his private member’s bill. This is the wrong act to amend.
As long as we are going to be helping out the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations, and trying to protect him from himself, I think we should be doing it in the best way possible. This is a pretty good try, Bill 203, but it is not going to work and we are going to have to be back here again. So why don’t we just save further embarrassment to everybody involved and pass the kind of legislation we need? We should be amending the Employment Standards Act and following the suggestion of my colleague from Hamilton East.
I would like to make a suggestion to the government. I see the first minister is here; perhaps he can get his troops under control at this almost 11th hour --
Hon. Mr. Davis: Me keep my troops under control? Mr. Speaker, on a point of personal privilege --
Mr. Foulds: Sit down.
Hon. Mr. Davis: And this is a subject on which I am not an expert!
Mr. M. N. Davison: As the session winds down and the Premier sends us all home for Christmas and New Year and who knows how many months before he gets up the courage to bring us back, I would suggest that the government --
Hon. Mr. Davis: You fellows shouldn’t be quite as eager tonight.
Mr. M. N. Davison: -- look, the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations isn’t here. In his absence, I think it would be a pretty good idea if the government would quickly sneak this bill off the Order Paper and bring in the proper amendment. We would pass that and the minister wouldn’t know about it. The minister wouldn’t be embarrassed. It would be some long time before he would hear about it. Then we could have the kind of legislation we need to protect people in this situation.
Mr. Nixon: He may never know about this one.
Mr. M. N. Davison: It is not a joking matter. This is a pretty fundamental issue. It comes down to a question of human dignity. It is fairly basic that as a right, no one but no one in this province should be forced to strip to get a job as a waiter or a waitress. This is not the effective way to go about solving it.
The suggestion put forward by the member for Hamilton East is much superior. Why don’t we get rid of this and follow his suggestion? Then we can go home and enjoy ourselves over Christmas.
Mr. Epp: Mr. Speaker, I’m pleased to be able to speak to Bill 203, which officially permits municipalities to pass bylaws licensing and regulating adult entertainment parlours which are licensed under the Liquor Licence Act, 1975. Unofficially, we all know that it’s in response to a difficult situation in which the government found itself --
An hon. member: Hot and heavy.
Mr. Epp: -- a situation from which the government now wants to extricate itself. In particular the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Drea) wants to get out of an embarrassing situation after making all those headlines last August and September as to what he was going to do with what has earlier been described as “the girls.”
We all know that the minister exposed his views --
Hon. Mr. Davis: I didn’t hear that. Exposed what?
Mr. Bradley: Exposed his views.
Mr. Epp: -- on the subject to this Legislature and to the people of Ontario and Canada. It appeared at that time that he was going to take drastic action, but we all know that he is copping out on this and giving the responsibilities to the municipalities.
The Premier is in attendance here, and I know that the Deputy Premier and the parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and all of them have indicated from time to time how important it is to consult with municipalities on all and various matters. I’ve checked my facts on this and I don’t recall the municipalities being asked whether they wanted this particular responsibility. And in speaking to the municipalities I don’t recall them asking for the responsibility.
Yet, time after time, we are told how sincere this particular government is in consulting with the municipalities, with the municipal liaison committee and in doing what they request on many occasions. We know that this consultative process didn’t take place on this occasion for this particular bill. I think the facts speak for themselves. When you really look at the facts before us, we know that they really don’t consult the municipalities when they should.
The kind of responsibilities they give to municipalities are also very interesting, Mr. Speaker. We know the municipalities have asked to have control of committee of adjustment fees. We know that municipalities would like to be able to appoint the social services director, and yet the provincial government has to give its okay when they want to appoint a social services director.
We know that from time to time municipalities have asked for permission to be able to license eats as they license dogs, not that I necessarily think they should license cats, but the province says they’re not mature enough to license cats. They’re not mature enough to hire their own social services director. They’re not mature enough to set their own committee of adjustment fees, yet all of a sudden, in order to extricate the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations from a very embarrassing situation --
An hon. member: Dictatorship.
Mr. Mancini: From a hanging problem.
Mr. Epp: -- they’re coming forth with this piece of legislation. I don’t think it’s fair to all of a sudden put this responsibility on all the municipalities, 835 of them, without the serious consultative process that this government has accepted from time to time -- and very well from time to time. The only trouble is that they quote that particular process when it’s to their advantage. When it’s not to their advantage they don’t give a damn for the municipalities.
Mr. Mancini: Down with the government.
Mr. Conway: The end of democracy.
Mr. Mancini: Down with the government.
Hon. Mr. Davis: You know that’s not true. That’s not what they said in the north tonight.
Mr. Epp: So, Mr. Speaker, as indicated by the House leader earlier, we will be supporting this bill in principle, but I hope also that the government will come in with some kind of more encompassing legislation which will deal with this problem on a province-wide basis rather than on a municipality-by-municipality basis.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, I want to make four or five points very quickly.
First of all, I think it is clear that the House is giving reluctant approval to this bill. It’s giving reluctant approval to the bill for the reasons that have been enunciated by a number of speakers.
What the government has done is try to save the bacon of a cabinet minister, the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations, who couldn’t deliver on some pretty flashy promises he made initially simply to grab some headlines. What the government is doing is taking the relatively easy way out by dumping this responsibility on municipalities, and as the previous speaker has indicated, without consultation with the MLC, without consultation with the Ontario Municipal Association or any of the individual municipalities.
The previous speaker made a very good point that this parliamentary assistant and the cabinet in general love to talk about consulting with municipalities. Yet they are putting through this bill without any of that consultation.
I would like to put to you, Mr. Speaker, and to the House, that it is a fundamental error to introduce a piece of legislation that has to do with human dignity through the local option. Human dignity is not a matter of local option.
Human dignity is a matter we have traditionally accepted as a provincial responsibility. One simply has to look at the number of statutes that deal with that. We don’t farm out employment standards to local option. We don’t farm out the Human Rights Code to local option. We don’t farm out workmen’s compensation responsibility to local option.
I would put to this House that the route chosen by the member for Hamilton East, An Act to amend the Employment Standards Act, Bill 166, is a far more preferable way to proceed. I would urge this government with every amount of persuasion I can muster, that this bill we are going to pass this evening and to which the Lieutenant Governor is going to give royal assent be considered only an interim bill --
Mr. Conway: The chairman of the Ottawa police commission.
Mr. Foulds: -- and that in the initial days of the new House, the government introduce -- I’m sure he’ll give it to them free -- the member for Hamilton East’s bill to amend the Employment Standards Act. It is important, if for no other reason than that we must be seen to treat, and we must treat, workers in this line of work equally throughout the province.
Just one little technical matter. What does the parliamentary assistant do when he has an establishment in an unorganized community? One can’t exercise one’s options at all.
Mr. Hennessy: Quiet, and I’ll give the members a lesson.
Mr. M. N. Davison: I want to see this.
Mr. Hennessy: Well, the member will see it. If he just keeps his mouth shut, it will be all right. I think the opposition are a little mixed up to some extent. If they travel to northwestern Ontario and to the city of Thunder Bay --
Mr. Pope: Or Sault Ste. Marie.
Mr. Hennessy: Never mind, just worry about my area. If members travel to Thunder Bay they will find the municipalities have a better knowledge of what’s going on in their towns than everybody in the city of Toronto.
Mr. Kerrio: It’s not what’s going on in the towns, it’s what is coming off.
Mr. Hennessy: The member should take the next boat back.
Mr. Mancini: That is a scandalous remark. I came over on a boat and I’m not going to take it.
Mr. Hennessy: In Fort Frances there are a lot of problems in regard to the topless problem.
Mr. Foulds: I have a feeling this was a mistake.
Mr. Hennessy: If the members would take the opportunity to go to Fort Frances, if they can afford the money and don’t go at government expense, they would find out the problems they have in Fort Frances in regard to topless waitresses. The council and the people in that area continually have problems. The members would then realize that the legislation this government is putting through is the right legislation. It will give the people of Fort Frances, the members of council, the opportunity to look at the matter first-hand and to make a decision.
Mr. Bolan: Want to give them the right to hang? Want to give them hanging laws?
Mr. Hennessy: With all due respect, the opposition has lost the hail game and is crying foul; they want to play over again.
Mr. Conway: What ball game?
Mr. Hennessy: The ball game the opposition just lost. The member wouldn’t know, he only plays tennis, or maybe something lesser of that nature.
Mr. Makarchuk: What do they play tennis with, Mickey?
Mr. Bolan: Side pocket pool?
Mr. Hennessy: Well, the member graduated from that, I hope.
What the members of the opposition are trying to say is that they want the government to make the rules. Then the municipalities will come back to them and they will come here and start arguing about the government putting in legislation that a certain municipality does not want. This is good legislation for the protection of the women and the young ladies involved. The municipalities will be responsible to the people they are representing. For a bunch of gentlemen like the members I would use stronger words, but the Speaker is liable to ask me to apologize so I won’t use stronger words.
With all due respect, the members should leave Toronto or their hometowns once in a while and come up around northwestern Ontario. Maybe they would learn something. When the municipalities have the opportunity to enact this legislation, we will have legislation that is justified in this respect.
It is a good bill and the members should support it.
Mr. Mancini: Mr. Speaker, I almost hesitate to stand, but I want to speak to Bill 203. If the member for Fort William doesn’t mind someone who came to Canada on a boat speaking in this Legislature, I will go right ahead. I remember that boat ride very vividly and there were no topless waitresses.
I give my hesitating support to Bill 203. I know of no municipality in the province of Ontario that has asked this government to introduce this legislation. I know of no municipality in Ontario that has approached this caucus or any other caucus in the House for this legislation. However, I do understand why we have this in front of us. It’s because the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations, in his maiden speech as minister, informed Ontario that he was going to cover up a situation which he felt was not in the best interests of our province.
That is what the Minister of Consumer Relations said, Mr. Speaker. Actually, he and I are good friends but we just disagree on this matter. He said he was going to cover up a matter which he felt offended the people of Ontario as well as the people who had to work in those conditions. Yet we waited, time passed and the Minister of Consumer Relations came to the conclusion that there was nothing he could do. His government then had the responsibility on their shoulders to get one of their colleagues off the hook. This is how they do it, with Bill 203. They passed the responsibility on to the municipalities, which have not asked for it and I am sure do not want it.
I personally know of no other section of the Liquor Licence Act that is the responsibility of the municipalities. Most liquor licence places get their licence with barely any consultation at all with the municipalities. I have not heard of very many establishments who have been refused their liquor licence because the municipalities have disapproved of them being licensed.
Hon. Mr. Drea: That’s not true and you know it. Why did you read me the letter this week?
Mr. Mancini: The minister is lucky he’s getting the support of the House. He is really lucky he’s getting the support of the House.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Vote it down. Go ahead and vote it down.
Mr. Mancini: We feel there might be some good come of this.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Just go ahead and vote it down. You haven’t got guts enough to.
Mr. Mancini: We’re disappointed the minister didn’t carry out his promise. We’ll give him very reluctant support on this bill. We hope it doesn’t prove to be too large a burden on most municipalities, and possibly before he shoots from the hip the next time, he’ll think out the problem first.
Hon. Mr. Drea: And you won’t write me any more letters about how somebody should be licensed, will you?
Mr. Makarchuk: I would like to speak briefly on this. Basically, I wasn’t that involved in this or that interested in the legislation until I had a call today from one of the hotel operators in my community who heard about the legislation and is rather perturbed. He explained to me how he operated. He said that ordinarily he would have to hire entertainment which would cost him anywhere from $1,500 to $2,000 a week. Some weeks he may make a profit, other weeks he may not make a profit and he would lose.
Mr. Hennessy: Poor guy.
Mr. Ruston: Socialists don’t believe in profit.
Mr. Makarchuk: He decided to hire topless entertainers who would dance and serve in between dances. He explained that he pays them between $200 and $300 a week, plus they make about $150 in tips, which probably is better than some of the staff in the minister’s office get paid.
Mr. Hennessy: They must be a fast waitress.
Mr. Makarchuk: He says if we were all on an equal footing, in other words if the province brought in legislation that prohibited this type of, as he called it, entertainment in all the municipalities in Ontario, he would not argue with the matter. But he says this legislation opens the door to a situation where you have two adjoining municipalities and one brings in this legislation, and one does not. That would mean a hotel in that municipality, which could be three or four miles down the road could have topless entertainment and the other couldn’t. Therefore, this gentleman felt he could not compete. In his case, he says he probably would be forced into bankruptcy.
This is a matter that should be taken into account. The legislation is necessary, but I would like to see it, as was pointed out by my colleagues, be something brought in across the board so you put everybody on an equal basis. You don’t leave it to local option because, as he pointed out, that opens the door to all types of persuasion, or shall we say suggestions, to municipal or local councils -- “We can take you aside and discuss this, and you will not bring in the bylaw.”
This is the suggestion. I feel the man’s argument has merit. He has a fair amount of cash, I presume, tied up in the hotel. He is making some kind of existence out of it at this time and what he is afraid of is that when this legislation comes in and our municipality decides to move on it then he would be at a disadvantage compared to hotels in Paris, four miles down the road, where this legislation wasn’t brought in.
Hon. Mr. Drea: You don’t really believe that.
Mr. Makarchuk: I really do believe it. That is absolutely quite possible. Hotels four miles down the road could be permitted to have topless waitresses. It’s not a very difficult process in terms of straight operation. You’re not going to invest in any large capital or change the facilities. All you do is move five or six bodies from one area to another area, disrobe them and you’re in business. That’s how easy it is.
The argument he brought up has some merit. This is why I feel the legislation is faulty, even though we’re supporting it. It’s the fact that it throws this to local option. It doesn’t make it universal across the province and it puts people who are in the business at a disadvantage vis-à-vis other people who are in the same business.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Let’s hear it from North Bay.
Mr. Bolan: In spite of the fact there are some bad parts about the bill, there are also some good parts about it and I would like to spend a few moments discussing the good parts.
You are probably aware, Mr. Speaker, that, over the past 10 years, there has been an evolution in the law. The concerns about morality are now reflected more on a regional rather than on a national basis. If one were to look at the decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada and the decisions of the United States Supreme Court, one would see the question no longer is: “Does the situation or the object which is being looked at have some social redeeming factors?” Rather the question is: “Does it offend the prurient in the minds of the individual in the particular area in which he resides or from which he comes?”
So that a certain type of society, or a certain part of society in one region of the province, may have a different outlook towards a certain thing as compared to another group or society in a different part of the province.
In that respect, I think the bill is reasonably correct. It will allow different regions to make known across the province, and in their own region as well, their views on what is prurient in the minds of their people.
There are two bad things about the bill. I think that it is ultra vires. I really think it is. For example, when you get into the question of a person being in a state of nudity. I really think that. I really think your bill is bad.
Hon. Mr. Drea: How can you be ultra vires when you are dealing with the Mafia? Come on, you have defended them too long.
Mr. Mancini: It is your bill, Frank.
Mr. Bolan: If you were to charge a hotel owner on the grounds of nudity, I think that you would run into some very serious conflict with the Criminal Code of Canada on the relevant sections relating to nudity.
Hon. Mr. Drea: You guys are pro-Mafia.
Mr. Bolan: The other problem with the bill, and I hope this will be closely monitored, is this: Is it going to create sin strips in certain communities? For example, is there not likely to be a certain community which will tend to allow over-development of this particular type of entertainment? Those are my concerns about it. I am concerned about the sin strips which may be created in Ontario. Similarly, I am concerned about the type of weird liquor laws we have had in the province over the past 100 years. That is basically because of the attitudes of different communities.
So I say, in one sense, there is merit to the bill. On the other side of the fence, I think the bill has some demerits. In any event, I would ask the parliamentary assistant to convey to the minister that this is an area which should closely be monitored. The development of what I call sin strips should not be allowed.
Mr. Conway: We can’t have sin strips. Just read the encyclical, Frank.
Hon. Mr. Drea: I will take just a few moments to refute some of the suggestions that have been made.
I think this bill really underlines what western civilization has been trying to do for the past 500 years.
Mr. Foulds: Oh, Frank!
Mr. Cassidy: This is a half-baked one.
Hon. Mr. Drea: That is why you got 7,000 fewer votes tonight. Now, just keep opening your mouth. There are two more by-elections, my friend. I hope you are there.
Mr. Martel: Call them.
Mr. Cassidy: Call them now, go ahead.
Mr. Foulds: There is only one. You shot from the lip before. Don’t do it again.
Hon. Mr. Drea: For the past 50 years in western civilization, the role of the server -- or the role of the person in service; not the entertainer, but the role of the person, male or female, who provides service -- has been rather constantly enhanced --
Mr. Cassidy: It is not enhanced by local option.
Hon. Mr. Drea: -- over a period of time, sometimes very slowly. But certainly in the last 30 or 40 years it has been enhanced very rapidly. The server is not to amuse, not to titillate, not to entertain.
Mr. Cassidy: On a selective basis. That’s not what the bill says.
Hon. Mr. Drea: When the particular person, male or female, is engaged in service, he or she is to provide the service, whether it is food or drink. That is the sole function of the job.
Mr. Cassidy: That’s not what the bill says.
Hon. Mr. Drea: That’s exactly what has been brought in.
Mr. Cassidy: You are copping out on the municipalities.
Hon. Mr. Drea: I am going to ignore the interjections. I came back here specifically tonight for this bill.
In terms of entertainment, I know that somebody over there -- and I would certainly hope that it is from the left wing side -- will ask me what designates an entertainer.
Mr. Foulds: Just give your speech. This isn’t question period.
Hon. Mr. Drea: An entertainer is one who has an AGVA card. They belong to the union. It is that simple. We are not trying to compare entertainers. The entertainer, male or female, decides upon a professional career. They understand perfectly well that the sanctions of the criminal code as well as the approvals of the criminal code apply to them.
Mr. Foulds: What have you got against amateur entertainers?
Hon. Mr. Drea: Quite frankly, it bothers me that there has been a reverse trend in the past few months. We are going back to the time of the 17th, 18th or the 19th century when the server simply wasn’t good enough to serve the food or the beverage, but must do something in addition. Certainly I would think that this House, when it realizes that very fundamental concept, would find that extremely repugnant.
Mr. Cassidy: Make it for everyone.
Hon. Mr. Drea: I am not talking about local option. The question has been raised tonight about local option. There is no local option. If one wants to have a licensed premises, which is a premises that can serve beverage alcohols, then the responsibility for the licence remains then, as now, with the province.
What we are doing, very simply, is returning to the local municipality, the ratepayers, the people who live at the end of the street and the people who have to walk by it, the right to say that they do not want this type of service in their community.
Mr. Martel: Do you do that with all your labour legislation?
Mr. Foulds: And did you consult with municipalities first? Not on your life.
Hon. Mr. Drea: I don’t understand about why people worry about sin strips.
Mr. M. N. Davison: You just don’t understand.
Hon. Mr. Drea: I listened to you yesterday telling me in the morning how I couldn’t get an insurance agreement with the province of Quebec. I saw you flee the House yesterday and you weren’t even around today. You are not even man enough to apologize, so just cool it right now.
Mr. Foulds: What are you talking about?
Mr. M. N. Davison: On a point of privilege, if there is anybody who is in need of giving apologies, it’s the minister across the way who was supposed to be answering questions on a previous bill here earlier tonight and wasn’t even in the House. That was one of his own bills, not somebody else’s bill like this one.
Mr. Martel: Answer the questions that were raised yesterday.
Hon. Mr. Drea: All I know is what I read out of the Hansard yesterday where the member for Hamilton Centre said I couldn’t produce an agreement now, then or ever. I notice that he fled the House yesterday and wasn’t even here today.
Mr. M. N. Davison: Read Hansard.
Hon. Mr. Drea: I am going to read it in the morning when I answer your questions. You won’t even be here. You’ll do your reluctant sulk.
Mr. M. N. Davison: I will be here.
Hon. Mr. Drea: I want to come back to the principle of the bill as it is very fundamental. I think it is time that the municipality or the local ratepayers or the neighbourhoods or the entire community had the right to have input as to what their standards are.
Mr. Martel: You are not forcing them to cover up.
Mr. Conway: A touch of madness.
Hon. Mr. Drea: I do believe that it is the right of the person on the street who lives in the community, who has to walk their children by the place and who may indeed be going into the particular establishment to have a meal, to be able to set their standards locally. I don’t believe that is local option. I do not believe that is going to produce chaos across the province. Under this bill, there is not one municipality -- even if the bunch of the members opposite stand up there and try to make them -- that will not vote no, and that is the end of it.
Mr. M. N. Davison: If this is so great, why didn’t you bring it in two months ago?
Hon. Mr. Drea: The reason for that is very simple and very fundamental. We could bring in legislation to deal with the topless waitresses, but I think I have enough legislative authority under the Liquor Licence Act to do that now.
Mr. Breaugh: Why don’t you do it?
Hon. Mr. Drea: If I did not have enough, I could bring in a regulation as has been suggested by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. S. Smith).
Mr. Cassidy: Why don’t you get a bill from the Minister of Labour (Mr. Elgie)?
Hon. Mr. Drea: I am not prepared to bring in the kind of dress code that both California and New York state have. I find the very thickness of that extremely repugnant. I do not think that people who are in the service industry -- as a matter of fact, most of them unionized; and I don’t know why the New Democratic Party members are attacking me. The Ontario Federation of Labour likes me. The bartenders’ union likes me. The labour council likes me. Maybe that is why they lost up in the Sault: they have lost touch with them.
Mr. Martel: So do the steelworkers. They like you too, Frank.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Yes, they do.
Mr. Martel: They fired you.
Hon. Mr. Drea: They haven’t got much use for the likes of the member for Sudbury East.
Mr. Martel: They never fired me, Frank.
Hon. Mr. Drea: He could never get a job, because he is incompetent. And if he wants his personnel applications, I will be prepared to table them in the House.
Mr. Martel: I remember it well.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, it is a very simple, very fundamental and very dignified concept. People, in terms of their own municipalities, should have the right to decide their standards. It is not local option, because like yourself, Mr. Speaker, there is not one municipality in Ontario that will say yes. There is not one municipality, big or small, that will have a sin strip, because Ontario is different and distinct from a great number of other jurisdictions.
Mr. Ashe: Mr. Speaker, I can’t in the next two minutes answer all the points that have been made; so I will only touch on a couple of highlights.
First of all, I think it goes without saying that most of the comments and concerns expressed tonight were all put forward quite legitimately. There is no doubt there are different points of view as to how the problem should be solved. I think it is fair to say there are disadvantages and advantages, as well as problems, with any of what are probably the three easiest ways: through the Liquor Licence Act, through The Employment Standards Act and, of course, the way we are doing it, through the Municipal Act.
I think it is also fair to say that in this way we can recognize that people have different standards in different parts of this province and that they can be recognized.
An hon. member: The minister doesn’t think so.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Say, Elie, when was the last you had a medical? Since you are a smart guy.
Mr. Ashe: I think most of the concerns that have been brought up are not too legitimate. If we look back, Mr. Speaker -- if the honourable members on this side and the other side would be quiet for a minute, we could get this finished --
Mr. Van Horne: Just keep going, George.
Mr. Ashe: If we look back in Hansard, we will find that the same concerns and expressions of gloom and doom were put forward when the permissive legislation relative to controlling body-rub parlours was passed earlier this year.
Mr. Mancini: That’s got nothing to do with that, George.
Mr. Ashe: I think the members opposite will agree that the body-rub problem is no longer a problem on this same basis. The municipalities that had a problem took advantage of the legislation and solved their problem. Where there was no problem, they didn’t have to use the permissiveness of the legislation.
There was also a suggestion that no consultation took place. That is not so. In fact, it is in error. We did not have time to circulate the 835 municipalities, that is true, but we were talking with the municipal spokesmen, the association known as the Provincial-Municipal Liaison Committee, as early as a week ago last Friday and again last Friday, before the legislation was introduced. I will agree that there was not unanimous acceptance of it. I don’t deny that whatsoever.
Mr. Epp: You had already told them what kind of legislation you were going to bring in. That’s not consultation.
Mr. Ashe: There were differences of opinion as to the way to go. There is no doubt about that. Some municipalities thought it was the right route to go and some did not. At any rate, I think we will find that this will solve the problem in those areas that perceive they have a problem.
Motion agreed to.
Third reading also agreed to on motion.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, prior to moving adjournment, I wish to thank members of the House for their accommodation tonight, in view of the rearrangement of the orders. Certainly without the co-operation of all members of the House, we could not have reached this particular point by this time, and I want to say thank you.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Welch, the House adjourned at 10:31 p.m.