31st Parliament, 4th Session

L058 - Tue 27 May 1980 / Mar 27 mai 1980

The House met at 2:01 p.m.



Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of privilege arising out of a press release that was distributed by the Minister of the Environment on May 22, last Thursday. This press release gave only eight days for interested parties to prepare written briefs with reference to the Inco control order and the hearings to be held in Sudbury. In addition, the press release fixed next Wednesday, June 4, as the evening when the public meeting was to be held in Sudbury.

That Wednesday happens to be the day when the Environment estimates are due to be held here in this Legislature. It is not possible for the Environment critics of the opposition parties to be here until 6 p.m. and then to be in Sudbury at a meeting to begin at 7 p.m. I want to suggest that there is a deliberate infringement of the privileges of this House in excluding the Environment critics of the opposition parties from taking part in a hearing which, in any case, should not have been undertaken with such a short notice to the interested public.

Hon. Mr. Parrott: Mr. Speaker, with great respect, there was no conflict intended. As a matter of fact, I think my estimates were scheduled some time earlier and were postponed. Indeed, I have had to rearrange my own schedule, not that I object to that, but surely no one would think I set that date of our estimates. That was set by the House leaders. It has been postponed at least twice; so there can be no deliberate attempt on our part to have a conflict of dates.

Secondly, I am torn between the insistence that we get on with the job and the delaying of a hearing, and I think a hearing is essential. I do not think it would be absolutely essential for the critics to be at the opening session, if they should choose to be at Sudbury, if that is a greater priority. If they choose to be there the next day since it may not conclude on June 4, I am sure the hearing officer is more than prepared to hear all testimony.

Mr. Cassidy: On the question of privilege, since the minister says now it was not a deliberate kind of intention on the part of his ministry, and in view of the fact that people who have waited 10 years to get this hearing now have to prepare briefs within only seven or eight days, would the minister consider postponing the hearings at Sudbury by a couple of weeks so the Environment critics of the opposition parties can take part during all of the hearings, not just part of them, and so the public can adequately participate on this very important matter that affects Sudbury and all of Ontario affected by the acid rain from Sudbury’s emissions?

Mr. Speaker: Your point has been made, and it’s not within the purview of the presiding officer of this House either to orchestrate the calling of business of this House or what goes on outside the House. You have made your point, and if the Minister of the Environment chooses to do anything about it, I’m sure he will notify you in due course.



Hon. Mr. Parrott: Mr. Speaker, I am tabling today three reports compiled by my ministry which provide factual analyses of acidic precipitation affecting the Muskoka-Haliburton and Sudbury areas of the province.

The first report is labelled Acidic Precipitation in South-Central Ontario: Analysis of Source Regions using Air Parcel Trajectories. The second one is Bulk Deposition in the Sudbury and Muskoka-Haliburton Areas of Ontario during the Shutdown of Inco Limited in Sudbury. The third report is An Analysis of the Impact of Inco Emissions on Precipitation Quality in the Sudbury Area.

The first study, based on actual monitoring of rain and snow from 1976 to 1979, shows that 90 per cent of the acid contributions come from sources south of the Muskoka-Haliburton areas and 10 per cent from north of these areas. I would like to add that south means exactly that: south of Muskoka-Haliburton and not just south of the Ontario border. Northerly sources account for roughly nine per cent of the acid, seven per cent of the sulphate and eight per cent of the nitrates. The sources to the south and southwest contribute 80 per cent of the acid, 75 per cent of the sulphate and 65 per cent of the nitrates.

The second report, the bulk deposition study, compared measurements of all atmospheric fallout, both wet and dry. We were able to record these findings both before and during the prolonged shutdown of Inco’s Sudbury operations. We found that acid loadings to our lakes did not show any marked change in the Sudbury area or in Muskoka-Haliburton during the period of the Inco shutdown in 1978.

The incontestable conclusion is that long-range transport of pollutants from a southerly direction has a major impact on our resort areas. The smelter complex has a major effect on copper and nickel depositions up to 40 kilometres away from Sudbury, a small effect on sulphate deposition close to Sudbury, and a minimal effect on acid loadings near Sudbury. Nevertheless, the acid loadings do have, without doubt, their effects on other parts of Canada and the United States. It is for this reason that our goal is to have Inco emissions at the lowest possible level as determined by the comprehensive studios to be undertaken by the federal-provincial task force.

The impact of Inco emissions study confirms the contribution of Inco’s summer season emissions to the total wet deposition in the Sudbury area, depending on the weather system passing through the area. For acids, sulphur and a number of trace metals, the Inco contribution in this area is about 10 per cent of the total during warm fronts, and twice that amount during cold fronts. About 40 per cent of copper and nickel deposition there can be attributed to Inco regardless of the weather.

2:10 p.m.

Taking the whole picture into consideration, there is no doubt that the emission effects of Inco on the immediate Sudbury area cannot be ignored. The long-range and long-term effects are still a serious concern for this government and we will continue our activities to deal with them.

These studies also underline the need for international abatement to deal with the long- range transport of contaminants. We will be referring these studies, along with our continuing research, to the Ontario-Canada task force which we are establishing to investigate and report on the abatement of emissions from smelting operations in the Sudbury area.

We are continuing our sampling and analysis program to gain additional information. I believe, however, that these reports have this major significance:

First, the results are based on extensive field measurements and meteoroligical analysis which reflect the best technology and methodology. This information is particularly valuable in the light of the preliminary state of computer-simulated models. It will do much to strengthen the accuracy of computer-simulated projections under development by both federal and provincial scientists.

Second, they provide a sound data base to measure the effects of abatement programs now under way and other measures still to come at Sudbury and other areas containing significant sources.

Third, when this information is combined with the initiatives Ontario is taking in pollution abatement, the urgent need for action in the United States and Canada is apparent.

We have shown that Ontario has acted and is prepared to act on pollution control, as I have emphasized so many times before. We believe that both Canadian and US sources must be controlled. With the continued close co-operation and support that exists between the federal and provincial governments on this matter, I feel confident we shall succeed.

Because these reports are technical and highly complex, we arranged for copies to be made available this morning for the opposition leaders and my critics. Ministry staff are available to answer any questions. I would also like to say that on the advice of my colleague the member for Muskoka (Hon. F. S. Miller), I have agreed that ministry personnel at all levels will be more than willing to attend a public meeting in his riding to outline fully all the scientific data available.


Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, later today I will be introducing a new Limited Partnerships Act to replace the current act.

Ontario has had a Limited Partnerships Act since 1849 and the legislation has been carried forward since that time without substantial change. For most of this century the corporation has been the favoured investment vehicle, while interest in limited partnerships has declined. But recent changes in tax legislation have generated renewed interest in the limited partnership, particularly for investment in mineral, oil and gas exploration and film making.

As evidence of this increased interest, we have noticed a continual rise in the number of limited partnership registrations over the past few years. Last year, for example, 344 limited partnerships were registered with my ministry. The previous year’s total was only 195.

Admittedly, these figures are just a small fraction of the total number of new businesses being created annually in the province. In fact, the 344 limited partnerships formed last year represent less than one per cent of the 50,000 new businesses registered last year. But we expect this new bill will encourage the formation of many more new limited partnerships.

The new act is designed to make it easier for business people to form limited partnerships and to ensure the protection of limited liability even when the composition of the partnership changes. Under existing legislation, a limited partner could lose his limited liability as a result of things over which he has no control, such as the death of one of the partners.

Under the proposed bill, investors would retain their limited liability despite changes in the partnership, as long as they did not take control of the business or sign and register a false declaration that would cause a loss to a third party.

In addition, the paperwork needed to register changes in the partnership will be reduced. Under the present act, every time a change in the membership or financial contribution by members occurs, a new certificate of limited partnership must be filed by all the partners. When you consider that some limited partnerships have 200 members or more, this requirement can be very time-consuming. Under the proposed bill, only the specific changes must be filed.

The proposed bill also clarifies the status of extraprovincial limited partnerships operating in Ontario, by making it mandatory for these businesses to register and appoint an attorney-for-service in our province. This will ensure disclosure of the particulars for persons who deal with the partnership in Ontario.

At the present time it is not clear whether a resident of Ontario who invests in an extra-provincial limited partnership which carries on business in Ontario but is not registered here has limited liabilities. The proposed bill will clarify this by providing that the limited liability of the investor is covered by the laws where the extraprovincial limited partnership is organized.

Limited partnerships formed outside of Ontario but operating in the province will be given 60 days to register after the commencement of the act.

In brief, by updating the act we will not only make the limited partnership a more attractive business vehicle but, because of increased investment, it will also create new jobs and business in the province.


Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Speaker, before we go on to oral questions, I wonder if the Premier, in the absence of the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Auld), would be able to update us on the fire situation in northern Ontario. Particularly, could he tell us whether the Ontario government has made any request to the federal government for assistance of the armed forces in assisting in firefighting in the north?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, the last word I had, just a few moments ago, was that the situation is roughly as it was yesterday. The two ministers involved are keeping a very close eye on it.

I took Friday afternoon to visit Dryden and Red Lake myself to see personally what was happening and to meet some of the people who were being evacuated from Red Lake. When I was there, the Canadian Armed Forces were involved in the evacuation. From the people I discussed it with, I think it was extremely well handled. Obviously the people were not enthused about having to leave their community but because of the organization everybody appeared to be in good spirits and understanding.

In terms of the actual firefighting itself, I cannot tell the honourable member whether requests have gone forward, whether there is a need for additional personnel per se, or whether it is just a question of equipment. If I have any further information on that I shall inform the member. I can only say. from my discussions with the senior people there, they were making every effort to contain the fires where possible. Most important they were dealing with the people who could be affected by the forest fires in a way that the people up there at least seem to feel was going extremely well.

I cannot give the House any further information than that. This information I have just given was received about half an hour ago. If I have anything further before the end of the question period I will inform the House.


Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of the Environment. I thank him for sending me copies of the technical studies released today. These studies, in my reading, would appear to have some serious technical flaws which I suspect would he best discussed in estimates. I am sure the minister and I agree that Inco is a major polluter, that the pollution is going somewhere and that a substantial amount of it is going to Muskoka and Haliburton.

However much we may disagree on the numbers, would he explain to the House why he has been unwilling to bring a proper control order in the Inco case, one which would insist that by the end of 1984-85 they have the proper furnaces in place which would bring their emissions below 1,000 tons a day? Granted that would be expensive, but the minister must surely have read the reports indicating that the company can afford that level of cleanup. Why has the minister continued to hope that the lnco emissions are going somewhere else, and to continue to permit Inco to pollute at its present level?

Hon. Mr. Parrott: Mr. Speaker, I am sorry that the Leader of the Opposition did not have the time this morning to go and hear the people who he said are making serious technical errors and question them on it. That was the precise purpose of that opportunity which he was not able to avail himself of.

Second, I have a good deal of evidence that suggests we are taking very much the appropriate action. The paper that the Leader of the Opposition put forward yesterday talked about levels of 2,250 tons in two and a half years. Our order is 1,950 tons by that time. He talked about 1,000 tons. I am quoting from the paper he quoted at great length just yesterday. If he will read it, he will understand that the levels are 2,250 in two and a half years. Ours will be much lower than that.

2:20 p.m.

May I repeat, our order is much lower than the paper the honourable member quoted as the definitive study. We are much in advance of what he is proposing. That is on the record, and I do not know how the honourable member can possibly deny that. He is talking about four or five years; we are saying by 1981 we will have the study, we will have the information, we will have the knowledge to come to the lowest possible level.

I think it is about time the honourable member started to live in the realistic world. We are doing a great deal. May I read a letter received this morning from the Action Seminar on Acidic Precipitation? It is addressed to myself:

“Dear Dr. Parrott: The ASAP wishes to commend you for the recent initiative to achieve a reduction in sulphur emissions at Inco” -- and I can go on. It is a very complimentary letter about what we are doing and what we will continue to do. They have the faith in this government to do it; we will continue to deliver the goods.

Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I can tell you that whatever compliments the minister has received, he is certainly not going to receive them from me or anyone else knowledgeable on the matter.

Would the minister explain why it is that he has told Inco it can continue to pollute basically at its present level for the next two years, then come down some 20 or 25 per cent to 1,950 tons? Why does he need to produce a study, when there are studies available which should tell the minister, as they tell me and anyone else who cares to read them, that Inco could come down by 60 per cent within four years by putting in new furnaces? It would cost them more than $400 million, but they would save close to $300 million on energy alone. Why does the minister not have the courage to tell Inco to cut down to the 60 per cent they are capable of cutting down to, instead of delivering the goods, as he says, which is simply delivering the goods to Inco instead of the people of Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Parrott: Let me read the bottom line of this report which the member opposite quotes at such great length. I read it and I will be glad to table it for you, Mr. Speaker. The member opposite just said they have all the studies necessary.

This report is only a preliminary assessment of the reductions in emissions which appear to be feasible. That is a long way from the suggestion that was just put forward.

That is the bottom line in the report that was quoted so extensively yesterday. I have it here; I read all of the figures that are on there. It is on page nine, if the member wants to check it out: Emission requirement, 2,250 tons; startup time, two and a half years.

The member seems to fail to understand that one cannot instantly turn on a switch and have all of these technical things develop in a huge operation the size of Inco; it takes a considerable period of time, and they are starting now to do it. They have been working on this new system of pyrrhotite separation for some considerable period of time. They are committed to go to the system, and even if it does not work, the control order stands. We will bring them down to 1,950, which is below the level they propose.

Mr. Laughren: Mr. Speaker, how is it that the Minister of the Environment can take such pride in requiring that Inco get down to 1,950 tons in a couple of years, when the control order, which his ministry imposed back 10 years ago, directed that Inco get down to 750 tons?

How is it the minister can stand there in his place and say he is delivering the goods to the people of Ontario when he has almost tripled the amount of allowable emissions from Inco which he decided 10 years ago was not acceptable?

Hon. Mr. Parrott: I invite the member to make these kind of statements at his home town on June 4, because he knows and the rest of us know there was no known technology to get to 750 tons. There is not now and there was not then. If he wants 750 tons, I would suggest that the member go home to his riding and talk about a 75 per cent layoff at Inco, where there is not the technology to do it.

I want to emphasize -- I said it in my statement today and I will repeat it a thousand times, if it is necessary to do so -- that the provincial-federal task force will have public representation to go to the lowest possible level. That is the only figure we should honestly be considering. It is a very significant issue, not just to one area of this province. It is a tremendously significant issue to all the people of this province. I understand that.

I and this government will not rest nor will we be satisfied until we come to that point: the lowest possible level of emissions. We have taken the first step in Ontario. Let the others now come forward and offer as much as we have delivered.

Mr. Laughren: On a point of privilege.

Mr. Speaker: What is your point of privilege?

Mr. Laughren: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of the Environment has implied that I say one thing in this chamber and another thing back in the Sudbury Basin. That is simply untrue, and I would ask that you direct the minister to withdraw it. Also, I would point out to you, Mr. Speaker, that Inco itself admitted at one time that the company could get down to 1,500 tons per day and the minister allowed it off the hook on that admission.

Mr. S. Smith: Why does the minister continue that scare tactic, that old bogyman about layoffs at Inco, when he knows very well there will be no 75 per cent layoff at Inco? There will be no layoffs there. There will be increased jobs in the pollution control industry. There will be increased jobs in the fertilizer industry using the sulphuric acid byproduct. Every study in his ministry tells him there will be more jobs when Inco is forced to clean up, not fewer jobs.

Why does the minister use that old chestnut? Why does the minister not have the guts to go to Inco and have a policy about acid rain which consists of more than the present one which seems to be to seed the clouds with Rolaids and hope for the best?

Hon. Mr. Parrott: Mr. Speaker, I am afraid that looking at the clock there is not time enough left this afternoon, if we dealt with no other issue than the number of times the leader of the Liberal Party has gone around this province, not just spreading gloom and doom, but making paranoid statements on so many issues. Then he worries about us making those kind of statements.

The statement was made that to go to 750 tons instantly like this leaves no alternative. I want to come, as I have said, not to 750, but to the lowest possible level on a phased basis using the best technology available. I want to do it as soon as possible, and this government supports me all the way.

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, can the minister explain how the public is to comment intelligently on the proposed control order when the ministry is rushing to finish the public hearings on the control order before there is adequate time to assess the documentation that is only now being made available, and when the major study by the Economic Council of Canada on sulphur dioxide emissions by Inco and the cost of regulating or controlling those emissions will not be published until the middle of June? Why is the government trying to get the control order to protect Inco wrapped up before we know what the facts are and before the public can comment on how much further we could reduce those sulphur dioxide emissions?

2:30 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Parrott: Mr. Speaker, I would like to go over what that hearing is. It is not, as other meetings have been, an environmental assessment hearing. There will be an open house the previous days. There will be an opportunity for those without large expertise to comment on their position. The leader of the third party and his critic have had light years to prepare their position.

Mr. Martel: So have you.

Hon. Mr. Parrott: Indeed we have. All of the members of this House have spent many years, many hours in committees, discussing this order. We have all had a great opportunity to get to know the facts and to question the experts who have testimony before committees. That will continue to go on. I do not want for one second to cut off the public’s participation in this process. It will continue to go on. This is only one step in a continuing role to bring us to that lowest possible emission level that we all seek.


Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Premier. The Premier will recall that the figures last year indicated that Ontario was losing population rather rapidly on the basis of a net interprovincial migration. Despite the influx of people from Quebec, we were losing people to the west at quite a rate. I suggested that Ontario had become a place to leave and the Premier, as I recall, went around the bend at the time.

Is the Premier now aware of the latest figures which would indicate that the rate of emigration from Ontario, the rate of net loss of population interprovincially from Ontario, has increased by some 90 per cent in the last few months? Is he aware for instance on a one-year basis --

Mr. Havrot: Maybe it is because of you.

Mr. S. Smith: There are a few over there who should have left, but they might be better to listen for a while.

Mr. Havrot: Why did you leave Quebec?

Mr. S. Smith: The fact is, in the year from January to January, although we had an influx of approximately 17,000 people from Quebec, we lost 27,000 people, mostly to Alberta and British Columbia.

Would the Premier agree that these people are in effect voting and giving their opinion of his government by voting with their feet? Does he have any figures regarding the extent to which the people leaving are educated? How many skilled workers are we losing? Can he provide figures as to the categories of the people we are losing at the moment under his leadership?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, any of those who may be moving to the west for either permanent or short-term occupations obviously are leaving well educated, in spite of any observations by the Leader of the Opposition.

In his usual rhetorical, enlightened, constructive fashion he suggested they are voting with their feet, but at least we on this side of the House do not think with ours; we try to handle decisions intelligently.

I listened to some of his rhetoric the other day and I thought he meant it when he suggested that it was a time to cool the debates between provinces. Then I knew he had reverted; those high moments of a few days ago, when he tried to be a statesman, dissipated when his political ambition became too great for him. Or perhaps McMaster said to him, “You have to be back by the end of the year; so you had better move up or move out.” I understand that.

I would say this province over the years has benefited in terms of people coming from outside Canada. I am not one of those who was particularly delighted when people, say from the maritime provinces, felt they had to move to Ontario for what might have been economic benefit. I do not think that is a healthy thing for the country. I take no great satisfaction that people have moved out of Quebec into this province. I am sure the Leader of the Opposition does, because that would be consistent with his point of view. I am not disturbed at all that some Ontarians are going to other parts of Canada. Surely that is what this country is all about.

When we see other provinces growing in economic terms, where we are then the beneficiaries as well, surely the Leader of the Opposition, if he is going to be the statesman he tried to be a week ago, should be sharing in the understanding that when other parts of Canada experience economic growth we in this province are ultimately the beneficiaries.

I have no concern about people moving. I know of several young people who have gone to Calgary for a short period. They are not going to stay there in perpetuity, but there are certain job opportunities there. Why shouldn’t they go? it is a great experience. They may even persuade some Albertans that in central Canada we aren’t quite as selfish as the people in Alberta on occasion think we are. I have to tell members the people in Alberta aren’t nearly as selfish or as nasty as the Leader of the Opposition construes them to be.


Hon. Mr. Davis: Oh, come on. Listen, I can show the member material on what he has said about the poor government of Alberta that would curl his hair, if it needs any further curling.

If the Leader of the Opposition is trying to embarrass this government by saying people are moving from Ontario to seek job opportunities in other parts of Canada at this moment in our history, all I can say is his frustrations are showing. It doesn’t concern me at all, because the realities are still there.

This province, in terms of our technology, in terms of the manufacturing sector and in terms of job opportunities for the majority of people, is the healthiest jurisdiction in Canada. And I have news for the member: it is going to stay that way for a number of years for a multitude of reasons, one of which is that we are still going to be here and his party is still going to be over there.


Mr. S. Smith: Since the Premier appears to be continuing his program of beating the bushes over in London, England, to get skilled workers, when he finishes with his personal insults --


Mr. Speaker: Order. Order.

Mr. S. Smith: -- could he take a little time to tell us how many of the 27,000 people who have left Ontario this year fall into the category of skilled workers? Could he do that?

Could he also comment on the fact that since things have stabilized in Quebec and since we would have had a net loss of 27,000 had it not been for the influx of people from Quebec, does he anticipate a continued influx from that province? If not, is he at all alarmed about the rate at which we are losing population to other provinces?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I think we should look at our net population figures as well, and I am not going to take any personal credit, but I have done more than my share and more than the Leader of the Opposition in terms of perpetuating the numbers game in this province. I am not accusing him of lack of effort. Don’t take that as a personal insult.


Hon. Mr. Davis: I didn’t know he was so thin-skinned. What always amazes me is that the Leader of the Opposition can say as many sarcastic things as he likes about my colleagues in the cabinet. I stand up here to have a little fun and he starts taking it personally. I say to him, don’t take it so personally. He is embarrassing all of his colleagues around him. They are sitting there with dumbfounded looks. Look at the member for Kitchener (Mr. Breithaupt). Look at that distant relative of mine from Kitchener who sits there in embarrassment when his leader says some of these things. How are you, Jamie?


Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I would be delighted to try and get a breakdown for the member.


Mr. T. P. Reid: Answer the question.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Listen, I say nice things about the member’s wife. I just wish he would take her judgement a little more often.

I will try again. If we include lawyers as being skilled workers, I know two or three lawyers who have gone to Calgary. I know two or three people in the entertainment business whom I think are very skilled. Are they skilled workers in the Leader of the Opposition’s view?

I will try to get a breakdown for him, but I just have to repeat what I said. If one can get up in this House and talk about Canada, if one can go back to the rhetoric of a week or so ago, surely one has to appreciate that it is in the national interest if we have some mobility of population if other provincial economies are growing.

2:40 p.m.

Mr. S. Smith: That’s your leading export at the moment.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I see. So now if you are a Canadian and you move from one province to another, you are an export. I have always thought if you are a Canadian, you are a Canadian in whatever province you might happen to live.

Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I have a supplementary with respect to the Premier’s point about the free movement of people between provincial borders. A couple of weeks ago I asked the Minister of Labour about the legislation that has been introduced in both Newfoundland and Nova Scotia about preferential hiring in the oil business, and I understand there is now a preferential hiring bill in Nova Scotia pertaining to civil service jobs. Why does the Premier of this province not stand up and take a strong stand against that kind of preferential legislation and why does he not give serious thought to challenging that in the courts?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, the member was not here for my statement the other day. I will just reread the first part of the statement I made: “The principles that we support in terms of a new constitution ... ”

Mr. S. Smith: Oh, don’t quote that.

Hon. Mr. Davis: He doesn’t want me to quote it. Why doesn’t he?

Mr. S. Smith: It’s a waste of time.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Sure. He would contest everything in the courts. That’s how he brings about harmony within the country. There’s no question that we would have a great influx of lawyers if he ever had his way. We would be in the courts on every single issue.

Mr. T. P. Reid: He might win some.


Mr. Speaker: Order. Would the Premier just address himself to the supplementary question?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I have been so impressed by the member for Hamilton West when he speaks that I just want to help him as much as I can.

I have already made my views known. We will never have such legislation in this province. The first principle, and it was put in some order of priority, is that we believe the constitution should contain measures to eliminate barriers to the free flow of people, goods and services across the country so as to enhance the economic ties within Confederation.

Mr. S. Smith: Hawker Siddeley; Babcock and Wilcox.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Does the member want me to go back to chapter and verse on some of the things his colleagues have raised with respect to preferential purchasing in this province? Never mind. I will debate Hawker Siddeley with him any time.

That’s our answer to it. We want to see it in the constitution that a Canadian is a Canadian, not like the member’s leader says, an export. A Canadian is a Canadian wherever he lives, and legislation should reflect that.


Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Natural Resources about a threatened industry in Ontario, the iron ore industry, and about the minister’s statement last Thursday in the House when I was up in northern Ontario.

Since the minister’s statement, which came in response to seven months of questioning by this party, contained absolutely no strategy for the future development of the iron ore industry in northern Ontario, are we to take it that the government intends to abandon the iron ore industry in Ontario, as well as any pretence of an industrial strategy that would link the future of iron ore industry to the steel industry in Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Auld: Mr. Speaker, of course not, and I think the honourable member knows that. What I said was the reason for the problems that we currently face was the situation in the steel industry in North America at the present time and the noncompetitive position we have with certain of our ores. I thought I made it quite clear.

Mr. Cassidy: Could the minister then say what is the strategy of the government as to developing the iron ore industry to meet the additional demand for some eight million tons of ore a year in this province’s steel industry during the 1980s? Since the government now has put a total of $54.4 million into the acquisition of land for and the development of the Townsend site, what kind of money is the government prepared to put into one-industry towns in northern Ontario which are being forced to close down because of the shutdown of the iron ore industry in those northern single-industry towns?

Hon. Mr. Auld: Mr. Speaker, one of the reasons our exports of finished steel are holding up is that we have a highly competitive steel industry. Our problem is not in the steel industry; it is in the kind of ore that we are mining in Ontario. I am sure the honourable member is aware that Canada is a major exporter on balance of iron ore. But the ore we have been talking about in northwestern Ontario is simply not competitive.

If the steel companies in Hamilton and Sault Ste. Marie were required to use it, I suspect they would be uncompetitive in their own exports, at which they are now doing very well.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Speaker, has the minister had any conversations with his counterpart in Ottawa with regard to the whole iron and steel industry in Canada and the exports that go along with it with a view to having a Canada-wide industrial strategy, not just an Ontario strategy in this regard?

Hon. Mr. Auld: Mr. Speaker, I think I touched on that aspect, not in my statement last week, but in one some time ago. If we were to take any measures which would reduce the imports of US ore coming to Ontario, it seems very likely the United States would take countervailing action against Canadian exports of ore and of finished steel.

I have had discussions with the federal minister in connection with Inco, sea-bed mining and that sort of thing. I have not been specifically discussing iron ore as yet.

Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, I would sure like to know how sea-bed mining, which is for nickel, got into the iron ore industry discussion.

Will the minister table with the House the names of the mining companies in the United States in which the steel industry has equity, the equity position of those steel companies in each of those mining operations, the volume of production of those mines in the United States and the volume that each steel company is obtaining from each mining company in the United States so that we can determine whether the steel companies are obtaining volumes of ore that are in excess of their equity position from the United States rather than Canada?

Hon. Mr. Auld: Mr. Speaker, I will study that question and see how much of the information would be available. As far as the ownership of a publicly-owned company is concerned, it changes from day to day as shares are sold. I think it would be very difficult to get a perfectly accurate figure. I will look at that question in print and see what sort of answer I can get and what information we would have available that would be accurate.

Mr. Cassidy: Has the minister sat down with the heads of the three steel companies in the province to determine from them why they are not prepared to use more Ontario iron ore? Are the minister and the government prepared to table for this House what it would cost, if anything, for those steel mills to continue to use iron ore from Ontario rather than buying iron ore from the United States at the expense of thousands of jobs in northern Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Auld: Mr. Speaker, I happen to have with me a statement which indicates why our ore is noncompetitive. It is technical. I am not a metallurgist, but I would like to read it -- it won’t take very long -- to indicate what the problem really is:

“Standard steelmaking practice is to produce pig iron containing three to four per cent carbon in the blast furnace. Pig iron is the basic iron used to feed the furnaces that refine that iron to steel. The pig iron is refined in open-hearth furnaces, basic oxygen furnaces and some electric furnaces. A blast furnace” -- one blast furnace -- “will feed several refining furnaces and therefore must not contain alloys.”

I see the member for Sudbury East is smiling. He obviously knows all this, but I don’t. So I will continue to read it.

Mr. Martel: Then you should learn.

Hon. Mr. Auld: “Alloy steels are made in the refining furnace and this is where any alloys are added, such as nickel. A pig iron containing nickel could not be used in most steel-refining furnaces because the vast majority of steel contains no alloys, only carbon. Inco’s iron ore pellet contains 0.2 per cent nickel, which is too high for most steels made. Inco’s iron ore pellet was also high in alkalis, which attack blast furnace refractory lining. To remove the alkalis, you must increase the silica in the slag in the blast furnace. However, when this is done, less sulphur is removed from the iron than desired and the sulphur removal must be done by more costly methods later in the refining furnace.

2:50 p.m.

“Inco’s iron ore pellets contain about 30 per cent oxygen. This oxygen is removed during melting the pig iron in blast furnaces. Electric furnaces are not designed to reduce oxygen in the ore. It is energy-inefficient compared to a blast furnace and too costly a method to remove oxygen.

“Iron ore pellets can be reduced to sponge iron in gas- and coal-fired kilos, but the process is costly and the final product -- prereduced iron pellets or sponge iron [which we discussed briefly last week] -- must compete with scrap steel. Scrap steel is in good supply and predicted to remain so for some years in North America.”

Mr. Speaker: Does the honourable member have another page?

Hon. Mr. Auld: Just a paragraph, Mr. Speaker.

This, I think, is the key: “Scrap steel would have to sell for over US$130 per long ton before those pellets could compete, and the present-day price of scrap steel is between $40 and $80 per ton.

“Electric furnaces are used to produce steel, especially alloy steel, by utilizing scrap steel. This is very energy-efficient because the steel has already been refined and it requires much less energy to just remelt than to produce steel from iron ore.”

Mr. Speaker: I want to thank the honourable minister for that lesson in metallurgy. I will add two minutes to the question period.

Mr. Martel: How come they refined it up until just now then? With all that nonsense --

Mr. Speaker: Order.


Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have a new question for the Minister of Health. Is the Minister of Health aware that the precoronary program of emergency assistance to heart attack victims in the Sault Ste. Marie area, which was provided by paramedics who operated through the ambulance service in that area, has been forced to close down because of an edict from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario? This was despite the fact it had reduced the fatality rate among heart attack victims from 15 per cent of those stricken with heart attacks to five per cent.

Is the minister aware that the program was forced to close down last November 1? And what action will the government take to get the College of Physicians and Surgeons to remove its opposition and get this lifesaving program back on the road?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I will be glad to look into the specific details of that program. The College of Physicians and Surgeons co-operated in a number of experiments that have been conducted around the province in the use of those paramedics.

I have to point out that the term “paramedics” means different things to just about every person one deals with. I am afraid we get drawn down the garden path sometimes the way they use the term in the United States, and the fact it means many things to different people.

I have not had an approach from that ambulance service or the attendants, to my knowledge, but I will be glad to look at that program.

Mr. Cassidy: Is the minister prepared to consider favourably similar proposals for an emergency assistance program provided by paramedics in the province’s ambulances in the Ottawa area? It is estimated there are more than 100 cases every month there where lives can be saved or where people can be brought into hospital in much better shape if they get assistance at the scene of the heart attack or the accident.

Is the minister or the government prepared to ensure that this kind of paramedic preventive service is put into place and is not blocked by the opposition of physicians in the province, or the College of Physicians and Surgeons, to the use of paramedics at the scene where they are most needed?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I can assure the member that no development would be blocked by such opposition, but I want to point out a few things. My understanding is that in the case of cardiac arrest, if within the first four minutes there is no doctor, paramedic -- whatever that means to the member -- or emergency medical care assistant, 93 per cent of whom in this province have cardiopulmonary resuscitation qualifications, then the chances of doing anything for a person suffering cardiac arrest are almost nil. That is the advice I have had consistently.

In Ottawa, let me also point out, there is a cardiac wagon that operates out of the Ottawa Civic Hospital on the initiative of the medical staff of that hospital.

Finally, there are a variety of experiments under way in parts of the province in employing training staff to a higher level than an emergency medical care assistant. These are being evaluated to determine whether we need to go further.

We still have a number of people working in the ambulance services of the province who have not got the full EMCA standards. I would like to see them, in the next few years, brought up to that level, which is recognized as one of the highest minimum levels of qualification for an ambulance service anywhere in North America, including many jurisdictions that supposedly have paramedics. Our standard qualification in Ontario is higher than many jurisdictions that claim to have paramedics.

Mr. Wildman: Mr. Speaker, is the minister not aware that the reason the program is no longer an adequate operation in Sault Ste. Marie is that there is not a doctor on duty 24 hours a day in the emergency room of the hospital? Because of that, these paramedics who have the skills in the area, the ambulance operators whom the minister has described as being so highly skilled, are not able to use those skills. Is the minister prepared to provide the kind of funds necessary so that there is a doctor on duty 24 hours a day and so that those skills can be used to help save lives in the Sault Ste. Marie area?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased the honourable member raised that matter. I am sure he would support the activities of the health council in that area in working with the hospitals to rationalize the services between those two hospitals, which are literally no further apart than the width of this chamber, to improve the services. I think that is something that can result from the rationalization of the services between those two hospitals which I have consistently supported and promoted with the hospitals and with the health council.


Mr. Peterson: A question for the Minister of Energy, Mr. Speaker: I want to ask him about the rate structure for gas in this province. How can the minister support a rate structure whereby the owner of a duplex, who occupies one of the units in that duplex. would have to pay a commercial-industrial rate for that gas as opposed to, for example, someone who owned two houses and rented one and only had to pay a residential rate for that? How can the minister support that kind of structure?

Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, if the honourable member will give me the particulars, I will be glad to get some information from the Ontario Energy Board which has the jurisdiction for making these determinations. If the honourable member has some particulars and will share them with me, I will he glad to send them along to the chairman of the Ontario Energy Board and ask for some explanation with respect to that particular rate.

Mr. Peterson: The particulars consist of the rate card, which I assume the minister would probably know a great deal about and concern himself about. Would the minister not agree that, if he does not already know, he should study it to make sure we have built in the proper incentives for people to convert from other fuels -- as we are trying to do -- to the gas alternative? Would he examine it in that light and recommend to the Ontario Energy Board, his people in charge of the rate structures, that we should not penalize people who have small duplexes and that kind of thing?

Hon. Mr. Welch: I prefer to take the matter up with the board.

Mr. Sargent: Mr. Speaker, would the minister advise us of his concern about the fact that Union Gas has applied for a rate increase while it is diversifying in other industries? Is the minister allowing, through the Ontario Energy Board, increased rates from the taxpayers of Ontario so they can diversify their capital funds?

3:00 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, that would not be my understanding as to how the Ontario Energy Board would arrive at a determination. I do not know what relationship other activities of the company would have with respect to establishing the rate for the fuel. If the honourable member has any information he wants to share with me, I can assure him I would be glad to pass it on to the members of the board.


Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. In view of the minister’s well-known penchant for supporting Canadian products, as enunciated last week in the House, could the minister advise the House what action he or his colleague the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Grossman) can or will take in view of the misleading practice of Stanley Hardware, as illustrated by this pair of butt hinges, which clearly indicates on the outside of the package that they are made in Canada, and when the purchaser -- myself -- who bought them in Thunder Bay on May 3 opened the package and looked inside they were clearly stamped “Made in the USA"? The purchaser had purchased them in preference to an American product, which was sold next door.

Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, if the member will give me the details of the purchase, we will investigate. I may say that my conversion to Canadian products has been known for some time. I regard that as a very poor practice.

I think I can say this for the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Grossman), even though he is not here: there are a number of people today who are increasingly -- and I welcome it -- becoming very label-conscious, particularly with regard to the point of origin. Invariably, when a situation like this occurs these people feel rather bitterly betrayed. One can take it back, I suppose, but they feel that having shopped Canadian they were entitled to an accurate description of the goods.

If the member will give me the details, I will look into it. I am sure the Minister of Industry and Tourism shares my concern in this regard.

Mr. Foulds: Surely the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations would agree publicly that such a practice does undermine the Shop Canadian Program promoted by his government and by his colleagues?

Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, it does more than undermine a program of the government. We can have all the programs in the world, but all the programs can do is motivate people to take a little extra time to compare the labels, the quality and so on. When they find they have been bitterly betrayed after taking that extra effort, it is a betrayal of the public interest, not just a government program.


Mr. McKessock: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Agriculture and Feed pertaining to the junior agriculturalist program. As the minister knows, this program is to give nonfarm students agricultural experience and they have an orientation day before attending the farm.

Is the minister aware that some of these students in the past year did not get this orientation day because the day fell on the same day as their exams and the form states that when this happens the exams take priority? Is he aware that the farmers would like these students to have this orientation day so they at least know what a tractor is before attending a farm, for their own safety and for other reasons?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, in response to the honourable member, I had the pleasure two Fridays ago to shake the hands of all the graduates at Centralia. Last Friday I shook the hands of all the graduates at Ridgetown. This Friday I will shake the hands of all the graduates at Kemptville. I spoke to all those students. I asked them if they had any recommendations to me, as the minister, and not one of them brought this to my attention. But we will look at it.

Mr. McKessock: Apparently the minister is not aware of what I am talking about. This does not concern agricultural students; it concerns students from high schools throughout Ontario who have had no agricultural experience. This agricultural program of the ministry is to give nonfarm students agricultural experience in Ontario. My question is: Would the minister see they get their orientation day, the one day that gives them some experience on a farm, before they go out onto these farms?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: The honourable member is asking about our summer student program, I believe, and not about our agricultural school program, which I took it to mean.

I am sure the honourable member must not be aware of the programs that our colleges have with the farmers in surrounding areas orienting our students. I will look at his concern and see whether it can be corrected.


Mr. Wildman: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development. Could the minister indicate whether his government is willing to change its position and provide funding from the regional priorities budget to assist Blind River in providing the infrastructure for the new Eldorado Nuclear Limited plant, which the federal government has designated for that community?

Hon. Mr. Brunelle: Mr. Speaker, we are very pleased that the refineries will be built in the Blind River area and this government will do everything possible to assist in whatever is required.

Mr. Wildman: Does that mean the provincial government is prepared to provide the money for which the community has been asking for years to construct the Granary Lake Road between Blind River and Elliot Lake? Is it prepared to provide the extra funding for the sewer extension to enable the community to deal with the expansion that will take place as a result of the industrial expansion there?

Hon. Mr. Brunelle: Should those matters be presented, they will be considered.

Mr. S. Smith: When the minister says his government is very pleased that this refinery is being built in Blind River, is he speaking for the entire government, including the Premier and the member for Northumberland (Mr. Rowe)?

Hon. Mr. Brunelle: Mr. Speaker, when the refinery is built it will create employment. What we are most interested in is employment; so we are very pleased, especially since it is going into an area where there is quite a demand for employment in northern Ontario.


Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Leader of the Opposition asked questions of the Attorney General concerning the supposed suppression of a board decision. There was no suppression of any decision by the board. I will be very brief in the chronology, but obviously the Leader of the Opposition acted on erroneous information.

On April 22, a decision on cuts was reached by the board. On April 30, a review was requested by the distributor. Between May 2 and May 5, the film was reviewed. There was no decision reached.

On May 14, one member indicated a wish to have a decision on the review. On the morning of May 15, the board made a decision. All the board members initialled the decision, which was for three cuts involving children.

On May 15, there was a letter from a solicitor offering the English cut. On May 16, the decision of the 15th was conveyed by telephone to the solicitor. The solicitor asked for time to reply to his client.

On May 21, the solicitor asked for a written decision. On May 22, the written decision, which was identical to the phone call, went out. The solicitor informed us today that, unfortunately, he did not receive the letter. The letter of May 22 was delivered by courier to the solicitor today.

There was no suppression of any decision. On April 22, they were informed of the first decision. On May 16, the very day after the second decision, they were informed.

Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, if the minister will take time to read my question of yesterday, which I put to the Attorney General in his absence, I said the allegations of suppression of a decision were in the Globe and Mail.

However, the allegation by the lawyer that his letter was not conveyed by the chairman to the other members is an allegation the lawyer put to me indirectly, but put to me. May I ask, therefore, what explanation the minister has accepted for the apparent fact that the lawyer’s offer to accept the English cut was allegedly not presented to the other members of the board?

3:10 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Drea: On May 14 a member of the board requested a meeting on May 15 so the decision would be made. The decision was made and all seven members of the board initialled the decision to make three cuts. The lawyer’s letter arrived after that decision was made. The decision was made on the review. How many times does the member opposite want to review?

Mr. S. Smith: They might have reconsidered it.

Hon. Mr. Drea: The cut that was offered in that letter was not among the cuts at that time, or indeed the one cut that is often mentioned. It was a letter that was redundant by the time it arrived.

Mr. S. Smith: The chairman said it was a personal letter.

Hon. Mr. Drea: I looked today at the letter that was sent to the chairman but, on the basis of a decision having been reached, that letter was no longer of any relevance.

Could I ask the Leader of the Opposition just one thing? If the cracks about the tin god were about me, that is fine. But if the cracks were about the director of the Ontario Board of Censors, I think, in the light of the chronology I have given the honourable member, there is some appropriate action to be taken.

Mr. S. Smith: I do not mind. If no decision in favour of one cut was ever taken informally or formally at the board and the Globe and Mail article was totally in error, and if the head of the board of censors will tell the Globe and Mail that its article was totally in error, then I would apologize for any inference otherwise that I may have made.

I continue to believe, however -- and I hope the minister will agree -- that even though a decision had been taken one day earlier, the letter that was sent to the director of the board surely should have been sent to the other members as well and should not have been regarded by him as a personal letter.


Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Chairman of Management Board of Cabinet, if I may have his attention. Can he explain to the House why he accepted the recommendation of the Civil Service Commission and approved a 12 per cent increase in salaries for the secretaries of cabinet ministers, deputy ministers and parliamentary assistants, when the general increase for most of the employees of the government was between eight and nine per cent, and particularly when the leader of the government is making speeches about holding the line on salaries and government costs?

Hon. Mr. McCague: Mr. Speaker, when we were dealing with the union on salaries in connection with the secretaries and clerical series, the union made a very strong case for equalizing the rates of pay for those two series. It resulted in us having to give an additional increase of about three and a half per cent in the secretary series in the bargaining unit. It is part of the philosophy, with which some members of the House agree, that there should be equal pay for equal work. So the same percentage was applied to the secretaries of ministers and deputy ministers as was the ease in all the secretaries series within government.

Mr. Nixon: If the explanation is equal pay for work of equal value, I would like that documented and I hope the minister would be prepared to table the information. Is he aware of the report entitled Compensation in Canada: A Study of Public and Private Sectors, put out in April by the Conference Board in Canada, where on page 22 it says as follows: “Provincial governments tend to pay higher rates than the private sector for all positions and, as a result, average between eight and 18 per cent above the private sector”? If he is aware of that, does he not agree that he is the person, as chairman of management board, who should surely attempt to fulfil at least the indications made by the leader of the government and try to keep some control on these increases?

Hon. Mr. McCague: Since the member has the book in his hand, and I have one also, I would like to refer him to page 55, where there is a little clearer story of what is going on. He will notice that in most classifications we are behind the average percentage increases throughout Canada, except for a couple of classes like OPP constable and nurse 2.

If the member will also turn back in his book to page VI, he will see it explained -- this is what was missing in all articles that I have seen in the press. It says: “The provincial government enterprise sector” -- and I think the member will agree that the enterprise sector is not actually the provincial government; it is the outside agencies -- “and the municipal government sector are the only public sectors in which hourly rates of pay are consistently higher than those for comparable jobs in the private sector.”

Mr. Martel: Would the chairman of management board meet with his colleagues on the Board of Internal Economy to indicate that if they believe in equal pay for work of equal value, they should support my motion? It would have given 12 per cent to the legislative assistants around here because it was based on the 1971 decision that these categories be the same. If the minister’s colleagues won’t get up enough courage to support that, maybe the Liberal representative would; yesterday he opposed it as well.

Mr. Nixon: You are darned right I opposed it, and I would oppose it again.

Mr. Martel: Yes, you’re darned right. You want it both ways.

Mr. Nixon: Well, somebody has to do things right around this place.

Mr. Martel: Yes, I know.

Hon. Mr. McCague: Mr. Speaker, the members from this side on the Board of Internal Economy have already spoken to me to verify what I just said.


Mr. Van Horne: Mr. Speaker, in the light of the earlier comments from members of both sides of this House about the people leaving Ontario or coming to Ontario, I do not want it construed on behalf of any of the members that we are not pleased to have with us 21 visiting students from British Columbia who are guests here in our province.


Mr. R. F. Johnston: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of the Environment. It concerns a drastic change of opinion by his ministry on the Keating Channel dreadging matter.

On February 19 of this year, Mr. Salbach, the assistant director of the ministry’s water resources branch, wrote a memo that recommended the ministry withdraw its approval for the Toronto Harbour Commission’s proposal for the dredging disposal in Toronto harbour. On February 28, the ministry’s officials, including Mr. Salbach, attended an interagency meeting where they not only approved the proposal but also agreed to help pay for it to the tune of $55,000. What changed between February 19 and February 28? What was the blinding revelation that changed their opinion?

Hon. Mr. Parrott: I would have to review that, Mr. Speaker. I do not know what transpired specifically. No doubt new information came forward. I would be glad to get that to the member.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: Since the February 19 memo stated that one of the major reasons for withdrawing approval was the Toronto Harbour Commission’s frequent past violations of water quality guidelines, could the minister say what changed about that between February 19 and February 28? Since another reason given was the high probability of water contamination at the Toronto city intakes if dredging spoils were dumped in 1980, could the minister tell us what changed there between February 19 and February 28 for his ministry to give money to this proposal?

Hon. Mr. Parrott: Mr. Speaker, there were many meetings on this, not only within our own ministry but I am sure also with other ministries. I would have to review that period of time to know what transpired, to look at the dialogue with other ministries and other agencies. I would be glad to do that, but I do not have that information available to me at this minute.

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



Mr. Gaunt reported the following resolution:

That supply in the following amounts and to defray the expenses of the Ministry of Colleges and Universities be granted to Her Majesty for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1981: university support program, $942,979,000; college and adult education support program, $487,931,000; and student affairs program. $95,316,000.



Hon. Mr. Drea moved first reading of Bill 85, An Act to revise the Limited Partnership Act.

Motion agreed to.


Mr. Kennedy moved first reading of Bill Pr12, An Act to revive Gothic Mines & Oils Limited.

Motion agreed to.


Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I have a point of order if there are no other bills. I want your advice on this matter. I put a question on the Order Paper, question 76, which I want to draw to your attention and ask your advice. It was tabled on April 1, 1980. There was an interim answer on April 14, 1980, and then it says, “Approximate date information available, week of May 19, 1980.” As I am sure you are aware, or at least take judicial notice of, Mr. Speaker, it is now May 27. I would like your advice on what remedies I have as a private member of this House to make sure the government does not give misleading information on the Order Paper.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, that answer will be available Thursday or Friday.

Mr. Speaker: That does not comply with the standing order. I think there is a responsibility to bring those forward in the times allocated and specified by the standing order itself, or some reasonable explanation should be given.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I believe it says, “Approximate date information available, week of May 19.” Approximate means give or take a couple of weeks.

Mr. Speaker: It is not very precise.


Mr. Peterson: I have one more point of order, Mr. Speaker, and I want your advice on this. How can I use your good offices to assist me to force the government House leader to drag forward Bill 35, An Act respecting the Disclosure of Tax Incentive Costs, which had the unanimous consent of this House?

Mr. Speaker: I cannot offer any relief.

Mr. Peterson: You helped me with my last problem, and I am most grateful to you.

Mr. Speaker: I do not order the business of the House, unfortunately.

Mr. Peterson: Would the government House leader take note? Could I ask him when he plans to call Bill 35 forward?


Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I would like to table the answers to questions 150, 156, 160, 162 to 167, 173 and the interim answer to question 171 standing on the Notice Paper.

Mr. Speaker: Order. Would the member for Sudbury East stop interfering with the business of the House.

Mr. Martel: I’m not. I’m doing about 14 different jobs.

Mr. Speaker: You’ve been standing in front of the last three ministers I’ve called on.



Hon. Mr. Elgie moved second reading of Bill 73, An Act to amend the Labour Relations Act.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: As honourable members know, Bill 204, An Act to amend the Labour Relations Act, was passed by this Legislature last December. One of the principal features of that bill was to extend existing regional bargaining rights of construction unions in the industrial, commercial and institutional sector of the construction industry and to make those bargaining rights province-wide in scope.

In addition, after May 1, 1980, the bill required that bargaining rights in that same sector, the ICI sector, be obtained on a province-wide basis. The bill also imposed restrictions on the use of selective strikes and lockouts and imposed a statutory time limit for ratification of memoranda of settlement.

The bill, as introduced, passed with all-party support and came into effect on May 1, 1980. Following the passage of Bill 204, I received representations from certain groups affected by the legislation, claiming that one provision of the bill, section 131(e), was overly restrictive in that it deprived local trade unions, as opposed to the provincial employee bargaining agencies, of their long-recognized capacity to make applications for certification.

It was further contended that the bill, strictly construed, prevented local unions and local building trades councils from seeking voluntary recognition as they had always been entitled to do in the past.

Finally, it was also argued that the section precluded the Ontario Labour Relations Board from continuing its longtime, normal practice of granting bargaining rights to a trade union in a certification proceeding for all sectors of the construction industry in the appropriate geographical area.

In view of these highly technical but important contentions, the matters were referred by me to Mr. George Adams for consideration and advice. As special counsel, Mr. Adams consulted with representatives of affected trade unions and employers and issued a report to me suggesting certain changes to Bill 204.

Mr. Adams’s report was circulated to those who made representations to him, to the members of the Construction Industry Review Panel, to all interested persons who requested copies of the report and, I might add, to both opposition parties.

Generally, the reaction to the report has been favourable. It is supported by the Construction Industry Review Panel whose mandate is to advise me on a broad range of matters relating to construction industry bargaining. On the other hand, some groups opposed any amendments, arguing that Bill 204 should be tested before any changes are considered.

I have met with all parties I know of who have expressed an interest in the proposed amendments. While there is not total agreement, I am of the view that in the interest of continuing stability in industrial relations in the construction industry, the amendments proposed by Mr. Adams, which I believe are fair and reasonable, ought to be supported.

As I mentioned earlier, Bill 73 deals only with section 131(a) of the Labour Relations Act, the section dealing with the acquisition of bargaining rights. It does not deal with bargaining itself. The proposed amendments modify that section in three respects, and again, let me emphasize, without in any way altering the fact that bargaining is to be carried on on a province-wide basis.

The first amendment has to do with voluntary recognition. In addition to the right now accorded to an employee bargaining agency, this amendment enables a local trade union that is an affiliated bargaining agency, as well as a building trades council on behalf of its affiliates, to enter into province-wide recognition agreements. It should be emphasized that while local unions and buildings trades councils may be parties to recognition agreements as a result of the proposed amendments, the bargaining rights so acquired vest in the provincial bargaining agency preserving the principle of province-wide, single-trade bargaining by individual trade bargaining agencies.

3:30 p.m.

The second proposed amendment gives a local trade union, as well as the provincial bargaining agency, the right to apply for certification in the industrial, commercial and institutional sector on behalf of all associated locals in the province. This is an alternative method that may be selected, as Bill 204 already allows the provincial bargaining agency to do that. This recognizes the fact that organizing in the real world is done at the local level, and it supports that principle.

The third feature of this bill melds a basic requirement of the original section 131(a) with an accepted and long-standing certification practice of the Ontario Labour Relations Board. Prior to Bill 204, certification in the construction industry was granted for a specific geographic region without limiting it as to sector. The resulting certificate therefore applied to all sectors of the construction industry in that particular geographic area.

It has been contended that Bill 204, as enacted, can be construed to deprive an applicant union from obtaining area bargaining rights for non-industrial, commercial and industrial sector work in circumstances where its membership position would have previously entitled it to acquire such rights. Accordingly, the final amendment proposed restores this right in those situations where the union is able to show the requisite employee support in an appropriate geographic area.

Mr. Van Horne: Mr. Speaker, Bill 73 will be supported by the Liberal caucus, but not without considerable discussion and, for that matter, considerable soul-searching. As we see it, essentially what we are going to do is put the stamp of approval on what is already an established practice, which could have been effected if Bill 204, which was passed in December of last year, had been implemented as it should have been on May 1.

Second, the feeling we have is that we will be providing some kind of assistance to the labour portion of our community by keeping the lid on what would appear to be a rather volatile situation in so far as present bargaining is concerned in the construction industry.

The minister has reviewed the history of Bill 22 and Bill 204. I would like to remind the house that when Bill 22 was being discussed across the province, representation from our caucus had its input and stressed, among other things, the inclusion of Ontario Hydro in the provisions for Bill 22. Our caucus still feels the same way, that is, Hydro should have been and should be included in that provision, which was an amendment to the Labour Relations Act.

Further, when Bill 204 was brought on stream late last fall, our caucus felt there was every reason for the minister -- and we asked him in the debate -- to establish an inquiry into subcontracting, as he has the right and privilege to do under existing legislation. We still feel that is a major problem in the construction industry.

When that bill was brought to us last fall there was considerable urgency. It was as though our party, if not both opposition parties, was being forced into quick agreement with something the government felt had to be done before we left for the winter recess. One can only speculate what kind of thinking went into the preparation of that bill, but the process of speeding things through led to further complications. These complications came to us in the months of February and March with a hurried series of meetings through representation from the Toronto Building Trades Council and representation from the Construction Industry Review Panel. In that instance too it seemed that there was urgency. Everything had to be done almost yesterday.

For those reasons, I suppose some members of the building trades council felt our caucus in particular was being obtuse and was providing nothing more than blockage to their bargaining process. Perhaps it was to that end that some comments were made about me and about our caucus in the Daily Commercial News on Monday, May 12. “Changes to Bill Stalled” is the headline of the article.

Quite frankly, I make no apologies if the bill was stalled. I make no apologies on my own behalf or on behalf of my caucus for trying to insist that legislation that is brought to us gets some kind of thorough discussion and thorough debate. We, as a caucus, were not prepared when we first saw the proposed amendments, keeping in mind -- which some people did not -- that at the time of the printing of this, on May 12, the proposed amendments had not been introduced as proper legislation in the House. All that we had seen was a proposal brought into our caucus. If that is justification for calling our caucus a bunch of stallers, then I take offence.

I do think that there is need for understanding that we, as legislators, have to take the responsibility for examining as carefully and as thoroughly as possible legislation, or proposed legislation for that matter, that is brought in front of us. Albeit the proposal seemed to be simple and albeit the government was willing to provide whatever expertise we were after to get any details explained or clarified, in spite of that, we felt the need to have as thorough a debate as we could. it was not until our caucus meeting this morning that final agreement or approval was given to this bill, Bill 73.

With that by way of background from within the caucus, I think it is important to underline the two concerns we had with Bill 22 and with Bill 204, bringing us up to the present time. What we tried to stress with Bill 22 was the inclusion of Ontario Hydro, and what we tried to stress with Bill 204 was the need for the minister to look into subcontracting.

Let me stop at that point and digress ever so briefly. It may be common knowledge -- if it isn’t, I hope that saying it now will help it to be more common -- that our caucus has had a labour task force visiting about the province in the last few months. In the course of those visits, it was drawn to our attention very clearly, particularly from people in northern Ontario, that when Bill 22 was brought on stream, many labour union people and contractors wanted no part of it. Beyond that, when Bill 204 was brought to their attention in northern Ontario -- unfortunately brought to their attention after the fact -- they did not want it. I am going to quote a portion of a brief that was presented to our labour task force, a brief that made specific reference to both Bills 22 and 204:

“This legislation never had support of rank-and-file members of building trades unions whose livelihood it was most likely to affect. Grass-roots support, as you called it, was never there. In fact, there was quite a concentrated opposition to the new legislation at the grass-roots level.

“Various briefs and petitions were presented to the legislators and protest meetings were held in opposition to the new legislation. The most vocal of these groups was an ad hoc committee to repeal Bill 22. It presented petitions signed by thousands of construction workers in Ontario, to no avail, as the legislation steamrollered any and all opposition and province-wide bargaining became a fact of life.”

This brief, again from one group of people, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in a community in northern Ontario, is representative of what was presented to us on at least four different occasions in the last two weeks.

3:40 p.m.

I think it is abundantly clear that we have to draw attention to a third factor as far as province-wide bargaining is concerned. That third factor is that there is need for the minister to consider some form of regionalizing in so far as the bargaining process is concerned. Time and time again it came through to us that the bargaining process is one thing in Toronto or in southern Ontario; it’s another thing in northern Ontario.

I notice that the Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson) is here. I do not want to miss the opportunity to make her aware of the fact that she was mentioned in this brief. On page three -- I will share this brief with the minister after the fact -- this piece of labour legislation, or “masterpiece” as it is called, ignored British Columbia’s experience and even some of Mr. Frank’s recommendations. I see Mr. Frank is here today.

They speak in medical terms: “It was delivered in Queen’s Park by that famous midwife, Dr. Bette Stephenson, then Minister of Labour.” So they have not forgotten; and their concern, which is reflected here in 1977, is repeated again in 1980.

That third factor is the need to consider a review, if not the undertaking, of some regionalizing in so far as collective bargaining is concerned. It is almost a contradiction in terms, I know, but the point these people are trying to make to us is, and they say it very clearly: “Our local was chartered in 1951, and until 1978 we always negotiated our own agreements. Sometimes they were good and sometimes not, but they were our agreements and we were happy to live with them.” That’s how they feel.

The concern then is about a situation in which the Toronto Building Trades Council is the tail that wags the dog, Ontario.

Finally, the most recent concern that has been brought to us about Bill 22, Bill 204 and Bill 73, was one that was brought to us just today. I would hope the minister would check into this concern. I heard that a problem with this type of legislation is reflected in a happening such as we have had in the last day or so and will likely continue for another day or so. Apparently, mechanical contractors have signed an agreement with the pipe trades council, and this was done on Sunday last. Apparently, this agreement was one in which the chairman of the pipe trades council assured management that they would be back to work by Tuesday; that is, today. However, the understanding given to me this morning was that in Sudbury and Oshawa-Peterborough the workers determined they were not ready to go back.

The question then becomes, how does one get them back on the job? If one has to go so far as a cease-and-desist order, must he get one on each and every job in the Sudbury area or the Oshawa-Peterborough area?

If that is a legitimate concern -- and certainly it made sense when it was called in to me this morning, from what I know of the law -- then one has to ask the question, is there something else that we will be amending in another month or another three or four months?

The point is that in the last two instances, Bill 73 and Bill 204, we have gone through a rather hurried exercise. It is not our role as a political party, or my role as a critic in this area of responsibility, to held up the process. But it is my role to examine it as thoroughly and as carefully as I and my resources can do, and then to pass my findings on to my caucus members and get some consensus to bring to this House. It has been a difficult exercise for some of the reasons I have brought forward today.

In summary, let me say that we are going to support this, but it has been difficult. Again I would ask the minister to take a look at subcontracting, and I would say to him to take a look as openly and as quickly as he can. I do not think it would suffice for the minister or for cabinet to hire a private law firm or a single individual to take a quick look into the legal ramifications. I think it would be much better if the minister had an open inquiry into the whole process of subcontracting.

Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, Bill 73 simply clarifies the situation with regard to Bill 204 and the facts of everyday life in organizing in the construction industry.

The local union or council of trade unions have to have the right to move quickly on the job site or there would be little organizing and little security for the workers involved. The amendments have the support not only of the Toronto Building Trades Council but also of the provincial Building Trades Council of the construction industry. The fact that the amendments do give the right to councils of trade unions to sign voluntary recognition agreements or allow a local union to sign a voluntary recognition agreement is essential to the wellbeing of the construction industry. A local now can file an application for certification, provided it has the required number of workers in the province.

The error, if any, may have been that we did move a little too quickly, without looking at all the ramifications of Bill 204. However, our caucus has no hesitation whatsoever in supporting these amendments. They make sense, and they should be passed quickly. They underline the facts of life in terms of organizing on construction sites.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Is there any other member wishing to participate in the debate? If not, the honourable minister.

Mr. Van Horne: Excuse me.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: The honourable member has already spoken.

Mr. Van Horne: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker -- there cannot be any other point -- I would ask you to rule on it.

I did receive a sheet, and I guess the privilege would be that I am not given to understand the bill properly, if in fact the two amendments suggested in the sheet I got this morning were not properly introduced.

Was that the intention of the Minister of Labour, or has that happened?

Mr. Deputy Speaker: There certainly have not been any amendments. They come before a committee of the whole House.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank both the critics of the opposition parties for their remarks. I am particularly sensitive to the fact that the member for London North (Mr. Van Horne) is sincere in his comments. I appreciate them. I have to say that because my cousin supports him and works for the member for London North in his riding. If I did not support him, I would have troubles in my family.

I was interested in many of the remarks the member for London North made. He talked about my review of Bill 22 and Bill 204. Actually, I referred only to Bill 204. I hope in his review of Bill 22 and Bill 204, as he travelled through the province as Labour critic, he also took note of the fact that there is no one in the construction industry who understands it thoroughly who would not agree that bargaining in the construction industry has been improved considerably as a result of Bill 22.

I frankly do not have any sense that there is anybody who has considered it carefully who would object to that statement or who would not support it. I suppose one can say the jury is still out on Bill 204. But we are now in a position where all the trades but four have settled already. That is pretty good time, I think. We are now into mid-May and, as I recall, it was well into June or July before things had been resolved two years ago.

In accepting the advice of the joint management-labour Construction Industry Review Panel, we have acted in accordance with proper direction. That does not mean that everybody on that panel from management represents all management’s views, or that everybody from labour on that panel represents all labour’s views.

They are trying to bring a consensus to the industry to produce an industry that functions effectively and to the benefit of public interest. Thoughtful people would agree that is what they were doing, and trying to do, when they made those recommendations. Bill 22 has achieved that to some degree. Although the jury may still be out to some degree on Bill 204, I think the initial evidence, the prima facie case, is very supportive with regard to that bill as well.

The member raised the question of the Electrical Power Systems Construction Association before, and he will recall at that time that really we were talking about the Ellis report. Ellis did investigate that whole questions and made certain recommendations. I advised him at that time there had been certain restructuring on a voluntary basis in EPSCA, and that Ellis was to play some role in that restructured EPSCA.

3:50 p.m.

Subsequent information given to me indicates that voluntary restructuring is proceeding and proceeding very satisfactorily. I do not know how the member feels, but I feel that if things are taking place in the community voluntarily because parties agree upon it, one should leave it alone. One achieves nothing by interfering when they are working things out themselves. That is the information I have.

I am pleased to keep the member informed of progress about EPSCA and the voluntary arrangements that are taking place from time to time. If he has any suggestions as a result of slowing of progress or some halting of progress, I would be glad to discuss that with him. That is not a difficult problem for me, and I suggest it probably is not for him either, because he and I agree that if people can work it out themselves it should be done.

The issue of an industrial inquiry into subcontracting was raised when we debated Bill 204. I think the member should know that the issue of subcontracting is squarely before the Ontario Labour Relations Board now in a case involving bricklayers 1 and bricklayers 2. I have no idea when the judgement will come down on that, but an issue is there four square.

I think the member would agree in the presence of such a situation it would be inappropriate at this time to intervene when the matter may be resolved to some person’s satisfaction by such an inquiry. Certainly that is the appropriate body to deal with it. If it is before them, then we will know what they think about it. That is their job.

Mr. Van Horne: The question is to intervene if it is not resolved.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: I always like to see what is going to come from a process before making any decisions beforehand.

I do not think the member for London North really meant it to be as critical as it may have sounded to some when he suggested there was considerable urgency and that we were forced into a quick passage. If he were to consult with his leader, he would know that early last October, his leader attended the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario in London. He was on the panel at that time. When asked by members from the floor what his feelings would be with regard to province-wide extension of bargaining rights, he made it very clear that if he had the opportunity to see the words in the bill beforehand, he would support that principle.

I would like to suggest that is what we did do. We did give the member the words beforehand. As I understand it, the Construction Industry Review Panel met with him and discussed it beforehand. I would suggest, in all fairness, that process his leader suggested in that forum was carried out.

Mr. Van Horne: From the end of October to the middle of December is six weeks.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Let me finish, please, I will say the Construction Industry Review Panel may well have not brought in the suggestion as early as one might have wished it could, but that was the fact of life I had to face, the member had to face and we all had to face. I think he will agree there was a free and open exchange of information in the process. If he feels there was some urgency, I hope he is not suggesting there was some lack of information and data provided for the process.

Again, I cannot agree with the member when he suggests there is some urgency about Bill 73. Certainly, there is a degree of urgency because negotiations are now taking place. As of May 1, certification of voluntary recognition and acquisition of other sectoral bargaining rights are at issue whenever anybody wants to organize. To that degree, the member is right; there is a certain degree of urgency.

Although there may be some desire to have this settled so that it does not disrupt anything we deem to be reasonable in the construction industry, there was time for a thorough and thoughtful review by someone who, I happen to think, is a very well-informed individual, Chairman Adams. There was time for him to review the whole problem and to consult with the parties and anybody who was interested and time for the member to be provided with a report and with the small supplementary report for review. Once again, although he may say the period of time of a month and a half, two months or whatever it was, was short and brief. I hop he will not suggest the information provided, including discussions with members of my staff about the meaning of the bill, would indicate there is any lack of material in the process. I have a great deal of sympathy with the comments the member made about an article that appeared in one of the newspapers. I had not seen it until he showed it to me. I do not think it needs to be elaborated upon, except to say it was unfortunate. I may say publicly I have not experienced any obstruction, or any attempted obstruction, from either party in discussion or negotiations about this bill. I would agree that the comments made in the article were not appropriate.

The member then referred to his caucus’s tour throughout Ontario, mentioning they encountered many unions and contractors who did not want Bill 22 or Bill 204. I do not doubt there are some unions and contractors who did not want Bill 22 or Bill 204. but I would like to emphasize once again that those who examine the facts cannot help but agree that Bill 22 has done what it was intended to do. I submit that Bill 204 is also on the way to confirming what we felt it would do in terms of the construction industry negotiation process and construction industry relations.

I find it very difficult to accept the member’s allegation that things were steamrollered through in 1976 with the intimation that perhaps the same was true with Bill 204. I have outlined the reasons why I cannot accept that. I find it pretty hard to accept in a minority government position when the members could have stopped that process at any time, I do not think it is a fair criticism, and I think the member is in a bit of a sticky wicket when he makes that claim, if he will pardon the Blue Jays’ phrase.

He suggested there was a need for regionalizing of bargaining. Careful, Or I will get Mr. Davidson at his wicket too, and I am not sure his wicket could take it.

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

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: I make note of the fact that the member suggested there was a need for regionalizing of bargaining. With the greatest of respect, I suspect that recommendation came from those who did not want Bill 22 or Bill 204, because the purpose of those bills was to do just the reverse: to get rid of regional bargaining, which was causing confusion for the industry, for employees, employers and the general public, with walkouts, strikes, failure to get agreements and all sorts of problems. Those were the very things that led us to introduce Bill 22 and Bill 204, and if the member is asking if I am prepared to consider going backwards, I do not think there is evidence to support such a move.

In Bill 73, we are at least recognizing some structural regional matters which need to be preserved and I am pleased he is going to support those structural regional and procedural matters that deserve to be preserved.

In passing, I cannot help but remark on the comment someone made that we had ignored the BC experience. I would suspect so, because it is multisector trade bargaining and not single-trade bargaining as we have here in the province. I think the BC experience was examined and I suspect the older man sitting beside the Cheshire cat down there took that into consideration when he recommended that there be single-trade bargaining.

The member for London North commented on some problem with mechanical contractors. I presume he is referring to the fact that on Sunday there was a memorandum of agreement signed which has yet to be ratified, and there may be some work stoppages. If that is so, I would submit if it is illegal then there is a remedy for it. It is certainly not a matter to be dealt with in this bill. I would be pleased to look into it for him if he would like further information, because I’m sure if there is any illegal work stoppage, he would be interested in knowing about it.

Motion agreed to.

Ordered for committee of the whole House.

4:00 p.m.

House in committee of the whole.


Consideration of Bill 73, An Act to amend the Labour Relations Act.

On section 1:

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Hon. Mr. Elgie moves that subsection 1 of section 1.31(a) of the act as set out in section 1 of the bill he amended by inserting after the word “one” in line 11, the word “appropriate”; and he further moves that the said subsection of section 131(a) of the act be amended by striking out “a” on line 12 and inserting in lieu thereof the word “such.”

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Chairman, I raised this matter with the staff and as a result of those discussions have proposed this amendment. Subsection 1 allows the applicant to select which geographic area or areas it will include in its application for certification. This freedom of selection is necessary because of the diverse circumstances which pertain to any particular application.

At the same time, however, this freedom could be abused if rights are sought for geographic areas in which, for example, no employees are employed or if areas are selected for purely technical reasons and bear no affinity to the bulk of employees for whom bargaining rights are being requested.

Accordingly, the Ontario Labour Relations Board is given clear authority to prevent abuses of this somewhat complex procedure and to do so in the light of basic labour relations principles. The board has a general mandate to deal with appropriate bargaining units and the amendment makes clear that this authority also applies to the selection of geographic areas under the subsection.

Motion agreed to.

Section 1, as amended, agreed to.

Sections 2 and 3 agreed to.

Bill 73, as amended, reported.

On motion by Hon. Mr. Elgie, the committee of the whole House reported one bill with amendment.


Mr. Rotenberg, on behalf of Hon. Mr. Wells, moved second reading of Bill 46, An Act to amend the Municipal Act.

Mr. Rotenberg: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to move second reading of Bill 46, which contains several amendments to the Municipal Act. I would like to comment briefly on these amendments and then ask the House to pass the bill for second reading.

Section 1 of the bill deals with the concern raised by several municipalities. It has been a long-standing practice for members of municipal councils to serve as volunteer firefighters. The concern is that volunteer firefighters might be considered to be employees of the municipality, in which case they would be prohibited from holding office under section 36(1) of the Municipal Act. The government wants to ensure that members of council are able to serve as volunteer firefighters. This amendment will clear up any possibility that they might be disqualified and will ensure that they are able to serve as volunteer firefighters.

Section 2(1) and section 5 of the bill are as a result of a request from the council of the city of Toronto. They are complementary provisions to the provisions passed in 1978 which allow a municipal council to provide liability insurance and to pay damages sustained by councillors or employees in proceedings resulting from the performance of their duties. The proposed amendments will permit council to pay the costs and damages of persons who are no longer councillors or employees at the time the judgement is rendered. Of course, they would have been councillors or employees at the time of the action which resulted in the lawsuit.

Section 2(2) is consistent with the government’s policy of giving municipalities more flexibility in determining the composition of their various boards, committees and commissions. The proposed amendment will permit council to determine the number on a parks board of management and will delete the requirement now in the act for a minimum of two councillors on the board. We had similar amendments to the Municipal Act for boards of management other than parks boards last session, members will recall.

Section 3 of the bill proposes a considerable number of important changes to the business improvement area provisions of section 361, as a result of requests from many municipalities and boards of management of business improvement areas. These amendments will provide greater flexibility for both councils and boards and will ensure that financial control rests firmly with the members of council. I would stress that these amendments are permissive and not mandatory on various councils.

In summary, the amendments are as follows: to allow a council to exempt entire properties or portions of properties from an improvement area; to require Ontario Municipal Board approval of a bylaw designating or altering an improvement area only when objection has been received to the bylaw (up until now OMB approval was mandatory in all cases); to remove the requirement that a council must wait two years before again attempting to establish an improvement area after one has been previously blocked by petition; to remove the requirement that all members appointed to board of management be qualified to be electors in a municipality, but a person so appointed must be assessed, or must be the nominee of a person assessed. That is, a corporation who is assessed can appoint or suggest a nominee to the board of management.

The bill will also allow a board to plan projects covering two or more years by authorizing, but only with the approval of council, to incur debts extending beyond the current year.

Finally, this bill will allow a council to set maximum and minimum yearly charges for affected persons within the improvement area and to set different charges for persons who, in council’s opinion, derive different levels of benefit from the establishment of the area.

This bill had first reading more than a month ago and it has been circulated to all the municipalities in Ontario. The subject matter of the bill had been discussed previously with many of the municipal councils, the Municipal Liaison Committee and so on. However, we have received an objection from the city of Ottawa and from their business improvement areas indicating they are not happy with a number of provisions of the bill.

I do not agree with the objections the city of Ottawa has raised. It has been before their planning board this morning and will go to their council a week from now. They have asked, in effect, for the chance to speak to the Legislature about their objections to the bill. Having said I do not agree with their objections, I feel we should facilitate the city of Ottawa if possible. Therefore, after second reading of the bill, I will recommend the bill go to the standing committee on general government for the possibility of Ottawa making representation, and it is to be hoped the bill will be back in June so it can be passed at this spring session.

With those comments, I commend the bill to the House and ask the members for their support.

Mr. Epp: At the outset, Mr. Speaker, I should indicate that we will obviously support this bill. The Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs (Mr. Wells) indicated only a few weeks ago during estimates that he had three major goals he wanted to achieve with respect to legislation. One was to remove archaic provisions in various municipal acts. The second was to eliminate redundant provisions. The third was to modernize the language.

4:10 p.m.

I suppose, particularly with respect to the first two, this bill fits the criteria and the goals the minister established for himself and his ministry. A few minutes ago, the parliamentary assistant to the minister indicated that when dealing with the amendment that pertains to voluntary firefighting a member of council now would also be able to serve as a firefighter. I suppose the converse would also be true, that a firefighter would also be able to serve as a councillor.

Mr. Rotenberg: Voluntary.

Mr. Epp: A voluntary firefighter would be able to serve as a councillor. This is very important, simply because a voluntary firefighter would ordinarily not be paid and there is no reason why he should not be able to serve on council and as a firefighter at the same time. This was overlooked when the legislation was originally drawn up, and I am sure it has been violated many times by people who are both firefighters and councillors. I would think a councillor would have a real interest in the community and would want to serve as a firefighter. I am sure that has happened in many cases in Ontario, yet to my knowledge this piece of legislation has not been tested in the courts. Therefore, it has not been corrected in this House until the first reading of the bill about a month ago.

There are two other amendments I want to speak to briefly. One is the amendment which allows the municipalities to exempt properties from a business improvement area. I think it was in 1970 that the bill introducing business improvement areas in Ontario was passed. I have before me some material Mr. Brown, the director of the community renewal branch, sent me some months ago when I requested it. It is a fairly complete set of material which deals with the introduction of the business improvement area, the legislation itself, the landscaping and beautification, the organization and the marketing of these areas.

I have grown up in and was involved in a municipality which had a business improvement area. During the time I was mayor we decided to make some changes in the business improvement area. I looked at this act, which was introduced in 1970, as one of the best pieces of legislation this government has ever produced. I have no hesitancy in saying that even if I do sit across the House from the government. I have recommended it to other municipalities and suggested names in my own municipality that they might contact who are very familiar with this piece of legislation.

What it does is facilitate the various businesses in a community getting together and having a certain amount on their tax bills used to beautify the area in front of their stores, improve curbs, sidewalks, lighting or to put trees in -- whatever they are going to do to improve the area. This in turn would attract more pedestrian traffic, it’s hoped, and improve their business ventures.

Some saw a shortcoming with the legislation. At the time we expanded the area which the improvement district in the city of Waterloo covered, there was a member on council -- a very able and distinguished lawyer -- who was very much opposed to the legislation. He felt that as a lawyer within this business improvement area he would not derive any benefit by having this area designated. Even if he was going to pay an extra $50, $100 or $200 a year through his taxes, he was not going to benefit simply because he did not think he would be getting any of this walk-in traffic. He was making his appointments, but people would not be coming to his law firm in this case because he happened to be located in this business improvement area. I am sure that other people. doctors and those who did not have this walk-in traffic, felt as he did and were probably looking for an amendment to the act whereby the council in its wisdom, if it saw fit, could exempt these various businesses. The amendment we have before us will obviously facilitate that.

I agree that this bill should be referred to the standing committee on general government. I understand that representatives of the city of Ottawa, as the parliamentary assistant to the minister has indicated, will be coming before the committee to make representations not to make this amendment. I would like to draw to their attention that by putting this amendment in and by having it included in this bill, it does facilitate more local autonomy for municipalities. I have spoken in this House on a number of occasions for more local autonomy. I would hope the city of Ottawa would reconsider its position and not argue against more local autonomy for the city of Ottawa.

Surely to goodness, the city of Ottawa, with all due respect to that council and its leadership, which I am sure is very able, would be one of the municipalities in the province which would be most fervently in favour of having more local autonomy, particularly since it has the tremendous presence of the federal government there. Obviously, their decisions and actions must often be overshadowed by what happens in the federal capital and what the federal government does. This section of the bill will give more autonomy to local municipalities. Ottawa would obviously be one of those.

I want to address the third item very briefly. It removes the requirement that members of boards of management in business improvement areas would qualify as members of council. I am not sure what has led up to this particular amendment. Maybe the parliamentary assistant could clarify this. I think it is a step in the right direction. There are people below the voting age who might have businesses or play certain parts in businesses, or there may be people who do not qualify because of residency requirements to be members of council, but could have quite an investment in a community and may be excellent members of a board of management in a business improvement area. Therefore, they should not be exempted by the shortcomings of legislation.

Keeping this in mind, I reiterate that we will support this bill and the amendments included in it, and we encourage the government to bring forth other amendments which, in turn, would give greater autonomy to local municipalities.

Mr. Isaacs: Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise and participate in debating a bill dealing with very minor matters that are of concern to our municipalities. While these matters are very minor, nevertheless they are of great concern to the municipalities affected. By making my comments. I do not intend to belittle the importance of them, but I want to suggest strongly it is incredible to me that we are dealing with the problems that face our municipalities in this manner by bringing in a bill which contains four separate provisions on matters which are not of world-shattering importance.

Our municipalities are facing very serious problems that are not getting the attention they should. Even if we set aside for one moment the matter of the financial problems municipal governments are facing, we also have before us the resolutions passed by the Association of Municipalities of Ontario at its convention last summer, the overwhelming majority of which have been totally ignored by the government. We have a great deal of paper put out by AMO, by the MLC, by the municipalities themselves and by the other municipal organizations that come to us month after month, and much of that relates to very serious problems.

4:20 p.m.

Yet we have a bill before us which is dealing with some problems that, while significant, are very small in terms of the total concept of problems facing municipal government. That is not to say we should not be dealing with these, but I suggest very strongly to the parliamentary assistant, and I would suggest to the minister if he were here, that it is about time we looked very seriously at putting in place a charter for municipalities as I suggested to the minister during the debate last week on his estimates. It was not exactly a debate. It was a kind of one-sided conversation, because I did not get any response from the minister as to what he thought of the approach. But if we put in place a charter for municipalities that defined the broad area within which municipal government could operate, then we would not need this kind of bill at all.

On the specific principles of the bill, we are prepared to accept the concept that volunteer firefighters can continue to be members of council and that members of council can be volunteer firefighters. In fact, we welcome that provision, because it was the intent of the Legislature in its previous dealings with this matter that volunteer firefighters not be excluded from being members of municipal council. If there is uncertainty in people’s minds, then it should be cleaned up, and this section cleans it up.

I want to suggest, however, to the parliamentary assistant that it does still leave the problem of conflict of interest. Given that we have not dealt in this House with the matter of conflict of interest, I suggest to the parliamentary assistant that we could get into some very awkward problems, not only when municipal councils are dealing with the indemnity for volunteer firefighters, but also when municipal councils are dealing with the buying of fire equipment, the building of new fire stations, et cetera. Unless we get around to dealing with the very serious problem of conflict of interest, then this particular section may not deal properly with the problem that is raised and which it attempts to deal with.

On the second matter contained in this bill, the extension of the provision of indemnity for municipal councillors and for employees, we continue to express the concern we have expressed in the past, that we do not believe the approach the government has taken is the right approach.

We reiterate that we believe the approach suggested by the liaison committee of the Professional Associations of Municipalities of Ontario, generally known as PAMO, is the approach that would have been more appropriate. In other words, rather than enabling the municipality to pay very substantial legal costs and to pay whatever judgements are finally made, if indeed a judgement is made in a particular case, we would have preferred that there be some clear and specific exclusion from liability for certain elected officials and certain appointed officials for some of the functions they perform during the course of their duties.

The PAMO approach was rejected by the government last year when this matter was dealt with. Indeed, it was in 1978 that it first came before us, and therefore we have to look at this particular section in the context of what we have in place now. We have come to the conclusion, given that municipalities have the power now for all their elected officials and for all their appointed officials, both to purchase insurance and to pay the legal costs and judgements if they so wish, that it is probably reasonable that this power be extended to those elected and appointed officials who are referred to in the section; in other words, to cover those errors or omissions that occurred subsequent to June 20, 1978.

It is difficult, Mr. Speaker, as I know you are aware, in some of these circumstances to make a judgement as to whether to permit a particular extension of a power when one is in general not supportive of the power itself. But in this particular circumstance, and given that it is a relatively minor extension of power, we are prepared to support this particular section.

With regard to the matter of the freeing up of parks board membership, that concept in general is one that is consistent with the idea of a charter for municipal government about which we have spoken before. A local council, an elected body, should be able to appoint those bodies that it sees as being necessary for the conduct of the municipal business, and there should not necessarily be constraints in the legislation.

I want to mention one point, however, with regard to this section. As I read it, it would enable the municipality to appoint, as a board of parks management, a board of one person. That is surely not what is intended in anybody’s mind by the idea of a board of parks management, particularly if that one person happened to be a full-time employee of the municipality. It is legislation that enables the municipal council and any accountable body to divest itself of responsibility for parks management. While we are prepared to accept the section the way it is worded, I sincerely hope that no municipal council would decide to appoint one person as a board of parks management.

The major component of this bill relates to the changes to the concept of business improvement area. Indeed, the bill is a very major re-enactment of the concepts relating to business improvement areas.

I find the bill to be terribly protective. It provides so many checks and balances that it becomes almost impossible for a local council to exercise any of the discretion it might see as appropriate in a particular circumstance. For that reason, I am sure we are going to see municipal councils continue to come back to us seeking private bills or changes to the legislation which enable them to do the little things they need to do in order to make a business improvement area work in their particular circumstance.

It relates again to the matter of trust that we place in municipal councils. If the government is saying that it is not prepared to trust a municipal council to be responsive to its electorate and its taxpayers, I suppose it’s necessary that the protections that are contained in this be built in, in the detail that is contained in this bill. But I find it strange that these great protections are built into the legislation to make sure that anybody who objects is always entitled to a full OMB hearing, that the council can balance things however it wants and yet still be subject to a vote of the people who are affected.

There is an inadequate definition of the purpose of a business improvement area. There is a difficulty in terms of the business improvement area gaining access to additional sources of funds which would enable them to balance the money they raise from the local levy with grants that come from this government or from some other source. Indeed, there are still problems with the downtown revitalization program that continue to be problems for municipalities in getting money to assist with this kind of work. It is rather strange that we build this incredibly complex business improvement area system but do nut give it any initiative, any prod, to get under way except the prod that is brought about by the businessmen themselves.

There are matters in their relating to OMB hearings and the like which are going to slow down the entire process, and that is necessary if we recognize the right of individuals to object as they see fit. Nevertheless, the fundamental issue of accountability of the local council for its actions is lacking in many of the provisions of this section of the bill.

4:30 p.m.

In addition, I want to suggest to the parliamentary assistant that the whole matter of what to do when a business improvement area is wound up is still not being properly addressed. I would refer the parliamentary assistant to section 7 of Bill Pr14 which deals with business improvement areas. Given that, there is currently private legislation before us, I have to ask why he did not take that concept and incorporate it into this bill as well, instead of looking at more private legislation to deal with these problems. That is just an example of what I mean when I say the whole thing is so restricted that municipalities have to keep coming back for minor amendments or for private legislation in order to go about the business they see as being important.

Those are my general comments. We understand the reason why this is going to go to committee. We continue to suggest that there is still not the proper consultation. For the parliamentary assistant to come here today and tell us the planning board in the city of Ottawa was discussing this bill this morning, and still has not properly prepared its comments on the legislation is surely another demonstration of how bad communication can be between this government and the municipal level of government.

These problems have been with us for a long time, and yet we get a bill that was introduced four weeks ago, with which we are trying to deal now, even though our municipal councils, which in some cases meet only once a month, have not properly had the opportunity to study its provisions and to decide whether they wish to make presentations or any comments.

I suggest to the parliamentary assistant that if communication were better, we could probably have dealt with this bill in committee of the whole House instead of having to refer it outside the House and wait for things to be dealt with while our municipal friends sort out exactly what they wish to comment upon.

I am not being critical of municipal councils when I say that, but I am being critical of the system of communication which is not allowing them proper time to respond. We are going to see a lot more examples of that between now and when the House rises for the summer. I am sure the parliamentary assistant knows exactly what I mean.

We will be supporting this bill. We look forward to having it in committee and to receiving submissions from any of our municipal colleagues.

Mr. Haggerty: Mr. Speaker, I want to address myself to Bill 40, section 1, which permits volunteer firefighters to become members of council, if so elected.

Past legislation as it related to the Municipal Act has been rather discriminatory. I can recall one incident where a provincial assessor ran for local council in the city of Port Colborne and was elected, and there were questions about his eligibility to sit on council, not being an employee of the local municipality but being an employee of the province of Ontario.

Perhaps this person was discriminated against; he almost lost his job by being elected to local council. He had to be transferred from the Niagara region assessment office and now is employed with the Hamilton branch of the provincial assessment office.

I noticed, and I hope I am correct on this, that school teachers can be elected to a school board.

The previous speaker mentioned the matter of clarifying conflict of interest. Clarifying that matter would improve the Municipal Act considerably. People who are involved in real estate can be members of council, and there can definitely be conflicts of interest. Normally in those cases the person will abstain from voting on a particular matter, but the impression of a conflict of interest still exists.

I suggest that is an area that should be looked at.

I welcome the section which includes volunteer firefighters, but it does not improve the situation that much. Why cannot a paid firefighter sit as a member of council? Why cannot a policeman be a member of council? In a sense, they become second-class citizens when deprived of being able to serve the public in another manner. That is an area the government should be looking at. There is no reason why a policeman who may be employed in the city of Niagara Falls cannot sit on a council in Fort Erie or Port Colborne or some other area. These are areas the minister should be looking at very closely in the matter of conflict of interest.

Another area I am a little bit concerned about is the proposed amendment in section 2 which removes the requirement that a board of management for parks must have at least three and not more than seven members. The amendment also removes the requirement that at least two members of the board must be members of council where the board is composed of more than four members.

A number of us who have sat on councils in previous years can recall the difficulties we used to have when the school boards brought in their budgets for approval. Sometimes it left the impression that council was at fault for the huge rate increase for that municipality. In this particular section, by removing council from the board of management for parks, I can see that we are going to run into the same difficulty. These persons are going to be establishing a little kingdom there where they are going to be spending money perhaps beyond their means and, finally, council is going to have to sit back and object to some of the expenditures. By that time, it will be too late because it will have no authority under this section to control such expenditures.

In the regional municipality of Niagara, where there are different boards and commissions, there are appointees from the regional council, for example, who sit on the police board and the children’s aid society. They are there as a communications link between council and those particular boards that are established. I think it is a good principle. If we get away from this, it could run a number of municipalities into difficulty. It will cause some problems in those particular areas.

The explanatory note on section 3(2) says: “At present, all bylaws passed under subsection 1 must be referred to the municipal board. Under the proposed amendment to this subsection and subsection 18, the bylaw will be referred to the municipal board only where an objection to the bylaw is received.” This is one of the amendments we dealt with when I happened to be a member of the select committee dealing with matters related to the Ontario Municipal Board and whether we should disband it or continue with it. One of our key recommendations was that we should follow in this direction, provided all information and documents were made available to the public.

The section on approvals by the Ontario Municipal Board says the municipality must send out notices to those parties that are concerned. Sometimes 400 feet or 600 feet do not cover a broad enough area. Perhaps it should be properly advertised.

On a number of occasions in newspapers, advertisements of proposed bylaws are in the finest print one can see. In fact, sometimes it is difficult to follow the intent of the bylaw with such small print in the newspapers. People have a tendency to miss it. Everybody does not read newspapers. Municipalities may choose to advertise in a weekly newspaper or in a daily paper or they may go to a larger newspaper. In my area in particular, it is rather costly to the municipality that may have to advertise in about four newspapers. We must inform the public of the intent of the wishes of council in what it wants to pursue as many of the problems relate to the Planning Act. In this particular area the public must be well aware of all the documents pertaining to the subject.

4:40 p.m.

The other thing I want to discuss is subsection 361(16a) under section 3, regarding council’s authority as it relates to a bylaw. It does not say they shall; it says, “Notwithstanding subsection 16, the council may by bylaw provide that the sum required for the purposes mentioned therein shall be levied as a special charge upon and shall be borne and paid by persons in the area assessed for business assessment ... ”

My experience in sitting on local council was that those who received a benefit should pay for it. Under here it does not say that it “shall”; it says it “may.” In other words, we could have a board of management to look after the local improvement of a business sector in a municipality. I suggest the council may pass a bylaw to collect certain maximum or minimum charges with respect to a levy for the purpose of the board of management.

If a council does not elect to go by this particular section, it can be a charge over the whole area of the municipality. I am afraid a number of municipalities have run into difficulties in this particular area where they have allowed new business developments, such as shopping plazas on the outside of a municipality, and now they find the downtown core is disappearing, in a sense. The stores are being closed up, a number of them are vacant, and business is not being carried on downtown.

In the past, council should have had enough foresight to look at this particular area and say, “Look, let’s protect the downtown business sector here and provide them with certain amenities to improve the business sector.” As a taxpayer, I find it rather difficult to accept that in many cases we subsidize these larger malls by having to increase services, such as larger sewage disposal plants, water treatment plants, new roads, et cetera, when we already have the services downtown.

We seem to forget the downtown businessmen who can provide a good business sector for the consuming public. I do not like the word “may” there. Those who are receiving the benefit now should be picking up the bigger part of the tab instead of spreading it over the general public to pick up the cost of downtown revitalization programs.

These are the areas I am concerned about and perhaps the parliamentary assistant will take a good, close look at them.

Mr. Germa: Mr. Speaker, I will not unduly delay passage of this bill, but I do want to bring to the member for Wilson Heights (Mr. Rotenberg) a concern I have. That is the erosion of accountability of elected members. This subject has been spoken to in this chamber very often, regarding the administration of Ontario as it relates to the 300 or so boards and commissions out there spending public dollars, without having accountability for collecting those public dollars.

In this bill we see a further erosion of expenditures of public dollars when the bill removes the provision that a member of the board of parks management has to be a councillor. I speak from years of experience as a municipal councillor and as a member of this Legislature. I am one of those old- fashioned guys who think the person who levies and collects the tax dollar should also be responsible for spending that tax dollar. It is as simple as that. Those persons who are elected and go out and levy a rate should not have to levy a rate they have no part in spending.

When the board of parks management now is not required to have a councillor on it I can very well see what the member for Erie recited as it related to the school board, which has no responsibility to the elected member. The school board comes to the municipal council and says: “Levy this rate on our behalf and don’t ask us any questions about how we spend it. Just get us the money, hand it to us and we will spend it in our greater wisdom.” This is exactly where the board of parks management is going to end up. I think the parliamentary assistant has some explaining to do.

I am not surprised that it is coming out of this government. By doing it this way the elected member has a buffer between himself and the taxpayer; and that is a great ruse for us elected members. I know it is a headache to be sitting on all these numerous boards and commissions and to be accountable to the electorate. If you can put the barrier of a board of parks management between you and the citizen, then you as the elected member can escape responsibility and liability.

As far as appointments to the boards of parks management are concerned, I agree that it requires that those who are appointed are qualified to hold office. I agree that those are the only people who should be in charge of spending public funds. But when I go to the appointment of the board of management of an improvement area the whole principle changes. In this case, one of the members must be a councillor.

I would suggest that the government cannot have it both ways. If it is good to have a councillor on the board of management of an improvement area, then it is also good to have an elected councillor on the board of parks management. But in this bill we are going in both directions.

Also, a point of confusion is that the other members of the board of parks management do not have to be qualified to be elected to office. This is also contrary to what is called for in the election to the board of parks management. So we have two different conflicts here, and the parliamentary assistant has not explained that to us in a fashion that would give us any faith that he knows what he is doing. One cannot go in four directions at once and still maintain credibility.

But this is the principle of this government. They have got away with this ruse over these past 31 years by appointing people not liable to be elected and thus protecting themselves from public recrimination. The same thing could happen here as far as a municipal council is concerned.

I believe that every board and commission should include a representative from the municipal council. I found from my experience on a municipal council it not only protected the council from a non-responsible board, it also was a liaison between those bodies spending money and the council. When the budgets are formulated at the board or commission level, the councillor on that board or commission has the responsibility of bringing that budget to the council and selling it to the council.

He would be very careful, as a member of that board or commission, in formulating the budget in a way that it would be acceptable to the rest of his colleagues on the council. He would have some idea of what the council was aiming at. He would have some idea of the amount of dollars that were necessary to be raised in the global budget. If there are ordinary citizens on the board without any connection to the council, not knowing what the council’s long-range plans are, they have no way of formulating a budget with any common sense.

Mr. Rotenberg: Mr. Speaker, I thank all the honourable members opposite who have indicated their support of this bill. I would like to comment briefly on some of the questions that have been raised. I will attempt to answer all of them reasonably to the satisfaction of the members opposite.

The member for Waterloo North raised the matter about the volunteer firefighters. The problem has been that some volunteer fire departments pay a per diem or an honorarium. Once the money has been paid, this has caused some problems. This is why we want to straighten out that matter.

I thank the member for Waterloo North for the compliment to the government that the 1970 legislation for the business improvement areas was, I think he said, “one of the finest pieces of legislation this government has ever passed.” But even fine pieces of legislation are open for improvement and, as a result of representations from many municipalities and boards of business improvement areas, we are improving and making even better what was one of the best pieces of legislation to come forward.

A number of members raised the problem of the member of the board of management of the business improvement area not being eligible to be a member of council. The problem is simply this: Many of the businesses assessed in the business improvement area specifically, paying large sums towards the business improvement areas, are incorporated companies. As members know, a corporation is not on the voters list. Often the owner, manager, whoever would normally be eligible if it were not a corporation, would be assessed as a business and put on the voters’ list as a business person. That person may not live within the municipality. Quite often, a person might have his business in one municipality and live in another. That person would not be an elector in the municipality, although he would have a large stake in the business improvement area.

As a result of the requests from many municipalities in business improvement areas, we feel it is proper for a person, including a corporation, assessed in the business improvement area, to have a nominee who would be eligible to be a member of a board of management even though that person, because of residency or because he is assessed as a corporation, would not be eligible to be on the voters’ list of that municipality.

The member for Wentworth raised a number of matters which he says are lacking in this bill, but really are not part of this bill. I would not comment on what is not here other than to say they will all come forward in the course of time.

He has indicated we are being somewhat protective by building certain checks and balances into the business improvement area. I am surprised that the member for Wentworth, as I read his remarks -- and if I am reading them incorrectly, I am sure he will correct me -- seems to be indicating that citizens, taxpayers, should not have the right to object which they now have. He is saying we should take from the taxpayers, the citizens, the right to object and the right to go before the Ontario Municipal Board with those objections.

We are making more permissive legislation in business improvement areas, making it easier for the merchants and the councils, both of whom asked for these things, to bring forward objections in the business improvement areas. We do not want to take away, as the member for Wentworth seems to indicate, the citizens’ and taxpayers’ right to objection before the Ontario Municipal Board which they now have.

This is as a result of a number of suggestions, some of which have come through in private bills and some of which have come through from various municipalities. We have consolidated all of these suggestions into one bill to correct the business improvement area legislation.

I do not want to be critical of the city of Ottawa. This has not just come forward in the last few weeks. This bill comes as a result of consultation with many municipalities, through MLC, AMO and a number of other organizations. These suggestions, many of them from the Ministry of Housing, have been around for the past three or four years and have been discussed for the past three or four years. They were not new when the bill came forward on April 28. Of the 854 municipalities in the province, we have heard objections from only one. The other municipalities are happy with the consultation, happy with the process. I do not want to be critical of Ottawa, but the city has been informed of the process throughout; Ottawa has been informed over several years as to what is happening. They do have the right, at the last minute, to raise their objections, but it is not as a result of lack of consultation or lack of information going forward from this government.

The member for Erie raised the matter of conflict of interest with respect to firefighters. I would point out to him and the members opposite that the new conflict-of-interest legislation now is in preparation. It is hoped that it will be before this House soon, though I am not making any promise as to exactly when it will be coming forward.

The member for Erie and the member for Sudbury raised a question about the parks board of management. I would point out to both of them that this is permissive legislation. It removes the requirement for a council to appoint two councillors to the board of management.

What we are doing by this change in legislation is responding to requests from some municipalities that disagree with the point of view put forward by the member for Erie and the member for Sudbury that there must be members of council on these boards of management. Those councils that want members of council on can keep them; those that feel it is not necessary now have the right not to have those councillors on the board of management.

I would point out to both those members that there is a difference between a parks board of management and a board of education. When a board of education by statute passes its budget, it goes forward to city council or the municipal council for collection. Municipal council does not have the right to change the budgetary requests of a board of education. A parks board of management is like a committee. Their estimates and their budget requests come before council, and council can deal with them and can change them.

There is a considerable difference, I would submit, between a board of management and a board of education. The main point I would stress is that this is permissive legislation and it is only for those councils that do not want to have their members on a board of parks management. I would point out that last fall we made the same amendment for arena boards and an on, and that seemed to have the consent of this House.

The member for Erie was also a little worried about objections before the Ontario Municipal Board as far as notices in the paper go. I would point out to him under the business improvement area legislation all owners who will be assessed must be notified by registered mail of the proposed assessment, so they all get a letter. It is not like a notice in the paper. Therefore, there will be no problem as far as knowledge of the matter is concerned.

The member for Erie also mentioned the “may” in section 16a of the act. I would submit to him section 16a has to be read along with section 16. What 16a does -- and this is again at the request of a number of municipalities -- is to allow a municipal council or a business improvement area board of management to add a special assessment to those property owners it deems are getting a special value from the business improvement area. It does not relieve the business improvement area as a whole from paying the total cost of the business improvement area. They may use section 16a, which means different costs to different people, but if they do not use section 16a, in effect, they would revert back to section 16, which says the total cost is distributed over the total business improvement area. The “may,” I would point out to the member for Erie, is just a “may” of varying charges, not a “may” of charging the business improvement area as a whole.

The member for Sudbury also raised, as the member for Erie did, the problem of people who are not members of council being on a board of management of a business improvement area. As I indicated a moment ago, we feel that those who are going to contribute directly to a business improvement area should have the right to be represented. Because of the anomaly in our situation where an unincorporated businessman is on the voters’ list, but an incorporated business is not on the voters’ list, that is right and proper as far as voting is concerned. Certainly, when these businesses are being specially assessed for a business improvement area, they should equally have the right to be represented.

With those remarks, I thank the members opposite for their support.

Motion agreed to.

Ordered for standing committee on general government.


Resuming the adjourned debate on the motion for second reading of Bill 62, An Act for the making of Additional Provisions for the Levy and Payment of Succession Duty by or in respect of Property or Persons to whom the Succession Duty Act remains Applicable.

Mr. Speaker: The Minister of Revenue has made an opening comment. Does he wish to make another for clarification before we see if anybody else has a comment?

Hon. Mr. Maeck: Perhaps for continuity, Mr. Speaker, I might recall to the members that I had made an opening statement explaining the purpose of this legislation, and I advised the members that I would be presenting three amendments to this particular bill. Those amendments were distributed to the critics in the opposition parties. I have nothing further to add to my initial statement at this time.

5 p.m.

Mr. Haggerty: Mr. Speaker, I want to address myself to Bill 62 as it relates to the Succession Duty Act. If I interpret the bill as brought forward now, the amendments are to plug up some loopholes that applied after the repeal of the act on April 11, 1979. Often the methodology used in the final assessment of succession duty rates is a very complex matter. An appeal, hearings and litigation can be time-consuming and costly to concerned parties. The usual method of resolving disagreements is through a judicial hearing and interpretation of the existing act and legislation.

In revoking the legislation, the minister should have given full consideration to the matter of repealing the act as related to preserving the tax revenues in excess of $100 million. When they get into that area the question is how much of that $100 million the minister will now derive from the changes in the present legislation.

The comments of the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) on the repeal of the Succession Duty Act in April 1979 were rather short and stated that Ontario followed the lead of eight of the other provinces in Canada, including the Socialist province of Saskatchewan, in deciding the combination of capital gains tax and income taxes were inadequate in terms of overall taxation of wealth. At that time the official opposition supported the bill to repeal the act on the basis that the amendment to the Income Tax Act in 1972 brought more of an equitable means of taxation and rescinding the Succession Duty Act removed a form of double taxation.

I was hoping we would be looking for new areas of legislation when the Treasurer suggested “capital gains tax probably should be indexed, because currently the capital gains tax is truly a tax on capital and not just on gain.” I thought we would see some changes in this particular type of taxing policy the government now has, particularly income tax and capital gains tax, and improvements in the area relating to capital on wealth. The minister has brought in an Act for the making of Additional Provisions for the Levy and Payment of Succession Duty by or in respect of Property or Persons to whom the Succession Duty Act remains Applicable. I thought we would see an advancement in the area where there is wealth; it should be taxed.

We must be concerned about amendments to be moved in committee to section 4, relating to the extinguishment or transfer of interest and providing the minister with absolute discretionary powers. It is our view that support for the surviving spouse should be of major concern in arriving at a fair decision. There may be some questions about deferred taxes in this area. I hope in the minister’s discretionary powers the matter of the surviving spouse will be of key importance in the administering of any estate.

The questions I want to ask the minister are: With the proposed amendment, how much of the $100 million will be recovered? Since the repeal of the act in April 1979, what has become of the staff who provided the previous administration of the act? Has there been any cutback in staff or personnel? Are they still within the ministry? Have they been relocated in some other area of the ministry? By enforcing this amendment now, will they be able to keep the present staff or will it be increased in some form?

Mr. Charlton: Mr. Speaker, I will be brief. We in this caucus, unlike our colleagues to the right, opposed the repeal of the Succession Duty Act last year. We are prepared at the very least to do whatever we can to assist the minister to collect all of those tax dollars which this province should collect from those properties affected prior to the repeal of the tax.

We have also had a look through the proposed amendments and we have no objections to any of them. On that basis we are going to support the bill.

Mr. Lawlor: Mr. Speaker, I had not intended to speak on this bill, but this subject has always been a bugbear with me. I may as well relieve my shattered nerves to a greater extent than previously.

In 1967, a committee of this House was formed and did monumental work. I refer to the Smith committee on taxation, which surveyed all this thing and in lieu of capital gains taxation recommended against abolition of the legislation itself, and on very good grounds.

The capital gains taxation which the government is substituting for succession duty is not an adequate measure, if one wishes, as I do, to create some form of egalitarianism in society. The word “equality” means justice. There are immense pools of wealth that are exempt from any form of taxation, in effect, under this legislation. If that wealth on one side of the fence is garnering interest or some form of dividend, then it is taxable; so be it. On the other side of the fence -- capital gains taxation -- if there is an increment to the wealth in capital terms, it will be subject to taxation. There are all kinds of loopholes. But the pools in great families remain and it works against the common weal and against the best interest.

In those days Deacon and I sat together on the thing. Our nostrums would never be accepted in the present society, by the present government or even by the Liberal Party. We felt there might be only one form of taxation, and it was quite contrary to what the government has done and is doing. That one taxation would be on death and would be very tough and very heavy. It would make adequate provision for widows and orphans but, as for the rest, it would be subject to extremely high rates of taxation. In other words, each generation makes it on their own in the strongest and most laissez-faire form of conservative principle. We are self-made men. God had nothing to do with it.

If government members want to follow consistently their wretched philosophy, that is really where the tax could fall. There could be only one tax: death tax. Lift the burden of too much wealth from an individual family and redistribute it. Then government problems with respect to unbalanced budgets and a hundred other things would be totally obviated overnight if it moved to a fairly rational policy on this score.

Perhaps government members should sit down during the summer and rethink their whole position with respect to this. At the end of the day perhaps they would come up with a socially acceptable taxation policy.

Hon. Mr. Maeck: Mr. Speaker, the member for Erie posed two questions. He wanted to know how much of the $100 million would be collected. We expect to collect all of it, give or take a million or two here or there. The idea of this legislation is to collect $100 million that we feel we would lose without this piece of legislation, and we expect to collect it.

5:10 p.m.

We are talking about estate taxes that are already there, that have happened prior to the lifting of the Succession Duty Act. We have a pretty good handle on the amounts we are talking about. We feel that $100 million is a respectable figure, and that is the amount we hope to collect because of this legislation. I would assure members, we are not talking about additional taxes. We are talking only about taxes that would have been due and payable had we not repealed the Succession Duty Act and the Gift Tax Act.

The member wanted to know about the staff of that branch of the ministry. The staff has been reduced considerably. We are still dealing with estates. He will know by the legislation that there is six months after death for the estate to report to the Ministry of Revenue on succession duties. It is only recently that there have been no more estates coming in to be processed.

We have reduced the staff. Some of them have been moved into other areas of the ministry and some of them have gone to other ministries. There are a few in that particular branch right now who are declared redundant; that does not necessarily mean they are going to be laid off or any such thing as that, but it puts them in a position where they get first choice of another job within the government if there is one that is suitable for them.

The member for Hamilton Mountain (Mr. Charlton) really posed no questions; so I have no reply to him other than to thank him and his associates for supporting the bill. To the member for Lakeshore (Mr. Lawlor), the big thrust was that there may be only one form of taxation. We have repealed a few forms of taxation since I became the minister -- the Succession Duty Act, the Gift Tax Act, and the Land Speculation Tax Act. We are gradually moving to fewer sources of taxation than there were, albeit I know they are not the ones the member would prefer us to move to.

Mr. Lawlor: You got rid of poll tax too.

Hon. Mr. Maeck: I believe poll tax is still collected in some small municipalities in the province. We do not do it provincially.

I think that answers all of the questions that were asked.

Motion agreed to.

Ordered for committee of the whole House.

House in committee of the whole.


Consideration of Bill 62, An Act for the making of Additional Provisions for the Levy and Payment of Succession Duty by or in respect of Property or Persons to whom the Succession Duty Act remains Applicable.

Sections 1 and 2 agreed to.

Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Maeck moves that section 3(2) of the bill be amended by inserting after the word “act” in the fourth line of the said subsection the words “before the arising or coming into existence of such entitlement.”

Hon. Mr. Maeck: Mr. Chairman, I have sent these amendments to both opposition critics and I understand they are in support of them. I will not go into a lot of detail on them unless it is so requested by the other members.

Section 3, as amended, agreed to.

On section 4:

Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Maeck moves that section 4 of the bill be amended by adding thereto the following subsection: “Notwithstanding section 3, where the entitlement referred to in that section arises from the release, surrender, waiver, transfer or extinguishment of any right of interest, and where the minister in his absolute discretion is satisfied that such release, surrender, waiver, transfer or extinguishment is not for the purpose of reducing duties payable under the Succession Duty Act, and is for the purpose of providing for the dependents of the deceased, or effecting a compromise or settlement of a dispute in the administration of the estate of the deceased but carrying out the true intent and purposes of the deceased expressed in his will, or facilitating the administration of the estate of the deceased, section 3 shall not apply to such release, surrender, waiver, transfer or extinguishment.”

Hon. Mr. Maeck: Perhaps I could give a short explanation on this particular amendment.

Mr. Nixon: Read what they wrote.

Hon. Mr. Maeck: That is exactly what I am going to do. So the words are properly focused in Hansard, I am going to read from a statement prepared by my staff. Let Hansard show all that.

The purpose of the amendment adding the new subsection is to provide in section 4 the same relieving provisions from the effect of section 3 of the bill, in respect of disclaimers, transfers, et cetera, as is already provided in section 4, for the exercise of discretion to confer benefits on persons named by the deceased in his will, his beneficiaries, of any discretion given by the deceased.

The effect of the new subsection is that where the minister is satisfied that the benefit arising from disclaimer, transfer and so on are not for the purpose of reducing duty and are for the purpose of benefiting a dependant of the deceased or of carrying out the intentions of the will of the deceased, or of settling a dispute in the estate of the deceased, any consequent reduction of duty will be allowed. No additional duty will become payable.

This amendment makes applicable to section 3(i) (b) of the bill the same principles as apply to section 3(i)(a).

Motion agreed to.

Section 4, as amended, agreed to.

Sections 5 to 8, inclusive, agreed to.

On section 9:

Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Maeck moves that section 9 of the bill be amended by adding thereto the following words: “provided that no duty under this act shall be payable in accordance with subsection 3 of section 3, where it is established by evidence satisfactory to the minister that the entitlement described in subsection 1 of section 3 arose or came into existence prior to April 29, 1980.”

Hon. Mr. Maeck: Mr. Chairman, because of the matter of retroactivity in this particular section, perhaps I should read into the record the explanation of that particular amendment.

Considerable objection on principle has been made to the retroactive application of the bill. I feel that from the point of view of fairness, its retroactive application will ensure that all people are treated equally under the act and will pay their fair share of tax. However, I recognize that a distinction can be drawn between the two elements of the retroactive application of this particular bill.

One of those elements is to prevent refunds of duty that has already been paid or has become payable. The other element is the imposition of the new tax on benefits taken after the repeal of the Succession Duty Act.

In order to recognize the genuine concern of those who feel that retroactive taxation would be particularly unfair, the amendment will ensure that where tax would be imposed as a result of conferring of a benefit, that tax will apply only if the entitlement described in section 3(i) of the bill comes into existence or arises on or after April 29, 1980, which is the date on which the bill was introduced.

5:20 p.m.

For those entitlements that arose prior to that date, the consequences of section 3(iii) of the bill will not apply. Refunds will remain prohibited whenever the entitlement arose, but additional taxation will not result for any entitlement that arose or came into existence prior to the introduction of this bill. After the introduction of the bill, everyone was on notice as to the proposal of the government contained in the bill.

I feel the amendment is a fair balance between those who are concerned with retroactive taxation and the concern of the government over the loss of revenue that could result in post mortem arrangements after the repeal of the Succession Duty Act.

Mr. Lawlor: I just want to play the enfant terrible. What if it happened yesterday? What if the benefit was conferred at that point? Would we have to bring in another amendment subsequently to bring it right up to the date until such time as this is proclaimed?

Hon. Mr. Maeck: No. This whole act deals with succession duty as it applied prior to when we repeal the act. We are talking about estates that were already there prior to April 29, 1979. We are not dealing with someone who may die tomorrow or died yesterday. We are talking about estates that were already in place before the repeal.

Mr. Lawlor: But the benefits accrue subsequent to that date. The cutoff period is now April 29, 1980.

Hon. Mr. Maeck: Right.

Mr. Chairman: Does the member for Lakeshore wish to ask a question?

Mr. Lawlor: That was my question.

Hon. Mr. Maeck: Does the member want to repeat his question?

Mr. Lawlor: We are carrying that benefit forward. If benefits fall in during that period subsequent to when this legislation went into effect on the retroactive principle, we set up a second retroactive principle that is April 29 this year. I am saying the benefit in question could have occurred the day before yesterday. What do we do then?

Hon. Mr. Maeck: We have not set up a second retroactive principle. We have removed one. The retroactivity now applies only to those estates that have already paid taxes or have been assessed to pay taxes. These are the ones where the retroactivity applies.

Mr. Lawlor: The whole thing counts.

Hon. Mr. Maeck: We removed the activity in the other ones. They will remain as they were. We will not be collecting for those.

Mr. Haggerty: I am a little bit lost. In the original bill the act comes into force the day it receives royal assent and applies with respect to every deceased person whose death occurred before April 11, 1979, and to any event or transaction occurring before and after this date comes into force.

The minister’s proposed amendment is to change it from April 9, 1979, to April 29, 1980. That is almost like a year of grace. I still cannot quite grasp the area where the minister says this will remove the retroactive aspect.

Hon. Mr. Maeck: That is my mistake. I was referring to April 29 when I was dealing with the member for Lakeshore. Actually, the date the Succession Duty Act was repealed was April 11. The reason I am using April 29 is that is the date this bill was introduced. What we are saying is that once the bill is introduced we do not consider that to be retroactive. There is no retroactivity there because it was introduced. Everybody is on notice that this is the way the law is going to be. We are not worried about retroactivity from that time on. We are worried about the retroactivity between April 29, 1980, when we introduced this particular bill and April 11, 1979, when we repealed the Succession Duty Act.

Motion agreed to.

Section 9, as amended, agreed to.

Section 10 agreed to.

Bill 62, as amended, reported.

On motion by Hon. Mr. Wells, the committee of the whole House reported one bill with amendments.


Resuming the adjourned debate on the motion for second reading of Bill 43, An Act to amend the Executive Council Act.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I would be pleased to wind up with a very quick reading of the bill. It is a small bill and it is very self-evident what the bill concerns. It is a companion bill to the Legislative Assembly Act. I am happy to support it, as I know are other members of this House.

Motion agreed to.

Ordered for third reading.


Ms. Bryden: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: Today the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Parrott) read from a document and said, “I will be glad to table it for the Leader of the Opposition.” I do not believe this document has been tabled. I would like to obtain it before tomorrow morning if possible. Is it possible for the Clerk to seek that document and send it to me?

Mr. Acting Speaker: I do not think it is up to the Clerk to do that. Perhaps the minister will hear that you have made that request or it may reach his ears. If he can do so, I am sure he will be glad to. I do not think that is a matter, however, that the chair can force him to produce.

Ms. Bryden: Mr. Speaker, if he said he would table it, presumably he should have tabled it.

Mr. Acting Speaker: If he said he would table it, presumably he should keep his word. But it is not up to the chair to force him to keep his word or not to keep his word. That is a matter between him and yourself.

The House recessed at 5:27 p.m.