31st Parliament, 4th Session

L088 - Tue 14 Oct 1980 / Mar 14 oct 1980

The House met at 2 p.m.




Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I wish to make a statement concerning the government’s position on the important and complex issue of plant closures and layoffs, an issue that has received considerable public attention in recent weeks and has been the subject of much intensive study within the government.

May I begin by saying that in outlining these proposals I do not intend to get into a statistical battle with my friends opposite. I could point out that some of their figures relating to the number of closures and the number of employees permanently affected do not give an accurate picture of the nature and extent of the problem. I could also point out that in relative and aggregate terms, the problems facing Ontario workers in October 1980 are not dramatically different from those in previous years.

However, I do not want to be in the false position of attempting to justify human hardship on the basis of quantitative or statistical analysis. Whatever set of figures one may use, the fact remains many persons in Ontario have had their employment terminated in recent months as a result of full or partial plant closures and we have an obligation to devise practical, equitable and affordable ways of alleviating the resulting human hardship.

I think it was recognized in last week’s debate that these are concerns that transcend partisan considerations and should be given the highest priority by this Legislature. At the same time, we must avoid sending out false signals to our citizens, to potential investors and to our trading partners. As the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) has indicated, Ontario has a vigorous and resilient industrial base. We are rich in resources, both natural and human, and we have every reason for confidence in the future. We must continue to project the confidence and buoyancy that those undeniable facts justify, otherwise we run the risk of undermining the confidence that others have in us and upon which our prosperity depends.

Having said that, we would be ignoring reality if we failed to acknowledge that Ontario, along with most other western industrialized jurisdictions, is experiencing the adverse effects of a recession as well as certain structural economic changes of a longer-term significance.

To respond to the labour adjustment problems caused by these factors, the government is proposing a five-point program.

My colleague the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Drea) will shortly be introducing amendments to the Pension Benefits Act to address certain immediate problems highlighted by recent events. For example, we believe that when a plant closes, long-service employees within a few years of early retirement should not be deprived of the opportunity to receive a pension when they reach early retirement age, even though their pension plan has been terminated. We also believe that upon termination of a pension plan, employees should have certain options in relation to their statute-vested rights, including the option, under appropriate circumstances, to transfer their statute-vested benefits to the plan of their new employer. We also believe there is need for a centrally administered fund to guarantee pension rights under the statute in those instances where terminating plans are not fully funded.

The amendments to the Pension Benefits Act that will be proposed will focus on problems associated with early cessation of plans. As members know, the royal commission on pensions is completing what will be the most exhaustive and intensive study of pensions ever undertaken in Canada, and it is expected that the commission will report by the end of this year. The amendments I have described will provide protection for employees until the government has had an opportunity to consider the recommendations of the royal commission’s comprehensive report regarding this critical and complex subject

The second matter relates to termination entitlement. Ontario now has termination notice provisions that provide protection for Ontario workers comparable to or better than that provided in most North American and European jurisdictions. Although our Employment Standards Act provides for notice, or pay in lieu thereof, there is not statutory provision for severance pay as such in the event of a plant closure. Many collective bargaining agreements contain severance pay provisions, and severance pay schemes are not uncommon in the unorganized sector. However, legislated severance pay is extremely rare in North America. We are not opposed to severance pay as a matter of principle. However, there are certain practical ramifications regarding any severance pay proposal which require careful analysis.

For example, how should severance pay requirements relate to existing statutory obligations to provide pay in lieu of notice? Is severance pay to be in addition to pay in lieu of notice or should one be set off against the other, in whole or in part? If severance pay entitlement is to be related to seniority, should minimum service requirements be established before entitlement arises? Should there be a ceiling on entitlement? How, if at all, should severance pay relate to unemployment insurance entitlement? Should severance pay apply to partial as well as complete closures and if so, how should partial closure be defined? Should businesses employing fewer than a certain number of employees be exempt from severance pay requirements?

Mr. McClellan: We can ask the questions. Give us the answers.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: We are concerned about small business and that is what this particular point I am raising is all about. The members on that side may not be, but we are.

Should any statutory scheme for severance pay apply to managerial as well as non-managerial employees? How should statutory severance pay affect severance entitlement negotiated under a collective agreement? What validity is there in the contention that severance pay could operate as a disincentive to re-employment?

2:10 p.m.

I hope it is apparent from these questions that the severance pay issue is a complex one, that the design features of any statutory severance pay plan must be carefully considered, and that the ramifications of a legislative initiative in this area are important for employees and employers alike. In considering the matter, I want to avoid simplistic, quick-fix solutions and, in addition, I want to make sure I have the benefit of the best advice available from both labour and management.

That necessary consultative process has already begun. As well, there has been an indication from some members that severance pay, as well as the related question of the adequacy of existing termination notice requirements and perhaps some other matters having to do with plant closures, should be considered by a committee of the Legislature. I have no objection to this and indeed it might assist in addressing some of the difficult questions I have posed regarding severance pay in particular.

The third proposal deals with fringe benefits. Under the existing provisions of the Employment Standards Act, pay in lieu of notice in the event of termination does not encompass fringe benefits. In several recent plant closures, employees lost pension benefits and medical coverage to which they otherwise would have been entitled. The problem is particularly acute where an employee would have qualified for an early retirement pension had he been permitted to work out the notice period. A similar hardship occurs where, by virtue of immediate termination, an employee is prevented from attaining service requirements for the vesting of pension benefits.

To rectify this situation, I will be proposing amendments to the Employment Standards Act to provide that employees shall be paid the fringe benefit payments to which they otherwise would have been entitled as part of pay in lieu of notice. In addition, the amendments will deem employees to have worked the notice period for the purpose of computing their entitlement to service-related benefits other than pensions. Pension benefits will be similarly protected by amendments to the Pension Benefits Act.

The fourth proposal involves a further amendment to the Employment Standards Act. As members know, manpower adjustment committees are now established on a voluntary basis with the Ministry of Labour co-sponsoring the committees with Canada Employment and Immigration. The costs of the committees are shared by the two governments and the employer. The committees have had considerable success in assisting displaced employees in finding alternative employment. However, in the past, some employers have refused to participate in those committees. Accordingly, I will be introducing an amendment to the Employment Standards Act that will give the Minister of Labour specific authority to require employers to participate in and contribute to the funding of manpower adjustment committees.

The fifth proposal complements the one to which I have just referred. Manpower adjustment committees deal primarily with the narrow but important question of immediate placement of workers in alternative employment. There are a number of other issues which arise when notice of a plant closure is received and various ministries of government have capabilities which, under appropriate arrangements, can be quickly mobilized and effectively utilized.

Within the next several weeks, I will be announcing the details of a new co-ordinated interministerial response mechanism for dealing with plant closures and layoffs. A senior adviser/co-ordinator with extensive experience in business and industrial relations will be appointed to act on my behalf. He will organize and direct regional interministerial field task teams composed of representatives from the ministries of Labour, Industry and Tourism, Education, Community and Social Services, and Intergovernmental Affairs. The process I envisage will have three phases.

First, on receipt of information concerning an impending closure, the co-ordinator will make immediate contact with management and with the employees or their representatives to obtain all pertinent information in order to assess the possibility of maintaining the operation.

Second, if the closure decision stands, the co-ordinator, in conjunction with the Ministry of Labour mediation staff, will attempt to resolve any disagreements respecting termination rights and benefits arising from the closure.

Finally, the co-ordinator will be responsible for the deployment of the regional interministerial team. That team, equipped to provide career counselling, skill assessment, information on available training programs and related matters, will work in a supportive and complementary role with the manpower adjustment committee.

An important input to the team’s work will be the assistance of the Ministry of Industry and Tourism in determining the region’s economic prospects and mid- and long-term alternative employment opportunities. At the same time, the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs, as a member of the team, will be evaluating the impact of the closure on the financial ramifications for the affected municipality. Where appropriate, recommendations will be developed for assistance. The Ministry of Community and Social Services representative on the team will respond to special needs related to social assistance and rehabilitation.

Mr. Speaker, I should also like to refer to the important issue of skills training. Although this issue does not directly relate to plant closures, I think most members would agree that in the long term we cannot ensure continued growth or the investment needed to fuel our industrial sector unless a better job is done in training skilled workers. The manpower commission, which was appointed a year ago, has concluded that the industrial sector in Ontario has fallen short in meeting its responsibilities in this area. Unless effective action is taken, critical skills shortages will continue to grow. Therefore, in the near future, during this session, I shall be announcing initiatives in this area as well.

I believe the proposals I have outlined today address the essential concerns in the community in a humane and responsible manner. It is my sincere hope they can be implemented with the least possible delay.


Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I would like to outline for the honourable members my ministry’s plans for the introduction of legislation during the next few months.

As the honourable members are aware, my ministry has been developing several initiatives to strengthen the public health sector of the health care system. Prevention, through public health programs, is of vital importance in slowing the rapidly increasing costs of health care in our province.

To provide local public health units with the tools to improve the quality of public health programs, we have been following a three-part strategy.

First, we have taken the lead in setting up a voluntary system of accreditation for public health units. A field trial will be conducted in three public health units this fall as a step towards this important goal.

The second part of our strategy is to strengthen public health research and development. Last year, $1 million was set aside for this purpose.

The third element of our public health strategy is to complete development of a core package of public health services, a core group of services that will be common to all health units and departments across the province.

For several months now, we have been consulting with public health officials all over Ontario to develop this package of core programs. They will be embedded in a new Health Protection Act, which I plan to introduce next spring to replace the existing Public Health Act. A white paper covering these programs will be released this fall for comment by our public health units and others in the health system.

The core programs are being looked at under six broad categories. These include immunization, preventive dentistry, environmental sanitation, family health, home accident prevention and nutrition.

My ministry has also been working on new legislation to strengthen the provisions covering the operation of X-ray equipment. Earlier this year, the advisory committee on radiology submitted its report to me and I announced at that time that I accepted, in principle, the committee’s recommendations. The proposed Healing Arts Radiation Protection Act will include these recommendations and will replace legislation covered now in part by the existing Public Health Act.

The honourable members will recall that the committee’s recommendations included the establishment of a healing arts radiation protection agency to oversee and to co-ordinate an X-ray safety program for Ontario. The report also recommended that new legislation be introduced requiring a safety code for all X-ray facilities and equipment, as well as registration of all facilities. It recommended that mandatory peer-review programs be established for all groups of operators.

The committee’s report has been widely circulated and comments have been received from major interest groups as well as individual practitioners. Although a few specific concerns were expressed -- primarily relating to consultation on the composition of the proposed healing arts radiation protection agency and to the costs of implementing the program -- all agreed with the principles set forth in the report and with the thrust of the recommendations. We are making final changes to accommodate such concerns, and I expect to introduce this legislation within the next few weeks.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, later today I will introduce amendments to the Chiropody Act that will provide the legislative framework for developing improved foot care services for the people of Ontario. The need for more foot care services has been emphasized, and a chiropody model recommended, by the Ontario Council of Health Report on Health Care for the Aged, the Ontario Advisory Council on Senior Citizens and the Social Planning Council of Metropolitan Toronto.

As the honourable members will recall, last March I announced our intention to develop an enhanced foot care program based on the salaried chiropody model while, at the same time, preserving the ability of this province’s podiatrists, who are registered under the existing Chiropody Act, to provide foot care on a fee-for-service basis.

2:20 p.m.

In my statement to this House last March, I outlined the steps we proposed to take, in conjunction with the Ministry of Colleges and Universities, in setting up courses to train chiropodists in Ontario. I am pleased to advise the honourable members today that the first courses are to begin in the fall of 1981 and that they will be the result of a joint effort by George Brown College and the Toronto Institute of Medical Technology.

In fact, a team from my ministry, the Ministry of Colleges and Universities and these institutions will shortly be visiting the United Kingdom. Their objective will be to obtain the co-operation of schools of chiropody there in developing a program for Ontario, based on the British model, which involves a three-year program. The Ontario program will probably also be of three years duration, depending on how we adapt the British curriculum to our system.

However, we do not intend to wait until the first chiropodists graduate from the community college course. As a pilot project, six registered nurses will be given an intensive six-month course in chiropody at Toronto General Hospital beginning in January 1981. We will be paying the cost of the course, and the nurses’ salaries will be jointly covered by my ministry and their current employers.

After completion of the course, it is planned that these registered nurses will teach registered nursing assistants the principles of foot care hygiene in courses of three to four weeks’ duration, beginning later in 1981. After assessment of this pilot project, we hope to be able to make this program available province-wide. These moves would provide an expansion of foot care services on the chiropody model within about one year’s time with, of course, further expansion as graduates of the community college course become available in 1983 or 1984.

Two amendments to the act are proposed. The first will increase the lay membership of the board of regents appointed under the Chiropody Act. The second amendment will give the Lieutenant Governor in Council the authority to make regulations under the act in line with the authority already established under the Health Disciplines Act.

A regulation will be proposed to recognize chiropodists registered in the United Kingdom so that such practitioners may be recruited to teach and to work in our hospitals. A further regulation will recognize eventual graduates of the Ontario program.

I am confident that the steps we are taking will greatly enhance the level of foot care for our citizens over the next few years. These proposed changes in legislation demonstrate our intention to continue to make the alterations in our health care system necessary to ensure that Ontarians receive health services at least equal to those anywhere else in the world.



Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, a question for the Minister of Labour: Why has the minister come in with this inadequate statement after a full summer to ponder the matter, a statement in which he has proposed only a few small changes in pension falling far short of genuine portability, a committee and a co-ordinator?

Could the minister specifically say why he will not take the step to legislate severance pay in Ontario when his own negotiators were quite prepared to negotiate severance pay during the Houdaille occupation? Why should it be necessary for plants to be occupied by workers to get the Ministry of Labour to help the workers obtain severance pay? Why can’t it be part of a law of Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition may consider that the proposals I have made today are not important but I have to tell him I think they are responsible and appropriate.

The honourable member has said, “Why don’t the amendments with regard to the Pension Benefits Act propose true portability?” He knows very well that until the pension program in general is overhauled so that all pensions are of the same kind and funding is at standard levels, portability is not always possible.

The proposal the minister will bring in not only will involve transfer of pension rights to new employers’ plans where it is appropriate, but will also give the option of converting the funds into a noncommutable annuity which is indeed the best true portability that can be achieved pending full review of the legislation. So I think it is quite inaccurate and inappropriate to suggest that it is not true portability. It is within the context of the existing legislation.

The overall issues will be addressed once the Haley report is in. The honourable member knows that quite well. I do not agree with him that the remaining points are tiny ones. They are points that I, personally, have noted when in discussions with companies and trade unions during closures. Sure, our mediators have been able to negotiate severance pay, but I say to the honourable member, and I am sure he must have thought of this himself, it is strange that he and I may attach such importance to severance -- and I do as a matter of fact -- yet when we look at the statistics we find only 28.4 per cent of negotiated contracts have severance provisions in them.

I think it is fair to say that in the 1970s there were those who didn’t agree that severance pay should be paramount or foremost in the minds of negotiators. I am simply saying to the honourable members and the House that there are a lot of problems related to severance pay that should be discussed in a committee. I know the honourable member has asked for a committee, one that would go much further and would explore employee-employer relations, which I think is a strange thing to be saying in a province where I think we have a remarkably stable labour relations climate and one that is the envy of most provinces and most countries.

Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Since the committee we have asked for has to deal with a means of determining how plant closures can best be justified to the community, and since it does appear that the minister has suggested there be a certain co-ordinator who would, according to the information in the statement, get all pertinent information, do I take it that the coordinator will have the right to subpoena the books of the company that is closing down to see whether the company is genuinely profitable or unprofitable, and whether there have been transfers out of the company of machinery or other lines which would make the company seem unprofitable?

I take it the coordinator will have the right to have the books of that company opened and examined. If not, what is the use of having a co-ordinator and what means of justification will the community have?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: First of all, Mr. Speaker, I think when the honourable member sits down and thinks about it, he will agree that the role of a co-ordinator, and the type of person I am talking about and referred to in the statement, will serve a very valuable role and will provide a great deal of background information to the problem of plant closures.

I know the honourable member is very interested and anxious to have mandatory justification. He is anxious that individuals, partners and corporations, be they Canadians or foreigners, should be told on occasion, “You can’t shut down.” He would take away the right to close down, whether it be from an individual, a partner or a corporation. I understand that is what the honourable member is driving at, but I have to tell him that isn’t the law in any province or state that I know of in North America and I doubt it would be considered acceptable to most members of this House.

Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Before the minister allows the problem of plant shutdowns to be smothered in 19 pages of words, which he has tried to do today, can I ask him specifically whether the companies will be made to justify their shutdowns to the workers and to the communities concerned, or will they be able to walk away from a community as Houdaille did in Oshawa or as Tung-Sol did in Bramalea without a word of explanation about why they were leaving the community and abandoning their responsibilities to communities where they had operated for years?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: As usual, Mr. Speaker, the member chose to attack what I have said today, and the volume and quality of it, when that really should not have been the issue, and I resent it. If the honourable member wants to get down to the real issues, the matters I raised, I think we are offering tangible, appropriate and important contributions to the problem facing this province today with regard to plant shutdowns.

Mr. S. Smith: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: How does the minister justify putting on page 15 that this co-ordinator will make immediate contact with management and so on to obtain all pertinent information in order to assess the possibility of maintaining the operation? What kind of pertinent information will he obtain if he can’t have a look at the books of the company to see whether the reason the company is being closed is a justifiable reason or not?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I think it is pretty clear what sort of request we will be placing in the hands of a co-ordinator. It will be to do just what it says here, “to request and require all pertinent information in order to assess the possibility of maintaining the operation.” It is pretty clear.

Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, with respect to the committee the minister is going to appoint, is that going to be a select committee? Is that committee going to have the power to look into shutdowns in Ontario to determine what is causing people to move away and leave people high and dry, or is it just going to look at severance pay? In other words, is this committee going to look at the reasons plants are bailing out?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, as the member knows, House leaders will be negotiating the nature and the terms of reference of the committee, but I have said quite clearly that I would be pleased if the committee reviewed not only severance pay but termination provisions and other matters related to plant closures.

2:30 p.m.


Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I have a separate question on another matter to the Minister of Labour: Is the minister familiar with the fact that there is a strike going on at Browning-Ferris Industries at the so-called recycling plant in the Downsview area in Toronto? Is he aware that after certification, the union is seeking its first contract and that the company has insisted on a very broad management rights clause and given no grievance procedure with the exception of termination or suspension? They can do anything else they like to the union member, with no grievance procedure whatsoever.

Under those circumstances, and given the fact that that particular company is operating on behalf of the Ministry of the Environment in very close proximity to the ministry, so that the ministry has to approve any of its major expenditures and so on, how can the minister justify being associated with a company that plainly is attempting either to make it impossible to get a first contract or to provide a first contract which, in effect, will be void and missing any of the usual protections we can expect in 1980?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I do not have information about that particular plant available to me at the moment. I may say that to suggest any collective agreement could be without a grievance process is quite incredible, since by legislation there has to be -- and by Bill 25 there has to be -- an alternative available to people, regardless of the grievance procedure that may be agreed to by the two parties.

I cannot accept it when the Leader of the Opposition says an agreement has been negotiated without it. Failure to agree to such a thing clearly is an unfair labour practice and it is a matter the board could deal with. Should that be the case, I am sure one of the parties will bring such an application.

Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, Mr. Speaker: The grievance procedure suggested by the company exists only in the case of termination or suspension. It does not apply to any reclassification of work, change in working conditions, transfer and other such matters.

In the presence of a very broad management rights clause, it is obvious there should be some change in that regard. I am asking the minister if he would look into it, especially in view of the fact that Browning-Ferris Industries is basically working very closely with and on behalf of the Ministry of the Environment in this regard. Surely the government should show some leadership and inform Browning-Ferris Industries that this is not Texas. It is Ontario and the year is 1980.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I will be pleased to review the negotiations at Browning-Ferris Industries. I may say the government does act responsibly in dealing with negotiations in this province. I do not know anybody who looks at it objectively who would say otherwise.


Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Labour arising out of his statement to the House a few minutes ago. The statement says the government is not opposed to severance pay as a matter of principle, but fails to say whether the government is in favour of severance pay as a matter of principle and, therefore, undertakes to bring in legislation to provide for severance pay in Ontario.

Is the government in favour of severance pay as a matter of principle when workers are laid off or plants are shut down? Will the Minister of Labour undertake on behalf of the government that there will be legislation to provide that protection of severance pay to workers affected by shutdowns?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I think the statement says what the government means. As a matter of principle, we are not opposed to severance pay. Clearly, in negotiations severance pay is an issue -- not in all negotiations.

I do not think the leader of the New Democratic Party would want me to deprive the committee that will probably come to be out of the negotiations that are taking place, of the opportunity of reviewing the problems and the questions I have raised. I am sure it will have others to raise.

At this stage I would have to say the government is not prepared to make that commitment.

Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: The Minister of Labour refuses to make a commitment and then he turns around to blame trade unionists for not having negotiated severance pay in the contracts they negotiated over the course of the last 10 years. Given that two thirds of the workers in Ontario are not in organized work situations, can the minister explain how those workers could have negotiated severance pay over the course of the last 10 years? Given that some other workers who have unions do not have the bargaining power to get that kind of provision, and therefore do not have it either, why does the minister insist on blaming workers, when most of the workers affected were not in a position to negotiate severance pay? Why can we not have the commitment in principle now that the government this session will bring in legislation to provide for severance pay for workers in Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Let me reiterate that I am not criticizing workers. I agree with Doug Fraser when he says it is difficult to put severance on the table when there are other matters and money up front to be dealt with and negotiated for. I am just saying that is a fact of life.

I have clearly enunciated the government’s position in my statement and in my previous answer to the member. We are not opposed to severance as a matter of principle. We look forward to my personal discussions with labour and management over the issue, and to the deliberations of the committee on the issues before us.

Mr. Van Horne: Mr. Speaker, given what we would all agree is considerable urgency in this matter, and given the rather unclear answer to the question put to the minister by the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel), could he use his influence with the members here on my left and the House leaders to see that we proceed with this committee debate? We will be giving up our time for the Ministry of Labour estimates which are due to come forward within the next week. This is so that we can get this on the rails right away rather than leaving it in a sort of limbo as he is suggesting.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: In a word, Mr. Speaker, if the third party would agree to that, the answer is yes.

Mr. Samis: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Could the minister tell the House whether any of the changes he is proposing will be retroactive and whether they will apply to the 185 workers in my riding being laid off at the end of November?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, the member knows full well the difficulties there are with retroactive legislation. Where does one draw the line? What is the new plateau? I cannot give him that commitment.

But with regard to the Cornwall closure he is talking about, I am still investigating that. Today I have asked my staff to have the management come to see me next week and I expect I will be talking to members of the union shortly as well.

Mr. Cassidy: In view of the fact that by Ontario’s own statistics 46,000 workers have been permanently or indefinitely laid off in Ontario over the course of the last 12 or 13 months, when will the minister undertake to bring in the limited amount of legislation that has been promised here? When will he undertake to bring in severance pay legislation which those workers need to be protected and which they cannot wait for until next year or the year after that?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Once again we have different figures being used. I do not want to get into the position of having to criticize the leader of the third party for the figures he chooses, but he knows very well those are not the figures this ministry accepts. This year, up to the end of September, on indefinite layoffs there are some 16,807. We all know these are related to the auto industry. Permanent layoffs as a result of complete closures are 7,390; partial closures, 1,233. These figures are not vastly different from those of other years. So let us not get the thing out of perspective.

What we are really talking about this year is an increase in the number of indefinite layoffs related to the auto industry, and we all have great hopes that is starting to turn around.

Mr. Cassidy: I will not comment on the layoff of 600 Chrysler workers that was announced this weekend and which the minister has not included in his figures.


Mr. Cassidy: I have a new question of the Minister of Community and Social Services arising out of the inaccuracies that he used in the Legislature last week when talking about day care in Ottawa. Will the minister acknowledge that he made charges about provincial subsidies being given to high-income families in relation to day care in Ottawa-Carleton last spring, and those charges were proved to be without substance in the spring just as they are without substance now? Will the minister acknowledge his error? Will he start to concentrate on the need for day care, which amounts to more than 1,000 people on the waiting list in Ottawa and thousands more in Metropolitan Toronto? Will he promise action rather than words and misleading comments in the Legislature?

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, I welcome this opportunity the leader of the third party has provided me with to reaffirm the accuracy of both my statements last spring and my more recent ones. I would point out to the honourable member that following the time of my drawing this to the attention of the Legislature in an exchange with him last spring; I was invited to go on one of the Ottawa morning radio programs with a member of the social services committee for Ottawa-Carleton. During the course of that discussion on the radio program he said, “I acknowledge that the minister is accurate. I acknowledge that we did not realize this prior to this time. We do not know how many high-income families are being subsidized as a result of our ceilings but we will look into it.”

2:40 p.m.

I will further point out to the honourable member that I understand there is a report being presented to the Ottawa-Carleton council this afternoon, in a meeting as a result of a request from the council, which I suggest will confirm the accuracy of what I have just said. I expect to be in receipt of such report tomorrow.

Mr. Cassidy: A supplementary: Last spring I understand the minister alleged that Maureen McTeer was receiving a subsidy from provincial sources and then the minister had to withdraw that because her child was not in a day care centre that uses provincial subsidies. The minister said on Friday, “The municipality is channelling provincial money into subsidies to families which can well afford to pay their own way.”

Mr. Speaker: Do you have a question?

Mr. Cassidy: Is the minister not aware there is not a penny of provincial subsidy going to any full-fee parent in a municipal day care centre -- and these were the people the minister was referring to -- and does the minister not agree that when he makes unfounded allegations of this nature it tends to bring down the image of day care, when his responsibility as minister responsible for day care in Ontario should be to ensure that day care is universally accessible right across the province?

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member’s understanding of a subsidy and my understanding of a subsidy may be two different things. I am not sure, but I would ask him how he would describe this: If in fact the per diem cost to provide day care for a child in one of the municipal centres is $17 or $18 a day but the maximum the municipality will permit a full paying parent to pay is $12.50, what would he call the difference between $12.50 and $18? Is that not a subsidy? In my opinion that is a subsidy.

Let me give another example and this is referring to a specific centre in the member’s municipality: If the full per diem cost is $31 a day for infant day care -- the average, I think he will find in this afternoon’s report, is even higher than that but let’s take the $31 example -- but the ceiling the municipality has established is $17, that $14 difference I would call a subsidy. I don’t know what the member would call it, but it is $14 of provincial and municipal money on 80-20 cost sharing which is flowed to that centre in order to assist.

Ms. Gigantes: No, it is not

Hon. Mr. Norton: Yes, it is.

Mr. S. Smith: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Could the minister confirm this cost sharing matter? Is it true that of the $171,000 his ministry has promised in Ottawa-Carleton the provincial government is cost sharing only the first $50,000 and the rest is federal money? If that is not true, would he please give us the accurate figures?

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, the arrangement made with Ottawa-Carleton is precisely the same as was made with Metropolitan Toronto under similar circumstances. It is true that in the case of Ottawa-Carleton we did agree to cost share the first $51,000 or $52,000 on an 80-20 basis because of the circumstances under which that portion of their overrun arose.

Because of the fact that the balance related to additional spaces that appeared as a result of their own administrative difficulties which had arisen, we agreed to cost share it on a 50-50 basis. I would point out that it was made clear both to Metropolitan Toronto and to Ottawa-Carleton that it would not be solely federal money that was passed through, but we are working out the cost sharing so that the provincial portion of that subsidy is also passed through.

Nevertheless, out of the total, the municipality will be required to contribute 50 per cent in both cases. It does not contribute to a growth in their base, but allows them to work out of an administratively difficult situation they will find themselves in by the end of this fiscal year.

Ms. Gigantes: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I would like to ask the minister if he would tell the House that of the 3,400 spaces in Ottawa-Carleton day care centres the per diem is greater than $30 for only 44 infants, and of those 44 infants, only 13 have parents who don’t qualify for a subsidy according to his regulations -- 13 of 3,400 or approximately 0.004 per cent. Would he like to acknowledge those facts and withdraw his unwarranted attack on the priorities assigned to day care services in Ottawa-Carleton?

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, I cannot confirm that off the top of my head. Perhaps the member has an advance copy of the report that was being presented to the council today. I don’t happen to have, although I do have figures that would indicate, for example, in the one centre everyone is subsidized, regardless of what he or she is able to pay, by a minimum of $14. I think the member will find, when she sees a copy of the report that is being presented today by the social services department in Ottawa, that perhaps her figures are inaccurate.


Mr. Kerrio: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Health. Is the minister aware of the comments made by the chief of staff at the Greater Niagara General Hospital that bed shortage is so acute at his hospital that physicians fear for the quality of patient care? Is he aware that in our local paper, Friday last, there were such comments as: “Will someone have to die before action is taken?” and “Patients are being held on stretchers in the emergency department because there are no available active treatment beds to put them in”? Such comments made by the chief of staff certainly are of grave concern to me, and I wonder how the minister might react to the comments made in our local paper.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, to the best of my knowledge neither the hospital nor the chief of staff has drawn those concerns to my attention. I would be prepared, though, to send in a team to do an analysis of the bed utilization, to analyse the elective admissions and that sort of thing, to see if we can help them. I cannot recall that either the hospital or the health council has recommended additional beds in that area. If there is something we can do, first, to analyse how the existing beds are being utilized and, second, to address the longer-term problem, we will be glad to do so.

Mr. Kerrio: In view of the concern expressed by Dr. Nicholas Pohran, chief of staff, and in view of the fact that there are more beds to be closed in December, I wonder if the minister would delay the proposal to close additional beds in December until such an investigation is made and possibly keep those beds open.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I am not aware of any intention to close beds in December. To my knowledge, nobody in the ministry has indicated that. We have not ordered any bed closures for several years now; so I will check into that. If the honourable member would send the details to me, it would be helpful. I think, as in many other communities, we have to look first of all at how the existing beds are being utilized, because quite often we find that either the length of stay is inappropriate or perhaps people are being admitted for things that could be done on an outpatient basis and, thus, free those beds.

Mr. Haggerty: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: The minister indicated he was going to send in a field of experts to look into this particular area. Would he include the extended care services and the chronic care services in all of the Niagara Peninsula, for which facilities there is a desperate need?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I will check on the date, but I believe that the Niagara Region District Health Council has a review under way. I am not quite sure at this point where it stands on extended care and chronic needs for the future. I would remind the member that in the last 18 months we did approve a significant addition of chronic beds at Welland County General Hospital. In other areas where the studies have been completed and the needs have been verified, we have been regularly adding chronic beds and nursing home beds.

Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the minister if he is approving the growing practice of leaving patients on stretchers overnight. The occasion in Niagara Falls is part of a pattern that is showing up across the province now of an increased incidence of patients being left on stretchers in corridors overnight. Is it the position of his ministry that this is an acceptable type of care?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: It is certainly preferable to turning away somebody who, it is felt, needs at least supervision or perhaps admission for testing. By and large, where the needs studies are being completed we are able to move to relieve pressures. But that is certainly preferable to turning people away.

2:50 p.m.

Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, in the agreements undertaken by the ministry in the Niagara Peninsula and elsewhere, where chronic beds are designed and new structures are built to receive chronic beds to replace active treatment beds, and the hospitals agree with the ministry to have new X-ray equipment, new emergency equipment and holding beds put in, how can the minister justify going forward with one step, the step that he likes, which is putting in the chronic beds, and then postponing the alterations to the hospital under consideration, as in the instance of the Willett Hospital in the Niagara Peninsula near Paris?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: The honourable member is stretching it a bit to say the Willett Hospital is in the Niagara Peninsula but, if the Speaker didn’t notice, I won’t notice.

Mr. Speaker: He said the Niagara Peninsula and elsewhere.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: The honourable member will appreciate that, especially when we are dealing with a broad area like Brant county, involving five institutions all told, it is not possible to do everything at once. In the case of that county, St. Joseph’s Hospital agreed to close out its emergency which moved over to the Brantford General Hospital. That is well under way. The Brant Sanatorium agreed to give up some beds and move them over. In the case of the Willett --

Mr. Nixon: It gets the short end again.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, with respect, as I recall the agreement -- which I do not have here, but I will undertake to look at it; it is a number of months old now -- it was agreed that this would be staged. In fact, what we have budgeted in terms of capital -- this was in the agreement; I could be mistaken, and I will check this -- what we have budgeted is $200,000 this year $225,000 next year and $975,000 in 1982-83, to give effect to the phasing or the staging of what was agreed upon.


Mr. McClellan: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Labour with respect to the level of wages paid to handicapped workers in sheltered workshops.

Each and every handicapped worker in a sheltered workshop is exempt from the minimum wage by virtue of a director’s permit issued under section 24 of the Employment Standards Act. Was the minister aware when he issued section 24 director’s permits to workshops employing clients of the Ministry of Community and Social Services that wages in those workshops are as low as six cents an hour; that the top wage, according to a survey we did of 18 workshops, was $1 an hour; and that the average wage was well under 50 cents an hour? Was the minister aware of these facts when he approved those director’s permits?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, if I may just refer to the section of the Employment Standards Act that deals with the matter raised by the member, section 24 states: “For the purpose of enabling a handicapped person to be gainfully employed, the director may, upon the application of the handicapped person or his employer and with the consent of the handicapped person, his parent or guardian, authorize the employment of such handicapped person to perform such work as is authorized at a wage lower than the minimum wage prescribed under the act.” I am sure the member knows the history of this relates to whether the wage is really something other than a wage, whether there is a therapeutic component to it that makes it valuable.

Having said all that, let me be clear that I have recognized that the whole issue of wage permits for the handicapped is one that has to be reviewed. At present there is a handicapped employment program study, in co-operation with the employment standards branch and the Ministry of Community and Social Services, to review the whole matter of wage permits to sheltered workshops.

Mr. McClellan: I am tempted to ask the question again since the minister did not answer it. It was very simple: Was the minister aware of these wage levels? I will ask, though, a supplementary: Is he aware of a case, which I will keep anonymous, submitted to him on August 27 by the advocacy resource centre for the handicapped? It has to do with a handicapped worker who was working in a sheltered workshop for 50 cents an hour over a 75.5-week period without the authority of a director’s permit under section 24. Can he tell me whether this is atypical and can he tell me what action his ministry has taken on this particular case?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: I am not aware of the particular case. If the member wishes to give the details to me in confidence, I will be pleased to treat it as such and review it.


Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, you will recall that the member for York Centre (Mr. Stong) asked a question on Friday morning. Apparently the content of his question and my response to it has raised some anxiety in the community of such import that we have had many calls from travel agents, parents, school children and teachers worrying about whether the 1981 school break was going to be moved. You will recall that the honourable member suggested that the timing of the school break on March 23 did nothing to support the ski industry in Ontario. You will also recall that I suggested he might pray a little for snow, because I thought that was probably of much more import to the ski industry than the timing of the school break.

None the less, I have to tell you that the regulation, which was established in 1973, provides some flexibility. It does say there will be a winter break of five consecutive days commencing on the Monday next following the Friday preceding March 21, or five consecutive days exclusive of Saturday and Sunday that are within -- I did not write this -- the period from the first school day in January to the last school day in June and are designated school holidays in lieu thereof by the board that operates the school.

Generally, the March break has been the March break; the winter break has occurred in March. In 1976-77, it was March 21-25; in 1977-78, March 20-24; in 1978-79, March 19-23; in 1979-80, March 17-21; and this year, 1980-81, it will be March 23-27, 1981.

Several years’ plans have been developed by the ministry, but the flexibility remains with each school board. Each school board can change the March break if it so wishes, and a number of school boards have already done that to their peril, because they received the weight of the ire of parents, travel agents and others about the moving of the school break, which provided for lack of convenience when the school board next adjacent had its school break at the traditional time.

The one thing honourable members should know is that in 1981-82 it is suggested that the school break will be March 22-26, 1982. Since that is already established in the minds of boards, teachers, students, travel agents and others, I doubt that it would be reasonable to suggest that we might change it for either 1981 or 1982, but we are looking very critically at the school year, at the length of the school day, at a number of factors related to school attendance, including the March break, and it is my anticipation that within the next 12 months we shall have some important modifications to make to those regulations. We will most certainly keep in mind the plight of the ski industry in Ontario when that is done.

Mr. Breithaupt: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I am wondering if the minister has given or will be giving consideration to the possible option, to benefit not only travelling but also the better use of recreational facilities within Ontario, of encouraging school boards in adjacent communities, ensuring hopefully that they would co-operate, to have perhaps three weeks of opportunities in which to have the various school break times. This would allow some flexibility for travel. I would think travel agents might be a lot happier if they could book people on flights and such like, rather than having things clogged up. Is that a possibility or is it not practical?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: That flexibility is already there. Adjacent school boards can make that decision together if they wish; there is no doubt about that, and that is permitted.


Mr. Watson: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Health. Is the minister aware that the employees of the Chatham and district ambulance service have indicated they are prepared to go on strike later this week? Does the ministry have any contingency plans to provide emergency ambulance service to Chatham, Wallaceburg and areas of Kent county if they decide to withdraw their services?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I am aware that there is a problem between the union and the employer that is alleged may result in a work cessation. I am also aware that work is continuing to try to bring the parties to an agreement before the end of the week. In the event that is not successful, yes, planning is under way to develop a contingency plan to provide emergency services. I would caution the honourable member that, in the event it came to that, routine transfers would not be looked after by the ambulance service that would operate during such a work stoppage.

3 p.m.

Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, can the minister indicate more particularly what the contingency plans might be in the event of this “work cessation,” so that the essential services spoken of would be available to the people in the honourable member’s area?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I can, closer to the date. They are being prepared now. In the two or three other instances where we have had difficulties in the past, we have been able to look after true emergencies through the use of management and supervisory personnel and the calling-in of adjacent services for emergencies.

Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, is the minister aware that there is agreement between the union and the operator? The problem is that the ministry itself seized the books last year and they cannot get a clear line on what their funding patterns will be for this year. Is the minister not, in essence, causing the strike on Friday of this week?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: That is not the problem. First of all, the Ministry of Health did not seize the books. The books were seized as part of an investigation by the Ontario Provincial Police and the Ministry of the Attorney General.

Mr. Breaugh: And who asked for that?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Is the honourable member saying that, in those cases where our auditors believe there is something untoward, we should not pursue it? Is that what he is saying? Really, Mr. Speaker, sometimes it goes beyond the pale.

Second, I am told that what is at issue is a clause proposed in the agreement. That is where the difficulty is; not over the books.


Mr. Bradley: I am very pleased to be here to ask this question, Mr. Speaker, in view of the obstacles that are placed before those of us who have to travel in from the Niagara Peninsula along the Queen Elizabeth Way.

My question is to the Minister of Community and Social Services in regard to a strike that exists at the present time both in Hamilton and St. Catharines involving those who work with the mentally retarded. Is the minister contemplating any immediate action to alleviate the strike situation by providing additional funding to both Participation House and the St. Catharines Association for the Mentally Retarded? With that they could pay the workers who are on strike in both those cases -- one case a lockout; the other a strike -- an adequate and decent wage. Management and the employees’ associations in both cases say the only answer to the question lies with the Ministry of Community and Social Services.

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, I can assure the honourable member that both of those organizations have been advised as to the allocation of funds that is available to them this year. I recognize also that there are times when the pressures of difficult negotiations such as this make it tempting to suggest the problem could easily be resolved by a third party stepping in to do something. I feel the only way these disputes are going to be resolved is through the collective bargaining process.

With respect to the broader concern of levels of funding, we are in the process of reviewing generally across the province, on an agency-by-agency basis, the budgets of some of those agencies that are funded, one might say, at the lower end of the spectrum. Whatever assistance we may offer to some, the decision ultimately is the decision of the agency that is the employer to arrive through the collective bargaining process at a level of remuneration that is acceptable to the employees and that the employer can afford to pay. That is as much as I can say at this point.

The next question is, am I prepared to intervene in some other way? No, I am not prepared to intervene in the collective bargaining process.

Mr. McClellan: You did at Peace Bridge.

Hon. Mr. Norton: No, I did not.

Mr. Bradley: Is the minister aware of the report prepared by Woods Gordon for the Ontario Association for the Mentally Retarded on job evaluation and pay determination? It reveals that the current pay practice of the association is about 34 per cent behind the pay practice in government-operated facilities and, on average, about 20 per cent behind the pay practice of similar service organizations, and that as an interim step it recommends the adoption of a pay curve 20 per cent above the current association pay practice? Is the minister aware of this particular report? Has he seen it, and will he comment upon the contents of it if he has?

Hon. Mr. Norton: I was aware that the Ontario Association for the Mentally Retarded had commissioned such a report, but I myself have not had an opportunity to read it. I presume that if it is now available to the honourable member the ministry has now received a copy, which I have been awaiting for some time. I would be quite willing to comment on it after I have had an opportunity to review it.


Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Health. When the minister was in Sudbury recently he had a good deal to say about air ambulance service in northern Ontario. Can he indicate why the Ontario health insurance plan has refused to pay ambulance service for a young man in my riding who suffered an eye injury for which he underwent emergency surgery in Sudbury and was then sent to St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto for further surgery because they could not do anything for him in Sudbury? He was on a stretcher when they brought him down by Air Canada and he had to pay for two seats because OHIP is refusing to pay. Could the minister tell me why?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, if it was ordered by a physician and he was in need of supervision during transport, I do not understand why, but if the member will send me the name, the date and so forth, I will find out.

Mr. Martel: In view of the fact that the doctor sent only the mother along on the Air Canada flight, could the minister indicate if that is going to be the reason by this young man, who was by himself, should not receive OHIP coverage to pay for those two seats on Air Canada?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Essentially, the criterion is that if the individual requires medical or nursing supervision in transit, then we pay it. If the member gives me the name, the date and so forth, I will check into it. I may say that the issue is not one exclusively of the north. One can say the same about land ambulances: if it is required, we pay; if it is an inappropriate use, we do not.


Mr. J. Reed: A question for the Minister of Energy, Mr. Speaker: Why is Ontario Hydro allowed to continue to mislead the public with the current advertising campaign which tells us we have very little hydraulic electric power resources left to develop in this province, then goes on to indicate that nuclear power is the only practical option when, in fact, Ontario Hydro’s own report number 213201, dated December 31, 1977, states clearly that we have some 12,000 megawatts of undeveloped hydraulic power in this province? Why was this report not submitted to the Royal Commission on Electric Power Planning instead of a document called Generation Non-Nuclear, which displays only about one third of the hydraulic potential of this report 213201?

Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, there are two or three observations on the part of the honourable member that perhaps I should address. Number one, I think it is a very unfortunate use of language to suggest that a crown corporation as reputable as Ontario Hydro would be misleading the public. Under the circumstances, if the member would send me the advertisement in question, I would be very happy to take a look at it.

As the member knows, as he looks at the projections and the policy paper which I tabled a year ago, the expansion of the hydraulic resources is referred to, it is part of the package of Ontario producing from within its own boundaries more of its own total energy needs, and indeed the member comes back fresh from the presentation today of two very important papers at the electricity conference which shows that perhaps it is a balance we require, which seems to confirm the Ontario position with respect to this matter.

3:10 p.m.

Also, the member is perhaps being carried away with the recent article in Maclean’s magazine about the report in question. It would be a matter of admission for the royal commissioner himself that he may not have recognized the report to which the member makes reference by its identification in numbers. Substantially the same material is part of the report to which the member does make reference. On the cover it talked about generation. On being reminded of that, my understanding is that the commissioner then acknowledged he did have that information.

Mr. J. Reed: Certainly the Minister of Energy would recognize that the comment made by the former chairman of the royal commission indicates that this document was never delivered and that there was never any indication made to the royal commission that there was that kind of potential. Is the minister not aware that when he talks about Hydro’s hydraulic development program it has now been deferred by four years and its budget has been cut from a paltry $2.4 million to a nothing $1.6 million? That represents half of Ontario Hydro’s advertising budget.

Hon. Mr. Welch: I would repeat again that it is my understanding that when attention was drawn to the second document to which the honourable member makes reference the commissioner then acknowledged the fact that he did have the information. What he was referring to, I am told, as the member grasps for the gospel according to Maclean’s, was that he did not recognize the document as it was referred to by the questioner during the interview, but he did have a substantial amount of the information contained in the numbered report in the other report.

Ms. Gigantes: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Just so we have the gospel according to the Minister of Energy, is the minister suggesting that the royal commissioner was wrong or inaccurate in saying that he did not have the information, or is the minister suggesting that the royal commissioner had the information but simply did not realize the significance of it? What is the import of the second possibility?

Hon. Mr. Welch: No, I did not say either of those things. I am suggesting, that on the information I have, following the release of the issue of Maclean’s magazine in question, it was drawn to his attention that substantially the same information contained in the particular document which the interviewer had was contained in a report which was then identified and shown as being one of the exhibits.

In fairness to the commissioner, although I have not talked to the commissioner about this -- this is from information I have -- I am assuming he was referring to a report referred to as whatever it was, and he did not recognize that, but having had it drawn to his attention that this material to which reference was made was with respect to the resource, hydroelectric power, in fact the commission did have access to that information.

Mr. S. Smith: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Dr. Porter said he was “shocked to the core” to find out there are 12,900 megawatts of undeveloped hydro power available, as indicated in that report. Irrespective of whether he did not have the report or he had it but did not notice the report, he is still shocked to hear the information. Is the minister shocked to find out there are 12,900 megawatts of undeveloped hydro power available? If he is not shocked by it, why does his much-vaunted statement of Friday call for only 2,000 new megawatts of hydraulic development when there are 12,900 megawatts available?

Hon. Mr. Welch: In a short answer, I am not shocked at the potential with respect to further hydraulic development.

Mr. S. Smith: Why just 2,000 megawatts then? It is only one third the cost of nuclear power.

Hon. Mr. Welch: Take a minute and look through Hansard. The Leader of the Opposition’s own colleague has continued to remind us of the contents of these reports long before this afternoon’s question period. We are talking in terms of the 2,000 megawatts in the report because they were immediately available and it seemed they could be encompassed. After all, the member would not want to ignore all the steps that have to be taken with respect to environmental hearings and assessments.

He pretends to be the great environmentalist in the House: I want to assure him we share some concern about that and recognize that option.


Mr. Charlton: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Community and Social Services. Regarding the lockout situation of Participation House in Hamilton, the minister has repeatedly said he is not prepared to interfere as a third party in the collective bargaining process. Is he prepared to tell this House today, or to look at the books of the board of Participation House and report back to this House, that there is enough money in that situation to allow free collective bargaining to go on, or is the present deadlock position of the offer that the Participation House board has made to the employees as far as they can go because there is no money?

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, I am not in the position to give any assurance to the House on the specifics of what the books of Participation House would contain at this point, nor at this point am I prepared to give the undertaking to have a look at their books.

Mr. McClellan: The minister stepped in at Peace Bridge.

Hon. Mr. Norton: The member keeps referring to Peace Bridge. I did not step into the Peace Bridge situation at all.

Mr. McClellan: The minister tried to close them down after they settled.

Hon. Mr. Norton: They concluded their negotiations and were ready to close down because they did not have any money. They then decided to reopen their negotiations on their own and to roll back the settlement rather than close down. I did not intervene in that situation. I did not intervene at all.

Mr. Isaacs: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker. Does the minister not realize that the offer of eight per cent that has been made to employees in that lockout situation is exactly the figure that was provided for an increase by his ministry to Participation House? If indeed it is all the money that Participation House has, then the minister is the invisible man at the bargaining table, because he controls the purse strings and it is up to him either to ensure that they have the money to solve the problem now or to give it to them so that Participation House can get back in business and the people back in their home as quickly as possible.

Hon. Mr. Norton: I think the honourable member reflects some lack of understanding of institutional budgets.

Mr. McClellan: We know that.

Hon. Mr. Norton: Listen, the member held that position before while I stood here on this side of the House and said similar things and took abuse. He discovered in his own community only a short time ago that there was --

Mr. Wildman: You are answering the member for Wentworth, not the member for Bellwoods.

Hon. Mr. Norton: No, I am talking about the person who asked the question and referred to his community. He subsequently learned that I was correct and) he was not. I am not going to start talking about percentages in this House as they relate to that particular negotiation. I will not say things in this House or outside this House which I know are likely to prejudice the free collective bargaining process that ought to be under way at the present time.


Mr. Stong: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Transportation and Communications. Why does he allow to persist in his ministry a policy that dictates and discriminates against the blind, a policy that denies access by the blind to special buses in urban communities designed to assist the handicapped, including the mobility buses in York region and the Wheel-Trans in Metro? It is a policy that excludes the blind from the definition of the physically handicapped and renders them ineligible for user certificates.

Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I stand to be corrected, but I believe the honourable member is about 100 per cent wrong in his assumption about the policy. First of all, the ministry’s funding policy with the municipalities on the handicapped transit system leaves the establishment of the criteria for those to be served totally up to the municipalities.

Mr. Stong: Would the minister inform himself of a current case in Richmond Hill. I believe the person’s name is Raymond Jackson. He has gone to all lengths with the ministry to obtain a certificate and has been denied such a certificate by the officials to use the bus that is available for the blind.

Hon. Mr. Snow: First of all, our ministry does not issue certificates such as that. It is the local municipality that issues them. Our policy does not cover that.


Mr. R. F. Johnston: I have a question of the Minister of Labour, Mr. Speaker. Last spring a number of questions were put to the minister about putting some concrete action behind the race relations component of the Ontario Human Rights Commission.

What steps is the minister willing to take at this time to provide adequate resources to the race relations commission, especially as the commissioner, Dr. Ubale, was quoted in the Toronto Star some days ago as saying that he does not have the financial resources necessary to do what he has to do?

3:20 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned in the House before in response to that question, an extensive consultation process to review the functioning of the Ontario Human Rights Commission was carried out. The results of that report were made available to the ministry last summer. I have taken representation to management board to increase by a considerable amount the staff and funding, particularly of the race relations division, and I hope to be making an announcement very shortly.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: Is the minister concerned? That is kind of an open-ended question, I know, and I know he is the minister concerned, but is he concerned that Dr. Ubale himself, according to that article in the Star, no longer seems to have the support of large elements of the visible minorities, even though that word is now supposedly not to be used in Toronto? Does the minister think that stems from the lack of resources that have been provided to Dr. Ubale, or does he think Dr. Ubale is the wrong person for the job and should be replaced?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Of course, that is like asking, “Have you stopped beating your wife?” I am sure the honourable member knew that before he asked the question. First of all, I think Dr. Ubale is a very capable, able man who -- maybe not in the member’s style, but I think in the appropriate style -- has dealt very quietly and very diligently with a lot of serious racial problems, and he is to be congratulated for it. Obviously, I think there is a need to improve the staff capacity at his disposal or I would not have initiated the consultation process by an outside consultant. That process is completed. I am endeavouring now to obtain more funds and more personnel for several areas of the human rights commission.


Mr. Mancini: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Deputy Premier. Could he inform this House if he has appraised himself of the news reports over the weekend which have shown the public the devastation that has been caused by the earthquake in Algeria and whether the Ontario government proposes to send food, medical supplies and clothing to the victims of this earthquake?

Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, I am sure all members of the House share a tremendous concern with respect to the welfare of those who have been the victims. To answer the question very quickly, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs (Mr. Wells) is assessing the whole situation, gathering some information for the consideration of my colleagues and no doubt will have something to say about this on Thursday.



Hon. Mr. Gregory moved that the standing committee on the administration of justice be authorized to travel tomorrow to Scarborough and Etobicoke to visit projects of the Ontario Housing Corporation.

Motion agreed to.



Hon. Mr. Timbrell moved first reading of Bill 167, An Act to amend the Chiropody Act.

Motion agreed to.


Hon. Mr. Pope, on behalf of Hon. Mr. McMurtry, moved first reading of Bill 168, An Act to amend the Juries Act, 1974.

Motion agreed to.

Hon. Mr. Pope: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to move first reading of the Juries Amendment Act, 1980. The bill removes the disqualification of blind persons and persons 70 years of age or older to serve on juries. The bill removes the statutory ineligibility of the clergy to serve on juries but provides that all persons whose religious practice or beliefs conflict with jury service may be excused from service by a judge.

The bill permits jury service to be defended or excused where said service would result in serious hardship to others.

Finally, the bill provides protection for the employment of persons who are summoned for jury duty.


Hon. Mr. Pope, on behalf of Hon. Mr. McMurtry, moved first reading of Bill 169, An Act to provide for Liability for Injuries caused by Dogs.

Motion agreed to.

Hon. Mr. Pope: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to move first reading of a bill entitled the Dog Owners’ Liability Act, 1980. This bill would alter the sue liability of the owner of a dog that bites or attacks any person. The bill would make the owner strictly liable for damages resulting from an attack by his or her dog. The liability would not depend on negligence and the common-law principle of scienter, requiring foreknowledge of the dog’s vicious propensity, is removed.

The owner’s liability would be reduced by the extent to which the victim’s own fault or negligence caused the attack, and the owner would be entitled to contribution and indemnity from any other person at fault.

The bill would also replace the existing Vicious Dogs Act, which provides a procedure by which the destruction of a dog that has bitten a person may be ordered. That procedure is retained, but guidelines are set out for the court to consider in determination whether destruction of the dog is necessary for the protection of the public.


Hon. Mr. Pope, on behalf of Hon. Mr. Wells, moved first reading of Bill 170, An Act to erect the Township of Gloucester into a City Municipality.

Motion agreed to.

Hon. Mr. Pope: Mr. Speaker, this bill will erect the present township of Gloucester to city status on January 1, 1981. It has been brought forward in response to a request from the township council and reflects the fact that Gloucester is now extensively urbanized, with a population of almost 70,000.

I would like to point out that the legislation will not affect the November 1980 municipal election process, nor will it alter Gloucester’s representation on the Ottawa-Carleton regional council.


Hon. Mr. Gregory: Before the orders of the day, I wish to table the answers to questions 174, 236, 238, 240 to 247, 249 to 255, standing on the Notice Paper. (See appendix, page 3377.)

3:30 p.m.



The following bills were given third reading on motion:

Bill 85, An Act to revise the Limited Partnerships Act;

Bill 136, An Act to amend the Land Titles Act;

Bill 137, An Act to amend the Registry Act;

Bill 138, An Act to revise the Boundaries Act.


Resuming the adjourned debate on the motion for second reading of Bill 59, An Act to amend the Game and Fish Act.

Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, if you and the House would have patience with me, I will just gather my notes together here. I must say I was unable to be here last week, owing to external difficulties, for the lively and informative debate that took place on this crucial piece of legislation that is before the House.

I want to assure the members of the House that we will not be voting against this bill on second reading. How can one oppose this bill in principle when the bill has no principle? It is, as the ministry is, cautious, afraid to enunciate principle, hesitant defensive, like its minister, an old pro who has seen better days.

The bill contains several matters of substance but none of principle, and that seems to me to be a really important tragedy, because the bill lacks three important things that any Game and Fish Act and any bill that purports to amend the Game and Fish Act in this province should have.

First of all, there is no statement in the bill or in the original act of why it is necessary to regulate game and fish in the province. In other words, there is no statement of why we have a Game and Fish Act. Secondly, there is no legislative recognition in this bill or in its original act that there needs to be management of our wildlife resources. Even more important it lacks any legislative recognition that there needs to be a genuine conservation of our wildlife resources, and that seems to me to be a serious failure on the part of this government, on the part of this particular minister and on the part of the parliamentary assistant.

Thirdly, it is interesting to see a government that prides itself on the user-pay principle and has trumpeted that principle around the province increasingly over the last four or five years to justify various charges that it levies on the public as taxes, direct or in-direct. It is interesting, for example, to see that the government defends OHIP fees on the user-pay principle but does not have the guts to introduce a fee for resident fishing licences in the province, even though that is supported by the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters.

Interestingly, when the Ontario association wrote to the minister indicating that the NDP supported this principle of a modest fee for fishing licences provided that revenue was channelled into the regeneration of fishing stock, which is of utmost importance in this province in this day and age, the minister wrote back to the association asking it for proof of this, even though I, on behalf of my party, had made that statement during the debate on his estimates. He must have been nodding at the time. He must have missed it. All they did was quote the page in Hansard where it occurred, which goes to show that the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters knows more about what is going on in the province and in the Legislature in terms of the Game and Fish Act than does the minister.

There is no recognition in this bill that there needs to be an integration of the way in which we manage Ontario’s crown lands for whatever purposes, whether for the purpose of game and fish or for the purpose of forestry. It fails to recognize, as does any government piece of legislation, that there must be integrated use of our forests and of our crown lands. The ministry has by default said that the most important uses of crown lands in this province are forestry and mining. Because those two giants within the ministry have without public debate received priority, there has been harm to and neglect of the game, the fish and the wildlife trapping aspects in use in the forests. There has not been a recognition by this government in public terms, that to the people who use the forests, either commercially or for recreation purposes for the exploitation of game and fish, that that is equally important in human terms for the individuals or for the peoples involved.

In other words, there has been an increasing feeling by trappers, hunters and fishermen that their uses of Ontario’s crown lands take very much a back seat to the two giant concerns of the ministry: forestry and mining. And, let me say, the miners have some concerns about their place in the sun these days as well, since the amalgamation of the ministries into the huge colossus known as the Ministry of Natural Resources.

A major concern I have about this piece of legislation, to which I would like to speak on this second reading of the bill, is that this legislation allows, as does the original act, far too much to be done by regulation. For that reason, I will be introducing amendments to the act that at least force the publication of those regulations four months in advance of their coming into effect.

The reason for that is very simple. It seems to me to be entirely reasonable for the hunters of this province and the people who sell licences and so on to know by May what the regulations are going to be for the coming fall. That has not always been the case. I would like to see that principle embodied in the legislation. Similarly, it is fair to say in the area of fishing that the fishermen should know what the spring regulations are going to be by the end of December or January.

I recognize that in a field as complex as management of our game and fish -- and it is a complex field -- the ministry itself must have some flexibility in terms of the regions and in terms of specific regulations for different species in different regions of the province. I recognize the importance and the necessity, therefore, for there being power so that the ministry can amend certain procedures for certain regions by regulation rather than having to bring a bill in every time it is necessary.

That is all the more reason why the act itself should embody in it a statement of principles so that the regulations cannot then contravene those principles because no regulation can contravene the spirit or intention of an act. At the present time, because there is no statement of principle in the act, it is all too easy for the spirit and intention of the act to be subverted by a government that is insensitive to the Legislature in printing and approving of regulations.

3:40 p.m.

I have a second major concern that I want to put as calmly as I can but, if I may say so, with as much anger as I can. To the best of my knowledge after talking to spokesmen for both Treaty No. 3 and Treaty No. 9, nobody in the ministry thought to get in touch with Treaty No. 3 and Treaty No. 9 to discuss with them either the impact the amendments currently before the House would have on them or to discuss with them any amendment they would like to seek to the act. I think that is a serious neglect of responsibility on the part of the minister and his officials because, if any people in this province are affected by the procedures for hunting, fishing and trapping, it is the people of Treaty No. 3 and Treaty No. 9.

Frankly, I am absolutely appalled by the harassment that the officials of the Ministry of Natural Resources have undertaken against the native peoples of the northern part of this province. It was my understanding from the treaties that were signed that the native peoples of the northern part of this province would have the right -- and they certainly understand that they have the right -- to hunt, trap and fish as they did traditionally. This ministry has continuously insisted they get the licences required under this act and, more than that, I think that in certain parts of this province ministry officials have gone out of their way to institute proceedings against members of native bands when it was not necessary.

I believe that if this province wanted to establish a modicum of goodwill with the native peoples of this province, it should once and for all amend section 35 of the original act. Unfortunately, this bill does not do that. It does not come to grips with section 35 of the act. It is my contention that the native peoples of this province should be exempt from the provisions of section 35 of the original act so that they would have without question the traditional right to hunt, fish and trap in their treaty areas.

That is one of those ironies we see time and time again in this Legislature. The peoples who are to a large extent dependent upon hunting, fishing and trapping more than any other people of this province are not consulted before the bill comes in. I know the bill has been standing on the Order Paper for a long time, but it seems to me that a ministry and a government with any sensitivity, with any sense of what is going on in the province and with any sense of justice, would have made the initial step to consult the spokesmen and the bands of Treaty No. 3 and Treaty No. 9 so that their concerns were taken into account in this legislation. That was not done.

It typifies the lack of leadership and the lack of courage this government has shown time and time again. In a minor way so does the reluctance of the minister to bring in a fee for residential fishing show a lack of courage on the part of this government.

This bill amends a certain number of sections in the act. One of the more interesting sections of the bill that I will be speaking to in more detail when we come to it, is section 9. That is the section that now allows the minister to grant licences for fox hunts, wolf hunts and coyote hunts, which I gather were unlicensed before. Because they were not specifically prohibited, they were legal, even though not licensed.

Very cleverly in that section the ministry has proposed two different sets of amendments to the act and for two different sections of the original act. I wonder whether that is even in order. Certainly when we get to committee for the whole House, I think we should look at that.

In one part of that section of the bill we allow licences for fox hunts, wolf hunts and coyote hunts. In a different part are the sections that have to do with the amendments to trapping that were pioneered by my friend and colleague the member for Etobicoke (Mr. Philip).

I suspect that somewhere in the ministry somebody is chuckling away and saying: “Ha, ha, let’s see how the NDP deals with this section of the bill. We’ve jammed the two together and those Socialist hordes might be opposed to fox hunts and in favour of humane trapping. We’ll get them in a cleft stick by jamming them together in the same section.” We are going to divide the subsections when we come to that section of the bill so that we can state clearly our position on each.

The other section of the bill I found intriguing and that I will be speaking to is a section that now allows the minister and the Lieutenant Governor in Council to -- I cannot think of the right word -- nominate or officially declare what is and what is not an amphibian in the province. I have in the back of my mind this vision of the Lieutenant Governor in Council sitting in a room determining what is and what is not an amphibian. It sort of boggles the mind.

Then there is the latter section in the act that allows amphibian hunts, just like wolf, coyote and fox hunts.

Mr. M. N. Davison: It opens up the possibility of persecutions. Scary.

Mr. Foulds: Yes, and maybe reptiles as well.

Without getting into any personality conflicts about who should or should not be nominated as an amphibian or a reptile, I think that gives enormous power to the minister.

Mr. Wildman: There have been quite a few amphibians and reptiles nominated over there.

Mr. Foulds: I am not sure that is the kind of power I want to give to a partisan minister. The present minister is such a gentle and humane fellow that I know he would not abuse that power. But I hesitate to think what would happen if the present parliamentary assistant became the minister.

I can see the poor member for Renfrew North (Mr. Conway) being named in a dispatch from the Lieutenant Governor in Council under the section dealing with amphibians, reptiles, et cetera. I can see there might be some personal justification for that, but I think it would be an abuse of the minister’s power. I really hesitate to give those sweeping powers to any minister.

Mr. Speaker, as you have concluded, we rise not to oppose this bill on second reading. We have some serious reservations about its lack of direction, its lads of initiative and its lack of principle in management of wildlife and of setting that principle in legislative terms.

3:50 p.m.

We have very serious concerns that the traditional rights of native peoples have not been enshrined in this piece of legislation. We have a continued concern that the minister may once again abuse his power through regulation because of the sweeping nature assigned to him both in the original act and through this bill.

We, therefore, will be having some amendments proposed by my colleagues and myself when we get to this in committee of the whole House. We will not proceed beyond committee of the whole House stage -- in other words, we do not want to proceed to any third reading of the bill -- before next week.

Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, I want to speak briefly on the bill. I have always been intrigued by the Game and Fish Act, not because I know anything about hunting or fishing, but because of the immense authority in a widely diffused number of areas granted to the minister under the act and the possibilities of even an unconscious sense of tyranny or harassment being used by the minister and those of his officers acting under his authority in carrying out the provisions of the Game and Fish Act. The very detailed nature of the act and the very specificity that is present in the amending bill before us, dealing in minute detail with a large number of matters, are evidence to me of the kind of concern which my colleagues and I share about the bill

There are no questions of good faith involved or bribery or corruption involved. There are simply questions that a large number of people are dependent upon the whim, if I may say so, of the minister on the question of licensing and authority to act and protection against the kind of harassment which, if not carefully watched by this assembly, could become a matter of very serious concern in the northernmost parts of the province, let alone in southern Ontario.

So it is in that sense I venture to say through the parliamentary assistant to the minister that there are certain sections of the bill which I frankly do not understand. Perhaps in committee we will have an opportunity to deal with them. One particular one is the repeal of section 16 and the re-enactment of section 16 with respect to the forfeiture of property to the crown. I think there are immense inconsistencies in that section. When we come to committee, I think we will have to deal with them.

You will recall, Mr. Speaker, that is the section that gives an officer, who reasonably believes that certain offences have been committed, authority without a warrant to seize vehicles and other property and equipment. It then elaborates a code and a circumstance under which that property is either forfeited to the crown or returned to the person from whom it was taken. Then it is all confused by a reference later on to the question of ownership. Of course, on many occasions the person from whom the equipment or the vehicle is taken is not necessarily at the time of the seizure the owner of the vehicle or of the equipment or of the goods that are subject to the seizure.

It does seem to me that hidden away in that code is an opportunity for the crown to forfeit valuable equipment without necessarily having a clear recourse to the person from whom it is taken to recover it in any orderly way, even though that person may not be the owner of the vehicle or the equipment.

The other miscellaneous sections throughout the act are matters of much detail within the ambit of the whole bill. But of course the matter which I raised with my colleague and which my colleague has raised here, and which my other colleagues have raised, is the extent and degree and the way in which the ministry, in going through this bill and deciding on these amendments, has taken into account the views and concerns of the native peoples and the native organizations representing them in the province at the time the bill is being dealt with.

My colleague well knows that when the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Drea) dares to deal with the business community, we only see the bills after they have been through a whole series of negotiations and discussions and the views sought and, in a very pleading way, solicited from the business community so that when the bills come into the Legislature they will not be subject to us tampering with them.

I would like to think that perhaps the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Auld) would have the same sensitivity and the same concern, in a much more worthy sense, to talk to and deal with all of the native peoples’ organizations during the process of the development of this kind of bill. My friend the parliamentary assistant well knows that in any amendment to the Business Corporations Act of this province, a multitude of amendments would be thoroughly canvassed and discussed with those who are involved in the community. I have some very real concern that that has not been done in this case.

There is another aspect of it, and here I am quite prepared to have the parliamentary assistant tell me that it is my lack of knowledge rather than any serious concern that I am expressing, and in that case, of course, he can tell me what the position is. I would like to know whether the Ministry of Natural Resources has in document form of any kind -- a memorandum, a booklet -- any kind of statement that clearly and unequivocally sets out the present status in Ontario of the Game and Fish Act with respect to the rights and obligations of the native communities in the field of hunting and fishing. I find the whole of that question has become so enshrouded in mystery and has become so technical that it is almost as if it defies any sense of saying that in some way there is a residual protected right of the native communities to hunt and fish in the provinces.

Some years ago, when the Polar Bear Provincial Park was constructed, it was quite obvious and set aside. It was quite obvious that there had not been any thoroughgoing discussion or negotiation with the native peoples in that area about the setting aside of that park. That doesn’t mean there were not some contacts, of course there were some contacts. I am talking about the need for a thoroughgoing participation by those persons who have certain residual rights at least, if not peremptory rights and rights of priority in hunting and fishing matters in this province and whether the ministry at this time is at least sensitive to those needs.

There are a number of matters, when the bill goes into committee of the whole House, about which, as my colleague has said, members of this party who are much more knowledgeable about hunting and fishing than I am will be able to comment, but I did want to speak briefly to my basic concern about the bill.

4 p.m.

Mr. Yakabuski: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the members of this House for taking the interest they have in this very important piece of legislation. We have had 15 or 16 members speak on this bill and by and large most of them have responded in a manner in which we feel they want to support this bill.

It is really heartening for the minister and for me. In his absence, I want to thank the members of the House for the interest they have shown and, of course, for myself and the people in that branch of the Ministry of Natural Resources for the kind of response Bill 59 has stimulated in the House.

The members who spoke have obviously given the bill a good deal of thought in most instances and have given it their general support. They have thoughtfully added their concerns -- and this is the way it should be; we are happy to have them -- and a few have suggested change. For these things we certainly are grateful.

The discussion of the motion has been so thorough that I feel that in a few minutes, in a short response, I can alleviate many of the concerns that might otherwise resurface in committee of the whole House.

On the control of hunting, which quite a number of the members who spoke on this bill mentioned, I remember the member for Niagara Falls (Mr. Kerrio) referring to no specific section of the bill that he was aware of and he belaboured the government for managing the hunter rather than the wildlife resource. In fact, our immediate problem for both deer and moose in many areas of the province is to reduce the legal harvest immediately so that the herds may rebuild. This was obviously much better by the member for Algoma (Mr. Wildman), and I feel he made a considerable contribution to the debate. He rightly observed that protection of the herds from decimation is needed now and went on to state that we must manage both hunters and wildlife. The components of our deer and moose management policies consist not only of control of harvest but also of habitat management, control of certain predators that may be held at an unusually high level by availability of alternative prey, control of illegal hunting and research into other factors such as wildlife diseases.

Something we should keep in mind is that the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, which many of the members referred to in their talks, are well aware of the components of our new moose and deer management programs. Indeed, these programs were forged in co-operation with that organization. They now want to be assured that we are not simply going to limit hunters, and I believe we can give them that assurance.

The member for Erie (Mr. Haggerty) and the member for Niagara Falls seem taken with the abundant big-game populations in Sweden and Pennsylvania and wonder why Ontario cannot achieve a similar happy state, preferably before we begin controlling hunters. I would like to point out that both jurisdictions had to control hunters during the years that these herds were building. Even now, Pennsylvania has limited antlerless deer harvest, much like ours. We will undoubtedly never have the same number of deer per unit area that Pennsylvania does, because we are situated in a latitude that has more severe winters, winters that tend to kill great numbers of deer every few years and it really decimates the herds in my part of the province.

Our deer live under much different conditions than do the United States deer and are fewer in number generally, but are bigger. I have seen hunters from Pennsylvania in the area south of Algonquin Park and I have asked them why they were hunting there, with the abundance of deer in Pennsylvania. They said: “It’s simple. We want a real deer. We don’t want a scrub deer.” I think it is generally known that the hunters from the United States who come here to hunt our deer have often referred to the Pennsylvania deer as stunted or scrubbed.

The moose in Sweden are also quite different from our moose. They are smaller and eat things that our moose find unpalatable or not nourishing. As a matter of fact, our moose are spoiled. They are spoiled brats, because they are too choosy as to what they will eat. The moose in Sweden are not quite as choosy. They will eat Scotch pine and some of the vegetation that our moose will not touch and therefore I think sometimes that our moose maybe are spoiled because --

Mr. Foulds: Why don’t you go up there and give them a good talking to?

Mr. Yakabuski: We know the Swedish moose do like Scotch pine, or at least they eat it. If our moose would eat some of the other growth that these do, probably we would have many more too. The other thing is that the moose in Sweden are almost like farm animals.

Mr. Wildman: What about the ministry’s policy of only 300-acre clear cuts? What happened to that policy?

Mr. Yakabuski: We will get to that.

In contrast in Ontario, our research is just beginning to show that the absence, presence or abundance of moose may be the result of many subtle factors, such as the presence of traces of salt in the environment. I think that is becoming more widely known all the time

Everyone knows nowadays that wolves eat moose in Ontario. I do not think that statement will enlighten anyone in the House or elsewhere. In some places the wolf is the only mortality factor working on the herd. In Sweden, of course, there are virtually no natural predators remaining. That is one thing we have to consider, that in some areas they have pretty well done away with predators. Certainly it may have helped the herds, but they are endangering certain species perhaps.

I mention these matters in order that honourable members may keep their perspective about big game management in Ontario. We might never reach the big game densities of Pennsylvania and Sweden. Our objective, however, is to increase our moose and deer herds with due consideration to other necessary uses of the land, such as forestry and agriculture, and with due consideration for the conservation of other species that other nations have sacrificed, such as our large predators.

As the member for Halton-Burlington (Mr. J. Reed ) -- and he is not in his seat right now -- so ably stated, and certainly it is worth repeating, we are not here to do battle with nature. We are part of nature, we are nature, and we must take every possible precaution not to destroy it. We feel we can have more deer and more moose without subjecting anything else to extinction, and that is a very important point. The other jurisdictions mentioned have not accomplished this.

The member for Algoma -- and I keep referring to him because his speech was one of the longer ones, but it contained a lot of reasonable material -- has mentioned that the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters feels that the Minister of Natural Resources and his ministry have neglected to respond to its suggestion of party licensing.

I would like to set the record straight. Both the minister and his staff have met with the executive of the federation over that very point and other issues. A response has been given. The trouble is that the federation does not like the response. To date, the federation has been unable to show how the system it proposes will be immediately effective in reducing harvests. Furthermore, we suspect the proposed system would not be as palatable to northern hunters as the one currently being applied. We responded but, as I have mentioned, the response was not what the federation wanted to hear.

4:10 p.m.

The member for Algoma asked what I meant by referring to responses to social change. What was meant is that our society has become more and more concerned with human values as an example of social change value and expressed need. The member for Etobicoke (Mr. Philip) has obviously been sensitive to this particular change and has worked diligently to express it in humane trapping laws which are incorporated in this bill.

Society is also concerned today with the conservation of nongame species, and the government wishes to respond by making provisions for protection of any reptiles and amphibians requiring such protection. I want to assure the member for Port Arthur (Mr. Foulds) that, although he may have some concerns about the parliamentary assistant, the parliamentary assistant really would not hurt a tadpole. He may have played with them as a child. As a matter of fact, he has a soft spot in his heart for lizards and some from that family.

Mr. Foulds: Lizards are among my favourite reptiles and amphibians.

Mr. Yakabuski: In this connection, I wish to mention that endangered species are protected under a separate act, the Endangered Species Act. The member for Beaches-Woodbine (Ms. Bryden) wanted the assurance of the government that such species are adequately protected. They are, but not only in the act under consideration.

The member for Algoma asked for clarification of the section of the bill dealing with the deputy conservation officers. Previous wording which would have such deputies serve without remuneration would be removed. The new section would provide a means of extending our enforcement capacity. However, in this day and age, all enforcement personnel should be properly identified, that is, properly uniformed, insured and trained in the basics, at least, of law enforcement.

The new provision allows us to recruit and train an auxiliary or deputy force from the interested public and, furthermore, to train and continue to pay a deputy force recruited from within the ranks of the ministry staff who do not normally deal in law enforcement, such as forest technicians or fire control personnel. It is our intention that trained deputies would work with full-fledged conservation officers, thereby adding a new element of safety to the work of an otherwise lone officer or extending the capability of our conservation officer force.

The member for Lakeshore (Mr. Lawlor) and the member for Algoma mentioned specific concerns about the relationship of the Game and Fish Act to native people. The member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick), our last speaker, also voiced some concerns in that area. Other members mentioned the same thing less specifically than their other concerns.

For those Indian people whose ancestors entered into treaties which guaranteed hunting rights, the Game and Fish Act cannot apply because it is provincial legislation. Only federal legislation can offset such rights and that is why the Fisheries Act of Canada and the Migratory Birds Convention Act of Canada apply.

Mr. Wildman: What about moose and deer?

Mr. Yakabuski: In answer to the member for Algoma, enforcement cannot therefore be consistent among the three acts. I have asked our staff to check on the statement attributed to the member for Algoma which was, “It is the Ministry of Natural Resources’ policy now to prosecute to the full extent of the law and to ask for the maximum penalty in cases concerning hunting in the Treaty No. 3 area.” No one in Fort Frances or the regional office in Kenora can recall such a statement

Mr. Wildman: I can bring in a transcript.

Mr. Yakabuski: I want to assure the member that our research has not turned anything up. In any event, it does not reflect the policy of the ministry, nor does it reflect the attitude of the courts.

I believe I have also answered the concerns expressed by the member for Lakeshore. There would be little use in approaching a treaty organization for consultation on the Fish and Game Act. I think the member for Riverdale voiced the same concern a moment ago. They have told us many times that this act does not apply to them.

The member for Lakeshore asked how the Royal Canadian Mounted Police fit into the picture. They are defined as officers under the act specifically so that they can enforce any of the provisions of this act which might bear directly or indirectly on migratory birds. In using the provisions of the Fish and Game Act, they too are constrained by its scope of application. Co-operative arrangements with the RCMP are almost solely in the area of migratory bird management.

The member for Algoma and the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon) asked what conditions the government plans to set on people who have, as one member stated, the right to guide. The government abandoned the process of qualifying guides 25 or 26 years ago. Basically, it was found that guiding is a complex, highly skilled service, the basics of which are not readily defined and even less readily articulated by even the most skilled guides. It is a sort of sixth sense. Guide licenses have persisted in areas in which people have insisted on them, but we are still of the view that people will find competent guides through tourist operations or developed acquaintances.

Section 5 of the bill does not pertain to guides. We hold that a guide’s customary duties, for which he is paid, are to provide accommodation, food, direction, equipment and canoe paddles, call geese and direct hunters to areas where game inhabit. A guide’s function is not to hunt, although he may do so if he is carrying a proper hunting licence.

There was some mention of identification badges. The member for Algoma asked why we wanted to exempt people from wearing hunter identification numbers in certain areas. We are not sure whether we do, but it has come to our attention that a good many people in the north especially disagree that it is necessary, and the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters is wondering about its application in the south. I can only add that when badges first came on stream, so to speak, there was some resistance, but in many parts of the province today they are widely accepted and many people want them. There are varying opinions on the badges and whether they should be worn in a conspicuous place on the body.

Mr. Foulds: What is your position?

Mr. Yakabuski: On badges? I think it varies from area to area in the province. Originally, it was requested by people in the south, especially in the farm lands, where hunters could be identified. I think it is completely different in the north, because we are not dealing with farm areas but with vast open spaces where it is a different ball game entirely. Periodic assessments of the feasibility will be made. The new section gives flexibility in prescribing its use by different areas of the province.

The member for Algoma seemed to touch on almost everything because now we are getting to coloured clothing, wearing brightly coloured clothing during the hunting season or while hunting. Nothing in the present act or in the amendment prescribes the wearing of certain colours while hunting, even though some jurisdictions in North America have made such a law.

Our reasoning is as follows: Not everyone using the forests or fields during hunting season is a hunter. In the member for Algoma’s own example of an unfortunate incident, the person who was killed was an Indian woman who was trapping at the time. I doubt if we could force all such people, the people who are not engaged in hunting, to wear bright orange or whatever during the hunting season. We hold to the concept that hunters must know what they are shooting at, and that shooting at something just because it is not orange or red is the height of irresponsibility.

4:20 p.m.

It is interesting -- and perhaps what I have just said has something to do with it -- that jurisdictions which have compulsory colours for hunters have no fewer hunting accidents than we have. We have chosen instead to educate people, and I think we have gone a long way in that area. I speak mostly for the area I represent, because I think we have made great strides. We have chosen to educate people and to leave the responsibility to them. I think they have responded in a very positive fashion.

Incidentally, we estimate that 80 or 90 per cent of Ontario hunters already wear bright red colours during hunting season.

The member for Algoma pointed out the perhaps undesirable practice of the use of dogs for bear hunting. This is under review at present within the ministry. If changes are necessary, they can be made without modification to the act. There are times, as the member mentioned, when someone might move in from south of the border with a team of dogs and roam almost at large. We share his concern, but we think this can be dealt with by regulations.

A number of members touched on trapping by farmers. The member for Algoma referred to a farmer trapping on his lands in a built-up area and wondered whether the prohibition against using body-gripping or leghold trips applied to him. The answer is that the farmer is exempted; he may trap with any device at his disposal. The aim is to avoid putting impediments in the way of a farmer who must use means familiar to him to defend his property. We must bear in mind that the farmer’s property not only can harbour nuisance animals but also can suffer a great deal of damage from them.

The member for Halton-Burlington stated the philosophy that we should be cautious in restricting the use of traps in near-urban areas. Unnatural buildups of animals occur because of the lack of predation. If the farmer can be encouraged to anticipate such buildups and to consider trapping as part of his harvest, this is the best possible situation. We do not need a huge force of licensed vermin exterminators, as advocated by the member for Wentworth (Mr. Isaacs), if we have the co-operation of farmers.

The member for Wentworth worried about the definition of the farmer. He need not. I would refer him to section 1(6) of the present Game and Fish Act. We hold that a farmer is a person who is either a settler, as defined in the subsection, or a person who is living upon and tilling his or her own land or land to which he or she is for the time being entitled. This is the common definition that applies to farmers under the Game and Fish Act.

While I am on the part concerning the hunter and the farmer, I must give full marks to the former Leader of the Opposition, the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk. He is not only a friend of the farmer but also a friend of the hunter in the farm areas. He made that quite plain and was quite firm about it in his very worthwhile contribution during the second reading debate on Bill 59.

A member talked too during the debate on the bill on age limitations in trapping. I think it was the member for Etobicoke (Mr. Philip) who asked that an age limitation of 16 years be placed on those members of the farmer’s family who might trap. The member for Halton-Burlington dealt with that in considerable detail, and I think he covered it very well. If members will refer to Hansard, they will see that. It is my personal view that there is nothing magical or indicative about the age of 16. Even the Criminal Code of Canada allows permits to be issued to 12-year-olds for game hunting under certain circumstances. I also feel that this is the age at which learning comes most readily.

I would like to remind the members concerned about this. The person in question still requires the supervision of the farmer. The farmer cannot sell fur without a licence, which means he must ultimately handle all animals trapped and should therefore see whether the animals died under stress.

The member for Halton-Burlington has requested that the responsibility for the child remain with the farmer, the parent and teacher of the offspring. I think that was a good contribution, because not only do many farmers like to take their boys or girls with them when they tend to their traps or whatever but also these young people like to accompany their parents. It is usually their parents, or it may be an uncle, grandfather or whatever. I think it is quite a learning experience. I, for one, certainly would not want to deprive them of the wonderful opportunity of that learning experience which is not available to many young people in the province.

There was considerable concern by people involved with dogs, field trials and training. A number of members, including the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk, raised the topic of providing for the training of dogs. I believe the amendment we intend to move in committee will attend to that matter.

The comments of the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk regarding the definition of hunting are interesting. Earlier I mentioned his very worthwhile contribution. His concern is that our definition of hunting is inflexible. Perhaps we should try to explain that in some measure, or at some length. His remarks are well considered and we will take them under advisement. However, I believe we have added the flexibility necessary to allow for nonharvest use of wildlife by adding section 24a, which deals specifically with chasing and which allows for separate licensing for this activity.

We have looked at the definition of hunting in other jurisdictions but have rejected the idea of introducing the concept of intent. Intent is almost always difficult to prove. Indeed, enforcement of such a section may be impossible.

Amendments concerning chasing, training and field trials have resulted from the requests of a large number of raccoon, fox and wolf hunting enthusiasts who train highly valuable dogs for this type of recreation. I might say it is a growing recreation. It is growing very rapidly. Incidental benefits are that this is a form of nuisance animal control that can be used during the no-trapping season. For example, farmers with cornfields actually call raccoon chasers for assistance. It has given rise to a hunting dog breeding industry that is surprisingly lucrative. Some dogs of appropriate breeding are going for several thousands of dollars apiece. The trials have become established and are visited by people from all over the continent. Therefore, they have become an important tourist factor, especially in the small localities that support them.

4:30 p.m.

The member for Welland-Thorold (Mr. Swart) sent over an amendment to section 29a which, rather confusingly, would make an exception to an exception. I would suggest to the member that the substance of this amendment seems to be filled by section 33(5) of the bill. I believe it would be more useful for the minister to prescribe what devices can be used rather than to prohibit trapping completely in any given area. I am sure this would also satisfy the member’s good intentions.

We wanted to answer too the concerns of the Canadian Association for Humane Trapping. The member for Welland-Thorold and the member for Etobicoke asked why both the concerns of the Canadian Association for Humane Trapping were not all answered. I believe we have already seen that opinion is divided on whether a farmer’s offspring should be limited by age while trapping. Another concern of that association will be incorporated into one of our amendments to be proposed.

The member for Etobicoke asked about our trapper education program. We have been working closely with the Canadian Association for Humane Trapping and the Ontario Trappers Association is supplying equipment and some manpower for courses across the province. The Canadian Association for Humane Trapping recently produced a fine film for use in these courses.

New trappers wanting licences will require successful completion of an approved trapper course as of June this year in the Algonquin, central and eastern regions of this ministry. The remaining regions are to follow in 1981. For reasons we discussed previously and for practical reasons, treaty Indians will be exempted.

The member for Etobicoke recommended that the government provide funds to animal control agencies in municipalities for the purchase of alternatives to the leghold traps. He proposes box traps. Unfortunately, if we funded every municipality in Ontario in this manner, or even the larger ones only, it would be far beyond our capacity. The traps in question cost more than $50 each. New trapping devices such as the passive restraining device, known as the foot snare or live trap, will soon be on the market. I am sure we can have a look then at what will be a very practical suggestion from the honourable member.

Fines for the destruction of wildlife by pollution were suggested by the member for Fort Erie (Mr. Haggerty). The example he used was the possible destruction of the tern colony. Terns are migratory birds under federal jurisdiction, unfortunately endangered by a development proposed by a federal government agency. I believe that development is a proposed helicopter pad. Our thinking is that fines likely to be imposed under the Game and Fish Act would be paltry and the cost of enforcing them very high in relation to a sizeable industry’s cost of pollution control. It would be far better to prosecute pollution under the Environmental Protection Act which forces litigation and reparation.

The member for Grey (Mr. McKessock), the member for Kent-Elgin (Mr. McGuigan) and the member for Niagara Falls (Mr. Kerrio) all mentioned that more money for more management programs could be brought into the programs by tapping the sportsman’s willingness to pay. I think the member for Port Arthur (Mr. Foulds) mentioned that earlier in his talk today. If I recall correctly, the member for Grey mentioned a fishing or angling licence specifically. The government is of the impression that the people of Ontario are generally in favour of an angling licence. I want to assure members the ministry is studying that concept. I am advised that enabling legislation would have to be made by the Governor General in Council under the Fisheries Act of Canada.

I want to deal with the amendments that certain members of the New Democratic Party, I am sure, will be proposing during debate in committee of the whole. One is pertaining to regulations. The provision for publishing any regulation 90 days prior to its coming into effect would destroy the flexibility required to manage wildlife in Ontario and add an incredible snarl of red tape to the regulatory processes. It is conceivable that a regulation could get hung up past the time it was required, or that amendments would also be subject to the 90-day wait. Since then, someone has sent one over talking about 120 days.

Wildlife management often requires the measurement of change in animal populations, the assessment of data and then the readjustment of seasons and limits by regulation for the next harvest season. Even with the processes at hand, time is often incredibly short between the point when the proposal is made by the resource manager and the beginning of the next harvest season.

Mr. Foulds: That is why you should plan on a five-year basis instead of on a year-to-year basis.

Mr. Yakabuski: I would point out that a similar provision as the one proposed applies to the labour safety act. I think in the labour safety act it is more relevant and more practical but yet, I am told, they cannot live very comfortably with it. Even though the process should be more practical in the context of that act, I am told it is not working all that well.

If it is the members’ concern that regulations on some seasons were published late in 1980 -- and we have to concede that -- I would point out that 1980 was a transitional year for some of our major programs. We hope to publish seasons earlier in the future. That is our goal, and I think we can achieve it. But if this amendment were to come into effect, we could not amend the regulation dealing with, for instance, the removal of ice huts early enough to encounter an early thaw and they would all go to the bottom. There are some years -- and one doesn’t have to come right into the southern part of Ontario to realize it -- when people have to get those ice huts off by March 20 or they are in trouble. If we could not pass a regulation quickly, they would be in trouble. That is just one example.

I certainly would plead with the members of the New Democratic Party and any others who may have some concerns with regard to the passing of regulations that they reconsider that, because I think they would really snarl things up. We are in a transitional period. I think we are making progress; 1980 was the rough year, so to speak. If there were delays, I do not think members will be seeing any of those delays in the future that perhaps happened this year.

For instance, when it comes to deer and moose, we have to get the winter under our belt. That does not end until late March or April. Then we have to assess what happened during that particular winter, and our programs and our regulations for the coming fall have then to be put together. Ninety days or 120 days are certainly not realistic. I think it would create chaotic conditions. I have given members a number of good reasons and I plead with them to reconsider their stance on that matter.

4:40 p.m.

Finally, I want to deal with a comment by the member for Port Arthur. He mentioned that he was concerned that the bill really lacked principle. I might state that section 3 of the act has much to do with the purpose of the act. I might read it to him -- I am sure he has read it many times himself -- just for the record:

“The purpose of this act is to provide for the management, perpetuation and rehabilitation of wildlife resources in Ontario, and to establish and maintain a maximum wildlife population consistent with all other proper use of lands and waters.”

That is still the principle of the Game and Fish Act.

He also mentioned that the act does not deal with or recognize the needs of management. The act, as it stands, recognizes and provides for such needs, either directly or indirectly. With regard to the user-pay principle, this principle or concept applies as well to fisheries but not to wildlife. We have a lot of users of wildlife who do not pay, nor do we see any way of making them pay -- for example, viewers, birdwatchers, et cetera -- except through indirect taxation.

I think that winds up, to a great degree, our views on the statements made by various members speaking on this bill. In closing, I just want to remind the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick), who had some concerns about discussions and considerations with native people and other groups, that I think I dealt with that matter earlier in my reply about native people and the two federal acts, the Migratory Birds Convention Act and the Fisheries Act. Of course, this act does not affect native peoples and treaty Indians if they are in areas or taking game for commercial purposes perhaps. If they moved out of the treaty area and hunted, or if they took game for commercial purposes, then perhaps they would be subject to prosecution.

That sums up our reply to the various members’ views on Bill 59.

Motion agreed to.

Ordered for committee of the whole House.

House in committee of the whole.


Consideration of Bill 59, An Act to amend the Game and Fish Act.

On section 1:

Mr. Foulds: In section 1 of the bill, under subsection 6, where you amend paragraph 30 of section 1 of the original act, what is a gin? Does anybody know? I know what it is when it is under the Liquor Control Act, but I do not know what it is when it is under the Game and Fish Act. I know what deadfall, snare, box, net, leghold, body-gripping and spring traps are. I would like to know what a gin is.

Mr. Yakabuski: Gin? There is De Kuypers and many other kinds, but I am told this one happens to be an old English type of trap.

Mr. Foulds: I do not find the answer satisfactory, Mr. Chairman. I think we need a clearer definition in order that we in this House know what kind of trap a gin is when we are dealing with it so that when the subsequent amendments come up in section 9 of the bill they can be spoken to with some intelligence. Unless the definition section is clearly outlined and we know what the definition section means, then I do not see that we can proceed with discussion of the bill with any reasonable intelligence. Does anybody know the last time a gin was used in Ontario?

Mr. Yakabuski: My information is that a gin is one of the original types of box trap or probably the first type of box trap. It is an English trap, an old-fashioned, English box trap and probably one of the first box traps used.

Mr. Foulds: Used for what species?

Mr. Yakabuski: I would think it would be used for almost any kind except the huge animals -- the smaller species.

Mr. Foulds: Does anybody know the last time it was used in Ontario?

Mr. Yakabuski: It is a carryover, but it still could be used. There might be some hanging around at antique sales. Someone might pick one up and want to use it.

4:50 p.m.

Mr. Renwick: Mr. Chairman, perhaps the parliamentary assistant would advise me why it was necessary to extend the definition of officer to include all the police officers in Ontario.

Mr. Yakabuski: During my reply to the various members who spoke on second reading, I dealt with the enforcement. Perhaps I could go back to that.

We were talking about the new section which would provide a means of extending our enforcement capabilities. However, in this day and age all enforcement personnel should be properly identified; that is, properly uniformed, insured and properly trained in the basics at least of law enforcement.

The new provision allows us to recruit and train an auxiliary or deputy force from the interested public and, furthermore, to train and continue to pay a deputy force recruited from within the ranks of the Ministry of Natural Resources who would not normally deal with law enforcement, such as forest technicians or fire control personnel.

It is our intention that trained deputies would work with full-fledged conservation officers, thereby adding a new element of safety to the work of an otherwise lone officer or extending the capability of our conservation officer force. Of course, it would take care of the need to enlist a larger enforcement body to enforce the sections of the act, because I think one of the more common things brought to the attention of the ministry when it comes to conservation is that we should have more in this province and this should help to deal with that aspect, at least in part.

Mr. Renwick: I do not intend to labour the point, but I do want to make the point and I want to make it as clearly as I can.

No one will dispute the last part of what the parliamentary assistant has stated, which is that in a province like this for the enforcement of this kind of an act in its very specific and meticulous detail, you need a significant number of officers who are qualified to enforce the act, and I emphasize the term “qualified to enforce the act.”

I expect that any police officer, as an ordinary constable, is qualified to carry out a range of duties under the Police Act. I question whether we should be suddenly extending the powers of police officers to every constable throughout Ontario regardless of whether or not he has had any course of training or has any other kind of understanding of what is required to enforce this act. I say this is a very special kind of act that requires very special training and very special knowledge.

I say again, I am not going to labour the matter, but I would ask about this wide extension of authority to police officers without any correlative arrangements or any statement made in the House that yes, particular police officers are going to be qualified in this field and yes, in the Ontario Police College there are going to be specific instructions with respect to the enforcement of this act.

I go back to what I said on second reading of the bill: The bill is an immense grant of authority to a single minister and those operating under his authority. It is a very meticulous act, very specific, and you have to have very specific knowledge to enforce this act.

I find it quite upsetting that the ministry has suddenly extended it beyond the RCMP, beyond the conservation officers and beyond just the Ontario Provincial Police to every officer in the province, without in any way indicating to me that the ministry is going to carry out any degree of training or that only those officers qualified to enforce the act are going to be used for the purpose of enforcement. This indiscriminate extension of powers under this kind of statute to every police officer in Ontario is repugnant to me.

Mr. Yakabuski: I believe the member for Riverdale partly answered his question when he mentioned there probably are courses available at the Ontario Police College. It is my feeling and my understanding that our ministry will be working with bodies like the police college to see that more and more of these people we are talking about who might be involved in helping to regulate and enforce the sections of this act will have specific training in the Game and Fish Act.

Mr. Renwick: I would like to think we lived in that kind of simple world. We do not live in that kind of simple world. What I am asking the parliamentary assistant to say to me and to commit himself in the House is that specific instructional courses will be given to those officers throughout this province who are now going to have the immense powers given under this act so that we can anticipate a qualified method of enforcement by persons who have the skills, the ability and the training to carry them out.

For example, I doubt very much whether every police officer in Metropolitan Toronto, by virtue of being a police officer under the Police Act, is automatically qualified in any way to be entrusted with the kinds of powers that are granted to well-qualified conservation officers under this act. That is my point. I simply want to say I consider it sloppy on the part of the ministry to bring in this kind of legislation this way.

Mr. Yakabuski: The member for Riverdale mentioned the Metropolitan Toronto Police Force and officers in that force. I feel that was not the best example. Granted, there could be times when any one of them might be called on to enforce some section of this act; on the other hand, I might mention that the ministry is working very closely with the Ontario Provincial Police and the Ontario Police College. We have a chap by the name of Cliff Copeland who is an enforcement specialist. He is employed by this ministry and is lecturing at the police college on a continuing basis. It is our hope and our goal that we are going to cover pretty well everybody in the force.

Police officers from various forces are going in for refresher courses or whatever they may be at various times. I feel we are going to get to a lot of them because we have a specialist in the field working at it on a continuous basis.

Mr. Renwick: I have just one other point. I heard somebody mention something about the riding of Riverdale. We have a lot of raccoons in Riverdale. I can assure the member that you have to be a pretty skilled person to deal with a raccoon in accordance with this statute.

A little bit later on the bill says: “Subject to section 21 and notwithstanding section 23, the holder of a licence to hunt raccoon at night may possess or use a firearm of a calibre or type prescribed in the regulations and a light for the purpose of hunting raccoon during the open season therefor when accompanied by a dog licence therefor, provided that no person, while so hunting, shall use a light that is attached to a vehicle or is shone from or in a vehicle.”

I am quite happy to lend myself for most purposes to the tender mercies of the police officers in the Riverdale area but certainly not for the specific purpose of my hunting raccoon at night in accordance with the regulations, with my light in one hand and my gun in the other hand and my licence to hunt conspicuously shown on my jacket and being dressed properly in accordance with the act. I think it requires a kind of special training.

5 p.m.

My point is simply that the ministry, with one stroke of the pen, has extended the scope of the officers who can enforce this right across the province. The parliamentary assistant has indicated that everything is just fine because only those officers who are trained will enforce the act. I doubt very much whether that is so. I doubt very much whether the one person at the police college, if he spent the whole of his time at that college, could possibly instruct the police officers.

I have nearly broken my rule, Mr. Chairman. I wanted to express very simply and clearly that the ministry should be very careful when they come into this assembly and extend law enforcement powers under a technical, difficult statute to every police officer in Ontario without some correlative plan for training and specialized qualification for those officers who, in most cases, will carry out the enforcement of the act.

Mr. Foulds: Mr. Chairman, the point my colleague from Riverdale makes is a serious one. It is serious in view of not only the powers he pinpointed but also those that are outlined later in the act. I refer to where an officer under this act, without a warrant, may seize goods, aircraft, implements, or what have you, just on the “reasonable grounds” that the officer believes the act has been violated.

What my colleague from Riverdale is pointing out is quite serious. To give that kind of sweeping power to an officer of the crown we should at least have the reassurance that all officers so designated know what the heck the act is about and that they have specific and specialized training on this act. This act is extraordinary in the powers it gives conservation officers.

I do not quarrel altogether with the powers being assigned to a trained conservation officer because of the difficulties they have to deal with, particularly in the north where one cannot call immediately upon the resources of a justice of the peace, a magistrate and so on. Those powers are important.

But the counterbalancing authority also is important. If an officer is to have reasonable grounds that a person has violated the act, then it makes sense that it should be mandatory -- and no wishy-washy assurance in this House by the parliamentary assistant meets that qualification -- that those officers have training before they are given such widespread and sweeping orders.

Section 1 agreed to.

On section 2:

Mr. Chairman: Mr. Yakabuski, on behalf of Hon. Mr. Auld, moves that clause b of subsection 1 of section 2 of the act, as set out in subsection 1 of section 2 of the bill, be deleted and the following substituted therefor:

“(b) to a person taking or destroying any animal, other than a caribou, deer, elk or moose or an animal protected under the Endangered Species Act, 1971, by any means that do not cause unnecessary suffering and at any time on his own land where he finds such animal damaging or destroying his property or, on reasonable grounds, he believes such an animal is about to damage or destroy his property.”

Mr. Swart: Mr. Chairman, obviously, I rise to support this amendment, as I raised this issue when I spoke in the House on second reading. I asked the minister why an amendment to this section had not been proposed by the government and said I hoped he would give consideration to it. It is now before this House from the government and obviously, therefore, I support this amendment.

The Canadian Association for Humane Trapping asked for this amendment, and although it is to some extent a statement of a principle -- some people might even say platitude -- I think it is important to have it in this bill, simply because it does speak rather clearly and puts the House on record rather clearly as saying that we are concerned about the humane treatment of animals. Without this it would be possible for the owner of a property to destroy an animal by other than humane means, by methods that might cause considerable and long-term suffering to animals that were caught on their property.

I recognize, as I am sure the parliamentary assistant does, that sections 400 to 403 of the Criminal Code legislate against cruelty to animals. Perhaps the reason the government did not put it in in the first place is that it could be said that was taken care of under that section of the Criminal Code. However, it is true to say there could be some contradiction between the two acts, the Criminal Code and the act of this Legislature, yet it may be said that the Criminal Code supersedes it. Certainly any lawyer taking a case to court would have used this section to say that the owner of the property has a right to destroy, by other than humane means, an animal that is causing damage to his property or he believes will cause damage to his property. This clears that up. It establishes the principle that this House is concerned that the treatment of all animals always should be humane treatment.

I am strongly in support of this amendment. Certainly it can be said that passing this amendment cannot do any harm. For the two reasons I have mentioned I think it makes an improvement in the section of that act and therefore we will be supporting it.

Mr. Haggerty: Mr. Chairman, I have a little problem following this clause, “to a person taking or destroying any animal, other than caribou, deer, elk or moose or an animal protected under the Endangered Species Act, 1971, by any means that do not cause unnecessary suffering ...”

What is being said there is that it is perfectly all right for one to go out and maim or wound a deer, elk or moose and, if it runs off, it is to be hoped that it will live and survive the wound. Yet a person on his own land may want to dispose of a raccoon, a skunk or something like that, and he must avoid what the amendment describes as “unnecessary suffering.” I look at that and say, regardless of which type of trap one is going to use, it is going to cause some suffering. Even a gun wound will cause suffering. It is pretty hard to define unnecessary suffering. I think it would be pretty hard for the officer to define that or really take a look at it and say whether a charge could be laid.

It is rather difficult when it states that one can go out and shoot a deer, wound it and let it run at large but, when it comes back to some other animal, there should not be “unnecessary suffering.” Suffering will be on both sides, for the deer, the elk and perhaps for some other fur animal that may be causing some difficulties.

5:10 p.m.

I think it will be rather difficult to define “unnecessary suffering,” when almost anything is going to cause suffering to an animal if one is going to destroy it in some manner. The same thing applies to slaughterhouses in some cases. The first blow may not really dispose of the animal; it may continue to suffer for a length of time. You know the arguments put up about seal hunters for example. They go out and hit small, innocent seals with clubs and they say there is no pain suffered. I am sure if somebody hit you over the head, you would suffer. I just bring to the parliamentary assistant’s attention that it is going to be pretty hard to define that under the act

In terms of unnecessary suffering, I think of when somebody leaves an animal caught in a trap of some nature. It may be there for three or four days and it may suffer. Animals do get caught in leg traps and sometimes they do escape by some means. They may chew off their own paw and it will heal itself. I have seen animals that have been caught by other hunters and they have a missing paw. To me, it is rather difficult to talk about unnecessary suffering, when the main intent is to destroy the animal in the first place.

Mr. J. Reed: Mr. Chairman, I have a question that relates to this amendment. Is the cause of suffering of animals not covered under the Criminal Code?

Mr. Philip: Try to get a conviction under that.

Mr. J. Reed: That may be a very good response, but I just ask the question. I am prepared to support this amendment of course. I hope we are not muddying up the waters as far as the law is concerned. When a prosecution is to take place, some choice would have to be made under which act the charge might be laid. It is in the nature of a question, not a contradiction or a criticism.

Mr. Yakabuski: Perhaps the member for Erie (Mr. Haggerty) is not quite clear on that section. A person cannot take caribou, deer, moose or elk at all. He can take other species in defence of his property, but he cannot take any caribou, elk, deer or moose. Was he thinking of other game?

Mr. Haggerty: The point I was raising was that there may be conflicting viewpoints in this particular section. You can go out with all good intentions to shoot a deer in season or an elk or whatever it may be and you can wound it. The animal perhaps will run off into the bush and lie there suffering for days. All I am asking is whether unnecessary suffering should not apply the other way too as it relates to game.

Mr. Yakabuski: We are really not concerning ourselves with that particular matter in this section. We are talking about the animals that might endanger the farmers’ livestock, property and so on. We are really not concerning ourselves with other species in this section.

Mr. Swart: Mr. Chairman, the parliamentary assistant did not answer the member for Halton-Burlington (Mr. J. Reed), who has stepped out at this time. I thought I had mentioned this and made it rather clear when I was speaking before but, in further answer to his question, I would just point out that if this amendment is not made, there then can be considered to be some contradiction between the Criminal Code and this bill. This bill provides that a person may take or destroy any animal by any means, which could be interpreted to include any means which provided cruelty to animals, and sections 400 to 403 of the Criminal Code legislate against wilful cruelty to animals.

In addition to what my colleague from Etobicoke has said, that it is very difficult to get a conviction under the Criminal Code on this, the argument could be put forward in court that under this act a person is entitled to destroy an animal by any means, which could be a means with an element of cruelty.

There are not very many people like that in our society, but it is possible that somebody might catch a dog or an animal that had been doing a lot of damage to his property, and say, “I will fix that; I will tether it to that tree there in the corner,” and it would starve to death, without water, without food, over a period of a week. That may be farfetched, but I think there is a lot of merit in having this act in accordance with the Criminal Code.

That is exactly what this amendment does and, if we do not put it in, there is a possibility of some contradiction. Although the member is gone now, I hope he is in a position where he can hear this explanation and that he accepts it, because I think it is accurate.

Mr. Yakabuski: I would like to thank the member for Welland-Thorold for his assistance on that one. I think he is absolutely right: it does make that distinction and helps clarify that.

Motion agreed to.

Section 2, as amended, agreed to.

On section 3:

Mr. Foulds: Is there any change for deputy conservation officers in this section? They are appointed under this section?

Mr. Chairman: Are there any other questions on section 3?

Mr. Foulds: Mr. Chairman, I am having great difficulty restraining my anger. When we get into clause-by-clause debate on bills, traditionally it is thought that when questions are raised, we are entitled to receive an answer. This bill, far more than most bills in the Legislature, gives enormous powers of authority to the people enforcing the act, to conservation officers and to deputy conservation officers, and the bill, more than most bills, gives the minister enormous powers to appoint those people.

5:20 p.m.

I feel it is our responsibility as legislators to ensure that power is used wisely and well, as the prayers at the beginning of each session of this Legislature daily indicate. Unless we receive some answers to very simple questions, such as what training a deputy conservation officer has before he is appointed by the minister, I am afraid we are not going to get very far in the clause-by-clause debate of this bill. I pose again my very simple question: What kind of training do deputy conservation officers have before they are appointed by the minister under this section and under what conditions does the minister appoint them?

Mr. Yakabuski: Mr. Chairman, I understand a course for deputy conservation officers is being established and it will be ready early in the now year.

Mr. Swart: Will it be compulsory?

Mr. Yakabuski: I am assuming it will be.

If they are going to be deputy conservation officers, they are going to have to be properly trained and versed in this act. I certainly feel it would have to be compulsory for anyone being appointed a deputy conservation officer. Before they are appointed, they would have to take this course.

Mr. Renwick: Mr. Chairman, I do not want to be technical and I do not like being technical with the parliamentary assistant on this matter, but I must pursue this again because it relates to the concern with my colleague and I expressed with respect to paragraph 20 of section 1 of this bill with respect to the extension of the definition of the term “officer.”

I read section 7 of the Game and Fish Act, which we are in the process of amending, to mean that (1) the minister under subsection 1 may appoint conservation officers for carrying out this act and the regulations; (2) the minister may appoint deputy conservation officers in and for any part of Ontario -- and that is the amendment that is included in this particular section of the bill; and (3) every appointment under subsection 2 shall be for the period stated in the appointment.

Then I looked for a definition of conservation officer, and there is not a definition of conservation officer. I looked for a definition of deputy conservation officer in section 1 of the amending bill, and there is not a definition. The only definition is officer. Paragraph 20, to which we were referring earlier, in section 1 of the bill before us says, “‘officer’ includes a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Force...” any other police constable and so on.

My concern, therefore, is the worry that I expressed when we were talking about section 1 of the bill, paragraph 20, allayed by the fact that only those persons who are appointed by the minister can exercise the power of officers under the bill. Therefore, every police officer in the province who purports to exercise authority under the Game and Fish Act must do so by virtue of an appointment by the minister as an officer under this act.

If that is so, then I take that kind of clause to mean a very individual appointment. It would not be an adequate appointment, in my view, if the minister were to say, “I name every officer of the Metropolitan Toronto Police Force as a conservation officer or a deputy conservation officer in and for Metropolitan Toronto.” I do not think that would be a sufficient designation. I would think he would have to name the specific constables he was going to have as deputy conservation officers, just as I think he would have to name the specific conservation officers he appoints.

I am not one for obstructing the police in the performance of their duties, but I am not averse on occasion to saying to an officer who purports to exercise some authority against me, “Can you produce your appointment?” If I were sufficiently knowledgeable, I think I would say, “Can you produce the appointment by the Minister of Natural Resources that makes you a conservation officer?”

As I said at the beginning, I have known my friend the parliamentary assistant long enough that he knows I am not engaged in game playing; I am trying to illustrate a very real concern. As I read section 7 of the act as it is proposed to be amended by section 3 of the bill, in conjunction with the definition of officer under paragraph 20 of section 1 of the bill, I find great difficulty in understanding whether automatically every police officer in Ontario is an officer under the act when we pass this and it gets royal assent, or whether it requires the extra authority of an appointment by the minister.

I hope I have made myself clear, because I think it is extremely essential that everybody understands who can exercise these wide-ranging authorities given under this statute.

Mr. Yakabuski: Mr. Chairman, it is my understanding that these deputy conservation officers would not automatically become deputy conservation officers because they are members of the police force; they would have to be appointed.

The other thing that might take away some of the very grave and genuine concerns of the honourable member is that the deputies would be used primarily to assist fully trained conservation officers. I think it would be rare when they would be acting on their own. They are not conservation officers automatically; the minister appoints conservation officers and deputy conservation officers. However, all police officers in the province are officers within the meaning of the act. No appointment by the minister is necessary in the case of a police officer.

I think I mentioned there are courses going on for deputy conservation officers. There are regional courses at present on basic law enforcement which are done at the regional level. Collection of evidence and putting together a charge, if necessary, are very important factors in conservation. They are made quite familiar with the Game and Fish Act. I am sure that during the teaching of the courses in question various examples would be used, whereby when these people do get out in the field, usually with a full-fledged conservation officer in most cases, they would be able to use good judgement and common sense in carrying out their important duties.

Mr. Foulds: Mr. Chairman, the parliamentary assistant is asking this Legislature to take a good deal on faith, and I worry about that. What he has told us is that any police officer, whether he has training or not, by the definition of this act is a conservation officer. That is what the act says and that is what he just told us. Any police officer, whether he is in the Metropolitan Toronto police, OPP or what have you, is a conservation officer under the definition of this act and does not need a specific appointment by the minister.

That worries me because, in spite of the courses he is talking about that are being started and administered, it could happen that any of those officers might find himself in the circumstances of enforcing the act without any training. That worries me for a number of reasons.

Second, he is telling us that under section 3 the minister may appoint anybody as a deputy conservation officer. That person does not need to have any training before the appointment. What we hope is that after the appointment he will get some training. The parliamentary assistant is trying to soothe us with the statements that most of these deputy conservation officers will be working in conjunction with a fully trained conservation officer.

5:30 p.m.

I can imagine the situation where we might have a deputy conservation officer working with a legally appointed, fully qualified officer, according to legislation; that is, an officer of the Metropolitan Toronto police who does not know a thing about the Game and Fish Act. That really does worry me.

What we have here, I believe are some fundamental principles that have to do with the way in which we administer, carry out and enforce law, on the one hand. On the other hand, what we have had is the failure of the Ministry of Natural Resources for years and years to have adequate conservation officers and to have enough so that we can protect our game and fish from those who illegitimately would exploit those resources. What we have here is a quick way to appoint as many people as necessary to make the numbers look good so that we have adequate conservation officers in the field.

We may have adequate numbers after this legislation, but we will not have adequately trained people. Not only that, but the parliamentary assistant says to us he believes the courses are starting up at the beginning of January. My understanding is that once this act comes into effect there is still a hunting season going on this fall. I really worry, as a legislator, about the power we give to people like the Minister of Natural Resources. I really worry when we get into debate in this House and are legitimately trying to determine the limits of the authority that we are legislating when we get fuzzy and confusing answers from the parliamentary assistant.

Mr. Yakabuski: Mr. Chairman, we are really not dealing with any new principle in this amendment respecting conservation officers. The purpose of this amendment is to allow for remuneration. Members will note that in the old act the words “to serve without remuneration” were there. They have now been deleted. The amendment enables contract employees of the ministry to be appointed as deputy conservation officers.

The member is back to his concern about other things that are not really contained in this section.

Mr. Foulds: With respect, Mr. Chairman, they are. If you open up this section for debate, you open up the principle in the section for debate. It may be that the minister simply wanted to allow payment for these people but, whether he likes it or not, the principle that is embodied in the original legislation comes up for debate right now. If he does not have adequate answers for us, it is about time he had some or we had somebody who could do it.

Mr. Haggerty: I want to add a few comments to the debate. I can recall a few years ago when there were persons appointed as deputy game wardens, as I guess they were called at one time. There have been a number appointed within the Niagara Peninsula. The ministry has chosen persons who are knowledgeable in the matter of hunting and fishing and of the game laws of the province. Particularly, they are taken from hunting and sportsmen’s clubs within the district.

I give credit to the sportsmen and hunting organizations, particularly in the Niagara Peninsula, that have put on a number of hunting courses and are dealing with regulations relating to gun safety and hunting. They have done an excellent job in my area with youngsters coming into the organization who want to become hunters and fishermen. I see nothing wrong with this. I know they have not received any remuneration for what they have done.

In the Niagara Peninsula where there may be some requirements -- and I am sure this applies across Ontario -- for deputy game wardens or whatever one wants to call them, there are cases where there are not sufficient numbers to police the whole area. I see nothing wrong with appointing a few of these persons for emergency purposes. When somebody may raise a complaint, they would say, “Yes. I can get somebody in this particular area, in the regional office of Fonthill or at Point Abino, which is close by, and send them out to check out the complaint.” He would be knowledgeable in this area and he could perhaps lay a charge. It would be just like a citizen’s arrest, I suppose.

I suggest there are a number of capable persons who have gained knowledge in hunting and fishing clubs or organizations and conservation clubs who could be accepted as part-time game officers. I see nothing wrong with it. I have no problem in supporting it. Based on that, I support the intent of the amendment to the Game and Fish Act.

Mr. M. N. Davison: I have a question of the parliamentary assistant regarding the issue of training. Using the word “officers” in the widest possible context, the parliamentary assistant says he hopes and feels they will receive training. Would it be fair to ask the parliamentary assistant if these officers, again using the word in the broad context which seems to include almost every moving human being in the province, would be given training in their tasks equal to the training the parliamentary assistant has been given in answering questions regarding this part of the Game and Fish Act? Would that be a fair question to the parliamentary assistant?

Mr. Yakabuski: That could be said. Mind you, the training they receive might be even more intensive than that which the parliamentary assistant receives.

Mr. M. N. Davison: It could hardly be less.

Mr. Yakabuski: I really have confidence in our police forces, whether provincial, municipal or other. I depend on them very heavily. I do not think this thing can happen overnight. It is going to require some time to get it into place fully. I think the members over there are concerned about the type and the fullness of the training these people will receive. I have every confidence they will receive it. I have every confidence that every police force in this province, including municipal, will shortly have a copy of the bill when and if it is passed. They will be alerted to the fact that they could be called on to act in a conservation area. In their refresher courses at the police college this will be gone over too. So much for the police people.

We already mentioned that the deputy conservation officers have courses being established and that these will be well under way early in the year. Although there may be concerns, give us some lead time. Not in the fullness of time but much sooner, these questions will be resolved.

Mr. Foulds: Will the parliamentary assistant settle for half the fullness of time?

5:40 p.m.

The Deputy Chairman: Are you still on section 3?

Mr. Foulds: Still on section 3, I want to make it very clear that we support the appointment of additional conservation officers, whether they are full conversation officers or deputy conservation officers.

Second, we support the principle that a man should get paid for his work. Therefore, we support the objective rather than the principle of the clause that the deputy conservation officer should be paid. There should be that discretion that he is paid. We have no quarrel with that.

We have no quarrel at all with the idea of training and the expansion of that. We do have some reservations, as enunciated by my colleagues and myself that people who are inappropriately or inadequately trained should not be appointed. Basically, we are saying we would somehow like that assurance in legislative form as well as the goodwill of the parliamentary assistant which, I know, knows no bounds. His good intentions and those of his officials know no bounds.

But we are dealing with legislation here and there are those questions that need raising. If we had an annual review of legislation, we would feel more comfortable about going the steps of faith with the government on this one. I am not going to make a major issue of it; we are certainly not going to bring down the government on this clause. We might on one of the later ones, but on this one we will probably let it go through.

I would like to make a suggestion as well. With regard to the appointment of conservation officers and deputy conservation officers, it makes some sense to appoint a number of our native peoples, which I believe is one of the objectives of this section. I think those persons who act as guides are very well qualified to be appointed.

What I would like as a compromise when the appointment of the deputy conservation officers is made is that the qualification and training are spelled out in the actual regulations. That qualification could be experience. In some cases, experience is every bit as good as, if not better than, school training. That qualification should be spelled out in the regulations that also makes the appointment.

Mr. Yakabuski: The last things the member for Port Arthur raised are very legitimate. I think those things can certainly be taken under consideration and, further than that, I think they can happen.

Section 3 agreed to.

On section 4:

Mr. Renwick: Section 4 of the bill repeals and re-enacts section 16 of the Game and Fish Act; it is, as I read it, very unclear in its intent. I referred to the matter briefly on second reading of the bill and I want to elaborate a little on what my concerns are about the bill.

First, it follows along after sections 8 to 15 which grant extensive powers to the officers, that is, the enforcement persons named under this act, to deal in most cases without any process. For example, the grant of authority under section 8 is very broad. The grant of authority under section 9 is very broad. The grant of authority under section 10 is immensely broad. Let me quote it: “An officer on view may arrest without process any person found committing a contravention of this act or the regulations, in which case he shall bring him with a reasonable diligence before a competent court to be dealt with according to law.”

Then we go on to deal with a number of other authorities so that section 16 in its context is part of the armoury of authority granted to the enforcement officers under the Game and Fish Act that we have to look at very carefully when the minister proposes to amend it. My concern is that in substance this amounts to a power almost of expropriation without compensation. I think whenever that happens we should be very extremely careful about the way in which the language is expressed.

Let me say at the beginning that there are inadequacies in the present section 16, but the amending section does not appear to deal adequately with the problems that are involved in it. Where an officer was going without a warrant to take any vehicle, vessel, aircraft, implement, appliance, material, container, goods, equipment, game or fish, where he had reasonable grounds to believe there had been the commission of an offence under the act, I would have thought that in those kinds of circumstances there was an automatic obligation on the officer to lay a charge. It would seem to me that is the best and clearest way to deal with it. When I first started to read the proposed new section 16, I thought that is what it would likely say, but that is not so. He seizes and then he investigates.

I do not mind his seizing and investigating to find out whether his reasonable grounds of belief are substantiated. In that case, of course, he could recommend that the charge be withdrawn. Here we have a situation, a hiatus, where a citizen of the province is likely to have any of this kind of equipment or material belonging to him taken from him and then an investigation takes place to determine whether a charge will be laid. The section goes on to say what will happen if no charge is laid or if any charge that is said has been withdrawn or dismissed. It provides that the goods will be returned to the person from whom they have been seized in the initial instance.

At that point, I would have thought it all made sense as well, but then we go on to the additional provision in the section which states that where the ownership of any of these items cannot be ascertained at the time of seizure, they are “upon the seizure thereof, forfeited to the crown in right of Ontario as represented by the minister and may be disposed of as the minister directs.” I do not understand what that means. I do not understand how an officer can decide at the point at which he seizes the goods who is the owner. If he cannot ascertain who the owner is, the goods are then forfeited to the crown and whatever steps that have then to be taken to reclaim property that has been forfeited to the crown must be pursued. That is not an easy process as anybody knows who has tried to get any property that has been forfeited to the crown returned to them, whether he is the rightful owner or not.

My concern is with the confusion in the section. I would seriously suggest to the parliamentary assistant that it should be phrased and redrawn to make very clear that if this kind of seizure takes place under section 16 there shall be an automatic obligation to lay the charge which the officer on reasonable grounds believes has been committed. Once the charge is laid, the matter then goes before the court. When it goes before the court, there is a very simple process or very normal process. If the charge is dismissed, the person who has been charged can simply stand up at that point, or his counsel can stand up for him, and say, “Your Honour, what about the goods?” and he will get an order for the release of them back to the person who can establish they were taken from him. If the conviction is registered, then it is up to the decision of the judge as to what is going to take place.

5:50 p.m.

What I am getting to -- and I think the parliamentary assistant understands what I am saying -- is that if you did it directly in that way, you would not have the kind of problems which indicate here that you are going to get a seizure. You have to establish that you have reasonable grounds to believe an offence has been committed, or that the material has been the subject matter of an offence, and then you have an investigation.

I think it would be sensible for the minister to seriously consider standing the section down, consider the comments that are being made about the bill and other comments that colleagues of mine may wish to make, and see whether that would not be the most direct and efficacious way to deal with the matter.

I am always worried with the grant of authority to a police officer, in this case a conservation officer with all of the authorities under this act, who can take goods but not lay a charge. If the officer is required to lay the charge when he takes the goods because he has reasonable grounds to believe, then I do not worry so much, because in the ultimate working out it will be up to the court to determine the disposition of the matters.

Therefore, I think that in an endeavour to correct what was obviously and has turned out to be an inadequate section, section 16, by repealing it and re-enacting it, the ministry has fallen into a very serious trap. I would strongly urge the parliamentary assistant to make a specific provision that the charge will be laid by the officer who seizes. When the charge is laid, then let the court have the disposition of it.

As I say, at the risk of repeating myself, which of course I never do, I would like to say that if the court says all right or the charge is withdrawn or dismissed, there is always a request to the court for what is to be done with the property. If there is a conviction, there is usually a decision by the court as to what will be done with the property, whether it will be forfeited or turned back in any event because the punishment has been adequate without the forfeiture of the items seized. I would think that would ameliorate to some extent the dangers which this kind of grant of authority gives to officers under the act.

I do not think it is too much to ask that the section be stood down for the time being, at 5:55 p.m., when the committee of the whole House will be rising to report, but not to report the bill. As the bill will have to come back before us again I say seriously to the parliamentary assistant I think there is at least some merit in the comments I made which would deserve consideration between now and the time when the bill returns to committee of the whole House.

Mr. Haggerty: Mr. Chairman, I addressed myself on second reading to section 4 of the act because I was concerned about the disposition of property seized. I question the discretionary powers that the minister has that he can direct in whatever manner he wishes to dispose of goods that have been seized.

I can recall an incident in my particular area where a chap was supposed to have been called out to hunt brush wolves. Someone had reported it to the conservation people at Fonthill and they sent out somebody. Apparently, they knew who the person was. They went in and all they did was look at the vehicle, which was a half-ton truck. He had a couple of guns and some ammunition in there, but there was no animal and they did not find anything he had shot out of season. A charge was laid. Apparently, he paid his fine in the courts, which was a substantial amount -- somewhere around $300.

When he went to get his guns, the conservation officer provided him with one of the guns and some ammunition. They gave him back the high-powered ammunition but they kept a high-powered rifle. To this day, he has been trying to get this valuable gun back. He has paid his fine in the courts and is willing to buy the gun back at whatever it goes for on the auction block. But somebody from the Ministry of Natural Resources says, “No. We are going to keep that gun for our own purposes.” The purpose is to hunt wild dogs with that gun.

I believe once a person has paid that penalty, if there is a reasonable doubt that he was out to hunt or kill something out of season, if you are going to confiscate the equipment, if you are going to have auction sales, all equipment must go up on an auction block to be disposed of. That gun may be prized by the owner, something he can pass on down through the family. If he wants to obtain that gun by tendering at an auction sale, I think he should be permitted to do that.

I do not think the ministry with the broad powers it has can say, “We will dispose of it as we see fit; that is, we are going to hold it here.” Perhaps much of the stuff that has been confiscated over the years has never been returned to the public but is sitting in some storage shed. I do not know. All I am saying is that, once the person has paid his penalty, the gun should be returned. If not, the rules that should apply are that it should go to an auction and that the person still has the right to get back that personal equipment.

When there is a reasonable doubt and they can go in and lay the charge without even having any evidence, that gives them pretty broad powers. I’m not too happy with this section myself. I think it needs some revamping and perhaps some amendments to it. If you are going to have these sales, then all equipment that is seized should go to the auction block.

Mr. J. A. Taylor: Mr. Chairman, when this bill was being discussed in principle, I indicated an interest in saying something about it. My concern actually was in regard to this area that is under discussion, section 18, and the right of seizure without warrant and what flows from that.

In view of the lateness of the hour, I would simply like to say I have listened to the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick) and I think he has manifested the concerns I had. I would ask the parliamentary assistant to take a look at this section. I think that would suffice for the moment.

Mr. Foulds: Mr. Chairman, I just want to follow on what the member for Prince Edward-Lennox (Mr. J. A. Taylor) has said. I think all of us in the House understand the purpose. Often there is very widespread illegal hunting -- from aircraft, the use of aircraft for spotting, the use of moving vehicles and weapons, implements and so on. We sympathize with the necessity of enforcement, but I think we have some reservations, if I could express them as a layman. The reservation under paragraph 16(2) is that the investigation could go on forever, or for an indefinite period of time, and the property could be withheld from its original owner.

In the case of an aircraft, for example, a small airline could have an aircraft that was essential to its economic maintenance withheld for two years with no charge being laid. There has to be a very strict limitation on the investigation and the charge laid.

I prefer the suggestion that was outlined by my colleague from Riverdale because it is an extremely important principle that you must have some good reason for withholding property from a person. If there is not a charge laid after a relatively short investigation, then I do not see any valid reason for withholding his property from him.

The other point is the identification of the property.

The Deputy Chairman: Can I point out the time? You can carry on your discussions, I assume, when the committee sits again on this matter.

On motion by Mr. Foulds, the committee of the whole House reported progress.

The House recessed at 6:01 p.m.