31st Parliament, 4th Session

L090 - Thu 16 Oct 1980 / Jeu 16 oct 1980

The House met at 2 p.m.



Ms. Gigantes: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of personal privilege. The Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Norton) the other day challenged the information I had provided to the Legislature concerning the number and size of subsidies to infant day care spaces in the Ottawa-Carleton region and told this House he would have an update following a meeting in Ottawa. I wonder if he would now provide that information or withdraw his allegations against the priorities assigned to day care within the Ottawa-Carleton regional municipality.

Mr. Speaker: If the honourable minister made a commitment to look into something I am sure he will provide that information in his good time. If the minister does have a response to the alleged point of privilege I will hear it.

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, I think that would be an appropriate matter for a question during question period. I indicated to the member at the time that she and I would know when that report was tabled in the Ottawa-Carleton region. I do have that information and would be prepared to respond to that during question period.


Mr. Laughren: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: When the integrity of the province of Ontario is abused, I believe the privileges of the members of this chamber are also abused.

For that reason I rise to express my anger and disappointment at the action of the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Grossman). He has assembled, at a cost at which we can only guess, a slick, expensively packaged document that is designed to sell out Ontario. We have more than 3,000 people unemployed in this province and our economy needs rebuilding from within. Surely our privileges as members have been abused, because we are here to deliberate on and make decisions about the development of the Ontario economy.

With this document the minister is attempting to sell us out around the world. He is attempting to have those decisions that rightfully belong here made elsewhere in the world. For that reason I feel my privileges and the privileges of all members of this chamber have been abused because we are here to develop Ontario, not sell it out.

Mr. Speaker: Obviously, the honourable minister to whom the accusation is directed is not here and he may wish to respond in his own way on another occasion. I think, though, that the honourable member uses convoluted logic to suggest that an action of a ministry abuses or abrogates the privileges of any individual member of this House. However, I will wait to hear what the Minister of Industry and Tourism has to say.


Mr. Mancini: Mr. Speaker, on June 12 I tabled the following question in the Legislature, and I quote: “Will the ministry,” and I am referring to the Ministry of Energy, “table the names and job description and their salary levels for all employees associated with the Bruce Generating Station greenhouse experiment?” On October 4, some four months later, I received the following reply: “The Bruce AgriPark Joint Venture has engaged Mr. Peter Van Tuyl as the grower for the greenhouse. It is the decision of the owners of the joint venture and their staff that the details of employee salaries not be made available.”

I have information that informs me a very major part of the expenditures of the Bruce AgriPark Joint Venture has been funded by the Ontario government, possibly to the tune of half a million dollars, and further, that the Ontario Energy Corporation holds six of 25 shares available. This group of private investors has been willing to work in conjunction with the government and has been more than willing to accept public money for its expenditure, but it appears as if it is not willing to defend these expenditures.

How does the public know whether or not outrageous salaries are being paid or if excessive staff have been retained?

I also have information that certain government civil servants have been seconded to work on this project, in particular Peter Szego from the Ministry of Energy.

This past week, the Minister without Portfolio responsible for freedom of information (Mr. Pope) stated the government is turning a corner and will not be as secretive as it has been in the past. Certainly this answer from the Minister of Energy (Mr. Welch) disproves that statement. As a member of this House, I believe I have a legitimate grievance. My privileges as a member of this House have been abused by the Ministry of Energy for not tabling what appears to me to be information that does not have any need to be kept secret. I appeal to you, Mr. Speaker, to rectify this grievance.

Mr. Speaker: Obviously there was an answer given, as the honourable member states, on October 4. It is the prerogative of the ministry to answer in any way it deems fit. It has to respond within the time provided for in our standing orders.

If you are not satisfied with the nature of the answer, there is no power vested in the chair to insist that the ministry answer in any other way than that which it has. If it wants to withhold that information, the honourable member can draw his own conclusions.

I do not know that any power rests in the chair to insist that the ministry answer in any particular way that might appeal to the honourable member who raised the alleged point of privilege.

2:10 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Welch: I am at some disadvantage, Mr. Speaker. I was in consultation with one of my colleagues and did not hear the whole matter. I thought that under the circumstances it might be wise for me to see and read the point that was made by the honourable member and then reply.

I do know there were a number of questions directed to the ministry and placed on the Order Paper by the honourable member. I know of his keen interest in this particular project, and I would want to assure him that certainly I would want to make sure he has all the information he needs to come to a fair and objective decision with respect to what is going on there.

As soon as I have had an opportunity to take a look at Hansard, I will be able to respond.



Hon. Mrs. Birch: Mr. Speaker, later today I will be tabling the fifth annual report of the Ontario Advisory Council on the Physically Handicapped.

This council is to be commended for its diligence and dedication in putting forth recommendations aimed at enhancing opportunities for disabled people to live a full and productive life. The council works closely with the provincial co-ordinator of rehabilitation services, Mr. Robert Waterhouse, and his staff.

Mr. Speaker, as you are aware, next year has been declared International Year of Disabled Persons by the United Nations. I know the advisory council will be involved in promoting equality for all disabled persons in our society.

Mr. Speaker, in your gallery today is Mr. Jack Longman, council chairman, Mr. Bill Watson, vice-chairman, and Mr. Gerald Clarke, executive officer. I would like, through them, to express my sincerest appreciation to all council members and staff for their untiring and continuing efforts on behalf of all handicapped people.


Hon. Mr. Parrott: Mr. Speaker, since becoming the Minister of the Environment, I have established several priorities for this ministry. One of those priorities has been tougher enforcement. There have been a number of initiatives taken to achieve this, most notably an increased number of prosecutions and a policy change to make control orders more enforceable. But in the serious issue of illegal and unsafe disposal practices for liquid industrial waste, it is evident that we must increase our effort to protect the environment and public health.

The members of the House are familiar with the steps I have been taking in this field. We have a better waybill system, better handling and classification guidelines, increased monitoring and testing, a proposal for a perpetual care fund, a program to find and upgrade abandoned dump sites, and the all-important proposals for the urgently needed treatment facilities.

I am sure I do not need to tell the members that the severity of the liquid industrial waste problem has resulted in a dramatic increase in demand for the ministry’s control and surveillance services in the past two years. It is a matter of record that the availability of landfill sites for untreated liquid waste disposal has decreased as we continue our program of phasing out this unsatisfactory practice.

But while the number of sites has decreased, the volumes of wastes generated by Ontario industries have not. Until we can establish appropriate treatment facilities, the temptation for illegal disposal by the unethical waste hauler or industry is steadily growing. The necessity for more monitoring, surveillance and investigation will continue to grow as well.

To help alleviate this problem, I took a proposal to cabinet in early September, at which time the entire package was completely approved. So today I would like to bring the members up to date on three of our latest initiatives to crack down on the illegal dumping of liquid wastes and other illegal environmental activities.

We are currently hiring 13 new staff members to form a highly trained environmental police force. This special team will carry out spot audits and special checks of industrial, commercial and municipal records and activities. By having trained investigators and inspectors making a full-time effort, we will be able to prevent misuse of our waybill system and then in time reduce to an absolute minimum even the most minor illegal behaviour.

The 13 investigators, operating from our regional offices, will work closely with inspectors and scientific staff. They will, I am sure, add a special dimension beyond the normal ongoing inspection, abatement and enforcement programs of my ministry. This additional level of enforcement will bring about more effective compliance with regulations.

A large part of the unit’s work will involve investigation and reports on the collection, handling and disposal of industrial wastes. If there are any midnight haulers around, this unit will be out to get them.

Our special investigators will take charge of investigations into illegal dumping, gather evidence in preparation for prosecutions and will investigate unusual complaints from the public, the municipalities or other agencies, including industry. We are also beefing up our legal services branch, to aid it in handling additional prosecutions and control orders, by providing two additional positions.

Finally, I will be introducing legislation this session to amend our existing statutes. These amendments will, for the first time, set minimum fines for illegal handling, hauling or dumping of liquid industrial waste. We will also be empowered to seize and impound any vehicles involved in committing these illegal acts.

I am sure the members of this House will agree this is a key step in ensuring tough and efficient enforcement of our environmental programs.


Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, some time ago I promised the member for Port Arthur (Mr. Foulds) a report on matters relating to the Ontario Ski Bob Association and an International Grand Prix competition it held in Thunder Bay last March.

As honourable members may know, ski bob involves a person riding downhill on what is essentially a bicycle that is equipped with skis. The sport has been popular in Europe for some time and is just starting to grow and develop in North America.

In 1978 my ministry was approached to help establish the Ontario Ski Bob Association and we responded with a startup grant of $2,000. Last fall we were asked to help the association stage an International Grand Prix at Thunder Bay. We evaluated the association’s application and ultimately approved an equipment grant of $14,000 and a hosting grant of $19,000 to help the association.

As members know, Wintario noncapital funds are designed to pay up to 50 per cent of the eligible costs of any project. I am informed the public money involved in this event was used in the following ways: (1) $14,000 for both competitive and recreational ski bobs; (2) roughly $9,500 to bring seven international officials from Switzerland to officiate at the Grand Prix; (3) $6,000 to conduct two intensive training camps for the Canadian team -- some of those costs were accommodation costs which were paid; (4) roughly $3,500 for such staging costs as timing equipment and promotion.

The event did take place and it received 30 minutes of coverage by the CBC’s national television network last April 5.

As members know, Wintario funds are advanced to match money that is raised privately. In discussions with the ski bob association, the ministry was satisfied that the association’s plans would ensure that private support. The ministry had taken note of evidence that there was growing interest in the sport. Ski resort operators in Ontario had committed themselves to ski bob development programs and the CBC had made its commitments to cover the grand prix.

Unfortunately, the private sector support for which the association had planned did not materialize and, as a result, the association has not been able to meet all its financial obligations connected with the grand prix.

2:20 p.m.

The president of the association was charged on May 21 with fraud related to unpaid bills. At a preliminary hearing last week, the court concluded there was not sufficient evidence to proceed to trial and the charge was dismissed. At this point it is claimed that the association owes suppliers in Thunder Bay approximately $22,000 in relation to the grand prix. To date, no civil actions have been commenced by the suppliers to recover the money.

I might also add that at this point the association is in debt to the crown for the Wintario grants it has received to date. The terms and conditions of Wintario grants require that matching funds be produced and that a full financial accounting be submitted to the ministry within 60 days of the completion of the event for which the grant was awarded.

Ministry officials have been informed by the president of the association that a full accounting will be submitted to the ministry next Friday. I am not insensitive to the situation in which the association’s creditors in Thunder Bay find themselves. However, the ministry cannot become involved in a business dispute between the association and its creditors. I am informed that the association’s president continues to attempt to raise matching money and meet these obligations promptly. Nevertheless, to this moment the association has failed to meet terms and conditions of its grants and is therefore in default.

I would advise this House that I have instructed my officials to initiate proceedings to recover the grant moneys from the association. If the association succeeds in raising its private support, it will be in a position to meet its obligations to its creditors. That in turn would mean that it had met its obligations to the ministry.

I think it is vital that we all remember that during the last five years the Wintario non-capital grants program has contributed $20 million to the support of sports events in this province. It has processed more than 23,000, not 2,300, grant applications, and successive ministers have approved almost 19,000 of those applications. To the ministry’s knowledge, this is the first time this sort of problem has ever been encountered.



Mr. S. Smith: What happened to the health department? They have all disappeared. The Provincial Secretary for Social Development (Mrs. Birch) was in the House a moment ago; I still see her papers. I will address the question, pending her possible return or pending the arrival of the Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell), to the Deputy Premier.

Can the Deputy Premier make some comment about the fact that the public is now aware of what the government already knew: that there are 2,000 elderly who are being kept in beds that are inappropriate for them? They are in hospitals that are forced in other situations to turn away acute cases. Can the minister explain why the government has delayed an order to study, when a year ago it was told in the report from Metro social services that even if it went ahead with non-institutional programs there would be a need for 740 additional beds by 1981 and 7,000 beds by the year 2001?

Why, in addition to delaying and doing further studies rather than trying to remedy this situation, has the government not only delayed the matter but compounded it? Why has it instituted cutbacks in acute care over the last few years, leaving the situation now where people are lined up waiting for nursing homes on the one hand and waiting for beds in acute care hospitals on the other?

Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, we have the benefit of having the question in Hansard now. It is my understanding that the Minister of Health will not be in the House today but will be here tomorrow and will respond in full at that time.

Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, Mr. Speaker, this is a most unsatisfactory answer.


Mr. S. Smith: Perhaps the members who are regaling themselves with laughter would like to talk to the people who are waiting for admission. Perhaps they could speak to the relatives of the people who died when they couldn’t get admission because the beds are being occupied by people who should be in nursing homes.

Perhaps the minister would like to explain how the health system in Ontario, which was the finest in this country and in North America, is now a shambles with 2,000 people in Metro alone inappropriately placed and 303 people on the waiting list for nursing homes in Hamilton-Wentworth alone. Is he prepared now to stop the lunacy of cutting back in the health system and start building the hundreds of nursing home beds that are required immediately, not the drop in the bucket he has offered?

Hon. Mr. Welch: Perhaps it will come as no surprise to the members of this House that this government prides itself on the degree of health care that is being provided to the people of this province. If we have a choice between the posturing and the rhetoric of the Leader of the Opposition and the dedicated commitment to action on the part of a caring Minister of Health, we are with the Minister of Health on this particular issue.

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have a supplementary question to the Deputy Premier on behalf of the whole government, not just the Minister of Health.

In view of the fact that the Liberal Party was advocating cutbacks at a time when this government was carrying out the cutbacks that have created the current crisis in the health care system, will the Deputy Premier undertake on behalf of the government to end the cutbacks that have created a situation where there is a shortage of 2,000 chronic care beds in Metropolitan Toronto alone, that have created a situation where eight out of 12 hospitals we surveyed in northern Ontario yesterday indicated a serious problem because of the shortage of chronic beds, and that have created a shortage of chronic care space across Ontario? Will the government end the cutbacks that have created that situation and give us a decent health care system again in Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Welch: I hardly need to remind the leader of the third party with respect to the percentage increases in hospital budgets during this fiscal year, but I do repeat that the Minister of Health will be in his place tomorrow and will deal with this matter quite fully tomorrow.

Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, a supplementary to the Provincial Secretary for Social Development: Will she give us an assurance that the report of the Hospital Council for Metropolitan Toronto, which is spoken of in today’s edition of the Toronto Star and which has been paid for in whole or in part by the provincial government, will be made public immediately so the full measure of the outrage to which it speaks will be clear not only to the members of this assembly but to the community at large?

Hon. Mrs. Birch: Mr. Speaker, not having the advantage of seeing the report, not even having the advantage of seeing the story in the Toronto Star, nevertheless I can give this House the assurance that the Minister of Health will probably release the report immediately.

Mr. McClellan: Mr. Speaker, I will ask the provincial secretary this supplementary: Since I gather the report indicates many elderly people would be better served in less costly homes for the aged, can she tell us why her government has managed in the course of the last three years to cut the number of beds available in homes for the aged, either charitable homes or municipal homes, from 28,234 in 1977 to 28,032 in 1980-81? Can she explain why the government has aggravated the shortage and why there are not any funds of any substance available in the budget of the Ministry of Community and Social Services this year to remedy the destructive cutbacks the government has been engaged in over the past three years?

Hon. Mrs. Birch: I would think it would be perfectly obvious to the member that as we provide alternatives to institutional care there is less need for more beds in institutions.

Mr. S. Smith: The minister must surely know that even with the alternatives, we need 740 additional beds in Toronto alone today.

2:30 p.m.


Mr. S. Smith: The ministers keep disappearing. Where did the Provincial Secretary for Justice (Mr. Walker) go? The Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) is away, but I thought the Provincial Secretary for Justice was here. He was here just a minute ago. I will put the question to the Deputy Premier. I presume the minister will be back at any moment.

Mr. Speaker, I have a question on the subject of the Ku Klux Klan’s attempts at recruitment in the parking lots, and so on, of the schools in Metropolitan Toronto. Given the message being handed out by the members of the Klan blames the blacks and minorities for various social ills, high taxes, brutal crimes, antiwhite movies and so forth -- and that is part of what is written on the cards that are being handed out -- can the minister explain why it is the Attorney General has been satisfied simply to tell the high school principals to look into the matter of the trespass law, or something of that kind, when, under the hate literature provision of the Criminal Code, there would appear to be every reasonable opportunity for charging the members who are handing out this material?

I will simply read to the minister from the code: “Everyone who, by communicating statements other than a private conversation, wilfully promotes hatred against any identifiable group, is guilty of an indictable offence punishable on summary conviction.”

Given that these cards appear without any question actually to incite hatred or wilfully promote hatred against certain identifiable groups, can he explain why the Attorney General has been satisfied to talk of the trespass law rather than bringing a charge under the Criminal Code?

Mr. Speaker: Did the Provincial Secretary for Justice hear the question?

Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, I did catch the benefit of part of the question in the outer chamber. I do know that the director of crown attorneys and the entire crowns office is addressing the question at this very moment. I understand they intend to issue some response before very long, within a day or two. I would suggest that the Leader of the Opposition might await the return of the Attorney General or the Solicitor General tomorrow, at which time the question might be more appropriately addressed.

Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, could the minister explain to me, if he is privy to some of this information and is aware of what has been happening, why the Attorney General would bother to make a response by sending out to high school principals some reminder that there is such a thing as trespass legislation when the Criminal Code seems to speak to the matter very clearly indeed? Why was such a reminder about trespass sent? It almost carries the implication that as long as it is handed out on the street instead of in the parking lot it would be okay. Why would he do that rather than go right to the Criminal Code?

Hon. Mr. Walker: I would hardly think it appropriate for me to comment on why the Attorney General is doing any particular thing. it is up to him to respond and when he is here he can. I would assume, however, that an interim proposal has been sent out until the crown attorney has completed the investigation fully. The member would not want any action to be launched until the crown had completed the investigation in a very thorough, intense way. I am sure the member would not want that.

Mr. Warner: Mr. Speaker a supplementary: Obviously, the Attorney General who made the bold statement that he is declaring war on the KKK is using a pea-shooter instead of a cannon because, for starters, the Trespass Act is of no value when the material was not handed out on the grounds of the school. It was handed out off the grounds.

Does the minister realize that in addition to the cards there have been numerous other materials available which read, in part:

“White people are experiencing the same degradation that the white people of the south experienced in Reconstruction, the same black crimes, government corruption, civil degeneracy and even the same inflation and economic disintegration. Either we must take a stand now for our racial and cultural heritage or we will forfeit them.”

I ask this government to say unequivocally right now that the full intent of our human rights legislation and our hate literature laws have been violated, and those who have violated them, namely the Ku Klux Klan, should be put out of business now.

Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, when the Attorney General indicates that he is declaring war on them, it sounds to me as if he is going to use a cannon as opposed to a pea-shooter, so perhaps the member has that mixed up. I would think he is revealing nothing but the absolute intent of this government to ensure this kind of racial hatred is not continued. The member should not for a moment think we are countenancing it.

Mr. Epp: Mr. Speaker, a supplementary: Is the minister aware that literature such as this is being disseminated in the city of Toronto and in other parts of the province and will he ask the Attorney General to investigate whether this violates any laws within the province?

Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, I certainly will transmit that message to the Attorney General, but I can tell the House at this very moment that he is intending to bring the full weight of the law upon these individuals who would attempt to dispense this kind of inappropriate information.


Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have a new question for the Minister of Industry and Tourism. In view of the fact there are 6,000 jobs hanging in the balance at Massey-Ferguson and up to 9,000 spinoff jobs that would be affected in Ontario if the company shut down, will the minister explain why he has had so little interest in protecting those jobs that he has refused the specific request of Massey officials to meet with him?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I have not refused a specific request by Massey to meet with me.

Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: We met with the company yesterday and we were informed they have been trying to meet with the minister for a period of more than a month and have had no success at all. Can, the minister tell us, since he is abdicating his responsibility that way, what contingency plans the province is drawing up in case the federal government refuses to save this Ontario industry? What is the government doing here to take advantage of Massey’s proposal to set up diesel engine production at the idle Chrysler engine plant in Windsor if Massey survives?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Needless to say, if there is an opportunity to obtain anything approaching the diesel engine production for that facility in Windsor, we will obtain that. I must say that this government, unlike any other government in North America, has a track record on that in terms of the Chrysler deal. We will look for that sort of net gain for Ontario if there is an arrangement to be made with Massey-Ferguson.

May I also say quite clearly and directly that my officials and I have spent more time on the Massey-Ferguson matter over the past month and a half than we have spent on any other issue. I say that clearly and unequivocally. Hours and hours each day are being spent at the senior level of my ministry talking with both Massey-Ferguson and with the federal government.

Mr. Cassidy: The minister hasn’t met with them. Why not?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I will explain that very circumstance. Without overstating it, my deputy minister has had day-to-day contact with the senior level at Massey-Ferguson. He has indicated to them --

Mr. Cassidy: The minister has kept them at arm’s length. Fifteen thousand jobs are involved.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Why doesn’t the member let me finish.

He has indicated to Massey-Ferguson, and they know it very well, that the moment at which it is necessary or appropriate for their senior officials to meet with me, that will occur. I say that quite clearly and unequivocally so that even that member can understand and can report back to the people who informed him from Massey-Ferguson.

I know those people were not Victor Rice or any of his senior officials. I know the people who contacted the member, but if he will check with Victor Rice, I assure the member that Mr. Rice will not tell him I refused to meet with him. He will tell the member he has had the utmost co-operation from this government and from the federal government.

If the member really wants to check his sources, he should not go on what someone somewhere at Massey-Ferguson said; he should be responsible for a couple of minutes and check with Victor Rice, who is running the company, and find out how dedicated we have been to saving those jobs, not to standing over there and posturing.

2:40 p.m.

Mr. Nixon: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Since the test for the interest payments on about $900 million of loans is only 14 days away from Massey-Ferguson, can the minister assure the House that those tests are not going to precipitate the bankruptcy or other disruption of Massey-Ferguson? If he can give that assurance, can he indicate what part this government is going to play in being sure that the company does not go into bankruptcy or receivership at that time?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, if there is a reasonable proposition that can be put together with the federal government, ourselves and other people from the private sector which will avoid bankruptcy, then that deal will be accepted by this government. The question is still out there and being worked on at the present time as to whether a reasonable package can be worked out.

The member asks what is reasonable, and our definition of reasonable is obviously not something which is tantamount to a package that would keep the company in business another few months and have the net effect of relieving the banks and other creditors from some responsibilities. A reasonable package, in our view, would be something that puts the company on a firm enough footing to be in business for many years and to gain its share of world markets and therefore secure those join.

Mr. Makarchuk: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Can the minister explain why, when he visited Brantford on June 19, his statement was to the effect that he would do everything possible to ensure that the operation continues, while the fact is that Victor Rice was able to meet with the Premier but he has been unable to meet with the minister who is responsible for that? Why does he not discuss the matter with him? Furthermore, when the minister is assuring the community he is going to do everything possible is he aware of the fact that there are thousands of farmers whose whole economic existence will be jeopardized when they are denied access to parts from Massey-Ferguson should that plant shut down?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Of course we are aware of the implications of any bankruptcy that might occur with Massey-Ferguson; otherwise we would not be spending this much time on this matter.

Second, I should point out that if Massey-Ferguson should run into more difficult times and go into receivership or bankruptcy it is almost certain if there is a market, and there will be, for replacement parts, obviously someone else is going to get into the business of supplying those replacement parts because the demand is clearly there. That will almost certainly occur. That is not to understate the extent of the problem, obviously --

Mr. Makarchuk: That is nonsense. Are they to sit and wait until the parts appear? Will the crops wait? That is nonsense, and you know it.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I will wait until the member is finished postulating. In any case, I can assure the member we are aware of the seriousness of the problem; that is why we are spending so much time on it. I think, though, it would be unfair to pretend that simply an injection of a lot of taxpayers’ dollars into that company will solve the problems.

As the member well knows, in the case of John Deere, International Harvester, White Farm Machinery, certainly all of them are experiencing rather extreme layoffs. That is because the market has dropped dramatically this year. It is beginning to turn around, and that is why in June I was able to anticipate, after having spoken at great length to many people involved in the industry, that the markets would be better this year and that there would be recalls. Those recalls have not started just yet in mass numbers; they are just beginning to start.

The point I am making is even if there were a massive injection of taxpayers’ dollars today, that would not get a whole lot of people back to work tomorrow morning or next month. That is very much a function of markets. I know the member would be the first to criticize us, and quite properly so, if the net effect of a massive injection of taxpayers’ funds resulted in only the creditors being saved and in the long term the jobs not being saved. That is not our end goal.

Finally, may I say the member is quite right, this process started when Victor Rice saw the Premier and asked if this government was interested in maintaining those jobs in Brantford.

Mr. Makarchuk: Where was the minister?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I happened to be out of the city during that period of time in the summer. As a result, there was no need, I might say, for me to go through the public posturing of hand-wringing by meeting Victor Rice and going in front of the cameras daily, letting the public know how concerned we are. Instead, Mr. Rice agreed that we should put senior people in my ministry, in Treasury and at Massey-Ferguson together to work hard with the federal government to see if a proposal could be brought forward.

At the present time, there is not in front of us a specific proposal that will work. I say quite simply there is not a long-term viable proposal before us. When there is, all levels will sit down, as was the case in the Chrysler deal, and see if an arrangement can be worked out.

I would remind the member that we consummated a very good deal for Ontario in the Chrysler situation, notwithstanding the fact I only met with Mr. lacocca at the very last meeting in the entire circumstance. That is the way this one will unfold. I hope we will be able to save those jobs, but only if we handle it carefully.

Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, the minister has been singularly uncommunicative on this issue. Could he give some assurance about what kind of time deadline he has in mind, to give some assurance to the workers who are employed by the company? Is he in a position now to give us his official response on the Argus bail-out in this situation and what he is doing to involve them in the reconstruction of the company in some way or other?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I have nothing to add, with regard to the Argus situation, to what I said when I met with the press and commented last week. If Conrad Black or Argus wants to be one of the private sector participants in restructuring the company and comes forward with a reasonable package, then they, like others, will be considered as participants.

May I say to the honourable member I do understand and share his concern and that of the members for the ridings involved. I think he will appreciate that I do not think it is quite fair or accurate to say we have been particularly uncommunicative. It is very difficult to strike a fair and adequate deal on behalf of the taxpayers if we are in a position of unfolding day to day the government’s position and our considerations with regard to a level of funding or such circumstances. That is a situation where one ends up being taken advantage of and perhaps not securing the jobs.

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, the minister is trying to be a passenger in this thing.

Mr. Speaker: Order. A new question.

Mr. Cassidy: I have a new question for the Deputy Premier (Mr. Welch), who has disappeared.

Mr. Laughren: He has only to turn sideways to disappear. Stand up.

Hon. Mr. Welch: I am standing.

Mr. Laughren: He was just whipping his parliamentary assistant into line.


Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Deputy Premier. Can he account for the fact that the health problems of the province have to be plastered across the Toronto Star on page one and page two and right through the entire newspaper before the government will even acknowledge that any problems specifically exist?

Will the Deputy Premier not acknowledge that not only are there problems with chronic care facilities being unavailable but also there are problems with the government’s refusal to ensure that paramedical services are available so that cardiac patients’ lives can be saved and ambulances do not bring people into the hospitals dead because they were not kept alive when they were reached at their homes? Why is the government not prepared to abandon its cutbacks mentality and to ensure that chronic care facilities are available and spending on prevention takes place as well?

Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, it seems to me that the two opposition parties compete for some attention with respect to this issue. This question was in fact the subject matter of the first question of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. S. Smith), at which time I indicated that the Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell) has these concerns very much in hand. I can assure the honourable member that the minister will be here tomorrow and will be able to respond to the questions already asked and the one just asked.

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I will redirect my supplementary to the Premier, who has just come into the Legislature.

In view of the revelations in the Toronto Star that about 2,000 old people were wrongly placed in hospital beds and between 18 and 25 per cent of the acute care beds in Toronto are now taken up with chronic care patients who should not be taking up those active treatment beds, will the Premier give a commitment to end the cutbacks mentality which created that shortage of chronic care facilities, not just in Toronto but across the province, in order that we have an adequate standard of health care in Ontario?


2:50 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Is it safe to proceed now, Mr. Speaker?


Hon. Mr. Davis: What did the member for Quinte say? I have a great reply for him but I do not want to upset the Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I just heard the initial question to the Deputy Premier, which I sense is the same as the supplementary question that has just been asked. The Minister of Health is unfortunately away this afternoon and will be here tomorrow. The plan is to table the report before the House.

I myself have not read the report, but I have had some brief discussion with the minister. When members peruse the report after listening to the minister’s statement tomorrow, I think they will find it was prepared prior to certain commitments given with respect to chronic care facilities within Metropolitan Toronto. This would indicate very clearly that the figures suggested are not up to date.

The minister will also be referring to this government’s commitment with respect to chronic care referred to in the throne speech where, if I recall those very excellent paragraphs referring to this situation -- and the Treasurer can correct me if I am wrong -- the government has committed itself to a further 600 chronic care beds within the province.

Mr. Swart: We need 2,000 of them.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Before the member makes the mistake of jumping off the cliff as he did with respect to the report to the royal commission respecting the pulp and paper industry, which has turned out not to be a report, I suggest that he have a degree of patience, listen to what the minister has to say and assess the figures he may present. Then in his objective, analytical way and the fairminded approach he takes to all of these issues, he might decide that perhaps there is some substance in the things the minister will have to say tomorrow.

The honourable member can play as many games as he wants; he can go around this province talking about cutbacks in the health-care system. I am one who has some slight knowledge of health-care systems in other parts of this country and in parts of the United States, which I am not as familiar with as some members opposite are. But I will still defy anyone to find, in terms of quality and access, a better health-care system anywhere in North America than is available here in Ontario.

Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, my supplementary is to the Provincial Secretary for Social Development. When she gets around to reading the report of the Hospital Council of Metropolitan Toronto -- I hope at a very early time -- I would ask that she undertake a close comparative analysis to see how great a coincidence there is between what is pointed out with respect to these institutional requirements in this most recent report and what was pointed out in earlier reports. Among others, the interministerial report presented to her own secretariat five years ago spoke of a building crisis in this area, and the report of the Social Planning Council of Metropolitan Toronto of but a year ago talked of an unmanageable crisis.

Will the provincial secretary have a look at some of these documents that she has commissioned and paid for, five years ago in one case, to see just what has been pointed out to her and how painfully inadequate has been the response of her government?

Hon. Mrs. Birch: Mr. Speaker, I do not accept that criticism at all. A report written five years ago is certainly not relevant today.

This government has provided many alternatives and will continue to do so. I would just repeat what the Premier has said, that we do not have to take a back seat to anyone. The services we provide are the best anywhere.

Mr. Renwick: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: My senses tell me the House might very well give unanimous consent to revert to statements if the Attorney General wished to make any comment about the Ku Klux Klan.

Mr. Speaker: Unless the Attorney General makes that request, I think you could ask him a question. We still have about 25 minutes left in question period, and you could direct the question to him.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I do not have to make a statement. Can I accept that simply as a question from the member for Riverdale?

Mr. Speaker: If it is simply a question, it is out of order. If you want to get unanimous consent to revert to statements, I will put the question.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Yes, I make that request, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: Do we have such unanimous consent to revert to statements? This time will be deducted from the question period.




Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I regret I was not in the Legislature when the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. S. Smith) directed some questions to the Provincial Secretary for Justice (Mr. Welch) with respect to the activities of the Ku Klux Klan in Ontario, and I think this might be an appropriate time for me to advise the House as to what I know in relation to the activities of this admittedly despicable and dangerous group of people.

The Ku Klux Klan in Ontario is basically an outgrowth of the Western Guard, many of whom engaged in criminal activities, many of whom were successfully prosecuted and the leader of which was jailed for some of his racist-related activities. The active membership of the Ku Klux Klan in Ontario is believed by police, who have been monitoring the situation very closely, to be not more than 30 individuals. The fact that they have not gained a foothold in Ontario is to the great credit of the citizens of Ontario who know them for what they are -- a highly dangerous, despicable, criminal group of individuals with a very treacherous, destructive history.

That is not to suggest that any degree of complacency should be entertained by law enforcement authorities or any concerned citizens. Since it first came to our attention some months ago that some efforts were being made to gain a foothold in Ontario, particularly in the Metropolitan Toronto area, I requested the members of the Metropolitan Toronto Police Force to monitor the situation very closely and I am assured that they are monitoring it very closely on a day-to-day basis.

We are aware of the fact that some highly scurrilous racist material has been handed out and is being distributed, and the distribution has been attributed to the Ku Klux Klan in the Metropolitan Toronto area. Our senior law officers have advised the Metropolitan Toronto Police Force that some material we have seen -- and to our knowledge we have seen any material that has come into the hands of the police -- does offend against the hate and propaganda sections of the Criminal Code. We have advised the police to pursue their investigation to determine whether they can establish who the individuals are who are distributing this material, most of which has clearly been printed in the United States.

There were some newspaper reports in the last 24 hours with respect to alleged activities of Klan members or people who represent themselves as members of the Ku Klux Klan in school yards. As a matter of fact, I listened to the acting director of the board of education for the city of Toronto on the radio this morning and he indicated that he had been unable to obtain any hard evidence that this is taking place but they are very much aware of the allegations.

3 p.m.

I have written to the chairmen of the various school boards in the Metropolitan Toronto area expressing my concern that, while this fortunately represents but a small, lunatic fringe of society, we still have to be vigilant and that any of these activities should be reported to the police. I have also reminded them of the new provisions of the trespass legislation which give school authorities greater authority with respect to keeping unwanted visitors or trespassers off the premises.

I repeat, there is no evidence to date that the Ku Klux Klan is achieving any real degree of success with respect to their recruitment activities in Ontario, but I want to assure the Legislature that this is none the less a matter of very real concern to us and we will continue to monitor the situation very closely.



Mrs. Campbell: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Attorney General. Has he read and/or studied the recent decision of the Ontario Municipal Board relating to the St. Michael’s land situation? If he has, I would ask if he will report to the House as to his opinion of the statement contained on page four of that decision which reads as follows:

“We believe that everything we say in this decision can be supported by the evidence [one would hope so, Mr. Speaker] but, in order to avoid writing a book, we have not dealt with all the evidence heard at the hearing. That does not mean that we have not carefully considered it, for we have. What it does mean is that where it is in conflict with our position, we have not accepted it; we have rejected it in favour of other evidence.”

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I have not read the decision. I have had a synopsis of the decision given to me. I prefer not to comment on any passage of the decision without reading it in its entirety, and I think the member for St. George can appreciate the wisdom of that course.

I will read the decision in its entirety and address myself to the question asked by the member for St. George as soon as possible.

Mrs. Campbell: I appreciate that response, but I wonder whether, in studying it, the minister would care to comment as to whether this is an appropriate way for a tribunal to try to avoid the possibility of appeal, which would seem to be the purpose of this passage.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Without reading the judgement in its entirety, I do not think it would be appropriate for me to comment further.


Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, I have a question concerning emergency services which I would like to put to the Premier. I would like to ask the Premier to respond to the rather remarkable statements made by the head of the emergency services at Toronto General Hospital that two thirds to three quarters of all heart attack victims die before they get to any hospital here in Metro; that they are liable to be taken to the wrong hospital; and that, when they do arrive, the fiscal policies of the government have led to such restraint programs it is unlikely that qualified staff will be present. How does the Premier respond to those charges?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, not being an expert on the subject, and I am sure the Minister of Health may have some observations, I find that statement made by the honourable member -- I know he is quoting something else -- far from being credible.


Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, while I am on my feet, I think there was some understanding that I would be a moment or two late and I had one very pleasant task to perform while all members were present. I would ask if there is still that agreement. I see there is unanimous consent.

I think it is fair to state that all members of this Legislature have presented plaques to their constituents on certain very important dates. Quite often those plaques are signed by the Premier of the province, with a little added note from the local member. I know all members appreciate the fact that when they present them to their constituents they point out that the Premier --

Mr. Nixon: No, we got our own printed up.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Of course, some members totally ignore it; I understand that. I would only say to the honourable member who just spoke that he is living in the past.

It is a very great pleasure today -- in that the very distinguished member to whom I am presenting this plaque will be in his constituency tomorrow on rather urgent business related to the responsibilities he has in that part of the province -- to make this presentation to him and to his wife, Alma. I will just read the plaque, as all members do when they are making this kind of presentation to their constituents.

Slightly amended, with a little poetic licence -- some of it not so poetic; I want to make it abundantly clear to the very distinguished member that I personally wrote all this myself --

Mr. Eakins: You should frame it.

Hon. Mr. Davis: It’s an excellent frame as well, I might suggest.

It is to Ossie and Alma Villeneuve of Maxville, Ontario, on the occasion of their fiftieth wedding anniversary -- there won’t be too many members who will reach that -- and it reads:

“Your many friends at Queen’s Park, Osie, as well as the many friends you both have made in your own community, take particular pleasure in paying tribute to the honourable member for Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry and his charming bride of 50 years. As you celebrate this very special milestone in your marriage, I am sure you will look back on the past half century of mutual love and commitment and reflect with quiet pride on all that you have accomplished together.

“Your marriage united two young people from the two fine old cultures which settled and developed that part of eastern Ontario, and you have exemplified all that is best in both cultures, most especially those virtues and traditions on which our nation was built.

“In every way you have set a splendid example in your family life and in selfless community service. The accolades now being directed your way are heartfelt and sincere.”

I did presume, Mr. Speaker, as I do on occasion, to include my wife, Kathy.

“Kathy joins with me in extending warmest good wishes for many happy years together. May you long continue to enjoy a generous measure of those blessings which you have already shared in such abundance throughout your rich and very full lives.” It is dated October 20, 1980, and signed by the member for Brampton.

Mr. Speaker, if I may have your permission, when I do have the pleasure of presenting these plaques, I always like to do it personally, to go down the row of seats and present this plaque to the honourable member on this occasion, rather than sending it through the page. I will seize this opportunity to do so.

Mr. Villeneuve: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the Premier sincerely for this lovely plaque and express my thanks to all members of the Legislature for their good wishes.

I have had my ups and downs in life, like anyone else, but when I married the woman I did I made no mistake, I can assure you that. She has been a wonderful wife and a great mother. Our home has always been one of love and affection. We never looked too much to the material side of life but we managed to get by for 50 years. Even if we went to different churches, it did not matter too much; we support both. We have been pretty well blessed with good health.

3:10 p.m.

Mr. Samis: Mr. Speaker, as I am the member next door to the member for Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry, and a fellow eastern Ontarian representative, I would like on behalf of the New Democratic Party to extend congratulations to the honourable member. I think the members of the Legislature should realize that Mrs. Villeneuve has performed a very special task and contribution to the people of Ontario. Since the honourable member does not have a riding office, I would dare to suggest that Mrs. Villeneuve has carried much of the burden of being the member while her husband is up here. We are indebted to her for her contribution to the province as well.

Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of my colleagues and being a fellow eastern Ontarian, I join in expressing the wishes of our caucus on this extremely happy and worthwhile occasion.

Osie, mon ami, nous qui avons passé tout l’été ensemble, je voudrais te transmettre les bons souhaits du Parti Libéral, et je suis convaincu que tous nos collègues ici à l’Assemblée Législative se joignent à moi pour te demander d’accepter nos félicitations.

Ta vie a été remplie de succès non seulement comme député au niveau provincial et même au niveau fédéral, mais tu as fait aussi un grand succès de ton marriage. C’est quelque chose de fort important et nous sommes d’accord avec tout le monde ici présent, avec le Premier Ministre, pour te souhaiter bonne chance pour un autre cinquante ans.

Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that this government, and the Premier in particular, is much better at presenting plaques than at answering questions. But let me try again.


Mr. Breaugh: I want to ask the Premier a question. It is apparent that, in a number of places in Ontario, emergency services are a problem and there is a clear trend now towards recommending the use of paramedics -- I understand a report is about to be presented concerning Metro emergency services which will recommend the use of paramedics -- and a number of our ambulance attendants already have qualifications of that kind.

Will the Premier now see that kind of cardio-pulmonary resuscitation and paramedic care is provided here in Metro, where it is possible? Will he also see that we do not run into a situation like the one in Sault Ste. Marie, where the Ministry of Health provided equipment and trained staff but the only problem was that they could not find a doctor in town who was prepared to co-operate with the system?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I am delighted that the member for Oshawa is prepared in his own very fair-minded way to acknowledge that there are some things the Premier of the province does well. That is a breakthrough. It is the first time he has acknowledged that. I live in expectations.

Mr. Breaugh: That is it.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I know. That is exactly what the member said at the shovel-turning in Oshawa when I was there. He was saying how great that performance was. Those are two occasions. I expect the next time I visit Oshawa he will rush up again to have his picture taken with the Premier of the province to demonstrate that great affection once again. I know how the member operates. I know what he says here and I know what he says when I am in his home community. Let us not kid one another.

However, what was the question? Sault Ste. Marie. That is the place the Leader of the Opposition is never going back to. I recall that as well.

I can only give the general assurance to the honourable member that whatever changes are necessary, whatever makes sense to improve the quality of health care in this province, this government will initiate it as it has done with every improvement for the past number of years. These initiatives make it, as I said to his leader and to which he was not listening, the finest health-care system anywhere in this country. That will continue to be the objective of this government.


Mr. Hennessy: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my question to the Minister of Culture and Recreation. It concerns the Ontario Ski Bob Association.


Mr. Hennessy: Just be quiet, fellows; you had your day.

I would like to ask the minister if his ministry could arrange a meeting with the hotel owners and the ski resort owners up there who requested a meeting with the Ministry of Culture and Recreation in the city of Thunder Bay. They feel it is imperative that they meet with the ministry and discuss the situation where they lost approximately $22,000. They feel the ministry officials should meet with them and discuss it.

Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, as I am sure the member for Fort William knows, we are prepared to meet with the operators up there at any time. Perhaps the most we can do is commiserate with each other for the time being while we try to sort out the unhappy situation that has developed with that grand prix. Certainly I am quite prepared to meet with the operators, preferably here in Toronto, or I will have my ministry staff meet with them -- no problem at all.

Mr. Hennessy: Could I ask the minister if I could arrange a time? How about this Friday afternoon in Thunder Bay?

Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, I now realize why the member for Fort William sent me a cigar a few minutes ago. Unfortunately, I shall be in the great city of Kirkland Lake this Friday afternoon, but in due course we will be prepared to meet with his friends up there in Fort William.

Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, why is it the minister failed to document in his statement today any information he had that the Canadian Ski Bob Association could raise its portion of the funds privately? Does he not agree that the presence of his officials at the meet indicated to the operators of the hotels and the ski hills that the bill would be paid? Why did he not ensure the bill was paid before the Canadian Ski Bob Association decamped?

Hon. Mr. Baetz: Certainly in the first instance, in any project like this, we do not undertake any commitments on behalf of the project operators, not at all. The fact that members of my ministry were there participating in this particular event in no way suggested that the ministry was taking the responsibility for the finances.

I think it was rather unfortunate that the hotel operators themselves did not take the necessary steps to ensure the Canadian Ski Bob Association would be in a position to pay its bills. The fact they did not do that does not mean the responsibility for them failing to do so should redound to the ministry.


Mr. Cunningham: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Transportation and Communications. In view of the fact that more than 1,500 people die on Ontario highways every year and more than 90,000 people are seriously injured in motor vehicle accidents, when is the government going to properly fund rescue squads, such as the Simcoe Rescue Squad, which has saved hundreds of lives over the years? When is the government going to legislate proper standards to ensure the establishment of uniform high standards of rescue across Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, that question should more appropriately be addressed to the Solicitor General.

Mr. Cunningham: I would so redirect if I could, Mr. Speaker, if he was paying attention.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I always pay attention to the member’s questions, Mr. Speaker. The issue, in relation to the work being done by the Simcoe Rescue Squad, I recognize as a very important initiative. Approximately two years ago we initiated a course at the Ontario Fire College with respect to extrication of victims trapped in automobiles as a result of highway accidents, it being the belief that the fire departments were perhaps the best public body to turn to in this type of emergency. Since that time we have hired some well-qualified firefighters who, together with a large rescue unit, are travelling throughout the province giving instruction to local firefighters in relation to extrication of accident victims. As a matter of fact, the fire marshal’s office had a demonstration in front of the Legislature just yesterday with respect to the equipment and the rescue unit.

3:20 p.m.

Fire departments throughout the province have shown great interest in maintaining or increasing their standard of performance with this type of equipment. We are encouraging municipal fire units to purchase this equipment, and we hope that there will be a high standard of this type of rescue activity established throughout Ontario.

In so far as legislation is concerned, with respect to the type of standards that should be utilized by individual fire departments, we are still to some extent learning about the best methods of extrication. A great deal has been learned in the past two years, though, and it may well be that legislation would be appropriate at some time in the not-too- distant future.

Mr. Cunningham: The minister has neglected to make any specific comment with regard to funding. Is the minister aware that more than half of the fire departments in Ontario lack the proper equipment? Has he discussed this matter with his own brother who, I believe, in his medical capacity has been quoted as saying that the cost of maintaining a paraplegic in Ontario is on an average of $1.5 million for a lifetime? What are his comments on that? Has he considered implementing legislation or bringing in the private bill that is in the name of a member from his own party, the member for Simcoe Centre (Mr. G. Taylor)?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, with respect to funding, we would hope that the individual municipalities would recognize the importance of this work and would be able to provide funding as part of their firefighting budgets. We think this is an expense that local taxpayers would be quite prepared to support, given the importance of these rescue initiatives.

Mr. Philip: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Has the minister not seen the statements by his own brother which indicate millions of dollars are being wasted and, indeed, the lives of quadriplegics and paraplegics are being wasted at chronic-care hospitals, all of which are funded by the provincial government, because a proper extrication system has not been implemented in the province?

Why can the minister not recognize that the Simcoe Rescue Squad is providing a service and at least fund it in the interim until such time as operations can be established at the local or municipal firefighting level?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, so far as public funding is concerned, it is my view that it should be channelled through the provincially funded institutions, such as the fire marshal’s office, and the Ontario Provincial Police in areas that are not served by fire departments. Certainly, I would like to see additional funding.

I am quite aware of the statements made by my brother, Dr. Robert McMurtry, with respect to his work in the area of trauma generally. I am optimistic that there will be additional funding for these initiatives, which I think should be carried out and supervised by the Ontario fire marshal’s office. But again, notwithstanding the desirability of provincial funding in this area, to encourage local municipalities to obtain this equipment and to train their firefighters in this activity, I am still optimistic that most municipalities will appreciate the value of this work and give it a high priority.


Mr. Wildman: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Natural Resources. Would the minister inform the House as to whether he agrees with the comments made by his parliamentary assistant in the House on Tuesday afternoon, that the Game and Fish Act cannot apply to treaty Indians? Also, could he clarify the policy of the Ministry of Natural Resources towards enforcement of fishing and hunting regulations on treaty Indians? Even though his parliamentary assistant claims that the ministry is unaware of it and takes a lenient approach, a crown attorney stated in court in Kenora on November 19, 1979, “From here on in, the crown will be asking for high penalties, extremely high penalties.”

Hon. Mr. Auld: Mr. Speaker, I will try to give a brief answer. My understanding is that the federal Fisheries Act applies to all Canadians. As for the regulations passed under it for Ontario, I indicated at a meeting with a group of the native people or chiefs last spring that we and the federal government were prepared to accept special regulations for different reserves for fishing for their own purposes which would be in line with the treaty rights that related to that band and/or that reserve.

There was a good deal of discussion on that. We are pursuing a proposal, which was suggested through the office of the Indian commissioner, to adopt a procedure, which I believe is being followed in British Columbia, in connection with a decision in simplified form, a decision by a senior person in the government, perhaps in the Ministry of Natural Resources or in the Ministry of the Attorney General or elsewhere, to give permission for permission to prosecute. No decision has been made on that yet. I expect at the next meeting we will be discussing that a little further, and we may have something further to go on.

Mr. Wildman: Am I to take from that that the provision under the Game and Fish Act that all individuals, hunting, fishing or trapping in the province must have a licence will not apply to treaty Indians? If that is the case, does the minister intend to exercise leniency towards treaty Indians? We have information that in a court case in Sioux Narrows in June 1980, when questioned by a defence attorney, a conservation officer stated he honestly did not believe it was the policy of the ministry to show leniency. When is the province really going to recognize and state clearly the treaty right to fish for food without harassment?

Hon. Mr. Auld: The situation as far as status Indians are concerned is that they are able to hunt and fish for food on their own reserves at any time without a licence. That has been the policy, as far as I know, since Confederation, and there is no suggestion that is being changed.


Mr. Sargent: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Industry and Tourism. In view of the fact that the latest figures released as of August 31 show that there are 143,000 unemployed youth under the age of 25 in Ontario with no future; with this figure being supported by the shocking news in the report released today by the Ontario Economic Council which reveal that Ontario has the worst record in the free world with a youth unemployment rate of 14.5 per cent; and in view of the minister’s disgraceful disregard for our youth, reaching alarming proportions, will the minister tell the House and these 143,000 youths why we cannot marshal all our resources to institute a crash program to put our youth back to work?

3:30 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, may I say that the kind of rhetoric the member and others wish to use to paint a bleak picture as though Ontario is far behind the rest of the world on a lot of economic counts is totally inaccurate.

If we look at the unemployment figures or the employment figures for Ontario, we find that there are some 35,000 more people at work in Ontario today than there were last year at this time. Last year, this province had 166,000 more people at work, year over year. Those are rather remarkable records.

If the member wants to compare them to other industrialized jurisdictions, as the study he is talking about does, let him pick the one he would like to compare it to. An industrialized jurisdiction is obviously a little different from, for example, a resource-strong province, such as Alberta, which is currently going through a resource boom. But I would point out to the honourable member that Alberta -- taking that as an example of a resource-boom economy -- is operating at about four per cent unemployment now, that is, about two and a half or three per cent below Ontario, which is in the midst of a serious downturn in its largest industry.

I suggest to the member that in terms of job creation, as he compares Ontario to any industrialized jurisdiction, indeed as he compares it to the rest of Canada, our job creation, notwithstanding the picture he wants to paint by using or twisting figures, is literally better than that of any industrialized jurisdiction he can point to.

Mr. Sargent: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: This report, Unemployment and Labour Force Behaviour of Young People; Evidence from Canada and Ontario, by the Ontario Economic Council’s research and study group, is factual and shows the disgraceful performance of this minister with regard to youth in this province. He says it is twisting and it is lies. Would he please tell the House how he knows this is not true?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: The point I was making was obviously that the remarks the member is making are part of a series of remarks that are trying to paint an overly bleak picture of the state of our economy in this province.

I see the member for Renfrew North (Mr. Conway) holding up one of the things we are trying to do to create employment in this province. I know that member did not complain when we gave a grant to get Westinghouse in Renfrew. Where was he? Let him tell the people of Renfrew that he does not want the 400 jobs that Westinghouse put in there.

Mr. Sargent: We have had a bellyful of this hotshot minister here. He has been posturing with all these figures. Will he tell us, within $20 million or $30 million, how much he is spending on the promotion of all his enterprises? There is television, billboards -- he has three Ontario government boards. He is the best thing that ever happened to the media in all the world; television, radio, newspapers and billboards are making millions from him.

This plastic garbage he has here was probably made in Taiwan, like the scissors he gave us. The plastic was probably made in the United States, and he is talking about jobs for Ontario. I would like the minister to tell me how he can spend millions of dollars on promotion of crap like this yet he cannot spend five cents to put our youth back to work. That is what I am concerned about.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: The member is perhaps not totally aware of the fact that a great deal of work is being done under the aegis of the Ontario Manpower Commission to deal with the whole question of training our young people. I would invite the honourable member to compare that with the work being done in other jurisdictions to deal with that very same problem.

I would also invite the honourable member to have a look and see just what the American jurisdictions are doing in terms of coming up here to lure our industry to go there. I invite the honourable member to say Ontario should not seek to get new investments. This morning --

Mr. Roy: That is not the point and you know it.

Mr. Speaker: Order. Order.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: We let him use all the wild words he used.

I got a letter this morning from the industrial commissioner of, coincidentally, Owen Sound. I wish I had brought it today. Owen Sound was asking me to continue in our efforts to attract new foreign investment to the fine city of Owen Sound.

The honourable member may want to go back home this weekend and explain to the people in Owen Sound that he does not want any of that; that he thinks this approach we are taking as part of an overall strategy is wrong -- including the billboards, including our shop-Canadian program, including our export mission. He may explain that he is opposed to that sort of thing.

When things happen like Westinghouse -- multinational corporations with Ontario government assistance -- when they go into Renfrew, he knows there will be a lot of young people working at Westinghouse solely --


Hon. Mr. Grossman: When those things happen the Leader of the Opposition will have all the courage to stand up and say, “Generally speaking, I am against all foreign investments.” Specifically, I want to see the member for Renfrew North go to Renfrew and say, “We are against Westinghouse going there.” Is he prepared to say that? I will bet the member from Owen Sound does not go back this weekend and chew out the mayor and the council for writing and saying they want more.

Which side do the honourable members want it? Generally, they are against it; specifically, they are for it. Generally, they are against everything we are doing to compete for jobs; specifically they want us to bring them to their communities. Specifically, the honourable members want the youth to be employed, but generally they are against anything we do to attract it.



Mr. Cureatz from the standing committee on general government presented the following resolution:

That supply in the following amount to defray the expenses of the offices of the Provincial Auditor be granted to Her Majesty for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1981:

Administration of the Audit Act and statutory audits program, $2,590,000.

Mr. Cureatz from the standing committee on general government presented the following report and moved its adoption:

Your Committee begs to report the following bill without amendment:

Bill Pr30, An Act respecting the City of Hamilton.

Your committee begs to report the following bill with certain amendments:

Bill Pr32, An Act respecting the City of Mississauga.

Report adopted.


Hon. Mrs. Birch presented the fifth annual report of the Ontario Advisory Council on the Physically Handicapped.

Mr. Speaker: Motions. May I repeat: motions.

Introduction of bills. The Minister of Community and Social Services.

I understand there is a motion. I asked three times very specifically if there were any motions. We cannot revert to motions unless we have unanimous consent. I think everybody in this assembly has a responsibility to pay attention to what is going on.

Do we have unanimous consent to revert to motions?



Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, you are quite right; we all should listen carefully.

Hon. Mr. Wells moved that Mr. Sterling be substituted for Mr. MacBeth on the select committee on company law.

Motion agreed to.

3:40 p.m.



Hon. Mr. Norton moved first reading of Bill 171, An Act to provide for the Validation of Certain Adoption Orders made under the Child Welfare Act, 1978.

Motion agreed to.

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this bill is to remove some uncertainty that has been caused by a recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision concerning the validity of some 200 adoption orders made in county and district courts since June 17, 1979, the date at which the amendments to the Child Welfare Act came into force.

The courts proceeded to deal with cases of which they had been seized previously. The recent decision of the Court of Appeal has raised some question with respect to the validity of those orders.

The effect of the bill, if passed, will be to validate those orders so that the families and children who have already been through hearings before the courts would not be required to go back for validation periods.

Hon. Mr. Wells moved first reading of Bill 172, An Act to amend the Municipal Affairs Act.

Motion agreed to.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, this bill seeks to amend one aspect of the tax arrears procedure in the Municipal Affairs Act. The proposed amendment would give the ministry discretion to approve a conveyance of the land to the person who pays the taxes or to order the registration of a redemption certificate which would give the person paying the taxes a further lien on the land without jeopardizing the other interested parties.


Mr. Leluk moved first reading of Bill Pr38, An Act respecting the Borough of Etobicoke.

Motion agreed to.


Mr. Williams moved first reading of Bill Pr33, An Act respecting the City of North York.

Motion agreed to.


Mr. McClellan moved first reading of Bill Pr34, An Act to revive Theatre Passe Muraille.

Motion agreed to.


Mr. Roy moved first reading of Bill Pr39, An Act respecting the City of Ottawa.

Motion agreed to.




Mr. McCaffrey moved resolution 36:

That this House urge the government of Ontario, through the Ministry of Community and Social Services, to take further steps as a matter of priority to ensure that senior citizens have access throughout the province to home support services.

Mr. Speaker: The honourable member has up to 20 minutes. If he wishes to reserve any time for a windup he can notify the table officers.

Mr. McCaffrey: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I think 15 minutes or so at this stage would suffice. I would like something in the order of five minutes at the conclusion of the discussion.

I would like to take just a moment to explain what is meant by home support services, not to educate those who will be participating in this debate, because I am sure they are familiar with it, but others of our colleagues in this assembly who may not be aware of the range of services under this title and others who might take the time to read the discussion in Hansard.

When I use the term “home support services,” I am talking about personal care types of services such as dressing, bathing, shopping, meal planning, laundry, Meals on Wheels, home maintenance, security checks, telephone reassurance, day care for seniors and home care services of that type. There is a much longer list, of course, all of them collectively having in common that they are services designed to assist people 65 and over to continue living in their own homes and in their own communities. That is what makes home support services desirable and, in my judgement, that is what makes this discussion this afternoon of critical importance.

Frankly, it is my hope that this resolution will pass. I cannot for the life of me conceive of a set of circumstances where anybody would vote against it.

What I am really hoping comes out of this discussion is that we get a fair exchange of some ideas. I would be so bold as to suggest that there are a couple of innovative and potentially important ideas that I would like to have the members of the assembly think about and maybe respond to when they discuss it later on.

To put this whole question of home support services, the type of services and the market for these services in some kind of context I would like to try to define who now utilizes the services available and what the potential market is for the services that we will be discussing. I do not like that word “market,” but it will have to do for the moment.

The best information I could pull together indicates to me that approximately 80,000 senior citizens in Ontario are now receiving some form of home support services. I am told by professionals in the field, through their own experience and their own research, that in other jurisdictions 15 per cent of the people 65 and over normally utilize or require some form of home support care. If we take that as a working number just to make a few points this afternoon, it would seem to me there are a goodly number, 40,000 to 50,000 people in Ontario alone, who might well be in need of these home support services and are not now utilizing them. The thrust of my concern is that I feel all or most of these people are not aware of the services available, who delivers those services, and how they can get access to those services.

3:50 p.m.

I do not want to get hung up in statistics as everybody has different statistics as to how many seniors are out there and how many actually need the programs. If we assume the commonly accepted number that there are 840,000 retired citizens in the province and take 15 per cent of that number, 126,000, then if my information is correct that 80,000 are now receiving some form or help, it suggests that 40,000 to 50,000 might well be in need. For the purpose of this discussion, those 40,000 or 50,000 are the market or group I am concerned about.

If these statistics will suffice for working purposes, I think there is another more important message there for us. It is not the thrust of my resolution, but I want to take a minute to make my point. Approximately 85 per cent of people 65 and over in this province and in other jurisdictions are not likely in need of home support services now and may well never be in such need. In Ontario alone, something in the order of 700,000 senior citizens are not in need of home support services.

I urge my colleagues to bear this in mind because, having been in this assembly some three and a half years, I have been distressed about the tendency for myself and all of us in politics to look at someone 65 and over as someone who is automatically in need of financial assistance. There is a tendency to think after one has celebrated one’s 65th birthday one is then quickly approaching a point where one becomes the responsibility of the state and that people in this age category are unwilling or unable somehow to provide for themselves when the truth is very different.

The vast majority of senior citizens in Ontario today, and I know in the future, are able and determined to continue to lead their own lives, unencumbered by bureaucrats and nosy politicians. Bearing this in mind as we get into the details of this discussion, I am convinced we will not need additional universal “free” programs for senior citizens. Does it need to be said again that people 65 and over are for the most part taxpayers? I think it is important to bear that in mind.

That is not the thrust of this resolution. I want to get back to that group that could utilize home support services and are not now being reached or do not have access to the programs available. I believe they are out there. Is it because of a lack of programs or the absence of legislation?

Let me refer to some existing legislation and present programs within the Ministry of Community and Social Services, legislation currently on the books. The ministry now provides home support services under a number of programs and acts. I will just mention some: the Homemakers and Nurses Services Act, the Elderly Persons Centres Act, the Vocational Rehabilitation Services Act, the Child Welfare Act, the Day Nurseries Act, the Homes for Retarded Persons Act, the Developmental Services Act, the Homes for the Aged Act, the Charitable Institutions Act, the Ministry of Community and Social Services Act, and one could go on.

It seems to me there would be ample evidence to suggest there are adequate programs and adequate legislation in place now to meet that group I perceive to be in need out there. I do not think the automatic response to create new legislation would be adequate. Not only is there a host of programs, as I have just outlined, within that ministry, but also there are similar programs in other ministries and many varied programs in the private sector designed to meet the needs of separate target groups. However, these initiatives, individually and collectively, have tended to create some problems. We find different definitions of home support services utilized sometimes within the same ministry. We find different criteria for eligibility, different funding models and different user charges.

To get to the key of my concern at this stage, in spite of the network of programs, services and legislation, there are still older people in the province who do not have access to the services they need, who are isolated in their communities, who may only need a little help and a little social contact to lead more comfortable and meaningful lives.

If members will bear with me for the moment and allow that to be the thrust of my immediate concern, how then can the government, without just creating additional programs and legislation, better reach that market, better provide access to those I think we would all agree are in need?

In the first instance I would like to suggest that we start right here within the government. I would suggest that immediate steps be taken to address the confusion which, I will be honest, exists often in my mind and certainly in the minds of the public because of the multiple funding arrangements under many acts and different ministries.

I would like to refer to an article written by Lotta Dempsey in the Star on October 4, following a series I believe she did on the unfortunate tragedy surrounding Lillian Hess. “The Ontario government has been urged to create a Ministry of Ageing by the powerful Metro Summer Rendezvous for Seniors organization. A resolution passed unanimously at the annual meeting this week has gone to Premier William Davis” and the opposition leaders at Queen’s Park. “The resolution seeks a Ministry of Ageing to draw together the tremendous number of senior organizations as well as volunteer organizations in several fields connected with elders; to provide a central source to which any elder in the province can turn for help; and by so doing, to lead the way to similar ministries in every province and, we hope, ultimately to an umbrella ministry in Ottawa.”

I think that puts one of my concerns succinctly and clearly.

The article goes on: “While the government of Ontario is commended on the benefits and services it currently provides for seniors, it is noted that often both these and volunteer efforts are dispersed and fragmented. Thus it is often very difficult for an ageing person in need of assistance to locate it.”

Most of the people who responded to the earlier series of articles on Lillian Hess supported very much the general idea that there should be a central source of information and help and that one central toll-free telephone number should be available to all people in the province to get direction and help.

I am not hung up on the creation of another ministry called the Ministry of Ageing or anything even analogous to that. The title does not concern me. I feel very strongly, though, that there should be some sort of clear focal point within the government where these various services and agencies and programs can be brought together.

If I may, I would like some of the others who will be speaking here this afternoon perhaps to respond to this. I would suggest something like a Senior Secretariat. I just call it that for lack of a better word and obviously because I see it as somewhat analogous to the Youth Secretariat, which was in place before I was elected here.

I see such a secretariat, an umbrella, a working group, as a place where there is a focal point for information and as a place where research can, if not be done, at least be collected and further studied. I will be honest, one of the things that comes to mind is the type of pension research and information that increasingly is going to be coming down the pipe. We are going to be seeing soon, one hopes, the report of the Royal Commission on the Status of Pensions in Ontario. There will be people of a variety of ages who will want information on that, and I can see in the present situation where they would rightly call the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations, the Ministry of Treasury and Economics and a host of other ministries to get such information. One focal point, one umbrella, one secretariat, one collection of people, easily identifiable within the government and easily identifiable by people in this assembly for starters, would go a long way to do that.

The second point, as to how we might improve the access to services now available to seniors in Ontario, takes me out to the community and away from Queen’s Park and away from the government. Something that has been sort of a pet concern of mine for some time deals with the alternative use of neighbourhood schools. Clearly, without going into any of the detail that is available on this, we are realizing in this province today the joint phenomenon of a decline in the student age population and, parallel to that, a rapid increase in the number of people reaching the age of 65. I do believe that we have an opportunity here to try to speak to these two parallel trends.

As the client group within the school-age population changes, and less and less it is the 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. school-aged child, we are going to be faced with neighbourhood schools where there will be space within that building. It may start with one or two classrooms. There are increasing numbers of incidents where there is a whole school available. Is there some way that these community centres -- just to use that in lieu of schools -- might be intelligently, economically and effectively utilized to pull together, at the community level, the host of services now available for people 65 and over?

4 p.m.

I am one of those people, and there are many of them in this assembly, who often use the expression “user-pay” when we talk about government programs. I would like to turn that around and introduce the expression “payer-use” in the context of these neighbourhood schools. People who, through property and other taxes, have contributed to the building, maintenance and use of these neighbourhood schools should be given an opportunity in their later years to use them in a way that is meaningful for them, and that would introduce a whole host of services now that could be distributed through these community centres.

We had a debate in here -- I think it was last Thursday -- on a resolution dealing with free dental work for senior citizens, and that resolution was supported in this assembly. I remember that the member for Essex North (Mr. Ruston), whose resolution it was, suggested there might be ways of getting some of the dental professionals out to senior citizens’ homes and so on. The same thing could be done in the context of these neighbourhood schools. There could be free visiting dental clinics available to the people within that neighbourhood, a neighbourhood that has changed in terms of the age makeup. One does not have to get statistics or do any real research on that; all one has to do is to canvass older neighbourhoods throughout the whole of Ontario, where the school-age population is declining, and one will find that although there is still a full neighbourhood, there is an active community increasingly populated with retired people.

To sum up, I would like to suggest that the government immediately clarify the programs and services within the government and give some serious thought to how these community schools might be utilized in this way. It should be done correctly and, to me, that means to do it clearly. I am convinced, and I think others would be, that it would be an economical program and would be in the best interests of people in need now.

Clearly we are going to have to define what services are absolutely essential and try to reduce that list of programs available, under the list I referred to earlier, and continue to find out which ones can logically be funded at the government level. That would make it easier for the volunteer sector to find out what its role is.

I have a few minutes that I would like to use to respond, but at this stage I think the onus is in two parts: first, at Queen’s Park, to clarify the situation here and, secondly to try to use at the community level existing paid-for community centres, the former elementary schools, to help deliver these services.

The Deputy Speaker: The honourable member has three minutes remaining.

Mr. Blundy: Mr. Speaker, I am very happy to join in the debate on this resolution today, and I want to compliment the member for having introduced it. I believe the member was driven in frustration to introduce this resolution, because the government he supports has been so lax and so poor in setting up home support services or community support services in most areas of Ontario.

I have to admit that there has been some work done in this field, of course, and there are some areas, primarily through the use of volunteers in their communities, that have provided some support services, but I believe a large percentage of senior citizens in Ontario are crying out for aid to enable them to stay in their homes. They do not want to go to an institution, but they are being forced to. Then, of course, on the other hand, the government is not providing any more beds in institutions. Over the last three years the number of homes for the aged beds has declined to the point where there are now 54 fewer beds than there were in 1977. I have a copy of the Ontario Advisory Council on Senior Citizens’ guide to community support services. This guide details the needs that are required to keep seniors in their homes and not be candidates for some institution.

First of all, there are living arrangements that must be considered and support that has to be given where possible, for those living arrangements to be continued. Then, if there are senior citizens in their own homes, they need services such as visiting health people, Meals on Wheels and inexpensive repairs to their homes so that they can stay there.

We talked earlier today about 143,000 youths being unemployed in Ontario. I would like to see a massive program for employing these young people to put on the storm windows when necessary, take them off when necessary, put on screens, fix the back steps that are falling off so the elderly people will not fall when coming out of their homes. There are all kinds of things that can be done, but this government has shown no imagination and very little initiative in doing it.

I would like to refer to a speech by the Deputy Minister of Community and Social Services on November 6, 1979, to a group of senior citizens. He made a couple of comments that I think we ought to look at when we are debating this resolution. I will read this comment: “First, it is essential that we help preserve personal independence rather than creating dependence and recipients of services.” We all subscribe to that philosophy and we want to see these people not dependent but independent with aids that can be provided in the community.

Further on in this talk of November 1979, the deputy minister said: “While there is agreement that home support services should be funded independently, the most appropriate legislative mechanism has yet to be determined by this ministry.” Back then they did not know what they were going to do or how they were going to do it, but surely, with the resources that are available, there should be ways and means of keeping the elderly in their own homes.

I believe we ought to do so just because we want them in their homes. However, there are other reasons. In the report of the interministerial committee on residential services, when it was speaking about various levels of care for seniors and it got down to homes for the aged, the report said: “The long waiting list for admission is related to some extent to a severe shortage of support services for seniors living in the community.”

The interministerial committee is agreeing with what I am saying. I believe, if you go out and speak to the individual senior citizens, they do not want to give up their homes. They want to be independent, they want to have their own familiar surroundings, and to do this, support services of which the previous speaker has spoken and of which I am speaking are required.

It is not enough for us merely to have added new years to life. While that is commendable, our objective should be to add new life to these years that have been given, and I believe we can do this best by being able to have a firm policy and a good understanding of the need. I submit to you, Mr. Speaker, that the present government does not have that understanding yet.

4:10 p.m.

The member for Armourdale (Mr. McCaffrey) mentioned the confusion in the minds of the senior citizens of the province about where they go to get any assistance -- even the simplest things that might pop to mind. Where do they get it? There is nothing available in my community that is going to provide them with the answer. However, the city of Sarnia, under the auspices of the Marshall Gowland Manor, is now applying for a community service project grant from the federal government which will provide each person over 65 with a detail of services available to them. That is going to help.

The member for Armourdale mentioned that maybe we should have another ministry, a Ministry of Ageing. I say, Lord preserve us from it. We already have too many ministries. We have the Ministry of Health, we have the Ministry of Community and Social Services and then we have, as my friend the member for Essex North says, the Provincial Secretariat for Social Development. As far as I know, they do nothing; so let’s not have another ministry.

I suggest it would be much more reliable and much more positive to have the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Community and Social Services sit down together and let them say, “Okay, you be the one responsible for home support services in the community.” How simple that is. But it is just too simple for this government to do that. There would not have to be all this indecision, these problems about which ministry is going to do what. We do not need to appoint another ministry. We should designate one of the existing ministries. As a matter of fact, we could do away with one of them already and designate one of the two that are left.

I am very happy to support the concept that has been talked about by the member for Armourdale. But I also want the people of Ontario to know that the government has been talking about home support services for six years -- I can go that far back in the papers I have -- and has produced very little. What we need now is action, and I believe we should designate one ministry to be responsible for it. We must allocate funds for it. Those funds will be repaid to us by not having to fund the various institutions -- hospital, chronic care, homes for the aged, nursing homes, rest homes et cetera. That will be money in the bank if we do something now for the senior citizens of Ontario.

In summing up, and it will be a very short summation, I just hope these three ministries will listen to some of the debate today.

Mr. McClellan: Mr. Speaker, it is hard for the ministers to listen to the debate when they do not even take the time to attend in the House.

I welcome the opportunity to participate in debating the member for Armourdale’s resolution, because it gives me an opportunity to support the resolution and to beat the government once again about the head and ears. I am sure they deserve it on this issue of all issues.

The resolution talks about the government taking further steps as a matter of priority. I want to deal with just what a low level of priority home support services have had from this government over the last few years of social service and health cutbacks. Before I do that, let’s put the question of home support services into its proper context.

I refer, as the member for Sarnia did, to Mr. Carman’s speech of November 6, where he says: “We should be talking more of a continuum of care in the future, rather than community alternatives to institutional care.”

That is absolutely correct, because it makes sense. But it is also correct because of the kinds of cutbacks that this government has perpetrated over the last five years in the areas of residential care.

There is a story in today’s Toronto Star that says 2,000 elderly people are in the wrong beds. Twenty-eight per cent of the people in chronic care beds could very easily be accommodated in homes for the aged, either charitable homes or municipal homes for the aged.

What has this government done with respect to charitable homes for the aged and residential homes for the aged? They have cut 202 beds from those programs in the last three years. Between 1977-78 and 1980-81 there are 202 fewer beds. Congratulations! What an admirable achievement!

This year, according to the estimates of the Ministry of Community and Social Services, the government is contemplating the addition of 186 beds to the homes for the aged program. Congratulations. That leaves the government a net shortfall over the past three years of almost 70 beds. We read there are at least 2,000 people in Metro alone who need this kind of care.

Let’s not kid ourselves: When this government talks about home support services it is putting up a smokescreen to cover the fact that it has been chopping and chopping ruthlessly at the institutional care program over the last three to five years. There has been an absolute freeze on residential care in Ontario since 1975 -- the member for St. George (Mrs. Campbell) will know; 1975 or 1976.

Now we are in the position where in Metropolitan Toronto there are huge waiting lists for our municipal homes for the aged. In other parts of Ontario it is almost impossible to get a bed in a home for the aged. What are these people supposed to do? And the government talks about home support services.

I fully expect that when the election comes the government will trot out some grand rhetorical package talking about their new commitment to home support services. But let me tell the government, or any member of the government who chooses to read this debate, that it will be reminded of the atrocity of the kinds of cutbacks that have been perpetrated in Ontario over the last five years that have caused so much harm and so much suffering. They won’t get away with it.

The kind of smokescreen that may be raised about a new program of home support services will be shown to be a smokescreen unless it is matched by a restoration -- not just a restoration but a major increase -- in the number of publicly funded homes for the aged beds, nursing home beds and municipal homes for the aged beds in this province. Until we deal with that act of irresponsibility we can’t begin to talk sensibly about a continuum of care services.

Let’s talk about home support services, because that’s what the resolution deals with. Of all the remarks in the speech by the member for Armourdale, I don’t think he dealt very specifically with the need for a legislative framework, with the need for a statute in Ontario that would provide for the orderly funding of home support services.

We all know what kinds of services are needed. We do not have to run through the list again. I have made at least 50 speeches since 1975 on the need for home support services. The member for St. George has made an equal number. Members on both sides of the opposition have spoken at length.

We know what we need to do in this province. The problem is very simple: there is no legislation. What is the government doing? Stalling, and stalling, and stalling. They have been stalling since 1976. Now we have, according to the Ministry of Community and Social Services, a new round of consultation on the previous two consultation processes.

Mrs. Campbell: Study, study.

Mr. McClellan: Study, study, study. I think Mr. Carman, in the conclusion of his speech, promised an internal review, a dialogue with communities, a discussion with organizations and a dialogue with other ministries. Is there no end to the amount of talking that this ministry and this government is prepared to do about the issue? Apparently not.

Let us look at the question of priorities. Elderly persons’ centres have had a freeze imposed on them of $15,000 for at least four years. Last year -- another marvellous achievement of the government -- the Ministry of Community and Social Services budgeted $3.7 million for elderly persons’ centres and spent only $1.8 million, for a grand saving to the Treasury of $1.9 million at the expense of programming within the elderly persons’ centres of this province.

4:20 p.m.

Let us look at the priorities. The Ontario Housing Corporation was running a support services program out of three settlement houses in this city. It was a tremendously successful program. It was keeping a couple of hundred senior citizens in their apartments. That program was killed last year by OHC. So much for priorities.

We know what the situation is with Meals on Wheels. In some communities elderly people in their 80s have to wait up to six months before Meals on Wheels are available. In some communities Meals on Wheels closed down over the summer. In some communities they are available one or two days a week. Are elderly people supposed to eat only one or two days a week? Apparently that is what this government thinks.

Home health services and home support services are virtually nonexistent, unless people can afford to hire a maid from one of the maid services. Visiting homemakers’ services is another great accomplishment on the part of this government. Last year the ministry budgeted $8.7 million for homemakers and nursing services; they managed to spend $6.2 million, for a net saving of $2.6 million at the expense of people who needed visiting homemakers and nursing services. Congratulations. That is further evidence of the government’s commitment to home support services in this province. That is a total of $4 million that they managed to squeeze out of senior citizens last year alone. What a tremendous accomplishment. What a great sense of priorities.

Let us look at the situation in private nursing homes. That pile of eggs is just about to hit the fan, as I suspect most members of this cabinet know. Are they aware that in many private nursing homes there is virtually no staff unless the elderly are wealthy enough to purchase their own nursing services from private nursing agencies? This is the direction in which this government is obviously heading.

The freeze on publicly supported municipal homes for the aged has been absolute. In the coming year the Ministry of Community and Social Services is planning to add a total of 136 charitable homes for the aged beds. Do members know how many municipal homes for the aged beds are going to be added? Zero. Not a single bed, not a single solitary bed in the entire province. It is disgusting and it is a disgrace. This government deserves to be and stands condemned for its attitude towards services to the senior citizens of this province.

Finally, senior citizens in Ontario who depend on the guaranteed annual income systems, if they are single, are still living in poverty. They are still receiving a level of assistance below the poverty line, and the government says it has a commitment to serve the needs of senior citizens in this province.

I congratulate the member for Armourdale (Mr. McCaffrey) for introducing the legislation. I do not have the slightest doubt it will not make the slightest dent on this stubborn and impervious government. They have proven their record over the last five years, and their record condemns them.

Mr. Watson: Mr. Speaker, I stand to support my colleague who has raised a number of concerns regarding the current system of home support services in this province. Unlike the members opposite, I happen to think there are a lot of senior citizens out there who think this province and this government have done an awful lot for them.

But there are others who should be considered in this than those in the type of home support services he mentioned. I do not think it should be limited particularly to senior citizens. We have people like the physically disabled, families with children who have special needs, and we want to ensure they are included in any home support services we might come up with.

The matter of co-ordination of services is a grave concern to the government. Steps are being taken to ensure that existing programs are co-ordinated, and that policies and programs of the various ministries involved are complementary.

The government is currently spending more than $2 billion a year for programs for the elderly in this province. It is our intent that, as the population of seniors grows, this already large and diversified system will be capable of expanding in an efficient and rational way to meet the increased needs of these services.

Reference has been made to the programs of other ministries. I would like to discuss some of the implications of these to this resolution, particularly in the Ministry of Community and Social Services but in some of the other ministries as well. The Ministry of Revenue, for instance, through the guaranteed annual income system, Gains, supplements federal old age security to ensure that all seniors in Ontario have a guaranteed basic level of income support. Ontario tax grants add up to another $550 to this basic level. These are a very effective way to assist our senior citizens to maintain their own homes. Some people seem to think we should move all our senior citizens into institutions. I would like to point out that some of these programs are already designed to try to help people stay in their homes for a longer time.

The Ministry of Health has a wide array of programs of particular benefit to seniors. In addition to residential programs for acute and chronic hospital care patients and extended care nursing homes, they provide free coverage under the Ontario health insurance plan for those over 65, the drug benefit program, home care for those recovering from acute illness and, more recently, chronic home care which will be available across the province by the end of the fiscal year 1981-82.

The Ministry of Housing provides senior citizen apartments and the home renewal program to enable home owners to repair and rehabilitate their homes. This program has been widely used by senior citizens. The Ministry of Culture and Recreation provides capital grants for the building of social and recreation facilities, such as senior citizen centres.

Within the Ministry of Community and Social Services, programs that come to mind are most of the programs my colleague has mentioned. Funding for the municipal and charitable homes for the aged is within that ministry. The ministry recently appointed a task force on home support services which is working with an advisory committee of people from the community who are knowledgeable about the service needs of the elderly and other groups to develop options for a new act that will facilitate provision of home support services across the province.

The task force is preparing a consultation paper, which the ministry expects to circulate for community comment and input later this year. Following this, the ministry intends to prepare legislation on home support services which will be presented in this Legislature in 1981. As part of this process, the ministry will be reviewing its current policy and programs to determine the direction they should go in the future. A number of programs are involved.

For many years the ministry has shared with municipalities the cost of providing homemakers and nurses services to the elderly living in a community. As the Ministry of Health’s chronic home care program is implemented across the province, it is expected, based on our experience in the communities where this program is now in place, that many older people formerly served by the homemakers and nurses program who require medical service will be eligible for this new program. However, there are many who are physically well, but somewhat frail, who will continue to require the services administered by the Ministry of Community and Social Services.

During 1979-80 there were 143 municipalities, unorganized territories and Indian bands that participated in this program at a provincial cost of more than $6.2 million. This year expenditures are expected to be in the area of $9 million, which is not exactly a cutback.

Another program of this ministry, home support for the elderly, provides financial support for projects developed by volunteer groups in the community organizations that reach out to older people living in their own homes with services, such as Meals on Wheels, day care for the physically frail or mentally confused, family visiting, housekeeping, home maintenance, transportation and many other kinds of assistance that they need.

Elderly persons’ centres have been subsidized by the Ministry of Community and Social Services for nearly two decades. In recent years many of these centres have reached out to their numbers who had been homebound and unable to participate in the social and recreational programs at the centres. These outreach services are now receiving separate funding under the previously described program, home support for the elderly. At present, 97 elderly person centres are being funded by the ministry, and a number of new applications are being processed. It is estimated that more than $1.8 million will be spent by the province this year on centres across the province. At least two thirds of these centres are providing outreach services to the homebound elderly.

4:30 p.m.

Another program of a home support nature the ministry provides is the municipal home support for the elderly program, which subsidizes municipalities to provide home maintenance services to seniors. The senior volunteers is a service program in which the ministry provides training and covers expenses for a group of older volunteers who become advocates for the elderly in our communities and who identify and seek to develop services to meet their needs. There is the ministry’s basic income support program of general welfare assistance and family benefits which will provide financial assistance to the needy who are not eligible for help under the other programs.

I should note that the community groups are reaching out to provide services to the elderly not only in their own homes but also in the municipal and charitable homes for the aged. During the last quarter of 1979, 12 homes were running drop-in centres, 28 had day-care programs for elderly people who are physically or mentally frail and 70 were providing one or more types of meal services for nonresidents. All of the programs I have touched on briefly indicate that for many years now the government has been moving in the direction of providing financial support and services to enable the elderly to remain in the community for as long as their health and their strength permit.

Home support services should strengthen the role of their families, neighbours and friends to enable them to continue their sometimes burdensome responsibilities. They should not replace these loving, caring sources of assistance. We should encourage peer helping. Home support services for older people should be encouraged to help each other. Many people are searching for a meaningful role in retirement and can fill a much-needed and very worthwhile role in a community through service to others. Many senior citizens are lonely; so home support services should provide some social interaction and some means of communicating with others for those who are isolated because of physical frailty. Services should be co-ordinated both at the provincial level and the local level to ensure that our elders get a range of services needed to make the best use of our scarce resources.

Where it is practical, home support services should serve all needy groups, not just the elderly but also, as I mentioned, the physically handicapped and families with children. Where it is appropriate, there should be a charge for the service. Many older people can afford to pay for the services they receive and they want to pay for them. They do not want a welfare handout. But the charges should be appropriate to the type of service and income of the user. There should be no charge for those who cannot afford to pay. Whatever the charging policy, we should ensure that it does not prevent access to the service.

The basic concept should be a continuum of care; that is, services should range from services like friendly visiting provided by volunteers to more extensive and frequent services, but not including a level of care that could be provided by institutions. I am not suggesting we should attempt to provide in the community the kind of 24-hour-a-day, all-encompassing service that an institution provides. This would be impossible and expensive.

I want to summarize by saying I do support this resolution. The government is doing a lot now. We know there is more that can be done and we are doing what we think is right for the senior citizens of this province.

Mrs. Campbell: Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to enter into this debate, and I commend the member for Armourdale for bringing the matter forward. There are two reasons that make me want to participate. One is the exhibition this afternoon by the Provincial Secretary for Social Development (Mrs. Birch), who talked about the great amount of home support care in the province. I hope that if she does not read anything else -- and she never does read anything in my experience -- she will read the report of this debate. Secondly, I am delighted that the member has defined for this House what he means by home support care, because there has been a great deal of misunderstanding about what the term means.

The member for Bellwoods (Mr. McClellan) referred to a program that involved several settlement houses. One of those was in my riding. The Ontario Housing Corporation had started the program; it had worked well but then they stopped the program. Obviously we had to get together to try to find other sources of funding, and we did obtain funding through the local board of health at the city of Toronto. But one of the things which bothered me was that the Minister of Health gave his permission for that financial output by the city in very tentative terms. He made it clear that he was not assuring that he would continue this support of the local board of health for future years.

I wonder if I could draw you a picture of some of the scenes in my riding. I was in the apartment of one elderly lady. She was confined to bed at the time I was there. She did have a VON but, while I was there, her Meals on Wheels arrived. I will tell you I was embarrassed to see this poor soul cutting up this meal into two parts, so she could have one half that day and one half the next day because they did not provide Meals on Wheels that second day.

I am very grateful to all those volunteers who serve in this area but, as the member for Bellwoods has stated, it is surely not enough for us to stand proudly, as some do in this House, talking about that program when we know that in the summertime meals are not served in many parts of the city. Secondly, in my area they are not served on the weekends; so elderly people in their apartments, people who cannot get out, have a meal which they divide in two, and they eat this food which is unappetizing on the second day because they are eating it cold to make it spread out. That is one part. That is a true story from my riding.

4:40 p.m.

In another case, I had a woman talk to me. She was in tears; her husband had just died. She was moved into a home for the aged, and she said: “I have nothing left. I really had hoped I could stay in my apartment until I died. I don’t need much help. I can get my own meals. I find cleaning difficult.” The homemaker services were not sufficient for her purposes; so she was moved from an apartment into a home for the aged. Now, instead of being in her own apartment, she shares her accommodation with three other elderly persons.

Surely people have earned something better than that. I had no answers for her. I could not get her the kind of support she needed, and it was so very little, but there was nobody available.

We have tried the volunteer system. This government puts a great deal of weight on the volunteer system. The volunteers are great, but they cannot keep it up day in and day out. They tried. In my riding, a group of young women went from one to another to try to help with some of these services and then they had to give it up because of personal reasons. I do not think we should ever have started it because once that service is removed, it is worse than it was before. There has to be some kind of stability built into the program.

We have heard about the charges and the fees that should be levied. It is true that most seniors do not want to feel that they are beholden to the community for services but, before we start talking about charging, could we perhaps just look at what it is they need.

We have heard all about the tax credit program. I know that the ones in my riding, living in apartments, have suffered under this program. They have not gained under the program, and I think it is time somebody made that clear to the member for Chatham-Kent (Mr. Watson), because not everyone has benefited by that program.

We have heard about the people on the guaranteed annual income system. Thank God the government did adopt the program as submitted to this House by the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon), then Leader of the Opposition, as formulated by the late and great member for Nipissing, Mr. R. S. Smith, but there is no progress in it and people are slipping behind again. There are a lot of people in the community who are not on Gains but who are elderly and they have needs. That may surprise members of this government: They have needs.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. MacBeth): The honourable member’s time has expired.

Mrs. Campbell: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My congratulations to the member for Armourdale.

The Acting Speaker: The member for Scarborough West for two minutes.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: Two minutes? My God. My maiden speech was just 45 seconds, as I recall. We won that vote, by the way. My apologies to those who helped me pull together my notes on this.

I also rise in support of the motion and congratulate the member for giving us a platform to hammer the government on. I know that the member for Armourdale is an honourable man who believes something should be done about this.

The reason I got involved in politics, and I think I will just leave it at that, Mr. Speaker, was that I was convinced that governments in Ontario and in Canada treated the elderly in a patronizing fashion and had extended an attitude towards older people that permeates our society by which we have shoved them off into warehouses of death in the past. They are now presuming to veil that reality with the fact that we are providing home support services that are a sham and do not touch the reality of need in this province. The member for Bellwoods spoke to that.

I was happy today to actually hear at least three members speaking with some passion about this issue, because these people are not to be taken advantage of or presumed upon any longer. Their needs must be met and they will be met. The only way it is going to take place, because the minister promised me we would have an omnibus bill ready before us this fall, is with a change in government. He promised me that last year when I came in. We are not going to have that bill; we are going to have some sort of window-dressing to go into an election with next spring. The only way we are going to get the kind of omnibus bill we need to decentralize community operations, to achieve the co-ordination of assessment and placement services and to get interministry teams working with volunteers and organizations in our community, is with a change in government.

It is going to take a change of government that actually takes these services to the elderly as seriously as they take other services in this province.

Mr. McCaffrey: Mr. Speaker, there are a lot of points that require response and they are not going to get it right now partly because of time and partly because selfishly I want to go back to one of my major hopes and concerns and alternative routes for the future.

The first speaker indicated that in part the member for Armourdale was driven to this resolution by frustration. I think that is correct. I want to just explain why I, as a private member, have been frustrated as have many people in my community. Again I say it is not because of the lack of legislation, programs or services, but by the unbelievable list and the duplication that I, as a newer member, found when I tried to get a handle on some of the programs that were available.

The manager of our riding office in our own constituency, with the help of a senior citizens’ adviser, prepared two single-spaced, typed sheets of programs through volunteer, private, municipal, Metro, provincial and federal groups where a variety of services of the home support type were available in our own municipality. Two single-spaced, typed pages!

On the one hand, I guess the first reaction of anybody looking at that was, “Isn’t this terrific that it is there?” Quite frankly, the second and much stronger response from us was that it is just too much; there is just too much duplication. My current concern is that a person in need simply does not know where to start.

Mr. McClellan: Where is the legislation?

Mr. McCaffrey: The member for Bellwoods made reference, and he is doing it again, to the fact that no comment had been made by me for legislative framework or an omnibus bill. The point I am really trying to make is that, in the context of the present operation, one new act would drive me bonkers. If the honourable member wants to use an omnibus bill, I am happy with it and that is one of the things I would like very much to see, and I tie it in, not to a ministry --

Mr. McClellan: They have been promising it to us since 1976.

Mr. McCaffrey: I do not tie this in to the establishment of a Ministry of Ageing, but I tried to use the idea of a Senior Secretariat, just to suggest something that one will not respond to automatically by saying it would be too expensive. I do not care what it is called, but within the government there should be this clear focal point.

The last point again, but my major point, is the alternative, intelligent use of these community schools -- elementary, junior high, senior high -- within Ontario which are faced now with, in some cases, this acute problem of declining student enrolment, when we find retired people in the same neighbourhood. I am just saying there is an opportunity here for us to utilize these schools and community centres which have been paid for, by and large. I am using that old cliché the other way around. The payer now has an opportunity to use them. It seems to me that is an intelligent depot for these services to be directed to those in need.

I mention just in passing, we could have visiting dental clinics, we could have visiting mental health clinics and we could have visiting general practitioners. We could have a host of things that would be economical, creative and intelligent, and that the government could do with those paid-for community schools.

The Acting Speaker: The time for debating this item has expired.

4:50 p.m.


Mr. Epp moved resolution 31:

That, in the opinion of this House, the government should recognize the principles of “timely decision-making” endorsed by Ontario municipalities so that planning matters can be acted upon without undue delay, and, further, that the Ontario Municipal Board be required to hold hearings within 90 days of a referral and be required to render a decision within 30 days of that hearing.

Mr. Epp: Mr. Speaker, in addressing my resolution today I want to touch on two aspects. First, I wish to give a brief history of the Ontario Municipal Board and, second, I wish to state why it is important for the OMB to expedite hearings within 90 days of application and render a decision within 30 days of termination of that hearing. I hope this resolution will gain the support of all members of this House.

The history of the Ontario Municipal Board is the history of powers and jurisdiction acquired over a considerable period of time and in response to changing circumstances in the province. Thus, the functions of the board vary from one period in its history to another.

The Ontario Railway and Municipal Board, the predecessor of the Ontario Municipal Board, was constituted in 1906 to assume a variety of supervisory powers over the activities of local authorities vested until that time in the Lieutenant Governor in Council. These activities included such matters as annexation, the altering of municipal boundaries, approval of bylaws relating to finance and construction, assessment appeals and the administration and supervision of municipal street railways.

In 1908, the Municipal Securities Act gave the board power to approve the issuance of municipal debentures, and in the same year the Ontario Telephone Act gave the board the power to make rules for the regulation and operation of municipal telephone systems.

According to L. C. Holman of Queen’s University: “From 1906 to 1930 the work of the Ontario Railway and Municipal Board increased rapidly. In 1907, 57 applications were heard, whereas in 1930 [a span of 23 years], the board dealt with about 809 applications.”

In 1932, the Ontario Municipal Board Act replaced the old statute as the board was given more control over municipal financing to deal with the increase in municipal bankruptcies resulting from the Depression.

During the 1930s the work of the Ontario Municipal Board increased substantially and has been increasing since that time. The select committee on the Ontario Municipal Board, chaired by the member for Humber (Mr. MacBeth), reported in 1972 that the board functioned in four main areas: planning, capital expenditure, assessment appeals and municipal organization. In 1972, 85 per cent of hearing time was spent on planning and 50 per cent of administrative time was spent on it.

In 1978, according to the seventy-third annual report of the OMB, the board dealt with 9,344 applications and appeals and issued a total of 8,423 orders. The board received, among others, 3,569 applications for approval of restricted areas, for example, zoning bylaws, 112 appeals for amendments of restricted area bylaws -- these were according to subsection 35(22) of the Planning Act -- and about 213 applications for approval of proposed plans of subdivision and condominiums.

Parts III and IV of the Ontario Municipal Board Act set out the general jurisdiction and powers of the board. The statute also governs the procedure of the board regarding application hearings and the issuing of orders. Where express provision has not been made, section 90 allows the board to make general rules regulating practice and procedures. In addition, however, the board also has the power given it by other acts such as the Municipal Act and the Assessment Act.

As far as the role of the board in planning functions is concerned, the Planning Act, first enacted in 1946, gives the board numerous approval and appellate powers. Among the more significant ones are the approval of official plans and official plan amendments, review of the conditions of subdivision approval, approval of zoning bylaws and approval of bylaws repealing or amending zoning bylaws, review of matters relating to section 35a, site plan bylaws, review of decisions of committees of adjustment and land division committees on minor variances and consents to sever.

Finally, it is interesting to note that Alberta has a planning board with a wide range of responsibilities, from co-ordinating the operations of the regional planning commissions to recommending land-use policies to the cabinet. Moreover, it is the subdivision appeal body under the Planning Act of 1977. Alberta’s Local Authorities Board, created by the Local Authorities Board Acts, rules on applications for annexation of lands to municipalities, authorizes debenture borrowing and authorizes the use of surplus debenture funds, among other things.

Whatever the problems may have been in years past, the opinion now being expressed is that the situation has improved recently with respect to the timing of applications and hearings. Several reasons may be cited for this improvement. For one thing, since September 1, 1979, it is no longer necessary to take zoning bylaws to which no objections are raised to the Ontario Municipal Board for approval. Rather, they can now be dealt with at the local level. Some municipalities may be taking advantage of this route under section 35(25) of the Planning Act, although it is the case that others, particularly rural ones, do still submit to the board for approval.

Secondly, a recent increase in fees applying to all applications before the board has had an impact, particularly as regards land division committees and committees of adjustment. As a result of this fee increase, the number of appeals to the board has declined.

Finally, the board is holding joint hearings and considering a subdivision, an official plan and zoning, for example, rather than holding three separate hearings.

Irrespective of the fact that some municipalities may feel there has been a speeding up of the process, the feeling is not shared by many municipalities across the province.

After submitting my resolution last June, I circulated a copy of it to all municipalities in Ontario, small and large, urban and rural, regional and nonregionalized. With a copy of my resolution I sent a letter briefly outlining the purpose of my resolution. It is interesting to note that I received about 100 replies to the 885 letters I sent out, more than a 10 per cent response, endorsing my particular resolution. I might point out that no reply was requested; so I was quite heartened by the fact that the councils took time to discuss my particular resolution and support it.

Let me read only a few of those approximately 100 letters I received in support of my resolution. The first one is from a non-regional, medium-sized city: “Certainly the sympathy of all municipal councils is with you as you attempt to improve the unacceptable situation as it exists today with regard to the OMB hearings on zoning bylaws, official plan amendments and other development proposals which must go before them. In reviewing legislation for the new Planning Act, this point was one of the main issues raised by the Association of Municipalities of Ontario on behalf of many municipalities which had indicated their frustration with the current system of waiting months, and even years, for hearings and subsequent decisions.”

5 p.m.

From a small, regionalized municipality: “Our whole system of approvals in Ontario has become so cumbersome and complicated that legitimate developers resign themselves to years of battling the system in order to bring about approvals for subdivisions and other proposals, a process which is apparently accomplished in a fraction of the time in the USA. This has led to the sad situation in which many companies and individuals have decided to channel their capital and their efforts outside of the country, especially sad in view of the prevailing economic conditions in Canada. The delay, typical of our whole system, results in heavy temporary borrowing costs, the extraordinary costs in engaging professional expertise required to steer applications through the approvals system. These costs are passed on to the end user and are a significant factor in creating the housing shortages experienced in the past and the lot prices and housing costs which are the case today.”

From a small, rural, nonrecognized municipality: “Our council certainly is in favour of speeding up referrals and decisions made by the Ontario Municipal Board. We have had occasion to deal with the Ontario Municipal Board and can certainly confirm some of the delays are unusual.”

From a small, rural, regionalized municipality: “My municipality has been witness to delays anywhere from eight months to 18 months. My experience in this municipality as a partner in the regional setup is, when the planning department on the local level goes through the necessary process as quickly as possible, it then becomes bogged down when it hits the region. Since the province, in its wisdom, gave the regional municipality more power and jurisdiction than the local municipalities, I feel it is now necessary to streamline the Ontario Municipal Board.”

From a medium, urban, nonregionalized municipality: “The time delay in securing a hearing before the Ontario Municipal Board and the subsequent delay in getting a decision is probably one of the most frustrating areas of bureaucracy that municipal government has to put up with.”

From a large, regionalized municipality: “Excessive delays have indeed been a source of frustration to municipal councils and the construction industry. It would seem that the appointment of additional board members and more staff, if required, would be a small price to pay if this part of the process can be made more efficient.”

From a large, urban, regionalized municipality: “I wholeheartedly endorse your resolution and I sincerely hope the government will adopt your proposal. It has long been a source of irritation to me to hear criticisms directed at our municipal officials when in fact the fault lies at the doorstep of some outside agency, such as the Ontario Municipal Board, in not scheduling hearings much earlier than is presently the case. Quite often delays occur in other government agencies, such as various branches of the Ministry of Housing, where their approval is required pursuant to the Planning Act.”

From a large, regionalized, urban city: “I have often thought it might be a reasonable thing to apply a similar set of rules to all government agencies, since one hears many horror stories of approval processes that are delayed over what seems to be very unreasonable time frames. Sometimes those delays can be of sufficient duration to stifle what private individuals seek to do.”

It is clear to see the frustration felt by municipalities across the province. Let me also indicate where the Premier stands on this matter by quoting from one of Toronto’s large daily newspapers on June 10, 1980, when it reported the Premier’s address to the Ontario Renews conference. “The Premier took a crack at municipal officials for dragging their feet while processing approvals of renewal projects, saying that they never stopped to consider how much their delays add to the cost of multimillion-dollar projects. You can’t encourage redevelopment or revitalization if you are going to put in front of the people you want to do it a series of complex bylaws or hearings that drag on until the investment is no longer attractive.”

It is unfortunate that the Premier blames the municipalities of Ontario for long delays in approving needed development when the greatest detriment to quick approvals is the delay in scheduling a hearing and making public the decision. There are normal delays of nine to 12 months when there is no reason under the sun why the total time could not be reduced to four months.

I am aware that if developers want to call the Premier’s office or hire a high-priced lawyer or even contact their lowly MPP, who in turn will lobby at the OMB for an early hearing, this can be arranged. But is that the way a system should be run? Is that the way a democracy should be run? Public relations money that is spent by the Ministry of Industry and Tourism and by many other ministries totals in the neighbourhood of $18 million to $24 million only in three or four months of this year. Could not some of that money go to hiring a sufficient staff at the OMB if that is what is needed?

There are several ways the whole process can be expedited:

1. The OMB has to be conscious of the problems it is causing because of the long delays and try to make the present system more efficient. Not only must the members’ hearings be scheduled more efficiently but also their reports should not sit around for one to two months on some secretary’s desk to be typed after they have been submitted.

2. More members must be appointed to deal with the tremendous backlog of cases. If the government does not respond to the need, the OMB should publicly request additional members and then let the opposition come to their defence.

3. The OMB members should not be asked to deal with minor cases such as assessment of appeals amounting to only a few dollars. These appeals sometimes are for less than $100 and take one, two, three and more days to deal with a particular problem, in addition to travelling time and the large expense of travelling and lodging.

4. I would recommend that consideration be given to the creation of two boards. One would deal with planning and boundary matters and the other with approval of capital expenditures and assessment appeals.

5. Consideration should be given to geographically decentralizing the board’s operations.

I look forward to hearing other members of this Legislature enter into this debate. I hope the combined contribution of all speakers will result in the government’s taking appropriate steps to have the Ontario Municipal Board schedule hearings within 90 days of application and render decisions within 30 days of the termination of those hearings.

Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to take part in this debate and to say immediately that in general principle I support the resolution we have before us from the member for Waterloo North.

I have some regrets about the resolution. The first regret is that it was not brought in in the form of amendments to the Planning Act so that we could have been specific about the issues other than just the two issues that are there. However, I recognize there is supposed to be a new Planning Act, or a total revision of the Planning Act. Perhaps if we approve of this resolution unanimously, the government will feel some obligation to incorporate at least these two items into the new act. There are many other items dealing with the whole time matter -- the long time being taken and the reason for it. However, that could have been dealt with if this had been brought in by a bill amending the present Planning Act, and then it could have been incorporated into the new act.

5:10 p.m.

I regret also that the resolution is so confined that all it deals with is the question of timely decision-making, when there are so many other matters of great concern with regard to planning that perhaps could have and should have been incorporated in a resolution if it were going to have some meaningful impact on the whole planning process in this province.

For instance, I would like to have seen recommendation number eight in the report of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario incorporated in this, where they say, “The Ontario Municipal Board must be the final adjudicator in all planning referred to it, in which a determination must be made as to whether or not a municipal action contravenes published provincial policy.” I agree with that recommendation and that should be in here, because at the present time the government can overturn a ruling of the Ontario Municipal Board where it is patently clear that the Ontario Municipal Board carried out government policy but, for the sake of their friends or for some other reason, the government wants to change that decision of the Ontario Municipal Board and often makes the Ontario Municipal Board look bad.

I would also like to have seen something incorporated in the resolution with regard to the funding of the citizens’ groups, who are often involved in costs of tens of thousands of dollars in fighting a just case for the citizens. When they are up against the municipalities and the Ontario government, how can they possibly hope to win if they do not have some equality in funds to fight the case? However, those points are not in it; they have been left out. But in any event I will be supporting the resolution before us.

I want to voice, though, some support for the Ontario Municipal Board. I think it is fair to say that in its decisions it is probably the most creditable of any of the boards appointed by the provincial government, and it appoints very many. I think both citizens and municipalities generally agree that the Ontario Municipal Board is an independent body, which looks at the evidence, is not influenced by political considerations, then comes down with the decision with which they may not agree at times, but they do not challenge the integrity of the Ontario Municipal Board. I wanted to make those comments.

I also want to comment -- because I know it to be true; I have done substantial investigation -- that often the delays which are attributed to the Ontario Municipal Board, not always, but on some occasions, I have found not to be the fault of the Ontario Municipal Board, but the fault of the Ontario government or, in some cases, the municipalities or other bodies not getting their reports in.

Having said that, I recognize there is a real problem that needs addressing and two specific matters in this resolution do address that time element and, as I have already said, I do support it. There have been occasions, and still are, of interminable delays in a final decision being made on planning matters.

I would just give one example, and that is the case of Leon’s, which wanted to establish a warehouse in the city of Thorold. It should be said that I am in total disagreement with where they wanted to establish it, because it is in a prime agricultural area, an area that has no other development around it. However, having said that, it is now something like eight years since they made their application to the municipality of Thorold to have an official plan change to permit this development there.

Mr. Wildman: Have they farmed there for eight years?

Mr. Swart: No, they have let it grow over, and that is one of the problems with developers buying up prime agricultural land: they let it grow over with weeds, and that is what has happened to this area. But, regardless of the merits of an application and the disagreements there may be, surely they have the right to have a decision made within a reasonable length of time. When they are talking of seven or eight years and no final decision has been made, that is not reasonable. Incidentally, it has now been before the cabinet for more than a year. The city of Thorold has withdrawn it once or twice and is now putting it back again, but the cabinet has not made a decision.

Mr. Wildman: They are pretty slow-moving over there.

Mr. Swart: They sure are. If it is controversial, they do not like to move at all, especially if it is going to step on the toes of their friends.

There are problems and we do need some measures such as are proposed in this resolution. I was surprised that the member for Waterloo North did not document the time delays that have taken place. My understanding from talking to a number of senior planners around this province is that the situation at the present time is quite dramatically improved over what it was two or three years ago. One obvious reason for this is that there is not much development going on in the province. Because of the Tory government, the province is stagnating and that has contributed to the speeding up of the processes. Also it is due to the fact that the Ontario government -- and I will give them credit for this -- has appointed additional members to the Ontario Municipal Board.

I am told official plans are dealt with in about 90 days if they do not have to go to the Ontario Municipal Board. Where the Ontario Municipal Board was setting major hearings as much as eight and nine months in advance, they are now down to about four months. But I agree with the member for Waterloo North that 90 days is better than even four months. They would meet it if that deadline were there.

Most decisions on subdivisions that go to the board are made within about three months, I understand, if they are not complex ones.

Any regulations put in with regard to time must be carefully thought out so they do not restrict full consideration and do not prevent adequate public input, because that is an extremely important part of the whole planning process. The resolution we have, as already stated, bypasses many of the real problems of time consumption in planning matters. Many of the delays -- in fact, most of them -- are the direct result of government policies.

First of all, the number of levels of government that anyone wishing to make a change has to go through is greater. Regional government has greatly extended the amount of time it requires to process zoning applications, official plans and even subdivisions. It means there is another level of government it has to go through -- I am sure time consumption in the planning process is multiplied logarithmically by the number of bodies that have to deal with it.

Mr. Speaker: The honourable member’s time has now expired.

Mr. Swart: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We will be supporting the resolution.

Mr. J. Johnson: Mr. Speaker, unlike the previous speaker, the member for Welland-Thorold, I think this is a meaningful resolution and I am pleased to have an opportunity to speak in support of the resolution presented by the member for Waterloo North. However, in my opinion, this resolution is in two parts. My support is directed to the general principle of the resolution, the first part.

I have personally felt concerned about the timeliness of OMB decisions. It is a great advantage to many people when planning matters can be acted upon without undue delay. However, I am not sure it is wise for us in this House to attempt to mandate specific time periods. In doing so we may create more problems than we solve. Therefore, I cannot support the second part of the resolution.

The basic role of the Ontario Municipal Board in the planning process is a crucial one. Any citizen or group may use the OMB as a forum to express grievances arising from planning decisions. Our province is actually one of the more enlightened jurisdictions in this respect. In other provinces and other areas outside Canada, it is much more difficult for all parties concerned in a planning decision to obtain a fair and balanced hearing.

There is certainly no harm in considering whether we might be able to improve on the OMB’s decision-making process. After all, a lot of money and a lot of people’s private considerations hang in the balance until these decisions are rendered. It is important for us also to remember that we should promote the viable and sound development of our province.

The problems caused by the current system are well illustrated by a case with which I am well acquainted. It dragged on for a great length of time -- not, I emphasize, because of OMB incompetence but possibly as a result of jurisdictional overlaps. I am talking about the well-known decision to build a bridge over the Elora Gorge in my riding of Wellington-Dufferin-Peel. It was a development decision of great significance to a large number of people in this area. Plans to extend Wellington county road number seven were in motion as early as 1972. The goal was to reroute through traffic from the congested downtown core of Elora.

I do not know whether you have ever been to Elora, Mr. Speaker, but I assume you have. It is a lovely nineteenth-century village where merchants and other residents have worked diligently at restoring the stores and other buildings. It is really quite a lovely spot. The idea of a bridge over the gorge was to take the pressure off the central area. It was being used by all the traffic through the area, including trucks, and it just did not seem fair to the people who worked hard to maintain a picturesque atmosphere that this congestion should spoil their environment. The local officials decided to span the gorge to balance this traffic flow.

Most people were strongly in agreement, the decision was approved by the local governments, including Wellington county council in 1974, and an amendment was included in the official plan of the centre of Wellington planning region. A study group was formed with the task of assessing the potential environmental impact. That study group was composed of people from our own Ministry of Transportation and Communications and the Ministry of the Environment. It included experts from the Grand River Conservation Authority, and there were technical personnel from the county as well.

Representatives from environmentalist groups took part in the public hearings that this study group held and they came at the express invitation of the group. Those public hearings on the potential environmental impact continued for several months. The conclusion reached by that group was that any alternatives to the proposed bridge would be less desirable in terms of impact on the natural environment.

By 1974, a total of $75,000 had been spent in planning and engineering studies. The decision to build the Elora Gorge bridge was carefully thought out; however, a couple of public officials felt it was incumbent upon them to block the project. One was then a member of the Kitchener city council and is now mayor of the city of Kitchener. The other sits opposite in this House, the member for Brantford (Mr. Makarchuk). These gentlemen commenced an action in the Supreme Court of Ontario. It was a suit against the land conveyance that had been granted by the Grand River Conservation Authority to the council. That motion was dismissed by the Supreme Court, and subsequent appeals were lost.

In 1976, these same individuals decided to take their complaint to the Supreme Court of Canada. Again the judge ruled in favour of the legality of the land conveyance that was granted by the conservation authority.

In 1976, there was the unanimous reaffirmation by the Wellington county council of its authorization to proceed on the project. A county council exercised its local autonomy, and once again it was held up. The gentleman in question asked the Ontario Ministry of Housing to refer the matter to the Ontario Municipal Board. Four separate hearings were held by the OMB commissioners. They patiently listened to the arguments of the opponents of the project who claimed it would harm the ecology of the area. Following patient and careful deliberation, the OMB ruled in favour of the bridge. They agreed with the decisions made earlier by the local authorities and supported by the courts. Refusing to be dismayed, the opponents filed a petition with the Ontario cabinet. They succeeded in getting yet another hearing. They wanted the OMB’s decision revoked.

Finally, the original authorization of the local government was supported. Construction began in 1978, six years later. The bridge was opened on September 25, 1980. I had the honour, pleasure and privilege of participating in that event. It is a lovely bridge and like the bridges one sees in the old world, I think this one will be a positive enhancement to the natural setting of the beautiful Elora Gorge.

The implications of this extensive delay were great. Mr. Holmes, the roads engineer for the county of Wellington, points out that these lengthy procedures were the major contributor to the final cost of the bridge project being at least twice the original estimate given in 1972, a cost of many hundreds of thousands of dollars.

He also feels that another great source of unnecessary expense was the duplication of work as a result of these many appeals and hearings. For example, the initial environmental assessment study conducted by the local government was repeated several times by other groups as part of these hearings. Perhaps this is an exceptional case, but it does emphasize the fact that some change is needed. I would support with great enthusiasm any action taken towards eliminating such delays in decision-making.

It is quite clear that changes regarding the rule and procedure of the OMB would help to accomplish this. Steps should be taken to improve the way the appeal process works. I feel there should be more emphasis placed on the importance of a municipal decision. I believe we must respect local autonomy. In addition, the procedure of the OMB should be streamlined to eliminate unnecessary appeals. I personally feel a lot could be done generally to speed up the hearing process. The grounds for appeals should be restricted to reduce the number of frivolous appeals.

Finally, many bodies which have studied the OMB suggest it should not undertake de novo hearings, hearings which start right back at the beginning. It is hoped that this would eliminate the kind of duplication of the work I have mentioned. Lest I have sounded unduly negative, I would like to commend the Ontario Municipal Board for its extremely efficient action which was of great benefit in the recent planning decision I am acquainted with.

One of the municipalities in my riding requested approval of a bylaw to reconstruct its sewer line. They asked for the decision last Friday and, despite the fact that Monday was a holiday, they got a decision by Wednesday of this week. This was thanks to the good offices of Mr. Manji and Mr. Lawrie of the OMB. I would like to thank them for their prompt and efficient assistance.

In summary, I support the principle of this resolution, but I express concern about the time limitations proposed in the resolution.

Mr. Haggerty: Mr. Speaker, I would like to address myself to ballot item 26. I think the member for Waterloo North (Mr. Epp) has put it in plain English we can all understand. There is a time delay in matters related to hearings before the Ontario Municipal Board. He states that the government should recognize the principles of timely decision-making endorsed by Ontario municipalities so that planning matters can be acted upon without undue delay and, further, that the Ontario Municipal Board be required to hold hearings within 90 days of a referral and be required to render a decision within 30 days of that hearing.

The member for Waterloo North mentioned the history of the Ontario Municipal Board. I might add he was quoting from the report of the select committee on the Ontario Municipal Board in 1972. I was fortunate enough to be a member of that committee. We travelled to many municipalities in Ontario. We went to the British Columbia Legislative Assembly. We stopped at Winnipeg and met some staff members at the Legislature, in particular the city representatives and Mayor Juba.

The committee was appointed on June 3, 1972. We received 231 written submissions and 142 oral submissions from municipalities, community associations, professional bodies and individuals who had expressed concern about the function and operation of the Ontario Municipal Board. While the committee set out to consider all functions of the OMB, it concentrated on four major areas of the board’s work: planning, capital expenditure, assessment appeals and municipal organization.

During the hearings, I believe the former chairman of the Ontario Municipal Board, Mr. J. A. Kennedy, QC, was an advocate of the individual rights of citizens in this area.

He did a courageous job in many areas in bringing down appeals. In his estimation, much of the time spent on appeals was spent on the Planning Act and municipal planning laws and 50 per cent on administrative time, while capital expenditures occupied the rest of the time; possibly 10 per cent of the time was spent on that aspect.

There were about 38 recommendations put forward by the committee. To this day I cannot recall if any of those have been carried out or accepted by the ministry. I could be wrong in that, but our recommendation was very strong in the area of the Planning Act. We suggested at that time the government review the Planning Act and bring in a new one. We are still waiting for that new act.

After some eight years we are still waiting for the white paper on the Planning Act which would provide methods and recommendations to be considered for local autonomy and local decisions. If the white paper states that the province sees its task as enabling and encouraging as much planning authority and decision-making as is practicable or possible to be transferred to the municipal level, that will be a step in the right direction. As I said, we are waiting for amendments to the Planning Act to come forward, but we have to question that.

Our report stated in chapter 12 that the Ontario Municipal Board should retain the adversary system but conduct its hearings in an informal manner. At that time I found it difficult to follow. I thought it was becoming too much of an adversary system, providing a field day for a number of lawyers to get into the picture without having due consideration for the citizens who were making the appeals. I found then and I find today that the citizens are at a disadvantage at a hearing of the Ontario Municipal Board because they do not have the expertise to bring forward on their behalf. It is a costly item.

For example, I was interested in a recent decision of the Ontario Municipal Board as it related to a lagoon to be located in the Douglastown-Stevensville area. A part of it is in the city of Niagara Falls. The board had finally made a decision to approve the site. But the citizens had to fight city hall. In this instance it was the regional government.

5:30 p.m.

My colleague from Welland-Thorold (Mr. Swart) talked about this. As I stated before, he is the godfather of regional government in the area. But here is another area where the provincial government has some say in matters of zoning and planning in the municipalities. Of course, the citizens were at a disadvantage because they did not have the expertise to compete against what the regional council, the regional planning committee or the regional engineering staff could provide at that hearing.

So I suggest that when we talk about delays this is an area that we should consider. Some professional help should be provided to citizens’ groups on an appeal.

There were some other good suggestions in the report which I thought should be considered. One of the recommendations was on municipal and public relations: “The Ontario Municipal Board’s decisions should be edited concisely and published regularly.” I thought that was important. Another important recommendation was that the Ontario Municipal Board “should set up information centres in many parts of the province. Branch offices of the Ministry of Treasury, Economies and Intergovernmental Affairs or other ministries could be used for this purpose.”

There was a good reason for this recommendation put forward by the committee because often when a person has to make an appeal the facts concerning it are not known. Often, a municipal council does not have that information available to the general public. It is to be hoped that a day will come when we will have a Freedom of Information Act and people will have access to everything.

One of the key points in this report was that the general public should be knowledgeable in all areas of planning, such as proposed planning amendments, rezoning amendments and many other things. They should have good background information so that, if they appear before the Ontario Municipal Board at a hearing, they would be at least on an even keel with the experts appearing for a developer, or whatever the case may be. The member suggests the length of time it takes for some of the appeals would be cut down if both parties and municipal governments were out in the open and stated which direction they were looking to making changes.

There are some conflicting things relating to government policy. The intent of the Ontario Municipal Board, as I understand from that report and as was explained to committee members in detail, was to follow up government policy. The member for Welland-Thorold did mention some conflicting views in government policy. We now have a government policy relating to the Planning Act, and we have a policy relating to the green paper on foodland guidelines. With these two conflicting government policies, it can be costly when the appeal is being made to the board.

In this instance the member was talking about disappearing farm land and said the appeal system should not be that lengthy. He went on to talk about areas in Thorold township where there have been delays of 17 or 18 years.

I can recall when the member was on the Welland county council. I am just pulling these thoughts together. When he was reeve of Thorold, the regional detention centre was built in Thorold township, much of Niagara College was constructed in Thorold township, part of Brock University was built in Thorold township, and there were some subdivisions built on the top of the escarpment. All of this was on choice land. If we had planning then, I do not think we would have seen the farm land disappear. But again, it depends on what side of the fence you are sitting. Things moved along pretty well in Thorold township through his leadership. I have seen some good farm land disappear.

I look at Highway 20, that ribbon of commercial development from Fonthill to the Niagara Falls boundary. When a person could have had control as head of a municipality, that is when planning should have come forward.

In all, the resolution indicates that these recommendations put forward by the committee in 1972 should be accepted and adopted through some form of legislation that would speed up the hearings process. I know it is costly on both sides, and again, I say I would have to support the resolution. It brings forth a problem still existing relating to the length and the time taken by hearings; sometimes they can go on for a couple of years, and that can be costly when you are dealing with legal counsel.

The government will be bringing in a white paper on the new Planning Act, and perhaps it will speed up some of the delays in hearings before the Ontario Municipal Board. With those few comments, I support the resolution.

Mr. Charlton: I rise in support of the resolution as well, Mr. Speaker, although I should say at the outset, the resolution provides an opportunity for us to deal in a very loose way with what a number of members have expressed in terms of some very serious problems in overall planning in the province.

The resolution is somewhat weak. It deals with some of the red tape in the system, but it does not deal effectively with the overall problems of planning delays and the lack of real planning policy in Ontario. However, the specific items in the resolution are supportable as small specific measures to deal with some of the problems in the process.

5:40 p.m.

One of the things it has become very apparent that this government has almost totally failed to deal effectively with is the change in the planning process which has resulted from the implementation of regional governments in Ontario where people trying to work their way through that process now have to deal with the planning committees at both levels of government, local as well as regional.

Not only was the process extended without effectively amending the legislation to deal with it, but also a situation was set up where for those trying to work their way through a process which was already encumbered with red tape, the possibility exists, in having to deal with two levels of local government, where the local municipality and the region may end up in conflict about the matter being raised, which would tend to frustrate and lengthen yet again the whole process.

We have had a number of situations like that in Hamilton-Wentworth, and I would imagine much the same thing happens in most of the regional municipalities across the province.

We had a situation here last spring where this government had an opportunity, with the private bill from the city of Brantford, to deal in a very straightforward way with the elimination of a lot of the red tape in the process in the best interests of the municipality. The government chose to shirk that responsibility totally and to shove that municipality back into a planning process which, for all intents and purposes, has eliminated its effectiveness to deal with the specific proposals it wanted to implement in the municipality in the best interests of the taxpayers.

We had another situation in Niagara where this government used this process loaded with red tape to avoid its responsibility totally. It made a policy decision in Niagara and then, in effect, refused to defend that policy position before the Ontario Municipal Board, and we ended up with a hearing that lasted almost a year. The costs involved in that process are fairly well known to all of us, together with the inconvenience and the negative effect it has on what in many instances could be useful, logical development.

My support of the resolution is based on two things. One is the obvious specific attempts to deal with cutting some of the red tape in calling OMB hearings and the time limit on the decision-rendering process. In addition, it would focus the government’s use of the planning process and its cumbersome nature, which is their way out of dealing directly with the planning problems that confront this province. It is not just in any given municipality, it is right across the province. The problems may be different in the north or the east or southwestern Ontario from what they are around Metro Toronto, but the problems are there none the less. This government has failed totally to come to terms with those planning problems in terms of setting out a logical approach to the future for this province.

A number of members have mentioned farm land. A number of members have mentioned the logical location of industrial development as opposed to the rest of the things that make up the planning process, residential and so on. All of these issues are being avoided by the government; they are being shoved off into a process which so frustrates and infuriates the progress of development that we end up with total projects going down the drain. For those reasons, I am prepared to support this resolution today.

Mr. Turner: Mr. Speaker, I do not want to be repetitive and I do not want to use up the time of the House unnecessarily. However, as a member of the former select committee on the Ontario Municipal Board, I would like to make a few comments.

The first thing I would like to say is that I support the resolution and commend the member for bringing it forward. I think it is fair to say the Ontario Municipal Board has a forcible impact on municipal development. In that respect I suppose every resident of Ontario comes into contact or has the possibility of coming into contact with municipal board decisions and its very actions.

We should recognize that the OMB is a unique organization in this country and, indeed, in North America. It is unique in the respect that it is still -- to the best of my knowledge -- one of the few such boards, if not the only board of its kind, dealing with the matters it deals with.

The approval of various development plans under the Planning Act is just one of the many activities of the board. However, it is interesting to note that this activity occupies 90 per cent of the OMB’s hearing time and 50 per cent of its administration time.

It was interesting, during the many submissions that were presented to the select committee, that one overwhelming fact stood out: The public strongly supports the concept of the board. It came across very clearly that the public did not want the board tampered with in any way that would tend to weaken it. The people of Ontario quite obviously feel very strongly that the OMB offers a platform or a court of last resort, if you will, on virtually all municipal decisions.

The board also offers a form of protection for the public so that all aspects and impacts of proposed changes are examined, and the public is given the chance for input. This feeling again was reflected by the many people who appeared before the select committee.

I think we should emphasize that the Ontario Municipal Board has developed over the years a well-deserved reputation for fairness and excellence of which we should all be proud. I do not want to repeat myself, but I will say again that I am pleased to support this resolution.

Mr. Epp: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Welland-Thorold (Mr. Swart), the member for Wellngton-Dufferin-Peel (Mr. J. Johnson), the member for Erie (Mr. Haggerty), the member for Hamilton Mountain (Mr. Charlton) and the member for Peterborough (Mr. Turner), for speaking in support of the motion.

I am happy that they recognize, as I do, the costliness being borne by the developers and individual citizens of this province as a result of the many delays caused by the slowness of getting hearings scheduled and getting decisions from the Ontario Municipal Board.

If, as I hope, the House endorses this particular resolution unanimously, I know the OMB in consultation with the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) will find ways to speed up the hearings and thereby bring about the kind of changes desired by all members of this House.

5:50 p.m.


Mr. Speaker: Mr. McCaffrey has moved resolution 36.

Resolution concurred in.


Mr. Speaker: Mr. Epp has moved resolution 31.

Resolution concurred in.


Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, pursuant to the standing orders, I would like to indicate to the members of the House the business for the rest of this week and next.

Tonight we will be debating the two Hydro affairs committee reports that are shown on today’s House business paper in this order:

First, the special report on electrical capacity and, second, the final report on nuclear fuel waste.

Tomorrow morning the House will deal with the estimates of the Premier’s office.

On Monday, we will finish the estimates of the Premier’s office and, if there is any time remaining, we will go into budget debate.

On Tuesday we will deal with government motions numbered 17 and 18 on today’s Order Paper and then proceed with second readings and committee of the whole of the following bills: Bill 172, the Municipal Affairs Amendment Act regarding conveyances; Bill 152, the Beef Cattle Marketing Amendment Act, and Bill 153, the Warble Fly Control Repeal Act. We will then proceed to the committee of the whole House consideration of Bill 59 and, if there is any time left on Tuesday evening, we will proceed to handle the budget debate.

Mr. Nixon: What about the Vicious Dogs Act?

Hon. Mr. Wells: The dogs have asked to be put off a week.

On Wednesday, three committees may meet in the morning: general government, resources and justice.

On Thursday, October 23, in the afternoon we will deal with private members’ ballot items 27 and 28 standing in the names of Mr. Lupusella and Mr. Eaton. In the evening, we will start the estimates of the Ministry of Northern Affairs, and we will continue with those estimates on the morning of Friday, October 24.

The House recessed at 5:54 p.m.