31st Parliament, 4th Session

L106 - Tue 4 Nov 1980 / Mar 4 nov 1980

The House met at 2 p.m.



Mr. Isaacs: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of personal privilege to correct the record. Yesterday I posed a question to the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Parrott) which contained the information that provincial offences officers from Harwich township had obtained a search warrant for ministry files. This information was obtained at a meeting in Harwich township last Friday, attended by the member for Windsor-Sandwich (Mr. Bounsall); Mr. Michael Phipps, the administrator of the township; Mr. Maurice Van Gassen, the reeve of the township; another councillor; a parliamentary intern and myself. I have now learned that the information about the search warrants was incorrect. I withdraw that statement and I apologize to the House.

The fact that a search warrant had not been obtained was the only item on which my information was in error. The provincial offences officers were engaged in a search of ministry files and they did thereby obtain information that was not previously in the possession of the township, information that will assist them to protect the environment of the township and to enforce its bylaws.

Mr. Speaker: The honourable member was quite right in his secondary observation that it was to correct the record. It didn’t involve a question of privilege.

Since this seems to be the time for apologies, I think I owe the member one as a result of a supplementary that he posed to the Minister of the Environment yesterday. I indicated at the time that I hadn’t heard an interrogatory remark and, therefore, it was not a question. On checking the record, I find I was in error, and for that I apologize to the member. As a matter of fact, the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel) and the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. S. Smith) were firm in their own minds that there was a question. I was just as firm that there was not. The record proves I was wrong, and for that I apologize.

On Monday, October 27, and again yesterday, the member for Wentworth raised what he deemed to be a matter of privilege with respect to answers by the Minister of the Environment to questions tabled on October 9 and October 10. I gather his main point was that in answering the member’s question 275, tabled on October 9, the minister tabled all material to the date of the question, which material I may say was quite voluminous. As I understand it, Mr. Isaacs suggests there was a further letter, dated October 16, which was not included.

It is not my obligation to research the minister’s answers and decide whether or not he should have included additional material. It is the prerogative of the minister who, as I have already pointed out, may answer as he sees fit or not at all. Therefore, I find no evidence that any of the recognized privileges of the member of this House has been breached by the minister’s answer. If the member is dissatisfied or he thinks that further material should be forthcoming, he may simply table another question.



Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, as members are aware, one of our government’s major initiatives to strengthen and support Ontario’s automotive and automotive parts industries is our involvement in SITEV -- the Société internationale de transportation et véhicules -- the world’s foremost automotive parts exhibition held annually in Geneva.

For the past three years, my ministry has actively participated in this international auto parts show and the results have been outstanding. In 1979 alone, the Ontario manufacturers who attended SITEV reported $14 million in actual sales as a direct result of the exhibition.

Last May, I led the largest Ontario trade mission ever -- a mission composed of 35 Ontario auto parts manufacturers -- to SITEV ’80 in Geneva. These manufacturers displayed their products to 30,000 auto parts buyers from 45 countries throughout the world. Sales projections resulting from the 1980 show amount to $23.6 million and manufacturers have reported 19 joint venture prospects, three licensing opportunities, 35 invitations to quote on major auto parts contracts and 15 branch plant prospects. In addition to the $23.6 million in projected sales, actual sales made during the show totalled $1.3 million.

One of the major challenges that Canada and Ontario have always had to overcome is attracting key automotive decision-makers to visit our country, look at Ontario, meet our parts manufacturers and see firsthand our province’s potential as an investment location and as a source of their parts requirements.

When I attended SITEV last May, I arranged to spend some time with the organizer Mr. Roland Dana, as we were aware that plans were being made to expand SITEV by adding an exhibition in America and one in the Far East. Subsequent to our discussions last May, Mr. Dana agreed to visit Ontario at the invitation of my ministry, which he did earlier this fall. I am pleased to announce today that as a result of that visit, Toronto has been chosen over competing American jurisdictions to host SITEV America. The exposition will be held on June 16, 17 and 18 of next year at the Canadian National Exhibition grounds.

Unlike SITEV Europe, which is a conventional trade fair, SITEV America in Toronto will serve as a forum for auto parts and vehicle manufacturers from around the world to meet for discussions on joint ventures, licensing arrangements, partnerships and opportunities for establishing production facilities in the Americas.

Participants in SITEV America will include buyers from North, Central and South America, Europe and Japan; industrial location specialists representing European and Japanese automobile manufacturers; original equipment market suppliers; and national, state, provincial, municipal and industrial development officials. Financial, taxation and project planning experts will also attend to provide detailed information to interested companies.

SITEV America is the first specialized international industrial development forum of its kind ever to be organized for the automotive sector. During the course of the three-day exposition, conferences and symposia will be organized in conjunction with the exhibition.

My ministry is working with the organizers of SITEV by using our network of international and domestic offices to recruit suitable participants. Those participants will include companies capable of and interested in gaining access to international markets, and companies that wish to enter into joint ventures and licensing arrangements with other countries. We will also be in contact with the federal government and with the governments of other provinces to encourage their support and participation.

The SITEV automotive exhibition has gained an international reputation as the meeting place for key decision-makers in the automotive industry. By ensuring that a SITEV exposition will be held in Ontario, we are offering our auto parts manufacturers a major opportunity both to meet these decision-makers firsthand and to learn about and acquire new technology, and we are offering Ontario municipalities an opportunity to make contact with potential investors in this most important sector.

2:10 p.m.

We are determined to ensure that SITEV America in Toronto is a major success, and we will be devoting a great deal of time and effort to maximize the opportunities presented by bringing the world auto market and industry to Ontario for the first time.


Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay well-deserved tribute to Mr. Robert McMichael, who has tendered his resignation as director of the McMichael Canadian Collection.

The exceptional growth of the collection and the increased complexities of gallery administration have had a great deal to do with Mr. McMichael’s decision to turn over the gallery’s operations to other hands. The day-to-day detail has become tremendously involved and it is entirely understandable that somebody with Mr. McMichael’s broad interest and vision would want relief from it.

Mr. McMichael’s resignation will take effect when the collection’s board has appointed a new director and chief executive officer. I expect the board will be announcing that appointment within the next two months.

In the meantime, all honourable members will be happy to know that both Robert and Signe McMichael will continue to be close to the collection. They will continue to act as trustees. Mr. McMichael will hold the title of founder director-emeritus and, in addition to being a member of the board, will act as a consultant and adviser to it.

Mere words cannot do justice to the scope and meaning of the gesture the McMichaels made to their fellow Canadians in 1965 when they donated their collection of Canadian art and their property and residence to the people of Canada through the government of Ontario.

In the 15 years since, thanks to their sensitive stewardship and the support of the people of this province, the collection has grown to 2,000 pieces from the original 300. The scope of the collection has also broadened significantly and it now encompasses some of the most outstanding native Canadian art to be found anywhere.

One has to visit the collection to appreciate fully just how much it tells us about ourselves and our land. One has to see the collection to understand how vital it is to us today and, more important, how vital it will be to future generations.

The collection’s artistic and cultural value is manifest. It has also proved to be tremendously popular. Last year, for instance, almost 300,000 people passed through the gallery’s doors. Incredibly, that was second only to the Art Gallery of Ontario among all public art galleries in this entire country. That is an outstanding tribute not only to the collection and the gallery, but to the tremendous energy the McMichaels and everybody with whom they work have spent in drawing so many fascinated people to the collection.

I know all honourable members will want to join me in thanking the McMichaels most profoundly for their dedication and commitment. Mr. Speaker, with your permission I would like to identify Robert and Signe McMichael in the Speaker’s gallery.

Mr. Speaker: Oral questions.


Mr. S. Smith: On a point of order, if I might, Mr. Speaker: Is the minister not going to say any thing about the writs which have been issued on Toronto Island? Is there no statement on this subject?

Hon. Mr. Wells: I will answer a question.

Mr. S. Smith: Then I will ask a question if the minister has no statement for the House. When one has only two questions, one has to preserve them; preserve and conserve them, that is what I try to do.



Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, is the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs unaware of the fact that at least one writ, an eviction notice, has been served? The one I have here is a photostat of one served on David Amer and Elizabeth Amer, 11 Willow Avenue, Toronto Island. Is the minister prepared to comment on this? Why has he been apparently powerless in persuading Metro to hold off, to cease and desist in this? What is the minister going to do?

Hon. Ms. Wells: Mr. Speaker, let me give my honourable friend an answer to his question. First of all, I am well aware of the writs and I have been well aware they are going to be served. I want to say first and foremost, I think it is a stupid and inhuman time to suggest anybody should be evicted on November 17, practically at Christmas. I think that indicates to the member that I am concerned about the matter and intend to devise some way to find a solution to the problem.

What solutions are possible? We have been considering those solutions and I have made no statement today because we have not come to any conclusion as to the best way to proceed at the moment. There are three ways we could proceed to stop those evictions:

First, the writs were asked for by Metro and Metro could ask that those writs not be served. I have received a letter from Paul Godfrey saying that he and Metro council will not do that. I do not agree with that action because I still say it is an inhuman time to suggest writs be served and I think Metro council should realize that, particularly since they know, as we all know in this House, the Swadron commission still has to report. The Swadron commission has held the most extensive review of the whole island situation undertaken in the last three or four years and I believe its report will be invaluable. However, in their wisdom, they have decided not to ask that those writs not be served.

The second way we could handle this matter expeditiously would be to pass, unamended, Bill 5 which stands on the Order Paper of this House. My friend shakes his head. We have suggested what we think is an acceptable solution. I recall the Toronto Star, in an editorial, said this would be a very acceptable solution. If my friends in the official opposition will remove their reasoned amendment, I will bring forward and call Bill 5 this evening; we can pass it and those writs will not be served. The Swadron report can then be presented and there will be plenty of time for people to consider what further action could be taken.

I want to make it clear that passing Bill 5 this evening would cause those writs not to be served. Passing the reasoned amendment of the Leader of the Opposition today would not stop those writs because all that amendment does is to ask Metro not to proceed. I can tell my friend, based on my experience in dealing with Metro, they will still pay no attention to that reasoned amendment and they will not cease to put those writs through.

The third course of action is that we could consider some short-term legislative action that would cause the writs not to be served so the Swadron report could be considered. There are certain legal difficulties connected with that. Cabinet will be considering all these courses of action tomorrow. On Thursday, I will report to my friends what is going to happen.

I again emphasize I think it is stupid and inhuman to suggest anybody should be evicted on November 17 and I wish Metro would take the bull by the horns and do something about it.

Mr. S. Smith: Since it appears the minister is going to have to bring in some short-term legislation at the very least, could he kindly commune once again with his fellow party member, Mr. Godfrey, the man who apparently is doing what the minister calls a stupid and inhuman thing, and tell him to stop sending out these writs since the minister has every intention of bringing in short-term legislation? Given that the date of vacation of the premises is supposedly November 17, 1980, will the minister guarantee that we will have that bill here in this House on Friday so it can be passed early in the week, to stop the suspense in which these people are being kept, totally unnecessarily?

2:20 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I have asked my friend, the Metro chairman, about this and I have had a letter back from him saying he will not do anything to cause those writs not to be served. I have to emphasize again that if this House really wants to take quick, speedy action let us pass Bill 5 tonight.

I want to underline again that even passing the reasoned amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition will not cause the writs not to be served, but passing Bill 5 will quash the writs. If my friend will agree to pass that bill, we could perhaps even have His Honour stand by to give royal assent to it tonight.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: As the minister knows, Bill 5 is not an option that is acceptable to either of the parties on this side, nor to the islanders, and it is probably unacceptable to Swadron himself. Why does the minister not instead bring forward today a stay of process as a minimum until the Swadron commission has reported? There is nothing to stop him from doing that.

Hon. Mr. Wells: I thought I indicated that was the third option open to us, and that option, along with others, will be considered by cabinet. We worked long and hard on Bill 5 and it does offer an opportunity for this House to stay those writs today. It also still offers an opportunity for the Swadron report to be presented and to be read, and for us all to consider further action. I think the members opposite misunderstand. They do have it within their power to do something today under the rules of this House, but they do not want to do it.


Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I have a question on a different topic for the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. Since this seems to be the day for discussing the insensitivity of his friend at Metro, would the minister care to comment and tell us exactly what he intends to do regarding a proposal to increase the rents on Metro-owned housing well beyond any of the guidelines that a rent review process would normally apply if such housing were under the rent review process?

Does the minister not recall that in this House assurance was given that Metro would not go beyond the rent review guidelines when Metro housing was exempted from the rent review process? Will the minister, therefore, act on behalf of the provincial interest to be certain that no increases in rent take place beyond the rent review guidelines?

Hon. Mr. Wells: I will have to look into that, Mr. Speaker. I know nothing about it. I have spent all morning looking at the Toronto Island problem. I will have to take that under consideration and get an answer for my honourable friend.

Mr. S. Smith: Perhaps I should redirect the question to the Minister of Housing who appears to know a little bit more about the matter. I might just say parenthetically that if the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs did spend all morning on the island issue, why did he not have a statement for the House on that matter?

May I ask the Minister of Housing if he recalls the assurances given that publicly owned housing in this regard would voluntarily obey the rent review guidelines when such housing was exempted from the rent review process generally? If he does recall that, is he prepared to act in some way to make sure that these unwarranted rent increases, well beyond the guidelines, do not occur?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: As to the first part of the question, Mr. Speaker, I can only say that what I know about the situation is what is in the front page of the Toronto Star today. I have asked the people in my ministry to check with Mr. Godfrey and others at the Metro housing authority as to exactly what has taken place.

In replying to the Leader of the Opposition this afternoon, I would not want to say these rent increases are unwarranted because I do not know the basis on which the rent increase of 60 per cent, which seems to be the maximum, has been incurred at this time. I am prepared to wait until I have the report before me to assess exactly why this situation has developed.

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, it is clear the Progressive Conservative government of Ontario is now getting from its Tory friends in Metro the same treatment it is handing out to its erstwhile Tory friends in Ottawa. Since this is so, would the Minister of Housing undertake to bring in legislation that would ensure that where housing that happens to be municipally owned is available in the commercial market it will be subject to rent review guidelines? The exemption for municipalities was clearly directed to social housing that would be at below-market rents.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, when the Residential Tenancies Act was being reviewed for a period of about 18 months, that question was repeatedly asked of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Drea), who reports for that piece of legislation. It was clearly indicated that where socially provided housing on the market is on a rent-geared-to-income basis, that in itself is the rent control factor. That is exactly where we stand on the issue at this moment.

As for the increases that are now taking place, I would be wrong to try to guess why they have come about, but let me suggest to the leader of the third party I would imagine that most of the people giving the advice to the Metro housing authority would likely come from his friends in that government.

Mrs. Campbell: Mr. Speaker, I would like to go back to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. The chairman of Metropolitan Toronto has refused to take action on the island issue because he does not want to change the policy of Metro council. What right does he have to change the policy of Metro council when the local councils are functus? It has to be a change in policy because he has said on his rent issue that the policy of Metro was not to increase beyond six per cent. Would the minister consult with Mr. Godfrey to see how that kind of policy change can be made at this time?

Hon. Mr. Wells: Yes, I will be happy to, Mr. Speaker.


Mr. Cassidy: In the absence of half of the cabinet, Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask a question of the Deputy Premier about liquid industrial waste.

Has the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Parrott) reported to the cabinet on the outcome of a meeting that was held on October 27 at the Park Plaza Hotel attended by the Deputy Minister of the Environment and his senior officials, along with representatives from some 21 companies that are major generators of hauled liquid industrial wastes in Ontario? It was a meeting chaired by Stelco’s chief executive officer and the corporate manager for Ontario of Imperial Oil Limited.

Can the Deputy Premier explain to the House why it is that the Deputy Minister of the Environment and other senior officials should closet themselves with these senior corporate representatives in a meeting that focused almost exclusively on political solutions to the problems of disposing of liquid industrial wastes rather than planning acceptable and safe technical solutions for the disposal of such liquid wastes?

Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, I am a little amazed that in the second part of the honourable member’s question he indicated what he thinks went on at the meeting. I would assume there is nothing unusual for officials of a ministry to be meeting with people to seek some information with respect to the extent of problems and ultimate solutions. I cannot share with him what went on at that meeting. I will take the question as notice. The Minister of the Environment will be here and can respond to the member’s question on Thursday.

With respect to communication between the members of the cabinet and their colleagues, the communication is good. The Minister of the Environment and his officials are committed to a grand plan with respect to the treatment of industrial waste in this province. I am certainly satisfied they are busy every day on the subject, striving for solutions and also striving, ultimately, to solve these particular problems. I would leave the details with respect to any meetings that may have been held for the minister himself to respond to.

2:30 p.m.

Mr. Cassidy: Would it shake the faith of the Deputy Premier in his colleague the Minister of the Environment if he learned that, according to the report we have received from a participant in that meeting, they were told there were no technological barriers to the disposal of liquid wastes but only political barriers? Would it disturb the Deputy Premier to learn that the Ministry of the Environment has prepared draft legislation with which it can overrule municipal bylaws to shut down liquid waste disposal sites, but that the ministry is holding back from introducing that legislation only because it fears the political repercussions?

What right does the Ministry of the Environment have to discuss that kind of political approach to the disposal of liquid industrial waste with the companies that are the major generators of liquid waste in Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Welch: I cannot add anything to what I have already said in response to the main question.

As far as the faith of the member for Brock in his colleague being shaken is concerned, I certainly would not have any particular trouble reaffirming my faith in the minister. I know, as this House knows, his commitment to the program he has referred to on many occasions in this House in addressing this particular problem. I would feel that as one talks about a problem, one certainly has to have some consultation with those who are dealing in this matter just as one has consultation with a wide variety of people in seeking a solution.

How accurate the report of the leader of the third party is with respect to the meeting I have no way of knowing, but I am sure the minister will comment on it when he returns to the House en Thursday.

Mr. Isaacs: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Is the Deputy Premier also aware that one of the things that meeting was told was that it would pose a disaster for Ontario if the United States border were to be closed to Ontario liquid industrial waste? Does he not think it is a tragedy if planning in our Ministry of the Environment depends on export of our problem to the US for protection of our environment?

Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, if memory serves me correctly, the minister has addressed this particular situation. I repeat once again that he has announced, in some detail, plans with respect to the treatment and ultimate disposal of this waste in this industrial jurisdiction. I would think he would welcome the co-operation and support of all honourable members as we seek a solution to a very important problem.

I sit here as a member hearing the unconstructive and unsupportive response of a number of people as the minister strives to seek the solutions. I am quite convinced that against the background of the program he has announced, we will find satisfactory solutions for the treatment and disposal of the substance.


Mr. Cassidy: I have a new question for the Treasurer, Mr. Speaker, arising out of the federal Liberal budget which came down last week. In view of the large increases in the price of home heating fuel that were announced in that federal budget, can the Treasurer tell us if he has received assurances from the federal Minister of Finance that there will be protection from these higher costs for low-income families in Ontario? If not, has he made representations to the federal government on that subject, and what has he urged?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I thought I referred to that in my statement. No, I have received absolutely no assurances and the budget itself had absolutely no measures to alleviate the problem. I got hooted out of the place when I pointed out that at least John Crosbie’s budget had done that.

Mr. Cassidy: In view of the reports of the Canadian Council on Social Development that the budget is going to cost low-income families some $500 in 1981 -- and that is just the first year’s increase -- will the Treasurer make a commitment now to include in the mini-budget next week an energy tax credit for low-income families which at least will alleviate the increase to those families in the price of their home heating fuel?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Obviously I am considering a number of measures in that supplementary action I intend to take. Obviously I am going to consider that kind of thing without in any way implying it will happen.

Mr. Peterson: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I assume the Treasurer has heard more responses in the last few days since the member for Sault Ste. Marie (Mr. Ramsay) asked the question about the uncertainty in the retail market because of the apprehension of some retail sales tax cuts in the Treasurer’s mini-budget. Is the Treasurer prepared now to straighten out that matter to prevent this apprehension and loss of sales in the short term which are affecting a number of retailers in this province?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I think the question directed to me by the member for Sault Ste. Marie was related to automobiles. The answer I gave appears to have satisfied the Automobile Dealer Associations of Ontario. I obviously cannot speculate on other measures, because I cannot reveal the contents of my actions until I present them. Otherwise, I would give the member or someone else an advantage in advance.

Mr. Laughren: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: When the Treasurer is presenting his supplementary action, as he prefers to call it rather than a mini-budget, will he assure us that any action he takes, whether it be a sales tax reduction or an energy tax credit, will be designed to provide a cushion for low-income people? And will he not be unduly persuaded by the arguments of the member for London Centre (Mr. Peterson) that the federal budget was a brilliant one?

Hon. F. S. Miller: I suppose brilliance is in the eye of the beholder, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Foulds: He was bedazzled.

Hon. F. S. Miller: It was reflected glory. Perhaps they accepted the member’s advice for a change. The member is nodding his head saying they did. I hope the people of his riding recognize that, because it was not a budget at all. I am sure my colleague the member for Nickel Belt (Mr. Laughren) would agree with me that it was an energy statement and not a budget at all. It did not tackle one fundamental economic problem of this country. We have done so well in this province we still have room to take some supplementary action.


Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Natural Resources in regard to his mismanagement of the forest industry in the province.

Does the minister recall his answer to my question last week about clear-cutting in the province in which he indicated the forest management agreements dealt with the size of clear-cuts and restriction of the size of clear-cuts? Does he know the forest management agreements do not deal with the size of clear-cuts in northern Ontario? Will he give instructions to his district foresters that the size of these clear-cuts should be restricted so that we do not have desert land left in northern Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Auld: Mr. Speaker, in my reply last week I think I indicated one of the things that would be dealt with in forest management agreements could be clear-cuts. At the same time I think I also said that to set a maximum size for clear-cuts was impractical, I am told by foresters, because of soil conditions, temperature of the zone, perhaps the slope of the ground, and the species of trees.

I am clearly informed by our staff that the matter of clear-cuts will be considered in any program submitted by the licensee, as well as methods of planting and methods of harvesting -- all those things we went into in some great detail last spring when we were going over the amendments to the Crown Timber Act. I think we will probably have an opportunity to discuss that in my estimates tonight or tomorrow, and some of the professional people will be there.

Like many other things, it sounds very simple to say there should not be any of this or any of that, or there should be some arbitrary limit. In some cases that kind of approach means we are going to do too much, and in other cases it means we are going to do too little.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Is the minister aware of the 1976 report of the Great Lakes forest research centre on black spruce regeneration on strip-cuts and clear-cuts in the Nipigon and Cochrane areas of Ontario? It found there were greater regeneration failures following unrestricted clear-cutting. Will the minister table all the unpublished Ministry of Natural Resources regeneration surveys they have?

Hon. Mr. Auld: I am not aware of that specific part of the report to which the honourable member referred. I will certainly endeavour to table the information we have in reports from licensees -- not third-party agreements, but primary licensees -- on regeneration. I qualify that by saying I will try to give the member a report shortly on what we can publish, because a report can be anything from a letter to a four-inch document.

2:40 p.m.

Mr. Foulds: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Can the minister tell us what has happened to the internal recommendation of his ministry that clear-cuts be restricted to a size of 325 acres? Is that now a matter of policy? Can he tell us the rationale behind the ministry’s new method of reporting success with regeneration in which they use a category described as “area not requiring regeneration”? Is that the one third of the forest that the ministry is essentially writing off and allowing the companies to timber mine?

Hon. Mr. Auld: Mr. Speaker, as far as the first part of the question is concerned, I am not aware of such a policy. There are many recommendations that filter through the staff. There is no policy in the ministry of any specific maximum or minimum cut. I think the honourable member is aware of that. There is a policy but it does not set a figure, which is what I just explained to the member for Rainy River.

Mr. Foulds: You rejected it.

Hon. Mr. Auld: The honourable member is aware that there is a large staff. Forestry, like medicine and a number of other fields of endeavour, is not an exact science and there are different opinions; there are different opinions on different areas.

Going back to the not satisfactorily regenerated areas in the province, the honourable member remembers very well that we talked about that last spring. I have forgotten the total acreage of not satisfactorily regenerated areas in the province, but I know it is many thousands of acres. I think I indicated at the time that we would be expecting to get regeneration on those areas in the course of the 10 years starting with last year. That does not mean regenerating areas that are not naturally productive areas.


Mr. McClellan: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Provincial Secretary for Social Development respecting sheltered workshops for the physically handicapped.

May I ask the provincial secretary whether she has seen the research document prepared by the policy secretariat of the Ministry of Community and Social Services in April 1979. If she has, is she familiar with table 2-59, which shows that, in the sheltered workshops for the physically handicapped which employ clients of the Ministry of Community and Social Services, 37 per cent of those workshops are not accessible to wheelchairs?

Hon. Mrs. Birch: No, Mr. Speaker, I am not aware of that.

Mr. McClellan: Since the minister is in charge of co-ordinating festivities for the International Year of Disabled Persons, may I ask whether she is aware of table 2-89 of the same report which shows that the median wage for the handicapped workers in the province’s workshops is $318 a year? In other words, 50 per cent of the workers are earning less than 20 cents an hour. Will she not agree that the International Year of Disabled Persons is the time to end the minimum wage exemptions and to get the rehabilitation programs out of that miserly welfare department and put them under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Labour?

Hon. Mrs. Birch: To begin with, we are not planning festivities for the International Year of Disabled Persons. We are planning to enable handicapped people to enjoy the same rights and privileges as everyone else through employment opportunities, through educational opportunities and through housing.

Mr. Warner: Try to stop exploiting them.

Hon. Mrs. Birch: That is the member’s opinion; it is not mine.

Mr. Speaker: Order. The minister is entitled to an opportunity to respond.

Hon. Mrs. Birch: I would remind my honourable colleagues across the way that many of the workshops that are available to people who are mentally retarded -- grossly retarded -- provide an opportunity to learn, to develop, to grow. They are not provided for them as a means of earning a livelihood. Those people are looked after, but it gives them a place to go and to meet other people, a place to have an opportunity to have some socialization, which is something those members do not seem to understand.


Mr. Mancini: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my question to the Minister of Community and Social Services. Is the minister aware that the ministry has announced the closure of the Amherstburg Juvenile Observation and Detention Home, where children who are wards of the court are sent to spend a particular period of time before the court makes a final decision as to what should happen to them, or where children who have special difficulties at home are sometimes sent? Why is the minister approving the closure of this Amherstburg detention home, which is in an ideal location and has operated very well and successfully for a number of years?

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, I do not have with me all the details surrounding that decision, although I do have some familiarity with it. I believe I have corresponded with the honourable member on that -- perhaps that is not a correct recollection -- but the situation there is similar to that in other communities across the province, where observation and detention homes are located. We are trying to locate them as close as possible to the areas they serve and in some instances to reduce the size of those units so they can more effectively serve the needs of the children and the communities. That was one of the major considerations underlying the decision to which he refers.

Mr. Mancini: I would first like to say I have not received any correspondence from the minister concerning this matter.

Does it not concern the minister that this detention home would be closed by his staff without his having full knowledge of the matter so that he could respond to questions in the Legislature?

Why is the minister not capable of protecting the disadvantaged people we have to protect in our society? Why is it the minister can allow retarded women to be kicked in the face in his homes? Why does the minister allow foster children to remain in the homes of foster parents when it has been proven they have been molested? When can we expect from the Minister of Community and Social Services some protection for the disadvantaged?

Hon. Mr. Norton: I think the honourable member just flipped out. I am not sure what that almost totally incomprehensible question was all about. If he is talking, for example, about individuals being kicked in the head, I think I know the case he is referring to, and I resent the suggestion that I did not take a stand on that issue. I resent any suggestion that I or the staff of my ministry would not take stands to protect the vulnerable people in our society. That is a totally irresponsible question.


Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Health concerning the accommodations provided for immigrant farm workers at Thornbury, Ontario. Can the minister explain why the local medical officer of health would refuse a request by Canada Manpower to inspect the premises used as accommodation for black farm workers from the Caribbean? In particular, is he aware that we now have a situation in which black farm workers are expected to live in units that have no running water, no toilet facilities, no shower facilities and holes in the wall?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, first of all, let me give some of the background. Since 1975, the agreement with the Canada Department of Agriculture, I believe, has been that in those cases in which a farmer wishes to bring in itinerant workers the local medical officer of health will be called on to inspect the premises it is proposed will be used.

I do not have all the facts yet -- I have had one report -- but in this case the medical officer of health apparently received the report and did not refuse but was not able to inspect the premises because the Grey county council had cut his budget in each of the last two or three years and he was short-staffed. That is not an acceptable situation. I wrote to the Grey county council about six weeks ago demanding an explanation and I hope to have the matter resolved.

Mr. Breaugh: Is the minister aware that the farmer in question also happens to be the reeve? Is he aware of allegations that the reeve may have used some influence on the local medical officer of health not to conduct such inspections?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Let me clear up any possible aspersions on the character of Dr. MacPherson. I do not believe he would succumb in any way, shape or form to pressure of the type suggested by the honourable member. I was not aware of the name of the farmer, let alone his position. I know Dr. MacPherson to be a man of high integrity.

2:50 p.m.

Mr. J. Reed: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker; I would like to ask the minister what happens in municipalities that do not have a medical officer of health? Who looks after the inspection then?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, every municipality either has a medical officer of health or, if the MOH has died, retired, resigned or whatever, it has an acting MOH.

Mr. Conway: My question is for the Minister of Health and it concerns withdrawal of services by the interns and residents.

I want to know if the minister can indicate at this point in time what, other than neutrality, his government is doing and what he himself, together with the Minister of Labour (Mr. Elgie) and the Minister of Colleges and Universities (Miss Stephenson), is doing to end this serious and alarming situation, given the fact that this withdrawal of services now is in its sixth or seventh day and given the fact that there is strong evidence from very good quarters that quality of care is being jeopardized.

Can the minister indicate in his answer specifically what the policy of this government is with respect to the issue, which is, what is going to be allowed by way of a dispute resolution mechanism? What is his policy on that central question?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, first of all, contrary to the honourable member’s preamble, there is no indication that quality of care is being undermined. To be sure, a few hospitals have taken steps to reduce elective surgery, but we are in regular touch with all 23 teaching hospitals and we are assured that, with the co-operation of the interns and residents, they are maintaining emergency services and critical services such as intensive care, coronary care units and the like. It is wrong to suppose, and there is absolutely no evidence to support the member’s supposition, that the quality of care is being undermined.

Secondly, we convened further meetings last evening, and meetings are going on today. The Ontario Council of Administrators of Teaching Hospitals is in touch this afternoon with the Professional Association of Internes and Residents of Ontario. I am pleased to report that those meetings have resulted in substantial progress. We will keep the members and the public informed.

Mr. Conway: Will the minister address himself in this House to the central question; what is this government’s position on the main question, which is, what kind of a dispute resolution mechanism is it prepared to allow in so far as the interns and residents are concerned?

Secondly, has the Minister of Health not read in the Globe and Mail of Friday, October 31, a letter signed by, among others, Doctors Gold, Biggar and Read from the Hospital for Sick Children which said in part: “Despite assurances to the contrary, we believe that the public should be aware that such a strike will affect the care of children, and the potential for hazard to patients is real”?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I am aware of that opinion of three or four of those doctors. I am also aware that the responsible officials of the hospital have indicated to us on a daily basis that they are able to carry on. In fact, that particular hospital cancelled elective surgery for about a day, I believe, but as of yesterday it is back up to full service.

With regard to the first part of the member’s question, I believe that will be resolved in the negotiations which are under way and which, as I said, have seen substantial progress.


Mr. Wildman: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Treasurer. Given that the members of Local 2995 of the Lumber and Sawmill Workers Union have been on strike with the owners of Elk Lake Planing Mill Limited since February 1980, can the minister explain why his government agreed to extend $3 million in grants and $5 million in loan guarantees from the employment development fund during September 1980 to the same owners for the construction of a waferboard mill in Englehart?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I would have to go back into the records to see when the decision was made to support the waferboard plant at Englehart. It is many months ago and I believe it predated the strike. It has been our policy -- if the member checks with one or two other areas -- to try to stay out of any labour disputes when an EDF request comes in and to await their peaceful resolution before we make a decision. I do not recall anyone mentioning to me that there was a labour dispute at the time the decision was made. Having reached an agreement at the cabinet level, it is often possible for six, eight or 10 months to elapse before a signed contract is made public.

Mr. Wildman: I appreciate the minister’s comments about the attempt to remain neutral. Since the owners of the company experiencing the strike are the same people who own the company that received the grant, will the minister give us a commitment to suspend any further payment of EDF funds to the owners of Grant Waferboard pending a resolution of the present labour dispute with the union?

Hon. F. S. Miller: I think that would be a relatively unfair position to ask us to enter into for either party’s sake in a strike. Surely the member, as a member of his party, believes in the collective bargaining process. Would he like either party to use that kind of influence?

Mr. T. P. Reid: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I would ask the Treasurer whether he is not concerned that these grants -- and that is what they are, with no strings attached -- do not require from these firms any kind of social or community responsibility of performance or any guarantees of employment. Does he not feel it is time, particularly when he is giving away taxpayers’ money, that there should be some kind of social and community responsibility required of these companies and certain expectations that his ministry requires?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I believe the contract is generally signed by the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Grossman), and I can assure the member that the strings attached are numerous.


Mr. Bradley: A question for the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. Mr. Speaker: Will the minister indicate what he is prepared to do today, November 4, 1980, for people such as Mrs. Pamela Wathen of St. Catharines, who is one of many people who do not have too much money to spare, who lost money in Be-Mor Investment Management Corporation and who are still awaiting word from the minister as to what the provincial government is going to do to compensate those who lost their money, they feel, as a result of negligence on the part of the provincial government?

Hon. Mr. Drea: On November 4, 1980, Mr. Speaker, the minister is going to reply as he did, I believe, on October 10, 1980.

Mr. Bradley: As I well recall the answer the minister gave on that particular date, does he not agree that Re-Mor investment Management Corporation was granted a mortgage broker’s licence by the provincial government less than two weeks after C and M Financial Consultants Limited, whose chief executive officer, as we know, is Mr. Carlo Montemurro, had its operation suspended? Does he not feel an obligation then on the part of his government to assist those people who have last their money, many of whom do not have a lot of money to lose?

Hon. Mr. Drea: I believe I discussed that on October 10 as well, but I intend to get the federal government to take care of the entire matter. The member knows that as well as I do. If the federal government had never chartered Astra Trust, there would have been no action.

Mr. M. N. Davison: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I would like to ask the minister about this statement in which he takes so much pride in which he refused to answer the question last time.

It is clearly a fact that under section 5 of the Mortgage Brokers Act the ministry and the government are liable and responsible. While the minister said they were not liable at the time, he refused to give a single reason why they were not. Will he take this opportunity to explain to the people who have been ripped off because of his negligence why the ministry is not liable under section 5 of the Mortgage Brokers Act?

Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, I believe there is a lawsuit directed against the crown on the matter of negligence but once again, if the member wants me to win it in here, I will be delighted. The ministry was not negligent in the issue of the mortgage brokers registration.

3 p.m.

Mr. Hall: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Do I take it from what the minister said that he is going to get the federal government to bail him out? In the event that he is unable to do so, will he take on the responsibility of taking care of the problem?

Hon. Mr. Drea: No, Mr. Speaker, I did not say that. I went over this in October and I pointed out the position of this government in regard to funds that were transferred from Re-Mor Investment into Astra Trust. I believe that was the subject of some litigation by the trustee at some time in the past.

Mr. M. N. Davison: Didn’t even have the decency to answer a question.

Hon. Mr. Drea: What is the member’s problem?

Mr. Speaker: Just ignore the interjection.

Hon. Mr. Drea: I answered the question to some detail in October. I am trying to obey your admonition, Mr. Speaker, to make the answers short and snappy. If the member is never here to hear it, that is not my problem. In that position in October, I outlined the approaches I intended to take.

Mr. Hall: Supposing they fail.

Hon. Mr. Drea: I do not think they will fail.


Ms. Bryden: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Culture and Recreation. I am sure the minister is aware of the allegation by an American visitor in a letter to the Toronto Star last August that there is sex bias in the displays, films and narrations at the Ontario Science Centre. Has the minister asked the centre management to make a survey of all displays, narrations and materials used at the centre to ascertain whether there is an excessive degree of sexism in the exhibits and materials?

Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, I must admit I did not see that letter in the Toronto Star. I have seen hundreds of other letters from Americans who visit the Ontario Science Centre and tell us what a wonderful place it is. I will certainly look into this and report back.

Ms. Bryden: In view of the fact that there are thousands of school children who do attend the Ontario Science Centre and who would be affected if there were sex bias, will the minister undertake to have a survey made of all materials, exhibits and narrations?

Mr. Speaker: That is just a repetition of the initial question.


Mr. J. Reed: Mr. Speaker, in the absence of the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs (Mr. Wells), who has disappeared from our midst, I will direct this question to the Deputy Premier.

Yesterday the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs refused to grant a commission of inquiry into the deficit of the regional municipality of Halton under the signatures of more than 50 good citizens of Nassagaweya. He explained to us at that time, incredibly enough, that a deficit is not allowed under the legislation that sets up the region.

I wonder if the Deputy Premier will take to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs yet another petition, signed this time by 250 good citizens of the city of Burlington, requesting that similar action be taken. They ask that a commission of inquiry be undertaken into the administrative and fiscal affairs of the regional municipality of Halton, pursuant this time to section 121 of the Regional Municipality of Halton Act.

Will the Deputy Premier ask the minister to reconsider his refusal to grant that commission of inquiry, since this matter is most serious in the eyes of the citizens of the regional municipality of Halton?

Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, I will be very pleased to see that the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs receives the material which the honourable member is now sending over to me. I will leave it to the minister himself to comment on the other part of the question.

Mr. J. Reed: I have a supplementary.

Mr. Speaker: I want to draw to the honourable member’s attention that a supplementary should be as a result of an answer to the initial question. As I recall, the answer to the initial question was that he would draw it to the attention of the minister.

Mr. J. Reed: Mr. Speaker, with respect, I think I can justify it on that point.

While the Deputy Premier is presenting that to the minister, will he ask the minister if he can prepare himself to respond to the question on Thursday?

Hon. Mr. Welch: Yes.


Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Health. As a result of a question I put to him several weeks ago regarding air ambulance service, he indicated he was going to make a statement in the Legislature as to precisely what that policy was going to be, because of the difficulty many of us were having with air ambulance service and the payment by the Ontario health insurance plan. Is the minister prepared to make that statement now, or if not, when?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I thought my undertaking was to send it to all the members, and it is being prepared.

Mr. Foulds: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Is the minister prepared to change the rigid, bureaucratic, three-point guidelines that the ministry has been using with regard to transportation costs, particularly on the return journey for someone who has been referred to a medical centre like Toronto for essential services not available in the north?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Certainly, Mr. Speaker, as we introduce the fixed-wing aircraft into the system in the months to come, it is our hope that we will be able to co-ordinate that in such a way as to have it travelling back and forth with as many passengers as possible. The general policy is one we have discussed many times before and we have no plans to alter the overall policy.


Mr. Ruston: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Health. Is the minister aware that the waiting list for chronic beds in Windsor and Essex county has doubled within the last year, and is he taking any steps to see that the 70 chronic care bed patients who are now in active care beds and 28 patients in nursing homes who are waiting to be readmitted to chronic care beds are taken care of?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Not long ago, Mr. Speaker, I approved an additional 100 nursing home beds for Essex county. I am not sure whether the advertisements have gone out yet for that competition but, if they have not, they will be very shortly. I think, with the additional nursing homes beds for the county, that first of all will relieve some pressure.

Second, the chronic home care program is just getting under way in Essex county, which should have a salutary effect on the waiting list.

Third, I believe the health council in that area is doing a review of the long-term care needs. There will always be some waiting lists; it is not conceivable we will ever get the situation where there is simply no waiting list but, if they get to be inordinately long, the council will be recommending, based on that review, additional facilities.

A number of initiatives have already been taken in the area, such as the additional nursing home beds and the chronic home care program.


Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Health. On October 30 I asked the Premier (Mr. Davis) about the circumstances surrounding one Henry Kowalski, who has been incarcerated in our mental health system for more than 12 years. The Premier indicated the minister would give us a reply yesterday. Is he prepared to answer that question today?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, as I understood it, one of the honourable member’s concerns was under what authority the gentleman in question continues to be detained. The authority is under the Mental Health Act with respect to involuntary committals.

The second matter had to do with the whole question of whether he should be at Penetanguishene. I have asked the regional review board in that area to conduct a special review of his case and to advise on whether he should continue to stay at Penetanguishene or whether some other setting in the mental health system -- potentially, I suppose, even including absolute release back to the community and his family -- would be more appropriate.

Mr. Breaugh: Is the minister now prepared to proclaim that section of the Mental Health Act which would provide for notification to the local legal aid society in the case of an involuntary committal?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: My apprehension about the question of confidentiality of an individual, which I hope members will accept as genuine, is as real today as it was when we discussed it two and a half years ago.

3:10 p.m.

Two things: I do not want to stall on that forever because I do not think it is appropriate, I hope the report of the Krever commission will be out in the not-too-distant future --

Mr. Conway: Before the millennium.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Before the millennium, yes. It will deal with this among many other questions of confidentiality.

Second, based on the legal task force report, a component of the Ontario Council of Health review of mental health services, we are working on a white paper on further amendments to the Mental Health Act which will be coming out as well in the not-too-distant future.

Mr. Conway: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: The Kowalski case speaks to the very considerable apprehension felt by many in this Legislature and in the health-care community generally about the amendments that were represented in Bill 19 two years ago. As I recall, a commitment was made by this minister to bring that bill back for a review not later than 18 to 24 months after proclamation. In the light of the evidence the Kowalski case speaks to, is he prepared to undertake to bring back that Mental Health Act for some kind of review to see how those new sections are working?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I will have to check the record, Mr. Speaker, but I believe I indicated that Bill 19 was not and should not be considered to be the end of the process of updating the Mental Health Act. Second, at that time, the council of health task force on mental health services under Professor Abbyann Lynch at the University of Toronto was at work and has since reported, including a report on the act itself. It was a legal task force, a legal subcommittee. That has spawned a white paper, which we are developing and which we hope we will release within the next two months, dealing with all of these issues.


Mr. Sargent: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Education. I am getting scores of calls every day from people in the Bruce area asking what I am doing about the strike. I do not know what the hell to tell them. The feeling up there is that enough is enough. We have enough problems up there now. We want to organize tuition for students from seven to nine in the evenings. Do we have to bring 1,000 students down here to tell the minister we are fed up with the whole system? Why cannot she legislate these teachers back to work and get on with the business of educating our kids?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I believe the honourable member knows that this afternoon I will be meeting a group of individuals from Bruce, concerned parents and citizens in the area, who wish to present me with some further information which they feel is important.

The conditions under which negotiations take place, as I have said before in this House, involve the assumption of responsibility by both parties. One of the happy features in the Bruce situation is that the board has suggested it would move to voluntary arbitration, and did agree to do that. One of the most experienced, and certainly one of those applauded most highly by the members of the official opposition in his capacity as a mediator, fact-finder, assessor, has been ready to function on behalf of both parties in that disagreement to develop a negotiated settlement. He has been standing ready since the strike began. That offer is there. Mr. Teplitsky is ready to assist the parties. I would hope, through pressure the local member might bring to bear on certain of the local individuals, to bring the members of the teaching profession at least to an agreement that they could support arbitration or that they would go back to the negotiating table.


Mr. S. Smith: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: On Friday, the Minister of Energy (Mr. Welch) was supposed to address this House with regard to his response to the federal budget, which was described by the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miler) as a federal energy policy, but the Premier (Mr. Davis) said to the House, “although the Minister of Energy was to make a statement, I have asked him to make that statement early next week,” so the Premier could respond to Mr. Lougheed’s comments. “Early next week,” it seems to me, was yesterday or today. I feel a number of us have been waiting for the response by the government of Ontario to the energy policy of the federal government.

It is very difficult for us to believe that Ontario has changed its response as a consequence of Mr. Lougheed’s comments. Surely it should have been ready to say whatever it wanted to say about the federal budget before now. Why have we not heard that statement?

Mr. Speaker: The Deputy Premier and the government House leader are responsible for ordering the business of the House. If they have nothing to say, we can go on to something else.

Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, by way of explanation I might say that since Friday’s statement of the Premier there seems to be some indication that perhaps there would be some renegotiation of some aspects of the package. It was felt at this stage that we would defer any comment pending the outcome.

Mr. S. Smith: What about the Premier’s speech? Has he changed his mind about it?


Mr. M. N. Davison: Pursuant to standing order 28(a) I wish to give notice of my dissatisfaction with the response to my question by the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Drea) and to announce my intention to raise the matter upon the adjournment of the House.

Mr. Speaker: Notice has been given of this and the matter will be debated at 10:30 p.m. tonight.

Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, I find that very unusual from the honourable member. He knows I cannot be here tonight. We have even moved up one of my bills.

Mr. M. N. Davison: I would be satisfied to be here Thursday night.

Mr. Speaker: Agreed; so ordered.



Mr. Gaunt from the standing committee on social development reported the following resolution:

That supply in the following amounts and to defray the expenses of the Ministry of Community and Social Services be granted to Her Majesty for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1981:

Ministry administration program, $19,891,-000; adult services program, $1,064,999,000, and children’s services program, $369,919,000.



Hon. Mr. Wells moved that as Monday, November 10, is municipal election day and Tuesday, November 11, is Remembrance Day, when this House adjourns on Friday next, November 7, it stand adjourned until Thursday, November 13; but this motion will not affect any committee meetings scheduled for Wednesday, November 12.

Motion agreed to.



Mr. Dukszta moved first reading of Bill 179, An Act to amend the Education Act, 1974.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Dukszta: Mr. Speaker, the bill sets forth the procedure for the establishment of heritage language programs in order that the heritage language may be taught as a language of instruction, as a subject of instruction, and as a language of instruction for the purpose of transition to English or French.


Mr. Young, on behalf of Mr. MacDonald, moved first reading of Bill Pr46, An Act respecting the Corporation of the Borough of York.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Young: This bill entitles the borough of York to pay compensation to the widow of an employee who is killed in an unfortunate accident during his employment.

Mr. Speaker: Bills of that nature do not require an explanation.

3:20 p.m.


Mr. Rotenberg moved first reading of Bill Pr45, An Act respecting the Powers of the Jewish Family and Child Service of Metropolitan Toronto.

Motion agreed to.


Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, before the orders of the day I would like to table the answers to questions 227 and 228, 231 and 232. 298 and 359 standing on the Notice Paper. (See appendix, page 4070.)


Hon. Mr. Wells: I would also like to inform the House that tonight, time permitting, in addition to the order of business announced last week, we will be considering Bill 167, An Act to amend the Chiropody Act, following the bills that were on the list.



Mr. Breithaupt, on behalf of Mr. Van Horne, moved second reading of Bill Pr21, An Act respecting the City of London.

Motion agreed to.

Third reading also agreed to on motion.


Mr. Rotenberg, on behalf of Mr. Ramsay, moved second reading of Bill Pr28, An Act respecting the City of Sault Ste. Marie.

Motion agreed to.

Third reading also agreed to on motion.


Mr. M. N. Davison, on behalf of Mr. Mackenzie, moved second reading of Bill Pr30, An Act respecting the City of Hamilton.

Motion agreed to.

Third reading also agreed to on motion.


Mr. Rotenberg, on behalf of Mr. Jones, moved second reading of Bill Pr32, An Act respecting the City of Mississauga.

Motion agreed to.

Third reading also agreed to on motion.


Mr. Nixon, on behalf of Mr. G. I. Miller, moved second reading of Bill Pr33, An Act respecting the Estate of Mary Agnes Shuter.

Motion agreed to.

Third reading also agreed to on motion.


Mr. Warner, on behalf of Mr. McClellan, moved second reading of Bill Pr34, An Act to revive Theatre Passe Muraille.

Motion agreed to.

Third reading also agreed to on motion.


Mr. Rotenberg, on behalf of Mr. Williams, moved second reading of Bill Pr35, An Act to revive Gould’s Drug Store Limited.

Motion agreed to.

Third reading also agreed to on motion.


Mr. Rotenberg, on behalf of Mr. Williams, moved second reading of Bill Pr37, An Act respecting the City of North York.

Motion agreed to.

Third reading also agreed to on motion.


Mr. Rotenberg, on behalf of Mr. Leluk, moved second reading of Bill Pr38, An Act respecting the Borough of Etobicoke.

Motion agreed to.

Third reading also agreed to on motion.


Mr. Breithaupt, on behalf of Mr. Roy, moved second reading of Bill Pr39, An Act respecting the City of Ottawa.

Motion agreed to.

Third reading also agreed to on motion.


Resuming the adjourned debate on the motion for second reading of Bill 118, An Act respecting the Registered Insurance Brokers of Ontario.

Mr. Germa: Mr. Speaker, where is the minister?

Mr. Speaker: He is coming.

Mr. Germa: The House will recall that on June 19, at high noon, we were discussing this Bill 118, An Act respecting the Registered Insurance Brokers of Ontario. We have had the summer and part of the fall now to consider this bill. We did intimate we were in support of the bill, with certain reservations.

I would like to point out that an insurance agent or a broker, when placing a policy, has certain responsibilities to the person paying the premium. I do not know whether putting the agents under a self-licensing, self-governing, self-policing body is really going to impress upon the agent that he has a duty of care to be provided to the person who, in some cases, pays the substantial premium.

3:30 p.m.

In the first report of the select committee on company law, chapter 28, page 211, the committee made an observation which was identified in a court case in Fine’s Flowers Limited versus General Accident Assurance Company of Canada.

The Honourable Mr. Justice Fraser found “that it is wholly unrealistic to say that an agent is acting gratuitously where the insured, who is getting insurance from him, is relying on his advice as to the company in which to insure, the coverage and particular type of policy and where the insured is paying a substantial premium from which the agent is to be paid his commission.” He accordingly found “that such an agent owed a duty of care and skill to the insured and imposed a liability upon the agent where there had been a failure to fulfil that duty.”

There is a tremendous volume of premium being collected by agents and brokers across Ontario. I would take this opportunity to impress upon the agents and brokers that the public is recognizing more and more every day, with prodding by governments at all levels, that the consumer demands and expects service for value. When the consumer puts out a dollar, he expects performance not only in the goods he buys but in the performance of the person who is supplying the goods or services.

In the case of insurance, that is equally important despite the fact that one is not getting a commodity in the sense that one is buying something he can pick up in his hand and evaluate. He is buying a service, an insurance or protection against a catastrophe. In some cases, these catastrophes could be very onerous on the person who has sought to protect himself by some sort of a policy, be it automobile insurance, fire insurance, accident and sickness insurance or any other kind of insurance. The objective of the person paying the premium is to relieve himself of risk at the best possible price and to guarantee that when the claim is made the claim shall be adequately paid. I think it is incumbent upon the agent or broker to ensure that this level of service is maintained.

One of the other duties of the agent or broker recognized by the select committee on company law was identifying the risk to be insured. This is a particular weakness I have noted, particularly in the sale of life insurance, where an agent, because he is on a commission, is overzealous in trying to place a policy. His income is tied into the premium.

I suspect, and in fact I know, some of my friends who are of modest income are over-insured. They are identified as insurance poor. They were going to be very rich men when they died, but in the interval while they are paying the premium they hardly have enough money to maintain their families. I am sure you and I, Mr. Speaker, have talked to people such as that. They have told us what sort of coverage they have. They are going to leave some very rich and comfortable widows but, unfortunately, they are not looking after the present-day needs of their families.

I think that is one of the weaknesses of the present system of remuneration to the insurance agent. He is on a commission basis and tends to try to maximize his income by overselling. In the case of selling automobile insurance, his commission rate is 10 to 15 per cent. In property lines, the commission falls in the area of 20 to 25 per cent and it is variable on other lines of property and casualty insurance. The amount of the policy, the amount of the premium, has a direct relationship to the agent’s income. The agent, being human, will try to maximize his income.

There is no legislation we can pass to protect the consumer from that while that method of payment is in place.

Evaluating and measuring the risks in the case of, let’s say, fire insurance, it is quite possible if you take the word of your agent -- and a lot of people will do almost anything the agent suggests or recommends -- that a person might be paying a premium on an evaluation of a property which is not realistic when the time of claim comes. A person might be paying a premium on a fire policy on a house with an evaluation of $100,000 and the house does not have that value on the marketplace; therefore, he is insuring a risk that is really not there.

Another responsibility of the agent, as identified by the committee, was reviewing, evaluating, recommending or advising on contracts of insurance, and transmitting applications for a policy or negotiating contracts of insurance with insurers. While under the present system of the tied agent, in which most agents represent and are sponsored by one company, there is no way the agent can negotiate on behalf of the person paying the premium, certainly this legislation releases and frees the so-called independent agent so that he is not liable or responsible to any one particular insurer for the continuance of his licence under the present system. Of course, if the sponsoring insurance company finds disfavour with the agent, it can withdraw this sponsorship, and without sponsorship the agent is without a licence; it is that simple.

So to that degree, the legislation has some merit. To free the agent from the domination of the insurer is the reason we in this party are choosing to support the legislation.

I am glad to see the term “independent agent” is not in the new legislation. The word “independent” had a false connotation in the past. The consumer was of the opinion that the independent agent was an independent person working on behalf of the premium payer, while nothing could have been further from the truth; he was, in fact, an agent tied to sponsorship. So those two things go hand in hand.

Under the legislation, I believe the exclusive agent will remain in the same category. He is an employee of a direct-seller insurance company. The insurance company accepts liability and responsibility for him. I presume he will have to qualify for a licence under the new legislation in order to participate in the sale of life insurance.

With those comments, I look forward to the passing of this legislation and the setting up of this agency to license, police and administer the affairs of the insurance agents and brokers in Ontario.

Ms. Bryden: Mr. Speaker, this bill seems to be an example of the Liberals in bed with the Conservatives, because the spokesmen for both parties last June tried to railroad it through on the last day of the session, less than two weeks after it was introduced. Fortunately, there were enough speakers to use the time available on such a busy day and the bill is now before us for more consideration. I think we are fortunate to have time to look at some of the flaws in it.

3:40 p.m.

Our speakers questioned a number of features in the bill. They argued that since there appeared to be serious flaws it must be examined very carefully, and urged that the bill be referred to a standing committee of the Legislature for such examination and for public hearings. I am glad we did not railroad it through last June so that those public hearings would have been obviated.

The government holds this bill up as model deregulation legislation and as a model bill for self-government of an industry. That is all the more reason for proceeding slowly on the bill and providing adequate opportunities for insurance agents and the general public to comment on it before a committee.

I understand most of the consultation on this bill, such as it was, was made with the existing insurance agents’ organization and the insurance brokers’ organization. The two have now come together in one organization known as the Registered Insurance Brokers of Ontario. I do not think many individual agents who do not belong to those organizations were consulted; I do not think the public was given an opportunity to appear and discuss the proposal.

That is why we say this bill must be referred to those kinds of hearings after second reading. I hope any party that supports second reading will support it on the understanding that it must go out to public hearings. Otherwise we are moving in the dark, we are moving without knowing what the public wants, we are moving without consulting consumers, who also have an interest in this legislation. The legislation must strike a balance between the interests of consumers and the interests of the agents.

I have had some agents approach me and say: “Is this legislation necessary? Could we not just declare that the term ‘independent agent’ be changed to simply ‘insurance agent’ in the present law and this would free them from being tied to an insurance company?” Perhaps we could state in the legislation that no insurance agent is tied to an insurance company, that they have the right to sign any number of contracts with any number of companies on agreed commission rates. We would achieve a lot of the objectives of the legislation that way. I think we have to look at whether the legislation is really necessary and whether it is going to achieve what most people think is desirable, that insurance agents do become really independent. At the present time they are tied to companies.

Some of the other concerns that have been expressed to me are that this will probably add to the costs of the average insurance agent, particularly sole agents who have a heavy overhead, who do not share it with large companies, who are hit right now with rising inflationary costs for everything else in the business, and who are having difficulties just keeping up with inflation and managing to continue to make a profit.

Those agents fear the licence fees and the possible bonding requirements for their entire staff will add greatly to the costs. At the moment they pay a licence fee for their staff but they will have to register them as brokers under this legislation and there will likely be an additional fee for that. The costs to the agent are something that should be looked at. They were rather quickly glossed over by the minister in his opening speech last June. I did not hear any concern expressed by the Liberals, either, about the cost to the individual agent of going into this kind of elaborate organization.

Other concerns are whether there will be adequate consumer representation on the various bodies that are set up under this legislation. If it is just token representation, then the legislation is not establishing a fair way of regulating the industry. We know that some regulatory bodies, such as the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, tend to favour the providers of the service rather than the consumers of the service.

There must be adequate representation for consumers on these various bodies. There is to be one body for licensing, one for complaints and one for discipline, and there is to be an overall council that sets up these three bodies. On all of these bodies, there most be consumer representation. It is possible that certain consumer organizations could be asked to nominate people for some of these positions so that they would represent a large body of opinion.

There should also be a right of appeal from some of the decisions of these committees if the person who makes the complaint or the person who is disciplined feels he or she has not had a fair hearing. There must be an opportunity to appeal.

For those reasons, I will support the bill going through second reading. But I will support it only in the hope that it will go to committee and that there will be public hearings so that we can hear from all the diverse groups who have not yet been heard from on this bill.

Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, I am not going to be long on this matter. I think the remarks I made upon introduction of this bill and at the start of debate on second reading of the bill have been more than adequate.

The bill does give statutory authority regarding the duty of the broker to the public. The duties are defined, as well as the misconduct, in the proposed regulations. These have been circulated to all the brokers and agents, and they have accepted those terms and conditions.

I think it is unfortunate that there were a couple of references to the life insurance industry today. I want to make it abundantly plain that this does not involve the life insurance industry at all.

In terms of commissions and so forth, the proposed duties require the broker to put the interest of his client first; otherwise he is subject to discipline.

I welcome the bill’s going to committee. But I hope the committee hearings will be efficient; that they will not be a long drawn-out affair. I am sure the members are aware it was the agents and brokers of this province who developed this bill. The bill, both conceptually and in draft form, was taken to every area of the province. It was probably the most comprehensive review of a bill ever undertaken in a reasonable period of time. I am not talking about comments requested by mail; I am talking about actual physical presentations where there could be dialogue and questions and answers.

I tell the member for Beaches-Woodbine (Ms. Bryden), they accepted input there; there were some changes made.

When these sessions were held, they were advertised; they were not held in the back room of a hotel. They were held quite openly. I, as minister, am bewildered when people come forward and say, “Gee, I never got notice.”

Certainly an opportunity before a standing committee of the Legislature is very desirable.

3:50 p.m.

Mr. M. N. Davison: I am glad to see you have changed your mind on that.

Hon. Mr. Drea: No, I have never said anything about it.

Mr. M. N. Davison: You are the one who tried to ram it through on the final day of the last session.

Hon. Mr. Drea: I did not interrupt over there.

Mr. M. N. Davison: You interrupted all through my remarks on June 19.

Hon. Mr. Drea: For the record, I did not attempt to railroad anything. But I remind the member for Hamilton Centre that one of the criticisms about his performance that day was the allegation, which he has not yet denied, that he had not read the bill. That did not come from me. That may shed some light on the quality of the debate that day. I never tried to railroad legislation.

Mr. M. N. Davison: You certainly did. You told us we would rue the day if it did not pass.

Hon. Mr. Drea: I must say that some of the conversions today to the idea that this is a good bill, to one reasonably reading the debates of last June, are not quite as dramatic as that at Damascus, and maybe not quite as fast, but somebody’s lightning bolt came down and hit somebody over there. But enough of the barracking.

This is really a very historic day in this Legislature. We are about to pass, I presume, Bill 118. There have been some references to it as a model of the deregulation process. It obviously has to be the model for the deregulation process, because to my knowledge it is the first time in any Legislature on this continent, all 62 of them, where a totally regulated industry is in the process, not of being deregulated, which is a very negative term but of experiencing a transfer of authority.

Those responsible for the day-to-day affairs of the insurance industry, on the basis of their experience, on the basis of their maturity and on the basis of what they want to do -- not for the industry or for themselves, but for the totality of their operation -- will be accepting responsibility for better service, higher quality and all the things that go into making a business community a much better place for both those who work in it and those who purchase the product.

It is on the basis of their desire to accept responsibility that we in the Legislature of Ontario have moved to this point. I think it is very significant. I hope that in the economic or social histories of the province this date, this particular time just shortly before four o’clock, will receive much mention.

I would draw to your attention, Mr. Speaker, that we have a number of people with us who have been directly concerned with this bill. I suppose that is a bit unusual, because invariably the people who are concerned with bills are to your right and slightly behind you on the Treasury benches. But this was a whole new approach because, quite frankly, it is a whole new initiative. We have with us Mr. Jamieson, who is the president of the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of Ontario; Mr. Aldrich, a director of the Registered Insurance Brokers of Ontario; Mr. Lambie, the president of RIBO; Mr. Strung, the legal counsel of RIBO; Mr. Coghill, the manager of RIBO; Mr. Upjohn, a director of RIBO: and Mr. Cunningham from the Canadian Federation of Insurance Agents and Brokers Associations. The reason I mention their names is that I believe credit should go where it is deserved and should be shared.

I am very confident that this bill, which really begins the formal operation of RIBO, will not just be a model for alternatives to total regulation, self-regulation or deregulation, but indeed will be a model for conduct, initiative and innovation in the marketplace.

I commend the insurance agents and brokers of this province who a little under two years ago accepted the challenge to bring forward proposals to the government. They did that. They have had meetings, hearings, dialogues and inputs. Name the event and they have had those across the province. On many occasions the efforts have been somewhat frustrating, because it is not simple to unravel a century of regulation if you are going to provide the consumer and marketplace with something better than what is there.

I draw to the attention of this assembly that they have yet to send the taxpayers a single bill for that work. They made their own contribution, not only in time, sacrifice and travel but also in paying for it.

I look forward to the final passage of this bill in this session. I also look forward to the fact that this licensing year, which commenced October 1, 1980, and will extend until September 30, 1981, will be the final licensing year in which a certificate or authorization to sell general lines of insurance is issued by the province, by the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations or by the superintendent of insurance. Commencing October 1, 1981, with the passage of this bill, the authorization will be from the Registered Insurance Brokers of Ontario.

Motion agreed to.

Ordered for standing committee on administration of justice.

Mr. Breithaupt: Mr. Speaker, about the agreement in that matter, I note that the estimates of the minister probably will be completed on Friday. Will the minister be attempting to have this bill brought forward to the justice committee in the hope of starting next Wednesday, November 12? Is there some possibility of that?

Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, I am prepared to move as quickly as possible. I think it depends upon the justice committee. I draw to the attention of the House, and I would like it on the record, that as usual, I am before two committees. There is a select committee on plant shutdowns and employee adjustment.

While I am not the primary minister there, nor will I be for the ensuing two or three weeks, I may very well be in those proceedings towards the end of November and throughout December, because there is a commitment for introduction and passage of certain amendments to the Pension Benefits Act. I would hope that the justice committee could handle this matter relatively efficiently.

Mr. M. N. Davison: I think it is up to the justice committee to arrange and order its own business, and I am sure its members will do that to the best of their ability. However, if I could pass on a bit of advice to them, I think it would be wise for the committee to notify people in the industry by way of advertisement or any other appropriate means, of this opportunity to come before a standing committee of the assembly to discuss the bill. I would put that on the record.

The Deputy Speaker: I think the House leaders and the committee can work this out.

4 p.m.


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

Mr. Sterling: Mr. Speaker, I am going to confine my opening statement to basically a recap of the statement that was made on the first reading of this piece of legislation.

The bill covers three areas. First of all, the bill removes the statutory ineligibility of the clergy to serve on juries, but it provides them with an opportunity to go before a judge and state that their beliefs are in conflict with the duty of serving on a jury.

The bill also permits jury service to be deferred where the service would result in serious hardship to jurors or to others. This was introduced basically to alleviate a condition where an employee or perhaps the owner of a small business would not be able to attend at a certain time for jury duty. It also covers a situation where a mother would be unable to provide care for her children at a particular time and would therefore request a deferment of her obligation to serve on a jury.

The bill also removes the disqualification of blind persons and persons 70 years of age and more from their obligation and privilege to serve on a jury. Finally, perhaps a more important part of the bill provides for protection of the employment status of persons summoned to serve as jurors from time to time.

The bill is fairly straightforward, but I would be happy to answer questions from opposition members and quite willing to listen to their suggestions.

Mr. Breithaupt: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak in favour of Bill 168 on second reading, particularly as we look to next year as being the United Nations International Year of Disabled Persons. The pride of a blind person to have the choice as to whether or not to serve on a jury is something we should encourage. Historically, blind persons have been ineligible to serve and this will at least make the option of service their own decision. Some may feel quite comfortable and capable in accepting the opportunity for jury service, while others may prefer not to, and that is just fine if it is their individual decision and not something imposed upon them by others who have traditionally thought they knew what was best.

In addition, the individual 70 years of age or over may well feel an interesting experience and a rather useful opportunity would result from a personal decision to serve should he be chosen to serve on a jury panel. The growing number of senior citizens within our community who have not only a great interest in how our society is operated but also great experience to offer in that area of service is something of which we should take advantage. Again, the removal of this automatic ineligibility provision is welcome.

The circumstances with respect to members of religious orders fall in the same category. They will no longer be automatically ineligible, but the matter will be allowed to develop as their choice may occur and as they may be chosen so far as a jury panel is concerned. Certainly these amendments are worthwhile. We welcome the introduction of them and we will support the bill.

Mr. Warner: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise on behalf of my party and indicate we will be supporting this bill on second reading. There are a couple of principles involved here that are certainly worthy of support, and we are pleased to see them come forward at this time.

One, of course, is the notion that people who are not fully sighted would have the opportunity to serve on a jury. I think it is fair to say some members of the legal profession will have qualms about how this is going to work in a practical sense.

Some members may argue that in cases where physical evidence is of primary importance and crucial the person who is blind will be at a disadvantage. There is the counterbalancing argument that while a person does not have his or her sight, he or she likely has more acute hearing to compensate in that regard and is more likely to pick up intonations and inflections in the voice that will offset whatever has been lost by not having sight and not being able to look at the physical items that have been introduced into the case. On balance, I feel confident the experience will be that blind jurors will serve well.

It should not be forgotten that we are looking in practical terms at one such person on a jury with 11 others; so a balanced view will come forward. What I am hoping also is that it has opened the door a bit on how we can ensure that all people who have a disability of one type or another, a physical impairment, will have an opportunity to serve in what is one of the most important functions we have in our society.

Our system of justice is very much dependent on a jury system. The whole notion of being tried by one’s peers and having ordinary citizens examine one’s situation when one has been charged is of prime importance and is crucial to our system of justice. Every opportunity we have to broaden the scope of those who can and will be allowed to serve is a laudable one. I, for one, appreciate the fact that the government has brought this forward. I understand it was also a recommendation from the advisory committee on the handicapped. They supported this proposal.

The removal of the age restriction is also an important one. Throughout the 1970s and certainly into the 1980s, we are beginning to learn that people who are senior citizens can make a tremendous contribution in their retirement years. They have made a tremendous contribution, obviously, through their 65 years of life. They have built the country and they have sustained the country through troubled times and times of depression and war. Through that period of our history, they were the strength and backbone of our country. Suddenly when they become older, as a society we say they are no longer very important and we remove them from a lot of the important aspects of our life in society. This is just one small measure in allowing and saying to senior citizens we want them to participate in society as much as they wish to and as much as is physically and humanly possible. That is a good criterion and one that should be fostered.

I made some inquiries amongst some people who are members of the bar with respect to having justices of the peace being eligible to serve. The consensus I got was that that made sense. One could construe that there would be a conflict of interest, or at least the appearance of a conflict of interest, to have justices of the peace serving. From my limited knowledge, I would agree with that.

4:10 p.m.

Another principle involved in this bill is that of guaranteeing the leave of absence from employment that is obviously overdue. In today’s society, with employment being so tenuous, particularly in this province, it just does not make any sense to think that someone who is serving in what we acknowledge to be such an extremely important aspect of our judicial system should face the possible jeopardy of his employment. Perhaps it is an oversight, but I wish the government had gone the one further step that is so important, particularly to the people whom I represent, to ensure that there should not be a loss of income because of that service on a jury.

At the proper time, I will be moving an amendment that will correct that oversight. I forwarded the amendment to the Attorney General last week to try to give us as much advance notice as I could so that everyone involved would knew what amendment I would be placing.

A very sound principle is, if someone is going to serve in such an important aspect of our judicial system, their employment should be guaranteed and they should continue to receive their salary. There is an automatic question as part of that principle; that is, what about those people who are nonsalaried, such as women whose normal duties are in the home in a nonsalaried situation? In many cases they have several children. They have a home that they are responsible for, children who may be preschoolers or may be at school. What sacrifice do they make? They obviously make a financial sacrifice because, when they are serving on a jury, in many cases a homemaker must be in the home to prepare the meals for the children and make sure that the household continues to function in a normal way, I will be moving an appropriate amendment to that effect as well. I imagine, since it was an oversight, that there will be unanimous approval and, of course, I will appreciate that.

Basically, as has been pointed out, the principles embodied in this bill are good, sound ones, and ones worthy of support; they just need a little bit of refinement and improvement. When we get to the committee stage, we will all have the opportunity to do that and of course then all of us can share in the glory that will come from that as the citizens of Ontario praise us for our efforts.

Mr. McGuigan: Mr. Speaker, I rise to support Bill 168, an Act to amend the Juries Act, 1974, and I wish to thank the Attorney General, through his parliamentary assistant, on behalf of those people affected by this badly needed reform. It is a matter of personal pride and satisfaction to see that the government accepted my private member’s bill, Bill 148, An Act to amend the Juries Act, 1974, which was presented in the last session of the 31st Parliament.

The government bill goes beyond my bill, and I certainly concur with and appreciate those items. There is no reason to go over them because they have already received adequate recognition.

In a general way, I can say that the act recognizes the rights of disabled people and brings to a very important area in our democratic society their value and worth as human beings. I think it recognizes in the case of blind people their special sensitivity to perceive concepts and ideas that sighted people may overlook. The member for Scarborough-Ellesmere (Mr. Warner) has already mentioned that.

When I was doing research for my private member’s bill, I found that those who objected to this legislation based their objection on the premise that a juror must see to assess the veracity of the witness through his or her deportment and general appearance. Perhaps a good actor, one well skilled in the attributes, could fool sighted people whereas he could not fool a blind person who relies upon the inflections and the manner of presentation that is done verbally. I suggest that a blind person on a jury may bring some balance and expertise that is not otherwise available.

Comprehensive antidiscrimination legislation in the United States has enabled blind jurors to serve in Michigan, New Jersey, Utah, Colorado, Washington and California. As well, blind lawyers, blind prosecutors and blind judges serve in US courts. In Canada, however, Quebec and Newfoundland are the only provinces to consider blind persons eligible for jury duty. We are happy that Ontario now becomes the third province to do so.

In doing research for my bill, I got a letter back from a judge in Washington, D.C. I have asked my colleagues in the legal profession whether this applies to Ontario, and they assure me that it does. It is only a page and a half, and I would like to read it into the record. The letter is dated June 27, 1980, and it is addressed to our researcher Miss Jane Opper:

“You have asked me for my comments on the subject of blind persons serving as petit jurors. I am pleased to share with you my views on the subject.

“In my opinion, an opinion which is based upon my experience as a trial judge presiding over numerous jury trials and criminal cases and my experience with blindness, a blind person is fully capable of serving as a petit juror in the vast majority of cases.

“In our practice, the evidence, the arguments and the jury instructions are presented to the jury orally, and there is nothing whatsoever for the juror to visualize and read. Even in those cases where exhibits are introduced into evidence and are given to the jury during deliberations, there are never 12 copies” -- that is, one for each juror -- “one or another juror normally reads aloud from written exhibits.

“The assertion that a juror can only assess the credibility of a witness by seeing them is utter nonsense. In a very small percentage of cases visual aids are used either as evidence or as demonstrations. In such cases, the blind person would probably not be competent to serve as a juror. An obvious example is a case charging the defendant with activities relating to illegal obscene motion pictures. In such cases, it may be crucial for the jury itself to view the film.

“In that small percentage of cases not suitable for blind jurors, a trial judge can determine the fact in advance of trial. The trial judge normally knows from pretrial hearings the nature of the case and the type of evidence which will be introduced.

“So the determination about whether a particular human being is competent to serve on a jury can easily be made and should be made on a case-by-case basis. There is no justification whatsoever that I can imagine which would warrant the blanket exclusion of blind people from serving on petit juries.

“I hope this answers your inquiry.”

It is signed: “Sincerely, D. L. Norman, Judge.”

I certainly take from his earlier comments that Judge Norman is not sighted.

With those remarks, I am very pleased to welcome and give my support to this legislation.

4:20 p.m.

Mr. Germa: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to offer a few words on this piece of legislation amending the Juries Act. My views are those of a layman, which is somewhat different from what happens in this Legislature when we are dealing with matters of the judiciary. Normally all these debates are confined to members of the legal profession such as yourself, Mr. Speaker. The rest of us lay people are a little inhibited to get into the debate because very often we do not understand the terminology. We are not quite sure of what happens in a courtroom and, despite the fact that I have been in one several times -- not of my own choice at any time -- I am always confused at what happens in this house of justice. Many of us do not see much justice coming out of the courts of Ontario.

The only semblance of lay common sense in the whole judiciary process is a jury of one’s peers. They bring into this ivory tower some street-level consideration. To that degree, the jury system is an integral part, and probably the most important part, of the whole judicial system, despite the fact that some of our judges do not look very kindly upon lay juries.

I had an argument once with a judge in my riding who told me there was no room for the jury system in Ontario; that those were almost illiterate people, not educated in law, and how could they come down with any common-sense decisions. I defended the jury system. I know of its past history, how it started and how it does leaven the bread in the court procedure.

I had experience on a jury back in the dirty old days when jury pay was $6 a day. Now we have had a phenomenal increase up to $10 a day. That is my chief complaint with the jury system in Ontario now. These people who are empanelled to serve, to hear evidence, to make decisions -- the most important people in the courthouse -- are inadequately paid for the service they render. Everybody else in the court -- even in that day when I was sitting on the jury for $6 -- the lawyers, the judges, and all these fine people were all earning $30,000 a year, $40,000 a year and some of them $200,000 a year, making their case and going through their antics, their theatre. The poor panel of jurymen were required to perform in the same fashion, for the same hours, to face the same complex issues, and yet the pay scale was so ridiculous as to be hardly worthwhile picking up.

There is provision in the legislation that a person may be exonerated from service provided he can prove hardship, but it does not define what hardship is. A person in the work place might be earning $30, $40 or $50 a day, and to require him to sit on a jury for several weeks -- and some of them could go for that period of time -- is imposing a hardship and a penalty on that person which he should not be asked to hear. Yet I doubt very much if a sheriff would consider loss of income as a particular hardship. It has not been a consideration in the past. There certainly has to be some definition of hardship, and I think financial hardship should be one of those considerations. Otherwise, the bill should be changed to ensure that the person serving on the panel will get the same remuneration as he would have, had he not been on the panel.

For instance, if a person is a miner in the city of Sudbury, he is earning X dollars a week and he has commitments that use up every one of those dollars plus about 10 per cent more. To reduce his income from $60 or $70 a day to $10 a day is a hardship he should not have to hear. Yet it is valuable for people who only go into the courtroom once in their life to have that experience. Despite the fact it cost me considerable money to sit on a panel for a week or so on an attempted murder charge, I think the money was well spent. All the people who are empanelled do not have that interest in self-education and are not willing to spend that kind of money on their education, and they should not be required to do so.

It would be better if section 7 went to the ultimate degree, that the employer should grant a leave of absence with pay -- not necessarily full pay; I would accept something less than full pay, but something commensurate with what the person is earning in the work place. But to ask him to give up two, three or four weeks of pay in any given year is just too much for the average citizen of Ontario in this day and age of rising prices and rising interest rates and all those things that working-class people have difficulty facing.

I am pleased with the other sections of the bill. A blind person on the jury, I am sure, is going to inhibit the theatrics of some of the lawyers when they go into their routine in the courthouse. We see better acting in the courts of Ontario than down at the Second City review, despite the fact there are some good actors down there. Some of those birds with their black robes can really perform. Of course, what they are doing is maintaining the interest of the jury panel. entertaining the panel and getting the panel to be sympathetic to their particular cause. If there is a blind man sitting on the panel, some of these legal birds are going to be a little bit inhibited.

I do not suppose there will ever come a time when we have an entirely blind panel, but I am sure there will be one or two at any given time. Some of these high-flying lawyers who win their cases on theatrics will know there is at least one guy there who is not distracted by their activities but is listening to their words. It might tend to upgrade the performance of the legal profession in that there will be at least one person who is not going to be swayed by the facial expressions and the torment and all the performances that go on in the courthouse. They will then have to rely on getting the message across to that person in words alone.

I am in support of this bill, and I hope we are able to make some changes in the bill which will protect from financial hardship those people who are very ready and willing to serve on the juries. Without the jury system, I think my faith in the courts would be a little bit more diminished than it is right now.

Mr. Ruston: Mr. Speaker, I want to speak very briefly on Bill 168.

One of the things I have run across with regard to this is the matter of getting to the courthouse when one is called to jury duty. I understand they allow a mileage rate to the place where the jury sits, but in some large rural areas people may be 25 to 30 miles from the courthouse. Many more women are now being called to serve on juries and, as women do not drive as much as men do, some may have difficulty getting to the court. They are allowed mileage, but if they cannot drive and there is no bus service, will they be allowed to be excused from jury duty for that reason?

4:30 p.m.

Another matter having to do with transportation concerns those people who can be on a jury as a result of this bill, like blind people; I imagine their transportation will have to be supplied and proper facilities made available for them when they get to the courtroom.

I thought I would bring up the other situation as well because it has been brought to my attention. Some of them were fortunate enough to have neighbours or someone nearby who was called at the same time who would give them a ride. But in some cases it has been very difficult. Where there is only one car in the family, it is a real hardship. I use the word “hardship” because it says in the bill if it is a hardship they may be excused.

Mr. Isaacs: Like my colleagues, Mr. Speaker, I welcome the fact that the government is progressive enough to bring in legislation which recognizes that persons 70 years of age and older, members of religious orders and blind persons are as equal as all the rest of us for the purposes of service on jury. That is to be commended.

Like my colleagues, I am concerned about the present rate of pay to jurors and about the fact that those who serve on juries often suffer from financial loss. From time to time, that financial loss can become quite substantial.

I want to concentrate particularly on section 5 and more especially on section 6, which seems to me to be incredibly conservative and not at all progressive. Some years ago I received a summons for jury duty. Like most members of the public who were summoned for that most important duty. I welcomed it about as much as I would welcome a summons on a traffic violation. Let us face it; while we may speak very highly of the purpose and role of juries in our judicial system, when we are individually called to serve on a jury, then we somehow find it very inconvenient and wish it would go away.

I believe the government could have taken some steps that would have dealt with this in a very progressive fashion. Unfortunately, particularly in section 6, they have dealt with it in a way that does not seem to me to be at all progressive. I am particularly concerned about the phrase that would allow a person to be excused from attending the sittings on the ground of serious hardship or loss to him or others.

I want to suggest that the result of this could well be that lawyers, businessmen, doctors and many other groups of professionals will be able to obtain exemption, either temporarily or permanently, from jury service and that we could end up with a jury pool of what might be described as professional people, those who, for whatever reason, are not able to convince a judge or the sheriff that they qualify under those sections and who spend a lot of their time, at least compared to others of us, sitting on jury panels.

I want to suggest to the minister, through the parliamentary assistant in his absence, that there is a system which, according to my information, is proving very effective in dealing with that situation. It is a system called the one-day or one-trial system. It is in effect now in about 20 jurisdictions in the United States. According to my sources of information, it is proving remarkably successful.

Under the one-day or one-trial system, the person who is called to the courthouse is a jury candidate for one day only. If the person is not called during that one day, his obligation is fulfilled. If he is seated on a jury, he serves only until the end of that trial, whether it be for a few hours or a few days. In actual practice, jury trials are generally fairly short, though, as my colleague the member for Sudbury (Mr. Germa) has mentioned, there are cases where trials can go on for weeks or months and can cause very serious financial hardship. I am particularly concerned about those trials, because those are the ones on which it will be even easier for professional people to obtain relief from jury duty. The majority of jury trials last only a day or two. Under this one-day or one-trial system, the jurors are excused at the end of the trial and then they must return to the pool.

If I may quote from an article which appeared in the February 1980 issue of American Way, the publicity journal for American Airlines, that article quoted a Mr. Pierrot, a professional court administrator, in the Montgomery county Maryland court system. Mr. Pierrot was very enthusiastic about the one-day or one-trial system. He is quoted as saying:

“Under the traditional system we were not getting anything even approaching a cross-section. Lawyers, restaurateurs, physicians and many other groups of people were always getting postponed or excused outright, as with many other jurisdictions who were moving towards a court system staffed by professional jurors, a term used for retired people, housewives with older children and other willing subjects. For instance, you never ever saw a surgeon on a jury. Now hardly anyone is excused.”

That is the end of the quote, but he goes on to explain that, under this new system, people even enjoy serving on juries; they regard it as part of their civic responsibility, as part of their responsibility to society.

I suggest to the minister that section 6 of this bill could be amended to introduce the one-day or one-trial system. The system has become all the more practical now because our lists of jurors are or could be selected by computer and because it becomes more and more practical to expose larger groups of people to the court system. In the Maryland situation in Montgomery county, there is even a special phone number whereby jurors who are called can phone the day before and find out if they will still be required. If they are not required, their name is dropped from the list and put back into the computer for selection at some future occasion.

There are all kinds of other conveniences built into the one-day or one-trial system that would enable the public actually to enjoy being called to serve on a jury panel. The waiting time is kept to an absolute minimum. The process of jury selection is completed very quickly at the beginning of the day and, having gone through the process, people know whether they are on a jury or whether they are excused from jury service for that particular year. Rather than as was the case when I was called for jury duty some seven or eight years ago, I had to turn up every morning for two weeks.

Every morning we sat around in a hot, stuffy courtroom for a couple of hours as the process went on and every day, before lunch, we were told we were not needed and sent away. That is an aggravating system. It is not convenient to the public and does not encourage respect for the court system. It does not make people feel they are really playing a part in the judicial process in this province.

This one-day or one-trial system seems to me to be such an innovative and modern way of restructuring a jury system that it really boggles my mind that the ministry is moving in the opposite direction by this bill and is encouraging a system whereby professional people and those who will be able to justify that they will lose large amounts of money by being called to a jury may be excused. Whereas ordinary people, the working people of this province, who cannot justify that they will have a massive financial loss but, as my colleague the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere (Mr. Warner) has already pointed out, will only lose their normal wages, those people will not be able to get excused under the provisions of this bill. That does not strike me as a progressive direction in which to move.

4:40 p.m.

I heartily commend to the minister a full and thorough study of the one-day or one-trial system, a move in Ontario that will make service on a jury more pleasant, more attractive and indeed more desirable for all of us, so that people can look forward to being called for jury service and so that everyone, rather than receiving jury notice and looking around for ways to get out of that jury service, will say, “Hey, I have been called for jury service, and I am going to go to the court that one day to do my duty as part of a jury in the province to ensure that justice is done and is seen to he done.”

That concludes my comments on this bill. I do hope the parliamentary assistant will respond and I do hope he will indicate the government is very seriously studying the one-day or one-trial system and that we will see it implemented in Ontario as soon as is practical.

Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I would like to make a few comments concerning Bill 168, An Act to amend the Juries Act, 1971. Since I have introduced a bill to eliminate discrimination because of a physical handicap where the handicap does not interfere with an individual’s performance of a certain duty, I think that policy is being presented to some small degree in this bill. I agree with that, because in this bill physical limitations or age limitations are being considered to some degree.

An individual up to the age of 70 years can now serve un a jury. I do not see any reason to limit it to 70. The physical condition of an individual would be a better approach to use rather than an age category. There are a lot of people who may be substantially over 70 years of age who are still extremely alert mentally but are being deprived of an opportunity to perform their responsibilities to the community. I do not necessarily agree with 70. I am glad it has been upped from a lower age to at least 70, but I would have preferred to see that age limit left out completely and a medical doctor certify whether an individual is mentally competent to serve.

The other area in which I am extremely pleased to see some movement on the part of the government is where an individual who may be blind now has the opportunity to serve on a jury. Too often we look upon an individual with some type of handicap, be it physical or otherwise, as no longer being able to make a contribution to society. We know that is not true. The blind would like to make their contribution as well as those of us with full vision.

I commend the member piloting this bill through on behalf of the government for the inclusion of those two areas that I specifically designate: permitting an individual of 70 or older to serve on a jury, in spite of the fact I would prefer to have no age limit, and permitting those who may have impaired vision to serve.

I also think there should be included in the regulations developed under this bill the provision that individuals serving on a jury should be paid at least the average wage paid in a community. There is no reason why an individual should be deprived of making $50, $60 or $70 a day and be paid only $10 a day for jury services. There should be some substantial movement on the part of the government to increase the indemnity for the individuals serving. That is the extent of my comments, and I hope the parliamentary assistant will take all three suggestions into consideration when he does reply.

Mr. Sterling: Mr. Speaker, I would like to express my gratitude to the members who have participated in the debate. We had more members than we normally get on a relatively short bill. I found some of their comments interesting, and I sympathize with many of the views some of them are proposing.

First of all, I think it is important to get some of the facts on the table so we fully understand everything we are talking about. The present indemnity for a juror -- it was raised about a year and a half ago, I believe -- is $10 per day for the first 10 days and then $40 per day after that. On a very long trial there is some relief albeit, I adroit perhaps not enough.

We are satisfied that under the present law, in cases that are going to come up where it is necessary for a juror to have vision to examine the evidence before the court properly, there are enough provisions for exclusion of such jurors.

The member for Scarborough-Ellesmere brought forth two cases of loss of income. He talked about loss of income for someone who was employed and someone at home taking care of children but not receiving remuneration in our society.

The member for Essex North talked about the rural areas where persons incur a great deal of mileage costs to go to court. He talked about the situation where someone could not drive and would incur a greater expense because of the mileage to court.

I do not think we could design a system that would take into effect all of the losses a person would incur when they are serving on a jury. The justice system has looked at the obligation to serve on a jury as a public duty in the past. I think we have perhaps carried that too far in the past, and this act is a minor way of trying to remedy that part way.

I know the Attorney General at this time is trying to make further remedies to lessen the discrepancy between what is duty and what is actual pecuniary loss. But I do not think for a minute the system should necessarily reimburse the citizen for every possible loss that would be incurred in service on a jury. I do think there are some things we still have in our society that are a citizen’s obligations.

One of the things I do not like about the present structure is that it tends to penalize the person who is on the lower end of the income scale. In many collective agreements and in many large companies, they will pay you while you serve on jury regardless of what rules we write into legislation here. That is fine and dandy. I think that is good for those people. But the people who are on the lower end of the pay scale are discriminated against by the present payment structure.

4:50 p.m.

As I say, I do not think we can ever expect society to pay for every possible expense that would be incurred by someone who was going to serve as a juror; I do not think that is desirable. But I think there should be a feeling of obligation and perhaps some sacrifice. Acknowledging that in some cases there have to be some changes, again, we are looking at them. I hope the support for the bill will remain.

The member for Scarborough-Ellesmere (Mr. Warner) has indicated he is going to introduce two amendments, and we will have an opportunity to discuss those amendments as we go into committee of the whole House. The problem with what he is putting forward is he is dumping this responsibility for payment of jurors on an employer, and I do not think that is fair.

I think the public, rather than the employer, should pay. It rests unfairly on a certain segment of our society which in certain cases cannot afford to pick that up. I am referring specifically to a small business that has one or two employees. To pay an employee who is waylaid by a jury trial for a couple of weeks would be quite a hole in his business and he might not be able to survive if he were required to pay.

I feel the real answer to it is, as the Attorney General believes, for the jury pay to be increased. If that were done, the two problems in terms of the amendments brought forward by the member probably would be erased.

I want to congratulate the member for Kent-Elgin (Mr. McGuigan), who had brought this forward in the Legislature and who had been looking at various things in terms of jurors and witnesses as to how they are treated in the justice system. I am not satisfied that we are doing enough in that area, and we are looking at it.

I think the kind of thing the member for Wentworth (Mr. Isaacs) brought forward in terms of the one-day or one-trial system is something we should be looking at. I am not sure that particular type of system is the best. It may be that parts of it are good, but it may be impossible to implement within our system without a great administrative change; I am not sure.

I think the suggestion in terms of studying the system and trying to determine the needs of the jurors and witnesses and the best ends to meet those needs should be undertaken and we should be doing more in that area. I recommended the same thing to the Attorney General earlier this fall.

It is interesting to note that when I was travelling with the select committee in Vancouver, we went through the brand-new courthouse in Vancouver, the one designed by Erickson. It is a beautiful building but, in cross-examining the people who had built it and asking about the instructions that were given to the architects there, I could determine they talked to the judges, the lawyers and perhaps a consumer group, but they do not really talk to the witnesses or the jurors to find out what system would be better suited to them.

In terms of the increase in the pay for a juror, that is really undertaken in another statute, the Administration of Justice Act, and properly should be dealt with there. I will convey to both the Attorney General and the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miler) the concern of the Legislature on the issue of payment for jurors, because I have already indicated to him that I am not satisfied, nor is the Attorney General, with the status quo in that area.

In terms of the fact that 1981 is the International Year of Disabled Persons it is fitting that this bill is coming forward at this time. It is really a very small part of the total recognition of the contribution the handicapped can make to our society, but I am glad it is something positive that is there at this time.

Motion agreed to.

Ordered for committee of the whole House.


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

Mr. Sterling: Mr. Speaker, there has been an increasing problem in our province, and particularly in urban areas, in relation to the control of dogs that are owned by many of our citizens. This bill attempts to meet those problems. It changes the existing law by changing the onus that a dog owner incurs when a dog takes its first bite.

Mr. Ashe: Just the first? What about the second?

Mr. J. Johnson: Who will speak for the dogs?

Mr. Sterling: I hope the member for Wellington-Dufferin-Peel will join in this debate. Was he referring to the dogs or to his constituents?

This act does two things. First, it creates the rules for civil liability between the owner of a dog which has bitten a person and the person who has been bitten. Second, it deals with a system whereby the courts can deal with the dog in determining whether that dog should be destroyed. I think the act is fairly clear in setting out its intent. We have been fairly careful with the definitions set out in the act, as careful as we can be, so that it would he very difficult for someone to deny ownership of the dog, which has been a problem in the past in terms of litigation in this matter.

I think this bill has been a long time coming and is overdue. I would ask the members to support it in second reading.

Mr. Breithaupt: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise and speak on the second reading of Bill 169. Fifty years ago the Vicious Dogs Act was passed by this Legislature and, with the indulgence of the Speaker, I will read the entire act. It is as follows: “Where a dog is alleged to have bitten any person, the owner of the dog may be summoned to appear before a provincial judge to show cause why the dog should not be destroyed and, if from the evidence produced it appears that the dog has bitten any person, the judge may make an order that the dog be destroyed.”

5 p.m.

Fifty years ago the act said entirely what it meant and that was it. In the 1980s, apparently, that is no longer sufficient. We have to have a definition section, then a four-part liability section, then another section with a couple of exemptions in it and then a reminder to the provincial judge as to how to make an order and what seven things should be considered. We then have an appeal section, a royal assent section and, finally, a short title section.

The act in 1931 was so short it did not even need a short title section, but 50 years later the world has changed somewhat and we have a two-page act to replace what was one section. Perhaps that is a symbol of our times as the volumes of the legislation we pass around here get thicker and thicker. I suppose that is something we all have to put up with.

Mr. Lawlor: It is called progress.

Mr. Breithaupt: It is called progress. It is like using a computer; it takes longer to program it than it does to get the answer, but that is what we call progress.

The one-section Vicious Dogs Act fitted an earlier time, but now the streets of our larger communities are crowded with large animals that are kept cooped up in apartments and other very small spaces and let out, I presume, only once a day or so to foul the public parks. Those animals are kept at great expense to indulge the egos of their usually rather insignificant owners. No wonder the dogs inside the city are likely to bite and attack those who invade or wander into the very small space which they probably have.

Mr. Lawlor: That was a vile canard on apartment and house owners.

Mr. Breithaupt: It is a vile canard perhaps but not as vile as the keeping of very large animals in very small spaces of which apartment owners in the metropolitan communities of Ontario are likely guilty.

At least the new act gives some protection to the animals and some protection to the innocent -- usually small children -- who are the normal victims of the problems that arise when a cooped-up animal attacks a child. I suppose if it wasn’t for the rather dull ignorance of the owners of large animals in the city we would not need a new act like this.

At least the responsibility by this statute will be well fixed, but as usual, unfortunately, it will be only after the event. Part of it is, as I have said earlier, a symbol of our times, not only that we need a two-page act to replace what was one section, but rather that we also need this kind of legislation to try and compensate for the difficulties which are brought upon small children and large animals due to the neglect or at least inconsiderate lifestyle of the owners of many of these large animals.

I hope the act will be approved by the Legislature because it is an attempt to fix some responsibility in a time when that responsibility is often avoided or ignored by persons who keep large animals, dogs particularly, in circumstances which are far less than ideal. We certainly will support the bill. I know certain amendments are to be proposed and we look forward to considering those further at the committee stage.

Mr. Warner: Mr. Speaker, there is a basic principle in the bill which is very acceptable, the notion that no longer, if I may put it in common terms, the dog gets a free bite. That is very good. I certainly never thought a dog should have a free bite. Dog bites man, man sues or man bites back, depending on whether a dog has bitten a Tory or not. The Attorney General has covered that basically in the legislation.

Mr. Swart: One bite and you are gone.

Mr. Warner: I would say to the member for Welland-Thorold that is not very nice -- one bite and I am gone. It would have to be a very large dog.

Unfortunately, there are some very serious problems regarding dogs. Those problems are not addressed in the principle of the bill or, to put it this way, the bill has some weaknesses. There are two in particular that cause me great concern. I am not convinced they are covered under the description of owner. I refer to police dogs and guard dogs owned by security companies. Apparently, there are no laws with respect to security dogs or police dogs. The best I could determine from the centre for criminology of the University of Toronto was that there is not any specific coverage for either police dogs or security dogs.

The Ontario Provincial Police have orders concerning police dogs but the orders are confidential. We do not know what guidelines are involved for police dogs. The problem I have is they may be excluded from the definition of owner because, to me, the definition is a very strange one, although I am not admittedly as knowledgeable in the law as the parliamentary assistant is. It says it is a person “who possesses or harbours the dog.” I do not know whether or not that includes police dogs or security guard dogs.

The whole issue of the use and control of guard dogs is a serious one in Ontario and, unfortunately, it has not been dealt with. It is becoming a more serious problem with time. For whatever reason, the government appears reluctant to deal with the problem. It is the same with police dogs. I am not convinced that the citizen has any redress when attacked by a police dog.

We are going to have to take a very serious look at the definition of “owner” in this bill. I think there may be some problems also with section 3(2) that deals with the protection of property. It seems fairly straightforward where it says, “where a person is on the premises with the intention of committing, or in the commission of, a criminal act.”

Then the question automatically comes to me as to what happens when two neighbours do not get along. If one neighbour has a dog and the other neighbour intrudes on to the property and is subsequently attacked by the dog, can the neighbour who owns the dog simply lay a charge of trespass or some other charge against the person involved? Does that automatically negate the opportunity to lay a suit for damages against the owner of the dog? Does the person simply have to lay a charge or must the person be found guilty in order to satisfy the aspect of being liable for the action of the dog? There are quite a few questions involved here.

One of the fundamental flaws we are going to have to deal with in this bill is the unidentified owner. Not all dogs in the province can have an owner identified because not all municipalities have licensing provisions. There is permissive legislation under the Dog Tax and Live Stock and Poultry Protection Amendment Act, 1972. Section 6(1) there allows the municipalities to set bylaws prohibiting or regulating the running at large of dogs in municipalities or any defined area thereof. Similarly, the Dog Tax and Live Stock and Poultry Protection Act, 1970, in section 5 allows the municipality to license or require the registration 0f dogs and to impose licence fees. It is permissive, and not all municipalities have found in their wisdom that they should opt into that requirement. So there are parts of the province where dogs are not licensed.

5:10 p.m.

What happens when a dog that is not licensed bites a person? I can only assume from the bill that the person who has been bitten cannot sue anyone. He or she is left with a nasty bite and no one to blame other than the dog, unless the parliamentary assistant wants to suggest that the person bitten can sue the dog and bring the dog into court. There is no redress in that situation. I think that is a fundamental flaw in this bill. I do not know what the parliamentary assistant is going to suggest by way of repairing the flaw, but surely that would be in order.

Mr. Speaker: It would be more in order than your discussing something that is not in the bill.

Mr. Warner: However, it is part of the principle of the bill and it is a fundamentally flawed principle.

I am sure the parliamentary assistant is quite pleased in having made a step forward with respect to people who have been attacked by dogs. One no longer has to prove that the dog is of a vicious nature or has a history of being mean. Automatically, one can bring a suit for liability. That is fine, but in the parliamentary assistant’s traditional manner he has come forward with only part of the answer. He has not solved the problem of police dogs, guard dogs, unidentified owners or dogs which do not have owners. I really think we need some answers on that.

Beyond that, the parliamentary assistant will find when this is passed, if it is passed into law, he is going to get some lobbying to do something about exotic animals. That is a growing phenomenon in our urban centres, in Metro Toronto, Ottawa and so on. He is going to have the same kind of problem of whom one sues when attacked by one of these exotic creatures such as the giant snakes.

Mr. Speaker: The member is really going far afield.

Mr. Warner: But it really is fascinating, isn’t it?

Mr. Speaker: It is completely out of order.

Mr. Warner: I will turn to what I am sure you cannot rule out of order, Mr. Speaker.

There is a procedure embodied in the principle of the bill for the court to consider the destruction of the dog. Again, we are going to have to deal with the situation where one cannot identify the owner of the dog. Where one can identify the owner of the dog, there is someone to speak on behalf of the dog. But where the dog has not been licensed or the owner cannot be identified, is it then automatic that there is no one to speak on behalf of that creature? We are interested in some balance on the decision about the destruction of an animal. Surely that is extremely important.

It is with some trepidation that our caucus approves in principle this bill because there are serious questions, particularly about police dogs and guard dogs, which have not been answered. We will examine each of the clauses in detail as we go through the committee stage.

Mr. McGuigan: Mr. Speaker, I am reminded of the ex-mayor of Chatham, Garnet Newkirk. His story was that if things were going a little slow in council one should have a dog debate, because 50 per cent of the people were for dogs and 50 per cent were against dogs. One came out even, but could never do anything as a result of the debate. He said if it was a slow year one should have two dog debates. I just throw that in as a bit of advice from the former mayor of Chatham, one of the longest-serving mayors in the province. I cannot give members the number of years, but he served about as long as Mackenzie King served in Ottawa.

My sympathy is with the member who spoke last. When I look at the former act and when I look back at my boyhood days, about the biggest dog available then was a collie dog. It was very seldom one saw what they call a police dog or a German Shepherd or a Newfoundland dog. They were rather rare subspecies. Today we see all these very exotic varieties trained to bite. It seems to me, in throwing out this net to try to catch same of those dogs, we are infringing upon the rights of a lot of people, a lot of children and especially rural people.

My colleague mentioned that a city apartment is not the proper place for a dog because when they are confined they turn ugly. When I was campaigning I came upon many of these very vicious dogs tied to a chain. When the signs on the ground indicated that chain would reach to the back step, I can tell members that was a back step that did not receive the imprint of my foot. Any dog, especially these breeds, turns very vicious when tied up under those circumstances.

There are many farm families that consider a farm a great place to have children and also to have dogs. I don’t think those people should be unduly penalized because certain people exercise a certain viciousness perhaps which is coming into our whole society. It is becoming less safe to be on the streets. There was a report the other day that rural crime was increasing at twice the rate of city crime and, therefore, people in rural areas are turning to dogs.

I want to express the thought that in throwing out this net we may be catching more fish than we really intended to catch.

Mr. Isaacs: Mr. Speaker, Bill 169, An Act to provide for Liability for Injuries caused by Dogs is yet another piece of regressive Conservative legislation. Probably the best thing about this bill is the fact it repeals the even more regressive Vicious Dogs Act. The only other thing about it that is at all good is that it enshrines in legislation some protection for the dogs of the province. But it really does not do anything for the people of the province.

Mr. Sterling: How can you say that?

Mr. Isaacs: I am going to tell the parliamentary assistant why. What this bill does is transfer responsibility from the peace officers of the province, be they police officers or licensed dog catchers, to the individual who has been bitten, to pursue the matter in civil court.

5:20 p.m.

I think we are all aware and I hope we all recognize that access to the legal system is severely restricted for working people, for people on fixed incomes and for handicapped people in this province of ours. Even with the legal aid system we have in place, it is very difficult for those categories of people to take matters to court and to pursue a civil case such as this act envisages when a person, be it adult or child, has been bitten by a dog. Even middle-income people who are not eligible for legal aid often have great difficulty putting the money up front to hire a lawyer to go to court to seek damages that have been caused by a dog and that can be awarded in the discretion of the judge.

I think it is most unfortunate that rather than bringing forward a bill that provides that dogs that are liable to bite people should be kept restrained in some appropriate manner, the government instead has abdicated its responsibility and has brought forward a bill that puts the responsibility on the person who is bitten to take the law into his own hands to seek damages.

I think it is well known, certainly in my own area, and I do not intend this as any criticism of the police, that the police are very reluctant to get involved in cases that involve dogs, even where the dogs have bitten a child or an adult. The Humane Society, whose responsibilities by municipal bylaw lie in this area, finds it very difficult to put enough resources into finding the dog and taking the necessary action to ensure that the owner is dealt with by the courts and that the dog does not do it again.

The parliamentary assistant was somewhat outraged when I suggested the bill is not moving in the right direction. I would like to quote to him from a letter which was sent to him, dated October 30, 1980, from Mr. Bandow, who is general manager of the Hamilton Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Mr. Bandow is general manager of one of the best SPCAs in this province and one of the SPCAs that is really doing a good job in terms of public education and protecting both people and animals from each other. Mr. Bandlow is concerned about this piece of legislation as well.

First I would like to quote from his opening paragraph: “Mr. Colin Isaacs, MPP, was kind enough to supply me with a copy of Bill 169.” I wonder why the Ministry of the Attorney General did not circulate this bill to SPCAs so that they might comment, because they are the people who are most involved in these kinds of problems on a day-to-day basis. The HSPCA did not get a copy of this bill from the government; they got it from my office. It is good that somebody is looking after the people of Hamilton and telling them what is going on in this House, because the government certainly is not.

Secondly, Mr. Bandow makes the excellent point that the bill does not deal properly with the protection of the public from dogs that are vicious or are liable to be vicious. The bill gives judges the option of ordering the destruction of the dog. That is the only option that is granted to the judge and indeed, now that the Vicious Dogs Act is going, probably it is the only way the public will be able to seek any protection from vicious dogs.

Mr. Bandow welcomes the fact that there are considerations which are to be looked at before the destruction order is given. Those considerations are to be welcomed. They certainly do help protect the dogs of this province. Mr. Bandow goes on to say: “But I am concerned that very little protection is afforded the public where destruction is not ordered. In addition to the animal’s wellbeing, I am also concerned about the public good.” This is from the general manager of the HSPCA. I commend him for being concerned about the public good and for looking at the bill in this enlightened way.

Mr. Bandow for the HSPCA makes some recommendations, which I hope that the Attorney General’s ministry has received, though, unfortunately, because of the very short time this bill has been in the public domain, it certainly has not been discussed by SPCAs in as broad a manner as I know Mr. Bandow, and I too, would have liked.

Mr. Bandow suggests: “My recommendations would be to provide a number of additional options to the court. These should include (a) the court ordering the dog owner to confine his animal in such a way that it is only accessible to him, and/or (b) on requirement that the dog be muzzled any time the dog is off the property of the owner, and/or (c) a substantial fine and/or the loss of the privilege of dog ownership for a period of time where the animal has bitten a second time and where the owner has failed to take necessary precautions, and/ or (d) where the owner fails to comply with a court order under the act.”

To finish my remarks on this matter, Mr. Bandow sums up: “Unfortunately, it has been our experience that while the first bite frequently is an accident, often the dog’s owner takes insufficient precautions to prevent the same thing from recurring. In order to prevent recurring problems from owners or animals which are not ordered destroyed, I would urge you to give the courts greater discretion than is envisaged in Bill 169.”

Those are admirable proposals from a person who is concerned about the public’s wellbeing and about the wellbeing of the animals and who has firsthand experience as an inspector in the past and now as general manager of the HSPCA as to the kind of problems that can be caused by this legislation.

I think the bill is far too narrow. It does not give judges sufficient power to ensure that incidents will not recur. It does not give our peace officers the authority to take steps to ensure that dogs that appear to be likely to bite someone will be restrained in an appropriate manner. I think the government really has to move in that direction.

We have to ensure that, where dogs are kept in an environment that is inappropriate, then those who may be bitten by them are protected before the first bite, rather than being allowed to seek damages through a somewhat unsatisfactory civil court system only after the bite has occurred. We need the protection in the first instance. We do not need to refer these kinds of things to the legal system that is not properly accessible to a large segment of our population.

I want to comment on one other area that has been touched on by my colleague the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere (Mr. Warner), the very excellent critic for this ministry and a future Attorney General. There are real problems in identifying dogs that bite people. lie mentioned the problem if the dog is unlicensed and is running at large, but let us just put in place a court scenario for a few minutes to give an example of the kind of problems that can so easily arise.

A person, perhaps a child, is bitten by a dog. The parents are fortunate enough to understand their rights under this legislation and have the means to hire a lawyer to assist them to sue the owner of the dog for damages. So they go to court. The defendant is in a sense the dog. The incident may be unwitnessed. The child may have been out walking on the Bruce Trail, where in my riding literally dozens of wild dogs are roaming because they have been released there by city owners who, unfortunately, do not understand that dogs cannot return to the wild and should not be released in a rural environment. The child is bitten on the Bruce Trail by the dog and there are no witnesses. We go to court and we have the child’s testimony against what? Against the testimony of the dog?

5:30 p.m.

Unfortunately, we cannot run a court system that way. The owner of the dog is obviously going to be the defendant and is going to try to find some reason as to why it could not possibly have been his dog. Then where are we? We are absolutely nowhere. We have not controlled the problem even after the child has been bitten, let alone before the child is bitten, as I suggest we should do.

Assuming there was a witness but the dog was still running at large, as so many are, and was not immediately caught, how do we go to court and identify a particular dog? To most people, dogs look a lot more alike within a particular breed or type than do people. Most people are not able to give accurate descriptions of dogs. Do we see a new phenomenon of lineups of dogs in the courthouse with the person who was bitten or the witness to the incident being asked to identify the dog that did the biting? Is this the kind of farce we are going to see?

It really is not satisfactory until we get a proper system of identifying dogs in place so that those who are bitten can go to court and can be assured that it is the right dog and therefore, the right owner. Even then, we really cannot be sure the problem is properly dealt with until this government brings in legislation which imposes a greater level of responsibility on everyone who chooses to keep a dog.

That level of responsibility needs to be legislated and people need to realize they cannot just keep a dog anywhere anytime they feel like it and then dispose of it by dumping it out in the rural or suburban areas of this province when they are fed up with it. Dog ownership is a responsibility, and we need legislation that imposes that responsibility in a very forceful way so that we can be assured that everyone in this province knows that responsibility goes along with dog ownership just as it goes along with so many other things in this great province of ours.

Those are my comments. It is not really a great piece of legislation. It solves one problem by getting rid of the Vicious Dogs Act, but it does not do anything to solve the problem of dogs biting people, and that is the problem we should be solving.

Mr. Haggerty: Mr. Speaker, I want to follow the comments of the member for Kent-Elgin (Mr. McGuigan). He mentioned that this legislation will end up penalizing the rural, agricultural people of Ontario, particularly the farmers.

I have a farm dog for one purpose, namely, to protect my property. Section 2 of the bill says, “The owner of a dog is liable for damages resulting from a bite or attack by the dog on another person.” What that is telling me, as did the Petty Trespass Act, is that I have to post my land from one end to the other telling people not to enter the land. They must post a sign every foot. That is what this bill is telling people who have a dog to do. They are going to have to post their land and tell people not to enter their property whatsoever. I am thankful I have a rural mailman who leaves the mail at the end of the lane, so there are advantages for people living in rural areas.

As the member said before, municipal councils always have this up for discussion, perhaps every year. There are municipal bylaws that prohibit dogs from running at large. I often question why we have to pay a $10 fee to have a dog run on our own property. I have a licence for my car, but it permits me to drive on a municipal road or a provincial highway. Sometimes I even question the need for a municipal licence there.

The dog licence at one time was to compensate for the loss of farm animals, particularly poultry and sheep. There were sufficient funds in the municipality to offset the cost if a farmer filed a claim for losing his sheep. There was money set aside for that purpose. Somebody mentioned a dog wearing a muzzle. I think any dog that wears a muzzle is a vicious dog. This particular act should hit at those dogs that are trained to attack.

I have a border collie. It is trained for one purpose -- to heel. If a person comes in the yard that the dog senses should not be there, that dog will heel. She will go around a person and just nip at his heels as if to say, “That is far enough,” if anybody happens to go in or around one of the buildings on the farm.

I suggest dogs on farms are trained in this manner, not to attack but to guard property. This bill is saying almost every farmer will have to get rid of his dog if he is going to be liable for dog bites. Sometimes a person entering the property may even provoke a dog to bite. I have known of such cases, and I am using my own place as an example. If anybody walks into my yard with a stick in his hand, he had better beware because the dog is going to keep an eye on him. It is not going to attack him, but it is going to let him know that is far enough to go. It is good to have a dog around, especially if a number of salesmen enter the property because the occupant will not be solicited by salesmen trying to sell something, or even by politicians knocking on the door.

I had an exceptionally good collie dog, a good heeler, and I used to be bothered every Sunday morning with a knock at my door. The dog would always bark and let me know who was coming into the yard. I had no intention of answering the door at that particular time, so one Sunday the chap came in. He happened to pick up a stick or a limb off a tree and made a swipe at the dog. I was not bothered by that person approaching my property every Sunday after that because he was not there.

We have to look at different circumstances relating to persons keeping dogs. In my area, where there is now a problem in the increase in crime, people are more and more inclined to get a stronger-willed dog to provide the protection they used to have when the police were under local jurisdiction. The regional police, for some unknown reason, do not seem to have time to look after lakefront property and places like that. There is not a weekend I go home that some cottage along the lake has not been ransacked by somebody. The day is going to come when we are going to have to have somebody patrolling that area with a vicious dog to control the crime. I know garage operators in my area who always have dogs there. In some cases the vicious ones are tied up, but there is usually one sitting in where the cash is. It is there for a purpose, to protect the owner and his premises.

I suggest this bill means we are going to have to go out and post signs that nobody can enter a piece of property at all. In a sense, it is an infringement upon a person with a dog to protect the home and residence and even to protect the person living there. I can see the home owner will now have to go out and look for an insurance company to provide him with an insurance scheme to protect him in this particular area, so he will not be taken to court and perhaps have to pay an enormous medical bill or damages. My home liability insurance will increase now because I have a dog. That is what this bill is telling me.

I think we should take another look at this. Where there is a vicious dog, in particular a dog which has been trained to attack, by all means the dog should be destroyed if it gets loose and bites somebody. Sometimes dogs can be provoked. Even a good-mannered dog, a dog that has been taught to attack, may be provoked to attack by children throwing sticks or stones at it. It could be on their own property that the dog goes after them. I suggest this is a piece of legislation that is going to cause some difficulty, particularly to rural people who have to have dogs to guard their property and to protect it from vandalism.

5:40 p.m.

I look at the tender fruit growers in the Niagara Peninsula who have to have a dog to protect the trees, so people do not enter the property and take the fruit. Sometimes I wonder if we have too much legislation. This could be another area where we open the door for more legal costs and more lawyers. It will be something else to argue about.

Mr. Germa: Mr. Speaker, I can agree with the definition of society as enunciated by the member for Kent-Elgin (Mr. McGuigan) when he said 50 per cent of the people liked dogs and 50 per cent hated dogs. We have to fall into one of those categories.

Mr. Breithaupt: You are with the 50 per cent.

Mr. Germa: I am with the 50 per cent. I have been the owner of a dog for most of my life. While I cannot be classified as a dog lover, at least I tolerate them, I look after them, and I never had any difficulty with them.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Are the dogs Germa lovers?

Mr. Germa: Yes. The dogs have never bitten me.

Mr. Conway: How old is the dog?

Mr. Germa: Pretty old. I never had trouble with any of my dogs molesting the public. That comes back to the statement made by the member for Wentworth (Mr. Isaacs) that there has to be more responsibility placed on people who choose to acquire ownership of a dog. I do not know how one would accomplish that. I suppose we would have to start another course in the community colleges and hire about 40 more professors to teach dog loving, dog ownership, duty of care and liability.

That is the Utopia I hope we will achieve. But I think it is a little far-fetched to expect that people will accept their responsibilities and liabilities.

There is a false assumption in the bill that the ownership of a dog can be determined after the dog has made an attack. That is the farthest thing from the truth. Even in a well-structured community like Toronto, where everything is regulated, registered and documented, I am sure there are still dogs running at large in the parks, unidentified and unlicensed. But this is the only place where this bill has any semblance of reality.

In the rural or unorganized parts of Ontario, particularly northern Ontario where probably 90 per cent of the land is unorganized jurisdiction, there is no structure of government, no structure of animal control, no structure of dog registration or tagging. There is just no way to identify a dog that would attack somebody.

While I appreciate the member for Wentworth’s concern about wild dogs on the Bruce Trail, he should take a trip to northern Ontario where he will see some wild dogs. There are good and valid reasons for this. I had occasion to be in Moosonee not too long ago. There were large numbers of dogs running loose within the community. None of them was tagged. None of them was tied up. They were running at large. They have to be self-sufficient. They chase various small animals around the community.

I asked one of the residents there why there was this large number of uncontrolled dogs. Lo and behold, these are sleigh dogs. During the winter these dogs are owned by someone. That is determined late in the fall when the snow flies and one needs to make up a dog team. One will grab about 10 of the strongest and ugliest dogs on the street, whip them into shape and they will be one’s dog team. The owner will look after them, feed them during the winter and keep them tied up at night. Thus there is some semblance of control and identification.

When the summer comes and it is no longer necessary to look after one’s dog team, these dogs are turned loose. They tear through the woods and the town wherever they can scavenge for food. These dogs do pose a problem. If someone is bitten -- and someone is bitten on a daily basis in a community such as that -- there is no way to identify the owner of the dog.

The greatest loser in this province, as a result of dog bites, must be the Ontario health insurance plan, because everyone who gets bitten is fearful that the dog is rabid. He immediately seeks medical attention, which can be expensive. Some of these attacks are prolonged. There are facial disfigurations and cosmetic surgery is expensive. Yet tile people of Ontario are happily picking up the cost of these damages.

If we look at another area of the community where damages are inflicted upon a person, let us say in an automobile, when the guilty party is identified, his insurance company is liable for the damages caused by the automobile driver. OHIP has a method of subrogation whereby the medical costs, as a result of this physical damage, are subrogated against the insurance company and OHIP is refunded the money. This is a similar circumstance in which, because of the negligence of the owner of a dog, the people of Ontario are subjected to an expense. Why should they bear that expense? In the case of an automobile accident, the people of Ontario are freed under OHIP from that expense as far as hospital and medical services are concerned. There are subrogation proceedings, but there is no thought of that in this bill.

I do not have the statistics, but I did see a report once on the number of postmen in Canada who are bitten by dogs and it numbers in the thousands. When I translate those thousands of dog attacks on postmen alone, I am sure it amounts to hundreds of thousands of dollars against our medical system, not only in Ontario but also in the rest of Canada. I think that should be a consideration. It would enforce the liability to make people realize that ownership of a dog should not be taken lightly. They would then have a liability for the welfare, training and keeping of that dog and the protection of society therefrom.

Mr. Conway: I just want to know if those dogs are sinking into the sea of professional social workers.

Mr. Lawlor: I have to talk about dogs, Mr. Speaker, as I do not have anything else to talk about at the moment.

Once upon a time there was a Greek philosopher by the name of Diogenes. He lived in a bathtub all his life. It had wheels on it and he paddled himself around the streets of Athens speaking to numerous individuals. As members all recall, he carried a candle with him keeping it lit all day long and into the evening. They asked him the reason for that. He said he was looking for an honest man. He spent his whole life doing so and had not yet discovered one.

One day Alexander the Great attended the city and stood talking to him. Diogenes objected to that strenuously. His shadow fell across Diogenes, who said: “Would you please move aside, heir to half the world? You are standing in the way of my sunshine.”

5:50 p.m.

The reason for all that is he was the head of a school called the Cynics. The word “cynics” in Greek means dogs. They led a dog’s life and they thought it was a dog’s world in which all of us were living. Cynicism is the term derived from that particular situation.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. MacBeth): I am trying to fit that into the principle of the bill.

Mr. Lawlor: I do not know what that has particularly to do with this bill, but I thought it might form an historical backdrop, leading into some sort of principle, if any such thing exists.

My first objection is to the definition or the non-definition of dog. One of my friends over here was objecting to the expansion of the legislation and to the fact that it had gone to the trouble of trying to define owner. We use somewhat vague terms, incidentally. I wonder if any thought was given to the problem of what constitutes a dog and where dogs fit in. Are there special classes of species of animals in contradistinction, let us say, to coyotes or something like that? When is a dog a dog? That is the question T want members to consider.

I think the trouble with the bill is the minister has not had the Ontario Law Reform Commission do a major study on the matter so that it could come down with the niceties of the situation, instead of this piece of grotesquerie and crudeness we are obliged to deal with here today.

Mr. Hodgson: Maybe we should have a select committee to find out when a dog is a dog.

Mr. Lawlor: That is a good idea. This Legislature has been terribly concerned in the past few weeks, as we constantly are, with respect to rights of all kinds. After possibly 10,000 years of dogdom, the minister has destroyed what has been a rather sacrosanct thing among the dog kingdom -- the right to that first bite.

There is the business in section 2: “The liability of the owner does not depend upon scienter..." My Lord, one cannot help but he attracted to the Latin word in this particular context. But up until this time in human history, at least in Anglo-Saxon countries, there is a recognition that until the dog has bitten someone the dog is gentle enough and relatively civilized. Thereafter, an owner has adequate warning, but until that event occurs there is no certainty whatsoever as to the propensities of the animal or one’s responsibilities in giving supervision to the beast.

I just do not know whether the parliamentary assistant knows what he is doing when he moves into this area and wipes out this ancient concept. It certainly is a perverse form of conservatism. When he gets to the area, even when the dog has his bite et cetera, he sets up all kinds of special terms. I wonder if any consideration has actually been given in the legislation as to what happens under the Criminal Code with respect to assault charges as between human beings? As members know, in the code in order to bring matters to a head and finalize these things, a provision for damages is made. I wonder whether our provincial court judges in this particular context ought not to be able to go on to the civil aspects of the matter and award some damages. The parliamentary assistant shakes his head. I assume the negativities involved here arise out of due consideration of the possibility.

Again, in human assault, the criminal court or quasi criminal court may make awards, et cetera and bring the thing to a head and a halt. Here no fines are levied. There are no consequences either of a civil kind, I suggest, or of a criminal kind by way of fines. The only mode of handling the matter is the destruction of the animal, and it ends there.

Section 5(2) says, “Notwithstanding subsection 1, the Vicious Dogs Act continues to apply in respect of bites of dogs incurred before this act comes into force.” In other words, I take it the bites are computerized and there is a cumulative index of the dog’s history and its biting faculties over long periods of time. There must be a very special reason for putting such a clause in, and that is the only conceivable reason I could detect.

I had a lawyer phone me, curiously enough, about two weeks ago, before this legislation came into the House. He has a dog, and he is concerned about it from a totally different aspect -- I wonder if the House might give consideration to it -- namely, dogs biting dogs. He has a very valuable dog which has been savagely attacked by another dog up the street. There is absolutely no method in English law of seeking either recompense or any redress whatsoever to the furious survival that goes on in that realm.

He can call in the dog catcher, I suppose, but there is no proven propensity on the part of the animal in question with respect to human beings at all. It roams the street and has inflicted severe wounds upon his animal. It was extremely costly in the event. The dog had to be treated by a veterinarian, had to be sewn up, sutures and other things had to be utilized. I wonder if it is possible to make some provision, since we are dealing with the legislation after 50 years, to take the whole ambit or possibilities into account and perhaps put another clause in there with respect to this particular matter.

Mr. Sterling: Mr. Speaker, it is going to take me more than the few minutes left to reply. I would like to adjourn the debate at this time.

On motion by Mr. Sterling, the debate was adjourned.

The House recessed at 5:59 p.m.