31st Parliament, 4th Session

L130 - Tue 2 Dec 1980 / Mar 2 déc 1980

The House resumed at 8 p.m.

House in committee of the whole.


Resuming consideration of Bill 168, An Act to amend the Juries Act, 1974.

On section 7:

Mr. Warner: Mr. Chairman, I believe we are on the amendment by the member for Lakeshore (Mr. Lawlor) to add subsection (1a). I certainly appreciate that my colleague was able to be here to move my amendment. Unfortunately, I was unable to be present this afternoon.

I think every member of House can appreciate why this amendment came forward and why it is worthy of support. The sacrifices that are made by many people, and this instance by housewives, when they are asked to serve on a jury are well-known. In today’s world the cost of homemakers’ services is quite high. When a housewife wishes to sit on a jury and does so for a week or longer, it is quite a major sacrifice for her and, of course, for her family. I have had brought to my attention a couple of situations with which I certainly sympathized.

In the case of one woman, her husband’s job took him away from the city, away from his home, usually a week at a time, so that meant if she was serving on a jury she needed to have someone there to care for her three school-age children and to attempt to run the household in a reasonable fashion when there was no other adult present. Of course, that means a considerable sacrifice, for which the $10 a day is very little help -- the present juror’s fee is $10 a day for those first 10 days of jury duty. That is very little help for a housewife. She is looking, I suppose, at a figure roughly of $30 to $40 a day to provide homemakers’ services in the city of Toronto. I don’t know what it would be in other locations.

We should also consider the similar plight a single-parent mother would find herself in if she were asked to serve on a jury. One can easily imagine that it creates an extreme hardship for the single-parent mother when she leaves the home. There is no other adult to rely on and, especially if there are school-age children or preschoolers involved, it becomes a very difficult situation.

I am a very strong believer in the jury system, which is an essential part of our system of justice. I believe we must do everything we can to strengthen that system. I don’t think we should impose artificial barriers. There is no doubt that the $10 a day is a barrier for many people. If a person wishes to serve on a jury, there is no way homemakers’ services can be supplied for $10 a day. That is unreasonable, unfair and not in keeping with our spirit of justice.

If we wish to support our justice system as a way in which their peers can judge those who have had a charge laid against them, and if we wish to ensure that barriers are not put in the way of ordinary citizens who wish to perform their duty to fellow citizens in their community, then it only makes good sense to accept the amendment I have placed before the committee. I expect that the principle behind the amendment was just an oversight on the part of the government, so I am more than pleased to have an opportunity to patch up what has likely been an oversight. Thus, I look forward to unanimous agreement on this amendment.

Mr. Sterling: Mr. Chairman, I made the argument during second reading of this piece of legislation that no justice system could ever try to repay each member of the public who participated in it. Our feeling was that if we had an amendment to pay these kinds of expenses for housewives who had to leave their children, what about the small businessman who has to leave his business? Does he get repaid for the loss he incurs when he goes to court?

That was the argument I put forward during second reading and I hold to that argument. I would oppose the amendment on that basis. Unfortunately, the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere (Mr. Warner) was involved in a committee this afternoon and was not able to be here daring the debate. We covered basically the same area when we were talking about the other amendment that was put forward by the member for Lakeshore (Mr. Lawlor). The arguments were laid out clearly at that time.

Under the Administration of Justice Act, the Lieutenant Governor now has the authority to do exactly what he would have with this amendment. If the member would refer to the revised statutes of Ontario, 1970, section 7 of that act says: “The Lieutenant Governor in Council can make regulations

“(a) requiring the payment of fees for any thing required or authorized to be done by any person in the administration of justice, and prescribing the amount thereof;

“(b) providing for the payment of fees and expenses for services in connection with the administration of justice;

“(c) providing for any special provision considered necessary in respect of the terms of employment, remuneration, and benefits of persons employed by the municipalities in the administration of justice before January 1, 1968, and becoming employed by Ontario on that day, or any class thereof.”

I am saying the cabinet already has the power. As I mentioned in the debate this afternoon, if a housewife comes and serves on a jury she is paid $10 per day for the first 10 days and $40 per day thereafter. The Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) is trying to seek approval from the cabinet to in crease those amounts, especially for the first two weeks, because it does affect a certain class of individual who is not earning a great deal of money.

Mr. Kerrio: It is not even minimum wage.

Mr. Sterling: I agree with the member for Niagara Falls; I couldn’t agree with him more.

Mr. Kerrio: Let us do something about it.

Mr. Sterling: I think we should do something about it and I hope he will bring pressure to bear on this government to change those areas. I am saying the Attorney General is trying to bring those pressures to bear to change this part of our justice system around.

8:10 p.m.

When one brings forward any kind of fee, it is an expenditure that must be considered with all the other priorities and expenses of this government. I am not in a position either to defend or prioritize those particular expenditures.

The amendment brought forward by the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere through his friend the member for Lakeshore should be dealt with in terms of a blanket fee that is paid to every juror who appears during the day. To make specific expense allowances for this or that type of occupation, in my view, is not correct. I do not know how one measures one against the other. Therefore, I would oppose this amendment at this time. I would indicate I have no idea of the financial implications of the type of amendment put forward.

Mr. Warner: Mr. Chairman may I say briefly, because I do not want to prolong it, it is obvious the parliamentary assistant is going to vote against motherhood. That is his right and privilege. I would point out to him that the rates have not been increased. He can talk all he wants about there being a provision in some other act. We are not dealing with some other act. We are dealing specifically with the Juries Act. We are dealing with wording which is specific to homemakers. That is the subject at hand. It is not the more loosely worded section he quoted from some other act. We have an opportunity tonight to improve the lot of those housewives who serve in the interest of their community and who should be rewarded by being able to provide homemakers’ services. He chooses to ignore that plight and to vote against motherhood. He can go right ahead and do so.

Mr. Chairman: All those in favour of Mr. Lawlor’s amendment to section 7 will please say “aye.”

Those opposed will please say “nay.”

In my opinion the nays have it.

Motion negatived.

Section 7 agreed to.

Sections 8 and 9 agreed to.

Bill 168 reported.

On motion by Hon. Mr. Wells, the committee of the whole House reported one bill without amendment


Hon. Mr. Wells moved second reading of Bill 182, An Act to amend the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Act.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, this bill would accomplish three things, two of which concern transit matters. The bill proposes an amendment to section 79a of the act that would give area municipalities the same power on local roads that Metro now has with respect to Metro roads to designate lanes for buses and other transit vehicles. This was requested by the city of Toronto with the support of Metro and the Toronto Transit Commission.

Another change in the proposed amendment to section 79a would permit councils to define vehicles, in addition to TTC vehicles, which can use reserve transit lanes. This flexibility is desirable because of the several types of transit vehicles that might be given preferential use of such reserve lanes, depending upon the local circumstances.

The second proposed transit amendment would permit the Toronto Transit Commission to operate a transit consulting service beyond the boundaries of Metropolitan Toronto on a self-financing basis, either directly or through a subsidiary. The amendment would provide, further, that any TTC capital investment in a subsidiary for this purpose, beyond a total of $100,000, would require the approval of the Metropolitan council. The TTC is increasingly recognized around the world as a valuable source of transit operating expertise. Accordingly, as requested by the Metropolitan council, the proposed amendment would permit the TTC to participate, for instance, with the Urban Transportation Development Corporation and the private sector in Ontario’s effort to gain a portion of the growing urban transit market in other parts of Canada and abroad.

The bill also proposes amendments that would permit Metro council to delegate to officials the power to issue certain permits and approvals under various sections of the Municipal Act. These include approvals respecting minor encroachments on to roads, the use of boulevards during construction, the placement of objects on sidewalks and the planting of trees. The amendment would permit council to place terms and conditions on the exercise of such delegated authority and would provide for an appeal to council from a decision made by an official in these respects, should there be an objection by the applicant, the resident or ratepayers.

These are the amendments contained in Bill 182.

Mr. Epp: Mr. Speaker, I am glad to speak on this bill and indicate that we are going to support it. Part of this act addresses itself to the principle of equality, the right of the lower municipalities, such as the city of Toronto, North York, Etobicoke, York, East York and Scarborough to the same kind of authority as is vested with Metro council.

These rights, as the House leader and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs has indicated, refer to the reserved lanes on Metro roads for Metro council and for the local roads for the local municipalities. The problem is that we have to wait sometimes months, and sometimes years and years, before the government sees the wisdom of giving equal rights to the lower municipalities. This is particularly ironic since the people who make decisions at the Metro level are often the same people who make decisions at the local level.

Somehow or other the government feels those at the Metro level possess some kind of greater ingenuity, some kind of greater maturity or some kind of greater wisdom. When they wear one hat at the Metro level, they are able to make these greater decisions for the greater good of Metro, but when they are at the local level, they do not possess the kind of talent necessary to make those wise decisions for the local areas or the residents within the local areas.

I am particularly pleased that the government saw the wisdom of endorsing what the minister has indicated had been a request by the city of Toronto by giving this same authority to the area municipalities. I would hope the government would exercise its prerogative and provide other municipalities across the province in a regional sphere or a regional form of government with the same kind of latitude and permit them to have the same kind of authority possessed at the senior level.

As far as the transit consulting service is concerned, we have no difficulty supporting that. It does seem odd, however, that a public institution is going to compete with private enterprise. But we see more and more of this going on and, as the minister has indicated, the TTC is in an excellent position to provide the expertise often sought by other provinces and other nations. We endorse that.

8:20 p.m.

Mr. Charlton: Mr. Speaker, we too are going to support the bill. I will not go through it all again. It is obviously logical in terms of the Toronto Transit Commission that the power the Metro council already has to reserve special lanes for buses should be granted to the area municipalities. We do not have the same surprise in this caucus that public sector businesses would be competing with private sector. We have been telling people that for some considerable time now.

We did have some concerns with section 3 of the bill which deals with the granting of authority to officials. We understand the bind that big government causes for politicians. We have seen it here. I suppose our concern grew out of the further delegating of authority and the tendency to lose sight of accountability on occasion.

We may have considered opposing that particular proposal if it were not for the inclusion of the appeal procedure which is set out in the act. It is an appeal directly to council as opposed to some of the things that we lack here on occasion. An appeal to the full council would, as we see it, force accountability and recognition of the fact of what is occurring back on to the shoulders of council. We have concerns there and we want to express them in terms of the general direction that government tends to take. The delegating of authority from those who are accountable is not always the best approach to be taking.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my friends for their support of this bill. We have always believed that equal rights and equal power should apply at upper tiers and lower tiers. I think the only question is that there is a division of powers in a true regional municipality. Rather than exercise certain powers, the lower tiers decide to give them to the upper tier. In Metropolitan Toronto there are local roads in each of the cities and boroughs. Metro decided to establish the bus lanes on the Metro roads and had provision for that. This extends that power to the local municipalities.

We did worry at first when the suggestion that TTC establish a consulting firm was first broached to us that it would be competing with private enterprise, the private section. But when one looks around in the transit field, one soon realizes that all the successful transit operations are publicly owned operations and the expertise lies in publicly owned systems. Therefore, because the TTC ranks probably first among public transit systems in North America, perhaps even the world, it has a great expertise it could put together, particularly with the Urban Transportation Development Corporation, to provide that Ontario and Metro Toronto can sell to Canada, North America and the whole world expertise in transportation that can benefit those areas and also benefit this system here and this province.

I am happy that this bill is to be supported.

Motion agreed to.

Ordered for third reading.


Hon. Mr. Wells moved second reading of Bill 200, An Act to amend the Regional Municipality of Peel Act, 1913.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I have a very brief comment on this bill. I think it is self-explanatory. The first section is being enacted at the request of the region and with the concurrence of the cities in the region.

Section 1 of the bill realigns the boundary between the cities of Brampton and Mississauga so that it will now coincide with the southerly limit of the northern link of the parkway belt west design area. The alteration has been effected by a series of reciprocal annexations of small parcels of land to and from both cities. As I say, it is agreed to by Brampton and Mississauga, and this will put the exchange into effect.

Also, section 2 is being enacted at the request of the regional municipality of Peel. Section 2 of the bill provides that the regional council may establish a transportation system for the handicapped without interfering with the rights of the area municipalities to operate public transit systems. The region wishes to institute a system of transportation for the handicapped. At the present time, transportation in the region is carried on by the cities in the region. The present wording of the bill would seem to indicate that if the region established this the legality of the local transportation systems might be in question. This corrects any misunderstanding that might occur.

Mr. Epp: Mr. Speaker, we feel both these amendments are reasonable and sensible. We have no difficulty in supporting both of them since they were requested by the region and endorsed by the municipalities.

With respect to the annexations or the boundary changes, I presume consideration has been made as to any services that are crossing the boundaries. If there are such services -- water and sewers and so forth -- I hope this has all been worked out. Maybe the minister will want to address that matter when he winds up.

As far as service to the handicapped is concerned, I am glad transportation for the general public is remaining at a local level, because we often find when things go regional the costs are astronomical and that more money can be saved when they are at the local level. As far as autonomy is concerned, my experience has been that most municipalities would prefer to have things at the local level rather than at the regional level. With respect to the particular service that is going to be provided for the handicapped, we find no difficulty in supporting this.

Mr. Charlton: Mr. Speaker, we also have no serious difficulty with the bill. I just have a couple of points on the trading of properties between the two municipalities. They both seem to have agreed to this. The member who was just speaking said he hoped the question of services and taking care of any services that at present exist has been thought about and dealt with.

I would suggest to the minister that I hope as well that any tax benefits or disbenefits that will result from the trading of property in terms of the ratepayers involved will be sorted out and, if by no other method, the minister will take care of it under the amendments we are going to make to the Ontario Unconditional Grants Act later this session.

Mr. Laughren: Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak on the bill mainly because I see that the member for Cochrane South (Mr. Pope), the minister without a food terminal, is in the chamber. I know he would be very concerned as to whether there is a particular defect in this bill because the people in Timmins -- even though I realize this is not a bill that deals with Timmins -- are getting increasingly restless about the fact that no bill such as this has been introduced by the member for Cochrane South, the minister without a food terminal, which would allow the city of Timmins to build a food terminal and charge the northeastern region of Ontario to pay for the operating costs. I am wondering if the minister could give us some guidance as to whether the member for Cochrane South, the minister without a food terminal, is going to be taken off the hook from his campaign promises made in earlier years.

8:30 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I believe we are dealing with a bill concerning the regional municipality of Peel. I would rather limit my remarks to that tonight than run the risk of being called out of order for dealing with some other section of this province.

If there are any problems concerning sewers, et cetera, I think section 14 of the Municipal Act lets the Ontario Municipal Board deal with them if they arise. I would have to believe that the city of Brampton and the city of Mississauga looked into these arrangements before they came to us and suggested this realignment. The change involves about 450 acres of the city of Brampton and 207 acres of the city of Mississauga. I believe before it came to us these problems would have been taken care of. If they were not, as I say, they can be taken care of under the sections of the Municipal Act which would allow the OMB to take care of that. I am happy the members are supporting the bill.

Motion agreed to.

Ordered for third reading.


Hon. Mr. Wells moved second reading of Bill 199, An Act to amend the Ontario Unconditional Grants Act, 1975.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, this bill will bring the Ontario Unconditional Grants Act, 1975, up to date by reflecting a shift in emphasis away from areas of local government restructuring to areas where annexations and amalgamations are taking place. The bill proposes to provide the Minister of Interprovincial Affairs with the authority to provide special assistance to municipalities affected by annexations and amalgamations under the municipal boundaries negotiation legislation now before the House.

I believe we should let the legislation concerning annexations and amalgamations, which is called the municipal boundaries negotiation legislation, be distributed a little more widely before this House deals with it. It is not my intention to deal with that bill before we leave here for Christmas. However, this act and the changes here will bring into line with that new boundaries legislation some of the things in the grants section which are necessary for the new negotiation procedures concerning annexations and amalgamations to work.

These amendments to the Ontario Unconditional Grants Act also enable the minister to vary mill rates to phase in areas affected by the process, that is, affected by the change in boundaries and annexation or amalgamation. In addition, the bill proposes to give the minister more flexibility by authorizing him to pay additional grants to a municipality in circumstances which would result in an undue increase in property tax rather than solely in cases where a municipality has experienced a loss in revenue.

Mr. Epp: Mr. Speaker, we will support this bill, but we find the government seems to be giving greater latitude to itself than was originally evident in the bill. However, there are municipalities, particularly in Brantford where we had discussions of annexations and so forth, where there may be reason to have unconditional grants provided.

A few years ago the government had a study chaired by the now Deputy Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs which recommended more unconditional grants. The government seems to have seen the wisdom of that and has now moved about one one-hundredth of an inch toward the unconditional grant side of things. I suppose that is something for the government to do. They are to be complimented on making a great move toward unconditional grants. I am sure they will take a big step backward in the next few months if they get the opportunity. For the moment, we will compliment them on the move they are making.

Mr. Charlton: We are all being particularly supportive this evening. We sincerely hope the government will respond in kind later this evening when we are dealing with Bill 191. We are also going to support this bill. As has been suggested, the legislation proposed in this bill loosens up and slightly broadens the approach the government can take under the unconditional grants structure, moving the effects of amalgamations, annexations and any problems that evolve from those actions into section 6(2) of the act.

If we pass this bill for third reading tonight, I suppose the minister will look kindly on any requests from the Premier (Mr. Davis) resulting from any problems that evolve in the annexations and/or trades we just passed in the previous bill.

Mr. Nixon: My colleague mentioned there were already some changes in boundaries accomplished by act of Legislature, but not under the general legislation to which the minister referred. These pertain to the city of Brantford and the township of Brantford situation.

I regret to report to you, Mr. Speaker, that in those changes there was one section, referred to as the Greenbrier section of the township of Brantford, that is now incorporated into the city of Brantford and is facing a 100 per cent increase in municipal taxation. It is expected that over a period of about seven years taxes will double beyond certain increases associated with inflation and the improvement of services that might be made available.

I hope the minister will make plans for applying the benefits of this bill, perhaps retroactively since it seems to me there are phases and areas in the Brant-Brantford rationalization that require a more generous disposition. So far, there has not been any tremendous outcry from the citizens because the phasing in of these tax increases is going to take place over five to seven years. As the program gets underway, after the first two years there is certainly going to be a strong outcry from the citizens who find their taxes going up at an inordinately unfair rate.

The minister in presenting this bill is almost putting the cart before the horse. He is initiating tax changes before the general legislation that will form the vehicle upon which boundaries may be changed. I hope he will remember we have had an ad hoc change in the Brant area. I would hope that at least the concepts in this bill, as well as the minister’s well-known generosity, will be brought to bear in the best interests of the taxpayers, particularly in the Greenbrier area of Brantford.

Mr. Laughren: Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the bill although not without reservations. I read the bill carefully. I read through sections 1 to 5 and detected a major defect. There is no reference whatsoever in the bill to grants for municipalities that establish a food terminal. When the minister responds, I wonder if he could give us some indication when the city of Timmins finally gets its food terminal, so the member for Cochrane South (Mr. Pope), the minister without a food terminal, will finally be able to see his 1975 -- or was it 1977? -- election promise come true. The people of Timmins are getting increasingly restless and I fear for the safety of the minister.

8:40 p.m.

Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I want to make a few comments concerning this legislation. I do not find in Bill 190 any attempt on the part of the government to equalize or minimize the loss of revenue over the years as a result of unconditional grants to the municipality from which I come. The minister is aware that the city of Windsor has been shortchanged by some $30 million over a period of time and has beseeched the minister to attempt to resolve the problem and to pay back to that community in a programmed manner the moneys that are owing to it.

As a result of the city not receiving the unconditional grants that in its estimation it was entitled to, the taxes in the municipality had to be substantially higher than they were. I hope the minister can find some way, if not in this legislation then in some other legislation that he may introduce in the not too distant future, to overcome the problem his government has created for the city of Windsor.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, let me just respond to my friend from Windsor first. I think that he would have to agree that we have tried to make amends and I think we have done that to some degree in the last couple of years. We have provided Windsor with something perhaps not quite up to its complete expectations, but certainly it is a step in the right direction towards rectifying some of the problems.

I have to tell him that there is no way that we can, as he puts it, pay back what the city feels it was owed over the past number of years. I think we have to look to the future and I can assure him that in devising the grants for next year, we will pay very close attention to the suggestions he has put forward.

Mr. B. Newman: Will you do more than just pay attention to it? Will you send a cheque?

Hon. Mr. Wells: We will pay very close attention.

In responding to my friend from the Sudbury area, I would like to say that I think he should have great faith. I am sure that if the member from Timmins or for Cochrane South has proposed that a food terminal be established up there, it will be established. I would think the member for Nickel Belt will stand up in this House at some future date and thank the minister very much. He is looking very carefully after all those things in that particular area and I am --

Mr. Laughren: I have been getting letters. I have been getting hundreds of letters from constituents.

Hon. Mr. Wells: The member has been listening to the wrong people. Since it has general relevance to the province, it may be that something in this bill will help him in that long quest to get the food terminal there, which I am sure will come to fruition.

Mr. Bradley: What have you done for St. Catharines?

Hon. Mr. Wells: St. Catharines, Niagara Falls, the peninsula -- they are always well looked after, always well looked after. I appreciate the comments about the Brant-Brantford township amalgamation and I will be happy to look into any particular small problems that may have arisen as a result of that legislation because we certainly felt that that marked a milestone in developing the new process. If in so doing there was a slipup in the way the grants were handled or the accommodation for the various areas -- if we can rectify that, we will certainly look into it.

I thank the honourable members for supporting this bill.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. MacBeth): All those in favour of the motion will please say “aye.”

Those opposed will please say “nay.”

In my opinion the ayes have it.

Motion agreed to.

Ordered for third reading.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Pope has some papers to pick up because that sloppy House leader from the NDP has just knocked them over, and I apologize for him, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Martel: It is all this confidential mail I am trying to read.


Hon. Mr. Elgie moved second reading of Bill 191, An Act to amend the Employment Standards Act, 1974.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, as the honourable members are aware, on October 14 the government proposed a five-point program to respond to the labour adjustment problems caused by plant closures and layoffs. Part of this program involved the amendment of the Employment Standards Act with respect to manpower adjustment committees and fringe benefits. Bill 191 proposes these legislative changes.

Mr. Nixon: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I wonder if we might be informed if the shutdown committee has shut down? Would it not make sense if the members of the plant shutdown committee were to be here to listen to the minister?

The Acting Speaker (Mr. MacBeth): Is the committee still working? That is up to the committee chairman. I would assume that somebody might inform them, but whether they want to be here or down there is up to that committee.

Will the minister please proceed?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: I would like to point out that the present manpower adjustment committees are established on a voluntary basis with the Ministry of Labour cosponsoring the committees along with Canada Employment and Immigration. They are, in my view, an important means by which employers carry out their corporate social responsibilities to their employees.

The committees have had considerable success in assisting displaced persons to find alternative employment. In cases in which committees have been established’, more than 60 per cent of the employees, and sometimes many more than that, have obtained alternative employment through their efforts. In most cases employers are willing to cooperate to establish these manpower committees, although there are cases where they are not. Some refusals are explicable, for example, where a company has a joint labour-management placement program of its own where the employees have found alternative employment, or in the case of bankruptcy, where the plant has been closed and employees have dispersed.

On the other hand, there have been cases in the past in which committees would have been beneficial, but the employer refused to participate. For example, in the 61 cases of complete closure my ministry recorded between January 1 and September 30, there were eight refusals to participate in manpower adjustment committees. Of the 13 partial closures, there were two refusals. The present legislation, that is section 40(5) of the Employment Standards Act, does not clearly establish the minister’s authority to require participation in these committees in cases where employers refuse.

In Bill 191, I am proposing to repeal the existing section 40(5) and replace it with a provision that would empower the minister to require participation in and contribution to the expenses of committees in appropriate cases. In taking such action, I would rely on the advice of my special adviser on employee adjustment who will work in conjunction with the federal authority. I should also point out that, unlike the present provision, this authority would extend to all terminations, individual as well as mass.

I would like to emphasize that unjustified nonparticipation in manpower adjustment committees is comparatively rare. I recognize that mandatory legislative instruments are not in themselves the best means to foster and promote co-operation. On the other hand, I believe such an authority is warranted where co-operation is not forthcoming. Quebec has legislative authority similar to the type I am proposing and it is my understanding that the minister has not had to invoke this authority so far. I sincerely hope the existence of the legislation proposed in this bill will be sufficient incentive to promote full co-operation in the important work of the manpower adjustment committees.

The second issue Bill 191 addresses is that of fringe benefits. As I have said in my statement of October 14, in several recent plant closures, employees found themselves without legal entitlement to pension and other benefits to which they would have been entitled had notice been given.

The intent of the Employment Standards Act is clear, namely, to ensure that the required notice is given. The basic principle established in Bill 191 is that an employee terminated with pay in lieu of notice should continue to receive benefits to which he would have been entitled under the particular contract of employment as though notice had been given. To ensure the effectiveness of the provisions, the bill deems employees to be actively employed during such a period, a stipulation frequently required to qualify for pension and insurance plans.

Finally, the bill provides that the payment of contributions due during the period that notice should have been given can be enforced under part 13 of the act.

It is my conviction that these amendments will help to facilitate the adjustment process, and to alleviate the hardship of employees who are terminated without notice.

8:50 p.m.

Mr. Van Horne: Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by saying something I have said on more than one occasion these last few weeks. That is, I would remind members that when this House reopened on October 6 we all looked forward to a clear and definitive statement from the government as to what it was planning to do to help all of us here in Ontario, particularly the workers in this province who find themselves in the very unpromising position of being persona non grata in plants that have been closing or announcing their intent to close.

We were all looking forward to the government taking some definite action to indicate how we could live with the phenomenon of plant closure or industrial dislocation. “Industrial dislocation” is beginning to be a bit of a pet phrase around here. It is something to which we ought to give more than just a little bit of lip service.

Members will recall the press conference that our party held on October 3, and also the press conference held by the third party prior to the opening. Both of us outlined proposals for solutions to alleviate this problem.

In a sense, it was like the air of anticipation prior to groundhog day. Would the groundhog not see its shadow and have the courage to stay out, or would it see its shadow and duck underground again. In fact, when the fall session did open on October 6, we did not see or hear any definite action the government was prepared to take. We had to prod it to get some kind of emergency debate going on this theme. We further had to prod it into a select committee, which we now have, on plant closures.

Our party’s feelings toward some of these problems related to plant closure and job termination are reflected in our private member’s Bill 154, which is also an act to amend the Employment Standards Act. As we see it, if we do not bring these amendments on the table at this time, with the proposed recess coming in another week and a half and with the possibility of this House not coming back to do business until some time in the late winter or early spring -- and with what is often referred to as the possible spring election -- we do not have any guarantee that this House can do anything definite to address itself to these problems unless we do it right now.

We are aware of what happened earlier today when the division bells rang and some of the members on my left felt we were being a little unresponsive. We were certainly not responsive, in their view, to the demands and needs of people in the work force I have referred to who find themselves terminated.

It was our feeling, depending on the ruling this evening, that unless we got that debate on the floor this afternoon we may well not have the opportunity to proceed with it further. As it stands, we are getting a bit of a crack at it now but certainly nothing in depth. So our move this afternoon should not be interpreted as one which would speak against, or in any way negate, the theme of what was discussed at the closure committee last evening, and what was included in the report. That is the whole theme which addresses itself to severance pay.

I want it clearly understood, and I want it on the record, that our party has suggested that on more than one occasion. In no way, and it should not be so interpreted, should it be considered that we are backing away from that theme of severance pay as something absolutely and totally in need of debate at this time.

If we do not do it now, if we let this House rise a week on Friday and members disappear back into the hinterlands of their ridings to wait for something to happen in the spring, I would be prepared to wager -- if one legally could in such a parliamentary setting as this, and I do not see the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Drea) here to suggest otherwise -- having had that moment of jest, I would be prepared to bet very seriously that we would never get back to this theme until after the next provincial election. That is just too far away. We have to address ourselves to the problem and we have to address it right now.

In so far as Bill 154 was, in part at least, a suggestion for ways of amending the problem, I would like to suggest that when this bill gets to committee, if it does, we would very much like to move some amendments that would address themselves to the inadequacies of the existing Employment Standards Act.

Very briefly, our amendments, which we hope to get to this evening, address themselves to the theme of termination notice. In the first instance, we would suggest that the notice as it now exists, in section 1, would in effect double the present legislation; in other words, two weeks for employees of less than two years, four weeks for employees of two to five years, eight weeks for employees of five to 10 years, and 10 weeks for employees of 10 or more years of service.

Some people have suggested this is not going to assist a company because it would tip the hand of that company in the marketplace if such increased termination notice had to be given. I would ask the question very simply. To what are we addressing ourselves? To the lot or concern of the employer only? Or do we have to address ourselves to the concern of the employee? If we agree the present termination notice is too short, I would submit that by doubling it, even then we may not be doing total service to the employee.

Let me digress for a moment to point out that, in so far as the activity of the plant shutdowns committee is concerned, in the last few weeks a considerable number of witnesses have presented themselves to us who have indicated that -- I am speaking now from the side of the union people or the workers -- by and large the termination notice was as the law demanded: nothing more, nothing less. I think we had one exception to that, but by and large the employers were sticking to the word of the law. On the other hand, we had only one instance of an employer suggesting to us that the notice period, if it had been changed or altered, would perhaps have adversely affected him in the marketplace.

I would submit again that in other instances we have had a significant number of employers presenting themselves to us and indicating that their results in the marketplace in the past year, the past two or three years, or, in some cases, five or six years, and their success as marketers in terms of profit, both gross and net, was very much on the plus side.

9 p.m.

In other words, we had few instances of bankruptcy or businesses just plain not being able to succeed in the marketplace. Without naming names -- they are on the record in the committee hearings -- by and large, people who have pulled out or determined they are not going to stay here are people who have been darned successful. I submit to the minister that the arguments about the increased notice affecting the employer or the market are not good arguments and we could not accept them as valid for not changing the notice period.

Beyond that we have also included or would move later on that the notice, as it applies to the size of the employee groups, would be changed. In this instance, I would point out we would not only seek to change the existing Employment Standards Act in section 40, but also to make an amendment by which we effectively change one of the regulations which would apply to that section. It would be out of order for us to make a move on the regulations so, therefore, we would have to include an amendment that would effectively change that section of the act.

Having said this, I would like to get back to the minister and his few comments about Bill 191. What he has suggested in so far as employers participating in manpower adjustment committees are concerned and making it at his discretion that they “shall” -- I think that is one of the operative key words in his amendment -- is, I would submit, almost too little and too late.

The government has really got the world by the tail if it wants to use it. I am not sure why it had to bring in such a Caspar Milquetoast amendment at this time when it should have flexed its muscles and said, “Hey, the legislation is there and we are going to make you guys use it.” It makes me a little bit more than upset when we have to come here time after time and deal with this type of legislation which is like putting a Band-Aid on a major piece of surgery. It is there. Surely our brain surgeon in this instance does not have to come to us but should have taken it upon himself to do the job. However, he has done it. He has brought this amendment in. We are not going to speak against it. I am simply suggesting it is too late and too little.

As far as the entitlement is concerned, my understanding of the second part of his amendment is that he had the opportunity to use his influence and the legislation as it now exists. Although I am not an expert on legislation by any means, my understanding is that if it was not there in fact, it was there in intent. If it is there in intent, surely the minister could and should have used the intent to make sure such entitlements come to employees who have been terminated.

In conclusion, let me submit that, given the proper opportunity and given this bill being referred to committee, we will be making amendments in the most sincere way. The work of the plant shutdowns committee has been unique in many ways, unique in the sense we started off with a problem. We started off with little direction, with a time line on us that demanded we act relatively quickly, and with the prospect of this House terminating because of an election within the next few months. We started out with all kinds of handicaps and, in spite of that, I think we have come up with a relatively clear indication of where we must go if we are to do the job.

As I see it, one of the basic things to which we must address ourselves is a handful of definitions. For example, what is closure? The minister and I spoke very briefly about this in the corridors of this building today. We must address ourselves to the ramifications and definitions of that word, in the short term and the long term.

I would hate to see us get sidetracked here tonight in a bit of posturing, or posturing such as we had earlier in the day with one party accusing the other party of trying to defeat the purpose or attract the fancy of the labour movement. Let’s forget about that. Let’s get on with the business of addressing ourselves to ways and means of assisting those people who find themselves without a job or with the prospect of finishing a job within a very short period of time, with nowhere else to go.

If we do not address ourselves to those basic things, we are doing a disservice to the community we are purporting to serve and we are doing a disservice to ourselves because we are not being honest if that is the way we are going to go. Let’s address ourselves to the intent of this, and to the broader issue of how we are going to accommodate the further needs of people who find themselves without a job because some board in Milwaukee or wherever has decided to close its plant in Ontario and leave our people without jobs.

Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, when I saw the amendments to the bill that the Minister of Labour presented to this House a short while back, I really did not know whether to laugh or cry, quite literally. I finally decided we have to thank the Lord for small mercies because what we are getting in this bill is pretty damned small. I am not sure how serious the government would be about even these Band-Aid measures if it were not faced with a rising tide of concern across this province.

I want to make it very clear that unlike my colleague who just finished speaking for the Liberal Party, I feel very comfortable and happy standing onside with the labour movement on this particular issue because the labour movement has started to raise an effective lobby across this province in terms of what is happening to its members. I really do not see any other groups in our society raising the issues and trying to do something about them.

I am not sure what we would have received in the way of amendments had the minister not been under pressure from rising public awareness and a rather massive demonstration the Ontario Federation of Labour planned and which drew one of the bigger crowds out in the front here. I think he got a feeling for the concerns of workers across this province, because one thing that sure as blazes is coming through in the plant shutdowns committee hearings we are having now is that major decisions in terms of branch plants in this province are not being made in this province or this country. Canadian management has darned little input into the decisions being made. The major companies are not getting hurt; the ones that have come before us, with one exception, have not been hurt one iota. It is the workers involved in those plants where the shutdowns occur who are getting hurt.

9:10 p.m.

I wish every member in this House had been able to sit in today when we had the people from Essex International, the wire company from the town of Dunnville before us, to listen to the words that came from the heart, from the women employees and the two committee members who appeared before our committee. If anybody thinks we have a responsible corporate entity in that case, he is going to have his illusions sorely tried. I know it even got through -- if their words are true and I have no reason to believe they are not -- to a couple of the colleagues of the minister over there.

Before us we had women like Mrs. Riches, who had 19½ years in that plant, whose husband is on disability and who is the breadwinner in that particular home. She was let go on short notice without so much as a shake of the hand. She had her wire drawing machine moved out from under her within 10 minutes of starting it up to get it warm one morning. She is out and has not a penny of pension, not a penny of severance pay. She got the magnificent additional sum of one month’s coverage of her Ontario health insurance plan premiums from that particular company.

Where are the jobs for people who have reached the wrong side of the age gap and who have been in a plant 19½ years? She says: “I have not be able to find a job, and most of the people in this plant have not. What am I going to do with the bills? Where is the Christmas? How do we keep up the payments on our OHIP? What do I do in terms of the very limited income my husband draws on disability?” We do not have answers for her.

Some of the SKF employees with 24, 25 and 26 years were before us and said the pensions they would get when that plant closes down, because of an overseas decision and not because it was in that bad financial shape, will not begin to pay the rent where they live now. They are in their 50s. Where are they going?

The Coombs family from Armstrong Cork receives $81 a month pension after 12½ years and $181 pension after 20 some years for her husband, and there is no employment in the Lindsay area. I ask the minister what does this particular bill do for any of those people?

Just maybe in the case of Essex International the mandatory employment committee will give some hope, although I suggest to the minister it would be false hope. There has been almost nobody, barring a few of the men employees with specific skills in that plant, who have found any employment. The manpower adjustment committee is going to do darned little for them. I would like to take a look, because the mandatory adjustment committee is supposedly one of the key provisions.

What happened in terms of Armstrong Cork in the Lindsay area, which is another area where, like Dunnville, there is not employment for the people? What happened in this situation? Where they did have a manpower adjustment committee, there were 54 salaried employees, of whom 38 requested assistance and 17 were placed. There were 217 hourly rated employees, of whom 119 requested help and 29 were placed. One was moved to Windsor where there is already some 20 per cent unemployment. Another problem with this kind of transfer is that people are just not able to cope with moving from small-town rural Ontario to a town that already has serious labour problems.

I do not know what the minister thought he was giving us in mandatory manpower adjustment committees. I will not say it is worthless, but it is not going to help the problem very much, and for almost all the cases which have been before us, it has not helped. The minister and his officials like to hold out Ford as a success story. There has been some success in the Ford Motor Company operation. I am not sure it is anywhere near as much as the minister likes to make out, but in the Ford case at least, those are people who have some specific skills and who live in the industrial triangle where there may be some small hope of finding employment. I suggest to the minister that to hold out the manpower adjustment committee as one of the answers to the problems we are facing is playing on people’s hopes. I am not very proud of it.

In terms of the extension of benefits to cover the period of time when they get pay in lieu of notice, the facts are -- whether the minister wants to accept them or not -- that most ordinary Canadians who ever thought about it figured they got that kind of coverage anyhow. The minister is doing nothing more than plugging a loophole, one that should have been plugged a long time ago. It is a rather sad effort to assist people who are being hurt because of the plant shutdowns in this province.

It is obvious the answers are much broader and the action needed is much broader than we have in this bill. Maybe we should be thankful for small mercies, but there has to be a little bit more to it than we see here. Certainly, that was the intent behind the motion that was debated and passed in the plant shutdowns committee.

Tonight we are dealing with a Band-Aid bill of the minister’s. Can we add something to it? Can we give it some meaning? Can we leave one little additional bit of help for people who end up out of work? Is there a better opportunity than when this bill is on the floor of the House tonight? For that reason we hassled and argued it out in the committee and made the recommendation we did. From the minister’s comments this afternoon, I gather he is not prepared to accept it.

The minister must find himself in a difficult position. He has told us constantly that in principle he is not against such a move. Whether the minister realizes it or not, we moved in the committee from a blanket one week, and the scare that gives to small businesses, to cover only those who are covered under the shutdown provisions of the Employment Standards Act, which in effect is more than 50 employees in an operation. I do not know what there is in that recommendation that scares the minister so much. We certainly will be moving such an amendment when we get into committee, to add at least some hope for workers in this bill. Even that is not a heck of a lot.

If the members of this House had all been able to listen to the people from SKF, from Outboard Marine, from Essex -- where they did not get so much as a handshake or “We hope you will have a successful future” -- they would be ready to be a lot tougher on the minister in this legislation.

The minister himself might have been a little bit more forthright in some protection for workers in this province, protection that the hearings have also shown is sadly lacking. I would hope he is willing to see the amendments to this bill that have been suggested here tonight. That would be precious little justice for the workers involved as an immediate interim measure, but at least they deserve that.

Mr. Mancini: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have an opportunity to make some comments on Bill 191, An Act to amend the Employment Standards Act, 1974, introduced by the Minister of Labour.

For several weeks I have had the opportunity to sit on the plant shutdowns and employee adjustment committee. We have had before us government officials, government ministers, labour unions and representatives from the management side of corporations. We have appreciated the information that has been brought before the committee, even though some of the information has pointed out to us rather drastically the hardships placed before employees once their jobs are terminated.

9:20 a.m.

There is a basic philosophical thought within the government party that we here in Ontario must attract jobs no matter what the sacrifice of the workers may be, without regard to what would happen to them after a corporation decided to leave or without regard to what would happen to a small community. We have had local officials from communities such as Hanover -- we had the mayor of Hanover -- and the town of Lindsay.

We can no longer afford to do that. We can no longer afford to think that just because a plant opens up, just because a ribbon is cut by the Premier (Mr. Davis), that plant is necessarily going to bring direct, long-term benefits to the people of Ontario. The profits from the plant, the dividends, the equipment and machinery, which can be written off for tax purposes, can all be shipped out of the country at almost a few weeks’ notice and, in some cases, at a few moments’ notice.

When we had the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Grossman) before our committee, many of us took the opportunity to question him as best we could on some of the things Ontario had that were able to attract industry. Many of the things we were able to mention to the minister were directly quoted by myself from the famous fact book he put out approximately eight or 10 weeks ago. It states basically why and how to set up business in Ontario, Canada. The minister, in this fact book -- he does not give the page; it is about a third of the way through the fact book -- goes on to state, and I quote the following, “Lower labour costs: In 1978, our average hourly pay for workers in industrial production was” -- and I am giving the US figure --

Mr. Laughren: What is your position on the minimum wage?

Mr. Mancini: I am still quoting. I am sorry, I was interrupted. I should have ignored the interjection. I will start the quote from the fact book again. It says, “Lower labour costs: In 1978, our average hourly pay for workers in industrial production was US$6.15 an hour -- 37 cents an hour less than the US average, from 83 cents to $1.81 less than the rate in the Great Lakes states adjoining Ontario.” So we can see from the minister’s own fact book there is evidence that corporations have advantages in settling in Ontario. Salaries is one of them.

The minister, in his fact book, goes on to state the minerals we have and the timber, and he says, concerning the matter of energy, which is a very vital matter these days, and I quote again: “Secure energy resources: Ontario provides 20 per cent of all its primary energy requirements. Sixty per cent comes from other parts of Canada and the remainder is secured from neighbouring US sources -- more reason for corporations to settle within the province of Ontario.”

On the area of research and development, under the title of “incentives,” the minister tells corporations that companies may write off 100 per cent of current and capital expenditures on R and D in the year of the outlay, a direct benefit to any corporation which does research and development.

There are many benefits which corporations enjoy by settling in Ontario and, because of those benefits, these same corporations should be in a financial position and should be made to give proper notice of layoff, proper severance pay and guarantees of pensions.

We also had the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) appear before the committee. It was just a few days before he introduced the famous mini-budget. I was surprised at the lack of information the Treasurer volunteered to the committee. He came basically with no prepared statement, no plan as to how he was going to encourage employment in Ontario and no in-depth thought as to what should happen to workers if they are terminated. He came in, answered the few questions we put to him and hurried off to another meeting. I do not criticize him for hurrying off to another meeting, but I am sure that if the former Treasurer, Darcy McKeough, had appeared before that committee, we might not have liked what he said but at least he would have had the knowledge and ability to give us his own views in concrete terms. He would have told us where he stood on the position.

We have heard from the corporations, as I have stated, and from the unions which represent the workers at these corporations. We went through the case study of Armstrong Cork. We had placed before us facts that told us Armstrong Cork is a subsidiary of an American corporation, Armstrong World, which last year enjoyed profits in excess of $66 million. We were told by the manager of the Armstrong Cork plant in Lindsay that one of the main reasons the plant was going to be closed was, “because technology had passed us by.”

How can it possibly be that a corporation can make a $66-million profit after taxes and allow a substantial plant in Lindsay, which is servicing the Ontario and Canadian markets, to allow technology to pass it by? We must conclude that the technology it was buying or the expenditure it was making to upgrade facilities was done in other areas.

We went on and heard the case studsy of SKF, another huge multinational corporation with extensive profits, with interests all over the world. It had a ball-bearing plant in Scarborough which it is closing. I may add the company headquarters are in Sweden. When the Minister of Labour (Mr. Elgie) gets back possibly he can answer my question. I am sorry; I did not notice, Mr. Speaker, that he was hiding behind your chair -- I mean, standing behind your chair --

Hon. Mr. Elgie: I never hide.

Mr. Mancini: -- but since he is listening so intently, I want to ask the Minister of Labour if he knows the requirements of plant closures in Sweden.


Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.

9:30 p.m.

Mr. Mancini: SKF is a huge, multinational corporation that has done well over a period of time. They have a plant in Scarborough serving the domestic market and therefore avoiding any tariffs that might impede their ability to sell within the domestic market. Now, they are going to close up the operation and serve the domestic market by creating jobs and placing the industry outside of Ontario and Canada. I say that is wrong. I say if these corporations want to serve our domestic market, they have to share the pie with Ontario workers. I would like to hear some comments on that from the Minister of Labour.

We have heard other case studies, such as the closure of the -- what was the name of that plant?

Mr. Hodgson: Did you forget?

Mr. Eakins: There are so many of them; how do you keep track?

Mr. Mancini: That is right. The members opposite do not even have a list. It is the Essex International plant at Dunnville. We had five employees before the committee who had many years of service. Most of these employees were females. As we already heard from one of the previous members, they were the sole supporters of their families and were being paid low wages, around the $4 mark. These are the people laid off or terminated, basically without notice. Basically, they are not even given a handshake as they leave the door after 19 or 20 years’ service. People say: “Why can’t they move? Why can’t they get a job some place else?” How do you expect women who are the sole supporters of their families to move? They may have a disabled husband at home they may have a family at home. How can we expect them to leave communities like Dunnville and go some place else and make a new start? That is not the answer for those people.

Mr. Cassidy: Your friends the multinationals, Remo.

Mr. Mancini: We voted for the leader of the third party’s motion today. He did not even vote for his own motion. We were willing to vote today on what the committee passed unanimously last night, but the two other parties were not.

Mr. Cassidy: If you stop speaking, we will put our motion here and we will vote for it here.

Mr. Mancini: The member for Hamilton East (Mr. Mackenzie) spoke before I did. He could have put the motion.

We saw the best example today of why the Employment Standards Act needs to be improved. The case cannot be made more clearly than it was today.

I feel I have come to know the Minister of Labour on a fair basis over the past three or four years. I know he wants to be a compassionate man. I know he wants to be thought of as a fair man. But when we see amendments introduced to the Employment Standards Act that merely make an employment adjustment committee mandatory, that make it mandatory for benefits to be paid during the layoff notice, we have to place the responsibility on the minister’s front doorstep and ask him if he went to the cabinet with more and came out with this. If he did, he should resign and give the responsibility to someone who can extract more from the cabinet. Or did the Minister of Labour go to the cabinet and ask only for this? If that is the case, then he should also resign, because he is not carrying out his responsibility to the working people of Ontario.

The select committee on plant shutdowns and employee adjustment is going to continue to sit for another two weeks. We are going to have our interim report ready. We already have a motion before the House which was approved unanimously by that committee. I hope that by the time we adjourn all of our hearings and have our final report written by February 5, we will have an opportunity to debate it in the House as soon as we get back. The Minister of Labour will have had possibly three or four weeks to look over the report before the House is called back. We would expect him to have other amendments to the Employment Standards Act prepared and tabled on the first day we return in 1981.

He has supported the concept of the select committee. I believe if the committee comes up with reasonable, feasible and affordable ideas, it is his responsibility to accept them and put them into legislation so workers who are terminated at least have some type of recognition for the years of service they have given their company.

The Deputy Speaker: Does any other member wish to participate in the debate? The member for Quinte.

Mr. Cassidy: What is this, Mr. Speaker? Sudden discovery of the fact that there are four million people who work in Ontario? They are ignored by the Liberal Party until an election is imminent.

The Deputy Speaker: Order. The member for Quinte.

Mr. O’Neil: Mr. Speaker, it is especially interesting in this plant closure committee to have the leader of the third party come down and to see how very little he has to lend to the actual committee meetings.

Mr. Cassidy: I have yet to see the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. S. Smith) down there.

The Deputy Speaker: Order. Perhaps the honourable member will return to the bill.

Mr. O’Neil: I certainly will. Our leader, for a long time, has shown his great interest in the workers of this province, along with all the members of our party.

It was interesting this afternoon to see the finagling that was going on between that party over there and that party down at the other end. It was really interesting to see them going over to the government House leader and to the minister and going into the government House leader’s office --

Mr. Eakins: Pulling up the sheets.

Mr. O’Neil: Pulling up the sheets a little farther; getting in bed a little deeper.

I just wonder what sort of an arrangement they have made as regards how this bill is going to be handled. Look at that fellow there.

An. hon. member: It’s a big bed; you can get in too.

Mr. O’Neil: No, I do not want to get into bed. I would rather discuss it here in the open.


The Deputy Speaker: Please do.

Mr. O’Neil: Mr. Speaker, when one gets all those interruptions from over there, it is very hard to keep on the subject.

The committee has been very interesting. I think both our critic and the member for Essex South have given members some of the background. I think when this resolution was brought forward last night and I asked that it be placed before this Legislature, it was a unanimous decision, all except for the chairman. The chairman tried to rule the motion out of order, but all the members of the committee voted that this should be put before the Legislature this afternoon.

It was our fear then, and it is still our fear, that the Minister of Labour would not have permitted a change to come about in this legislation. This is one of the reasons we wanted it discussed this afternoon. One thing it did do was get those fellows in the third party into bed with the Conservatives again; so we may possibly have an amendment approved this evening.

9:40 p.m.

Mr. McEwen: They only have one pillow.

Mr. O’Neil: Yes, they only have one pillow, but they sure have been sharing it.

I think our critic has put very well the amendments we will propose so that the workers in this province will be covered and will be given proper severance pay when they are given notice of termination. It will be very interesting to see what sort of arrangement the people in the third party and the government have made. We hope this amendment is supported and goes through this evening.

I was also very interested in the comment made by the Minister of Labour this afternoon in this Legislature, saying he was for this in terms of support, as the members of his party and this committee are. As I suggested to him this afternoon, if he and his party do not approve the amendments to this particular bill, it will mean the workers of this province may not be covered for another year or two.

As I say, we look forward in the hope that he and his party will support the amendments that will be put forward.

Mr. Haggerty: Mr. Speaker, I want to address myself to Bill 191, An Act to amend the Employment Standards Act, 1974. I want to support my colleague’s comments and the amendments he will be moving later on.

On October 3 of this year our leader issued a press release indicating what measures the government should follow in providing additional protection for employees where plant shutdowns occur and layoffs follow. It must provide fair levels of severance pay for employees who are laid off and make pensions a right, not a privilege, for workers. He has made these suggestions before and we will be moving some amendments to the bill.

There has been some discussion about Essex International in Dunnville. That industry has floated about the province. I think it came from southwestern Ontario to Dunnville. Now I understand it is moving back there. One of the reasons is that they are looking for the cheapest labour they can possibly find in any industry.

I also want to talk about the Armstrong Cork closure at Peterborough, where a number of employees will be losing their jobs. If something like this happened on the American side they would not permit an industry like that to close its doors and move out. No, they would not. They would be putting embargoes on their goods.

I suggested to the minister, even to the committee --


Mr. Haggerty: If the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel) would keep quiet, he might learn something.

They pull out of this country and move back to the United States. With the exchange on the American dollar and the lower wages paid to employees in the United States, they can well afford to pull out of Ontario, go back there, produce the same goods and ship them back across the border here. In this instance I suggest the committee should consider suggesting to the government that embargoes be put on such goods when a multinational corporation pulls out of Ontario and goes back to the United States.

Mr. M. Davidson: It was federal Liberal policy that got the textile industry in trouble, you dummy.

Mr. Haggerty: We on this side also suggested in that press release that the plant closures should be justified. I do not think the measures put forward in the proposed amendment to the Employment Standards Act, where a committee would be set up by employees and management with perhaps some guidelines by the ministry, are quite strong enough. I do not think that is going to resolve some of the problems employees are facing today, particularly when there is a plant shutdown. There have to be stronger measures than that to justify the plant closures.

Also, I think pensions in the province should be protected and portable so workers can move from one industry to another. They should have been portable and protected long ago; perhaps the member for Sudbury East will recall I have suggested this. I suggest the government has been lax in this area over the years. They have never considered any of these options in the area of pensions. It is to be hoped the government and the Minister of Labour will bring in further amendments to the Employment Standards Act to include portable pensions, secured and guaranteed in Ontario.

I understand the pensions from one particular plant that closed its doors in Ontario are located in Quebec. I do not know whether pensions in Ontario are protected in Quebec, but I suggest that funds generated by employees here in Ontario should remain within the boundaries of the province so that they are well protected.

I support the basic principle of this amendment bill but when my colleague moves the amendments, it is to be hoped we will have a much stronger and more workable bill.

Mr. M. Davidson: Mr. Speaker, I rise to withdraw a remark I made regarding the member for Erie. It was in the heat of listening to his remarks. I would prefer to say just that his comments regarding the textile industry are totally misinformed.

Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I do not intend to reiterate the very eloquent remarks of my colleague the member for London North which I support wholeheartedly.

It is not often that I find myself moved by members of the New Democratic Party, but I thought a number of things the member for Hamilton East said tonight were of some importance to this House, as much as I hate to admit that publicly.

I share the view that this is a token contribution to the main problem facing people in these situations today. It is one very small step for mankind, almost to the point of being insignificant. The major lack here is in the area of pensions. I regret very much the failure of the government to address these problems long before now. They constantly hide behind the Haley commission on pensions. It has never been established for sure that Mrs. Haley even lives, let alone runs a commission looking into pension reform in this province. The last I heard is that by December 15 she will publish 10 volumes. That may or may not be the truth, because she is now about a year or a year and a half late. There has always been some excuse -- another study, another commission, another select committee looking at things, before some action can be taken.

If we have let down the people who work in this province in any way, it is in the area of pension reform. There have been a number of suggestions. The member for Hamilton East brought in a private member’s bill. It was imperfect in a number of details, but nevertheless it spoke eloquently of the need for some pension reform, something I support very strongly. But the government has always said, let’s wait and have a study or more study or whatever. That is the way we have principally let down the people in this province.

I suggested to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Drea) a year and a half ago that at least we should start with the disclosure provisions, by enforcing a higher degree of disclosure for pensions in this province. He agreed. He thought it was a wonderful idea and said he would wait for Haley. Then he said, when confronted again. “If Haley does not come down with some specific suggestions this fall, I personally will give my guarantee to bring in legislation forcing disclosure of pension benefits.” He made that solemn promise of full disclosure to this House, and I am sure my colleagues recall that. It is now a week and a half to the end of the session, and we have yet to see that legislation.

There have been some great acts of leadership in this area -- one was by Saskatchewan, another was by Quebec -- and we are falling rapidly behind. There are a number of areas in which we could start that would not disrupt the work place or our competitive position, when you compare it with the competing jurisdictions with which we have to compete, not only in our own country but also the areas to the south.

9:50 p.m.

I say to the minister as strongly as I can, this is fine, it is okay, we will support it. There is nothing the matter with it as far as it goes, but he is not addressing the real problems. I am concerned and I want to take this opportunity to say it to him publicly and in the House, where he has no alternative but to listen, that as presumably the fair man he thinks he is and certain others, albeit a diminishing group, think he is, he has an obligation to move quickly, fairly and equitably.

There is no one, from the industry to the beneficiaries or anywhere in between across the whole pension spectrum today, who thinks we have intelligent up-to-date laws in this province. That is an area in which he can operate, and it costs the government of this province and the taxpayers nothing; it does not erode our competitive position in any way. But, as the legislators of those trusteed moneys, we must make sure those moneys, which will respond only to legislation by this House, are fairly and equitably dealt with so that a number of issues -- the portability, the early vesting, all those issues -- can be dealt with fairly and in a hurry.

It is interesting that John Grant, the chief economist at Wood Gundy, said just the other day in an address to the Ontario Economic Council that the lack of early vesting and the lack of portability of pensions is cutting down on the mobility of labour and is a contributing factor to our eroding competitive position here. He believes, as generally a free market economist, that a high degree of mobility among labour, to which a contribution would be made by earlier vesting and portability of pensions, would be a good thing for this province. Let us assume he is right. It is not only good for them, it is good for the beneficiaries of those pensions, and I would say tantamount to a legal right. It should be a legal right, because clearly it is a moral right.

Before I sit down, I want to ask the minister to please take the recess period to look at the Haley commission. If it does not come down, then I will come over to his office in the recess and give him any advice I can possibly contribute to that overbloated bureaucracy he has over there. I will do whatever I can, but I can assure him the most pressing area requiring reform in this province is the one that is not getting it. Everybody benefits; nobody suffers.

As far as I can determine from my distant vantage point, the only impeding point is the failure of the government to act. God only knows why he is so slow to act in the most important things. I want to tell the minister tonight that as Minister of Labour he has a responsibility, even though I gather it falls under the jurisdiction of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations, but the Minister of Labour must work with him and he must force him to act. He has been avoiding the House lately. I assume he has problems of his own -- God knows what they are -- but in fairness, he has an obligation to make sure that this single greatest injustice in this whole area which my colleagues have spoken so eloquently about tonight, and my friends to the left have mentioned a little bit tonight, is addressed. I urge the minister to do it and I urge him to do it quickly.

Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, the name of the game is quite obvious. I want to tell you this afternoon we had a fiasco; and I am going to come to it, because hypocrisy prevails to my right as never before.

Last night, the select committee given the mandate to look into plant shutdowns moved an amendment and presented a report which said workers are entitled to severance pay. Three times during the discussions, I indicated to my friends to my right -- and right of the Tories, I must say -- if we had a report coming in today that would indicate to the minister where the committee wanted the government to go on this particular issue --

Mr. Mancini: You are always having tea with Tom Wells.

Mr. Martel: The member for Essex South was not even around, he was busy elsewhere.

Mr. Mancini: On a point of order --

Mr. Martel: We heard the point of order this afternoon. He was in hospital, getting his back in shape.

The Deputy Speaker: What is the point of privilege?

Mr. Mancini: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: Earlier today the member for Hamilton East (Mr. Mackenzie) made mention to the people who were at the committee that I was absent on Monday. He made it sound as if I was purposely absent. The member for Sudbury East has done it again. He has told the chamber I was absent from the committee without informing the chamber I was in hospital Sunday night and was unable to be in the chamber on Monday for a very legitimate reason. I resent the fact he would not properly inform the House as to why I was absent.

Mr. Martel: We had a consensus in the committee that we would bring the report forward so the minister would understand the feeling of the select committee that severance pay should be included in this piece of legislation. That would give the government an opportunity to respond. We indicated that, because we moved the motion, we were prepared to move the motion in the House if need be. We were hoping the government would understand the feeling of an all-party committee on which there are at least five Conservatives.

Mr. Mancini: You voted against your own motion.

Mr. Martel: Who has the floor? Me or him?


The Deputy Speaker: Order. Order.

Mr. Martel: We wanted the government to have an opportunity --

Mr. Mancini: You voted against your own motion.

Mr. Martel: Will you throw him out?

Mr. Mancini: That’s the long and the short of it.

Mr. Martel: I’d take the gavel you’re offering me, Mr. Speaker, but it would bounce. No, I will not say that. It would be too unkind.

We hoped tonight, when we debated the bill, the minister would indicate the government was prepared to move on severance pay. We all know there are plants that are going to close down in January. The minister knows it; we know it. There is no protection for those people. We also know if we come back with a report next February, it will be too late for those workers.

We came into the House this afternoon and the game was on. Let me tell how the game is on. We could debate a report until hell froze over and it would not have resolved a damned thing. Nothing. We could talk until the air was blue but it would not resolve the problem of workers in this province come January. They wanted to debate a report -- big score -- so we would not get to the amendment the New Democratic Party has prepared and that would have seen this come to a head. It would have allowed them to vote for severance pay. But they do not want it that way. They want it both ways.

10 p.m.

Remember Firestone? We moved things like that, and our friends were sympathetic with the workers, but they voted against all seven points moved by my colleague the member for Oshawa (Mr. Breaugh). They were for portability. They were for all those things, but when it comes time to move into the House to vote on it, where are they? They are putting up speaker after speaker so the amendment cannot be placed. I told the press that this afternoon. I told my friends in the press this afternoon that they want it both ways. They want to say: “Well, the New Democrats are supporting the government. They don’t want to debate the report.” But I tell you, the report --

Mr. Van Horne: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: Before the member for Sudbury East gets himself totally wrapped up in his own rhetoric and forgets a fact or two, I would like to point out that he said very clearly, just a few moments ago, that we did not want severance pay. I would remind him that we introduced on October 8 a private member’s bill, Bill 154, of which section 6(a) very clearly pointed out that we were proposing severance pay. In fact, his statement is totally wrong and erroneous. I would ask that he correct the record.

Mr. Martel: It is nice to be able to be on both sides of everything. Do members remember Bill 70, the health and safety bill? Do my friends remember that? Their literature in Sault Ste. Marie said all of the workers will be under Bill 70 except agricultural workers. On the very day the by-elections were being held in Sault Ste. Marie, they voted group after group out of the bill. Here we are. It was the same thing with Firestone last June. They are for severance pay. They are for everything, but when it comes to a vote, where it is going to implement that, they refuse to let it get to the House. They refuse to let us come to the House. Here we are tonight with a bill before us with respect to severance pay and they have put up speaker after speaker because they do not want to get to the amendment. They do not want to get to the amendment. They have put up seven speakers in a row. All of them have said nothing.

The member for London Centre (Mr. Peterson) talked about pensions. There will be a bill in the House on Thursday on pensions and he talked for 10 minutes about that. I understand the bill will be in sometime Thursday. The minister is here and they talk claptrap. They do not want to vote on severance pay, because they want it both ways. They want to be for severance pay when there are people at the committee, but when it comes to the House, no deal. They are out of the ball game. They do not want a vote on it. They want to be able to accuse the New Democrats of being in bed with the Tories, but they will not allow it to come to a vote.

For sheer hypocrisy, those beggars take the cake. My colleagues have prevailed upon me to continue. With that in mind, Mr. Speaker, I will attempt to continue this little tête-à-tête that you and I are having.

Mr. Speaker: Hopefully, you will return to the principle of the bill.

Mr. Martel: We are talking about severance pay, on An Act to amend the Employment Standards Act and the shortcomings in the bill. Let us get to the government side, because they are not much better. As a matter of fact, last evening as we debated this amendment in the committee, we decided that to accommodate those fellows over there, we would meet --

Mr. Mancini: They are your friends.

Mr. Martel: The member for Essex South voted on it. Oh, the member was away, was he not? He had a bad back and I do not want the member to strain himself.

We moved an amendment to accommodate the member for Peterborough (Mr. Turner) and the member for Sault Ste. Marie (Mr. Ramsay), who I think was there last evening when we voted on it, and the member for Durham East (Mr. Cureatz), who wanted an amendment to modify it so we would not damage the small entrepreneur in Ontario.

We will move to accommodate the concern of the government and the small business community. We will accept or move an amendment which says we will abide by the Employment Standards Act and the regulations thereto, which would start with 50 to 200 workers -- that is where the bottom line would be with respect to severance pay. That would not hurt the corner grocer store; that would not hurt restaurateurs and small Ontario businesses employing under 50. It is where notice has to be served that we want to move an amendment with respect to severance pay. That accommodates what the government would like to bring in.

There might be a few who may not want to. I suspect that great free enterpriser, the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller), would oppose it and I suppose also the fellow who occupies seat number one, the globe-trotting mandating mandarin from Toronto. His nose will be out of joint because we would have an amendment that would accommodate the rest, but it does not accommodate those free enterprisers who do not feel corporations have a responsibility.

My colleagues have indicated that for the last three or four weeks we have listened to worker after worker in this province. Workers from SKF Canada Ltd. with --

Mr. Mancini: Standing shoulder to shoulder with the Tories.

Mr. Martel: There is a worker who, when the company closes in a year, will be 59 years of age. He has 32 years with the corporation and will have a pension of $229, but that pension will be reduced by six per cent a year for five years because he has to take a deferred pension. If you take 30 per cent off his pension, he is down to about $160.

I am giving reasons why we think this bill, because even that is not going to help --

Mr. Breithaupt: Call the vote.

Mr. Martel: The Liberals did a fine job.

We could have been through the amendments except they were playing games, which they indicated earlier they would want to do this afternoon.

Mr. Breithaupt: You have spoken for 20 minutes.

Mr. Martel: And I intend to speak for 20 more.

Mr. Breithaupt: We can all go then.

Mr. Martel: Why don’t you? You haven’t contributed anything else. If you leave we might get down to the bill.

Mr. Speaker, that particular individual at 59 years of age will have a pension in the neighbourhood of $160.

Mr. Nixon: You spent three quarters of an hour consulting with your Tory friends this afternoon while the bell rang.

Mr. Martel: Does he have the floor?

Mr. Nixon: It was tea for two. Tell us what the Tory House leader --

Mr. Martel: I have to correct the Liberal House leader; it was the Tory whip’s office. I want him to be correct.

Mr. Cassidy: What a bunch you are. You filibuster for an hour. You are a bunch of hypocrites, that is what you are. A full hour with seven speakers you put on.

Mr. Nixon: Each one spoke five minutes.

Mr. Mancini: We see in committee, Mr. Speaker, women such as those who were in this afternoon. After nineteen and a half years, they get no notice. They have been to the Minister of Labour to find out if there is a little game going on, because they gave one notice for a temporary shutdown and then moved on to a permanent shutdown. We do not know if they should be called back to justify that position.

10:10 p.m.

In fact, we just moved for a Speaker’s warrant this afternoon requesting that firm to give us the pleasure of their company, because since November 7 they have refused to come. They have been saying since then, “We cannot find the right official to appear.” So we moved yet another Speaker’s warrant, which will be discussed with Mr. Speaker, to ask Essex International to bring forward their accountants, their books and their papers so we can have a chat with them. That is the sort of response we get.

But the most insidious part of the whole thing is that we have looked at SKF, at Outboard Marine and at Armstrong Cork and the scenario is the same. Each company started five, six or seven years ago to dismantle its operations in this province. SKF and Outboard Marine in particular started to minimize what they were producing in parts. They started to rationalize their production. As they cut back line after line they will reach a point where it will no longer be as profitable for them to operate in this province as they would like.

It is intriguing that SKF is going back to Europe, when we heard of the Red scares that the chairman of that company told us about. The Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Grossman) said companies will not locate in Ontario. SKF is going back to where the laws are much tougher than in Ontario.

Mr. Laughren: What were the Premier and Deputy Premier doing just now? Closing out a plant?

Mr. Martel: What in God’s name is this? The Premier and the Deputy Premier in tuxedos?

Mr. Eakins: Elie, have you ever got into bed with a bow tie like that?


Mr. Martel: In each of those operations, over a number of years, the company has deliberately dismantled a successful operation in this province until they reached the point where they said it was no longer profitable, or sufficiently profitable for them to operate. Yet they are going back to operate in jurisdictions where the labour legislation is much tougher than Ontario.

What is happening? We have the Minister of Industry and Tourism saying, “We cannot get too tough because the climate for investment will not be right,” but the workers be damned. They can do without severance pay. They can do without jobs. They can have no protection under legislation. Even this minuscule thing we have before us does nothing.

What is it in the Deputy Premier’s lapel? A Christmas tree?


Mr. Speaker: Order. I think the chair has given the honourable member ample opportunity on numerous occasions to return to the principle of this bill. All I have heard so far is what is not contained in the bill. The member knows that is clearly out of order.

Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, the problem is that when one looks at this bill it will do nothing to help the workers in the province.

Mr. Speaker: You just proved my point.

Mr. Martel: It is not my bill. If it was my bill it would do something for the workers in the province. In fact, that is what we attempted to do today, and it is what my friends to my right have worked at making sure does not occur. That is allowing the moving of an amendment to bring severance pay into the province to protect the laid-off workers, and they do not want it.

Mr. Speaker: Does any other member wish to speak to the bill? If not, the Minister of Labour.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: I was hoping to get a bouquet to wear in my lapel, Mr. Speaker, but the present owner refused to give me one.

Mr. Speaker: That is not in the bill either.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, there have been many topics covered tonight, both in your presence and without your presence, which ranged far and wide. I think I have an obligation to speak to some of the points.

The government, in what I felt was a very thoughtful way, last October 14 suggested a variety of approaches that it saw as important to try to cope with the reality of the situations and the hardships that were facing people in this province.

The Pension Benefits Amendment Act that my colleague the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Drea) will be bringing in later this week will address in a realistic way -- and in a way, I might say, that no other province has done -- some of the vital issues that have faced workers in plant shutdowns. I think that is to be commended, not criticized.

I am proposing tonight in this legislation to deal with what were to me and my ministry and to this government two areas of obvious importance. One was the need to be able to require manpower adjustment committees in those situations where they seemed appropriate. We felt that was important and we felt it was important to extend it beyond the situation of mass terminations. That is what this amendment does. It may be “a poor wee thing,” as my friend from Sudbury East says but it’s mine own. I think it is a very important step to improve a situation that faces displaced workers in this province.

The second element of tonight’s bill similarly was one that came to my attention dining some of the closures. I can think of situations in Bendix and in the Firestone closures where there were workers within a few weeks or a month or two of being eligible for certain benefits, yet they did not have the luxury of being eligible for them under the present legislation. I proposed therefore that they be deemed to have worked during a period of pay in lieu of notice, so that they might be eligible for those benefits. I think that too, although some may call it “a poor wee thing,” is a major thing and is a big step in the right direction.

We also, felt there needed to be an improved response and a co-ordinated inter-ministerial response to plant closures. We have done that. Steps are under way; Mr. Joyce is appointed; and the committees will soon be starting to act in a more formal way.

Finally, we asked a select committee of this Legislature, in a very thoughtful and considered way, to look at a number of problems that we found a little difficult to solve in any hasty way. We hoped that out of that committee would come, for example, a thoughtful analysis of the problems relating to severance pay as we saw them, and that some relevant advice might come from those thoughtful considerations.

We heard of a committee that decided first of all to look at a case-study approach and then to go on and hear from interested groups and individuals and experts in the area so they could reach those considered opinions. But now we have before us an amendment which has been brought to the House before those considerations have taken place.

Mr. Martel: By an all-party committee report.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Let me tell my friend, that is because there is nobody in this party opposed to that principle. He is not going to get anybody back here to say it was against his principle because it is not. What we did ask of that committee was a thoughtful, careful --

Mr. Cassidy: Workers can’t live on principle. They have to have laws.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: The honourable member should just be quiet.

What we asked of that committee was a thoughtful, concerned, informed analysis based on evidence put before the committee by people who had a right to be interested in the problem. The members over there have not done that. I think they did a disservice to this Legislature by not doing that. I say that openly and without hesitation. I think they did a disservice to this Legislature without giving that issue the thoughtful consideration and public input it deserved.

I think the public and those interested will know, when they see the types of amendments that have been introduced tonight, who really cares about the problems that are facing people out there in the work place. It is my submission, and it will be before the committee, that each of these amendments clearly is out of order. We will know who has the sincere interest and who is playing games.

Motion agreed to.

Ordered for committee of the whole House.

House in committee of the whole.



Consideration of Bill 191, An Act to amend the Employment Standards Act, 1974.

Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Chairman, I would like to move an amendment to Bill 191.

Mr. Chairman: On what section?

Mr. Mackenzie: On section 1.

Mr. Chairman: And the member for London North, on what section?

Mr. Van Horne: Mr. Chairman, I have a series of amendments. The first is to section 1 of the bill.

On section 1:

Mr. Chairman: The member for London North.


Mr. Chairman: Order.

Mr. Martel: I would ask the Chairman to find out where the amendment fits in that particular section.


Mr. Chairman: Order. For the member for Sudbury East’s information, there are a number of amendments that have been filed. The member for Hamilton East has one for section 1(1) and the member for London North has amendments for 1(1), 1(2) and 1(3). The member for London North.

Mr. Martel: Mr. Chairman, if you had asked, the member for Hamilton East has moved his amendment to section 1(1)(5c) which says --

Mr. Roy: That is still after our one.

Mr. Martel: No, it is not. It is much before section 4.

Mr. Nixon: Section 1(5) is before 1(4)?


Mr. Chairman: Order, what section is the amendment by the member for Hamilton East?

Mr. Mackenzie: Section 1(1)(5c).

Mr. Chairman: The member for London North, what section is your amendment in?

Mr. Van Horne: Section 40 of the act, that is, section 1(1) of the bill is the section I have amendments for.

Mr. Chairman: Order. Section 1(1). Right. The member for London North.


Mr. Chairman: Order. As I understand it, the request from the member for London North is to amend section 1(1).

Mr. Cassidy: On a point of order, Mr. Chairman: Does the amendment of the member for London North come prior to section 1(1)(5b)? If that is the case, then clearly he has precedence; if not, then the member for Hamilton East has precedence, as he should have, because this was his amendment originally last night.

Mr. Chairman: Order. The amendment, of course, has not been put, but the order that was placed on the table repeals 1(1) and replaces the complete section.

Mr. Van Horne moves that section 40(1) be amended by adding thereto the following subsection:

“Subsection 1 of section 40 of The Employment Standards Act 1974, being chapter 112, is repealed and the following substituted therefor: No employer shall lay off or terminate the employment of or lay off an employee who has been employed for three months or less unless the employer gives two weeks’ notice in writing to the employee if his period of employment is less than two years; and, further, four weeks’ notice in writing to the employee if his period of employment is two years or more but less than five years; and, further, eight weeks’ notice in writing to the employee if his period of employment is five years or more but less than 10 years; and, further, 16 weeks’ notice in writing to the employee if his period of employment is 10 years or more and such notice has expired.”

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Chairman, on a point of order: If I might refer you to Canadian parliamentary procedures, Bourinot states on inadmissible amendments, at page 35 that an amendment is out of order if it is beyond the scope of the bill or beyond the scope of the clause or clauses under consideration.

Members know full well the substance of this bill. It deals --

Mr. Roy: The minister should stick to medicine.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: I did not do badly in medicine either, and I would like to talk to the member about that, too. He may need some help.

The matters raised in this amendment by the member for London North are not relevant to the clauses raised in the bill that is before the House tonight. The length of termination is not a matter that is raised in the bill before us tonight, nor in any clause of that bill. The matters raised relate to manpower adjustment committees, wages and wages in lieu of notice and benefits ensuing therefrom. They have nothing to do with this matter, and the amendment is totally out of order.

Mr. Chairman: Order. It appears there is further discussion and it is now 10:30 of the clock.

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

10:30 p.m.


Mr. Speaker: Under standing order 28, a motion to adjourn is deemed to have been made. I will listen to the member for Ottawa Centre for up to five minutes.

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I raised this notice of dissatisfaction because of what the Minister of Labour had to say in the House today when he argued that the efforts we have been making in this House in order to get severance pay were, in his words, premature. The minister has given a whole series of reasons which in my mind are completely unjustified, and I think the minister should have been prepared today to agree to have the amendments that we have been trying all day to bring into this Legislature, but which have been blocked by a systematic effort on one side by the government and on the other side by the Liberal Party in the opposition.

I want to say I am ashamed of the behaviour of the official opposition. They claim they have been trying to bring this matter to a vote. This afternoon they rang the bells for about half an hour in a spurious effort to sidetrack the House when we could have been getting on with the legislation. This evening for a full hour they put up speaker after speaker in an effort to prevent the House getting to vote on or to consider the amendment from the member for Hamilton East (Mr. Mackenzie), which would have had the effect of ensuring before this House rises in a week and a half that we put into the law books under the Employment Standards Act a severance pay provision that will protect workers threatened.

The minister gave a series of reasons. I took the trouble to go back to the statement he made at the beginning of October. The minister said, “We have not consulted enough.” The fact is the Ontario Federation of Labour and working people across the province have spoken and said clearly they want to have severance pay. If the minister says he has not had time in eight weeks to garner opinions from management groups across the province, it suggests to me the government has not been doing its job.

The minister said, “We have to dot all the i’s and cross all of the t’s” The fact is that is done right here. The minister said, “The government is not opposed in principle to the idea of severance pay.” Then, for God’s sake, surely he should be prepared to debate the matter here if he has any amendments, he should bring them here into the Legislature rather than engage in a continuing effort to prevent this House making a decision on severance pay before we rise around the middle of December.

The minister says there are reasons that still have to be sorted out: for example, minimum service -- that is sorted out right here; for example, the ceiling -- the numbers of years are specified here; for example, unemployment insurance -- that is a federal question; for example, impartial closure -- that is covered here; for example, small businesses -- they are excluded; for example, the question about management -- surely the priority is to ensure that the working people of this province who are affected by layoffs and who do not have the financial resources of people in management positions should be protected now.

I suggest that, rather than duck for cover, the minister should have been prepared to state in the House that the government is now ready to translate principle into practice. The workers of this province, who have been laid off -- more than 50,000 workers affected by permanent closures and shutdowns since the beginning of this year -- cannot live on principles. They cannot live, feed their families, pay their mortgages and look for jobs just on the words of the Minister of Labour. They cannot survive with promises that are not translated into action. They cannot survive on the concern which keeps on coming in such torrents, such floods from the Minister of Labour, but which is not translated into action.

I suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, it is time even now for the minister to respond to the concerns of the New Democratic Party about working people across the province and to say under the Employment Standards Act, “Yes, we are going to do it; it is only fair that workers should get at least one week of severance pay for each year of service when they are affected by a layoff or shutdown.”

It is not enough. It is a modest proposal. We should go beyond that, but the least we could do now is to lock that into legislation before this House rises. I call on the minister to reverse the position he enunciated in the House today and to say, “Yes, the government is prepared to do it now.” We owe it to the workers of the province.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: I think I dealt at some length tonight with the matters raised, but I take exception, Mr. Speaker, to the comment that my concern is reflected in a torrent of tears and little else. I have to say in that area the member has “the poor wee thing,” because my record of putting my concerns into legislative and other action is pretty clear and on the record. The member had better stand up and be counted if he is going to say things like that because he is on the wrong wicket.

Mr. Cassidy: I stand up to be counted, and I say bring in that legislation.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Sit down, you are on the wrong wicket now, so sit down.

Mr. Cassidy: Your own members supported it.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I have made the position of this government very clear. I think that committee deserved to give the issue greater consideration than it has given it. They have an obligation to hear a variety of viewpoints that exist out there in society and then to reach their conclusions. If the members opposite think saying that means there is less interest and less concern in this government for the working people of this province, then they are trying to play a game on the wrong wicket. That concern is here.

The House adjourned at 10:35 p.m.