32nd Parliament, 1st Session





































The House met at 10:03 a.m.




Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I guess some of the ministers are getting their hair done in honour of Her Majesty's visit. I wish to place a question to the Minister of Housing. I see him approaching his place, and I am glad to see he did not get his hair done in honour of Her Majesty's visit.

Is the minister aware of the substantial and rapidly growing backlog of hearings which is building up before the Residential Tenancy Commission, particularly in the Metropolitan Toronto area? Is he aware there is an indication that from April 1 to mid-June there were 1,346 landlord and tenant applications and considerably less than half were heard, leading to a time lag in the hearings of four to five months?

Can he indicate what he is going to do about this increasing delay, and does it mean he is putting an unnatural pressure on the system which may very well lead to the change of policy that was very much feared and discussed during the election campaign?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, I have to inform the Liberal House leader that the Minister of Housing is not responsible for that particular area; it is the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations.

Mr. Nixon: I am sorry. I redirect the question to the minister's colleague, who also has just come into the House.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Oh, he has been here quite awhile.

Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, yes, I am aware of the backlog and it is a problem. I think it is inevitable that this kind of backlog would occur with the kinds of pressures that undoubtedly have been occurring in the last while, particularly with the interest rate fluctuating in the range of 18 to 20 per cent for those who have had to renew mortgages in respect to their property. I think it is understandable that there would be an increase in terms of the number of applications before the Residential Tenancy Commission.

I can certainly well appreciate the problem. The matter that the member has raised today probably comes from a story in the newspaper a couple of days ago which makes reference to one particular building's increase. Given that about 15 of the members of the Legislature who live in that building have been faced with a 90 per cent, a 75 per cent and, in my own case, a 72.5 per cent increase in rent, I think it is certainly causing a number of surprises and undoubtedly applications to the RTC are just mushrooming. We are obviously going to have to address the problem and perhaps bring in people from other parts of the province where there is a lower rate of appeal and allow those people to sit on the appeals.

Mr. Nixon: I know the minister would agree that we are all concerned with these terrible and unnatural pressures brought to bear on our colleagues having to do with their own rents payable in Toronto, but I would like him really to consider the cases which must force themselves into our attention, namely, those people who are confronted with huge increases in rent and have received notices of those increases.

What are they supposed to do? Are they supposed to wait for five or six months until the disposition of the application before the Residential Tenancy Commission hearing boards, or should they immediately make plans to vacate, since if they get a bad return from a hearing officer they would have to pay a considerably high sum in back rent which perhaps many of them could not consider?

I would submit to the minister that saying this is understandable is insufficient. What action is he going to take either to change the legislation or to appoint more hearing officers so the backlog is not going to be so high and so long?

Hon. Mr. Walker: They certainly do not have to pay the increase until the decision is rendered. It will be within the jurisdiction and competence of the RTC at the time to determine how far back it should go retroactively, if at all.

In any case, a certain number of days' notice has to be given in advance. I believe it is 90 days in advance for this kind of increase, and then the tenant has to make application within 30 days for a hearing before the board. Given that kind of time lag, there would be a natural 90-day delay before such an increase could occur. Certainly the RTC at the time would have to take into account whether it would be retroactive for a couple of months if it were five months down the way before a hearing were to be provided.

Secondly, it behooves us to make sure that we have enough people to entertain these applications as quickly as possible. In that regard and to the extent we can, we are going to make sure there are resources within the city to cope with those matters. That may mean, as I say, bringing in an officer from a different part of the province to sit on these hearings.

The same thing applies in the provincial court and the county court, where from time to time they have to overcome an overload by bringing in people from other parts of the province. It does not mean increasing the complement. It merely means reallocation of some of the people who are available elsewhere.

Mr. Philip: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Does the minister not agree that the major increases are not in those buildings, with some exceptions, that are covered by rent review but rather in those buildings that were built after January 1, 1976, and that many landlords are now using the loss leader to get people into their new buildings very quickly and then, not being covered by rent review, raising the rent by astronomical amounts in the second year? What is the minister prepared to do to deal with that question, which is a major question in many of the newer areas, such as Scarborough, Rexdale and Mississauga, where the new buildings are going up?

10:10 a.m.

Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, I cannot answer the question directly. I do not know the answer to what the member is really posing. But I can say that in a general way the pressures are probably more deeply felt in the downtown areas than they are in the more outlying areas, where the rate of vacancy is much higher than down in the core areas, or at least in the more downtown type of areas.

Wherever that is the case it does not matter whether the building was built after 1976 or not, because to a large extent the rent that can be charged is governed by the competition in the area. So if buildings next door are controlled by rent control then competitively they probably keep the figures down in the buildings built after 1976, which may be just a few blocks away. So there is some force of the market working there.

Mr. Nixon: Did the minister indicate that he would be appointing more hearing officers, or is he just going to bring a few in from some outlying areas? Perhaps he might answer in words instead of nods, and at the same time indicate what he considers to be an acceptable time lag in these hearings, since obviously the one that is developing now and growing rapidly is unacceptable.

Hon. Mr. Walker: It seems to me that if it is five months and we can shave a couple of months off it that makes a reasonable hearing time, because there is a 90-day lag in there in any case.

Secondly, it is not our intention to appoint new officers at the moment. I do not think that will be required. I think we will be able to accomplish the ends of justice by having speedy decisions, by bringing in people from other parts of the province for hearing.


Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I have a second question for the same minister concerning his announcement of the public opinion poll that he is commissioning having to do with financial institutions, particularly as a result of the problems his ministry has experienced with the Re-Mor business and the rather dramatic losses of money by the Re-Mor investors and other investors.

Does he intend in the poll to ask the question, "Should the government reimburse the investors who lost funds?"

Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, that was certainly not part of the original instructions. In fact, when the company took our instructions and built into them that very question we requested that it be taken out. So we are not asking that specific question.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Because the minister already knows the answer to that from his own political poll.

Hon. Mr. Walker: No. I did not think that was a proper question to be asking. That was not the purpose of the poll. It was to develop the public's view of licensing generally as it related to this particular area.

Mr. Nixon: Since the minister must realize that he and his colleagues are vulnerable to the charge that they establish policy on the basis public opinion polls, then surely what goes into those polls is a matter of important public interest. Since the minister has already indicated that he will not make the questions public, can he tell us whether a section of the poll is going to be directed towards the investors in the various corporations that have experienced financial difficulties, bankruptcies and large losses, or will it be directed only towards the general public?

Hon. Mr. Walker: The poll is directed to the general public. It is not directed either to those who are part of the 300 and some people in the Re-Mor matter or to others who may have lost.

That is not to say that whoever is being polled could not have at one time or another lost money in that way. That may be the case. All I am saying is that it is meant to be a sample taken on the basis of the regularly accepted principles of good sampling, and is not skewered in any way towards one particular segment of society.

Mr. Nixon: Skewered?

Hon. Mr. Walker: Skewered's the leader of your party, is he not?

Mr. Swart: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: In view of the fact the minister is getting the opinion of the public really on the adequacy of the operation of his ministry, does he not think the question of compensation should have been an integral part of that questionnaire?

If the questionnaire shows tremendous dissatisfaction among the public with regard to the operation of his ministry with regard to licensing financial institutions, will the minister then give further and more favourable consideration to compensation?

Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, the member is just begging the question in my opinion. The member would have been the first to say "I think you are doing nothing but governing by polls" if we had done it that particular way. The member is probably doing a disservice to himself. He would be the first to rise on the opposite side of it.

I want the results to be available in time for discussion in committee. My estimates will be some 25 hours, which will probably cover about three weeks of hearings before the standing committee on administration of justice later this fall, as soon as the Legislature reopens following the summer recess.

That will provide some two or three weeks during which I hope members will have the benefit of the poll in front of them to make observations in respect to some of the changes we feel may be warranted relative to the whole mortgage broker area and other areas of licensing. I look forward to the member's comments at that time. The member serves on the committee, does he not?

Mr. T. P. Reid: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Since the minister seems to have fallen on his head and gained some enlightenment, will he tell his cabinet colleagues that all the polls taken at public expense by the government should be made public as the government receives them and that they should be tabled in the Legislature?

Hon. Mr. Walker: No, Mr. Speaker, I am not about to offer opinions to my colleagues in areas that might be privy to their own responsibilities. I am merely saying I would like to share these results with the member. I think he will find them useful. We want to have a wide open and full ranging discussion on these matters. There is not one iota of information I do not want to have before the members when they have an opportunity to pass comment and make decisions that relate to justice in our province.


Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the same minister. Obviously he had something worthwhile for breakfast. Can the minister indicate why he has not yet presented to the House or indicated to the House what he intends to do with respect to introducing the various improvements to the law relating to the Landlord and Tenant Act in the light of the fact the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled the crucial section of the Residential Tenancies Act is beyond the minister's powers? How much longer are the tenants going to wait to see the improvements, worked out here some two years ago, brought into force?

Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, I am not responsible for the Landlord and Tenant Act. The member will have to ask that question of the Attorney General.

Mr. Philip: The Residential Tenancies Act.

Mr. Martel: I think I included the Residential Tenancies Act in my question, if the minister wants to check Hansard this morning about a half an hour from now. If he could do so, he might at that stage be prepared to answer the question I asked.

The interest rate payable on the last month's rent is six per cent and in the new act it will be nine per cent. It has been two years outstanding. If one looks at a rough calculation -- and I am using a conservative figure of rentals being an average of $250 a month -- the amount of money held is about $300 million. Does the minister not think it is time the act was introduced, because residents would be getting in the neighbourhood of $27 million instead of the $18 million under the present act? Isn't it about time we considered putting in a formula which will allow for some flexibility because the new nine per cent rate is only going to be about half of the present prime bank interest rate?

10:20 a.m.

Hon. Mr. Walker: Yes, I think some kind of formula may be warranted, although I suspect the more logical way is to set a figure once a year, and allow that to be determined by regulation, so that is something that is tied to what is occurring these days and will be more in keeping with the present rate.

The nine per cent was set two years ago. My colleague tells me the Conservatives wanted to have a formula, but I believe the opposition insisted on having it fixed at nine per cent. I do not recall that particular part of the hearing. I was not in the committee at that point, but I will say the nine per cent today is certainly out of whack with what it should be, given the 18 per cent interest rate.

Consequently, I am most anxious to see this adjusted to reflect a figure more in keeping with the proper percentage we need today and that is something higher than the nine per cent and probably closer to a bank rate.

Mr. Philip: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I did not hear the minister say when he was going to do it, so tenants are going to be ripped off by millions of dollars until he has the courage to work against landlords and on the side of the tenants, for once, and bring in the act. Personally, I would be willing to sit on Monday if he would bring in a very simple bill.

One of the areas dealt with in that section is the whole idea of a registry so that tenants can be aware of rents that have been charged to previous tenants and thus, hopefully, eliminate some of the illegal rent increases. When is the ministry going to bring in legislation that will deal with that problem of illegal rent increases? Is the minister prepared to do what the Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations asked for, which is to enact a central registry where all rents will be recorded so that we can have an ongoing check on landlords who constantly abuse the system with illegal rent increases?

Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, people from our ministry are currently meeting with the Attorney General's people about these very questions and what we can do in the light of the Supreme Court of Canada decision. I have not personally addressed my mind to the issue raised in respect of the registry per se, and I am not sure what the member means when he mentions illegal rent increases.


Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Health. Could the minister inform the House of the most recent data with respect to the number and percentage of doctors opted out of the Ontario health insurance plan, the percentage of OHIP claims that are in the extra billing category and what percentage of dollars paid are due to extra billing? I ask this in view of the recent agreement, which certainly should see those substantially reduced.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, there are some Order Paper questions dealing with the same subject, the answers to which I signed some time ago. They should be tabled today.

The total number of doctors is reduced by those who are on salary or working in clinics. From memory, the percentage of doctors billing OHIP is about 15.5 per cent. The percentage of claims that are extra-billed is 7.8 or 7.9, something like that, and the percentage of the actual money is around 10 or 11 per cent.

Mr. Martel: Could the minister indicate why it was possible for the Social Credit government in British Columbia, after giving a substantial raise to its doctors, to move in to legislate that there would be no extra billing? Since they have led the way, is it not time Ontario followed suit and ended this practice of extra billing to people, many of whom cannot afford it?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Unless they withdrew the bill that was introduced a couple of months ago by Mr. Nielsen, the Minister of Health there, to my knowledge the bill that was passed was exactly the same as the Ontario one. The bill passed by the British Columbia Legislature, unanimously supported by members of both the government and the opposition, is the Ontario system. The system they had before allowed doctors to extra-bill, much like the Saskatchewan system, selectively by patient or by service. The system that has been introduced by the BC government with the support of the opposition party there, as I understand it, is the Ontario system, where doctors will have to be opted out or opted in.


Mr. Sweeney: I have a question for the Attorney General, Mr. Speaker. Given that more than a year ago now, he introduced into this House the Hill study on cults and mind development groups, and given that the Attorney General and the Premier (Mr. Davis) at that time indicated that the cabinet would be studying this report and reporting back to the Legislature as to what action they would be taking, could we have some report on what action they are going to take?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, the response of the various ministries which are interested in this report has been delayed pending a police investigation that has not yet been concluded. I hoped it would have been concluded by now. It is very involved and very detailed, and that has been holding up a response.

Mr. Sweeney: Is the minister aware that the cult group known as PSI, which the minister will recall was one of the groups that triggered that whole investigation, has now resumed its activities and is drawing in recruits again, presumably because nobody is doing anything about it? Is the minister also aware that the British courts and the British Parliament have also begun to take action against the cult group known as the Moonies, and as a matter of fact are even now looking at the possibility of removing their tax-exempt status? If the minister is aware of these kinds of activities going on elsewhere, does he not think that we here in Ontario, especially after having spent $440,000, should begin to make some moves after a year?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: First of all, I think it should be understood that the Hill report has been distributed throughout the province to law enforcement agencies, and as a result of the Hill study police forces have become much more knowledgeable in relation to this very complex area and are more aware of the role that may be appropriate for law enforcement agencies when there are breaches of the law.

There can be no question that the Hill study is a very important document in this respect, because many law enforcement agencies admittedly were very reluctant to involve themselves when there were allegations of impropriety in dealing with some of these cults, because of their concern that they should not be perceived to be interfering with freedom of expression and freedom of religion, and it was a bit of a murky area. As a result of the Hill study there is a much better understanding of the appropriateness of the role for law enforcement agencies, and that is one very positive step with respect to the tabling of the Hill report.

When the member for Kitchener-Wilmot (Mr. Sweeney) speaks of possible legislation in other jurisdictions, we are monitoring the situation in Great Britain. To our knowledge, I am not aware at the moment of any jurisdiction that has passed legislation outlawing any of these groups, and I think all members of the Legislature can appreciate the sensitivity of this issue. But to suggest that nothing has happened since the Hill report was tabled is simply inaccurate, because the Hill study has enabled large numbers of people in all walks of life to become much more knowledgeable in this very complex area. The formal response of the government has been delayed for the reasons I have mentioned, but a great deal has happened in the interim.

10:30 a.m.

Mr. Sweeney: Is the minister not aware that because Ontario has been perceived not to be taking any action, these groups are moving into this jurisdiction; that People Searching Inward, for example, is flying recruits in from England to take courses here in Ontario because of the pressure in England; that the Moonies, because of the pressure in the states, have set up a large indoctrination centre around Rice Lake? These kinds of things are happening here because we are not perceived to be taking any action at all. How long are we going to allow it to continue?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Again, it is quite inaccurate to suggest that no action is being taken. There are no legislative initiatives at the moment; that is correct. But I can assure the member for Kitchener-Wilmot and all members of the Legislature that this situation is being monitored very closely.


Mr. Grande: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Education. Is the minister aware that in the last two weeks eight of the 14 custodial employees of St. Mary's and St. Jerome's Catholic high schools in Kitchener received notice that they were being laid off, to be replaced by a private firm contracted by the Catholic high school board of governors?

Since the minister, when answering a question about a similar case at Centennial College, said her ministry had advised the college board of governors to rethink their position, which the ministry said was ill-informed, and stated that the ministry has always supported the concept of fair labour practices and will continue to do so, will the minister make a commitment to ask St. Mary's and St. Jerome's to rethink their ill-informed decisions and prevent the laying off of those men, all of whom have families?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I believe it would be inappropriate for me to do so, since it is my understanding that this college is a private institution which does not fall under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education.

Mr. Grande: Does the minister not realize that the programs of grades nine and 10 are under the purview of the Minister of Education, and that the services provided by those eight people who are being laid off, and the services contracted out, are used for grades nine and 10 in those particular schools? Second, is the minister aware that in January there was a strike of those employees and the board of governors threatened then that they would be fired and their services would be contracted out if the strike continued for long?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: No, I am not aware that any such threat was made. I remind the honourable member that the decision was made by the board of governors of the institution, which is the body responsible for the administration and function of the private portion of the school. I am sure there is a lease or rental arrangement which is established with the local separate school board, but the final decision in that instance is the responsibility of the board of governors of a private institution.

Mr. Grande: Does the minister realize that she has responsibility for grades nine and 10, or is she saying, "No, I have not"? Does the minister think that the only way the workers are going to get redress is by occupying the president's office?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: It seems to me it would be entirely inappropriate in most circumstances for that kind of occupation to be undertaken. I most certainly understand I have responsibility for grades nine and 10. I was simply trying to point out to the honourable member that in many of these arrangements the board of governors of the private institution is responsible for those it hires to function within the private institution. There are lease and rental arrangements established with the local separate school board. I am sure that is what happens in Kitchener as well. But that decision was taken by the employers of those individuals, and those employers happen to be the governors of a private institution which does not fall under the jurisdiction of the Minister of Education.


Mr. Kolyn: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Provincial Secretary for Social Development. I have recently seen on TV the ad the ministry promoted for the International Year of Disabled Persons. I believe this TV ad to be very constructive in promoting the International Year of Disabled Persons. Is it true that CTV and CITY-TV are running the ad with good results but that the CBC refuses to run it?

Hon. Mrs. Birch: Mr. Speaker, I am so glad that the honourable member asked the question, because I feel very perplexed that the CBC has chosen not to run an ad that is being shown by CTV and CITY-TV based on the fact that our identification patch is not large enough. We seem to be criticized in reverse. Usually we are being criticized because the government is taking too much attention away from the commercial.

We have already spent $1,000 in making the identification patch larger, but it still does not meet the requirements set down by the CBC. We find it very difficult to get from them a specific guideline as to just how much larger they want this identification patch to be to run this very good commercial, which is making the needs of the physically handicapped in this province more aware to those who observe it.

It seems to me we have had such wonderful co-operation from four unions that have waived their rules to allow nonunion disabled persons to make the television ad. I want to read the names of the unions into the record. They are the musicians' union, the American Federation of Musicians; two film production unions, the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees; and the Association of Canadian Television and Radio Artists. They have all waived their rules to make this commercial possible.

I also want to note that Rabko Television Productions and Camp Associates Advertising Limited both decided to forgo their markup on production of the commercial so that the commercial was made at cost. Everyone has co-operated and bent its own rules except for the CBC, which seems to think its particular rules are far more important than the promotion of understanding of the disabled during this International Year of Disabled Persons.

Ms. Copps: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: How can this government stand here and boast about the kind of commitment it is making to the International Year of Disabled Persons when it knows full well that the commitment is simply to advertising, advertising that will get across the message of the provincial government? There are situations such as in Hamilton where the Free Dive group teaches young quadriplegics and paraplegics to swim. People who cannot walk and cannot move around can get into the water and swim, but this government will not even give them a cent of funding. How can the minister stand here and brag about the commitment the government is making, which is a total advertising scam?

Hon. Mrs. Birch: Mr. Speaker, before that honourable member suffers a seizure or has an apoplectic seizure, I want her to calm down and to appreciate what this government is really doing. This government is far out in front of every other government, including the federal government, during the International Year of Disabled Persons, and not just for this year.

Sure, we are spending an additional $12 million this year in addition to all the other moneys that are being spent in the regular programs, but we are doing so much more in this province than anyone else. We will continue to meet those needs. We obviously cannot meet them all immediately, but I think we are really showing a great deal of concern. If the honourable member would be a little more positive, which is the kind of attitude we are trying to develop, instead of picking out one group within her community and making such an issue of it, she would be doing disabled people a greater service by being a little more reasonable.

10:40 a.m.

Mr. Speaker: Final supplementary. Order. A point of privilege, Ms. Copps.

Ms. Copps: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: If the minister thinks I am being apoplectic --

Mr. Philip: This is a supplementary.

Mr. Speaker: No, it is not. I have not heard the point of privilege yet.

Mr. Philip: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: You pointed to me and said, "One last supplementary." Then you turned to the member for Hamilton Centre and gave her the supplementary. Who has the supplementary?

Mr. Speaker: Do you have a point of privilege, Ms. Copps?

Ms. Copps: If the minister feels I am being apoplectic, she is certainly out of touch with what is happening with the disabled in this province, because many are more irate than I am.

Mr. Philip: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: In the light of the oozing empathy the minister has for disabled persons, can she tell us what position she has taken in terms of providing prostheses for children who have lost an arm or a leg because of cancer or amputation? Why is it that parents who have children with legs or limbs removed cannot get those prostheses provided under the Ontario health insurance plan by this government, a promise that was made by no less than the Honourable Darcy McKeough years ago? When is the minister going to keep her promise to the disabled?

Hon. Mrs. Birch: Mr. Speaker, I think first I would like to just --

An hon. member: Read your prepared statement.

Hon. Mrs. Birch: It is not prepared. My interest in disabled people took place long before I became a member of this Legislature. Those snide remarks are not very becoming. I thought the member was above that.

The whole commercial is meant to make people aware of the needs in this province. Obviously, we should have begun right here in this Legislature. We are aware, and the disabled of this community are aware that we are going to answer their needs. We will be continuing to make announcements.

This year is not over. Many of these programs are under consideration. We do have a responsibility on this side of the House. It is very nice to stand up and say, "This should be done and that should be done," but there are ongoing responsibilities with those programs. There is a voluntary sector that has to be considered but, of course, the member would not stop and appreciate that. The member really does not know what she is talking about. It is unfortunate.


Mr. Haggerty: Mr. Speaker, I want to direct a question to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations.

Has the minister read the statement made by his colleague the Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell) on Tuesday, June 23, 1981, relating to urea-formaldehyde foam insulation, in which he stated that this material was not approved by the Ontario Building Code but was approved by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation?

Will the minister agree that his own ministry should be responsible for this unfortunate situation since his officials did not act to prevent the use of urea-formaldehyde foam insulation in Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Walker: No, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Haggerty: Will the minister table all correspondence and facts dealing with this particular matter of urea-formaldehyde foam insulation as to why he did not meet the criteria of the provincial building code?

Hon. Mr. Walker: I will find out what information I have and I will try to supply as much of it as I can to the member.

Mr. Swart: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Will the minister not agree that in the end result, if the federal government refuses to act to remove the foam or otherwise eliminate the health hazard, the government of Ontario itself through the responsibility of the Minister of Health will have to take some action either to condemn those homes or to remove the urea-formaldehyde foam?

Does the minister not think it would be preferable to start taking steps now to solve that problem rather than wait for months and months until the federal government makes a decision?

Hon. Mr. Walker: No, Mr. Speaker.


Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. As minister, he must be aware of a letter dated February 20, which was sent to my colleague the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick), referring to the investigation of the Argosy group of companies. That letter states: "The Ontario Securities Commission anticipates it will complete its investigation into the Argosy-related group of companies no later than the end of March or early April 1981 and, when the investigation has been completed, it is my intention to advise the Legislature at the earliest possible date of the results of that investigation."

Will the minister explain why he has not reported on that to this House? Why has the minister not given an explanation of the unreasonable delay?

Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, there is no unreasonable delay at all. In fact, I wrote to the member for Riverdale a few days ago.

Hon. Mr. Drea: His friends are on strike.

Hon. Mr. Walker: It may not have been not received yet, but I signed it several days ago. I did not know we used the public mails, but maybe ours are just as bad. Are ours as bad?

Hon. Mr. Wiseman: Ours are better.

Hon. Mr. Walker: My colleague says ours are better. I anticipate within the next 10 days the member will receive that letter.

There is a continuing investigation of the matter by the police forces. As the honourable member knows, this is probably the most expensive and most extensive -- be it in monetary terms or in geography -- of any investigation ever conducted through government agencies. Of course, the Ontario Securities Commission has been directly involved in this. They had a very special budget set for them for this purpose. The matter is now in the hands of the police. The Solicitor General or the Attorney General will be considering any matter that might relate to charges.

I can assure the member and the member for Riverdale that, the moment I have something that can be made public, that information will be made public. There is no question of that. I hope the matter will be resolved very quickly in terms of charges that may have to be laid. It is very complicated and very complex. If the member had a chance to review even a smidgen of the materials brought in on it, his head would swim with the details involved in it.

Mr. Swart: I might ask the minister if he does not think it is an unreasonable delay even in answering my colleague, since he wrote to him on April 15 and the minister had not replied in two and a half months.

Specifically, may I ask the minister whether he recalls that there was a lot surrounding the Argosy collapse and its blow to the 1,600 investors that indicated negligence on the part of the OSC? There is no question about that. In view of the fact that the report simply will be a result of the OSC investigating itself as well as the Argosy group, will the minister support a referral of the report to the standing committee on administration of justice for a study by it, including the calling of witnesses and the production of documents, or is the minister just going to "Re-Mor" this one too?

Hon. Mr. Walker: The member knows the premise on which he bases his entire question is totally inaccurate. He knows it.

Mr. Bradley: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Can the minister indicate to the House whether he feels he will be prepared, when his estimates come before the standing committee on administration of justice in the fall, to make a full report to the committee at that time?

Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, the only thing that would stand in the way of that, I assume, would be any pending charges or matters that would be before the court. If I thought discussing the subject would thwart the ends of justice, either in seeing that guilty people are found guilty or not guilty people are found not guilty -- if I thought that could be thwarted in any way by the discussion before a committee in a public forum -- then I would not do that.

If I could share the information with the member, he knows I would. I like the member to think we have a very wide-open ministry.

10:50 a.m.


Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Labour. On November 13, 1980, the minister told this House that within one or two months he would be presenting the women's employment strategy report and that it would include a comprehensive analysis of a broad range of topics including easing into nontraditional jobs.

I understand the report has not been presented yet, and I wonder when this government is going to act on the issue of closing the gap in wages between working men and women.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I am sure the member knows that within the civil service itself the government has adopted and is vigorously pursuing a program of affirmative action to try to redress those balances within our own civil service.

We have a voluntary program for the private sector which we think is making a significant contribution, and we have evidence of improvements with regard to our existing equal-pay-for-equal-work laws since the increased impetus has been given to that division of the employment standards branch.

The Ontario Manpower Commission does indeed have a group reviewing the whole issue of employment strategy for women, and I expect to be receiving that report some time in the near future. I will be discussing it with my cabinet colleagues to determine what sort of strategy we might consider.

Ms. Copps: Since the minister said some six months ago he would be presenting the report within one or two months and since six months has elapsed and no action has been taken, can I assume this minister is not committed to the principle of equal pay for work of equal value which he espoused on November 13, 1980? If he is, when he is going to bring in this report?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: I have never indicated any commitment to the principle of equal pay for work of equal value. I have indicated the government's commitment and my personal commitment to an increased equal-pay-for equal-work strategy. I have also indicated my own view that there needs to be some increase in the scope of our ability to compare similar jobs. That is a matter I am pursuing.

Let it be clear that this minister is not instructed about, nor is he any part of, any prolonged discussion the Ontario Manpower Commission may be having with regard to the preparation of recommendations regarding women's strategy.


Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Treasurer, not in his capacity of Treasurer but because he sits to the left of the Premier. I have asked the Premier twice. I have asked the Deputy Premier once. I now ask the Treasurer when we may have the unexpurgated report of the former Supreme Court judge, Mr. Justice Campbell Grant with respect to the Ontario Hydro contracts at the Madawaska dam and at the Bruce peninsula.

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I am unable to answer the question.


Mr. Boudria: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Education in the matter between the Ottawa Board of Education and the Carleton Board of Education.

Is the minister aware that the Ottawa Board of Education has deferred until the fall the proposed sale of the Sir Wilfrid Laurier High School to the Carleton board, resulting in a continuation of the overcrowding in Carleton board high schools?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Boudria: Does the minister intend to intervene any further to ensure the school will be transferred as soon as possible, because there is severe overcrowding right now in the Carleton board high schools, especially at the Cairine Wilson Secondary School in Orleans?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Given the excellent example set by the Etobicoke Board of Education and the Metropolitan Separate School Board this week, I should think the Ottawa board might feel a little sheepish at attempting to delay even further the suggestions that have been strongly made to it over the past six months and the additional factual information that was given to it relatively recently. We will be discussing it with the Ottawa board.


Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Agriculture and Food if he will take his place. Perhaps I can pose a question while he is coming to his seat.

Is the minister aware of the extensive damage caused over many years to fruit crops and fruit orchards by road salt along the provincial highways, particularly to the orchards along the Queen Elizabeth Way and particularly to the orchards in the riding of the Tory member for Lincoln (Mr. Andrewes)?

As the minister who loudly proclaims he is fighting for the farmers, although his actions may not show that, does he think it is fair play on the part of his government to deny compensation for that damage and to force those farmers to sue the government to recover those damages, when he knows that damage is caused by the salt applied by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications of his government?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, this is the first time the honourable member has brought this to my attention. The information I have on that particular area is the severe weather we had last winter. There was a great deal of damage done to the fruit trees as a result of two very cold days last winter. I understand there will be a much lighter crop of cherries this year as a result of that weather, and other fruit trees are affected as well.

The honourable member is well aware of the insurances that are available. I will look at the situation. But I have to be honest; I have not had this brought to my attention, ever.

Mr. Swart: Is the minister so unaware of what is going on in the agricultural community that he does not know that Mr. Louis Schenck of RR 3, St. Catharines, and Michael C. Rokeby of RR 4, Aylmer, are suing his government for more than $750,000 for damage from road salt? This has been reported in most of the newspapers.

More particularly, is he not aware of what Justice Sydney Robins of the Supreme Court said when this case came before him? He said that the Ontario government ought to have taken a more generous attitude to fruit farmers --

Mr. T. P. Reid: Louder, Mel.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Repeat it, Mel. We couldn't hear.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Mr. Swart: I quote again; "It just does not seem to me the way a government ought to act to its citizens when it has in its files the expertise that clearly recognizes the danger. And further, I would not think there could have been any doubt but that the ministry is fully aware in respect of salt from at least 1972."

How can the minister condone that kind of action by his government? Will he tell this House what he is going to do about it? And will he compensate the farmers, since Justice Robins himself says the minister's government is to blame, without their having to go to court?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, there were words within there that I certainly did not hear as well as I would have liked.

Mr. Swart: I will repeat it louder if the minister wishes.


Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Just so I can get the records all straight, Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the honourable member will send me all of those documents -- all of them -- in order that I can review them. Then I will be glad to respond.


Mr. Bradley: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations regarding a situation that has arisen before, which involves a Mr. Clifford Truax and Vinmar Management Limited.

Has the minister made further investigations into those situations where people have signed contracts based on a certain percentage for interest on a mortgage -- 12.875 per cent in this particular case -- and then have found out later that the mortgaging money cannot be found and that, as a result, they are left out in the cold, they do not know whether to sell their own house and they are given another agreement to sign, possibly with a higher interest rate?

Has the minister investigated this from the point of view of enacting legislation or looking through his own legislation to see whether it is illegal when the mortgage company is not at arm's length? That seems to be the only rung on which they can hang their hat: whether the mortgage company is not at arm's length from the builder.

Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, I have not specifically looked into that very question, but there is no doubt that from time to time it occurs and that some companies are not at arm's length from the builder. Then again, sometimes that is the only way actually to provide a mortgage.

I remember the case that perhaps brought this to a head involving Canada Homes back in the middle of May and how a solution ultimately came about primarily because the people who did the mortgaging were not at arm's length, and that facilitated the mortgage being given. In fact, it worked to the interests of the home owner in that case; so it was a valuable service.

11 a.m.

I am prepared to take a look at the question and see whether there is any apparent conflict. In giving the member an off-the-cuff view, I do not immediately perceive one. As the member knows, what we are trying to do is establish a standard clause for these kinds of escalating rates. We have received a lot of satisfaction in terms of our dealing with the industry in arriving at a clause. We have now drafted one that was suggested, I believe, by the leader of the third party several weeks ago; that particular clause now is being scrutinized by the Housing and Urban Development Association of Canada itself to see if the industry can live with it. When we have agreement with it, then we will be promoting that clause throughout the province.

We have a fair number of standard clauses, so to speak, just by virtue of the fact that the standard stationers supply those clauses to all lawyers and, in effect, to all people -- real estate companies and so on -- who prepare offers to purchase. Consequently, we are quite satisfied that there is a fair amount of standardization and that the clauses we ultimately get approved will be satisfactory.

We have to keep in mind all this time that people who purchase homes have to realize that, in these times of fluctuating interest rates, they cannot expect the people who sell their homes to carry the cost if it extends over a lengthy period of time. The purchasers are the ones who have to expect to pick up at least the downside of the fluctuations.

Mr. Bradley: I assume from the minister's response that, even though we do not have general legislation that may cover it, the minister is prepared to provide the material to intervene in the same miraculous way he did last time.

Hon. Mr. Walker: Yes, if we can pull off the same kind of miracle again, we will try that.


Mr. Swart: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: I have been sent a couple of pills -- downers or something -- from, I believe, the Provincial Secretary for Social Development (Mrs. Birch). I wonder, Mr. Speaker, if you would look into the distribution of drugs without a prescription in this chamber.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Mr. Swart: May I finish?

Mr. Speaker: That is not a point of privilege.

Mr. Swart: I just want to point out --

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: On a point of clarification, if I may, Mr. Speaker: Those pills were not sent by the provincial secretary but by me. I do have a licence to provide that kind of medication. It was out of real concern for the coronary vessels or the cerebral vessels of my learned colleague, because his ire and pseudo-concern for a number of things tends to raise his blood pressure so dramatically that I did not want him to have an apoplectic fit or a coronary on this day when the Queen Mother is going to be arriving at this building very shortly.

Mr. Speaker: I am very happy to hear it was done on a professional basis.

Mr. Swart: For the record, I would like to ask the minister if she is going to bill OHIP.

Mr. Speaker: That is not a point of order. Will the member resume his seat?


Mr. Cooke: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for either the Treasurer or the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs (Mr. Wells), whoever would like to answer the question. The question deals with the sales of debentures by the city of Windsor or, rather, its inability to sell those debentures.

A few weeks back, the city had a purchaser for $10 million worth of debentures at 16.75 per cent but, when it came time to actually sign the deal, the financial institution backed out, saying that because Windsor was so reliant on the auto industry, it would not purchase the debentures. I am wondering if the minister and his government would take a look at the situation and, in view of Windsor's severe unemployment, its dependence on the auto industry, its inability to sell any debentures and its having to get loans from banks at 20 per cent on a short-term basis instead, assist the city by setting up a fund to lend it money since it is one of the few municipalities that has had this very specific problem.

Hon. F. S. Miller: I guess I am the Alphonse of the Alphonse and Gaston act over here. The problem the member is discussing is usually faced by smaller municipalities that have difficulty either raising small amounts of capital or that just don't have a market for their types of bonds. He will find that Ontario has ways and means of helping small municipalities float issues by using the credit of the province. It wouldn't normally apply to a larger city like Windsor; however, I am quite prepared to look into the specific problems of Windsor.

The point the member raises emphasizes in my mind the importance of something that is all too often glossed over by many observers of the Ontario scene, that is, that Ontario itself has always maintained a triple A rating because of good fiscal management in this province, entitling it to the lowest possible rate.

Mr. Cooke: The fact of the matter is that Windsor always had a triple A rating until the recent high unemployment and the downturn in the auto industry. Therefore, will the minister commit himself today to meeting with the municipality to see whether some agreement can be worked out since we are not able to sell any debentures and are having to borrow the money at 20 per cent at great expense to the property taxpayers in the city of Windsor?

Hon. F. S. Miller: I am always willing to meet with municipalities. I suspect if that meeting is required, it would be wise to have the minister of municipal affairs and housing (Mr. Bennett) with me since our fields would overlap.

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


Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: On Monday, June 29 I asked the Minister of Natural Resources if he had done anything in his ministry about restricting the size of clear-cuts, a process in forest management when a timber company will cut down every tree and in some cases literally leave a desert behind. I asked the minister at that time if he had got hold of his ministry and was finally running it and whether he had given directions that clear-cutting be restricted to 320 acres, a suggestion that had been made, I believe, by Messrs. Flowers and Robinson in a report to the Ministry of Natural Resources. They were employees of the Ministry of Natural Resources at the time.

The minister was a little antsy that day and didn't really answer the question, but he might have unwittingly misled the House in indicating that policy had been pursued. The minister indicated that if we had looked at forest management agreements and the operating plans under them, our answer would be had and it would sort of indicate the 320-acre guidelines had been followed.

I have looked at the forest management agreements which comprise only about 40 per cent of the productive land in the province. They don't provide for the guideline of 320 acres, as one might have thought from reading the minister's answer. I wonder if he would like to stand in his place and assure this House that he didn't mean to unwittingly mislead the House and, hopefully, that he intends to bring this policy forward.

Hon. Mr. Pope: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to reply to that point. I think the honourable member who is suggesting I unwittingly misled the House should have read into the record the precise answer I gave. It was that if he would read the forest management agreements and the regulations that were attached thereto and if he looked at the forest management plans, his question would be answered.

I did not relate that to 1,200 or 320 acres or any other number. I was trying to indicate to him that he would find the answers to the general approach the ministry was taking to the cutting practices in the forest management agreements. I know he has called our staff since then. He could have asked me today if he was still unclear. I do not think I made any statement or implied anything that would mislead the House.

11:10 a.m.

I would reiterate that the forest management agreement embodies some of the principles we intend to adopt with respect to cutting practices in Ontario. There is no absolute standard. It depends on the terrain we are dealing with, on the maturity of the trees involved, on the growth patterns in the area and on a number of other features, including streams, lakes and roads that are in the cutting area. All these items are addressed in the cutting plan, in the forest management agreements and in the appended regulations to them.

All these indicate the ministry has accepted its responsibility for a role to be played in the setting of cutting standards. It will be done through the forest management plans and in the annual cuts.

There was no misleading of the House whatsoever. It was a clear statement. The honourable member could have asked me today about it if he had any problems with his telephone conversations with my ministry staff. I am glad that two years after these documents were sent to the Liberal Party, someone has finally read them.

Mr. T. P. Reid: On a point of order in relation to that, Mr. Speaker: The minister well knows the operating plans were not attached to the forest management agreements -- and I went back and read those agreements -- because the forest management agreement in itself does not set out the size of the clear-cuts and how large or small they will be. Those are under the manual of forest regulations, which is not attached to each and every forest management agreement.

I point out again those agreements only relate to 40 per cent of the productive land in the province and not to the other 60 per cent. I think the minister is not doing his job.

Hon. Mr. Pope: If I could reply to that, Mr. Speaker, The members of the Liberal Party have had two years --

Mr. Speaker: We are getting into a debate. I think you have made your position clear.

Hon. Mr. Pope: -- and this is the first time they have even taken the time to read those documents.

Mr. Speaker: Order. Mr. Martel.


Mr. Martel: I have a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker, which I think I raise on behalf of all my colleagues.

Mr. Nixon: All of them?

Mr. Martel: Nearly all of them. I would ask the Speaker if he would find out what the Minister of Labour (Mr. Elgie) intends to do in the next couple of weeks to end the postal strike, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation strike and the baseball strike so that we can receive our mail, watch television and go to the ball game.



Hon. Mr. Wells moved the following standing committees be authorized to meet during the summer recess in accordance with the schedule of meetings agreed to by the three party whips:

The standing committee on resources development to consider Bill 7, An Act to revise and extend Protection of Human Rights in Ontario; the standing committee on procedural affairs, with authority to travel from place to place in September during its review of the standing orders of the House and of the operation of certain agencies, boards and commissions of the government of Ontario; the standing committee on members' services, with authority to travel to Ottawa and Quebec City in early October to review services to members, subject to budget approval of the Board of Internal Economy; the standing committee on regulations and other statutory instruments, with authority to travel to Ottawa to review procedures; and the standing committee on administration of justice to consider Bill 68, the Metropolitan Police Force Complaints Project Act, 1981.

Motion agreed to.


Hon. Mr. Wells moved that the chairman, vice-chairman and two other members of the standing committee on public accounts be authorized to travel to New Brunswick in early July for a meeting of the Canadian conference of legislative auditors and public accounts chairmen, July 6 to 8.

Mr. Speaker: Order. Mr. Reid.

Mr. T. P. Reid: I would rather be on the procedural affairs committee. May I ask the House leader if that could be amended to say "the chairman, vice-chairman or their nominees"? You may recall I have an event that may be happening about that time and I may be unable to go.

Mr. Speaker: Is that agreed?

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I would be happy to make that change, "the chairman, vice-chairman or their nominees and two other members of the public accounts committee."

Motion agreed to.


Hon. Mr. Wells moved that the following substitutions be made: on the standing committee on administration of justice, Mr. Laughren for Mr. Renwick, Mr. Philip for Mr. Swart, Mr. Wrye for Mr. Bradley; on the standing committee on resources development, Mr. R. F. Johnston for Mr. Laughren, Mr. Renwick for Mr. Stokes, Ms. Copps for Mr. Kerrio; on the standing committee on procedural affairs, Mr. Piché for Mr. G. W. Taylor.

Motion agreed to.


Hon. Mr. Wells moved that the membership on the select committees be as follows: on the select committee on company law, chairman, Mr. Breithaupt; members, Mr. Cunningham, Mr. Di Santo, Mr. Hennessy, Mr. Kolyn, Mr. Mitchell, Mr. Pollock, Mr. T. P. Reid, Mr. Renwick, Mr. Sheppard, Mr. G. W. Taylor, Mr. Van Horne; on the select committee on the Ombudsman, chairman, Mr. Runciman; members, Mr. Andrewes, Mr. Barlow, Mr. Boudria, Mr. Cooke, Mr. Dean, Mr. Eves, Mr. Kells, Mr. G. I. Miller, Mr. Philip, Mr. Shymko, Mr. Van Horne: on the select committee on pensions, chairman, Mr. J. A. Taylor; members, Mr. Brandt, Mr. Cousens, Mr. Cureatz, Mr. Epp, Mr. Gillies, Mr. Jones, Mr. Mackenzie, Mr. McClellan, Mr. Peterson, Mr. Riddell, Mr. Williams.

Motion agreed to.


Hon. Mr. Wells moved, notwithstanding standing order 2(d), that the House recess from 12 noon to 1 p.m. today and continue to sit thereafter until the business of the day is concluded.

Hon. Mr. Wells: I might indicate, Mr. Speaker, as we mentioned last night, between 12 noon and 1 p.m. Her Majesty the Queen Mother is being formally received to this province in front of these buildings where the ceremony will take place. The chief of protocol for the Legislative Assembly has said he will keep the top of the steps free for members of the House who would like to go out and witness the event.

Mr. Nixon: Is he providing a light lunch?

Hon. Mr. Wells: No, he is not providing a light lunch.

Motion agreed to.


Hon. Mr. Wells moved that when the House adjourns for the summer recess it stands adjourned until Tuesday, October 13, 1981, provided that if it appears to Mr. Speaker, on the advice of the government, that the public interest requires the House to meet at an earlier time during the adjournment, Mr. Speaker may give notice and thereupon the House shall meet at the time stated in such notice, and that should Mr. Speaker be unable to act owing to illness or other cause the Deputy Speaker or the Deputy Chairman of Committees of the Whole House shall act in his stead for the purpose of this order.

Mr. Speaker: Does anybody understand the motion?

Motion agreed to.


Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I wish to table the answers to questions 60, 61, 64, 73, 113, 119, 120, 122 and 124, the interim answer to question 141 and the supplemental answer to question 63 standing on the Notice Paper. I would also like to table the answers to questions 138, 139 and 143. This large bundle contains the answers to questions 6,7 and 8 to 59 standing on the Notice Paper and the answer to question 92.

11:20 a.m.



The following bills were given third reading on motion:

Bill 105, An Act to amend the Judicature Act;

Bill 106, An Act to amend the County Courts Act;

Bill 121, An Act to provide Alternative Methods of Fixing Penalty Charges, Interest Rates and Discount Rates on Payments to Municipalities.


Hon. Miss Stephenson moved third reading of Bill 124, An Act respecting the Leeds and Grenville County Board of Education and Teachers Dispute.

Mr. Speaker: All those in favour please say "aye."

All those opposed please say "nay."

In my opinion the ayes have it.

Motion agreed to.

The following bills were given third reading on motion:

Bill 126, An Act to amend the Executive Council Act;

Bill 127, An Act to amend the Legislative Assembly Act.

House in committee of the whole.


Consideration of Bill 113, An act to amend the Public Hospitals Act.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Chairman, before I move a couple of amendments, of which I have given notice, I have a few remarks about a certain gentleman. We resume this discussion with a note of sadness as a result of the death on Monday of Mr. R. Alan Hay, the executive director of the Ontario Hospital Association, who was on a fishing expedition with Mrs. Hay, on Anticosti Island.

Alan Hay has been a major figure in the health care community of Ontario for the past three decades and he will be greatly missed. Following a distinguished career in the tank corps, he came to Canada and settled on a farm near Prescott. He was subsequently invited to join the board of the Brockville General Hospital. He found in the hospital field a challenge for his boundless energy and organizational skills that have been so manifest these past 15 years while he served as executive director of the Ontario Hospital Association. Prior to that, he was president of the OHA in 1964-65, I believe it was, and went on to become president of the Canadian Hospital Association in the late 1960s.

He was only 60 years old and, apart from his war wounds, he seemed in excellent health until Monday when he suffered what appears to have been a fatal stroke. Alan Hay was a man of strong convictions and forthright opinions whose commitment to improving the health care system of this province was never in doubt. He was a man one could profoundly respect, even in disagreement, and his death will be mourned by all of us who share his conviction about our health care system.

I know that all members of the House will join in our expression of sympathy to Mrs. Hay and the other members of his family. I should add that there will be a memorial service next Friday in Toronto. If any members of the House will be in the capital, if they would like information they can get that from our office or the offices of the OHA.

Mr. Chairman, in the interests of brevity, I have a couple of amendments to move to section 1. I seek your guidance as to whether I should move them one at a time or both at once.

Mr. Chairman: I would prefer you to move them one at a time.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: In moving these amendments to Bill 113, An Act to amend the Public Hospitals Act, it is important to note the following points regarding the bill.

The purpose of the legislation is the reinforcement of responsibility and accountability to the public by the hospitals of Ontario which in 1981-82 will receive and spend more than $2.7 billion in public funds, including the supplementary funds I announced about a week ago for 1981-82 to assist in meeting the cost of recent arbitrations.

At the present time, this accountability is incomplete. Five years ago in the report of the commission on Laurentian Hospital management in Sudbury, Judge Waisberg indicated that such a mechanism was required. We now have the Report of the Inspectors, Toronto East General and Orthopaedic Hospital Incorporated, chaired by C. J. Clark, which documents the problems that can arise when full public accountability is lacking.

Mr. Clark and his colleagues in this case found we had a board that was not legally constituted to do business. Because hospital membership was set at $100, only 36 individual memberships and 36 corresponding votes were held by representatives of the community. The hospital also sold multiple memberships and corresponding votes -- up to 20 per individual or corporation. As a result, there were 875 votes exercised by staff members, board members and corporate members.

Those who say this legislation is somehow a threat to independent elected boards have, I submit, not completely read the report and seen the difficulties and abuses that can arise in the absence of full public accountability. In saying this, I should re-emphasize that I have overwhelming confidence in the vast majority of our hospital boards and trustees which in almost all cases are truly representative of their communities and do an excellent job.

However, it is conceivable that at any given point there may be one or two out of the hundreds of hospitals that may require assistance. That is the key word -- assistance. The intention of this proposal is not a punitive one, but rather one of assisting the hospitals in carrying out their mandates.

The municipal councils of Ontario are democratically elected and are accountable to their local electorates. At the same time, they are also subject to review and supervision under the Municipal Act. No one has ever suggested this provision for accountability is a threat to the elected council. In fact, at any given time there are usually several municipalities under supervision, being provided assistance to get them back on the track.

Bill 113 provides for a similar form of accountability for our hospitals. In the absence of this provision for accountability, we have seen in the case of the Toronto East General Hospital how serious problems can develop even to the point, in the opinion of the inspectors, of threatening the quality of patient care. Having been warned and advised twice by two separate and independent inquiries that this form of accountability is required, we will be derelict in our duty if we fail to act.

Half of the other provinces, under various political persuasions, have already provided for much more regular supervision than we are proposing. In fact, our proposal is the most moderate of any similar legislation and is the minimum required to ensure the quality of patient care and sound management of our public hospitals. I will not take the time of the members to read into the record the statutes of the other provinces. Perhaps their researchers have already got them. If not, I would be glad to provide copies to them.

In summary, protection of the public interest necessitates this legislation. To assist in responding to some concerns that have been raised, I served notice a number of days ago that I would propose certain amendments, the first of which I would like to move at this time.

On section 1:

Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Timbrell moves that section 7a of the act, as set out in section 1 of the bill, be amended by adding thereto the following subsection:

"(4) The minister shall cause a copy of the report of an investigation to be delivered to the chairman of the board of the hospital."

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I have one other amendment to section 1, once we have dealt with this proposed amendment.

Mr. Van Horne: I would like to add a few words to those of the minister. First, we indicated when the bill was debated on second reading that we would be making amendments also. As a matter of fact, we have only one amendment to make. The minister received a copy. The New Democratic Party received a copy through the member for Bellwoods (Mr. McClellan) and through the House leader, and also the table has received a copy.

I do not want to speak on our amendment at length at this point, but I would like to add a few words at the appropriate time. In addressing myself to this first amendment of the minister, although we did not agree with this broad type of legislation, we do see this amendment as one that does improve the bill. Therefore, we support it.

11:30 a.m.

Mr. Chairman: Mr. Breaugh, just before you speak: to clarify for the House, it is my understanding under the bill that we have concurred with section 1 setting out 7a(1), (2) and (3) of the act. We are now speaking to the minister's amendment on the addition of subsection 4.

Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Chairman, I do not have a copy of the amendment, but it is rather brief. As I heard the minister read it, I would have no objection to it.

Mr. Chairman: Those in favour of Mr. Timbrell's amendment will please say "aye."

Those opposed will please say "nay."

In my opinion the ayes have it.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Chairman: Continuing on with section 1, we now come to 7b(1).

Mr. Van Horne: It seems to me our amendment should be considered before the minister's amendment, given we are going through this sequentially clause by clause.

Mr. Chairman: I would appreciate it if you would approach it that way, Mr. Minister. I am sorry I do not have a copy of it.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Perhaps I could read it and you can decide what order to take it in. Whatever you decide is fine with me.

My motion is that section 7b of the act, as set out in section 1 of the bill, be amended by adding thereto the following subsection:

"(2) The Lieutenant Governor in Council shall not make an appointment under subsection 1 sooner than 30 days after the submission of the report of the investigation to the Lieutenant Governor in Council:"

and that the present subsections 2 to 8 be renumbered as subsections 3 to 9.

As I understand it, my learned friend wants to move an amendment to section 7b(1), so I suppose that would come ahead of my proposal.

Mr. Chairman: I am sorry, I could not hear it. If I could get a copy of that, I will take your word that Mr. Van Horne's amendment comes first. We are now on section 7b(1).

Mr. Van Horne moves that section 7b(1) of the act, as set out in section 1 of the bill, be amended by striking out "a hospital" in the second line and inserting in lieu thereof, "East General Hospital in the municipality of Metropolitan Toronto."

Mr. Van Horne: I have a few comments to make on that at the appropriate time, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman: Would you make your comments now.

Mr. Van Horne: Mr. Chairman, I want to take this opportunity on behalf of the party to make it abundantly clear to any of those who missed the debate on second reading or anyone who missed the committee hearing earlier this week that we perceive this legislation to be far too broad. We feel it would be quite appropriate to limit it simply and singularly to the Toronto East General Hospital. We say that for a variety of very good reasons.

First of all, the minister stressed in his comments both today and in the earlier two debates that this is a reinforcement of accountability. When he makes those statements, we have to question how serious the government is when it says in the same breath it wants to see more emphasis on local government and it believes in local autonomy. I do not think these two statements, the need for reinforcement of accountability on the one hand and the determination that there be more local autonomy on the other, are reconcilable statements. I think they are almost mutually exclusive of each other, at least within certain limits.

What this legislation does, in my view and in our party's view, is breathe life back into strong central government. It gives Ontario carte blanche over every hospital in the province. We feel very proud of our hospitals here in Ontario. We are convinced that the health care service, that is the delivery of service, is excellent, if not the best in the entire world. But what is coming to the surface is that the government wants more control over spending by hospitals across this province. There is no question about it.

We feel that the boards, in attempting to operate their various hospitals with the funds they are getting, and in many cases being underfunded, are doing a commendable job. The government is obviously trying to get some leverage in the control of hospital finances. Really, it is cutting away at the very lifeblood of the role of trustees in our hospitals across the province.

We feel that it would be much more appropriate to limit this type of legislation -- and we are not suggesting for a minute that it might not be needed at Toronto East General -- to that hospital. If the minister and the government are sincere about local autonomy, they will let the course of events run at Toronto East General with the supervisor. They will then assess the situation and determine what in this bill might need amending later on, and then keep it on the shelf to be addressed to whatever other hospitals might need attention five or 10 years hence.

In the course of listening to the witnesses this week, we have heard some members of the Ontario Medical Association, the Ontario Hospital Association and sundry other groups who said to us almost without exception that this legislation was far too broad. I will close my remarks with a plea to the government, although I am sure it is going to fall on deaf ears, to agree to this amendment so that Bill 113 will address itself only to Toronto East General Hospital.

Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Chairman, we contemplated a similar kind of amendment of our own. We choose at this time to support the amendment put forward by the member for London North, which I think goes directly to the heart of the controversy that surrounds this type of legislation.

The minister has proposed in his bill something far more than a piece of legislation to deal with a specific problem in a specific hospital. I subscribe to the theories put forward by that group of people who strongly believe the legislation before us and the differences that are pointed out by this particular amendment are things the ministry itself has contemplated for some lengthy period of time. The legislation was drawn up well in advance of the report that was done on the Toronto East General.

There is no need for the approach the ministry is taking with this piece of legislation. The amendment puts limits on it which, I think, are fair and reasonable. There is no denying that the government has, although somewhat belatedly, uncovered a problem in one specific hospital, and I think the members on all sides are quite prepared to grant to the government the powers of inquiries it wants in that one instance. However, we are not prepared to grant the ministry what it so desperately wants at this particular moment, which is far broader than any of us are prepared to contemplate at this time and which uses a technique I would describe very simply as unfair and unnecessary.

11:40 a.m.

The ministry would do well to draw back its horns in this instance, sit down and let a little calm reason enter the picture and to accept the amendment as being pertinent to the situation that is now before the ministry. That is to say, the government has uncovered some difficulties in one hospital, and we are quite prepared to say, "Go ahead and deal with them." But I think it is unreasonable for the minister to exploit this situation and give himself and future ministers a power that is unnecessary, unwanted and undesirable.

The amendment, which is rather simple in nature, goes succinctly to the pertinent point of the problem. The government has something, in a report, which now requires it to intervene in and deal with that situation. The report, as I read it, is not quite the way I have heard the minister describe it. It goes into some detail on problems in one particular hospital. In my view, it also identifies several policy areas within the ministry and funding problems that apply to every hospital.

My reluctance to support the ministry's move to invade the hospital system across the province is very simply that it puts all the eggs in one basket; it gives him a tool he can then exploit at will. I am not prepared to grant that to this minister. I think it has been documented in committees of this Legislature over the last four or five years that there are grave difficulties between the hospitals as they work in the field and the ministry at the centre.

This legislation, particularly if this amendment does not carry, would go through this House and give the minister powers he should not have. In other words, if the minister decides he wants to shut down a hospital, to change substantially the way a hospital functions or to cover up his own funding formulas and the inadequacies that are there, he now has the legislation that allows him to do that.

I am going to make a plea to members on all sides just to stop the process for a moment and to sit and think about whether we are dealing with the specifics of Toronto East General Hospital and the problems that were uncovered there, or whether we are really prepared on any side of this House to give the Minister of Health what is almost the power to seize a local hospital board.

I have listened to people from the medical association and the hospital association, and I believe they are quite right: the minister is seizing upon an opportunity here; he intends to exploit it to the hilt and provide himself with powers he should not have. If he cares to come before the House, as the Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson) was attempting to do last night, and say, "Here is a specific situation that requires some legislation to deal with it," I think we are all prepared to do that. But I am not prepared to yield that kind of massive interventionary power to the minister.

I ask members on all sides to look at the amendment now before them, which provides for a mechanism to deal with the problem that is supposedly before the Legislature, and to support that amendment, but to go no further and not provide the minister with that kind of tool.

All members, wherever they live, have a hospital board that is going to be affected by the legislation unless this amendment carries. If members went back home and talked to their local hospital boards, their doctors and their nurses, they would plead with them not to support legislation that is so broad and so sweeping and that has that potential to change substantially the hospital system in Ontario. If the amendment carries, members will have accomplished what is necessary at the moment while we are looking at the problem, but to let it go any further than that would be wrong. So I urge all members to support this amendment.

Mr. Conway: Mr. Chairman, like the previous two speakers, I rise to support enthusiastically the amendment that my colleague the member for London North has placed before the committee.

In the interest of time, recognizing that we are going to recess at noon, I want to confine my remarks on the bill in committee to this particular section. I want to say again that I believe firmly and fervently this bill is a very bad piece of legislation. Moreover, I believe this minister is moving in a premeditated way in a direction he knows to be radically wrong.

I want to say again that it represents a departure from a tradition which I believe is serious and significant in so far as this Legislature is concerned and in so far as hospital-government relations are concerned.

I will not comment at any length about the kind of legislation we have been receiving in the dying days of this assembly because I commented briefly last night on Bill 105. I did not speak to Bill 124, but those two and Bill 113 represent a very seriously bad kind of legislation in some critical respects.

The minister knows there is agreement on all sides to move legislatively, as this amendment would have us move, against one particular hospital. It might be, quite frankly, that legislation to deal even with that situation is not necessary, although I am prepared to give the minister the benefit of that doubt.

The other day in question period I asked him to table in this chamber an opinion from his law officers or those in the ministry of the Attorney General on specifically how it is that the current legislation is deficient in providing him with the kind of interventionist authority he feels he requires. I do not yet have in my possession that legal opinion. Perhaps I will have it some day, but in the absence of that opinion, I am loath to give this minister the kind of authority he is requesting in Bill 113.

I have listened to this minister for almost four and a half years now. While we have disagreed on many occasions -- not all, but a significant number of occasions -- I have been impressed generally by the quality of argument he has offered in support of his case. Never have I heard the very distinguished Minister of Health enter a debate with such flimsy, shabby, transparently poor argumentation as he has offered in defence of this very important radical legislation. He never has been worse. Never has he made such a poor case to support his bill. I think that is important, and I want to say that to him personally.

I want to say that I note as well how the minister's argument has changed. He began, as he ought to have begun some days ago, enjoining all members of this assembly to respond with him to the specific problems at one Toronto hospital. In that concern he got a unanimous response. Over the intervening days his argument has changed from the matter of the Toronto East General -- the matter of specific concern -- to this amendment. His argument has changed from a concern about that specific hospital to an interesting new and more general concern about the need to improve the provisions in this assembly for the public accountability. He spoke to that as well today.

I want to repeat now, as I have said earlier, that for a Minister of Health on behalf of a government that is approving $2.7 billion to the public hospital sector, that is an important and understandable concern. It is a very important matter of public policy, as I know all honourable members here present will agree. It is a very significant matter that deserves significant attention, and not the kind of last-minute attention that this bill is going to be afforded in the dying days of the spring 1981 session of this Thirty-Second Parliament of the Legislative Assembly.

The Minister of Health has an extremely important point, and I say to him, like the member for Oshawa (Mr. Breaugh), if that is the debate he wishes to enjoin, to begin, let him accept this amendment and come back at a later time, at his convenience, to engage in a debate about that very issue: how it is the assembly and the government ought to have a greater degree of public accountability. He may have a compelling, cogent case, but I have to tell the minister that in the past few days he has not made that case.

11:50 a.m.

He said that five years ago Judge Waisberg produced a report, which we all remember, about a particular hospital in northern Ontario. The special assistant to the Minister of Health nods his head in the affirmative. That was a very interesting report by Mr. Justice Waisberg five years ago, but what strikes my interest now is that we dealt with that hospital and its problems without this kind of legislation.

I think it is incumbent upon the Minister of Health and his staff to tell me in committee how it was that we solved the problems at that hospital five years ago without this kind of legislation. I have not yet heard how that was accomplished. That is the kind of case this minister and this government are going to have to make to justify general legislation on this very critical component of public policy in the health field. I am prepared to say he may have a case. All I am saying is that he has not yet made it.

I have to note as well the testimony made in committee on Monday of this past week by a range of people who have had a long and positive experience not only in this sector but also, as they said themselves, with this government. Those members who were there will remember that the Hospital Council of Metropolitan Toronto observed, when we questioned the limited review and lack of consultation throughout the development of this legislation, that this was a significant bill that was being proceeded with without the normal consultative process that, to this minister's credit, has characterized most of his activities in years past.

I ask, and very properly so, why the rush? Why the lack of consultation? What is wrong and deficient with the Public Hospitals Act as it stands? Why not move in stages to take this amendment to deal with the problem in the here and now, and come back to the Legislature at another time for a more serious and more comprehensive discussion of the issues at hand?

Much more to the point was the brief made by the Ontario Hospital Association. I am only going to touch upon some of the rather interesting and colourful language contained in that brief.

Reading from page two: "The Minister of Health evidently believes this too, and has referred often to the importance he attaches to the partnership of hospital boards to this ministry." The brief goes on to talk about the way in which this particular bill will impair "the historic and positive partnership between the Ontario Hospital Association and this government." The brief says later, on page three, "In its original form, the bill was written in such a bluntly offensive manner..."

We have the Hospital Council of Metropolitan Toronto decrying the lack of consultation, and we have the Ontario Hospital Association talking about the bluntly offensive manner of some of this drafting.

We go on to read about how "the legislation might very well be and is, in fact, injurious, unnecessary and insulting." That is from the Ontario Hospital Association. I will not even bore the minister with what the medical association and others have had to say. I just come back to my main point: why the rush?

The other day, I read into the record the remarks of the St. Catharines Standard in its editorial of Thursday, June 18, about the unneeded and dangerous principle to which Bill 113 speaks. That editorial concludes: "The Ontario government does not need this new and outrageously authoritarian legislation."

On June 30, the Toronto Globe and Mail editorial takes a similarly definite and very negative view of this particular bill. Just about everybody out in the community is asking, why this legislation under these conditions?

I suggest the member for Oshawa is absolutely right when he says that the government has a very ulterior motive in Bill 113. I think it is an extremely serious matter, and it would behoove every member of the assembly to scrutinize and seriously consider the reasonable measure proposed by my colleague in his amendment to the legislation being addressed at this moment.

The minister, I know, has been informed of this range of complaints. Almost in the style that characterized his famous Bill 19 initiative of two years ago, he has apparently decided that this is the rock upon which he will build his reputation for fiscal restraint. That is the only possible argument that would justify such a radical departure from his government's and his own traditional approach to these very people, all of whom are denouncing what he is up to.

It is a bad bill. It is a bill that goes too far and that ought to be resisted vigorously by every single member of this assembly who has one whit of concern about the integrity and the autonomy of local hospitals in this province. At the very least it ought to be the considered response of all members opposite to view seriously the amendment being proposed by my colleague the member for London North as a compromise to deal with the problems of Toronto East General while at another time the assembly proceeds with the more general policy questions spoken of.

In conclusion, if this amendment fails and if this act as currently constituted passes, it will be, as many have suggested, a serious and potentially fatal blow to the volunteer sector of the many community hospital boards across this province. To those 4,000 hospital trustees, I can only say, if this bill passes, "Ask not for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for 4,000 of thee."

Mr. Chairman: Before I recognize another speaker, shall section 7a of the act, as set out in section 1, as amended, carry?

Agreed to.

The House recessed at 12 noon.

1:02 p.m.

Mr. Bradley: Mr. Chairman, I would like the opportunity to add a few remarks to this debate, which has seen some rather extensive comment both in committee and in the House. I would like to share with members of the House the feeling I have gathered in my own community -- and I am sure it is a feeling gathered across the province -- of grave concern that the provincial government, through the Ministry of Health, is attempting to extend its control of hospitals in the province even further.

I think we all recognize how important is the role the ministry plays at the present time. The province has a legitimate desire to see that funds are spent in what it feels to be an appropriate fashion, meeting the goals set out by the Ministry of Health.

I think people -- not just those directly involved, but also those not directly involved in the operation of the hospitals -- see this as a movement towards centralization as opposed to maintaining the local autonomy this government has talked about as being desirable. Whether legitimately or otherwise, I think some feel it might well be an effort by the government to silence some of the criticism of the ministry through some form of intimidation. This is a view expressed by those who serve on hospital boards, by some in administration and by members of the medical profession.

Many people feel this government is using the situation at Toronto East General Hospital as an excuse to extend the influence of the ministry right across the province into the hallways of all Ontario hospitals. People in smaller communities particularly, but also some in larger communities, are annoyed because many of the hospitals were started with locally generated funds through foundations and fund-raising efforts.

They also feel some of the capital additions, in equipment particularly, were made with the assistance of local people. They become very concerned when they see the province wishing to extend its control of local hospitals even further through legislation of this kind. Many of these people pride themselves on the fact they have been able to build in their own communities, with their own resources and through their own people, what they feel is an excellent hospital situation. Of course, they receive assistance from the province now through the operating fund.

I was somewhat pleased to hear the member for Sudbury (Mr. Gordon) last night say that people in his government looked upon themselves as those who wanted to see less government and less legislation interfering in the every day affairs of the province. Yet this bill seems to move in the opposite direction by bringing forward further legislation which we in the opposition feel is not necessary.

I am annoyed, as I know many are, with the timing of the bill. I recognize what has arisen, but I know that the situation at East General has been pointed out to ministry officials for some time. Here we are in the dying day of this session -- not even the dying days any more -- dealing with a very important piece of legislation, but we do not really have the kind of time we would like to have to deal with it in great detail.

This is certainly not the kind of bill that would be introduced in a minority parliament because I think the minister recognizes that it would never pass in a minority parliament. He would have to withdraw all other provisions and he would have to accept the amendment put forward by the member for London North (Mr. Van Horne).

I hope he will accept this amendment in order to allay the fear of people across the province that perhaps the government is trying to take over control of the hospitals to a much greater degree than it has before now. Perhaps I am being Utopian in believing that this would happen in a majority situation, but I suppose there is always hope where there is life. Very briefly, I support the amendment by the member for London North as being a very reasonable, constructive and necessary amendment.

As the St. Catharines Standard noted in an editorial, from which I will quote only briefly because my friend from Renfrew North (Mr. Conway) has done so extensively: "It will be a dangerous move if the Ontario government empowers itself to move in on any hospital any time it chooses to take charge when it deems such control to be, as the vague phrase puts it, in the best interests of the public'."

This bill is not in the best interests of the hospitals of this province and it is not in the best interests of the public. Therefore, I urge the minister to accept an amendment that would make it a good bill.

Mr. Renwick: Mr. Chairman, I will speak just briefly about the bill because the East General Hospital serves the area that I represent in this assembly, as it does that of the Minister of Labour (Mr. Elgie) and that of my colleague the member for Beaches-Woodbine (Ms. Bryden).

I think the bill is an unwise bill. The minister would be well advised not to proceed with it. But since he is determined to proceed with a bill that would provide this extensive authority over all of the hospitals in the province, I can constrain myself to support the amendment put forward by the member for London North.

I do so even to that extent, however, with some degree of reluctance because the method I believe the minister should have pursued is one of model and example rather than this process of insisting upon the appointment of an official supervisor for that hospital. When one looks at the report one can understand that the hospital needs, and I am sure welcomes, a catalyst in the form of an outside person who will provide an atmosphere and a framework that will bring about some very necessary changes in the fundamental management and administration of that hospital.

That is not to criticize those who have laboured in that hospital for a long period of time. I think it has become immensely ingrown, as is indicated by the figures on the composition of the membership and the composition of the board of directors of that hospital, and by the failure within even that restricted and shrunken area to abide by its own rules with respect to the establishment of the board of directors and the management of the hospital.

I am certain, and the minister has said as well and the report reflects it, that there has been the utmost co-operation throughout the whole period from the time of the request by the hospital for the inspectors to review the hospital. I understand that there continues today to be the utmost co-operation with the person who is designated as the supervisor.

I think, however, that the extent of the bill, the attempt to use this as an occasion for the extension of the authority of the government over all of the hospitals, flies right in the face of the policy of our party because if there is one theme which runs through the health policy of the New Democratic Party, it is its emphasis on community.

1:10 p.m.

It is quite sad to think that even as recently as the 1920s the community organization which came together to try to get a hospital in the east end of the city was a widely supported, community-based organization which has shrunk in such a dramatic way over a period of years.

I would have preferred personally that by model and example, and with co-operation, that hospital could have straightened out its own affairs without having the force of law behind the appointment of the person who is going to be the catalyst for the remodelling and restructuring of the organization and administration of that hospital.

I will support the amendment because I do not want to see it extended elsewhere. However, when the work of reorganization of the Toronto East General Hospital is completed, I hope the minister will undertake -- and I do not mean in terms of the legal authority in the bill -- to file a full report, not so much in the sense of that specific hospital but to show us that out of the travail of that hospital can come some kind of model with respect to the organization, structure and administration of other hospitals.

We cannot force every hospital into the identical model. At the same time, if we had a model from the Toronto East General Hospital of how a hospital should operate, how it should relate to the community and how it should act in response to the community, I think it would be an immense step forward.

The minister said he discarded the view of packing the board. I am certainly glad he discarded that as a method of achieving the results he wanted. I want to set that aside, but I think one of the fundamental reorganizations that must take place in that hospital is to extend the extent and degree of community involvement in the work of the hospital.

When one reads the figures set out in the report on pages two and three, one finds that about 70 individuals with about 117 votes amongst them control appointment to the board. I have carefully left out the additional 101 corporations that have 794 votes. However, since that hospital had so narrow a base of relationship to the community and as so many of those persons who are members of the hospital, and therefore have legal authority to elect the board of directors, are members of the staff or employees of the hospital, one can see the way that ingrown management has failed to maintain the kinds of standards necessary in the province to serve the community.

With some reluctance I support the amendment. I have no reluctance in not supporting the bill. I would ask that this be used for the purpose of developing a model of the kind of hospital administration we need. I think that needs to be said clearly by the minister. I hope he will say it in his closing remarks in the committee of the whole House. I hope he will reaffirm that he has had the utmost co-operation from those who have been working in and with the hospital during the course of the examination which took place by the inspectors and since he put in the designated person who is to be the supervisor or catalyst for change in that hospital.

With those brief remarks and because of my riding's intimate involvement with the hospital as a community institution of long standing and of great value, I will support the amendment put forward by the member for London North (Mr. Van Horne).

Mr. Elston: Mr. Chairman, I have a few brief remarks. I also rise to support the amendment put forward by my colleague. I think the concern a good many people on this side have is about the potential that exists, once legislation of this nature comes into existence, of this bill being used later on for some purpose for which it was really not designed.

I think right now of the difficulties that local boards have in dealing with restrictions on finances. I can think of examples where the local boards in their dealings with the ordering of their affairs in their local hospitals did not agree with every aspect of the policies set down by the Minister of Health. In our area, in hospitals that serve parts of my riding, we had a situation where decisions were made at one time or another to close particular hospitals or to eliminate certain beds from those hospitals. The local boards in those cases took some action which would not have been, in the eyes of the people in the Ministry of Health, in the public interest as far as they might interpret it.

There was a great deal of individual initiative by the people who were elected as board members to resist certain policies of the Minister of Health. At that time, I lauded the efforts of those local boards -- and I still laud them -- to maintain their integrity. I have always been a supporter of strong local initiative when it comes to governing the residents of my area, and I shall continue to uphold that right.

With this legislation in place, it puts over the head of any member who is elected to the local board the feeling that he will be coerced at some point or another by the ministry over one particular policy or another, if he does not change his views and side with the ministry. I know there were some suggestions at the time the hospital bed closure matter was being considered in our riding that resort would be made to packing the board with extra nominees of the ministry, and I know those suggestions met with a great deal of resistance by the people of our area.

I know the minister has also received correspondence from at least one hospital in our area concerning the legislation, asking that it not be put in place. I support that move by the local hospitals. I support the things that have been more eloquently said on a number of occasions when we have been dealing with this particular legislation. I just want to point out, as well, that when we have legislation of this nature in place, at one point or another as the weeks move into years and the years pass by, the original purpose of this general sort of legislation becomes blurred in the eyes of the public. At some point, a particular person, who may not be as enlightened as our current Minister of Health is and who might use it for a purpose for which this minister and this government espouse it will not be used.

I can look back to a few weeks ago when in the justice committee we were told that a particular member of the Conservative Party, in his role as a solicitor for a particular municipality, used a little-known provision of the Municipal Act that had been passed many years ago to incorporate certain provisions in building bylaws to get around some ministry restrictions in force at that time. I have a feeling this legislation, even if it is not used next year or the year after or whenever, at some time may be dug up by a more devious person and used to the detriment of the public of Ontario.

I know the current minister has espoused the fact that it will not be used to the detriment of the public of Ontario, but I know, as we all know, that the minister will not always be the Minister of Health. I can understand that he will probably be making every effort to move on to other endeavours. However, I just want to point out the possibilities that exist for the use of this legislation to the detriment of the public. I want the members opposite to consider very thoroughly the amendment that has been put by my colleague and to give it support so that this legislation can be limited to the particular case for which we have information and facts on which to base our decision to intervene in the affairs of that particular institution.

1:20 p.m.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Chairman, the minister will be happy to know that I, too, will be very brief. I rise to support the amendment. Ordinarily, I might not rise except to try to emphasize, as has everyone else who has spoken on Bill 113, that we feel very strongly that the minister does not require this kind of blanket legislation.

The minister's response has been that he has to have some accountability from the hospitals across the province because he is funding them. I do not want to get into a debate with the minister about the accountability of some of his civil servants before the public accounts committee, but that is something, it seems to me, which he should be more concerned about than he is with the hospitals, which are locally run and in most cases have an elected board of directors. We do not disagree that there should be accountability as well to the Ministry of Health because of the funding that they get, but we feel that this is not necessary.

It is interesting that I asked the Minister of Labour (Mr. Elgie) if he intended to bring in legislation to disallow doctors to go on strike if they were dissatisfied with the negotiations between the Ministry of Health and their association. The Minister of Labour said, "We do not need that because it is not required. If that situation arises, we will deal with it specifically at that time."

I suggest to the minister that the same argument pertains in the present case. We have one specific situation that should be dealt with, the Toronto East General. This bill should not give the minister or the Ministry of Health a weapon or a tool or a possible blackmail threat, which is how some of the hospitals in the province view this, that will be held over their heads if they do not comply with some of the policies and suggestions that the minister makes to them.

My friend the member for Huron-Bruce (Mr. Elston), who just spoke, suggested that there may be ministers who are more devious. Perhaps I would agree that there might be in the future. They might be a little more Fascistic, if I can use that term.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Like a what?

Mr. Nixon: Like a Fascist.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Like a Fascist, for the minister. They might use Bill 113 as a real weapon to bludgeon the hospitals into line.

I add these few words to say that I support the amendment put forward by the member for London North, and I would impress upon the minister that there is within the hospital community, within many of these volunteer boards, a very strong feeling of repugnance against this bill. We suggest from our side that it is certainly not required.

Mr. Nixon: Mr. Chairman, I want to remind the minister that his predecessor, now the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller), had felt at one time that he had complete powers over the various public hospitals in the province. He went into, I believe, seven communities with instructions that certain hospitals be closed. Among those hospitals was the famous Willett Hospital in Paris, but because of the strong outpouring of resentment from the community the government saw fit to change its view and remove the closure order.

There were, however, three hospitals, I believe, where the closure order was contested in the courts on the basis that the government did not have the power to close those hospital. In fact, the courts found that that was so. The argument has been put that the hospitals were created by the communities themselves. When the minister compares them with municipalities, the comparison falls down since the Legislature itself created the municipalities and in the last analysis is responsible for their decisions and their financing.

The hospitals are different. Most of them -- I would not say all of them, but most of them -- were built on the initiative of the municipalities or individuals in the municipalities. Their largest and most important capital works were financed by local subscription or on the basis of local tax payments. It, therefore, seems to me that the argument put forward by the minister, that the hospitals, like the municipalities, should be subject to his direct supervision, falls down and is really not supportable by the members of this House.

I would simply bring his attention to the fact that the mistakes that might have been perpetrated by his predecessor in closing those hospitals were stopped by the law at the time, which found that the minister did not have life-and-death powers over our public hospitals.

I believe that on occasion he must take over the supervision of a hospital where there is clear indication by a report that such supervision is required for the public good. But blanket authority of the type he is asking for is not called for and is not healthy for the whole community, let alone the hospitals themselves, which are anxious to have an opportunity to maintain their high standards, their world-class standards in service and, in many respects, efficiency.

I hope the amendment of my colleague the member for London North will carry because we do not want to interfere with the minister's belief that he must provide direct supervision for the East General Hospital, although there are certain arguments that could even be put in that regard. I do hope the amendment as put forward will be supported by the House.

Mr. Riddell: Mr. Chairman, I would be remiss if I did not express the concerns of the people in my riding over this bill. I know if the minister would give consideration to the amendment which Mr. Van Horne proposed he could allay their fears.

It was not very long ago that the Ministry of Health endeavoured to close hospitals in my riding. They were successful in closing the Goderich Psychiatric Hospital, which was acclaimed by a professional medical group with its base in England to be the best hospital of its kind for the treatment of psychiatric patients. That was the very hospital the ministry chose to close.

Then they marched into Clinton. I happened to be there when the minister came and announced that he was going to close that particular hospital. He was not given a very good reception, and just a short time after that the minister suffered some bad health. I do not want this minister to go through that same siege of bad health by going along with this bill. I have a feeling that this is really coming through the back door on the part of the ministry to try to close hospitals.

What the minister will do is take over the administration of a hospital, saying that it is not being conducted in the best interests of the people. Once he gets hold of the administration, he will then endeavour to close that hospital if he feels it should no longer exist. This is the type of fear the people have if we go along with this total authority he is giving himself to take over the administration of hospitals.

I just want to let the minister know that if he will go along with our amendment, he will allay their fears. As long as he insists on giving himself the authority to step in and take over the administration of these hospitals, then our people are going to be very worried, knowing that at one time their hospitals were being threatened with closure and knowing now that the minister, at any time, can step in and take over the administration of a hospital.

If he is going to hold firm to his bill, then I want the minister to stand in his place when he winds this thing up and tell the people that there is no danger of their hospitals ever being closed because of the passage of this bill.

Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Chairman, I received a call a couple of days ago from the medical director of one of our local hospitals. He was rather agitated because, as a medical person in our community, after having spoken to the board of governors of that hospital, he could see where they were potentially threatened by this, and felt unjustifiably threatened by this.

1:30 p.m.

That really is the point we have tried to make over and over again. The minister has told us so many times, and having worked with him on a number of occasions, most of us have reason to believe him, that his intent simply is to deal with the present problem and simply to have something ready in case it is ever needed, but he highly suspects it will not be. That is one side of the equation.

The other side of the equation, the one that we are trying to bring to the minister's attention is that the perception outside of this Legislature everywhere, whether we are talking to citizens or medical people or boards of trustees or the kind of people who came before our committee, is that he wants to grab control. That is the whole problem. That is the issue that is at stake.

What we are trying to say to you over and over again, Mr. Minister, is that you have a very specific problem which has been recognized. I have not heard a single speaker get up yet and say that they do not accept that particular problem and are not prepared to deal with it legislatively. What they have not accepted and what they are not prepared to accept at this time, given the evidence that you have laid before us, is that there is a need for this general kind of legislation.

There are thousands of people outside, within a minute of this Legislature, who are associated with the hospitals of this province. They are all doing the best job they possibly can with the money that you make available to them. You, yourself, have said and my colleagues on this side of the House have said, generally speaking, the hospitals are doing a pretty good job. What you are going to do with this piece of general legislation is to reduce morale because of the way it will be perceived by those out there.

As politicians, all of us in this room know how important perceptions are in relation to reality; we know how important that is. What is perceived out there is that threat; and it is so blooming unnecessary because you know any time you want to over the next three or four years, if you can come into this House and make a case for something like this general legislation -- and my colleague from Renfrew North (Mr. Conway) made the point so well earlier -- you can get that legislation passed. There is no emergency here. No case has been made. There is no reason at this particular point in time why you should want to do this. If you have some reason, if you have some evidence that it may be necessary, then bring it before us. It is not there now.

The thing that I am genuinely concerned about is that a lot of good men and women who presently are on the boards of governors of hospitals across this province are going to turn to each other at their next meeting and say: "Why bother? Obviously, we are not being trusted. The job that has been given to us is not one that we can be trusted to do."

They are all busy people. I do not need to remind the minister of the kind of people, generally speaking, who sit on the board of governors of these hospitals. They are businessmen. They are community people. They have lots of other things to do with their time. I really fear that these are the kind of good, decent community-minded, hard-working people who are going to say, "Why bother?"

I am prepared to predict at this point in time that if this bill goes through with that unanimous negative opposition to it, there are going to be resignations in boards of governors of hospitals around this province that I do not think you expect. I think that will happen. You are going to pay a price you should not have to pay and which is not necessary. Let us deal with the specific case now and if we need to deal with the general later on, let us deal with it then.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Chairman, I would like to just take a minute or two to respond to some of the points raised. First of all, let me deal with some of the points made by the last couple of speakers. I am aware of the concern that has been expressed by a number of organizations, boards, medical academies and so forth in various parts of the province, to which the member for Kitchener-Wilmot referred. I would remind members that when the OMA and the OHA appeared before the committee, on Monday evening I believe it was, their position was that there should be no legislation at all, that there was no need for legislation even for the Toronto East General Hospital. I think there is general consensus in the chamber, given the extent of the problems identified by the team of inspectors, as they indicated, that nothing short of bringing in some outside assistance could ensure the problems would be corrected.

Mr. Nixon: Our inspectors could have done that.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Chairman, I sat here all morning listening. I would just like to respond. There is no question of trust. The fact is we not only trust, but we also endorse the efforts of the 235 volunteer boards in the province. We believe it is responsible to say to trustees that there may well be times when an individual hospital will experience such difficulties and such problems that it cannot correct the problems itself and will need some outside assistance.

Under the present legislation, there is provision for the appointment of inspectors. The inspectors' powers, however, are rather limited as far as the correction of any problems that would arise is concerned. In fact, they are powerless if the board and the administration refuse to deal with or to follow their advice. I would remind the members that this legislation is several stages removed from an inspection. The provisions for inspection would remain in the legislation. If the inspection turned up problems or signalled problems of a bigger order than an inspector could look after, then the legislation provides that the cabinet may appoint an investigator, which is going one step further and involving all my colleagues in the executive council in a decision to move further.

Only after the delivery of a report and -- if this amendment fails and an amendment I am going to propose after that passes -- only after 30 days could the cabinet act. Again it is the cabinet, not the minister. I appreciate the expressions of confidence, whether intended or not, expressed by several members opposite in my own person in this ministry. The concern would be that perhaps at some time in the future there would be a minister who would not have the same confidence of the hospital community that I have enjoyed in the last few years.

I submit to members that an investigator and ultimately a supervisor could only be appointed with the approval of the cabinet and, in the case of a supervisor, only after a minimum of 30 days after the production of the report. Those are two very significant safeguards to assure the hospital community that the power would not be abused, any more than the same power with respect to charitable organizations that come under the Ministry of Community and Social Services and under the municipalities has been abused in those respective fields.

I want to say to the member for Huron-Middlesex (Mr. Riddell), as I have said on a number of occasions before, that it is not the policy of this government, and I do not anticipate that it will ever again be the policy of this government, to promote the closure of any hospital in the province operated under the Public Hospitals Act. To be sure, in some communities, hospitals are talking now and may talk in the future about merger. I fully encourage some communities in, and expect to see, the eventual construction of single hospitals to replace two hospitals that exist at present, in order to maximize the potential in the community. That is quite a bit different from the concern members have, which I not only understand but accept and have responded to with the statement I just made.

A number of members have talked about this legislation with respect to fiscal restraint, in the words of the member for Renfrew North (Mr. Conway), and the member for London North (Mr. Van Horne) referred to control over hospital spending. The member for Huron-Middlesex and one or two others -- I think the member for Huron-Bruce (Mr. Elston) -- referred to the closure question.

1:40 p.m.

We are not talking about legislation to control finances. The fact is, the ministry sets the net ministry liability for a hospital and we from time to time adjust that net ministry liability, as I announced last Thursday, for things such as the current arbitrated settlements with the hospital workers. In that way if the money is not flowed then the hospital has to cut the cloth according to the pattern dictated by the money available.

This legislation is not dealing with controlling net ministry liability. It is not controlling borrowings or anything of the sort. We are talking about situations like the East General or like Laurentian.

By the way, the member for Renfrew North referred to Laurentian, saying, "That was solved without this legislation." That was solved because the chairman went to jail and the board resigned. That was a pretty drastic step.

This legislation is to deal with those situations where, for whatever reasons, hospitals find themselves with administrative and managerial problems from which they simply cannot extricate themselves without some assistance.

To go further, the member for London North referred to carte blanche and Mr. Bradley and Mr. Conway quoted from the editorial in the St. Catharines Standard -- it is a wonderful newspaper, I know -- which started off by saying, "Any time it chooses, the ministry or the government may do X, Y and Z." The fact is it is not carte blanche, it is not any time it chooses; there are a number of significant steps that would have to be gone through before one could even get to the point of considering a supervisor to go in and to assist.

Let me say again, that assist is the operative word. So many people, and I understand this, are apprehensive and looking at this legislation in a punitive sense. It is not meant in a punitive sense. It is not cast in a punitive sense.

Mr. Van Horne: On a point of order, Mr. Chairman: I am sorry to interrupt the minister, but I think I must get this on the record at this time. The references made by the member for St. Catharines (Mr. Bradley) and myself to that kind of authority were intended, if not stated clearly, to be that kind of carte blanche that the minister would have without any further reference to this House. Once this is passed, and this is certainly my intention and I am sure the intention of the member for St. Catharines, there is no need for the minister to come back to this House. It is cabinet, et cetera, but not the House, and that point should be made clear.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Let me just deal with that then, because the authority has existed in the act for years with the appointment of inspectors who, as I already said, really can only go so far.

The concern has been expressed by several members opposite about harassment. I think the member for Rainy River (Mr. T. P. Reid) used the expression, "possible blackmail threat." The member for Huron-Bruce said the boards can be coerced and he also said there is potential for abuse. Surely that potential is there in the current authority for inspectors. If this ministry had a predisposition to harassing the hospitals, to trying to bludgeon them into submission, then the opportunities have been there for years for me and for my predecessors, all 12 of them, to use the authority in the act to appoint inspectors simply to harass them. We have not done that and we are not about to do that.

We are talking here about completing the balance of the remedies available to a minister and a government if, as in the case of Laurentian five years ago and East General now, things get so bad that the hospital needs some outside assistance to extricate itself.

I had occasion to run into the administrator of the East General Hospital on Dominion Day at our celebrations in East York and I must say I was impressed. I must put it on the record that I feel this gentleman has been badly abused by some of the press. I do not think that calling for his resignation or his head is the answer. I think as an administrator he inherited a great many problems and, as he indicated to me on Dominion Day, he wants to get on with the job. I think the board feels the same way; it wants to get on with the job and straighten out its problems and it wants to restore the public confidence in that hospital. The member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick) is right that people really do think of it as their hospital. It is an institution representative of some considerable proportion in East York and in the east end generally.

It will come as no surprise to my friend the member for London North that we do not accept the amendment. We believe this is a reasonable proviso. I have tried to acknowledge and respond to the concerns. As I said in the House today, they are based on fear.

I recognize it will take nothing short of the actions emanating from this and nothing short of the actions that have gone before -- the fact that we have not used existing authority for inspectors in the Public Hospitals Act in an abusive way -- to allay that fear. We have not abused this type of authority with respect to municipalities or social service agencies and we are not about to abuse it with respect to the hospitals.

This bill will complete the balance of accountability. If anything, I submit it should enhance local autonomy and the role of the board in reinforcing what is expected of it with respect to the expenditure of a large amount of money. I would remind the House that expenditures on hospitals come to about $8 million every day of the year in this current fiscal year.

That is growing year by year. This year it has increased by 12.1 per cent over last year. It is a very large amount of money that we entrust to volunteer boards which do not have full-time board members. We would not entrust that to them if we did not trust them, to answer the concern expressed by the member for Kitchener-Wilmot. We feel this will give them and us the full balance necessary to satisfy the public we all serve that the affairs are in hand.

Mr. Van Horne: Mr. Chairman, I have a final point. I am not going to call it privilege or order because I think it is simply a point that has to be made. When the minister says, "This will enhance local autonomy," I think he forgets that at any time the government intercedes to allow itself entree into any situation in any municipality in this province without reference to a situation such as we have here now -- a process of debate within this chamber -- then he cannot be enhancing local autonomy. He has put government in the place of local autonomy. I am sorry but I cannot agree with him on that last point.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Chairman, I cannot take long because I have to receive the Queen Mother at Women's College Hospital.

When I look around on this side -- not so much over there -- there are many of us who have served on municipal councils. I see the former mayor of Pickering, the former mayor of Sudbury, the former deputy mayor of Ottawa, the former budget chief of the city of Toronto, the former reeve of Gore Bay and so forth.

The point I am trying to make is we all served in municipal government in the full knowledge that in exceptional circumstances there were provisions for the province to step in if that was necessary. We are not talking about anything that is any different from that. That has not inhibited the municipalities; it has not stopped the attraction of good people to the municipal councils any more than it will detract from good people serving on hospital boards.

The Deputy Chairman: Those in favour of this amendment will please say "aye."

Those opposed will please say "nay."

In my opinion the nays have it.

Motion negatived.

The Deputy Chairman: Hon. Mr. Timbrell moves that section 7b of the act, as set out in section 1 of the bill, be amended by adding thereto the following subsection:

"(2) The Lieutenant Governor in Council shall not make an appointment under subsection 1 sooner than 30 days after submission of the report of the investigation to the Lieutenant Governor in Council;"

and by renumbering the present subsections 2 to 8 as subsections 3 to 9.

Motion agreed to.

Section 1, as amended, agreed to.

1:50 p.m.

On section 2:

The Deputy Chairman: Hon. Mr. Timbrell moves that the bill be amended by adding thereto the following section 2:

"For the purposes of section 7b of the Public Hospitals Act the report dated June 1981 by C. J. Clark, L. D. Wadsworth and P. B. Blewett in respect of Toronto East General and Orthopaedic Hospital shall be deemed to be the report and investigation under section 7a of the Public Hospitals Act as has been submitted to the Lieutenant Governor in Council on June 15, 1981,"

and by renumbering the remaining sections of the bill accordingly.

Motion agreed to.

Section 2, as amended, agreed to.

Section 3 agreed to.

Bill 113, as amended, reported.

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


The following bill was given third reading on motion:

Bill 113, An Act to amend the Public Hospitals Act.


Hon. Mr. McMurtry moved second reading of Bill 68, An Act for the establishment and conduct of a Project in the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto to improve methods of processing Complaints by members of the Public against Police Officers on the Metropolitan Police Force.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Just very briefly, Mr. Speaker, I am advised by my House leader and the chairman of the justice committee that some 13 days have been set aside in the justice committee for this legislation. I expect it will have a very full discussion at that time, and as well we will receive a number of briefs from the public. Members will note there have been some modifications in relation to the bill that was introduced last year. I would hope that all members, despite any differences that we might have in respect to some details of the bill, would support the bill in principle. In any event, I am happy to listen to any comments that the members might have at this time.

Mr. Elston: Mr. Speaker, I have just a few brief comments. I wish to rise at this time to indicate we will not be supporting the bill in principle, because of some of the situations that have been pointed out previously to the Solicitor General. Included in those are our concerns that there has not been sufficient input from various segments of the community to the Solicitor General during the drafting period, and that there are certain items in this bill which we in this party believe will make the legislation unworkable in the way it has been laid out.

We feel as well that to give support in principle to this bill at this time would legitimize in some way the plans that have been set forth by the Solicitor General in relation to a pilot on the pilot, if one could call it that, which has been planned by Metropolitan Toronto. We feel this type of experiment is probably going to be dangerous for the bill as a whole, because the pilot on the pilot will lack the authority that legislation can give it, and this will endanger the very possibility that the legislation -- the three-year project, that is -- will be at all successful in Metropolitan Toronto.

We also think that some portions of this bill are flawed. We think that setting up a pilot on the pilot, which will be patterned after the proposed legislation as it now stands, before the committee hears representations from various elements in the community, is a dangerous precedent to set. We believe that to institute this experiment during the summer, if there is no compulsion behind the orders that are being made by those people who are appointed to staff the commission for the summer season, will cause the citizens of Metropolitan Toronto to lose faith in the experiment that will take place after the legislation becomes law.

It seems to us that when this bill was first brought to our attention in mid-May it could quickly have been introduced to the House, so that we might very well have been able to sit in committee before this session ended and could have ruled out some of the difficulties and made amendments that would have made the legislation much better than it now is. We feel this could have been done much more quickly than it has been done, and that to delay this now until October for those special representations by interest groups in the community of Metropolitan Toronto is a danger to the success of any program that is ultimately instituted.

We also feel that because citizens are being asked to make representations to us, they really ought to have the upper hand in making comments that they feel will make legislation they could live with and feel comfortable with when they are expressing their complaints concerning police forces.

It seems to me as well that, if I were a private citizen and if this legislation as it now stands were used as a pattern or model for some project over the summer, in order to make sure that my concerns about the police force were adequately expressed I would not only have to go to the pilot on the pilot project but I would have to go to the complaint process that is now currently set up, and I would also have to take my complaints through the civil courts to make sure that somewhere along the line my concerns were met and adequately dealt with.

It is my concern that this multiplication of processes by which one must make one's complaints heard will cause a great many citizens ultimately to throw up their hands in despair and probably feel that they will not be able to get the fair hearing they think they should have.

It is our opinion that because of this deficiency in the legislation and the planned pilot project for the summer we cannot support the bill in principle, and we on this side will rise against it.

2 p.m.

Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, I would like to speak briefly about Bill 68. This is part of the process of attrition the Solicitor General is putting us through. Many of us can recall Bill 201, which was introduced in December 1979, and then Bill 47, which was introduced and debated about a year ago in the assembly. This bill is the transition to a pilot project.

Those people who are interested in and concerned about this bill will not be able to maintain public interest in the bill simply because of the process the Solicitor General uses. The process will go on to such a point that people will no longer be interested. They will begin to think, "Yes, there is an appropriate appeal process for police complaints." This matter will pass into history with an inadequate method of dealing with police complaints.

I spoke at some length a year ago on the bill, on May 27, 1980, as did many other members. I do not intend to repeat those remarks. At that time, we were under the impression that bill would go out to committee. I did not take the occasion of speaking on second reading to put on the record the principles our caucus and our party have endorsed as the basis on which the complaint procedure should be established. In the short time available on second reading, I want to put on the record the principal provisions we believe should govern such a procedure.

The Solicitor General and I will never agree on the fundamental process which has gone on with respect to the police in Ontario, that is, the transition from the British model to the American model. The transition of the police force in the province, semantically and in substance, is reflected in the change from the term "chief constable" to "chief of police." We have had that discussion many times and it will continue to be a part of our concern about the whole of the question of the principle included in the bill.

We cannot support the bill. We looked with as much empathy as we could on the remarks of the Solicitor General when he introduced the bill on May 15. He pointed out the extended authority given in very exceptional circumstances to the commissioner of complaints.

The principles we felt should govern a citizens' review of complaints concerning police conduct in Metropolitan Toronto are as follows:

1. Definition of complaint: A complaint against a police officer is an allegation of misconduct when exercising authority as a police officer.

2. Standard of conduct: A police officer shall exercise his authority as a police officer in a manner that respects the rights, liberties, inherent dignity and reputation of every citizen consistent with a diligent performance of his duty.

3. Right of police officer: It is the right of every police officer that his reputation and career be unaffected by frivolous, vexatious or unjustified complaints and that he not be placed in double jeopardy.

4. The tribunal: (i) Appointment: The metropolitan council shall appoint a permanent tribunal of not less than three persons of unquestioned integrity and acknowledged impartiality from among the citizens of Metropolitan Toronto; (ii) Duties: To receive, investigate, hear and determine complaints and, when advisable, make recommendations to the chief of police, the board of police commissioners and the metropolitan council.

5. Rules of natural justice to apply, in particular: (i) Hearings shall be public; (ii) Investigations must be independent in the sense the tribunal as finder of fact shall conduct its own investigations on which its findings are made; (iii) Hearings must be impartial in the sense the tribunal must not have and must be seen not to have any preconceived notion of the merits or demerits of the complaints or of the complainants or the police officers; (iv) Complainants, police officers and witnesses must be protected against and must be seen to be protected against bias and prejudice in the conduct of investigations and hearings; (v) Findings of fact, decisions and recommendations of the tribunal must be published when made, with reasons given; (vi) Police officers, the chief of police and the board of police commissioners must be given prompt notice of complaints and of intention to investigate and to hold hearings; (vii) Complainants, police officers, the chief of police and the board of police commissioners must be given, on request, reasonable opportunity by the tribunal to be heard as to the necessity and propriety of investigations and hearings; (viii) No one shall be compelled to submit to questioning or to give evidence without the opportunity to obtain independent legal advice and to be represented by counsel, and witnesses must be entitled to protection against self-incrimination.

6. Standard of proof: The tribunal must make its findings on the preponderance of probability and may, in so doing, take into account similar conduct on other occasions.

7. Registrar: (i) Appointment: The metropolitan council shall appoint a registrar for the tribunal who shall be its administrative officer and who shall have the status of a commissioner; (ii) Duties: The registrar, subject to the direction of the tribunal, (a) shall receive and maintain records of complaints until final disposition; (b) shall, where appropriate, use his good offices to settle complaints.

8. Withdrawal or dismissal of complaints: Only the tribunal may dismiss complaints or permit complaints to be withdrawn, and any applications to dismiss or withdraw complaints by complainants, police officers, the chief of police, the board of police commissioners or the registrar must be by hearing before the tribunal.

9. Police duty to co-operate: The board of police commissioners, the chief of police and the police officers must have a duty to co-operate with the tribunal.

10. Complaints received by police: The board of police commissioners must establish known procedures within the Metropolitan Toronto police to ensure that complaints received by police are reported to the registrar and that complainants are referred to the registrar.

11. Where criminal charges are laid: Where a police officer is charged with an offence under the Criminal Code arising from an incident in respect of which a complaint has been made, all proceedings are stayed until a charge or any appeal from a conviction or acquittal of the offence charged has been finally disposed of and may only proceed thereafter if the tribunal is satisfied that there is no double jeopardy.

12. Annual report: The tribunal must submit an annual report to the Metropolitan council.

I was anxious that those principal rules and provisions, which we in this caucus believe should form the model for a civilian review of police complaints, should be on the record. Time will show that this bill will be processed through the standing committee on administration of justice; that little if any change will be made, because the Solicitor General is satisfied with this bill and because he believes it should not be altered in any way; and that it will become law in the province. Public hearings will be held, people will have an opportunity to make their presentations, but there will not be any changes. When the bill is reported back into the House and passed into law and into a project, it will be many years before there will be an opportunity again to review that procedure.

It is fundamentally flawed in its concept, and we oppose the bill on second reading for the reasons that have been stated over the years and particularly in the debate a year ago, in May 1980. We adhere to the principles that I have set forth on the record so they will have a permanent place in the historic record of the error now being made by the Solicitor General in proceeding with the bill in this form.

Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, I want to voice my support of the opposition as articulated by our critic, the member for Huron-Bruce.

One of the principal reasons for my opposition is the belief that in this province justice not only must be done but also must be seen to be done, and it is clear from the delay and the kind of self-administration that are built into this bill that justice is not being seen to be done. I think the communities of Metropolitan Toronto, the communities that are directly and indirectly affected by the bill, have already spoken and no doubt will be speaking in opposition to the intent and the content of the legislation.

This party has no choice but to reject the bill, because we believe it violates the inherent principles of justice upon which our society is based. I am rising at this point merely to second the opposition as voiced by the member for Huron-Bruce, and I am sure there will be much more time to pursue our opposition to the bill in greater detail when it goes into committee.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I have to say that one in my position might be a little sceptical about the alleged interest that the opposition purports to have with respect to creating workable legislation in this area, particularly as it was only a little over a year ago that the opposition parties, with the majority of the members in this Legislature, refused to permit this bill to go to committee, where, with the opposition majority, changes could have been made and the matter could have been passed into law.

2:10 p.m.

On that occasion the opposition chose the rather astonishing course of refusing even to allow the bill to go to committee where members of the public could have been heard and where, by reason of the arithmetic prevailing at that time, it could have had a significant impact. But it denied the public the opportunity on that occasion to be heard, and -- some of the members were not there -- I am sure that the member for Hamilton Centre and the member for Huron-Bruce would not have approved of the rather irresponsible conduct of their colleagues on that occasion, had they been here.

Once again, we are witness to the astounding confusion that seems to prevail in the Liberal caucus. On the one hand, their sometime leader indicates the --

Hon. Mr. Ashe: Which one?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: The official one, for the moment. The momentary leader indicated his displeasure with the government for not bringing this bill forward sooner in order that it could have gone to committee sooner. The member for Huron-Bruce touched on this. He asked why we did not have the bill passed, and then go to committee in July in order to expedite the passage. Yet members of his caucus are now stating they want to vote against the bill.

Their leader would have liked to have seen the bill go to committee sooner than September, but obviously his leadership has not prevailed, and in his absence, his caucus colleagues would, if they had their way, prevent the bill from going to committee at all. I think it is just yet another distressing example of the rather pathetic confusion that seems to have captured the Liberal caucus.

I respect the principles that have been placed on the record by the member for Riverdale, and certainly I was disappointed that he would not agree to allow the bill to go to committee a year ago. I think the bill does address many of the principles enunciated by the honourable member. It would appear, and a great deal will be heard undoubtedly about the role of the police investigating themselves in the first instance, that it is the desire of the opposition to take this responsibility away from the police which, in my view, would be very destructive of the fundamental structure of police departments.

I rather regret that the opposition has demonstrated such a total lack of understanding of how police departments function, but I hope that during the committee process at the end of the summer we will have an opportunity for a very useful discussion. Contrary to what my friend the member for Riverdale states, we on this side of the House are always reasonable and will always consider seriously any reasoned or useful amendment.

That will be our position and we look forward to a discussion during the fairly lengthy time that has been set out in committee. I would not like to lose the opportunity before I sit down, despite their lack of understanding, to wish the members opposite, indeed all of the members, a very pleasant summer.

Mr. Speaker: 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 standing committee on administration of justice.


Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I would like to inform the House that I have tabled the answers to questions 71 and 82 standing on the Notice Paper.


Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I would like to suggest that the House adjourn at pleasure for about 15 minutes so that his Honour the Lieutenant Governor may then appear and give royal assent to certain bills. This normally would not be necessary but His Honour is with Her Majesty the Queen Mother at a dinner and will be back here at 2:30. That is with the agreement of the House.

It is my understanding that it cannot be done in chambers unless it can be reported back to this House at the appropriate time. Rather than run any risks in that regard, I think it would be better that these bills be given royal assent in the traditional manner.

Mr. Speaker: The House will now adjourn during pleasure.

2:35 p.m.

The Honourable the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario entered the chamber of the Legislative Assembly and took his seat on the throne.


Hon. Mr. Aird: Pray be seated.

Mr. Speaker: May it please Your Honour, the Legislative Assembly of the province has, at its present sittings thereof, passed certain bills to which, in the name of and on behalf of the said Legislative Assembly, I respectfully request Your Honour's assent.

First Clerk Assistant: The following are the titles of the bills to which Your Honour's assent is prayed:

Bill 67, An Act to establish the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

Bill 89, An Act to provide for the Consolidation of Hearings under certain Acts of the Legislature.

Bill 90, An Act to establish the Ontario Waste Management Corporation.

Bill 95, An Act to amend the Employment Standards Act, 1974.

Bill 105, An Act to amend the Judicature Act.

Bill 106, An Act to amend the County Courts Act.

Bill 113, An Act to amend the Public Hospitals Act.

Bill 121, An Act to provide Alternative Methods of Fixing Penalty Charges, Interest Rates and Discount Rates on Payments to Municipalities.

Bill 124, An Act respecting the Leeds and Grenville County Board of Education and Teachers Dispute.

Bill 126, An Act to amend the Executive Council Act.

Bill 127, An Act to amend the Legislative Assembly Act.

Bill 129, An Act to amend the Workmen's Compensation Act.

Clerk of the House: In Her Majesty's name, the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor doth assent to these bills.

The Honourable the Lieutenant Governor was pleased to retire from the chamber.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, at this point in the proceedings I would like to wish you and all the members of this House a very happy, healthy and pleasant summer. I cannot see any further work that we can do on this Friday afternoon. Therefore, I would move that this House adjourn until October 13.

The House adjourned at 2:40 p.m.