The House met at 2 p.m.
STATEMENT BY THE MINISTRY
SALE OF SCIENCE CIRCUS
Hon. Mr. McCaffrey: Mr. Speaker, earlier today I attended a ceremony in the Premier's office that I would like to recount to members of the House because it concerns one of the major themes outlined in the speech from the throne, namely "to promote and encourage the development of internationally competitive industries."
These words underline this government's renewed commitment to double Ontario's exports over the next few years, especially the export of manufactured goods and, most especially, products of Ontario's high-technology industries. The Ontario government is determined that Ontario's industries can, should and will compete in the toughest marketplace of all, the world outside our borders.
Thus I am pleased to announce that the Ontario Science Centre, a crown agency of my ministry, has just signed a $700,000 contract for the sale of a science circus to Japan. This marks the first time that such an important element of Ontario technology and craftsmanship has been sold abroad.
The science circus is a highly sophisticated yet portable exhibition that will tour the cities and towns of Japan. It will supplement a similar circus also to be developed by the science centre that will in the near future tour other countries in the Far East under the auspices of this government.
The sale of the science circus is important to Ontario for a number of other reasons, not the least of which is that it alone will represent nearly half of one per cent of Canada's manufactured exports to Japan. As members know, Canada's exports with Japan have been primarily raw materials, which are then manufactured in Japan and sold back to Canada, so I know that all members will share my pleasure that an agency of the Ontario government, one devoted to science and culture, should be at the forefront of such a crucial and long overdue initiative in Canadian trade.
Another benefit of the sale of the science circus to one of the world's most advanced technological countries is that it will save and create jobs in our province. The science circus will be built entirely in Ontario by Ontario craftsmen, designers and manufacturers using Canadian-made materials and resources.
The idea of a science circus was first developed by the Ontario Science Centre in 1973. It was refined over the past decade when it toured hundreds of cities and towns across our province, the country and internationally. In 1981, the circus visited the Science Museum in London, England. It also visited Birmingham and Montreal, drawing crowds in excess of 10,000 people per day.
With this experience and with requests coming in from around the world either to take the circus on tour or consult in the building of indigenous science centres modelled on our own, the Ontario Science Centre has once again confirmed its international leadership both in communications technology and in the highly complex field of participatory exhibit design. That latter phrase means the hands-on type of exhibits the Ontario Science Centre is famous for.
But why is this sale, under $1 million after all, so important?
For one, I am confident it will lead to other sales in other countries. Thus it will provide hands-on learning experience in science to children and adults around the world. In developing countries especially, it will make science and technology accessible to nontechnical people.
It will also generate considerable goodwill for our province and Canada and focus attention on our high technology components and consumer products.
What is more, by tying science to trade, the science circus will help focus attention on Ontario trade activities in foreign countries and by tying science to tourism it will encourage visitors from abroad to discover Ontario. After all, the Ontario Science Centre is already one of our province's most important tourist exhibits.
That mandate was reiterated in the speech from the throne and I know members will look forward to similar statements from my colleagues in the next few weeks concerning other new initiatives taken by this government to play a leading role in the province's economic recovery.
CLOSURE OF CONSOLIDATED-BATHURST PLANT
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, before I start, I think the word should go out that it is most disrespectful of this corporal's guard of ministers not to be at the Canadian Club listening to the new vision from Brampton. I think you should make note of that and pass on to the Premier (Mr. Davis), Mr. Speaker, that they are not there.
Mr. Speaker: Perhaps you could spread the word.
Mr. Peterson: I was just trying to be helpful to you, sir.
I have a question for the Minister of Labour with respect to the immediate closing, I understand tomorrow, of the Consolidated-Bathurst Packaging plant in Hamilton. The minister has been involved in these negotiations and he is, no doubt, aware there is the threat of an immediate termination of some 140 jobs in addition to the 80 or so who have already been laid off.
I am sure the minister is also aware there have been some discussions and some initiatives put forward by the employees as to a potential employee takeover-buy-out of that plant. Could the minister bring this House up to date as to the state of those negotiations and what is happening there?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, I am hesitant to say that particular problem has had any higher priority than any other plant closure, but it seems to have had, at least from a time-consumption point of view. We have had meetings with union representatives and company representatives, and telephone conversations with local, regional and municipal politicians and staff persons in an attempt to try to find a resolution to this.
I must admit I am disappointed with the company's attitude. To date, we have made some requests of the company which I think were reasonable. In fairness to them, they have given consideration to them but for various reasons they have thus far seen fit to disregard such requests as a meeting convened by myself with management and union officials to try to reach agreement on some of the outstanding points.
We are still hopeful we can convince the company it should at least keep the plant open for another month to give the economic council in Hamilton, the unions and the other officials involved, an opportunity to reach some sort of satisfactory alternative arrangement.
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, there are certainly press indications that the federal government may be willing to participate in assisting the employees in a buy-out of those facilities. Certainly that is a preliminary indication.
Is the minister prepared, on behalf of his government, to offer the same kind of assistance in this matter to try to keep the plant open and, in the short-term, to continue those discussions with help from both the federal and provincial governments so that, hopefully, we can keep that plant in operation?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, I am not aware of any commitment by the federal government to provide financial assistance. I can advise the honourable Leader of the Opposition that there is a meeting that started at 1:30 p.m., and it is going on right now, between officials of my ministry and officials from the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
I certainly cannot stand in my place today and indicate that money would be available. I can certainly indicate that every possible support and consideration would be given to this very serious problem, just as it is to every plant closure that comes upon the scene these days.
Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, I am wondering if the minister is aware that, in a telegram to the union, Consolidated-Bathurst has flatly refused to discuss selling the plant to the workers, even though they are prepared to put forward an offer.
Is the minister also aware that the regional council in the community, some of his Tory friends, the mayor and regional chairman, Anne Jones, feel that the company's actions are contemptible? Given this kind of a position, is the minister ready to guarantee that the machinery will not be moved out of that plant at least until such time as the employees have an opportunity to put a presentation before the company in Montreal? Will he put whatever pressure he can on them through the federal and provincial governments?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, I am aware of the telegram. In fact, I have a copy of the telegram, and I talked with the company official who wrote the telegram before it was written and after it was written. I have expressed my concern and disappointment. I have tried to persuade them to act otherwise.
I do not know what my Tory friends have to do with this particular circumstance because I do not approach the problems brought to me on the basis of them having come to me from a Tory, a Liberal or a member of the New Democratic Party. In fact, the honourable member knows full well that the first meeting we had was set up by himself upon a request to me.
It is true that I have been in touch on several occasions with the regional chairperson, and with the mayor. In fact, I was in touch as late as this morning with the regional chairperson. Yes, certainly, I will do everything that I can do within my power to persuade the company to give some time so the possibility of a buy-out, a purchase or a co-operative arrangement can be made involving the union officials and the union persons.
I repeat what I said to the Leader of the Opposition just a moment ago. A meeting is going on at this time between my officials and the Ministry of Industry and Trade. I am to be briefed on the outcome of that meeting just as soon as I return from question period this afternoon.
Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, I would hope that the Minister of Labour not only gets a briefing on what happens at that meeting but also provides some leadership to make sure that if government funding is necessary it can also be added to the pot to help the employees in the buy-out.
Since only two months before the closing was announced Consolidated-Bathurst signed a three- year agreement with the employees' union, has the minister investigated the possibility that the company bargained in bad faith, and or possibly wrongfully dismissed the employees?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, it is my understanding that the union is considering the laying of charges against the company for bargaining in bad faith. If it does so that would be heard, of course, by the Ontario Labour Relations Board. Therefore, I would not want to make any further comment at this particular time.
APPOINTMENT OF POLICE CHIEF
Mr. Peterson: Mr, Speaker, I have a question of the Solicitor General with respect to the mess that developed with the police commission in London, Ontario.
The minister will no doubt be aware that one of the police commission members, one of his appointees, chose to have secret meetings with respect to the choosing of a new chief, and he will also be aware that the mayor has refused to sit on the police commission. As a result, there is no progress whatsoever towards the choosing of a new chief and the previous chief has already left office.
May I ask the Solicitor General what he is doing from his good offices to resolve this very embarrassing situation?
Hon. G. W. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, unlike the Leader of the Opposition. we do from time to time work on these matters and do not call press conferences; we reply through different means. I have been working on the matter; I have been discussing the matter with the Ontario Police Commission. The chairman of the Ontario Police Commission will be attending in London tomorrow.
On the matter of the mayor of the city of London deciding he was not going to sit on the commission, I find that most regrettable in that he does have a statutory duty as the mayor of the municipality to sit and carry out his duties under the law as a statutory person on the local police commission. The other two members are willing to serve.
The fact that somebody might have -- and I say might have -- used, somewhat in hindsight, some bad judgement or an unwise procedure to have consulted with different potential candidates for the chief's position, I do not find that, as some have been saying, in the nature of something that requires a public inquiry to sort out the problem.
I do not describe it as a mess; I just describe it as somebody who might not have, in hindsight, had those discussions with potential applicants for the job. But I do not find it such as to require a public inquiry or even to call for the person's resignation.
Mr. Peterson: It appears there is an impasse. It is not being helped by the minister's colleague, the minister of industry and tourism, the member for London South (Mr. Walker), who is now going around saying those nine people inside the force who applied for the job now apparently have withdrawn their applications because of the embarrassment they have been put through -- at least three of them have been put through -- by this one commissioner who decided to interview candidates on his own. The whole thing, as the minister will know, is at this point at an impasse and nothing is happening, which is affecting very seriously, from the report that I get, the morale of the London police force.
Since the minister has dismissed the possibility of having an inquiry of any type, what is he going to do to solve that problem now, so it does not further deteriorate over the next few months until the lapse of the appointment of this one offending commissioner?
Would the minister not agree that he has a responsibility in that regard and would it not be constructive on his part to ask the offending commissioner to do what he previously said he would do, i.e. resign, so that we can bring back the appearance of fairness and equity in this process of choosing a new chief in London? Surely that is not beyond the Solicitor General's power and is not unreasonable in the circumstances.
Hon. G. W. Taylor: I presume the Leader of the Opposition was referring to the Minister of Industry and Trade and not industry and tourism. I suppose he is about as up to date on this matter as he is on that one.
However, I will bring him up to date. The chairman of the police commission is attending tomorrow to discuss the matter with the --
Hon. G. W. Taylor: I find it very exhilarating that when one corrects the opposition it is not permissible, but when they are at pains to correct us, it is quite permissible. However, I will continue on in my brief conversation here.
The chairman of the Ontario Police Commission is going down to London tomorrow to discuss the matter with them. I find that a very reasonable solution to the problem, and do not, as has been requested by some people in the area, feel a royal commission or inquiry would be the only way to solve this problem. That would far out-distance this problem; it is certainly not that difficult a problem to solve. I would suggest that if the mayor, those aspirants for the job and the police commissioners were to get on with the job and complete the interviewing of individuals, the new chief would be chosen and the problem resolved.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, what exactly is the chairman of the Ontario Police Commission going to discuss with the chairman of the London Police Commission at the meeting tomorrow?
Hon. G. W. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, I would suspect. as has been suggested, that the chairman will discuss with them, as I have concluded, that the problem is not all that large and that he will suggest to them that they continue and complete the process of choosing the new chief of police.
It is not a major difficulty that has arisen here, and I certainly would not ask for the resignation of the commissioner. Certainly the situation is not one where I would instruct or give information to my cabinet colleagues that they request a resignation of the present police commissioner.
Mr. Peterson: What is happening is that the offending commissioner is getting passive if not active support from both this minister and the Minister of Industry and Trade (Mr. Walker), and I thank him for helping me with that matter.
But does this not speak to the broader issue as well, the whole matter of who can sit on a police commission, the majority being elected hands or appointed hands? Does it not speak to the entire matter of choosing a police chief and of conflicts of interest of potential police commissioners? The minister is aware that the offending police commissioner already has a conflict of interest in that one of his relatives is a member of the police force.
Does the minister not feel it is important, given this problem, now to review the entire matter and come forward to this Legislature with new rules with respect to this entire matter?
Hon. G. W. Taylor: As the Leader of the Opposition is aware, the Police Act, which that portion of the situation comes under, is presently under review, and there will undoubtedly be some increase in the number of members on the commission but no change in their majority or in how they will be appointed.
CANADA PACKERS LAYOFFS
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Labour about the Canada Packers layoffs. How does the minister feel about the very basic sense among a great many workers at Canada Packers that it was statements made by many people, such as the member for High Park-Swansea (Mr. Shymko), particularly during the announcement of the Board of Industrial Leadership and Development program, about the potential for closing the stockyards that contributed to the uncertainty with respect to the investment decisions of Canada Packers?
How does the minister respond to charges about the government's failure to act on the report of Mr. Kelly, published in the summer of 1982, calling on the government to take steps right away and saying: "We believe it is important that the Ontario government act on these recommendations immediately. The uncertainty about the future of the stockyards is delaying several companies in the meat packing complex from going ahead with their plans to upgrade their facilities"?
How does the minister respond to the charges that it is this kind of delay over the past two or three years that has directly contributed to the decision of Canada Packers to terminate their operation next to the stockyards and to leave 950 workers out in the cold?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, since that announcement was made I have been more concerned with the plight and the future of the 950 workers from Canada Packers and the possible spinoff effects on other workers at the stockyards than I have been with the rhetoric that has gone on over the past couple of years as to the future of the stockyards. I really believe that the leader of the third party should have directed this question to someone other than the Minister of Labour.
Mr. Rae: I thought he was responsible for plant closures, and that is exactly what we have seen.
Does the minister agree with the statement of the Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food that this closure was "inevitable and an essential rationalization. Frankly, it has come four or five years too late"?
As the minister responsible for protecting the workers of this province does the Minister of Labour agree with that kind of statement coming from the Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, I am concerned with the rationalization given for every plant closure. It seems to me that up until a few months ago most of the plant closures we had to deal with came about through bankruptcies or receiverships.
Mr. Mackenzie: Not so.
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Hear me out, please. I said up until a few months ago. I was going on to say that in the last number of months I have been disturbed by the number of closures that have been brought about by rationalization. That is the problem we are trying to attack at this time.
Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Speaker, given the fact that the food processing business is a very important part of Ontario industry and a very great source of employment in the province, which obviously the Minister of Labour would be concerned about, can the minister indicate to us how the obvious differences between the member for High Park-Swansea wanting to get the stockyards out of that particular area, and the attitudes and expressions of the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Timbrell) saying it is quite fine to leave it there, are going to be reconciled on the basis of the entire processing industry in that area trying to make some decision as to where it is going to go and the employment opportunities?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, rightly or wrongly, I really have not concerned myself as to the comments of the member for High Park-Swansea or the Minister of Agriculture and Food in respect to the stockyards. I have been more concerned about the jobs that are affected there. In that regard, I strongly believe it was the intervention of my ministry and myself personally in getting Canada Packers to agree to first refusal in their other operations for employees who are affected by this particular closure.
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, the minister's surprise at the process of rationalization would be quaint were its effect not so devastating on the workers, because the rationalization that is taking place in many industries in this province is the human face of recovery which the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) has been talking about over the last few days.
Instead of going on his hands and knees to companies asking them to delay things or change their minds, does the minister not think it is time we had legislation in this province requiring companies to justify plant closures so the government would be able to protect workers instead of simply letting them go to the wall every time a company decides it wants to make some more money?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: I do not believe I used the term "surprised" about rationalization. I believe I used the words "concerned and worried" about rationalization.
Let me answer the honourable member's question with a question. What is his answer? Does he believe that public takeover is the answer to the problem?
PROTECTION OF WORKERS
Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, I have another question for the Minister of Labour. The minister is well aware that to the Consolidated-Bathurst plant we were discussing just a few moments ago it is a question of rationalization. That rationalization assists the company, but 141 skilled workers with better than 20 years' seniority are out on the street. The same is the case with Flavorite Poultry, PPG Industries. H and R. Johnson and a number of plants in Hamilton -- all rationalization.
Why will the minister not take a look now -- quickly, before it is too late for some of these workers -- at legislation? Public justification, the community adjustment fund and the longer notice period are all suggestions made by this party and rejected by the other parties in this House. Why will he not now move in those areas to protect workers in Ontario? It is obvious we have a problem with rationalization of production.
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, this province does not have to apologize to anyone for its severance arrangements, notices and so on. We are the only province in the country that has such legislation. There is only one jurisdiction in the United States and that is Maine and it comes nowhere close to what we have. As far as extensions or refinements of the present legislation are concerned, we are constantly looking at that.
Mr. Mackenzie: The minister would not establish a commission of inquiry in this case. Why is it so easy to pass legislation to protect the depositors of Crown Trust but we cannot seem to get through legislation when it is urgently needed, such as in the case of Consolidated-Bathurst and the other plants? When will he bring in legislation that is going to give them some protection?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: I cannot give any commitment to the honourable member at this time that legislation will be introduced in the near term.
Mr. Wrye: Mr. Speaker, in his first answer, the minister referred to the severance pay legislation that he claims his government is so proud of. Does he not think after almost two years of work with the severance pay legislation that the time has come to re-examine it? Does he not think the time has come to reduce the minimum number of employees involved and the minimum period of work involved from five years to one year? Further, does he not think it is time to look at redefining what, for example, a permanent discontinuance is? Does he not think it is time to bring in some amendments to that severance pay legislation?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, I believe that is the same question the member for Hamilton East (Mr. Mackenzie) asked in different phraseology. It is time -- I agree with the honourable member -- it certainly is time to re-examine the legislation. That is what is going on within our ministry right now.
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, how does the minister expect that kind of statement to have very much credibility with us when it was contained in the speech from the throne in 1982 and nothing was done, and when it was not even mentioned in the speech from the throne in 1983? How does he expect his statements with respect to severance pay to have any weight at all in this Legislature when the government has dropped that specific commitment it made and did not keep in 1982?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, we have not dropped any commitments that were made in the throne speech in 1982.
ONTARIO HOME RENEWAL PROGRAM FUNDS
Mr. Epp: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing regarding OHRP, otherwise known as the Ontario home renewal program. Would the minister explain why $10.5 million of 1981-82 funds that had been committed to the Ontario home renewal program were quietly reallocated last October? Since the minister never bothered to inform us of this removal of the funds from that program, this reordering of the priorities, would he now indicate the specific program or programs to which the funds were reallocated?
Despite the minister's weak murmurings about his supposed generosity in allowing municipalities to recycle their reserve funds, the number of grants that can be offered through this process is pathetically small. How can the minister, who boasts that Ontario residents enjoy the highest- quality housing in the world, possibly justify strangling a program that is so desperately needed in the difficult economic times we are facing?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, you will recall that this program has been under way for some period of time in the province. Indeed, it has been one of the programs that the government of Ontario alone has funded, no one else. There has been no participation by either municipal or federal governments. It has been going on for a period of about seven years. We have a total of something close to $140 million that we have given out that has been administered by the local municipalities and allocated to the various needy people in their communities.
I said to the communities, "Yes, in the current budget year we are looking very seriously at the elimination of that program." That does not mean to say that some reconsideration or other thoughts about renovation and rehabilitation programs will not come about over the next period of time. I did say very clearly to the municipalities that the way the program was originally established afforded them the opportunity to allocate the money and to write off certain portions of it, but also to collect back the loans from the individuals. We believe after seven years there is developing a fairly interesting amount in a rollover account for most municipalities. That is one of the reasons we have ceased the program.
Mr. Wrye: Mr. Speaker, the minister will recall back in March I wrote him expressing my dismay about the fact that 300 applications in my community alone are awaiting OHRP funding. In his response, he said Windsor now receives $10,000 to $12,000 a month in OHRP repayments, which he just referred to. If he is suggesting that can keep OHRP going, that must be some kind of cruel joke. Two million dollars of OHRP money is needed to get the housing up to standard.
According to the 1981 census data, almost 170,000 dwellings in Ontario are in need of major repair. I would remind him, in spite of cancellation of this program, his government managed to find $23.2 million last year for advertising in the mass media alone. That was $4.6 million over 1981-82.
Will the minister now simply admit that the suffocation of OHRP has added to the deterioration of housing in this province, and will he make a commitment to those home owners, and the people who could return to the dignity of employment by repairing these homes, that he will recommend the reintroduction of OHRP in the provincial budget next month?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, I think I have already said very clearly that one can always have the opportunity to review the programs, and indeed we are doing exactly that. It was not meant as a cruel joke, the rollover funding, but it is there for the municipalities to make available to those who apply for it. I think it would be wrong for this House to believe that because we have withdrawn from the program, at least at this time, the federal government has had its residential rehabilitation assistance program in place and has supplemented it in the last while.
Mr. Cooke: Mr. Speaker, in view of the fact there are 750,000 people unemployed in this province and that renovation creates about twice as many jobs per dollar invested as does brand new housing construction, why did the government decide to cancel this very successful program with unemployment running at 12 per cent and 13 per cent across this province?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, in relationship to the program and its cancellation, indeed I think I have already answered that in the original part of my answer to the original question. There are rollover funds. I have not excluded the opportunity of still having some other programs in place.
RE-EMPLOYMENT OF FORMER SKF EMPLOYEES
Mr. R. F. Johnston: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Labour. The minister will recall that although he said it has only been a few months, it was two and a half years ago that plant rationalization took place around SKF in my riding. It was not a new phenomenon. It has been 17 months since that plant has closed. Is the minister aware that 60 per cent of those workers are still unemployed at this time? What is he doing to make sure those people get employment? What has he done?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, I was aware of a large percentage; I was not aware of the 60 per cent figure and I am not disputing the accuracy of that number. My ministry, through the plant closure and employment adjustment committee, has worked with the employees to try to provide counselling services and retraining programs. I really did feel it was more successful than the numbers that have been quoted today by the honourable member.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: I am quoting from statistics from a study by Paul Grayson on the SKF matter. Is the minister then not aware that of the men who are without work, 73 per cent put the blame on the management of the economy and 62 per cent put the blame on the fact that they are older workers for the situation in which they are not able to get work? Most of them, as the minister knows, are the average age of 51 now. What plan is the minister urging the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) to adopt in his new budget to make sure older workers like these are not thrown on the scrap heap but are put back into useful work for the remaining 10 to 15 years of their normal working lives?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: I am confident the Treasurer of this province will have a very exciting and stimulating budget that will address the problems of unemployment and job creation in this province.
Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Speaker, SKF is one of the classic examples of probably having closed the wrong plant. That was something that was discovered afterwards. This minister is responsible for that whole area of plant closures and the regulations and the policies that develop about it. Had they been in place at that time, this number of people would not now be out of work. What is he doing at the present time to prevent a recurrence of that and a recurrence of this kind of layoff?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, we cannot do anything retroactively on SKF and the member understands that, but what we have done, and I realize this is going to seem to be very minimal in the light of the seriousness of the problems, is to commission a study on SKF, as the member is aware, as to the impact on all of the workers. We are funding part of that study and we are hoping to be able to benefit from the information that will be provided to us.
EXTENDED CARE BED PROGRAM
Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Northern Affairs concerning his much-heralded extended care bed program in northern Ontario, the program that was supposed to be announced around Christmas as to which communities would be receiving the beds and when.
When is the minister going to make the announcement of the communities that have been chosen? When can I inform the good people of Atikokan that, because of their hard work and their raising of the money for their portion, they will be able to go ahead with this program?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, I am most pleased the honourable member has asked me this question because it gives me the opportunity to expound at great length about what a great program this is.
It was announced in the throne speech, but I would point out we made no commitment that we would notify the communities by last December. We said an application process would be devised, which has been done. That has gone out to the communities and the interest is absolutely unreal. Right now it is before the review committees of both the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Northern Affairs, and Management Board of Cabinet. I am hoping to make an announcement in the near future.
Mr. T. P. Reid: The minister is aware he and his officials have said "Christmas," "after Christmas," "February" and "early March." Can he be more definitive as to when this announcement will be made? Can he give us an indication of the ranking of who will be able to go ahead, because Atikokan in particular has pushed this program for many years and has had the money for some time? It is quite anxious to be able to have something in the ground this year, not next year.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I am very much aware of the community's interest. I want to congratulate all the communities that have raised their one-sixth portion of the capital cost, but it is difficult for me to give the member a definitive answer. I suggest if he follow me around northern Ontario, he will hear the announcement for himself in the near future.
Mr. Stokes: Mr. Speaker, given that the minister announced this even before it was contained in the throne speech over a year ago, and given that he has had some excellent presentations, particularly the one from the town of Geraldton, why is it taking so long? Three or four months ago he told me it had been reviewed by his ministry and was now in the hands of the Ministry of Health. Why is it taking the Ministry of Health so long to reach a decision on the excellent programs that have been hanging fire for well over 13 months?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, there is more to this program than just a building per se. It has to tie in to the hospital itself. The electrical system has to be expanded and the heating system has to be expanded in many cases. The kitchen staff has to be broadened. All those administrative items have to be considered in the planning process. That is part of the planning process that is going on now.
UREA FORMALDEHYDE FOAM INSULATION
Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Labour and it has a real employment dimension to it too. It pertains to the application of the Home Owners with Urea Formaldehyde Foam Insulation groups in Simcoe county, Hamilton, Guelph, Kitchener, Windsor and Ottawa, and others, for assistance under the Canada-Ontario employment development program for removal of foam insulation from their homes.
Recognizing the labour intensive nature of the work and the tremendous need for corrective measures in the urea formaldehyde foam insulation homes, why has the government been instrumental in refusing approval of these applications under COED?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, I am not sure the province has refused. It is my understanding it is the federal government that has refused. The member should bear in mind the COED program is a co-operative program between the federal and the provincial governments. There has to be approval from both sides before a project goes forward.
Mr. Swart: Can the minister not recognize the scepticism of UFFI groups, myself and many others that he has not turned it down? Although Hamilton applied last December, it has not even been approved in principle. The secretariat has not even had any negotiations with them. Mr. Michel Simard, who is the assistant to Mr. Ouellet, says, "We have indications from the Ontario government they will not participate, even though we are encouraging it and would fully participate ourselves."
If the minister has not refused, will he now give a commitment to this House and to the UFFI home owners that the province considers HUFFI groups to be eligible for the COED program and will work for approval of those requests in the joint secretariat?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: I would appreciate it very much if the member would send across to me a copy of the letter he has from Mr. Ouellet. Certainly I will be happy to look at the matter again.
Mr. Wrye: Mr. Speaker, while the minister is taking a look at this, perhaps he could raise with his provincial cabinet colleagues and with his federal colleagues the fact of the danger of continued use of UFFI in homes in the province. For example, there was a home in my riding that recently burned to the ground, and 10 firefighters suffered nausea and a number of other real problems while trying to fight the fire. Would the minister take to his cabinet colleagues the word that it is very important that we move immediately to remove UFFI from these homes?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, it sounds like a reasonable request and I am prepared to respond to it, but I would question the fact that the injuries to the firefighters were caused by the existence of that substance. That is not my understanding at all.
ONTARIO STOCK YARDS
Mr. Shymko: Mr. Speaker, I would like to address my question to the Minister of Agriculture and Food in the light of the questions raised by the member for York South (Mr. Rae) and the member for Kitchener-Wilmot (Mr. Sweeney), who to some degree misled us in his own comment that the member for High Park-Swansea wanted the relocation of the stockyards.
Mr. Speaker: The question, please.
Mr. Shymko: The question is, in the light of the decision by Canada Packers to relocate its plants, in the light of the Keljair report on the basis of which the ministry decided the present location of the stockyards will remain, and in the light of the fact that the argument given by Canada Packers that the location of the stockyards has absolutely nothing to do with the feasibility of its operation of the present site, is the ministry prepared, first, to join the municipal task force that is apparently being established to study the entire area in a full-scale inquiry into the location of the stockyards and the industry operating in line with that location?
Second, does the ministry intend to make an internal study that would look at the entire location of the stockyards, which apparently has nothing to do with the operation of the meat-packing industry?
Mr. Speaker: The Minister of Agriculture and Food will please answer one.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, the member will know I met with his worship the mayor and the two local aldermen several weeks ago following the announcement by Canada Packers, at which time I revealed to them that the ministry had been working on an in-depth analysis of the red meat industry for over a year. I released that analysis this morning and it is now on its way to members of the assembly.
Mr. Bradley: About time.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: About time? Well, they have been there a year.
I also indicated that in my view and in the view of the ministry, the decision by Canada Packers to move its slaughter operations to Burlington and to Kitchener does not in and of itself mean the stockyards should or would close. I point out that the company has been buying most of its hogs from the yards and anticipates continuing to buy most of its cattle at the yards, even when the slaughter operations have been moved to Burlington. The company it bought out in Burlington has been buying most of its cattle from the Ontario Stock Yards on Keele Street as well.
When I revealed this to the mayor and to the local aldermen, they were pleased to know the ministry was well on top of the situation, as it is in most things. I assured them I would be more than happy to have officials of my ministry assist the task force.
I can certainly understand their concern about maintaining a viable industry in the west end of the city. Mr. Speaker, you will know, since you represent a large number of cattlemen who ship to the Toronto yards, that there is a much bigger industry out there than just that one CP slaughterhouse.
Of course we will work with them. I urged them, in fact, to create the task force to respond to this report, to look at the future of the meat industry and everything related to it -- the food industry in the west end of Toronto -- in the light of the very interesting results of this report.
Mr. Speaker: Just before you put your supplementary, it has been brought to my attention that you may have inadvertently used some unparliamentary language, and if you did, I would ask you to withdraw it, please.
Mr. Bradley: The word was misled.
Mr. Shymko: I withdraw, if I did.
Mr. Speaker: Thank you.
Mr. Shymko: In the light of the fundamental argument in the Keljair report that the location of the stockyards is fundamental to the operation of an expansion of Canada Packers, since that fundamental argument has been pulled out from under the feet of that report in the decision of the ministry, is there an intention on the part of the ministry once again to review the location of the stockyards and to look at the Board of Industrial Leadership and Development program, which said that there should be a full-scale study and inquiry involving the union, local taxpayers, local industry and the municipality, so that in the future this red herring pulled by Canada Packers will not be used again and we are not going to be surprised with decisions?
Mr. Speaker: Order, order.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Sic Duncan Allan on him.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: You know whereof you speak.
I would not want to leave the impression that the ministry is considering moving the stockyards. At this time, given the decision by Canada Packers, given that they will likely continue to buy most of their cattle requirements at the Toronto stockyards, and given that they, in fact, last year handled close to 40 per cent of all the cattle sold in the province, I can see no reason at this time to contemplate a review of the location of the stockyards.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speake, I would like to draw the attention of the House to the fact that in your gallery today is Lorne Maeck, the former Minister of Revenue and former member for Parry Sound.
Mr. Speaker: It is always nice to see a former Minister of Revenue.
Mr. Bradley: The former minister will want to know that the program of grants to seniors has not advanced considerably in terms of its administration since he left, but that is not my question.
NIAGARA RIVER WATER QUALITY
Mr. Bradley: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of the Environment, who is apparently unscarred from his trip to Niagara District Secondary School this morning. The question is related to the drinking water available to municipalities in the Niagara region.
The minister has had under consideration for some time -- and many of us at the local level have advocated this measure -- a proposal to implement in the Niagara Falls plant the activated carbon filtration system as a pilot project or, as an alternative, another method which has been discussed with officials of his ministry which may be less expensive and as effective as the activated carbon filtration system. Is the minister prepared at this time, after evaluating those two systems, to make a statement as to whether he is prepared to fund a pilot project in Niagara Falls?
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, as I think the honourable member is aware, I have on numerous occasions discussed the viability of an activated carbon filtration system with individuals who are expert in the field. Based upon the present evidence that we have with regard to the water quality in the river and in the area surrounding the peninsula, the advice I have received is that there is no indication of its being necessary at this time, given the very low levels of trace contaminants that are in evidence.
In an effort both to deal with a real-life situation and to provide an opportunity for testing the carbon filtration system and its effectiveness, we will, I believe on May 7 or 9, be installing at the Uniroyal site in Elmira, Ontario, where we have detected some dioxin contamination in the ground water on the site of the plant and have installed purge wells to draw back the contamination to prevent its migration, a system that will provide us with an opportunity to test the effectiveness of carbon filtration in removing trace organics.
Mr. Bradley: Will the minister indicate to the House today that if his further testing reveals some potentially alarming levels of dioxin and other harmful chemicals in the water, or which could eventually make their way into the water supplies -- and there were many in the peninsula who feel the situation is there now -- he will not close the door to the implementation of the activated carbon filtration system or a reasonable alternative that may be more economical not only for Niagara Falls but also for all those municipalities that would be served by the Niagara River, the Welland Canal or other waters where these chemicals happen to he found?
Hon. Mr. Norton: I would never close the door to responding responsibly in any situation where it was required, obviously. I would reassure the honourable member, since he made specific reference to the dioxin test, that we have done some further testing on the water in the area. The follow-up testing has not allowed us at this stage to confirm the presence of any dioxin; in fact, we were not able to find it in the follow-up testing.
We are now doing further testing with larger samples, 20-litre samples, concentrating them to see if we can find any corroborative evidence for the earlier tests in the three out of some 150 where we believed we had detected very low concentrations of dioxin. But if the situation were to appear to require the introduction of additional protection, obviously I would not keep the door closed.
NORCEN ENERGY RESOURCES LTD.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Attorney General and it relates to the decision of the Ontario Securities Commission not to proceed with the charges against Norcen Energy Resources Ltd. under the Securities Act.
I understand the commission is meeting to consider whether or not the full report of the investigation, on the basis of which it made its decision, should be released to the public. As copies of that report or what purports to be that report are circulating in the public, would he urge his colleague the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Elgie) to release as soon as possible the full and complete report of the investigation of that matter?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I do not think there is any doubt, Mr. Speaker, that there is a good deal of public interest in the decision of the Ontario Securities Commission. Whether or not it would be in the public interest to release the whole report is something I would have to think about, because quite frankly I have not read the report in recent days. As the member knows, investigation reports of this nature are generally confidential because there may be matters in them that would create some degree of unfairness with respect to certain individuals if they were just released holus-bolus without being tested in a courtroom.
But subject to that concern, which I think surrounds the release of any report that is created by investigators, I acknowledge the legitimacy of the public interest in knowing the reasons for the decision of the Ontario Securities Commission. I know the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations is very much aware of the legitimacy of the public interest in this regard. I would simply express the hope that as much of the report, and in particular the reasons for the OSC decision, could be made public in the interest of the public and in the interest of the commission as well.
Mr. Renwick: In response to a question which I put to the Attorney General on February 21, when the House was last in session, to which he replied on March 17, he advised me that he anticipated the police investigation into the Norcen Energy Resources Ltd. matter would be completed about May 15.
Could he advise this House when he now expects that police investigation to he completed and the decision to be made with respect to criminal charges?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I have no additional information that would lead me to believe that the estimate I gave in writing to the member was not an appropriate estimate. If I am given any additional information to change that, I will so advise the honourable member and the House.
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, as Attorney General, to counsel only the selective release of certain parts of that report -- obviously his government has run into some trouble with the selective release of certain parts of the Atlanta study -- would he not feel it is in the public interest, because of the escalation of interest in this matter, to release the entire report so he will avoid any charges or any suspicion that he is releasing only parts that are self-serving?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, as usual, the leader of the official opposition misconstrues the issue that we are talking about or are attempting to address. The issue is simply with respect to the reports that are prepared by investigators for any body that has to make a particular decision. They are not normally released in their entirety.
I cannot say whether this is necessarily relevant to this report or not, because I do not have it in front of me and I have not looked at it for some days. But often if there are, for example, statements in the reports which are clearly hearsay or which could fall within the definition of hearsay evidence, statements that may or may not be substantiated or statements that may not be able to be established in a court of law, it has been generally the practice in this province, when it relates to reports that are prepared with respect to a prosecution, not to release those reports in their entirety simply because there may very well be a number of statements in the report that cannot be substantiated or established in a court of law. It is just a general principle of fairness that is applied.
As I said in response to the questions from the member for Riverdale, given the obvious high level of public interest in this report, in my view, it is in the interest of the commission and in the public interest to release as much of the pertinent information as possible. Surely that is the approach we have taken generally in relation to these matters involving criminal offences or quasi-criminal offences.
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I have a question to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. It relates to a speech made by the Premier (Mr. Davis) at noon today -- I gather his vision of Canada -- to the Canadian Club. I refer members to page 9.
I am sure the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, as the responsible minister, has vetted this speech and he is familiar with the contents. I want to read this to him just to jog his memory and to ask him what it means. It says:
"If Quebec is prepared to meet with the rest of the provinces of Canada and the government of Canada, in good faith, to find an opportunity through which they can enter into our constitutional accord and genuinely become members of the Canadian constitutional family" -- and this is the important part -- "then I am certainly prepared to advance a position on behalf of the government of Ontario that will take into account some genuine concerns that are felt within our sister province."
Could the minister tell this House what the Premier is referring to when he says he is going "to advance a position on behalf of the government that will take into account some genuine concerns"? What is he prepared to do? What is Ontario prepared to do if Quebec gets involved in the constitutional accord?
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate this question from my friend. I am sure the Premier would be happy to answer it, but I guess he is not yet back from delivering the speech.
I am sure the Leader of the Opposition read the statement I issued as Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs last weekend on the occasion of the first anniversary of the new Constitution of Canada. In it, I think I went just a little further than the Premier has gone in his speech and indicated that certainly one of the concerns of the government of Quebec was the opting-out provision of the Canadian Constitution which, of course, is in there now with fiscal compensation for education and cultural matters.
We indicated we would be willing to sit down with them to discuss full fiscal compensation for any constitutional amendment that took away powers of a province and for which a province wished to opt out. That might be a starting place for discussions with Quebec. We also indicated Quebec would have to come forward and say it was willing to sit down and talk about that kind of arrangement. At this point that has not happened.
Mr. Peterson: Does this paragraph refer, under certain circumstances, to the invocation of section 133 by this province, too, to extend the rights of francophones in this province in a constitutional way? Given the fact the Premier has alluded to the rights of anglophones in Quebec and wants some reciprocity in that respect, does that mean he is prepared to look afresh at that particular option which he has?
Hon. Mr. Wells: My perception in reading this, although I did not hear the speech today, would be that at this point we are talking about something rather different. We are talking about those things Quebec has said are not in the Constitution which prevents it from accepting it in the way the rest of us hope it would.
As to the idea of discussing full fiscal compensation, the Prime Minister of Canada has suggested perhaps we should talk about a veto. I think we realize it is a little late to go back and talk about vetoes in the Constitution. That, of course, was the constitutional position the government of Canada first put forward, which this province and New Brunswick supported. It was rejected by the other provinces and changed when the constitutional accord came about.
I think in this context the Premier is talking about things such as fiscal compensation and those other things which would make the Constitution of Canada acceptable to, or accepted by the government of Quebec. It should also be underlined that the Constitution of Canada does apply and the people of Quebec enjoy all the privileges and responsibilities that go with the new Constitution.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: I draw your attention to standing order 33(a) which requires that, "ministers shall present all reports required by statute within six months of the close of the reporting period unless reasons for delay are given to the House."
The annual report of the registrar of loan and trust corporations for the year 1979 was tabled nine months late on April 21, 1981, and we have not as yet received or had tabled in the House the annual reports of the registrar for the years 1980 and 1981.
Mr. Speaker: I am sure the minister responsible will take action as requested.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
EMPLOYMENT STANDARDS AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Wrye moved, seconded by Mr. Ruston, first reading of Bill 19, An Act to amend the Employment Standards Act.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Wrye: Mr. Speaker, this bill would amend the group termination scheme of the act to provide the severance pay as due when the employment of 15 rather than 50 employees is terminated during a six-month period. It is payable to employees with one year's rather than five years' seniority and is not subject to a maximum, rather than being limited to the equivalent of 26 weeks' wages.
YONGE-ROSEDALE CHARITABLE FOUNDATION ACT
Mrs. Scrivener moved, seconded by Mr. J. A. Taylor, first reading of Bill Pr14, An Act respecting the Yonge-Rosedale Charitable Foundation.
Motion agreed to.
CITY OF TORONTO ACT
Ms. Fish moved, seconded by Mr. Robinson, first reading of Bill Pr3, An Act respecting the City of Toronto.
Motion agreed to.
THOMAS-HAMILTON-WEBBER LTD. ACT
Mr. Van Horne moved, seconded by Mr. Sweeney, first reading of Bill Pr11, An Act to revive Thomas-Hamilton-Webber Ltd.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Philip moved, seconded by Mr. Swart, first reading of Bill 20, An Act to protect the Purchasers of New Motor Vehicles.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Philip: Mr. Speaker, this bill, which will come to be known as the Lemon-Aid Act, 1983, will entitle the consumer who owns a defective new motor vehicle to obtain either an equivalent vehicle in replacement or a full refund of the purchase price.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
THRONE SPEECH DEBATE (CONTINUED)
Resuming the adjourned debate on the amendment to the motion for an address in reply to the speech of the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor at the opening of the session.
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate this opportunity to be able to reply to the speech from the throne. Last year I did not have a seat in this Legislature and so was not able to respond in the House.
Mr. Rae: You had your chance and you blew it.
I very much appreciate this opportunity. I notice the Premier (Mr. Davis) is here and I appreciate his being here. I just want to tell him I am going to be talking exclusively about provincial issues, so if he decides to leave early and loses interest in what I am saying I will understand.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I just sent you a note saying I was leaving, but not because of that.
Mr. Rae: I intend to speak this afternoon principally on three issues that I believe are of deep and profound concern to the people of this province. I intend to speak this afternoon about jobs, about the lack of them in this province, and about the human impact on our people that this extended joblessness has had and is having and will continue to have unless we give recovery the human face it deserves.
I also intend to speak about housing, because I believe where there is a population having increasing difficulties making ends meet, one which is more poorly housed this year than it was five years ago in terms of cost, availability and access, this is an issue that will not go away and no amount of rhetoric in the speech from the throne will make it go away.
Finally, I intend to speak principally this afternoon about our health care system and particularly about what has happened to the nursing home industry in this province and on the fate of a great many senior citizens whom I believe deserve better from the government than they have been receiving and who certainly deserve better when it comes to institutional care.
This is not an issue that simply affects senior citizens. It is an issue that affects each and every one of us, because old age is not a disease, it is a condition of life itself. It is also an unquestionable fact, and I say this to the Premier in all sincerity, that there is now a conflict going on in Ontario between those of us who believe in a universal medicare program, those of us who believe that medicare is designed to provide care for people regardless of means from birth until death, and the world of private profit, the world of private enrichment, the world of cutbacks and of profiteering that has no place whatsoever in a health care system worthy of the name.
When I say I am focusing on the nursing home industry, I am focusing on what is happening to a great many people who are in nursing homes today. The issue is far broader than simply that. The issue is whether we are going to have a public medicare system worthy of the name, or whether we are going to allow those profits of private enterprise and private enrichment to encroach and entrench their position in the health care system to a point where it becomes unrecognizable as a universally accessible system.
An article came across my desk the other day from the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Under the heading of Economics, it is called "The Ontario Hospital Experiment: American Managers March In." It is by a regular contributor to the CMA Journal named Milan Korcok, who appropriately lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Mr. Korcok describes the decision by the Ministry of Health to allow a company called AMI, an American private hospital management company, to take over the management of the Hawkesbury and District General Hospital.
This might seem to be a very minor matter were it not for the fact that I believe it represents a fundamental change. Indeed, the CMA agrees with the fact that it represents a fundamental change.
I quote from the final page of Mr. Korcok's article, where he says, "The willingness of the Ontario government to bless the Hawkesbury contract surely looks like a green light for the re-entry of a private sector that has been effectively locked out of health care insurance."
It goes on to quote Mr. Reid, the gentleman in the Ministry of Health who is responsible for the business-oriented new development program, as saying this about the contract between the hospital in Hawkesbury and AMI: "We don't impose these contracts. (But) if a hospital came to me tomorrow and suggested they would like to go the Hawkesbury route, then we would investigate it and, quite frankly, I would be supportive of it. Right now, what we are looking for is another (hospital) volunteer."
They then go on to quote the gentleman who used to be an employee of the Ministry of Health. If I may say so, this is a pattern we can see repeated throughout what is now unfortunately called the health care industry. A former employee of the Ministry of Health says they are looking for expansion and they are delighted with the challenge.
Another official of AMI, Mr. Silvin, says Ontario is the new target area for AMI. "We are focusing on Ontario for our achievement list. We would love to take on a teaching hospital, that's our goal."
I think we can see what has happened in Hawkesbury is simply the thin edge of the wedge.
Nowhere is the conflict between the demands for public health, the right of people to a decent living environment regardless of their economic circumstances, the conflict between that sense and that vision and the very different reality more clear than in the tragic situation facing so many senior citizens, particularly those who are unable to speak or care for themselves in many instances. They find themselves with very few choices in life.
When we consider what happens to many seniors we realize that as a society we are getting older and a great many seniors are faced with not wanting to leave their homes even though the government does not provide them with adequate home care services. They suddenly become very ill. When faced with a very sudden illness, they and their families have to make some very difficult choices. I want to suggest that the choices they are presented with in our society are totally unsatisfactory. A great many people face tremendous hardship because of the choices that are imposed on them.
There are at the moment 340 nursing homes in Ontario, virtually all of them organized on a private profit basis. Some of them are run on a multinational basis as part of multinational chains. They have 28,686 beds. They are run on a private profit basis. They are inspected by an inspection staff from the Ministry of Health which consists of three fire inspectors for 340 nursing homes in Ontario, three environmental health inspectors for 340 nursing homes, 14 nursing inspectors for 340 nursing homes, and three regional supervisors for a grand total of 24.
On April 11, 1983, Mr. Paul Gould, who has just recently been named the manager of nursing home services in the Ministry of Health, gave a public presentation to the Concerned Friends of Ontario Citizens in Care Facilities group, which I will be returning to in a moment. Mr. Gould had these comments to make, among others. I am quoting from what he said. Like the Minister of Health (Mr. Grossman) we too take notes at some of these meetings.
He said: "With 340 homes it is not an easy or quick end product we are trying to achieve. The solutions are not as easy as they appear to be." He then went on to say: "Our staff are being run off their feet. A lot of pressure is on. We would like to see the best quality care on a restricted budget, given the restraint program the government is on." In a sense that sets the stage for what I am about to describe.
As leader of our party and as someone who has, because of personal circumstances, taken an interest in the nursing home industry and in the choices facing seniors, like many others I have received many letters. I would like to read letters I have received from three very different people about very different circumstances.
I believe these letters, together with the rest of the evidence which I want to introduce this afternoon, indicate there is something very gravely and seriously wrong with the way in which our nursing home industry is run, organized and managed. Perhaps even more fundamental than that, there is something very wrong in the government's attitude to senior citizens and to the role and place of private enterprise in the health care field.
The first letter I would like to read comes to me from a Mrs. Gwenyth Grube. George Grube, who died last year, was one of the founders of our party and a candidate for us in many elections. For many years he was president of the Ontario Co-operative Commonwealth Federation. He was a professor of classics at Trinity College of the University of Toronto and a jewel of an individual.
He was a friend to me in his later years. I am fortunate and indeed proud to have his personal copy of the book Social Planning for Canada which he was involved in writing and which, as members know, was one of the principal critiques of the Canadian economy produced in the 1930s.
One can imagine how upsetting it was for me to receive last year this letter from Mrs. Grube with respect to care her husband was receiving at a nursing home in this province.
I intend to name these nursing homes, because I do not think we can go on any longer pretending that everything is okay in these industries. I do not think we can go along any longer saying that all is well and that anything is served by not naming names, giving examples and being very specific. I would not pull my punches in this respect any more than we should with respect to a hospital, and it is important for us to remember that.
This is a copy of a letter that Mrs. Grube wrote to the Ministry of Health nursing home division:
"Dear Sir or Madam:
"I am writing to complain of conditions at Barton Place Nursing Home, 914 Bathurst Street. My husband, George Grube, was moved there on January 13, 1982, from Central Hospital where he had received very satisfactory care. He was a bed and wheelchair patient and after a fall was put into loose restraint. He did not grumble about this or even mention it to me on my daily visits.
"At Barton Place, although he was clearly very weak, he was not given a restraint but a small movable table was put in front of him. He could push it away with one hand. He fell on Saturday, February 6, and was taken to Toronto Western Hospital to have a head cut stitched up. On February 9 he fell again, broke his hip and sustained other head injuries. He is 82.
"Knowing how professionals hate advice from nonprofessionals I unfortunately postponed suggesting a restraint until it was too late. Several friends who visited my husband, one with nursing experience, say they too were anxious on his behalf but like me hesitated to interfere. My daughter from New York went to collect his clothes from Barton Place and to find out how the accident happened. She was foiled in her attempt.
"A great deal of pain and suffering has ensued and perhaps worse is to come. Even from a tax point of view, hospital care is, of course, very much more expensive than nursing home care. I could say a lot more about conditions at Barton Place, but for the moment will confine myself to the insecurity of patients."
She sent me a copy of that letter. We wrote back and forth and she wrote me finally on May 15, 1982, to say:
"Many thanks for your letter. I have received three letters from Mr. Klamer." Mr. Klamer was at that time the chief of the nursing home inspection service.
"February 26; acknowledged my letter and promised investigation. March 10; a disingenuous befuddlement in much the same words as the repeat on May 10. (We have got under their skin.) I can't tell whether Mr. Klamer is stupid or just hopes that we are."
Mr. Speaker, Mrs. Grube is a lady, you will know, who speaks her mind in no uncertain terms.
A few points: "They learned nothing and did nothing after George's fall on February 6 to avoid a repeat on February 9. The doctor evidently was not consulted, nor was I. When endeavouring to get a refund on the money that I had prepaid, I was told George's doctor was away for two weeks and no other doctor could sign a cheque for me. I finally got the refund by frequent phoning.
"Shouldn't we insist on higher standards, then?" she goes on to say. "A comfortable lounge on each floor, for instance. On George's floor a sunroom not big enough for all the patients, served also as dining room and TV room. Many patients had to sit in their wheelchairs in the corridor staring at the opposite wall. Regarding taking the matter further, as you suggest, only will-power is keeping George alive. He is very ill. Perhaps we should wait a while?"
As I said, Mr. Speaker, George Grube has since passed away.
I think it was receiving this letter, as I did very soon after I became leader of our party and very soon after some personal experiences that caused me as a son and grandson to look into the question of nursing homes, that caused me to ask some questions about what was going on. We made some inquiries and had some discussions with a number of groups, including the Concerned Friends group.
Before I get to some of the things we have discovered in the last number of months, I want to quote a couple more letters because I think it is important that we get the evidence into the record as to what average, ordinary people are experiencing -- not people who have any kind of axe to grind, not people who are trying to make a political point, but people who are simply sending letters, frequently just sending copies to us so we will be aware of what their concerns are.
I have another letter here from an individual who has asked to remain anonymous but who is a constituent of mine, She again sent me a copy of a letter she wrote to the Minister of Health. This letter is dated November 3, 1982, and in it she describes two experiences she has had with respect to two nursing homes for her mother.
It may take a little time, but I think it is important that these letters get into the record and that we see what is going on in incident after incident so that no one can get up and say, "You are just talking about a number of isolated incidents." There is a pattern here, and it is a pattern that has to be dealt with, that has to be remedied. The pattern, I believe, speaks to the way in which health care is treated by this government and to the way in which this government has allowed the forces of private profit to have a virtual monopoly in the care for senior citizens in nursing homes.
"On the morning of October 14, 1982," my constituent writes, "my father and my sister admitted my mother into a nursing home in Toronto." I have since ascertained from this constituent that she is speaking of the Lincoln Place Nursing Home in Toronto.
"My sister talked with the administrator at length about pills mother was to take, a total of four a day. The following is a report of what took place in the next five days.
"Wednesday, October 15, my brother visited her at lunch time, and she seemed a little confused but settled. She was, however, not wearing her own clothes.
"Thursday, October 16, no one visited.
"Friday, October 17, my husband and I visited, and we couldn't believe how she looked. She was to have had her hair washed and set by the hairdresser. It had been washed but obviously not set. She was wearing someone else's dress that was too big, and she had no bra on. I asked her if she was taking all her pills, and she replied, 'I haven't had any pills yet.' She had two bruises on her arm.
"I spoke to the woman at the front station about the bruises and the pills. She looked through mother's records, etc., and said there was no record of any medication given, even though all this had been discussed on the day she was admitted. She was to have been given one high-blood-pressure pill and three a day of another drug prescribed by her doctor in treatment of possible Alzheimer's disease.
"Saturday, October 18, my father and my sister visited, and again she did not have her own clothes on. Not only that, they had not even unpacked her suitcase. My father and sister were very upset at how she looked, and my father wanted to take her home that very day. My sister phoned me from the nursing home, and we decided to leave her there one more night and discuss it further with the family.
"Sunday, October 19, my father's decision was to get her out of that place because she was not being looked after properly. My sister called down to say we'd be picking her up after supper. When we got there about 6:30 p.m., she had no undergarments on, she was wearing an old pair of slacks that were too big and a brown sweater coat (also not her own) with one button done up. Her hair had not even been combed. What a sad, heartbreaking sight to see your mother like that. We dressed her and took her home. My father is 82 years old and my mother is 72."
"This is the second experience with nursing homes. In July she was admitted to one." Again, I have ascertained that this is the Town and Country Nursing Homes in Thornhill. "The administrator there told us not to visit her for seven to 10 days so she could get used to being there. My brother visited after five days and did not like what he saw, We visited after a week and she looked terrible. They kept them drugged. She did not even have her teeth in. Can you imagine anyone not noticing she did not have her teeth and trying to eat her supper? I demanded that they find her teeth immediately, because we had taken her a couple of homemade cookies. They found the teeth and were trying to shove them in her mouth until I noticed that they were not even her own teeth. The woman that shared the bedroom had her teeth in her mouth. It was revolting, to say the least.
"I told my dad this and the next day we went to pick her up and dad did not even recognize her. He walked right by her to the desk. In this place they kept them in a type of high chair for hours on end and they could not get out. My mother is living at home again now and my father is doing his best to look after her. Doesn't anyone care what happens in nursing homes? Most of these nursing homes are government subsidized. Do the people who run these nursing homes really care about their patients? Are there any answers?"
I have been in touch on many occasions with the lady who wrote this letter and now can confirm that this lady's mother did go home, that she subsequently broke her hip while at home on March 11, and that she is now in the Etobicoke General Hospital.
A third letter I have is from an individual living in Orillia. Again, he has asked to remain anonymous, and I will be saying a word about why people want their names to be kept anonymous. That, in itself, is an indication of what is wrong with the nursing home industry in this province. He again has copies of letters he sent to the Minister of Health and the replies the minister has sent to him.
I simply want to indicate to you, Mr. Speaker, what his concerns are and give you a sense of the difficulties facing a great many families and the difficulties facing a great many people who I think deserve better in their old age than they are receiving from this government, and certainly better than they are receiving from some of the people in the industry.
This letter is dated January 2, 1983.
"I was in Blenheim, Ontario, between Christmas and New Year's to visit my father who is in the Canadianna nursing home in Chatham, Ontario.
"It was very upsetting to notice that 90 per cent of the residents on his floor were mentally retarded. There is no one who has more feeling for them than myself, but I do feel they should be by themselves.
"Is this how the government of the day is able to close many of the mental hospitals in Ontario, at the expense of senior citizens? The staff at the nursing home were fine, but the atmosphere was not conducive to improving the health of those who were in there with physical problems only. The weeping, wailing and staring eyes were getting to me the few hours I was there. It is not very nice when you still have your mental faculties to spend your last days in this type of environment."
He goes on to talk about the cost and how expensive it was, and then he says: "Since the Canadianna nursing home still did not have a semi-private or ward room available, the family made the decision to move him to Guilds Nursing Home, which is three miles southeast of Blenheim. This is costing $15 a day but no extended health care. The doctor was not too happy about the move but this is all my parents can afford. However, my father is much happier in Guilds and gets tender loving care from all the staff which will probably do more for his condition than anything. Speaking to my mother by phone today my father is resting better now and able to go by wheelchair to the dining area for his meals."
In the further correspondence that takes place it turns out this gentleman's father is not, in fact, in a nursing home at all. He is now in a rest home. I think it is worth reading a letter this gentleman got from the minister, dated March 22:
"Further to my letter, my staff have looked into the concerns you raised regarding the nursing home in Chatham. Nursing homes in Ontario are available to all the residents of this province who are in need of nursing care as determined by their attending physicians and according to the criteria established under the extended health care program. In a home the size of Canadianna, there will inevitably be residents who have many different disabilities which may be of physical or mental origin. Nevertheless, they all require those nursing services which are provided in the nursing home.
"The facility in Guilds where your father is now a resident is not a licensed nursing home but a rest home." In other words, it is an entirely unlicensed private operation. "This is the reason there are no extended health care benefits."
Those three letters, plus of course the evidence which my colleague the member for Bellwoods (Mr. McClellan) introduced before the standing committee on social development, which was considering the estimates of the Ministry of Health, the documentation which he so graphically and movingly gave with respect to the circumstances of the Ark Eden home, indicated to me very clearly that there was something profoundly wrong and more work needed to be done. We needed to know more. We needed to find out exactly how this kind of situation could have developed in Ontario.
I might add, when one gets a very positive letter from the minister, or a letter from Mr. Klamer or somebody in the ministry staff, it is perhaps worth remembering. It is perhaps worth my quoting once again the letter that Mr. Klamer wrote on August 11, 1981, with respect to the Ark Eden Nursing Home. I think it is important to put on the record exactly what this government was doing when it was faced with the tragic situation at that home, which has now been admitted to by the Minister of Health.
"The nurse inspector has completed her investigation into your concerns identified in your memo dated July 27, 1981. The nurse inspector interviewed staff members and perused the staff time schedule which the payroll was taken from. It is reflected that adequate staff has been provided to ensure that no nursing unit is left unattended. The staff assured the inspector there was at least one person in the nursing unit at all times.
"The nurse inspector did an inspection of the personal care programs and outcomes and concluded that the essential components in care fundamentals of the nursing program are intact, well established and maintained."
It goes on to give the same kind of whitewash to the situation at the Ark Eden home, a whitewash which flies in the face of the fact that at the very time this gentleman was writing this particular letter, the nursing home in question was in violation of several items in the regulations in the Nursing Homes Act.
We then have the brief of the Concerned Friends of Ontario Citizens in Care Facilities, the relatives of people in institutions in this province. This is an organization which has done a tremendous amount to get this issue into the open and to give courage and confidence to residents and to friends and relatives of residents who are caught in this labyrinth of secrecy, this labyrinth of free enterprise, and in decisions taken which prevent them from being able to provide adequate care for their families.
They say, for example: "Within the membership of this organization we have now documented situations involving neglect through confidential feedback from relatives who visit homes frequently."
The same concerns surface again and again: Poor nutrition; lack of cleanliness; poorly trained staff; staff unwilling to relate to residents or relatives; people left sitting on bedpans for long periods; over-medication of residents; mysterious injuries, unexplained bruises; injuries left untreated; bedsores. There is the lack of any kind of stimulation, which in turn leads to more institutionalized behaviour; no resident or relative input whatsoever in the development of care plans, medical treatment and/or assessments without consent; misuse of form 1 as a means of moving residents into psychiatric facilities; inappropriate moves and transfers to other facilities without consent; total loss of privacy and dignity; inadequate personal care and hygiene. And it goes on and on.
In addition, we have another body of evidence which has never really been drawn on and never really seen the light of day. That is the evidence which has come forward from a number of employees' organizations in making their arbitration submissions.
One of the great themes that can be seen to be running through the concerns that are expressed by friends and relatives, and by parents and the concerns that are expressed by staff, is the inadequacy of staff, the fact there is not enough staff to do the job that needs to be done.
When one hears this from relatives, it frequently comes out as a complaint about the staff, because what they are saying is there is not enough being done. "They had to go up to another floor" or whatever; or, "They were very short, they did not have time to talk to my mother," or father or brother or sister. But if one asks the staff these questions, they will say: "Of course that is a problem. It is a problem because there is simply not enough time in the day to do the kind of job that needs to be done."
Again, there are very graphic statements that are made by individuals in these institutions who are working hard in a very difficult job. I would like to read a description written by members of a Canadian Union of Public Employees' local in reply to an arbitration grievance with respect to an arbitration at the River Glen Haven Nursing Home:
"As we indicated earlier, this home has 90 residents of whom approximately 35 per cent have psychiatric problems. Another 15 per cent are alcoholics and suffer from alcoholic-related diseases and must be kept on controlled drugs. A good number suffer varying degrees of senility, have physical problems related to strokes, multiple sclerosis, etc., while others have behavioural problems. Some display violent behaviour. The majority are classified as heavy-care patients, those who require a lot of assistance, such as lifting in and out of bed, assistance with toileting, bathing, washing, etc.
"With few exceptions, the vast majority of patients need total nursing care, have little or no control of their body functions, need assistance with their food and all need supervision."
That is the point that has to be made again and again. The picture that many try to portray of a nursing home is increasingly out of the reality of what a nursing home does. It is not a kind of rest home where people are gladly walking around with an endless amount to do, endless activities going on. That is not the reality. In many instances, particularly on some floors of nursing homes, the reality is they have become chronic care hospitals.
The whole division which has been made by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Community and Social Services between those who have extended-care needs and those who do not have extended-care needs, and those who should be in a hospital -- the whole division between rest homes and homes for the aged and nursing homes and chronic care hospitals bears no relationship to the reality of what is really going on in these places.
I would like to describe what this union has to say about some of the practices that have taken place in this particular place. "The following is a partial list of complaints brought to the union's attention by various employees of the home that indicate the degree of difficulty encountered in attempting to properly carry out their duties and responsibilities.
"1. The thermostats have been preset and locked in the patients' dining room. Temperatures have been recorded as low as 52 degrees at breakfast time and 63 degrees at lunch time in the winter months.
"2. Numerous shifts have started without sufficient linen supplies. Employees resort to using one end of the towel for washing and the other end for drying patients. On occasion employees have had to use rags. Because of the shortage, some patients were not given their baths or showers. Often there was not sufficient bed linen.
"3. Sterile gloves and gowns for handling patients with open sores, shingles, etc., are often not available.
"4. The supply of sterile dressings often runs out so that staff is forced to use incontinent pads.
"5. Employees complain that hot water tanks are set too low with the result patients often have to be bathed in cold water. Laundry staff complains that water is not hot enough to properly clean bed clothes.
"6. Laundry staff no longer supplied with bleach or fabric softener resulting in stained and dirty looking sheets and linens and the clothes are full of static.
"7. Kitchen staff reported that employers changed meat companies and meat is now of very poor quality. Grocery company has been changed also and now they get rusted cans and cans with dents in them. The kitchen is still short of pots and pans. Some pans have holes in them. There are no SOS pads, etc. There are just enough bowls for each patient's use." This sounds like something out of Charles Dickens. "If any bowls are broken, some patients will not get cereal or soup. The employer will not purchase any more bowls or cups. Cups are also in short supply.
"Kitchen staff also reports that the stove in the kitchen does not work properly. One oven has a broken door which is always open an inch or so. As a result the broiler is always coming on. All food put in this oven burns. The second oven does not heat up properly and it takes nearly five hours to cook a meatloaf. The employer refuses to repair or replace these stoves.
"8. The cleaning staff has been told they will not receive any more disinfectant or brushes to scrub the toilets. They have to use warm water and dish soap and their bare hands to clean the toilets. Many cleaning materials such as Saniflush, toilet bowl brushes, rubber gloves are not being supplied.
"9. The alarm buzzer for the main entrance is often turned off and the patients often leave the building unnoticed. Patients have been found outside of the building. This especially happens when the home is operating short-staffed. Patients have often been found wandering outside in the snow without warm clothing and wearing only slippers on their feet.
"We have pointed out only some of the more serious problems, as many, many more have been reported. The most frequent problem brought to our attention is the number of times the home has operated short-staffed because the employer fails to replace staff who are ill, on vacation, on leave of absence, etc.
"In one four-month period, between February and May of this year, 81 different shifts operated without a full complement of staff." That is 81 shifts without a full complement of staff. "This results in the patients not receiving the proper care they need and deserve, and employees being overworked." The union goes on to say, "It is our opinion that these conditions exist in order that the employer can maximize his profits."
Similarly, I would like to quote from a brief that was made with respect to the Tender Loving Care Nursing Home and give the House a sense of what it means to work in these places, and the kind of work that is involved.
"Patients are bathed (often several times a day as many have no control of their bodily functions), given mouth care, foot care, nail care and other personal attention and treatment. Aides are responsible for keeping the patients' rooms tidy by cleaning the closets, dressers, drawers, chairs, wheelchairs, etc. When a patient dies, the nurse's aide is responsible for preparing the body for the coroner, which could involve washing the patient, combing and dressing the body. There is no morgue at this home so bodies are left in their rooms until the coroner arrives. It is not unusual that this takes a day or more.
"This is just a brief outline of some of the general duties involved in patient care. We outline them here, not only for the board's information, but also to explain some of the difficulties that employees have expressed that they encounter in the carrying out of their duties."
In other words, the frustration that is felt is a frustration that is felt by the employees themselves, just as much as it is felt by many of the parents and relatives of some residents.
"We have been told by employees that the shampoo supplied to them is so thin it won't make suds when they attempt to wash the patients' hair. The mouth wash has been diluted, and they are not allowed to use the hair conditioner.
"We have been told that the linen is so disgraceful they would not let a dog lie in it, face cloths are so thin aides get excrement over themselves when they wash patients who have soiled themselves. Towels are so worn and thin that pieces stick to patients' bodies when they are being dried. There is always a shortage of linen and employees resort to hiding it so they will have enough for their particular patients' needs."
They then go on to describe several problems they experience with patient violence. That is particularly true in those nursing homes which are caring for people who are either ex-psychiatric patients or who suffer from severe problems of mental retardation who are now being cared for in nursing homes in Ontario.
I quoted from the letter from the gentleman from Chatham, and I think it is important we make this point. We are not denying the minister's statement that a nursing home has an obligation to care for people whatever the reason for their being there, but we want to ask members of the government to consider what the impact would be on them personally if they were, in a sense, in a situation where they were spending their days, entirely rational, on a ward where the majority of people were suffering from severe emotional or retardational problems.
This is a quote from a book by Clifford Bennett called Nursing Home Life: What It Is and What It Could Be. Mr. Bennett himself has been a resident for some time in a nursing home.
He said: "While a patient, I was very conscious of the plight of the rational patients. They were a lost group, obviously living in an environment which was unsuited to their needs. Many were in wheelchairs, some used walking aids, others had severely crippling disabilities, but they were mentally alert and it did not seem right that they should have to spend most of their time among those who had mental afflictions and were illogical and disturbing. Some were even assigned to rooms where confused and disoriented patients also lived. It made no difference whether they were in their rooms, in the corridor or seated in the lounge, there was no escape from the abnormal and depressing behaviour of the irrational patients.
"The current effort on the part of mental institutions," Mr. Bennett goes on to write, "to place many mentally disturbed patients in nursing homes is having a very depressing effect on alert residents. Their living conditions are being adversely affected, and their anxieties are increasing. This is happening even though many of the nursing home staff members are not trained to cope with patients who have serious mental illnesses."
It was as a result of our pulling together this evidence and of the concerns that were expressed to us by many individuals that we decided in our caucus last term, as it were, that we would do some work of our own and try and discover on a firsthand, first-sight basis what is really going on.
I want to make it very clear that I am not suggesting for a moment that every nursing home in this province is some kind of hell hole. I have visited a great many myself and I have seen very good ones and very bad ones.
It is extremely important that we put this matter in perspective and have a sense that it is a question of a pattern being repeated over and over again, a pattern that cannot simply be said to be a series of unfortunate mistakes, a pattern that cannot simply be responded to by the minister saying, as he does -- and he is a great hustler, this minister; he is Johnny on the spot or Larry on the spot; he is always there with a ready answer and he is always ready to say: "Do not worry. We closed down that home yesterday; that is not a problem any more." "Do not worry. We are on top of that situation; we have been in there." And, "Do not worry, it is happening here, there and everywhere else."
That is not the point. The point is that there is a pattern taking place here, a pattern that is endemic, a pattern that has to be changed fundamentally. The only way it can be changed, in my opinion -- I reiterate this point because it has to be made again -- is if we stop giving private enterprise a monopoly in the nursing home industry in Ontario.
It is absolutely monstrous that in 1983 we should be giving senior citizens and their families and retarded people and their families and young people hit by strokes such an appalling set of choices with respect to institutional care. It is a disgrace that in 1983 we should have to bring up these kinds of situations time and time and time again and simply have the minister or others respond by saying, "Oh well, we believe in a mixed health care system and we believe that private enterprise has a role to play."
That kind of apology will not wash any more. It is not going to work any more because we have the goods now, and the minister cannot simply come in here and say, "We are on top of it," because they are not on top of it.
What is wrong is the way in which the industry is organized. What is wrong is the attitude, the policy and the positions that have been taken by the Tory government in Ontario. What is wrong is that the Tory government has decided that it wants private enterprise to have its place in the sun when it comes to health care.
We know precisely what that means, and the evidence that is growing in the nursing home industry can be applied to each and every hospital where private enterprise gets its tentacles back in again. You will have the same problems of inadequate staff; you will have the same problems of cutting back; you will have the same problems of people watering down the shampoo, diluting the mouthwash and attempting to get around because they hear a day before that the inspectors are coming in. It will be that same kind of private enterprise philosophy and that mania for private enrichment, which has absolutely no place in the health care system in Ontario.
But the industry cannot be blamed for seeking to make a profit. That is what they are there for: that is what they are all about. The guilty parties are across the floor, because they are the people who have let this situation grow untended. They are the people who have three fire inspectors and 14 nursing inspectors for 340 homes. They are the people who expect us to take that seriously as a policy.
They have a policy under the Nursing Homes Act which requires a minimum of one and a half hours of nursing and personal care each day for extended care residents.
Mr. Speaker, you and I both know perfectly well that what happens in a situation like that is that one and a half hours does not become the minimum; one and a half hours becomes the maximum. That ratio is the ratio which determines how many staff you hire. That number of hours and that way of looking at it, that way of looking at the problem, is what is partially responsible for the ridiculous situation with respect to inadequate staffing.
We accepted invitations to a number of nursing homes across the province. We accepted invitations at the request of parents; at the request of children; at the request, in some instances, of residents themselves. We did so, wanting to give as fair a sense of what is going on as we possibly could, and wanting, at the same time, to bring the light of day into these institutions.
One of the problems with institutional care, in general, is that institutions are a way of blocking people out; they are a way of segregating people. That is why we have been so supportive of the principle, and have argued for it throughout this entire decade, that wherever possible we should be caring for people in the community, and that as a general rule people, regardless of their background, regardless of their abilities or disabilities, regardless of whatever problems they may have, have the right to be cared for and live in the community as much as possible.
We have not moved away from that principle, even in those situations where neighbourhoods can be critical of the possibility of a group home. We have resisted the call of those who would say -- as I know some members of the Liberal Party have said -- that when people are resisting group homes, one has to give in to that pressure and leave people in the institutions; that it is better to give in to that pressure and leave everybody in an institution. We have resisted that trend which the Liberal Party has spoken to, and we are continuing our basic call and our basic feeling that people have to be cared for in the community as much as possible.
But as long as we have institutions, it is important that they be open to the public; that they be open to the light of day, to the fresh air of publicity, to the fresh air of people coming in and out, to the fresh air of doctors being able to come in -- the doctors of one's choice being able to come in -- to the fresh air of families being able at all times to come in and visit; and if I may say so, that they be open to the fresh air of being able to raise one's voice in complaint and not have to be worried that as a result of that complaint there would be reprisals taken, or steps taken, or threats made, or services cut off, or a change in attitude on the part of those who were administering the care.
There are a great many stories I know that I am going to have to tell the minister in a letter, which will have to be marked "confidential," because I cannot make them public, not because I do not think they should be made public, but for the simple reason that in making them public, I know perfectly well the possible risks -- the ridiculous, absurd risks in 1983 -- that someone who makes those kinds of complaints might experience.
But we did find a pattern of inadequate staffing, persistent problems of fire hazards, problems with the enforcement of existing standards, and a basic problem: the lack of activity or a lack of stimulation of the residents. I want to go through each of these problems and give members -- as much as I can, given the requirements of confidentiality and given the fact that I do not want to identify some of the people who have complained -- a sense of what is being experienced.
Regarding Lincoln Place Nursing Home, the one I mentioned earlier, about which a constituent of mine wrote to me: Complaints by residents of incomplete showers; poor scalp care; confirmed by staff member that there is insufficient time to bathe residents properly; sixth floor -- heavy care -- staff rushing patients to chew, in some cases feeding residents far too quickly.
Several residents complained about having to wear a helmet to the washroom in case they fell because there was insufficient staff to take them as often as needed. This is very reminiscent of the attitude to workers in many plants. Instead of dealing with the problem, instead of providing for the appropriate level of care for those people, they make them wear helmets and then when they fall down they will not bash their heads. Thereby they think that somehow they have solved a great social problem.
There is a case of an individual calling for a nurse for 45 minutes in order to assist this individual to lie down, since that individual had had an operation recently. The observer we had in the home says, "The friend I was with went and brought the nurse back from the fourth floor." Calling for 45 minutes!
The White Eagle Nursing Home: Evidence is that some residents stay wet, if incontinent, if no family is there to help change them. This is all based on onsite eye-to-eye observation -- and ear-to-ear in terms of listening -- spending on an average two or three, sometimes four hours in a home to get a sense of what is going on, talking not only to the patients but to the staff as well and getting as much of a sense of what is actually happening as possible.
There are complaints of falls occurring and staff having to go to another floor to get assistance to pick up the residents. Again, there is the problem of inadequate staffing. "The staff are very rushed. I thought they did not have very much time to be gentle with patients." That is an account given by one of our staff who was in there. "There is inadequate staff to bathe incontinent residents thoroughly. In one case, I spoke to a woman," as our staff member says, "who must come in and bathe her mother once a week with a staff person or it will not be done." Once a week, or it will not be done!
Tyndall Nursing Home in Toronto: The staff rushed to get each job done; little attention was able to be paid to the residents. Friends or family often have to clean up the excrement themselves. One resident complained, and her family member as well, that a half bath using only a face cloth is given once a week. She needs more frequent bathing, but there is no staff time. She is not incontinent, but requires wheelchair assistance to the washroom and the staff often do not come in time. The Concerned Friends have complained about this case to the ministry but there has been no resolution yet.
The Heritage Nursing Home: Very few staff is visible on the second floor. For example, there was no staff person to turn on the TV in the lounge, yet a sign prohibited residents from doing so. "After I watched a room full of residents wait for 20 minutes for a staff person to turn on the television, I turned it on."
Call buzzers rang constantly for long periods of time before they were able to be answered. The afternoon shift is so short-staffed that the residents are all brought downstairs at 4:15 p.m. and must sit for an hour while the staff helps prepare food in the kitchen. This was confirmed by the staff. There are few staff, therefore they start putting residents to bed at 6 p.m. in order to get it all done. That is also confirmed by the staff.
Can members imagine how any of us would feel if we were in an institutional setting where they said, "I am sorry, it is not convenient, you have to go to bed at six o'clock, because that is the only time we have got staff available in order to put you into bed."
Barton Place again, the institution mentioned by Mrs. Grube and I know mentioned on the CITY-TV program as well: Inadequate staff to accomplish all the assigned tasks.
On the seventh floor there are 34 heavy care patients, three aides and one registered nurse. On the sixth floor there are 44 heavy care patients, four aides and one RN. On the third floor there are 44 patients, some ambulatory, one and a half aides, one registered nursing assistant, no RN. These workers must get patients up, feed them -- in many cases needing a great deal of assistance -- wash and dress them, help them with hygiene needs, do minor cleaning and change incontinent residents, etc.
Both staff and patients complained to me that the staff are rushed. They often have to clean patients improperly or shove food in their mouths. They have no time to visit. On the seventh floor several residents were sitting wet in urine puddles, there was no staff available to change them. That is something which was seen by a member of my staff.
On the sixth floor a woman unravelled a dressing and began to scratch off the scabs from a very infected area on the leg and there was no staff person available to notice it or to rebandage it. "I went to the front desk of the floor to tell someone and there was no one there."
Middlesex Terrace, just outside London: Short- staffed; complaints were backed by both staff and residents. When I walked into the home an alarm sounded. We could find no one on the first floor to shut off the alarm, no staff or administrator, and the alarm rang for at least half an hour. There were 12 residents on this floor standing in the hall or sitting and there were no staff. The staff were all in the basement helping to feed residents. There were no extras to watch those finished or not eating on other floors.
The evidence is overwhelming. It is overwhelming that there is a significant staff problem in these nursing homes, from the statements that have been made by many residents, many people who care for residents, by the staff itself, and from what has been seen, if I may say so, on a firsthand basis in a number of nursing homes that have been visited by my staff in the last five weeks.
Why is there inadequate staffing? There is inadequate staffing because these operations are run on a cost-cutting basis. There is inadequate staffing because the way in which these homes make a profit, the only way a home can make a profit -- this may sound remarkably simple, and it is remarkably simple -- is if they are able to take in more than they spend. So there is a given incentive in the system. The incentive is right there for a philosophy of cutback, of watering down things wherever it is possible. That is where the operator, that is where the owner, that is where the industry makes its profit.
It makes its profit by not having enough staff. It makes its profit by short-staffing on certain shifts. It makes its profit by deciding that it will, as a matter of policy, feed people when it is convenient to it. The evidence of the Ark Eden home was exactly that. There were people being awakened very early in the morning. There were people being forced to eat very quickly, many of them suffering from physical disabilities which made that very difficult.
That is not a happenstance problem; that is a problem which is endemic to the way in which this industry is organized. All I can say is God help the hospitals in Ontario if the Tory government has its way and runs every single hospital on exactly the same basis. God help us all, because the kind of inadequate care that we see in the nursing home industry is just the thin edge of the wedge. It is the beginning of the trend which the Tories would like to see imposed on the entire province and on the entire health care system.
The second problem is fire hazards. In most cases these regulations were being met. However, the more important issue is the regulations which are not in place.
For example, residents in beds and wheelchairs still have ground floor access either from being placed on the ground floor or ramp access. It appears that residents lining the hallways are now considered to be in violation of the regulations. However, there is a problem of enforcement, and in a couple of moments we will see the examples that are there.
Leisure World is one example -- I love the names of these places. On the second floor of Leisure World there are crowds of people in wheelchairs near the nursing station and the elevators. In case of fire, there is no room to move quickly. About St. Raphael's Nursing Home on McNicoll, that is the one that is still open, there are complaints by residents and families that there has never been a fire drill as required in regulations and there are people lining the hallways on each floor.
Central Park Lodge: The halls are also packed with people. Barton Place: Many residents lining the hallways on the sixth floor; several food and cleaning carts also impeding access. Apparently the inspector had cited residents in the halls on the third floor as a fire hazard The home had done nothing to rectify the complaint until CITY-TV shot film of the residents lining the third floor. So what did it do? It moved them up to the seventh floor and lined them up there.
There are heavy care patients on the sixth and seventh floors, 78 residents in total, no easy access out in a fire. One elevator out of two always functioning improperly; that was confirmed by the staff.
Oakridge Villa: Third floor heavy care; no ramp access to ground, two elevators go very slow. Chateau Garden in Kirkland Lake apparently has no guidelines for safe exit from the building. There were complaints that when the alarm went off there was complete chaos. The residents in the wheelchairs said they would have no way of leaving the building.
Lincoln Place: Heavy care patients on the fourth, fifth and sixth floors lining the hallways; two very slow elevators. It would be impossible to evacuate during a fire.
Heritage Nursing Home: Heavy care on the fourth floor; same problems of access and slow elevators.
Any staff I spoke to suggested the heavy care patients were always put high up in the building because they are less visible to visitors -- the healthier, higher-functioning residents are then on display -- and to cut down on elevator time to carry ambulatory residents to and from the dining room, etc.
Should cosmetic appearances somehow take priority over human safety? Should we somehow be prevented from seeing the things that can happen to any of us and all of us, either in old age or in sickness?
Surely the principle should be that care for the person, regardless of how they look, how old they may be or how sick they may be, is more important than the cosmetics of wanting people only to see the bright side of what nursing home care in this province is all about.
The enforcement of existing standards -- and it is important to distinguish between these where enforcement is inadequate and those deficiencies in the system due to failure to set actual standards. We could only monitor those standards visible to the eye; we could not go into the kitchen, for example. Again, this is on the basis of what was seen by my staff. I am just putting it into the record because people should know about these things.
Middlesex Terrace: Paint and plaster peeling off the walls in the bedroom on the first floor; smell of urine in several parts of the home; terrible smell throughout the home like rotten eggs -- staff member understands that is a sulphur problem which the home has been slow to correct -- beds not placed far enough from walls, windows and drafts as required; the beds were also in extremely poor condition; linen clean but smells of the rotten eggs from the sulphur in the laundry water; the residents also drink this water.
Tyndall Nursing Home: Towels and face cloths not always available; there is no soap in the bathroom; incomplete baths -- regulations call for a complete bath once per week for ambulatory residents and daily or more frequent baths for incontinent residents or those confined to bed; for example, wheelchair-confined resident was given a half-bath once per week -- again, once a week for a bath; complaints that blankets are not always available.
Central Park Lodge: Inadequate ventilation; strong odours on some floors and elevators; beds placed too close to walls; some rooms and washrooms did not have towels and face cloths; the string removed from a call station on a resident's bed.
Castleview: Inadequate ventilation; odours on every floor; no curtains or tracks on ceilings for curtains; cold water for bathing residents; snacks with high caloric value and low nutrient value.
Leisure World: Beds not placed adequately apart; odours very strong on the second floor.
St. Raphael's: Odours exceptionally bad; Concerned Friends have complained about this to the ministry; inadequate clean linen -- inadequate clean linen in 1983, in a place that is caring for senior citizens in this province; inadequate face cloths, towels; bed-confined residents and incontinent residents not given a daily bath; residents appeared very dirty, especially unclean hair.
White Eagle: No daily baths for incontinent, bedridden residents; beds not adequately spaced; complaints about nutrition; complaints about salty food given to a resident on a salt-free diet; foods not blended for a resident who could not chew; nursing home will not provide the diapers and families have to purchase them; no menus posted and complaints that they never are; no liquids left out for residents even after families specifically requested; lack of privacy -- a nurse stripped down a resident in front of four other people and did not close the door; draft due to open windows to cut down on odours.
Chateau Nursing Home, Kirkland Lake: Improper time to feed MR kids; food shovelled in faster than possible to eat; improper positioning of residents; guidelines for each patient ignored -- we know what happened to the tri-ministry guidelines in the case of the poor Soumelidis child -- guidelines for each patient ignored; the administrator would not allow the guidelines to be posted on the bed for easy access; administrator reluctant to buy plastic nipples for children without the sucking reflex so the staff took up a collection among themselves and bought the supply -- do a whip-round in order to buy people some plastic nipples; no menus posted; rubber foot rests removed from wheelchairs to prevent marking of walls -- the result is that limbs hang. This seems to be extremely dangerous for the circulation and the health of the residents.
It goes on and on; Barton Place, the Heritage Nursing Home again, problems at Lincoln Place, problems with linen. Just to give another example: Lincoln Place -- "Urine uncleaned under residents' chairs on the sixth floor; portable urinals were filthy. I looked at several, apparently only cleaned quickly with a brush; linens had same heavy smells as the air; bed-confined residents not turned every two hours." That was again confirmed by the staff. "Bathing not as frequent or as thorough as required." Again, that was confirmed by the staff.
Finally, we come to the problem which is perhaps most fundamental to what happens to our senior citizens and the fate of people who enter nursing homes and who, by and large, do not leave them. That is the lack of activity or stimulation of residents.
In this instance, I think it is harder to go through on a case-by-case basis because it is subjective, but perhaps I can give members the sense I have. I have been to a number of nursing homes. I enjoy visiting nursing homes and talking to senior citizens. I enjoy playing the piano with them, chatting with them and getting them to chat about themselves. We all know how lonely many seniors are and how difficult their lives are because they are often not visited enough by friends and family. It leaves a tremendous obligation on the institutions in this province to provide a stimulating environment.
The other day I was in a nursing home in Windsor. I was going to play the piano for the residents downstairs. There were a number of them there and there was a fellow in the corner. A great many of the seniors were lined up and many of them were very reluctant to establish eye contact. Because so many of them have never had anybody actually talk to them, they are really bowled over when someone carries on a whole conversation with them. There was one fellow there I went over and talked to. I asked how he was doing and he did not answer. I went right up to him and spoke very loudly in his ear. He responded that he was fine. He was 83 years old, he was feeling fine, he was very alert and the only problem was he was deaf and blind. Mentally he was completely alert.
I do not think it is just a question of what governments do; it is a question of what society does or what we all do as individuals. As people get older and suffer from increasing physical disabilities, there is always an assumption that mental slowness is there as well. There is an assumption that because people are not talking an awful lot -- and sometimes there may even be a physical disability such as a stroke that will impair speech -- mental alertness, mental ability, mental agility and mental interest are gone as well.
The problem here is not any individual home; it is the institutional model. In a sense it is the private enterprise model, because that model is designed to have as few staff as possible. We have instances, for example, where there are very large homes and very few people able to provide any kind of recreational assistance.
How many homes have we all been in where the main recreational activity is television? That is all there is; that is it; there is nothing else. For hours on end, the people sit around watching TV. I do not happen to believe they are there entirely as a matter of choice. We all know television has become the world's greatest babysitter for many young people. I suggest that for many people in our institutions -- and in many people's private homes, but this is another problem -- television has also become the alternative to stimulation, the alternative to care and the alternative to intervention.
Why has that situation been allowed to develop? I suggest it is partly because of the completely inadequate way we have of assessing people and the complete lack of synchronization between institutions and the people who happen to be in them. It is fair to say there are a great many people in nursing homes who are very sick. They are in nursing homes and not in chronic care hospitals because there are not a hell of a lot of beds in chronic care hospitals right now, because there are certainly no chronic care beds in acute care hospitals right now, and because many nursing homes -- and I salute them for it -- have taken the decision that they would rather care for somebody who has been there for a long time than move him or her inappropriately to another place.
What this really means is that there is now a very wide range of people who are in these institutions, and completely inadequate programs are designed to provide the kind of activity, stimulation and participation that all of us would basically like to have as we get older.
I will just give members again some eyewitness accounts.
Oakridge Villa: Visited one resident, a stroke victim. Paralysis in both legs and one arm but very alert mind. She is placed on a floor with the very senile and emotionally disturbed. There is no intellectual stimulation, and the recreational programs scheduled, although better for most, are not appropriate for her. Again, they are not designed for, are not tailored to this person's needs and concerns. The same floor has excessive noise from residents screaming and yelling, making it stressful for those who are more alert. Many residents complained about a problem of theft.
Tyndall Nursing Home: Again, many people slumped over in their chairs, possible signs of overmedication, a problem I am going to come to in a moment.
Heritage Nursing Home: All those I spoke to, about 15 residents, were desperate for simple conversation. Which one of us cannot say that we have been in exactly the same situation, where people are just desperate for company. desperate for that amount of stimulation, desperate for that conversation?
I do not think loneliness is a part of the human condition; I think loneliness is something that we as a society do to people. I do not think the people in nursing homes are lonely because they want to be lonely, and I think there is something we can do about it and have to do about it.
How many times does one go into homes and see people, many of them, lining the hallways, some with many indications of overmedication? I am going to come back to that problem in a moment.
Central Park Lodge: The staff ratio for recreation is one to 100. One hundred people with totally different needs, with a complete variety of needs and concerns and interests, and you have got one person. You simply cannot rely entirely on volunteers to do it, though I know there are many people who do act as volunteers, and again we salute them; many of us have done it as well. But you just cannot rely on them.
I said I would mention the problem of medication, and I do want to say something about it. I know people are going to say: "This is a medical decision that is taken. These are medical prescriptions that are signed by doctors, and there are no grounds for concern. If you have a concern about an individual case, take it to the College of Physicians and Surgeons," and so on. A lot of good that is going to do us. We know how well that procedure works out.
I do want to suggest that there is a very real problem with the overuse of drugs in our society in general, but there is also a very real problem with respect to the overuse of drugs in nursing homes and in our institutions of all kinds. I dearly wish the minister would wake up to this question, because in part it is not simply a one-on-one, individual medical decision: it is a practice increasingly accepted by a great many people in the medical profession, and that practice is of concern to a great many others in the medical profession.
I know because they have talked and written to me about it: instances where people are simply being put on a program and a pattern of taking drugs for an extended period of time; a problem of overmedication that is causing people to lose the alertness, the sense of activity and the sense of interest and stimulation they had in a pattern of a passive life rather than an active life, a problem that is so much a part of being in an institution; and that has to be broken.
I have taken some time on this and I have gone through it as best I can. For the record I want to pay particular tribute to those members of my staff who took a great deal of time and interest in this project. I want to thank those individuals and residents, and I want to thank a great many administrators of nursing homes for being open to our concerns.
I want to reiterate what I said at the beginning of my remarks with respect to what is happening to the nursing home business and to senior citizens in this province.
As I said earlier, I am not suggesting for a moment that every single nursing home in this province is some kind of hell hole. I am not suggesting there are not many nursing homes that provide good care. I believe very strongly that the staff and administration of a great many of the nursing homes in this province care very deeply about the work they do.
I am suggesting that the private profit model, the private profit method of delivery of care, the private profit system is what is wrong, and no amount of fiddling around on the edges or fiddling around with the regulations is going to affect that particular problem and that particular issue. We have a system in this province that gives each and every nursing home operator a stake in providing less service than should be provided.
Some provide a good service. Some are not interested in making a whole lot of money. Many of them are voluntary organizations. Many of them are church nonprofit organizations. I think members will find that the pattern of care in many of those institutions is quite different from that which is to be found in those that are run on a private profit basis.
The member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick) and I know very well some of the institutions in the east end that are run by the United Church or run by the Presbyterian Church. There are a number I visited in Toronto run by the Anglicans. I have been to some run by the Italian community and many run on a nonprofit basis by many communities. The issues there are slightly different and perhaps broader with respect to how we care for seniors and what we are doing for people as they get older in our society.
But I suggest that no amount of surface dancing by the Minister of Health (Mr. Grossman), no amount of mere cleverness is going to get around this problem, which is that a big industry has grown up in this province that has a stake in providing private profit care, a big industry that has very close ties to the Tory party and indeed to the Ministry of Health in this province under a Tory administration, and that is a very unhealthy situation, to put it very mildly.
I want to put the minister on notice that the activities of this industry and the activities of this big business are going to come under a scrutiny in this province such as they have never had before, because we think it is fundamentally wrong, fundamentally inappropriate for us to be providing care for senior citizens on a private profit basis.
I said to you earlier, Mr. Speaker, that many nursing homes are in the business of providing chronic care. t want to suggest that what is really at stake here has been a fundamental change in the kind of care that is being provided and the sort of work that is being done.
Nursing homes are not hotels; nursing homes are not apartments. Nursing homes are, quite simply, places where care is being provided. Of course there is a residential component, but we are looking at a continuum of care in our society. I do not think that caring is something we can put a dollar figure on. I do not think we can say somehow that somebody is suddenly well and then somebody is suddenly sick, that they suddenly go from a state of wellness to a state of sickness and that the Ontario health insurance plan is prepared to cover the state of sickness but the OHIP system and the idea of universal medical insurance are inappropriate for when one is in a state of wellness.
What is at stake here is a pattern of care from the time one is born to the time one dies. The medicare system grew up in response to a very real concern in society about caring for illness. We in our party, and I am thinking particularly of people like Tommy Douglas, Woodrow Lloyd and those great pioneers of our party, fought, and who really fought hard, against the prophets of private enterprise and those who would simply make health care a commodity like any other.
They were talking about something that those who introduced medicare in Ontario, the Tory party, do not understand. They were talking about a model of care that goes from the time one is born to the time one dies. The family will provide one with care, and we should be doing a hell of a lot more to provide help and assistance for families who want to provide care for people -- whether they are young or old or mentally retarded or whatever they may happen to be -- an awful lot more than we are doing.
What has captured the Tory imagination, if I may use that term in its loosest sense, is the completely fatuous notion that we can somehow separate the notion of illness from the notion of wellness. They are prepared to accept that for a short, acute illness they will accept the principle that one should not have to pay thousands and thousands of dollars. One might have to pay hundreds of dollars; in fact, we have increasing evidence that people are paying hundreds, except that it is in terms of a catastrophic illness.
When I hear the Minister of Health say he now accepts the principles of some kind of medicare and he accepts accessibility and so on, I believe what he says in terms of an acute situation; that if one breaks a leg one should be able to go to the hospital and not be charged thousands and thousands of dollars. I accept it when he says that.
But the issue is so much broader than that, because what are we really talking about when we see someone go into a nursing home? Old age is not a sickness. Old age is something that happens to all of us; getting older is a fact of life. But the fact remains that one's ability to care for oneself can vary according to circumstances, in terms of longer-term disability, in terms of perhaps having had a stroke when one is very young or having had a very serious accident when one is very young, or simply in terms of what happens as a result of getting frailer and getting older.
I want to suggest to the House that it is beyond me how we can go on any longer with a pattern of delivery of care which accepts private profit and private enrichment as the model in our society when it comes to people who are in the nearly 30,000 beds that are currently occupied by a great many senior citizens and others in nursing homes in Ontario.
It does not make any sense to me why, for example, a nursing home can say to a resident, "You will be cared for by our doctor; you will not be cared for by your doctor." It does not make any sense to me that a nursing home can actually prevent a doctor from coming into the home. It does not make any sense to me that a nursing home can make all kinds of rules and regulations which have nothing to do with its public obligation. What makes the least sense of all to me is that we would have a Tory government in this province which would allow that kind of situation to carry on and pretend it is some kind of accident. It is not an accident; that is what the system is all about.
Mr. Speaker, I would suggest to you that if a patient had a complaint about the care that was being provided in a public hospital in this province I do not think there are very many of us who would fear a reprisal against the patient who made that complaint, because we have a public system in which publicity and the light of publicity and a sense of public accountability are there.
It is absolutely absurd that the care for 30,000 of our fellow citizens should be done on a basis of some kind of wall being put up, the light being shut out, inspectors being able to go in every once in a while, after people hear on the q.t. that the inspector is coming, with things then going back to a condition where they are not acceptable.
It is intolerable that we do not have laws in this province that provide for the light of day, that provide for residents' rights, that provide for full publicity, that provide for protection of people's privacy rights, that provide for their right to go to a doctor of their own choice, that provide for complete freedom of access by the family or any other person who is chosen by the resident to represent him or her. It is absolutely astonishing that we do not have that kind of system in this province.
It is appalling that we have regulations saying that in nursing homes that are providing chronic care and heavy care the basic standard of nursing care provided is going to be one and a half hours. It is absolutely appalling in this day and age that this would happen. Most of all, it is appalling that we would be giving our seniors so little choice.
I started my remarks by talking about what happens to families when they are suddenly faced with a situation where they realize they are no longer able to care for someone in their own home. First of all, in the majority of communities in this province that choice has to be made by them because the government of this province does not provide the kind of assistance that is necessary to people who want to care for their relatives at home.
This government had the gall to announce a program last year in which it was going to be extending home care services and it did nothing for a whole year. It then had the absolute gall to come out in the throne speech and say, "This continues to be an area of concern for our party." What absolute rubbish.
The emperor really has not a stitch on when it comes to home care services in this province. The Social Planning Council of Metropolitan Toronto can produce a report saying neighbourhood support services are in a state of underfunding and in a state of crisis in this province, and we have the Minister of Health repeating: "These programs are coming. They are coming. They are coming." It just will not do. Families should not be put in this position.
There are families -- and again I want people to know and the minister to know we will be introducing these people to the minister and introducing examples to the minister -- who are spending literally thousands and thousands of dollars a year on long-term care. This is happening in a province where the government says it believes in universal medical care.
It may do when it comes to something called acute sickness, when one breaks a leg or goes into the hospital. When it comes to the reality of people being neither in a state of real illness nor in a state of real wellness, long-term disabilities, the cost to those families is appalling and the assistance from this government is virtually nil.
The policy of this government, because of its failure to provide choices and because of its failure to provide home care, in fact relegates, forces families into the position of saying, "The only way we can get any money from this government is if we send dad or mom into an institution." It would be a hell of a lot cheaper to give families money to keep people at home. It would make a lot more sense.
If this government were really interested in providing health care and in providing care in a way that was human and was down to earth it would make a lot more sense for the government to say to families: "You have a doctor's certificate here saying this person is ill and needs help. Fine. Instead of sending him into an institution, we will pay you to provide the care." There are a great many families that would say, "That is much better than sending him into an institution." In the current state of many of our institutions, I could hardly blame them.
It is a question of the government responding to the need for care. That is something this government is not prepared to do, because it sees the world in a profit-and-loss private enrichment perspective. There is a large industry in this province, 340 homes providing 30,000 beds, the vast majority of those private care. Extendicare has made enough money out of the nursing home business in this province and elsewhere to be able to buy a life insurance company. This is not a small battle we are taking on here.
Mr. McClellan: It wanted to buy Crown Trust.
Mr. Rae: It wanted to buy Crown Trust. Perhaps that would have been a good buy, I do not know.
The point is this: The links between this government and this party and that industry and the health care business -- and it should never be a business, but there are those in that party who want it to be a business and who think it is a business -- are close.
Earlier I quoted a former official of the Ministry of Health, a senior executive on the board of AMI. We know that a former official of the Ministry of Health is the president of Extendicare Ltd., health care division, and former executive directors of the Ontario Nursing Homes Association are now executives of the Diversicare Corp. There are ties and links and interlocking networks which perhaps explain why the policy is as absurd as it is.
In closing my remarks with respect to the challenge facing health care in this province, I want to suggest that there are frontiers of health.
My colleague the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel), our House leader, who has done such a remarkable job -- and I want to pay him public tribute today for the work he has done on behalf of injured workers throughout this province and those people fighting the battle for decent conditions in their working environments -- will be making his remarks in the next few days with respect to a report on occupational health and safety.
We will be focusing our efforts on the need for environmental health and environmental cleanup, but perhaps most fundamentally we will be focusing our efforts and attention on the need for us to look at the health care system as a caring system and not as a profit-making system. That is the direction and focus of our work.
The battle that was fought by our party in the 1940s and 1950s and the early 1960s to provide medical care for those suffering from acute illness was just the beginning. There are new frontiers of care which are currently occupied by the barons of financial power and those who would seek to make them a world for their own private enrichment. I want to put them on notice that the frontier is up for grabs because the New Democratic Party intends to fight for those people.
I said I wanted to say a few words about jobs and housing as well. I will not take quite as long as I have with respect to health care.
Mr. Laughren: Oh, come on.
Mr. Rae: I know that will come as a great disappointment to my colleague the member for Nickel Belt, who hangs on every word I say. Although he does not agree with every word I say, he does hang on it.
I do want to pay tribute to another one of my colleagues and also draw on his own experience and his remarkable ability to highlight and to bring out a human focus and a human touch to what has increasingly been seen as an impersonal, theoretical, statistical problem. Of course, I am speaking of the problem of joblessness, of unemployment and the tremendous challenge that faces our society in coming to grips with the full meaning of this issue.
The Liberal Party has now staked its claim to a budget which it is calling a recovery budget. I think the Liberal Party budget has nothing whatsoever to do with recovery and I think the questions we asked in the Legislature today and the answers we got from the Minister of Labour (Mr. Ramsay) show how little it has to do with recovery.
The Liberal Party budget was a business budget which was said to give help to what they call the private sector. I want to suggest that one cannot attach any single job, one particular opportunity for employment, to the thousands of dollars thrown at the private sector by the Liberal Party in its most recent budget. It is a void, vapid, incredibly right-wing document which simply throws money at big business and then says, "Go to it, boys, try to create some jobs or do whatever you want to do with what we are giving you."
I suggest the evidence is overwhelming in terms of the rationalization that we have seen in industry after industry in this province that there is no correlation whatsoever between the investment the private sector is making and the creation of jobs, no correlation at all.
When Canada Packers goes out and buys some new plant that is an investment, is that investment creating any new jobs? No, it is not, because there is no requirement attached to that investment that it be tied to the creation of work in our society. There is no requirement at all. Any assistance that is given to the private sector that is not directly tied to the creation of jobs and the creation of work is completely and totally irresponsible. It flies in the face of everything we know about the economy and what needs to be done to get people back to work.
If you want to get people back to work, Mr. Speaker, you simply have to offer them jobs and the opportunities for work. If the government thinks it is going to come trickling down from Canada Packers, Consolidated-Bathurst and the other corporations which rule over much of our economy in this province, it is going to wait for one hell of a long time, far longer than anyone in our party is prepared to wait.
Of course, that old hoary alliance between the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) and Mr. Lalonde has produced the Treasurer's response and the response of the Premier (Mr. Davis). I have always felt it would perhaps be more appropriate if the Premier ran for the leadership of the Liberal Party in Ottawa rather than the leadership of the Tory party in Ottawa.
Mr. Laughren: Not to mention Peterson.
Mr. Rae: Not to mention Peterson, that is right.
That response was that this was a step in the right direction and our Treasurer was intending to go in the same direction.
Mr. Kolyn: The member is floundering.
Mr. Rae: The member for Lakeshore has finally woken up. I appreciate his presence here this afternoon. I would simply like to read to him some of the letters which my colleague the member for Scarborough West (Mr. R. F. Johnston) received in response to his advertisement in many newspapers asking people to tell their story with respect to what was happening to them so that they would stop being a statistic.
There are countless letters. I have only a few of them here and there are many of them. I know some of them were sent over to the Treasurer. We then wrote back to the individuals and some of them wrote back to us. I hope very much that the Treasurer listens to the voice of these people, listens very carefully to what they are saying, because what they are saying is that they need work more than anything else.
They need work, not in six months or in 12 months; they do not need work to come from whatever corporate benefactor it is going to come from in five or six years' time. They need work today. They need work now. They need jobs now. They need work that is productive, work that is going to do something for them and something for the province. There is an overwhelming sense of frustration and anguish on the part of these people that their voice has not been listened to by governments, that they are simply a statistic and that they are treated by people as statistics. This is what is so sad in our society.
I would like to quote from a letter from a young woman. I do not want to read the whole letter because it is very long and she talks about a great many situations.
She is a graphic artist of some experience who has worked in many different places and has a number of degrees. She is a graduate of the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology in Edmonton and has attended high school in Ontario. She describes her frustration with a number of job applications that she has made, the responses she has been getting and the fact that she feels she is just wasting her time making so many applications and getting absolutely nowhere.
Just to quote part: "I applied for a waitress position" -- this is a woman who has a lot of experience as a graphic artist -- "and they asked me for my experience. I used to do this during high school and college but, unbelievably, they want people who have been doing this recently." So she did not get that job.
"I applied for a printing salesman position. I had not done this before, but as a graphic artist I know a lot about printing. While they did like my resumé, they told me they had had applications from salesmen who had been working in the printing business for 15 years. They told me they may have a part-time position coming up for a graphic artist and will call me if they need me. I hear that a lot. They like my resumé but they do not have work."
She goes on to describe many other similar circumstances. She says her rent is $315. She will not be able to find another place to live. She is going to have to sell her car. She says she is not placed in absolute destitution.
"I should tell you that my fiancé will support me in the event I am not able to support myself. He will not let me go to welfare. For this I am grateful but it does not sit well. In my entire life since I left home I have not depended on anyone. I used to make $18,000 a year. As time goes on, I find this difficult to believe, but as my copies of my tax returns show, things were really different a year ago. I actually owe $10 this year. I would like to know what the government has done for this $10 over and above the $4,500 I already gave it."
Then she says something which caught me, Mr. Speaker, and I am sure it will have the same impact on you. "I used to feel uncomfortable about coming into their office" -- she is talking about the unemployment insurance office -- "and mingling with the shabbily dressed individuals examining the job board. Now I find I dress a lot like them. This leads me to wonder if our medical profession is going to discover a new neurosis, unemployment sickness, to take its place beside all the other new mental illnesses of the latter half of the 20th century.
"This sickness would be marked by the patients' steady degeneration of their self-esteem, lack of concern for their personal appearance, progressive withdrawal socially and eventually emotionally. At the onset of this illness, the patients would display anger towards everything in general but slowly regress into apathy. They would have no long-term goals, display a defeatist attitude. Some may tend towards alcohol dependence and complain more of stress-induced symptoms like ulcers, headaches and just general malaise.
"This all sounds dramatic, but I have seen all this in friends of mine and I am starting to see this in myself too. That's scary. I try to keep myself busy, though lack of money prevents me from doing a lot of things I used to do for enjoyment. At least I can thank you for this opportunity to put some of my feelings down on paper and thank you again for listening."
How we in our party would like to be able to do more than just listen. How we would like to be able to do something for the person who wrote that letter.
Another letter says: "Dear Mr. Johnston: I do not feel it would be of any help to me to go public and perhaps it may be a problem, so please do not use my name." This should hit home to the Premier. "I have arranged to go to Calgary to look for work, though I don't think there is any better chance there. I have also had some contact with an east coast company. I would really like to remain in Ontario, although it now seems impossible. If there are any make-work projects for engineers, I would love to hear about it."
What the hell has happened to this province so that now in 1983 we have young engineers writing in to us saying they have to go out west, although they do not think there will be any better chance there, or they may be going down east, and they would like to remain in Ontario, although it now seems impossible? What kind of a disgraceful situation is that for the government of Ontario to have allowed to happen in this province?
I will read a couple of other letters, because they do give a sense of what is going on out there. I am not suggesting any government can wave a wand and solve this entire problem, but I am suggesting the Tory government of Ontario has a moral obligation and a moral contract with the people of this province to provide as much work as possible through the public sector, if necessary, or the private sector.
Do it. Just do it. Do not wait for it to trickle down through the tax system. Do not wait for some manna from heaven or for Marc Lalonde, because God knows that is not going to happen. Do not wait around for the Premier to make up his mind as to whether or not he is going to run or maybe run, because Lord only knows whether that is going to happen. Bring in a budget on May 10 which will provide jobs and hope for the kind of person who wrote this letter. Bring in a budget that will mean that this person will be allowed to stay in Ontario rather than have to leave the province where he was born, brought up and where he wants to stay.
That is the issue right here. The issue again is choice. The issue is opportunity. The fact is we have a government today which is not prepared to do the things that will create choices and opportunities for people when it comes to jobs.
I want to read just two other letters, because they are moving and because they do speak to what is happening in this province. One is from a gentleman who, again, has asked to remain nameless.
"I would like to thank you for the letter dated April 8, 1983" -- the letter is not written in perfect English, but I will read it as written because it seems to me to make much more sense that way -- "and appreciated to hearing lot of taking responsibility for the public and interesting to establish happy family life.
"I heard good news today. I hope growth the Ontario budget in this time but don't know that will effect to the employment. You know the job's most important part in a person's life for the best living. Can buy car and house, nice food, better education for children. These opportunity are helping to make good citizens. Most jobless people losing interest of life and going to thinking bad ways because the employment centre cannot help for a job, and I paid $50 cash to the Job Mart for a job help but all so helpless.
"Please, I have no chances to get a job. Whether I try hard door-to-door, no hope. Going to be lost all interest. I never seen the bad situation in my life. But four year ago, I have been 20 year worked at one place in England happily.
"Now I thank you very much indeed for your attention."
This is a new Canadian who came to this country in search of opportunity and he knows what that opportunity is supposed to provide. Opportunity, in his words, to "buy car and house, nice food, better education for children. These opportunity are helping to make good citizens."
That is the opportunity that is being denied the citizens of this province by a government which is wedded to the most outdated, fatuous policies imaginable when it comes to managing a modern-day economy.
For the Treasurer to suggest that he is concerned about raising taxes, that he is concerned about simply giving money to the private sector and for him to suggest that this is going to be the way to provide opportunity in our society is absolute, complete and utter nonsense.
I want to read one other letter. Again, I cannot use the name, but it speaks to another aspect of the very difficult experience that is out there.
"Thank you for your response to my unemployment situation and especially my OHIP situation.
"In reply to your letter, I am still unemployed. I have not applied for any of the work projects because they are all directed to unskilled workers and manual work. I have seen nothing regarding office workers and that is all I know, having been a bookkeeper for 30-odd years. I have no income as my UIC benefits have run out. I have not applied for welfare as I know I will be refused, as I have read in the papers about the ridiculous reasons they turn you down.
"I am living with my daughter and son-in-law who both work to support two children, to maintain a small two-bedroom apartment they have and which they have kindly let me share also. They are in a low income bracket. This being the case, I cannot get welfare to pay my OHIP, so I have asked for assistance but I cannot seem to get it through their heads why I cannot get it from welfare and they are still giving me the runaround."
Because she has not been getting OHIP assistance, her premiums have run out and because she has not been getting any premium assistance she is not covered by OHIP and she will not go to her doctor.
She says, and I am quoting: "I need OHIP coverage as I am asthmatic and see the doctor at least once a month. When I have attacks, I go to the emergency in the middle of the night for oxygen and a shot of adrenalin to control the breathing. I have in the past had to stay in the hospital for a few days. Without coverage, I can no longer get treatment and May is particularly a bad month for me as the trees and grass are growing."
What the hell have we come to, again, in this province?
Mr. Mackenzie: What an indictment of the Tories.
Mr. Rae: What an indictment of a government still wedded, still tied as it has been in the past, still totally committed to these old abstract, ideological conundrums, saying: "People have to pay for their own insurance. People actually like it better if they can pay for it."
There are so many unemployed people whose former employers have paid for the Ontario health insurance plan premiums and who now find themselves without OHIP coverage. My colleague the member for Bellwoods (Mr. McClellan) has brought this up so many times in the Legislature.
It is a reality and it is a problem. It is a problem for this woman and, if it is a problem for this woman, it is a problem for literally hundreds and possibly thousands of people out there who are not going to the doctor and who are not receiving medical treatment because they do not have up-to-date medical coverage in Ontario.
That is absolutely and totally unacceptable to our party. I think it is unacceptable to any reasoning person, to any caring person who believes that health care is not something one should he able to purchase on an open market, but who believes health care is something which exists as a matter of right because one is a member of the community of Ontario in the country called Canada. It is not something which should be denied anyone because he happens to have lost his job.
My colleagues the member for Port Arthur (Mr. Foulds) and the member for Windsor-Riverside (Mr. Cooke) will in the days to come be presenting our budget proposals which will, I think, give the Treasurer something to think about. Let it never be said our party did not provide a constructive alternative to the Tory party, a program for government. We did it last year with respect to the budget and we will be glad to do it this year.
Just in case we get the same old nonsense spoken by the Treasurer about the size of the deficit and all that, let me simply say to him, when we brought out our proposals last year, we suggested an immediate injection and investment of dollars that might produce a deficit as large as $2.5 billion or even $2.7 billion. The Treasurer looked at those figures and said: "That is completely out of the question. We will not do that. That is the kind of loose spending we associate with the socialist hordes and we in our party will never have anything to do with it."
That tight-fisted, close to the grindstone --
Mr. T. P. Reid: Careful.
Mr. Rae: -- careful, wise, tough-headed Treasurer produced this year a deficit which is far greater than the one called for by the New Democratic Party and he did not produce a single job; not a single job. I suggest to the Treasurer he get with it and start looking to the demands of this economy for jobs now and get on with the job of creating opportunity in Ontario.
Mr. Speaker, this is my first opportunity of speaking in a throne speech debate as a member of this Legislature. In closing, I simply want to say to you how deeply our party feels and I feel about the issues we have put before you today.
The crisis we are experiencing in this province is not a statistical crisis. It is not simply a question of industrial strategies in the sky, better game plans in the air or simply of providing some kind of abstract blueprint which would be different from the blueprint the government is following.
All of us as members of this Legislature have an obligation, not only to our constituents, to the people who come to see us to ask us for work and assistance, but we have an obligation to our consciences as well. I suggest to the Tory party as it contemplates its future and the kind of health care it is providing in this province, the kind of opportunity it is providing in this province, that it look very hard at what it is, in fact, doing, and at what it is, in fact, providing.
Quite apart from day-to-day exchanges in this Legislature, quite apart from the to-and-fro and the name-calling that goes on that we all accept as part of politics, I say to the government the path it is following is the wrong path. It is a path which will not produce a single job, which will not produce opportunity. It will not produce a sense of hope. It will not produce a sense of chance, which is so fundamental to our young people, so fundamental to all of our people who have always seen in this province, and in this country, a place where they had a chance, where they had opportunity.
It is perhaps ironic that the party which has paraded itself as the party that has provided opportunity should be presiding over a situation where we see the kinds of breakdown in health care which I described earlier on this afternoon, and where we see such a steady closing off of opportunity for our people. It is ironic but true.
I want to suggest in closing that each of us has an obligation, not simply to our constituents, not simply to our families, but to our conscience as well. In all conscience, the kind of message I heard from the throne speech of this government is not a message which gives me any confidence whatsoever. It is a message based on show, rather than reality. It is a message based on words, rather than experience. It is a message based on cosmetics, rather than the hard world which is really out there.
I can say that as a citizen of this province I was offended by the throne speech. I thought it was completely inappropriate at a time when people were looking for specific measures, when people were looking for leadership, when people were looking for seriousness, not a solemnity but a seriousness of purpose, which is totally lacking in the government.
I have suggested -- and I meant it quite sincerely -- that the Premier's mid-life crisis, which appears to he longer than many are -- certainly experiencing it publicly makes it all the more difficult for all of us -- may be one of the reasons why the government is having such difficulty in focusing its attention on what needs to be done.
There are a great many ministers who do not know what they are going to be doing in a couple of month's time. There are a great many ministers who do not know what they are doing today. But I want to put the government on notice that we in our party take this job very seriously, and we are going to continue to speak up on these issues of health, housing and jobs with all the strength, all the conviction and all the sincerity we can muster.
It has been a year since I became the leader of our party. I can say it has been a very eventful year. It has been a very educational year for me but, if I may say so, it has just been the first year and I am looking forward more than I can say to leading my good friends and colleagues, and to leading our party to victory in Ontario.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Thank you. At this time I would like to recognize the member for Prince Edward-Lennox.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I was going to start off by making some comments in regard to our economy and certain observations in matters economic --
Mr. Laughren: Nursing homes too.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: But the member for Nickel Belt is right. He said nursing homes. I must say that I was impressed with the leader of the third party in regard to the sincerity that he expressed when he reviewed the plight of so many people in this province. I think it is a genuine concern, a real concern. I think it is a concern that affects the individual as a whole.
I recall not too long ago the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel) addressing the concerns of the injured worker and the functioning of the Workers' Compensation Board, the need to look at the individual as a whole person. I was impressed at that time with the member's sensitivity in regard to his keen concern for the welfare of a fellow member of the human race, not just as a citizen of Ontario or Canada, but as a human being.
I, too, have visited a lot of nursing homes over the past dozen years and I have seen the introduction of our legislation and the regulations, the evolution of the nursing home as an institution. I have watched the institutionalization of health care, of services to people who at one time we as individuals used to look at as fellow human beings and do what we could to help.
Coming from a small community in northern Ontario and having left it, because they did not build universities in the bush in those days, for the big city of Toronto, I had a different outlook in terms of the makeup of the community. We had all kinds of people in our community of Timmins. That was the community where I was born and raised. We had people who were exceptionally bright and people who were exceptionally dull, people who were tall and people who were short, some people who had physical disabilities or mental disabilities, even people with red hair, and some without hair. Maybe that is why I spent some time thinking about this matter. It was a small community in those days. I suppose in the more difficult times, through the 1930s and 1940s, people had more of a concern for their fellow men. There was not the division on political grounds. It was a matter of addressing need where need existed.
I looked at that and the fact that one generation looked after another generation, and then we had the unravelling of a system into an institutionalized system where government seemed to take over many of the functions the family at one time played. I think of the changing times themselves, the changing economy, the changing work force, and I cannot fault children for not being able to look after ageing parents. There are situations where parents require 24-hour care. That is not possible in the home. We have medical science extending the life expectancy of people, and with that extension of our lifespan we have a threat to the dignity of the human being.
Where is the dignity of someone living in a nursing home under the conditions described by the member of the third party? There is no dignity in life under those conditions.
I suggest our nursing homes are becoming too large. I see this in the cities. This is why I am referring to this subject matter as well: In terms of what has happened on the world picture in our economy, the structural changes that have taken place, we see a shift away from mass production, from high volume, standardized production. That is now moving out to the Third World countries. I am going to address that matter more fully in a moment.
Mr. Nixon: Just like Cherry Valley.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: I see that standardized, volume production in our health care system, and I see it more as I come from the smaller areas: the Cherry Valleys -- that is right -- the Cherry Valleys, the Selbys, the Pictons and the Napanees. I see the change from smaller facilities, where people are treated as human beings, where their total body is treated as the subject matter for care and concern and where there is some milk of human kindness, where people matter. As those institutions get larger and larger, one sees that mass production has set in.
Mr. Stokes: Like the cheese business.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: I know the member for Lake Nipigon likes cheese and I understand what has happened in the cheese factories, but it is not that situation at all. That economic evolution may be justified in the production of cheese and milk, but I do not think you can justify these human filing cabinets in the care of human beings.
At one time when one asked what was the viable size of a nursing home, the answer was about 40 beds. Then it became 60 beds. Recently I asked what size of nursing home you must have in order to have a viable economic operation so you could give people the kind of care they required and so the doors could remain open. The answer was 100. So we see an ever-escalating theory of greater volume and mass production in nursing home care.
Mr. Laughren: That is the profit motive.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: The profit motive? No, I do not think it is.
One point the leader of the New Democratic Party did not touch on that he might have and I am sure he will as he pursues this matter further -- is the value that nursing beds have taken on in the transfer of nursing homes. It seems to me somewhat obscene to attach an economic value to empty beds regardless of what physical structure or site there may be. I put that to the members, because surely there must be some reason for it. When that value attaches to the bed, I am sure it may reflect on the care that the residents in those homes receive.
I am not sure, but I think it is something that might be looked into and I think the size of institutions is something that might be looked into, because that is where you get the articles of clothing that the leader of the third party spoke about being lost and put on other people, the homogenization of the process, the standardization. There are no really special diets, in the strict sense of the word, for people who need special diets, because again it is mass production. The missing articles, the seeming theft that was referred to, these are all matters that are of some concern.
I do not think the answer is a complete deinstitutionalization. I think there will always be a need for institutions. We talk of our professional social workers, we speak glowingly of deinstitutionalization and the utilization of the generic services of the community, and we apply all the correct jargon, but sometimes we seem to forget the individuals themselves. The system often absorbs the energies and the moneys so that what the system is set up to serve really does not transpire as fully as it might.
I do not think nationalization of a system necessarily produces people who have a sincere and genuine concern for residents in nursing homes. When I see some of the staff in nursing homes, in my view they are heroes to be working in places like that and under conditions like that. People are quick to criticize, but in general terms I think they are doing a tremendous job which not many people would want to do. I certainly commend them for that.
Maybe it is a matter of mentality and spirit, but I think we have to take on more of a charitable sense about it. That is the human quality I have spoken of and the leader of the third party has referred to. We cannot turn charity into a crown corporation and make the good Samaritan a civil servant. I do not think it is the simplistic type of argument we can use.
Mr. Laughren: They might mug you in the corridors of power.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: If the member would like to decoy me into other avenues, I could quote from speeches I have made in the past and I would be delighted to do that some time, but I want to keep on track today if I may.
I could not fail to respond to the thrust and substance of the remarks of the member's leader when he was commenting on the present situation in regard to nursing homes. As he has said, we do have excellent nursing homes and they are run in an excellent fashion. I have found there is a great variety of nursing homes, not just in size because when one reaches a certain size there is a problem, but also in administration, the type of people who are running those homes and the staff they have. I think a person has a better chance in a smaller community.
However, I went into that because I had occasion not long ago to read an article in The Atlantic Monthly for March of this year called "The Next American Frontier." It was pointed out in that article that the recession we are experiencing, which began in 1981, will end eventually, but the underlying problems of the American economy will not come to an end with the next upturn in the business cycle unless American industry undertakes some basic changes in its organization of production.
There is a prediction that unemployment will remain high, that millions of jobs in the nation's basic industries will never return and the American standard of living will continue to decline.
I point that out because with the Canadian economy tied in with the American economy the way it is, this is very appropriate to the situation in this country. It goes on to point out: "Between 1920 and 1970, business, labour and government hewed to a set of organizing principles which were originally called 'scientific management', in which tasks were simplified according to established rules and carefully monitored. These principles were put into effect by a new class of professional managers. High volume, scientifically managed industry producing standardized goods generated vast economies of scale and levels of wealth unparalleled in history."
I was thinking of that particular reference when I listened to the speech of the leader of the third party with regard to nursing homes.
The article goes on to point out what happened in the United States in regard to manufacturing capacity employed in production, which had reached 86 per cent in 1965. Then there was the downward trend to 80 per cent in the 1970s. It fell to 70 per cent by 1982. Only 3.5 per cent of the labour force was jobless in 1969, but thereafter unemployment climbed. It reached almost 11 per cent last year. By the 1980s many basic industries were in trouble. These are the automobile industry, petrochemicals, textiles and so on. We had with that, I may say, a slowdown in productivity growth.
There was an interesting observation made that the roots of the problem are embedded very deeply in our business enterprises, in labour unions and government institutions. There are a lot of scapegoats used to rationalize the situation. Government regulation was one. Government was blamed, through regulation, as being the culprit. The imposition of environmental laws was another. Safety regulations was another, the safety and health of the worker in the work place.
When you looked at these expenditures for the United States, for example, the combined safety regulations and pollution control regulations never exceeded six per cent of industrial investment and can be blamed, at the most, for one tenth of the slowdown in productivity.
Government deficits were blamed as well. The inadequate capital formation was blamed. There were all kinds of reasons that were advanced for the downturn in the economy, including, of course, escalating energy prices, except that the oil shock affected all nations, including Germany and Japan, which were really more dependent on imported energy than was America. We could see what happened in terms of the American economic decline and the decline in the economies of a number of these other countries.
What is pointed out is that all these matters that were blamed really overlooked the worldwide reorganization of production and America's failure to adapt to it. This is very interesting, because really when we look historically at what has happened to our neighbour to the south, and of course to us, the changes have really taken place since the middle of the 1960s. Before the middle 1960s only a small proportion of North American goods was traded internationally. We did not have the world marketplace. That is critical, I think, to bear in mind.
In 1980, 19 per cent of the goods Americans made were exported, but more than 22 per cent of the goods that Americans used were imported. By 1980, more than 70 per cent of all the goods produced in the United States were actively competing with foreign-made goods. In other words, the United States and Canada really had become a part of a world market. It was not just a question of selling domestically and having very few exports and very few imports. The marketplace changed from a principally domestic market to a world market.
It is also interesting that by 1981 the United States was importing almost 26 per cent of its cars; 17 per cent of its steel; 60 per cent of its televisions, radios, tape recorders and phonographs; 43 per cent of its calculators; 27 per cent of its metal forming machine tools; 35 per cent of its textile machinery, and 53 per cent of its computerized machine tools. Twenty years before, imports had accounted for less than 10 per cent of the American market for each of these products.
The declining share of America in the world market has been really dramatic in regard to capital intensive, high volume industries. Since 1963, America's share of the world market has declined in a number of important areas: automobiles by almost one third; industrial machinery by 33 per cent; agricultural machinery by 40 per cent; telecommunications machinery by 50 per cent; metalworking machinery by 55 per cent.
So you can see the impact of a world marketplace, just a single, global marketplace. Very simply put, the goods are being made wherever they can be made the cheapest and it does not matter what the political boundaries are. I would like to point out that the most efficient places for mass production are now in the Third World countries.
Mr. Stokes: You do not categorize Japan as a Third World country?
Mr. J. A. Taylor: No, I do not. In response to the query from my friend the member for Nipigon -- and again I do not want to get off the track -- Japan is no longer a low salary, low-wage-earning country.
As a matter of fact, by the mid-1960s, Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Brazil and Spain were specializing in simple products -- clothing, footwear, toys and basic electronic assemblies -- that required substantial amounts of unskilled labour but little capital investment or technology. Between 1970 and 1975, Korea's exports of textiles increased by 436 per cent, Taiwan's by 347 per cent and Hong Kong's by 191 percent.
Again in response to my colleague from Nipigon, Japan's response was to shift out of the simple products into processing industries, such as steel and synthetic fibres, that required substantial amounts of capital investment and raw materials but used mostly unskilled and semi-skilled labour and incorporated relatively mature technologies that were not subject to major innovations.
Put very simply, what was happening was the very low wage countries were producing in a mass way products that did not require large capital investments. They were into toys and footwear, clothing, that type of thing. Then they went from that type of production into utilizing the costly capital-intensive machinery that really could pretty well run itself. It did not take a lot of skill to produce. As a matter of fact, a lot of automation was involved, and they are very low wage countries.
Again there was an evolution, a shift from the Taiwans and the Japans, the Hong Kongs, the Singapores, a shift of that type of production, that is, the basic labour-intensive, not capital-intensive, into other countries like Malaysia and Thailand, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and India, where the wages on the average were probably no more than $25 a month. A very interesting evolution or structural change is taking place, because here in North America, where we have the sophisticated technology and the capital-intensive, automated, mass-produced, standardized type of production we cannot compete with the other countries in a world marketplace.
The shift that was pointed out --
Mr. Stokes: Why not? This is where robotics all got started.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: I would like to debate this on a one-to-one basis with the member for Lake Nipigon. I would be very happy to do that and to point out in a historical fashion all the components of this evolution in the change of our production, the shift, what has happened in the other countries, what countries like Japan are doing now and how we must change if we are going to compete.
For example, take Britain. Britain has consistently led the world in major technological breakthroughs. I will mention three: continuous steelcasting, monoclonal antibodies and the CAT scanner. But because British business lacked the organization and the workers lacked the skills necessary to incorporate these inventions into production processes quickly enough, the British have reaped no real competitive advantage from them. These inventions were commercialized in Japan and the United States.
The solution that has been advanced is that, in short, we have to get into more flexible systems of production. This does not mean that industrial countries must abandon their old industries such as steel, textiles and automobiles. Rather than abandoning these industries, countries are seeking to restructure them towards higher valued and technologically more sophisticated businesses, specialty steel, special chemicals, synthetic fibres and precision engineered automobiles and auto components.
I may again point out to my friend from Nipigon that of all industrialized countries, Japan has made the most rapid shift from standardized production to flexible systems production. I am not going to spend any more time in referring to that particular article because if the member would like to pick it up and read it, I think he will be suitably impressed with the structural change that has really transpired and the problems that we are going to face and are facing in this country in terms of our production.
Mr. Stokes: Did you wonder why there was only two per cent unemployment in Japan and they are concerned about it?
Mr. J. A. Taylor: I do not wish to debate on a one-on-one basis, although I will be glad to at any time in any forum with my friend from Nipigon.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Except this forum.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: I do not think it is appropriate. If the member thinks it is, I will take him on collectively or singly, whatever he likes.
Mr. Nixon: Let's have a committee, Jim.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: That is not a bad idea. I think it would be appropriate to have a select committee to examine precisely what is going on, to separate rhetoric from fact and to get a sense of direction and a sense of proportion.
There are two major challenges facing the people of this province and this government. Our most immediate and pressing task is to respond to and to manage current positive economic trends in a constructive manner. First, we must ensure that the economic recovery takes hold and then transform that momentum into positive economic growth for our province.
Effecting this transformation from a recovery mode to a new pattern of sustained and positive growth is our second and perhaps most important challenge. To successfully meet this challenge we will have to help our industries and manufacturers adapt and adjust to the worldwide reorganization of production which has occurred over the past 20 years, most notably in the past decade.
Programs such as Canada-Ontario employment development are designed to achieve a limited but important goal of helping the unemployed through a very difficult economic period. They provide short-term relief but do not offer viable long-term solutions. For those solutions we must turn to policies which will support capital formation and help improve our productivity.
Only policies designed to achieve these goals can effectively reverse the deterioration of our competitive position which threatens the long-term employment prospects of our province. If these policies are to be effective, they must be designed from a global perspective and with the dynamics of a world market in mind. That worldwide reorganization of production which I alluded to earlier has been complemented by and to a degree has caused radical shifts in the patterns of world trade.
Increasing interdependence brings new problems and new opportunities, opens new markets but also exposes us to new competition. The day is long past when we in Ontario can safely ignore the newly industrialized or the less developed countries. In many instances these nations have become aggressive exporters and are taking an increasingly large share of developed markets.
It is no secret that Canada is a trading nation and Ontario is a trading province. Export sales in the future will be an important element in dynamic economic growth. However, Canada's share of world trade has been declining over the last 10 years. For Ontario the decline in share of world trade has been just as troubling, from four per cent in 1970 to 2.5 per cent in 1981.
Of greatest concern to me is the fact that this country's trade deficit in manufactured goods continues to expand. This is of particular significance for Ontario, which accounts for approximately 50 per cent of Canada's manufactured exports. As I recall, that 50 per cent at one time was about 70 per cent.
As all members are aware, manufacturing accounts for more value added growth and employment then any other sector of the economy. According to Ministry of Industry and Trade figures, world trade in manufactured goods is expected to increase by four per cent to 4.5 per cent annually during the period 1983 to 1987. If Ontario producers are to win a fair share of that increase they are going to have to compete for it. Only if they compete successfully can we expect to derive any economic benefit, including a growth in employment opportunities.
In fact, over the next four to five years our producers will find that they will have to compete vigorously to maintain their share of our domestic market. Canada already experiences a higher degree of import penetration than any other Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development country. Our domestic producers' exposure to foreign competition will increase over the next few years as tariff reductions negotiated at the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade come into effect.
The result of GATT and the Bretton Woods monetary system, has been the emergence of one worldwide market. The rules in this market are clear: To survive, you must compete; to compete, you must be productive; to be productive, you must adapt. Within this new environment the government can best help the unemployed and most effectively resolve the long-term problems of unemployment by helping industries adapt and compete.
The generation of new employment opportunities depends on capital formation and the level of productivity. These two factors largely determine how many jobs there can be, how secure they can be and how well-paid they can be. If we in this House are serious about creating greater employment opportunities for Ontarians, then we should concentrate on ways to encourage capital formation and improve productivity.
The throne speech explicitly states that this government is committed to developing internationally competitive world-class industries in Ontario. I suggest that this commitment is a real commitment to increase employment. In our last budget, for example, we suspended the corporate income tax on incorporated small businesses for a two-year period. This move returned more than $250 million to some 60,000 small firms in 1982-83. This provided the small business sector, which accounts for 40 per cent of all employment in the province, with a substantial investment pool.
This government will continue its efforts to stimulate business investment by imaginative policies that allow us to work effectively within the private sector, and members opposite will just have to wait and see how imaginative those policies are. Most important, this government has been able to sustain investor confidence in Ontario because of its record of sound, responsible management, and members cannot deny that.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: We have kept our deficit under control -- and the member knows that -- and have carefully regulated the size of the public sector -- and the member knows that. As a result of our long-standing commitment to and practice of restraint we have been able to provide cost-effective, high-quality services to the people of this province -- and the member knows that as well.
I am pleased to note that in the throne speech, Mr. Speaker -- and I am glad you have observed this as well -- the government undertakes to strengthen further the management of the province's affairs. That should receive applause from all members. I am also encouraged by the fact that in the speech from the throne the government declared its intention to address the problem of falling productivity.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Oh, come on.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: The member knows that as well.
I do not think it is an exaggeration to say that unless we quickly reverse the trend in declining productivity the problem will soon assume crisis proportions if it has not done so already. In Canada, declining productivity is a fairly universal problem but Ontario, as the manufacturing heartland, is particularly hard hit by the slump.
Some appreciation of the severity of the Canadian productivity problem can be had from the following figures. Between 1950 and 1981, manufacturing output per man-hour worked rose 194 per cent in Canada. By comparison, during the same period output increased 267 per cent in Sweden, 350 per cent in France, 414 per cent in West Germany and a phenomenal 1,334 per cent in Japan.
From 1960 to 1980, Canadian productivity grew at an average rate of 2.4 per cent per year compared to the average rate of 3.9 per cent of all OECD countries. By 1982, Canada had the worst productivity record of any western nation and our productivity has actually declined in three of the last four years. It is important for members to take note of the facts.
More alarming from the Canadian perspective is the fact our productivity performance is rapidly being overtaken by non-OECD producers. The newly industrialized countries and less developed countries are now using much the same type of equipment as we do and have the advantage of access to cheaper resources and cheaper labour, advantages which they will continue to enjoy for quite some time in the future.
The productivity problem is a complex one and solving it will require a concerted effort on the part of labour, management and government. An element of any solution will, however, be the adoption of more efficient production technology. The government's major contribution to this effort is being made by the technology research centres. It is hoped these centres will help the private sector make the transition to the technological society. However, I would caution against believing that high technology is the open sesame to our economic future.
Ultimately, the real solutions come down, as they always do, to people. High technology requires people who are trained and equipped to operate, maintain and apply it in an efficient manner. After all, the inefficient operation of efficient technologies is not progress. Therefore, to be competitive and productive, we require an appropriately educated and skilled labour pool. The speech from the throne suggests that this government will act to provide for such a labour force.
Mr. Philip: If you had taken a speed reading course you would have saved us all a lot of time.
The Deputy Speaker: That is out of order.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: I think it is too, Mr. Speaker. I was proceeding rather quickly because I was hoping to finish my remarks by six o'clock. The subject matter with which I am dealing is very important and vital. The members of this Legislature should have some concept, some understanding of what is happening not only in the Ontario and Canadian economy but in the North American and world economy.
The members should have some understanding as to what is happening in the financial community and the banking world, the changes taking place there and how those changes will fundamentally affect every Canadian, every Ontarian, every individual. It is important in my estimation that the members of this Legislature take this matter seriously.
Mr. Philip: We are.
Mr. J. A. Taylor: No, the member is not, because he would rather engage in senseless repartee than involve himself in what I consider a very serious discussion.
On motion by Mr. J. A. Taylor, the debate was adjourned.
The House adjourned at 6 p.m.