The House met at 2 p.m.
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION
Mr. Breithaupt: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Provincial Secretary for Justice with respect to freedom of information. Since that topic was not considered in the speech from the throne for this year, can the minister tell us whether the government will be introducing in the House during this session a bill on freedom of information and protection of individual privacy?
Mr. Roy: Don't get carried away, now. Just drop it on us gently.
Hon. G. W. Taylor: Run out the clock, Norm; you've got an hour.
Hon. Mr. Sterling: Mr. Speaker, I am getting a lot of advice this afternoon, as you can well appreciate.
Mr. Speaker: I can see that.
Hon. Mr. Sterling: Mr. Speaker, the position of the government is no different from the one I indicated about two or three months ago: that the matter is still under consideration and that it was not included either in this year's speech from the throne or in that of 1982. I am still optimistic, however, that we are progressing on the matter -- we still consider it of an important nature -- and that some of the commitments that have been made in the past will come to fruition.
Mr. Breithaupt: While the minister is progressing conservatively, it would appear that since it has been six years since the Williams commission was appointed and three years since it reported; since we have spent over $3 million in the acquisition of expertise on this subject, which is second to none anywhere in the world, and since we in the opposition have been able, as the minister is aware from my Bill 6, to put together a freedom of information bill generally based upon the principles of the Williams commission, what is he going to provide us with in so far as a resolution of this subject is concerned? How much more expertise is needed? Why can we not be guaranteed that we will have a bill on this subject, at least for discussion purposes, so that the matter can proceed?
Hon. Mr. Sterling: I agree there has been a great deal of study and expertise put into this matter; I agree there is no need for any further expertise. In fact, I have a draft bill that is being considered by the cabinet at this time, but all the matters relating to the various sections have not been resolved among the cabinet ministers. Until that is resolved, the matter cannot be brought forward to the public.
Mr. Stokes: Mr. Speaker, given the pronouncements made in this House on sessional paper 115, I think in October 1981 by the minister's colleague, the member for Cochrane South (Mr. Pope); given the fact that at that time he stated, by way of a letter from the Premier (Mr. Davis) that was distributed to every ministry of the government, that the previous position of the government was to have openness and a frank exchange, not only with members of the Legislature but with members of the press and public generally; and given the fact that we already have had civil servants fired for following those guidelines; when is the minister going to come in with clear and unequivocal legislation that will, in essence, practise the freedom of information that he talks about so proudly behind closed doors?
Hon. Mr. Sterling: Mr. Speaker, I do believe we have a very open government. In fact, we have taken a number of steps in terms of improving the access to information in our government: Each ministry has a library; we have produced a catalogue of the various documents we have in our government; in December 1981 I produced a document outlining all the personal data banks we have in government.
I must also point out that I receive very few queries from the public relating to the lack of provision of information about government programs. I do receive the odd request for information from an individual about another individual. Of course, those particular documents are sometimes kept confidential for the protection of privacy.
Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, in the absence of the Premier (Mr. Davis) I would like to ask a question of the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs who, I think, represents this province on the Constitution. I would have liked to have asked the question of the Premier, but it is in that particular minister's area.
A few days ago, when the Premier was still a candidate for the federal Tory leadership, he made a speech at the Canadian Club. He was talking about relationships between certain provinces and how he would work for the unity of the country. One of the things he said about Quebec was, "I am certainly prepared to advance a position on behalf of the government of Ontario that will take into account some of the genuine concerns that are felt within our sister province."
Will the minister advise us exactly what the Premier was talking about? What new position is the Premier prepared to take or advance on behalf of this province to accommodate the concerns of Quebec on the Constitution?
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, as I recall, I answered that question a couple of weeks ago. As a matter of fact, it was asked the same day the Premier made the speech.
I think I indicated at the time that the Premier was expressing the general opinion of this government, which has always been put forward by the members of this government, that we felt first of all very sorry that the province of Quebec -- or, more particularly, the government of Quebec -- had not accepted the Canada Act, had not signed the Constitution and did not feel it could embrace the new Constitution of Canada.
I also drew attention to the fact that, notwithstanding the fact it does not embrace the Constitution, those sections of the Constitution that cannot be obliterated from that province by the "notwithstanding" clause apply, of course, in Quebec, although we do know it has already used the "notwithstanding" clause in certain legislation, so that the Constitution of Canada would not govern the legislation Quebec used to put the teachers back to work, as I recall.
But the position of this government has always been that we would be willing to sit down and discuss with Quebec those things that would make the Constitution of Canada more acceptable to it. One of the things it has put forward, if the honourable member wants to talk about specifics, is full fiscal compensation for opting out. That is a position that several times we have privately said to them -- and I mentioned this in the House the last time when the speech was made -- we would be willing to sit down and discuss with them if that was what they wished to do and if it was one of those things that could help build bridges between this province and Quebec.
The Premier may have had some other things in mind. The member will have to ask him about those.
Mr. Roy: I would have thought that when the Premier was advancing a new position dealing with intergovernmental affairs, his minister in charge would have known what the Premier was talking about.
But let me be more specific. On fiscal compensation for opting out, does the minister agree with the position, for instance, of Joe Clark, who feels they should give some compensation at some time; or the position of Brian Mulroney, another federal leadership candidate, who says they should not?
Which position does the minister take on the right of veto for Quebec? Is he on the side of his friend to his left, the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry), who says Quebec should have limited veto rights in the area of culture and language; or does he agree with the gentleman on his right, the Premier, who slapped him down when he brought forward that position? Can he advise us exactly where he is on this issue?
Hon. Mr. Wells: First of all, I am not going to offer any comments on the positions of the various contenders for the leadership of the federal Progressive Conservative Party. They will have to speak for themselves on those issues, just as we will speak for ourselves here.
I have indicated to the honourable member that this province is willing to sit down and talk to the government of Quebec about any of those things it feels would help bring it into the Constitution of Canada. This means accepting the fact that this is a country and that we want all provinces to stay together and so forth, and not accepting the basic premise they have that they might rather want to stress those things that would allow them to separate.
But if there are things that will help them accept the Constitution, we will sit down and discuss those things. One of those things is full fiscal compensation; there may be others. My friend the Attorney General was putting out another suggestion, a suggestion a little different but perhaps, if you studied them, not really very much different from full fiscal compensation.
The real point is that it is not the specifics we are talking about; it is building the bridges and sitting down and talking about some of those things that will not compromise the positions and principles of this government but will help build better relations with Quebec and bring it into the total constitutional fold.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, since the government is now declaring its willingness to be flexible and to find ways by which Quebec might be persuaded to re-enter the question of constitutional negotiations, could the minister comment on Ontario's readiness with respect to French-language rights in Ontario?
Now that the government has formally declared the right to education in French should be a right for any Franco-Ontarian, is the government also prepared, given its flexibility in relation to Quebec, to accept the implications of section 133 and have it apply to Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, we do not have any statement on that principle today. I just draw the member's attention to the fact that, in keeping with the long-standing record of this government, the Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson) has announced new initiatives which go beyond the constitutional guarantee as far as French-language education is concerned.
The Constitution says "where numbers warrant." This government is moving to guarantee everyone who is a francophone in this province the right to choose if he or she wishes to have education in his or her mother tongue.
Mr. Roy: May I just say to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs that, when he talks about building bridges between Quebec and Ontario, we agree with that. It would be helpful if the people of Quebec knew exactly what position the government had, rather than a position of the Attorney General one day and that of the Premier the next. It would be important to have a unified voice. The minister understands it is important there should not just be specific positions on specific issues.
I think the question asked by my colleague the member for Ottawa Centre (Mr. Cassidy) has a lot of merit. Very troubling statistics have come out involving the assimilation of francophones outside Quebec, and the latest statistics I think indicate some 30,000 were assimilated during the last 10 years. In view of this situation and in view of the initiative he took while we thought the Premier was still a candidate for the federal Tory leadership when he made a statement --
Mr. Roy: Did I wake up the member? I am sorry. I promise not to do it again.
Mr. Rotenberg: Ask your question.
Mr. Speaker: Order. Question, please.
Mr. Roy: I woke up more than one there. I am making progress.
Given that troubling statistic and the minister's latest statement about francophone education, does he not think it is time he stepped in on situations such as Mattawa and Iroquois Falls and spoke to his colleague the Minister of Education, to get her going to put that important principle into practice about French-language education for those areas?
Hon. Mr. Wells: I think I just answered the education question. If the member reads the statement, he will see the progress the minister is making in that area -- very significant progress which goes beyond the constitutional guarantee.
In regard to section 133, I might ask my friend a question. I recall that about two years ago when we were in the midst of an election campaign the then leader of his party, Stuart Smith, indicated section 133 was not applied to Ontario in the Constitution of Canada because he asked the Prime Minister of Canada not to do that.
Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Labour concerning the Canadian Salt Co. Ojibway mine near Windsor. Is the minister aware that since 1963 the miners have complained of exhaust fumes, and is he further aware that in 1977 there was a walkout because of excessive fumes and they were promised a program to improve conditions?
In 1977 a test by the Ministry of Labour showed the benzene-soluble portion of the diesel exhaust particulate to be higher than the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration standard for coke ovens. In January 1978 the union complained to Peter McCrodan because of the excessive smoke and the absenteeism due to that. In February 1978 the ministry said there was no problem except it had concerns about the high levels of nitrogen oxide.
With all these concerns having been expressed by the miners for some 15 or 18 years now, what is the minister prepared to do to ensure we do not have another cintering plant situation such as Copper Cliff, where 100 people have now died of cancer, or the Elliot Lake situation where literally dozens of men have died from cancer?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, I am aware of some of the history the honourable member has brought forward. I must admit I am not completely familiar with all the history, and I am not familiar with where the situation stands at the present time. I will be happy to make myself completely familiar with it and follow up. If any further investigation has to be done, I will make sure it is done.
Mr. Martel: Is the minister aware of a survey taken by the union, not very scientific but none the less taken, which indicated mine workers suffered severe headaches, unusual tiredness, coughing, chest pains, and throat and eye irritation, and, of most concern, in which 78 per cent of those who responded stated they were coughing up black sputum? I want to show the minister a filter after eight hours on surface, this is a filter after three hours underground, and this is a filter after five hours underground. I am sure the minister agrees that is intolerable.
If these filters do not give 100 per cent protection from breathing in fumes and taking in particulate matter, and it is obvious they do not, and if the miners cannot wear the Darth Vader type of hood they are being forced to wear, what measures is the minister prepared to take to ensure the ventilation is such that the miners will not be subjected to breathing in this kind of air?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: I do not want to be provocative because I know the member is very serious about this matter, as well he should be and well I should be too. I am wondering if this is not a matter that arose at the time of his task force, and if it was, why it is only being brought to my attention now. If he had brought it to me three months ago when he was conducting the task force, I could have already been at work on it.
Mr. Wildman: Mr. Speaker, is the minister aware that in 1977 the Environmental Protection Agency announced that preliminary studies showed the diesel exhaust fumes were mutagenic? Is he concerned about that? If that is the case, is he prepared to take action similar to that taken by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in the United States, which has demanded further studies on the effects of diesel emissions in mines?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, I believe I answered that question in response to the original question. The answer is yes, I am prepared to look into it and take whatever action is appropriate.
LEAD ASSESSMENTS AT WILCO-CANADA
Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, to the Minister of Labour again -- and I might suggest to the minister that I obtained those while I was in Windsor last Wednesday -- I have a question with respect to Wilco-Canada. Is the minister aware that, in regard to the six charges against the workers for failing to wear proper respirators, these workers were wearing respirators but not the required air-stream helmets? In fact there was only one air-stream helmet available for six workers.
Is the minister further aware that two of his inspectors were in the plant on the days the charges were laid -- November 24, November 23 and November 29 -- yet the inspectors failed to mention to the workers that they were wearing improper respirators. They only found out they were wearing improper respirators on the day on which the charges were laid, which was some five months later.
Will the minister attempt to verify those facts and drop the charges against the workers? Will he also explain to the House why the inspectors did not advise the workers they were wearing improper equipment and why the inspectors did not order proper equipment for them on the spot?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, a similar question, phrased in a different way, was brought forward by the leader of the third party a number of days ago. While I did not make a commitment to him to do so, I made a commitment to myself to look into the matter he was raising. I have been doing that and I am at present in the process of preparing a letter to the leader of the third party giving details of the charges and the reasons for their being laid. I would hope the letter can be delivered tomorrow or the next day.
Mr. Martel: Is the minister aware that as of today there is still inadequate ventilation, no lead control program is in place, workers still have not received training on the alleged assessment and control program, and the control program was posted in only one of five relevant areas?
Is the minister further aware that, effective Friday, his ministry has ordered that respirators be worn in the whole operation and blood level tests be taken weekly? Maybe while the minister is answering, he could tell me why there has been no action up to this time to make that company comply with required ventilation and, through engineering, eliminate the hazardous conditions?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: I am not going to stand here and defend that company because I am frankly terribly upset with the manner in which it has addressed the matter of occupational health and safety. It has been far from co-operative. We took the ultimate step some time ago of closing it down for a weekend, hoping that would bring it around.
Since then we have had regular inspections and we have laid charges, which is something the member suggested to me time after time. Charges have been laid; I can assure him more charges, if necessary, will be laid. We are determined we are going to bring that particular operation into compliance.
I must admit I have certainly given consideration to closing down that plant. The only thing that has prevented me from doing so is that there is a terrible shortage of jobs in this province and I just do not want to put anybody out of work. But I assure the member if that situation were not prevalent, we would have taken that dramatic action.
Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, is the minister then saying he is trading off the issue of worker safety simply to maintain jobs? Is that the tradeoff we are involved in? If it is not, why have charges not been laid vis-à-vis the ventilation problem?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, that is not what I was attempting to imply at all. I was trying to draw attention to the seriousness of the situation and the fact we are attempting to control it and bring the company into line while making sure those jobs remain. I think that is the responsible thing to do in an economic climate such as we have at the present time.
Mr. Martel: Since the company is about to move to St. Marys with a new name, maybe the minister should lay the charges now for improper ventilation and no assessment, before it gets out and everything is swept under the rug.
Will the minister document in the House all the material on those workers who have been on compensation for the last five years? At the same time, will he intervene personally on behalf of at least two of the workers, Brad Tunks and George Pavao, who are still trying to get benefits or retraining from the Workers' Compensation Board since their blood levels are close to 0.50 milligrams, which still allows them to work there, but they are particularly in need of retraining since one of them has severe nerve damage? Would he intervene personally on behalf of those workers to ensure they get proper retraining?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Yes. I would be pleased to do that if the member will provide me with the information he has.
PSYCHIATRIC SERVICES FOR ADOLESCENTS
Mr. Van Horne: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Health. The mother of a 13-year-old boy who died from glue sniffing three days before Christmas told a coroner's jury in London two weeks ago how she tried for months and failed to get help for her son. Dr. Tim Frewen, who treated the boy, said there was no facility in London for such an adolescent. The boy simply slipped through the loopholes.
Is the minister aware of this coroner's inquest and the recommendations that came from it? Is he prepared to comment on the lack of psychiatric service for adolescents in London, Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member will have to refer that question to my colleague the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Drea), who is responsible for psychiatric services for adolescents.
Mr. Van Horne: I am taking a look right now at the press release from Windsor on May 5 and the report of Dr. Heseltine, who has been criss-crossing the province and talking with various medical people and volunteers in the community regarding the proposals he has for psychiatric services within the province. My understanding is that generally this comes under the aegis of the Minister of Health, or at least he is involved in so far as some of these services are offered within a hospital.
Going back to another situation in London last year wherein a parent wrote to the minister about her teenage daughter, who needed some kind of assistance, the understanding came back to those parents that there might be a four- or six-bed unit at Victoria Hospital for the treatment of adolescents. Can the minister or his colleague respond as to why that facility has not yet been placed at Victoria Hospital?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I would like to help the member on those matters, but those matters quite properly, as Dr. Heseltine pointed out, lie at the present time totally within the purview of the Ministry of Community and Social Services. Our ministry, of course, looks after mental health services for adults, whereas all other mental health services, psychiatric services and related services for adolescents, fall to the Minister of Community and Social Services. The member's question should more properly be addressed to him. Since he is absent, I will refer that to him to respond to the member.
SECURITY OF TENURE IN RENTAL UNITS
Mr. Philip: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Attorney General. He will recall that on April 22 he stated he would be meeting with his colleagues the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing (Mr. Bennett) and the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Elgie) and that he would make a statement within 10 days about needed amendments to the Landlord and Tenant Act to protect those tenants who are being evicted as a result of the sale of companies to tenancies in common.
Sixteen days have now passed since he made the statement. Can the Attorney General tell us when that statement will be made in the House? Can we also assure the tenants, particularly the large number of those in the Lakeshore area, that legislation will be forthcoming to protect them from being evicted?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, yes, I will be introducing legislation later today to deal effectively, I hope, with the issue the honourable member has raised.
Mr. Philip: That is welcome news. I would like to send the minister eight eviction notices. Many of them relate to tenants who are being evicted on Allanhurst Drive in Lakeshore. Can we have the assurance of the minister that this legislation will be forthcoming in time to prevent their evictions, most of which are dated July 1?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I think this legislation will protect the security of tenure of those tenants. With the co-operation that I think will be forthcoming from our colleagues across the aisle, this legislation could be passed very quickly.
Mr. Kolyn: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: I would like to correct the record. Allanhurst Drive is not in the Lakeshore area; it is in Humber.
Mr. Sargent: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Energy. In view of the fact that the people of Ontario have the right to terminate mining leases, and given that Denison pays the unbelievable sum of $5,000 a year to mine 28,000 acres of provincial land, for which it now has a $7 billion contract with a $2 billion guaranteed profit, and in view of the fact that Ontario Hydro has also lent $650 million to Steve Roman, which will cost us $1 billion in interest, to give him seed money to start up, with the deadlines facing this province by this contract, by the spring of 1984 the government has to give notice to cancel the contracts or forfeit the $650 million, and we have millions of pounds of uranium which we will not need for decades --
Mr. Speaker: I hope the member does have a question.
Mr. Sargent: I think I will close off right now by asking, what is the minister going to do when he faces this deadline next January?
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, I have not discussed that matter recently with Ontario Hydro, but I have no reason to believe there is any intention to cancel any contract at this particular stage.
As the member knows, there were some projections with respect to what the uranium requirements for the public utility would be over a protracted period of time. We have entered into additional agreements for that supply with other Canadian mines.
If the member is asking me for an update with respect to Ontario Hydro's supply requirements in that regard, I would be glad to get that further information for him.
Mr. Sargent: This is unbelievable. The minister must know he has a five-year lead time to cancel these contracts. It is very serious. It is costing us billions of dollars because we are paying $50 a pound now and the world price is $25 a pound. If the minister does not know about that lead time of January 1984, then we are in trouble.
Mr. Speaker: Is the minister not aware?
Hon. Mr. Welch: With all due respect, that was not the question, whether I knew anything about the lead time. I said I know nothing at the moment that would indicate Ontario Hydro plans to take advantage of any particular provisions with respect to cancellation of the contract. I thought that was the original question.
PRICE RESTRAINT MONITORING
Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, may I have the attention of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations? He will know that section 33 of Bill 179, the so-called wage and price restraint bill, says that the Inflation Restraint Board shall monitor the pattern of changes in prices and wages in the private sector generally and report its findings to the minister.
Within the context of that section on prices, has the minister been monitoring the price of birth control pills? Is he aware that the manufacturers' price of the four main brands has increased 52 per cent in the last two years and 19 per cent in the last year with an eight per cent increase in January? Can the minister explain that increase and justify it?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I may say in a very personal way that with age -- and it will eventually happen to the member for Welland-Thorold too -- that particular issue does not become as pressing a problem in one's life as it might on other occasions. That is not to say one should not always carefully observe, as the member does, each and every price change that takes place.
However, I do notice that the member consistently fails to point out the broad picture. Had he stood up and said in all honesty, as I suspect he really wanted to but his seat was a little sticky, that from April 1982 to April 1983 the consumer price index rose only 3.2 per cent, we might have had a better understanding of the overall price issue that faces the citizens of this province.
I have not been particularly monitoring the issue with respect to birth control pills or the issue in general, but certainly the member has raised a question which demands a great degree of attention.
Mr. Swart: I am a little disappointed that the minister starts out making fun of this very real problem to women in our society.
The minister must know that the prices of birth control pills, and for that matter other drugs, are published every six months in the Ontario government Ministry of Health formulary. If he has not monitored prices charged to his own government, what monitoring has he done with regard to prices? Is it not true that there is not and was not the slightest sincerity in the prices section of Bill 179? If that is not the case, will the minister tell me one single product whose price he has monitored? Will he table any monitoring report that has been made since Bill 179 was passed five months ago?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Let me assure the member -- and I know I speak on behalf of many in this House when I say I do not treat the question and the subject matter he has raised very lightly -- it is and has been a very important issue in many of our lives. If he thinks otherwise, then I suspect he may have other problems we do not know about in this House yet.
May I also say that the Inflation Restraint Board will be monitoring by statute the price behaviour in the province during the course of the year. How it will be doing that will be a matter left to its determination. When I receive its report, certainly I will be prepared to consider whether it is a report that can be tabled under the statute.
ASSISTANCE TO FARMERS
Mr. McKessock: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Agriculture and Food. Is the minister aware that Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food offices are advising applicants to the Ontario farm adjustment assistance program that the ministry will only guarantee a certain portion of their credit and that the bank must guarantee the rest? We understand the minister said at the first of the year that he would only guarantee 50 per cent of the banks' credit portfolios, but now they are saying they only want to guarantee a portion of the individual farmer's line of credit. Is the minister aware of this change in mid-stream?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, there is no change in mid-stream. If the honourable member has a case where he alleges that a specific individual or individuals in the employ of the ministry are misinterpreting or giving out wrong information, I would like to know about it. On any given day in our 53 offices we are dealing with literally hundreds, if not thousands, of people. It is entirely possible that somebody has misinterpreted that policy, and I would like to know about it so we can correct it.
Mr. McKessock: I take it the minister is saying he is guaranteeing 100 per cent of the individual farmer's line of credit?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: What I am saying is that we are dealing with each individual case. Where we agree to approve it, that is where the provincial decision committee approves the case, in effect it is assuming it is 100 per cent. But in looking at the total portfolios, we do insist on sharing the total overall risk with the participating lenders.
Mr. McKessock: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: Order. Was that not a supplementary?
Mr. McKessock: I put an explanatory question and the minister answered it, but --
Mr. Speaker: Having regard for the afternoon and the day it is, and my generous and forgiving nature, I will recognize the member for Grey.
Mr. McKessock: I brought an individual case to the minister's attention yesterday. This farmer is coming in off the tractor and calling me every other hour. This morning I gave him the minister's number so he can call him on the off hours. I want to let the minister know how important this is. The farmer told me this morning it cost him $36 a ton more to buy fertilizer on time. Until he gets this approved credit at the bank, the minister is adding to the inefficiency of farm operations instead of to the efficiency.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I do not intend to use the name of the individual, but I am happy to give the member the facts as I understand them. They have been given to me by my staff. The individual in question is dealing with the bank in Mount Forest. In 1982, $42,000 was covered under option B of the farm adjustment assistance program; option C, which was a guarantee of operating credit, was for $56,000. In 1983 the individual applied for assistance under option B, that is, the interest rate reduction grant, on $22,000, and applied for a guarantee of a line of operating credit of $260,000. This increase was requested, I am told, and I think the member confirmed this when he spoke to me about the case on Friday, to get back into cattle. The provincial decision committee initially rejected the application for 1983 on the basis that it was a nonviable operation.
Since then --
Mr. McKessock: Nonviable because he took their advice.
Mr. Speaker: Never mind the interjection.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: One of the strengths of this program is that the decision process is kept apart from political processes. They are good people, using good judgement and making individual judgements on the information placed before them by the applicants. When this individual originally applied, their assessment was it was not viable and, therefore, was something into which they should not risk putting almost a quarter of a million in taxpayers' dollars.
Since then the individual reapplied, and the provincial decision committee, after the reapplication, offered the individual option B at $22,000 as requested; option C at $160,000; $60,000 as carryover plus half the additional amount he was requesting. This offer was rejected by the bank because I take it he was still looking for a further $100,000 beyond that.
In effect, the provincial decision committee was saying, "We feel, based on what we know of this farm operation, that we can go to guaranteeing $100,000 of operating credit". I take it the individual is saying: "That is fine, but I want $200,000. I want the bank to loan me the balance". The bank has said no.
Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, I want to get back to the minister's answer to the first question. If I heard him right, he said there was no limitation on the guarantee. Is it not true that when the number of second applications goes past a certain percentage of a bank's portfolio, the government then guarantees only 50 per cent of that second loan? Is that not the case? Has there not been a change from last year when there was a guarantee of the whole loan?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, last year the total risk was on the government. The member will recall that he stood in his place here and spoke at various meetings around the country, saying, "This is a program for the lenders, something that will just help the lenders." Surely the member would support the position of the government, that in extending the program for one last year, the risk should be shared by the lenders, all of whom he has no use for anyway, whether they are credit unions, trust companies or banks.
Mr. Swart: You have cut back on the guarantee.
Mr. McClellan: Sure they have. The minister should just say "yes" and sit down.
Mr. Swart: He would be a good Premier.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Yes, I did. The member will surely agree the risk should be shared between the lenders and the government, and that is what we are doing.
ALLOCATION OF HOUSING UNITS
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. Could the minister explain why he passed the buck back to the mayors of Toronto and Ottawa when he met with them earlier this week, when they requested the province to go to bat on behalf of a fair share for those two cities of the newly announced addition to social housing prepared or proposed by the federal government in its recent budget? Why was Ontario not prepared to go to bat through this minister on behalf of people who need housing in our major cities?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, the member for Ottawa Centre is still on the path of trying to be critical without even trying to observe what was the actual discussion that took place.
I met yesterday afternoon with the mayor of Ottawa and the mayor of Toronto in relation to how the federal government might allocate the additional 2,500 units that were given to the minister responsible for housing for Canada to give to the provinces or to whomever under the nonprofit program. The day following the federal budget I was in touch with Mr. LeBlanc. I have talked with him, more by accident, at the Ottawa airport as to where the allocation was going and what amount of it might come for municipal nonprofit in Ontario.
In addition to that, I have written letters to Mr. LeBlanc. My staff has been to Ottawa to meet with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. and Mr. LeBlanc. We talked with Mr. LeBlanc's office again this week and we have not been given any indication from that minister at the federal level as to when he might decide to allocate the additional 2,500 units and what number will come to Ontario.
I have clearly indicated I think we should get our historical percentage, which is roughly 600 of those units. He has not even indicated what number of units will be put into the municipal nonprofit versus the private nonprofit versus the co-ops. So the suggestion of the member for Ottawa Centre that this minister and this government have not been very forceful in bringing our position to Mr. LeBlanc, the minister reporting for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., is absolutely wrong.
I have pursued the position at every turn possible, which I indicated to the mayor of Toronto and the mayor of Ottawa. I asked for their assistance, as I have of the members on the opposite side of the House representing the Liberal caucus, to suggest to the federal Liberal members that one of the most important places for the allocation of the additional 2,500 units would be in the municipal nonprofit sector. I have asked them to do that so that co-operatively we might succeed.
Mr. Cassidy: The minister should perhaps be aware of the fact that he left two very frustrated mayors after the discussion and that that was far from the impression they had themselves.
Could the minister explain how the municipal authorities in Ottawa or in Toronto should be expected to cope when, to take Ottawa in particular -- the minister should know the situation there very well -- the vacancy rate is two tenths of one per cent? There are more than 2,000 people on waiting lists for various kinds of social housing in Ottawa and 75 motel units are occupied because those people cannot get any other housing except the kind of emergency housing which is being provided by the regional municipality.
If that is all that is going to come from Ottawa, then why is the minister of housing not prepared to step in to ensure some answers to the housing crisis we are experiencing in major cities?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: It is interesting that the member should go off on a tangent once again. He will recall that two years ago we had the Ontario rental construction loan program which his party found reasons to criticize. But it brought 15,000 units on the marketplace of Ontario through the singular initiatives of this government; there were no others participating. This government went alone under the rental construction loan program and was able to succeed not only in bringing units on stream but in creating employment in the construction industry.
Last year the federal government, if the member will recall, came along with the Canada rental supply program. Mr. Cosgrove, the minister reporting for CMHC during that time, said he would develop 10,000 units in this province. He has not succeeded, nor has the minister following him succeeded. But they asked this province very clearly and very distinctly to stay out of the rental construction loan business; they were going to go it alone.
We went to the renter-buy program -- does the member recall it? -- which produced about 16,000 purchasers of homes in this province. Over half of them came from rental accommodations into the market of purchasing a home. We have been trying to contribute to the economy of Ontario and to resolve some of the shortcomings in the supply of rental accommodation in the various price ranges.
The mayors might be frustrated. That was a condition they had before ever they came to see me yesterday; I can assure the member of that. I did not create that problem. They have known what the situation was. I have indicated clearly to them what the problems happen to be. This government, I believe, has said time and again -- and I trust that maybe this afternoon we might hear something further; I do not know -- that we should be looking for a co-operative program between the federal and provincial governments to try to deliver more rental units in this market as well as in the rest of Canada. One government should not be trying to do it alone; it is not possible.
We have clearly suggested we are prepared to participate in a very productive program with the federal government to try to bring more rental units into the marketplace this year and next year. There could be other programs, but we will wait and see.
Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, in spite of the minister's railing at and criticism of the federal government and trying to pass the buck, does he not realize he has a credibility problem when he talks about housing? He has made comments in the past that he does not believe the low vacancy rate that currently exists in Ottawa. In some of his musings in the past he has even wondered whether the government or his ministry should be involved in housing at all. How does he expect to have any credibility with those kinds of statements?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, first, if the member for Ottawa East wants to support his last statement, I would be delighted to see it because I do not recall ever saying that this government did not have a responsibility. I have said exactly the opposite.
In 16 years the government of this province, along with CMHC, has put 116,000 units into the marketplace for the less fortunate people, both seniors and families. The cost this year to the taxpayers of Ontario and Canada has been $309 million. That is the subsidy this year. The member should not say that this government has never honoured its social commitments for the provision of housing. With 116,000 units, it is a great deal more than virtually any other government on this continent has been able to do.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, I have criticized --
Mr. Speaker: I think that was a very complete answer.
SALFORD LANDFILL SITE
Mr. Elston: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Attorney General. As he knows, I asked a question on May 5 concerning the proposed landfill site at Salford and the appeal that is being taken to cabinet. If he has reviewed that answer, I am sure he will find that the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Norton) refused to comment on the matter because of cabinet secrecy.
I want to point out to the Attorney General that in this case the Ministry of the Environment is also a party to that appeal. I wonder whether he does not feel, under the circumstances and in fairness to all the other parties who are participating in that appeal and who participated at the hearing level, that the position of the Minister of the Environment ought to be made known to all the other people who are putting information in front of the cabinet before that decision is made.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, that is a question that should be directed to the Minister of the Environment. At this point, I do not know what information may or may not have been made available to the other parties by that ministry. That might be a question the member for Huron-Bruce might direct to the appropriate minister.
Mr. Elston: I wonder whether the Attorney General, as the chief law officer of the province, wants to comment on whether there is a clear conflict of interest in having any input from the Minister of the Environment when that appeal goes in front of cabinet without equal opportunity for presentations by the members of the public and others who participated in the hearing concerning the Salford landfill matter.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Obviously the information the cabinet would have from the Ministry of the Environment would be very important and relevant information. I would expect that in the normal course of events the other parties would have a pretty good understanding of what the nature of that information is.
Mr. Elston: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: In view of the fact that the Minister of the Environment is now coming into the House and since the Attorney General suggested the first question be referred to him, I wonder whether he might let the Minister of the Environment answer.
Mr. Speaker: In all fairness, because of the time, it would be better to proceed to the next question.
WORKERS' COMPENSATION BOARD
Mr. Di Santo: Mr. Speaker, I want to ask a question of the Minister of Labour. Is the minister aware that as a result of a hiring freeze at the Workers' Compensation Board, rehabilitation counsellors now are requested to deal with up to 130 cases, and that because of that situation there are two obvious negative consequences? One is that injured workers rightly feel shafted by the board because of the mockery that is called the rehabilitation department. The other is that rehabilitation counsellors are overburdened to the point where half a dozen of them have had nervous breakdowns in recent months.
Is the minister aware of this situation and is he prepared to do something at this point, given the serious situation?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, I am aware of the excellent work of the counsellors at the Workers' Compensation Board, and I know they are working with heavy case loads. As far as case loads are concerned, that is the situation in every board and commission related to this government in these days of restraint. I would like to say that they would be able to hire additional people, but as I understand the situation they have a policy there at present whereby they can replace employees who leave but they cannot add to their total complement.
Mr. Di Santo: I am quite shocked by the fact that the minister thinks the counsellors should have nervous breakdowns to serve an increased number of injured workers.
Does the minister not realize the morale of the employees at the board is low not only because of the incredible amount of work they have but also because of the practices of the Workers' Compensation Board? Is he aware that in many departments, especially the assessment department, the employees are required not to socialize, to the point where they cannot even make personal phone calls and they cannot even go to the washroom without asking permission of their superiors?
In fact, a memo of April 26 says: "Effective immediately, members of this team must inform me prior to leaving the area. Socializing must be kept to a minimum and I will stop people from talking to you if they come from another department."
Is he aware that the whole floor now is partitioned to the point where it looks like a laager rather than a healthy place where people have to work? Will the minister inquire and have that practice stopped immediately?
Mr. Speaker: Could you just inquire and see if the practice can be stopped?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: I am sorry, Mr. Speaker?
Mr. Speaker: There was a series of questions, and I would suggest that you answer the last one.
Mr. Di Santo: It is a multiple question.
Mr. Sargent: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: I do not think it is within the right of the Speaker to interpret the question. The member has the ability to put his own questions and you should not make assumptions.
Mr. Speaker: Order. The member for Grey-Bruce, please resume your seat. The Minister of Labour, answer the last question, please.
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Maybe I can answer all three at one time, Mr. Speaker, if that is permissible. I think it would be wise for the honourable member, myself and Mr. Kerr, the assistant general manager of the WCB, who is attending all the meetings of the resources development committee at the present time, to get together at one of these meetings at the very earliest opportunity and discuss the very real problem that the member has brought to our attention. I think it deserves attention and I think that is the best way we can handle it.
Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, the minister must recognize that in today's economy with the tremendous increase in unemployment -- I point simply to the youth unemployment figure of 17.1 per cent across this province -- to say there will be absolutely no expansion, merely the replacement of rehabilitation counsellors, does not recognize the very real problems placed on injured workers who are forced to go out and compete in the job market with able-bodied people who cannot get a job.
It would seem to me that in the minister's response he should recognize that it is critical for the workers not only that we expand the rehabilitation component, but also, with respect to cost effectiveness, to expand at the rehabilitation end is the most cost effective way of delivering a service not only to the workers but also to the province and the people of Ontario.
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, I would apologize to the member for Hamilton Centre and to the others who may have misconstrued my answer. Perhaps I was not clear in what I was attempting to say.
The total complement, as I understand it, is frozen. However, that certainly allows for the redistribution of staff.
Mr. Di Santo: It is not so. You know that.
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: It is my understanding that an additional counsellor -- and I will check this before our meeting -- was added to the complement very recently.
Mr. Sargent: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: I have been in this House a long time -- 20 years -- and I think question period is becoming a farce because of the way you view your part with the government here.
For instance, to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing (Mr. Bennett) you say, "It was a good answer." You have never said to any of us, "It was a good question."
Mr. Sargent: Just a moment; I am not through yet.
Mr. Speaker: Go ahead.
Mr. Sargent: You can ask anybody in the opposition. We feel very much that you favour the government all the time in your remarks. I think it is time you were totally impartial. I really mean that.
Mr. Speaker: Those are interesting comments. I would point out to the member for Grey-Bruce (Mr. Sargent), as I pointed out to all other honourable members a few weeks ago, I ask for their co-operation in sharing the question period so that back-benchers will be able to participate more fully than they have in the past.
I was not complimenting the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing particularly. That was my way of telling him that his time was used up. I am taking very close note of the time spent by those people asking questions and those people answering questions. I will continue to do so because that happens to be one of my responsibilities.
KICKBOXING AND FULL-CONTACT KARATE
Mr. Breithaupt: Mr. Speaker, I have further petitions to present to the House in response to the statement to ban events of kickboxing and full-contact karate made by the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Elgie) on February 15. In the same form as the earlier presentations, these petitions add a further 3,113 names to the previous total of 8,704, making a grand total of 11,817 signatories interested in this matter.
ANNUAL REPORT, MINISTRY OF NATURAL RESOURCES
Mr. J. A. Reed: Mr. Speaker, under standing order 33(b), we, the undersigned, petition that the annual report of the Ministry of Natural Resources for the year ending March 31, 1982, be referred to the standing committee on resources development.
Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, I have a petition signed by the presidents of the seven Catholic high schools in Hamilton, representing approximately 7,000 students, advising the Ontario government of the reasonableness of their request that separate school supporters be allowed to designate all of their education tax, elementary and secondary, for the support of Catholic elementary and secondary schools.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
LANDLORD AND TENANT AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. McMurtry moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. Wells, first reading of Bill 32, An Act to amend the Landlord and Tenant Act.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, a number of rental apartment building owners have and are utilizing complicated conveyancing schemes that have the effect of avoiding condominium conversion controls. The bill I am introducing today deals with the most urgent problems raised by these new conveyancing techniques. It is intended to protect the tenants of buildings where these conveyancing schemes have been used. In particular, my colleagues the member for Lakeshore (Mr. Kolyn), the member for Oriole (Mr. Williams) and the member for Humber (Mr. Kells) have brought a number of these situations to my personal attention.
The conveyancing schemes that are of concern fall into two general categories. In the first, the building is conveyed to a corporation. Shares in the corporation are sold to the public and a shareholders' agreement between the shareholders grants to each shareholder the right to occupy a specific unit in the building. The second scheme involves selling the building to a group of individuals as tenants in common with co-ownership agreements between the co-owners granting each co-owner a right to occupy a specific unit in the building. In each case the purchasers acquire their claim to a specific unit through an occupancy agreement with their fellow purchasers.
Until recently it had been believed that existing tenants were protected from eviction by persons who had purchased interest in buildings by way of these new conveyancing schemes. However, in March of this year the Divisional Court ruled that a purchaser could evict a tenant on the ground that the purchaser desired the premises for his or her own use.
The bill I am introducing today is intended to restore the protection that tenants were thought to have had before the recent Divisional Court decision. It provides that where the landlord is seeking a rental unit for the purpose of his own use, and his claim is based on an occupancy agreement that purports to entitle him to reside in the unit, the judge hearing the application must refuse the eviction order. The only exceptions permitted by the bill relate to very small buildings and to situations where the landlord or his immediate family previously occupied the unit.
I want to emphasize that this bill will apply to all court hearings that take place after the bill is enacted, including those that relate to notices of termination given before that day. Therefore, tenants of buildings that have been subject to these complicated conveyancing schemes and who have already received notices of termination will be protected once this legislation is passed.
I hope all members of this House will assist in giving the bill early approval.
GOOD SAMARITAN ACT
Mr. Haggerty moved, seconded by Mr. Kerrio, first reading of Bill 33, An Act to relieve Persons from Liability in respect to Voluntary Emergency Medical and First Aid Services.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Haggerty: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of the bill is to relieve persons from liability in respect to voluntary emergency first aid assistance or medical services rendered at or near the scene of an accident or other sudden emergency.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: The Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) in introducing his bill has, as has been customary in the past, given us a fairly lengthy description of the contents. It seems to me that during the last revision of rules it was decided that ministers having an explanatory statement for a bill should give it under statements so that when the bill is introduced the private members of the House are really aware of its contents.
I think they are slipping away from that procedure considerably. It would be too bad if the opposition did not have knowledge of the contents of a ministerial bill being introduced, in case we wanted to oppose it on first reading.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
House in committee of the whole.
TORONTO FUTURES EXCHANGE ACT
Resuming the adjourned consideration of Bill 7, An Act to incorporate the Toronto Futures Exchange.
On section 13:
Mr. Chairman: If memory serves me correctly, the member for Carleton (Mr. Mitchell) was dealing with the proposed amendment to section 13. Had you read the amendment?
Mr. Mitchell: The amendment has been introduced, Mr. Chairman. I have some background information on this amendment which should be back here shortly and a copy will be provided to each of the opposition critics. Basically, as members will recall, this motion allows the Toronto Futures Exchange, along with the Toronto Stock Exchange, to enter into certain agreements with the builders of a building. This amendment will allow them to hold purchased land.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Chairman, I do not hear the minister's assistant saying he is going to make the changes that were proposed on this side, despite the fact that, as I said in the House a few nights ago prior to the excitement over the budget leak, the amendment would permit the futures exchange to acquire the farm belonging to the member for Kent-Elgin (Mr. McGuigan) or some other completely irrelevant piece of property.
The minister's assistant has told me privately that the purpose is to allow the futures exchange to participate in holding certain properties in the new stock exchange headquarters which might be required for future expansion. I see nothing wrong with that. It is perfectly reasonable that they might have to acquire a part of that building and then rent it out for a few years until such time as they need to expand. I would not think anybody in this House would object to that except in so far as we might object to the concept of trading in futures.
What really troubles me, since the assistant says in effect that the explanatory material will justify doing what is being done here, is that yesterday the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) said in this House that when it comes to a budget the government stood or fell on the budget and that the only role of the Legislature was to make minor amendments to bills. In other words, we are to serve the function of proofreaders, except we are very high-priced proofreaders, because it costs many thousands of dollars for each hour that this Legislature is in session.
Now the parliamentary assistant, presumably acting under the instruction of either the civil servants or his minister, is saying that even to make helpful suggestions and proposals to improve the bill is not going to be accepted but that, right or wrong, the draftsmen who did this have to be protected; the situation as it is proposed has to be accepted, because that is the way his internal committee approved it and that is the way it came forward originally.
For goodness' sake, we might as well pack this place up and meet one day a year. A guillotine could be put on and the government could have all the bills it wanted. We can simply pass bills using the guillotine at the end of the day by moving the previous question, if that is the attitude the government intends to take.
The explanation was not made available to me. I will read it while the assistant comments, or perhaps he would like to comment on it; but in a general way all of us in this House should be concerned about the trivial way in which the House appears to be taken.
Mr. Mitchell: Mr. Chairman, we had some copies being made but, unfortunately, only one copy has been brought back. I am attempting to get another copy for the critic for the Liberal Party. I hope to have that shortly and I can read it into the record.
Mr. Breithaupt: Mr. Chairman, certainly the member for Carleton may proceed, and I will try to catch up when I get my copy. We will not delay the House for that.
Mr. Cassidy: Would the minister's assistant like to have this copy to read into the record?
Mr. Laughren: I don't know what it's coming to around here.
Mr. Chairman: Would someone tell me what we are doing?
Mr. Mitchell: Mr. Chairman, I was asked by the member for Ottawa Centre whether we would consider putting an amendment to our original amendment, which is number 13. I did raise the issue, not only with the people representing the Toronto Stock Exchange but also with our own legal counsel, and I am quite comfortable that the wording in amendment 13 is that which is required.
This amendment gives the Toronto Futures Exchange powers to hold land, which are the same as the powers which a normal business corporation has but which go beyond the land holding powers ordinarily held by a nonprofit corporation. The powers proposed to be given to the Toronto Futures Exchange are identical to the powers now held by the Toronto Stock Exchange. The reason for providing these expanded powers arises solely from the development of the Exchange Tower, which is part of a development in Toronto.
The existence of the Toronto Futures Exchange results from a specific requirement of the Ontario Securities Commission. When a futures market was first proposed in Ontario it was put forward by the Toronto Stock Exchange, which contemplated commodity futures trading as a part of the range of products available on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
However, the Ontario Securities Commission ordered that a new and separate exchange be created under the sponsorship of the TSE for trading in commodities, commodity futures contracts, options on commodities and commodity futures options. Accordingly, Bill 7 was prepared and put forward by the Toronto Stock Exchange, with the concurrence of the Ontario Securities Commission, as a method of effecting this requirement.
When the Toronto Stock Exchange took the decision to move to new facilities, it was made on the principle that it must continue to be located in the downtown core of Toronto and it must continue to hold a direct equity investment in land in the downtown Toronto core. To achieve those results, the arrangements made by the Toronto Stock Exchange with Olympia and York include an equity ownership interest in the development which constitutes the Exchange Tower.
That development includes the new trading floor to be used by both the Toronto Futures Exchange and the Toronto Stock Exchange, a 32-storey office tower in which the Toronto Futures Exchange will, and the Toronto Stock Exchange now does, occupy office space, and including facilities for the Canadian Depository for Securities Ltd. and a commercial complex and parking facility under the office tower and trading floor.
The arrangement with Olympia and York permits the Toronto Stock Exchange and the Toronto Futures Exchange to expand the space occupied by them in this new office tower. The expanded land holding power is necessary to permit the Toronto Futures Exchange, as it was necessary to permit the Toronto Stock Exchange, to take an equity interest in this project and thereby to accomplish the TSE's objective of retaining an equity interest in land in downtown Toronto.
It was neither appropriate nor sensible to attempt to subdivide the interests of the TSE and the TFE from those of Olympia and York in this project or to attempt to divide the interests of the Toronto Futures Exchange from those of the TSE. They are inextricably linked together in a new development which provides more space than they need for their own use or occupation but in which the TSE now has an equity interest that enables it to achieve its long-term goals.
The TSF's interest in the Exchange Tower is permitted by section 12 of the Toronto Stock Exchange Act and the proposed provision of Bill 7 would enable the Toronto Futures Exchange to hold such an equity interest as well. I am therefore satisfied that this amendment is in order.
Mr. Cassidy: I accept that the intricacies of holding a portion of the Exchange Tower are complicated and therefore wording this broad might be required, provided it was limited to the Exchange Tower. Would the parliamentary assistant agree to stand this down so that we may make it refer specifically to the Exchange Tower?
It seems to me we are creating a nonprofit corporation here. It will not be under the direct regulation or control of this Legislature or the government except in so far as legislation could come through the Legislature again. Yet we are creating a body that would technically have the power to invest in property anywhere in Ontario. They could do so in the riding of my friend the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick), my friend the member for Nickel Belt (Mr. Laughren) or my friend the member for Oakwood (Mr. Grande). They could even do it in Ottawa Centre. Surely that is not what was intended.
I was just beginning to write out the amendment when the minister sat down. The words I would add would further amend the amendment by adding the words, "provided that such land or interest therein is located in connection with the Exchange Tower in downtown Toronto." If the minister's assistants have some other modification to that, then let us put that in. I do not think that is unreasonable, because I do not see why people should come in here and get all kinds of powers they ostensibly do not want and why we should give people powers unless we intend to do so.
Mr. Mitchell: Would the member for Ottawa Centre be prepared to send me a copy of his proposed amendment so I can look at it very quickly? My immediate reaction is that I am not prepared to stand it down, but if he will send me a copy of the amendment we might he able to resolve what appears to be an impasse.
Mr. Breithaupt: Mr. Chairman, it might be preferable to stand section 13 down and complete the rest of the bill.
Mr. Mitchell: I will go with the next amendment until such time as I have a copy.
Mr. Chairman: Then we will deal with section 14 and we will stand section 13 down.
On section 14:
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Mitchell moves that section 14 of the bill be amended by inserting, after "131" in the first line, "275."
Mr. Mitchell: Mr. Chairman, this amendment is basically housekeeping and coincides with the broadened land holding powers we hope will be included in section 13. It adds a reference to section 275 of the Corporations Act, the land holding provision.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Chairman, the point we are raising is we will come back when we look at the stood-down clause and we will not discuss the amendment proposed here. We will simply let it go through.
Section 14, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 15 and 16, inclusive, agreed to.
Mr. Chairman: Do we just sit quietly and wait for the member for Carleton?
On section 13:
Mr. Mitchell: Unfortunately, my understanding from legal counsel is if we do what is suggested in the amendment proposed by the NDP, then we must enter into legal descriptions of the building in question. I am not able to do that at this time so I must honestly say that at this point I cannot entertain the amendment.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Chairman, there are four other bills to be done. I am sure the matter could be sorted out in half an hour. This was raised for the attention of the minister or his assistant last Thursday and there has been ample time to look at the issue.
The issue is clearly stated in the sense that the objection was not to a certain broadening of powers, but to the right of the futures exchange to hold property anywhere in Ontario, which is clearly unrelated to its purpose. I suggest we simply stand down this clause while it is fixed up by the minister's people. There are about three or four other bills. Perhaps we can get on with them and come back to this particular clause over which we have had some disagreement.
Mr. Chairman: That is a good and honourable suggestion, but --
Mr. Mitchell: Mr. Chairman, we may be able to resolve this quickly if the House will concur in allowing me to move down to the opposite end of the bench, down near the front. Hopefully, I may be able to resolve this quickly.
Mr. Chairman: Is that acceptable? Agreed.
Mr. Mitchell: If it meets with the concurrence of the critic for the third party and if he is prepared in regard to his amendment -- and I am going to have to confirm the actual wording -- to say the land holdings are restricted to Metro Toronto, we would be prepared to accept something in that vein.
Mr. Cassidy: In the spirit of compromise, I would be prepared to accept that and I hope this kind of thing could be more narrowly defined next time. I appreciate that is perhaps a compromise. It still allows them to own property in North York, but that is perhaps a bit more appropriate than the member for Kent-Elgin's riding.
Mr. Mitchell: My understanding would be that the wording added, the amendment that is proposed by the New Democratic Party critic, would be the words following, "provided that such land or interest therein is located in Metropolitan Toronto."
Mr. Cassidy: I am sure that is exactly what I said, whether it is the amendment of the minister's assistant or not.
Mr. Mitchell: "In the municipality of Metropolitan Toronto."
Mr. Cassidy: We will be prepared to accept that.
Mr. Breithaupt: If we have to do this, it might be helpful if, after the word "therein," at least in the third line of the printed amendment, we had the phrase "in the municipality of Metropolitan Toronto."
Mr. Mitchell: That is agreeable.
Mr. Chairman: That seems an agreeable approach. We have all heard the amendment to the amendment. I do not have a copy in front of me but I think in the spirit of getting on with it we should do so.
Mr. McGuigan: I want to ask a question.
Mr. Cassidy: This is all for your sake.
Mr. McGuigan: This may be self-evident, but does this in any way stop the exchange from renting quarters in any other locality?
Mr. Mitchell: It does not.
Mr. Chairman: We have all heard the amendment to the amendment. Is it the pleasure of the House that it carry?
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Chairman: Is it the pleasure of the House that the amendment carry?
Motion agreed to.
Section 13, as amended, agreed to.
Section 17 agreed to.
Bill 7, as amended, reported.
On motion by Hon. Miss Stephenson, the committee of the whole House reported one bill with certain amendments.
MOTOR VEHICLE DEALERS AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Mitchell: Mr. Speaker, I believe this bill is self-explanatory. What it basically does is create a compensation fund which does away with the old method of bonding. If I can use an example, having been in the municipal field, many municipalities have run into problems over the past number of years with this whole issue of bonding because of the legal problems one has to go into. To get a resolution of that --
Mr. Speaker: Before you get on with the explanation, can you move second reading of the bill?
Mr. Mitchell: Mr. Speaker, I apologize.
Mr. Mitchell, on behalf of Hon. Mr. Elgie, moved second reading of Bill 3, An Act to amend the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act.
Mr. Mitchell: Mr. Speaker, that showed my eagerness to get some of these done.
I think the critics for the opposition party and the third party are aware that we are talking of a registration fee of probably $150 to be paid by each dealer, which should be no problem and which is, as far as I am aware, no problem because the current cost to them for a bond for a one-year period is somewhere in the vicinity of $75 to $100. I suggest this bill will be a better way of protection for the public.
Mr. Breithaupt: Mr. Speaker, in principle we support this kind of legislation, because a compensation fund will deal more fairly with all the persons in the business by having all of them participate under one program.
I recognize that the cost of a one-year bond, as the parliamentary assistant has said, may range from $75 to $100. I would appreciate hearing from the parliamentary assistant as to whether this $150 initial cost is going to be meant to last for some time to get things started and whether we will simply have to take it as it comes over the next several years to see what annual assessments might be.
It could be the parliamentary assistant has some information now as to the variety of claims being made against the insurance bonding that the various individual dealers now have. The experience of the insurance companies in these matters will give us some guide as to what the expected cost may well be in the future.
He may not have that information, I do not know, but certainly that is the sort of thing that should be made available to us as we go into a new kind of program.
As we look at the development of the travel agents' circumstances, we have seen on a number of occasions that there has been a clear benefit to many members of the public by having a program in place where a chartered flight did not materialize or, indeed, where a certain hotel to which a group of guests were travelling in the Caribbean, or wherever it might be, might have had a problem.
So we see this kind of program as one that is developing the approach of effective responsibility among the members of a certain group rather than having them provide individual insurance opportunities and have their own coverages.
We, as I say, are supportive of the principle of this fund. We are supportive of the ideas involved that will ensure a responsibility among those dealing with motor vehicles within the province and will fairly share the burden of cost among all those in the business. We certainly will support the bill.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I was not sure whether the parliamentary assistant sought to intervene or was trying to close out the debate. The basic principle here, given that it was 1965 when the present arrangement was established, is one that we are prepared to support.
I do have some comments with respect to a way by which we believe this bill should be broadened, but before making those comments I would like to ask whether the parliamentary assistant could provide a bit more information with respect to the working of this fund in its proposed way.
In particular, what claims from the public would be accepted? How will the fund be administered? I do not think that has been spelled out in the bill. To whom would claims actually be submitted? What grounds of appeal or redress would there be if a motor vehicle purchaser felt he was being inadequately or unfairly dealt with in respect of the compensation he thinks he should be getting from the compensation fund that is being established in this act?
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Cousens): That will be responded to in the final statement because we are not in committee. If the member has any further comments on the bill he may make them now.
Mr. Cassidy: I will talk a bit further then, Mr. Chairman --
The Acting Speaker: I am Mr. Speaker at this point. We are not in committee of the whole House.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, you will have to appreciate that I am getting back into the habit of handling bills. It has been some time.
What I would like to say is this. It seems to me that if the minister who is in charge now is not one of those who believes that government has no role in the marketplace at all, if anything he is perhaps at odds with some of his colleagues in feeling that from time to time government does have a role in the marketplace, and given that the automobile is the second most important consumer purchase that most people make -- the house being the most important, and many people these days may not have a chance to afford to buy a home in Ontario -- it seems to me there is need for the kind of legislation that has been adopted in a number of other jurisdictions in North America to protect purchasers of cars that turn out to be lemons.
The parliamentary assistant is familiar with the kind of situation that happens. Somebody buys a car and the darned thing starts to rust irrevocably after a month or two; or it goes back and back and back to the makers, and the repairs never get made. Somehow the difficulty never seems to be ironed out. It seems as though the people who made and sold the car have abdicated their sense of responsibility and they just wish to tough out the protest until the period of their warranty or guarantee has run out.
The individual can occasionally go to court, but the claims permissible in small claims court are not adequate to gain full compensation if you have a lemon. The personal aggravation for people, who often are busy or may need a car for their work or for getting to and from work, can be enormous and at times absolutely devastating if they rely on a car and it just is not there.
My colleague the member for Etobicoke (Mr. Philip) put forward some time ago a private member's bill that was designed to protect the purchasers of new motor vehicles. Bearing in mind that this is the purpose of this compensation fund, it seems to me the ministry should have been prepared to consider incorporating the type of lemon-aid protection the member for Etobicoke was proposing in this compensation fund, since the basis of the fund is being changed.
I think the minister will recognize that this is not a costly thing as far as reputable dealers are concerned, because reputable dealers are prepared to deal fairly with people who find they are stuck with a car that plainly was made wrong. Maybe it was made on a Friday afternoon just before the long weekend, or maybe it is just bad luck that occasionally a car may not work; I do not want to go into that.
The fact is that the purchaser, who these days pays $10,000 or more for an automobile, should not be stuck with a heap of junk if two or three months after beginning to own it he finds that the thing is chronically and constantly back in for repairs, that the manufacturer and the dealer cannot get it right, that they are trying to fob it off on him and get him to sign a paper in return for $200, when that purchaser should be entitled to a new car and should let the manufacturer and the dealer sort out the problems of whatever was wrong with the existing automobile.
When we come to committee, I will propose a form of amendment that, given the nature of the bill, will be permissive rather than mandatory, but at the very least will permit the government, through order in council, to set up that kind of compensation, that kind of protection, for people who have the misfortune to have a lemon.
If the parliamentary assistant is prepared to accept this amendment and then to see to it that the cabinet acts on it, then he and his government will be seen as champions of consumers across the province, a role that, as the parliamentary assistant knows, has been confined in the past to my colleague who is present here, the member for Welland-Thorold (Mr. Swart).
I hope the parliamentary assistant will comment on those points, because I think it would be a valuable and innovative step for the government to take. We have done so in the case of new homes. There is now effectively a means of getting redress if there are defects in the construction of new homes. That bill was adopted and passed by this government several years ago. If the government were prepared to do it that way with respect to homes, then surely, given the importance in the consumer's budget of buying a new car, they should be prepared to act here as well.
Mr. Haggerty: Mr. Speaker, I want to address myself to Bill 3, An Act to amend the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act, and to support my colleague the member for Kitchener (Mr. Breithaupt). We in this party support such measures.
But the bill does raise some questions. There is not very much in the explanatory notes that tells us what the intent of the bill really is. It says, "The new provision authorizes the Lieutenant Governor in Council to make regulations establishing a compensation fund." It goes on to say in section 2: "(o) providing for the establishment, maintenance and administration of the motor vehicle dealers compensation fund including prescribing provisions relating to investing and paying out of money from the fund."
This indicates to me that the government is trying to plug a hole in the present business practices of automobile dealers permitted to sell vehicles in Ontario.
Some problems have been brought to my attention over the past number of years by constituents regarding used cars in particular. The cars are sold here in Toronto from one dealer to another; such a car may go to a dealer in Kitchener or in Brantford, and from Brantford it may go to a dealer in Fort Erie.
Mr. Mitchell: The wholesalers.
Mr. Haggerty: The wholesalers, this is right. The problem is that in many cases the odometer has been altered. The last dealer who sells the vehicle says it is a one-owner car. I suppose this is the premise when they want to sell some of these cars. No doubt some of the dealers are reputable and good dealers but are not aware of the registration of a vehicle and how many dealers it has been passed through. Apparently they do not register every dealer the vehicle moves from in the transaction to the final dealer in the area who is going to get rid of a vehicle.
I have had cases where the odometer has been altered considerably. There have been three or four owners. In a number of cases the cars have been leased cars, perhaps from one of the major automobile leasing dealers in Ontario. It could be a number of them. One can raise the matter with the consumer protection bureau, but one cannot get too far with them because they say, "There is nothing much more that we can do in this area."
I always thought there were areas where persons could be charged under the act and that one could go after them, but it is difficult when one goes from one dealer to another dealer. Some place along the line these things have been changed, and it is usually the consumer who has to pay for it in the long run.
What are we talking about as compensation in this area? Sometimes one may get a car with 30,000 kilometres on it when, in fact, it may have travelled 130,000 kilometres: it has gone around the clock, if the members follow me.
An individual, particularly a female, may go in wanting to buy an automobile, not realizing the odometer, which says 30,000, has gone around 100,000 kilometres. The dealer says, "It only has 30,000 kilometres on it." It is not realized that he has dropped off the 100,000. Is there some way we can correct the misuse of this so people do not encounter such difficulties when they buy a used motor vehicle?
In one particular case, a person was going to lay a charge and found out he would have to go through about 10 different dealers. The last dealer says, "I am not responsible for changing anything on the odometer on the vehicle." I suggest the area of compensation should be rather heavy here, or perhaps there should be an alternative to compensation so a dealer may well lose his licence. It is a chain of dealers I am talking about. One might call them brokers in this area.
Mr. Mitchell: That may well be altered with the new licences.
Mr. Haggerty: I always thought they were supposed to show the kilometres as they are in the sale or transfer of a motor vehicle from an individual to a garage or a person selling new automobiles. I bring to the parliamentary assistant's attention that this is an area that should be controlled under legislation so things such as this do not happen. I think it is an unfair business practice.
I hope that somewhere this bill is going to provide that when one purchases a vehicle, the guarantee or warranty is going to be there, at least for the 30 days, that there is going to be a true mileage or kilometre indicator and that it is the true picture. Maybe what should be done is that when a person buys a car, he gets a chance to see even a copy of the transfer of licence plate and what the actual mileage is on that vehicle. At present, there is a way they can get around it and I do not think it is fair to the consumer buying a vehicle.
Mr. Samis: Mr. Speaker, I want to speak briefly on this bill. Naturally, all of us on this side support it. As my colleague the member for Ottawa Centre (Mr. Cassidy) has mentioned, I want to call to the attention of the parliamentary assistant the legislation in Quebec and the approach it has taken in this matter.
It seems to me we have individual pieces of legislation that could benefit the consumer, whether it be the Business Practices Act or legislation regarding dealers and the turning back of odometers. I suppose the option to go to small claims court to recover damages is available at times to the consumer.
I prefer the more comprehensive, more thorough approach taken by Quebec. When any consumer goes in to deal for a car with a dealer, the legislation guarantees him certain things before the deal is signed. I do not have the file here with me, but I seem to recall that dealers are obliged to present the customer with a full history of the car. They have to tell the customer what parts of the car have been replaced, how long they have had the car and things of that sort. It is fairly detailed, but it is also, as I recall from talking to Quebec people, written in fairly simple language so consumers can understand it. It was not written in legalese. I recall about four or five years ago introducing a private member's bill to the same effect.
It seems to me that approach would be much more consumer-oriented and more protective of consumer interests than this approach. I realize this is an advance but, in terms of protecting the interests of consumers, I do not think the teeth are really there to protect them.
I recall when my wife was in charge of the consumer aid office, and we did have one in Cornwall, the most frequent complaints she got from people were about car dealers in the community. Most people had no idea what rights they had or what legal recourse they had.
The problem is that when most citizens deal with car dealers, the cards are really stacked in favour of the dealers; they know all the tricks of the trade, the ins and outs. There are so many ins and outs in the auto game that many consumers are totally baffled, bamboozled and bewitched by the whole thing.
Mr. Kerrio: Are most car dealers Conservatives?
Mr. Samis: Social Credit, with maybe a few Liberals thrown in. Bob Andras was a car dealer, was he not?
We have to do something more comprehensive to protect the interests of the consumer. I do not think compensation goes far enough, and I commend to the parliamentary assistant a detailed look at the Quebec legislation. I must say I was impressed by the consumer bias in that legislation; it was extremely refreshing.
I recall at the time I introduced my private member's bill I called up a couple of car dealers, one in Hull and two in Montreal, to sample their reaction. They were fairly candid in saying they obviously were not enthusiastic about it, because they had to be much more careful of what they did, but they could live with it. I follow the Quebec press fairly carefully, and I have not seen much printed in it since that bill became law complaining about the legislation.
The result has been that when people want a good used car or they want to be fairly safe in what they are doing, they go to a registered car dealer as opposed to private sales. That has given consumers a much greater sense of confidence and assurance when they decide to make a purchase. It is the greatest purchase a person makes in life beyond that of a house. In that sense, it has given greater credibility to the whole car dealer profession in Quebec. It is a perennial knock against car dealers that they rank pretty low on the totem pole when it comes to public confidence and trust. They were competing with politicians and lawyers, if I am not mistaken, in the last poll.
I suggest to the parliamentary assistant that we take a more pro-consumer, more comprehensive, Quebec-style approach to the overall problem of dissatisfaction with car dealers. I think the end result will be a better industry, a better business and a more satisfied motoring public.
Mr. McGuigan: Mr. Speaker, I can agree with many of the remarks that have been made about the overall car sales business. I am presuming that really all we are covering here, and I would like a little more explanation, is the financial security of people who have bought a car.
Perhaps they have made a down payment on the car and the car never arrives. The sales company goes broke or absconds with the funds or whatever. I see the parliamentary assistant nodding his head so that probably is covered. Can he tell us what the bill does in the case of a used car on which there might be a lien?
The Acting Speaker: The parliamentary assistant will provide his answer to that in the final wrapup.
Mr. McGuigan: All right, as long as he responds to that. We are finding that is getting to be a rather troublesome thing in farm machinery. A farmer may go to an auction sale and buy a piece of farm equipment, then later the sheriff may come around and say: "Hey, that is my client's." I guess it would be the lawyer first and then the sheriff saying, "That piece of equipment does not belong to you; it belongs to someone else." This could amount to a very large sum of money.
I want to take the opportunity to scold the government for bringing in this legislation for car buyers and still leaving out in the cold people such as those in my riding -- and surely there must be others across this province -- who have delivered their commodities. I think we have talked about lemons; I am talking about tomatoes -- and people who have delivered their tomatoes to a tomato factory. If the company goes broke, everybody in a secured position gets paid except the farmer who made it all possible in the first place by providing the tomatoes to make the factory viable. He gets what is left, which usually is zero.
We do have an act already on the statutes of this province, the Farm Products Payments Act. It is actually in effect, but it requires a triggering mechanism to bring it into operation. It requires the marketing boards in a particular case to petition the government to enforce and set up just such a fund as this insurance fund. As a matter of fact, the act does provide $250,000 as seed money that can be used: $50,000 in each of five different areas. We have this great act and an illusion of protection, yet it has not been put into effect.
Every time I mention this to the Minister of Agriculture and Food, he says, "You want me to force it upon the industry." It looks to me as if this legislation is being forced upon the industry, because it refers to "requiring participation in the fund by motor vehicle dealers." They are all required to go into the fund whether they wish to or not. I hope perhaps the parliamentary assistant will comment on what sort of reaction there is by motor vehicle dealers. Do they approve of this in general or do some of them disapprove? He is nodding his head, but I would like to hear his comments.
I will expand on that if you will allow me, Mr. Speaker, because this is somewhat off the topic, although it has to do with funds.
When the marketing board people negotiate a price each year with the various canning or packing companies, depending on the particular product, they always try to get the very best possible deal they can for their clients, the producers. The big processors, companies like Heinz, Campbell Soup or Libby, are really not much interested in participating in a fund that would help to guarantee payment to some of the smaller companies. It is apt to be the small company that goes broke, rather than the large processing companies, although we know also that large companies can go bankrupt or can come very close to it, as in the case of the Chrysler Corp -- although they seem to have somewhat recovered -- and Massey-Ferguson. There are also other examples in North America and around the world of big companies going bankrupt.
These people are reluctant to participate in a plan that might assist those smaller producers and packing plants; so generally they set the matter aside and nothing is done. That has been the case in the past. There is a company in my riding, Southland Canning, that has gone broke. In fact, to be more accurate, they are in receivership. They owe 15 growers just slightly more than $500,000.
The Acting Speaker: The member is really going off subject now.
Mr. McGuigan: I will wrap it up, Mr. Speaker. I just wanted to draw the comparison. Here we are eagerly going into the situation where we are aiding the consumer, but when it comes to the primary producer in the field of agriculture, who makes all of this possible, we are not quite so eager.
Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, as the member who had responsibility in our party for this bill when it was introduced and who gave some thought to it, I want to make a few comments on it. Most of the comments I wanted to make have been touched on; so I am going to be very brief.
However, it seems to me that this bill has nothing to do with giving any added protection to the consumer. It is very limited in its scope. What it does is substitute a system of insurance for the bond that has been in existence up to this time. It may well make it easier for an individual who has bought an automobile to collect if a dealer goes into receivership. It will facilitate the whole thing for the dealer and the courts. That is a good move, but it is very limited in its scope.
We have had changes in the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act on a number of occasions with regard to the odometer, the mechanical certificate and a variety of areas giving some protection for the consumer. As my colleague the member for Etobicoke (Mr. Philip) pointed out in his private member's bill and as the member for Kent-Elgin (Mr. McGuigan) and others in the official opposition have said, there is still a wide area for improvement in consumer protection with regard to the purchasing of motor vehicles.
As so often happens when we bring in legislation, those who want to circumvent it devise new tactics to take in the consumer. Although the measures which the government has brought in over the years admittedly have been of some benefit, the improvements in this area have been very slow. Perhaps the parliamentary assistant will tell us whether he knows if there will be some additional amendments brought in during this session with regard to consumer protection, besides what we have here, which are a change in the method of getting reimbursement if a dealer goes broke.
There is one other thing that concerns me about this bill. Unlike almost all other bills that have been before this House, this bill enacts nothing. It does say there is going to be a fund enacted, but everything is left up to regulation. It makes it permissive for regulations to be enacted "providing for the establishment, maintenance and administration of the motor vehicle dealers compensation fund, including prescribing provisions relating to investing and paying out of money from the fund."
Then, in clause 2(p), the bill says, "providing for the payment of levies into the fund by participants and prescribing the amounts thereof;" and then for the consumer, "(q) providing for payment out of the fund of claims and procedures to be followed in respect thereto."
The only mandatory thing we have in the bill is the setting up of a fund and requiring participation in the fund by all motor vehicle dealers. Those two things are good, but perhaps the parliamentary assistant could give us some assurance that this fund is going to be adequate to pay all claims.
I also ask him, is the government going to pay 100 per cent of all claims? In the Re-Mor situation, which I grant is an ad hoc case, they are going to reimburse investors for only two thirds of their losses. I suggest that the regulations the minister could set up under this bill could provide for a 50 per cent payment of losses or a 75 per cent payment of losses or a 25 per cent payment of losses.
I know there is a question here -- and I guess that is what the whole thing is based on -- of the legal liability of the motor vehicle dealer. They pay that and nothing more. But it seems to me if we are bringing in a bill that is going to replace the bond, there should be some statement that total compensation will be paid.
Mr. Swart: Perhaps the member for Kitchener has some comments in that regard.
Mr. Breithaupt: It should be at least as strong as the bond.
Mr. Swart: As the member for Kitchener points out, it should be at least as strong as the bond. I would like to see it go even further and require that 100 per cent compensation be paid automatically for all legal liability that exists. The bill does not say that. I am not denying that may very well be the intention; the parliamentary assistant is an honourable man.
If increases are made in the payments which a motor vehicle dealer will have to make, I believe $150 is not enough to pay all of it, especially under the present circumstances. The member for Kitchener asked the parliamentary assistant to give some indication of the kind of claims we have at the present time. If these claims are high, with the economic situation the way it is today, and if we have to raise that from $150 to $250 and perhaps to $500, is the government going to be pressured by the motor vehicle dealers so that only a portion of these claims will be paid? It is not quite good enough to leave all these decisions and details -- in fact, the total bill -- to regulations.
Because the bill in principle is an improvement on what we have, we are going to support it, but I do not want the parliamentary assistant to think for one minute that we do not have some pretty strong reservations about it. There should be more principles established in this bill for consumer protection. Even if we only want to deal with the changeover from bonding to insurance, we should have more principles involved in that insurance which is going to be provided by this changeover.
To me the bill is very poorly designed to deal with this problem. We, as members of this House, should have more detail in the bill as to what it is really going to mean to the customers of motor vehicle dealers.
I hope the parliamentary assistant either can give us some assurance on these matters -- that is, a binding assurance -- or perhaps think about taking the bill back and writing into it some of those principles where the intent now is to establish them by regulation, which of course can then be changed at whim.
I realize some things have to be changed; we could not have everything brought back to the House, such as the amount motor vehicle dealers would have to pay. But certainly those principles could be established in this bill. The parliamentary assistant may want to think about taking the bill back and making some of those changes so it is more satisfactory to the opposition, to the government and certainly to all the people in this province who will be buying cars from motor vehicle dealers.
Mr. Mitchell: Mr. Speaker, I will do my best to answer all the questions that have been raised within the time I have available to me.
If I may comment on the extended warranty situation, I think the point is very well made. In fact, on the weekend, when I had an opportunity to speak to a group, that was an area of question by those people. I was able to say to them that it is an area of very serious concern to the minister. In answer to the concern of the minister, there have been staff discussions with Quebec. There have been, in fact, staff discussions with Quebec, in answer to the member for Cornwall (Mr. Samis), and it is expected -- although I must be honest, not in this session, but perhaps within the year -- that something will be put forward with regard to extended warranty.
I am unable to do it at this time or within this bill, but it is a very serious concern and consideration in the ministry. In fact, because the question was raised with me by the Consumers' Association of Canada at their conference in Hamilton over the weekend, I have become more involved in it and I have come to appreciate the concerns the honourable member is raising. In discussions with the minister, he was quite clear on the point that it is an area in which he wants to see if there are ways of resolving the very issues the member points out.
Mr. Samis: Their legislation goes beyond just the warranty.
Mr. Mitchell: Yes. I am not arguing whose legislation is better. The staff have been down to discuss their legislation, and I am sure we will gain all the benefit of their examination of that legislation. But as I say, I cannot do it with this particular bill at this time.
To answer some of the questions that were raised earlier, I will read parts of the minister's statement:
"By way of background, the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act was set up in 1965. At that time, a $5,000 bond posted by each of the car dealerships was enough to cover potential consumer claims, but as the industry has rightly pointed out, it is not enough today." Then the statement goes on to mention that some deposits can be as high as $1,000 and, frankly, a $5,000 bond would not go very far if a dealership went into bankruptcy.
With regard to questions as to how the money will be dealt with, the money will be placed in trust and administered by a board of trustees made up of industry, government and public representatives. Administrative costs will be covered by interest from the fund.
I should point out, as I said earlier, that the registration fee will be $150 for two years. It is also proposed that when the fund reaches $1 million, there will be a premium holiday for registered dealers; however, new dealers coming in will continue to add to the fund.
I am not sure whether I have answered them all; my time is running a little tight. I will try to ensure that all the questions that have been raised with me are answered.
The questions with regard to the turnback of odometers have been handled very well by the minister, as I am sure the members know. I believe the new licensing program of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications will also answer the concerns raised by the member for Erie (Mr. Haggerty) in that there will be a better record of those cars. As he will recall, the licence plate becomes the property of the owner, so that every time a car is transferred new plates will have to be issued one way or the other. I think that problem is addressed there.
Motion agreed to.
Bill ordered for committee of the whole House.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, as we had already agreed, I would suggest that since it is practically 4:15 p.m. perhaps at your discretion the House might recess for 15 minutes or so until the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) is ready to present his resolution.
Mr. Speaker: It being almost 4:15 p.m., I do leave the chair. We will resume at approximately 4:30 p.m.
The House recessed at 4:15 p.m.
Hon. F. S. Miller moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. Davis, that this House approves in general the budgetary policy of the government.
Mr. Speaker: I ask the indulgence and the co-operation of all members please while the pages distribute the budget. Have all members received their copies of the budget? I presume they have.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, before I begin the formal presentation of my 1983 budget this afternoon, I would like to review with the House some events of the past five or six days which relate to the budget preparation.
I know members are aware that some aspects are part of investigations relating to pending civil or criminal proceedings. All of these are outside my ministerial responsibility and are not proper for me to discuss or comment on here.
As I reported to the House on Friday, I was made aware on Thursday afternoon, May 5, that some attempts were made to breach security in Don Mills where the budget was to be produced by a commercial printing firm, under contract to maintain security with assistance from the Ontario Provincial Police. Later Thursday afternoon, two reporters from the Globe and Mail, Robert Stephens and Rosemary Speirs, came to my office in the Frost Building and showed me some printed material which they alleged formed part of the budget which I will be presenting to you shortly.
Copies of this material and stories based on it were published in Friday's Globe and Mail. The paper reported that the material was found in garbage bags which, the Globe said, a reporter took from a loading dock at Carswell's plant on Wednesday, May 4. Some members have noted that the early editions of the paper carried a picture of the dock to illustrate the source.
Following the discussion of this matter in the House on Friday morning, a lawyer representing the Globe and Mail delivered two bags of garbage from Carswell Printing Co. to the criminal law office of the Ministry of the Attorney General. My deputy minister subsequently received a letter from Richard J. Doyle, editor of the Globe and Mail, which indicates that all the material taken from the printing plant was given to the Attorney General's officers. This material is now in the possession of the police and has been examined by my staff.
Apart from some industrial garbage, scrap papers and parts of material Carswell was printing for nongovernment customers, my staff tells me that the sacks appear to contain scraps of proofs of documents, three areas of which could be of interest in this discussion. Neither my budget statement nor the tax measures which I will propose later today were part of the material turned over to the police.
Some of the material relating to Ontario government activities included parts of the Management Board of Cabinet estimates for the government for the coming year which were being printed by Carswell Printing Co. under a separate contract. These were also covered by a security clause and Management Board will be pursuing this with its legal advisers.
In addition, there were seven pages of a French translation of an early draft of an appendix to the budget statement. These sheets contain statistics on estimates of expenditures and revenues and appear to be from the second draft of the material. Several subsequent revisions had been made before the Globe and Mail published its report.
The third piece of data used by the Globe and Mail was pieced together from a torn-up proof of an Ontario health insurance plan bulletin which was to be printed for the Ministry of Health to mail to subscribers today, budget day. This document was intended to advise subscribers of our intention to increase premiums by five per cent at this time and it is the one document which we have not been able to accommodate within our in-house printing capacity. It will not be ready to mail for a few days.
However, I will be proposing today to increase premiums by five per cent, in keeping with the Inflation Restraint Act which limits increases in administered prices to five per cent unless an exception is granted by the cabinet committee on administered prices.
OHIP premiums are not a tax measure or an integral part of the budget and can be changed at any time by regulation, a process which also applies to other government fees or licences. For this reason, it was both legally and technically possible to change, drop or delay this increase. But we believe the amount and timing are justified, and in my view it would be quite improper to make any change for the sole purpose of discrediting the Globe and Mail report. I do not believe it is necessary for me to do that.
To recap, the budget which I will be introducing in just a moment is based on the best economic and fiscal advice we could obtain by actively canvassing a broad range of advice both inside and outside Ontario. The major issues today, which seem to have been forgotten in all of this, are the serious economic challenges facing our province and our country in 1983. Our budget is urgently needed, and I hope it will make a contribution to meeting those challenges. It must represent our best effort and must not be something less than that or something different or delayed for the sake of expediency.
So while it is clear that the security of the critical areas of this budget was not compromised by reporters who pieced together a story from the scraps from a commercial printing plant, the precedent involved has caused us a good deal of concern about how we can protect the public interest in similar circumstances in the future.
As I said at the beginning, detailed comment on other aspects of this matter by me would be quite improper until the pending civil and criminal law questions are resolved.
I will now get on with the body of my budget. I am delighted to see over the lights in the balcony two of my predecessors, the Honourable John White and the Honourable I ames N. Allan, both very fine Treasurers of the past. The family treasurer from Muskoka is seated up there too in the person of my wife. Her budgets balance.
Mr. Martel: You have long promised that.
Mr. J. A. Reed: You could learn something from her.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Right.
I now present to the Legislature the details of the 1983 budget for Ontario.
The aim of this budget is to encourage and sustain the economic momentum as it gains strength. The recovery is still in its early stages and it will be important over the next few months to do what we can to assist the economy by putting into place policies conducive to long-term growth, productivity improvement and job creation.
The recovery is being led, as it must, by the private sector. Only private enterprise can undertake the investments and create the permanent jobs upon which prosperity depends. Experience has shown that government works best when it works in co-operation with the private sector, allowing it the room and the resources it needs to do the things it does best not only for itself but for society as a whole.
Before outlining the objectives I have adopted in the 1983 budget, I would like to comment on our process of pre-budget consultation. In preparing this budget, I had extensive discussions with a large number of groups, including those representing farmers, small businessmen, teachers, workers, women, consumers and manufacturers. As well, I had meetings with other provinces, the federal government and the Association of Municipalities of Ontario. I would like to express my appreciation to all the organizations that took time to present their briefs to me. In virtually all cases their recommendations were constructive and well reasoned.
The pre-budget consultations indicated two main things to me. First, the worst of the recession is over. There is ample evidence we are now moving into a new period of economic growth. According to Statistics Canada, our industrial production jumped five per cent in January, the largest monthly increase in almost 50 years. This was followed by a further 1.7 per cent increase in February.
A Conference Board of Canada survey of business spending intentions has shown that businessmen are revising their investment spending plans because they do feel the recession is over. A consumer survey conducted by the same organization revealed a marked increase in consumer confidence in the first quarter of this year. As well, inflation is continuing to moderate in both Canada and the United States.
Equally encouraging is the news about employment. Since bottoming out last November, the number of people working in Ontario has risen by 24,000, seasonally adjusted. Employment has increased in three of the last five months and I expect that upward trend will continue.
The improving economic news makes me optimistic about Ontario's economic outlook. At the same time, I am realistic enough to recognize we are not out of the woods yet, that the hardship and suffering endured by so many during this recession have not yet been overcome. Our economy is like a patient who has been removed from the critical list but still remains only in fair condition. Further recuperation is required before the recovery is complete.
A second broad point of consensus that emerged during the pre-budget consultative process is that government must continue to play a supportive role in nurturing the economic recovery. The views I received during the pre-budget discussions and my own analysis of the economy lead me to believe our 1983 budget can best help restore economic prosperity by seeking to achieve four objectives.
First, we must try to maintain a co-operative federal-provincial environment so that governments work in harmony to improve our economic prospects. Second, we must emphasize the creation of long-term employment through the private sector by encouraging investment and productivity improvement. Third, we must expand our short-term programs for job creation, skill development and economic growth. Fourth, we must maintain a fiscal framework that allows us to pay for our beneficial public programs without imposing excessive burdens of debt upon the people.
My budget will address each of these areas in turn. I would like first to discuss intergovernmental co-operation. In the past two years, certain policies of the federal government have created severe problems for Ontario. The November 1981 federal budget dampened investment and business prospects. This was compounded by the federal cuts in payments for health and for post-secondary education. These cutbacks cost Ontario $288 million last year and will mean reduced revenues of $315 million this year.
The lost funds in these past two years alone would have been enough to pay for five years' worth of hospital capital requirements. Moreover, the federal government has further compounded the problem by capping the growth of post-secondary education transfers, an action that will trim an additional $37 million from our Ontario revenue this year.
A few weeks ago I met with the Honourable Joel Matheson, the Minister of Finance for Nova Scotia, to release a consensus provincial statement concerning this latest round of federal transfer cuts. As all the arguments are covered in detail in that statement, I will not repeat them this afternoon, but I do want to remind the members of the importance of that document. They should be aware, for example, that even under the most generous interpretation, the federal share in the funding of our health care programs has fallen from almost 52 per cent a few years ago to 43 per cent today. In actual cash payments, their share is about 24 per cent. These disturbing statistics help to explain the fiscal difficulties we have in the area of health care financing.
While I remain critical of federal policies in the area of transfer payments, I am more encouraged by certain taxation and economic policies that have been adopted by Ottawa. Going back to last June, we saw the federal government remove some of the more onerous provisions of the November 1981 budget and provide an incentive for the purchase of new housing that was complementary to the Ontario renter-buy program. We then saw the federal government act, in the fall, to create a new short-term job creation program which, in Ontario, added to the major initiatives I had implemented earlier in the year.
I responded to this constructive action by committing $100 million to the Canada-Ontario employment development program. I was pleased to note that in its recent budget the federal government adopted an economic stimulation program that is oriented to the private sector.
At this point I would like to mention briefly the tax collection agreement under which the federal government collects Ontario personal income tax. Last year, I indicated I was sufficiently concerned about the nature of federal changes to the personal income tax that I questioned whether Ontario should continue to be part of an agreement that compels us to parallel most federal amendments.
Accordingly, I asked the Ontario Economic Council to study this matter for me and report back. As members know, the council has completed its study of the matter and it expresses concerns about the current process, but it recommends that Ontario stay within the tax collection agreement and not adopt its own income tax system on the assumption that the federal government can be persuaded to improve the consultative process.
I believe recently the federal government has been somewhat more willing to discuss tax changes with the provinces. Therefore, we will remain in the tax collection agreement for the time being, but we must seek continuing consultation with tangible results if we are to stay within this arrangement in the longer term.
I would like to inject one word of caution about recent federal policies and that concerns the size of the federal deficit and the length of time it will take to reduce it to manageable levels. The Minister of Finance has attempted to address this issue by proposing tax changes but some of them will not take effect for almost 18 months. I am, quite frankly, sceptical of this approach. Fiscal reality is not something governments can put aside for another day or another budget.
Mr. Conway: Darcy McKeough promised it for 1981.
Hon. F. S. Miller: I had a surplus that year, by the way, in terms of all but the capital account. The members opposite tend to forget that. In nine of the last 12 years, we have had a surplus on operating account and have only borrowed for the capital of this province. That is all we have borrowed for.
Thank you for the interjection. Please be on cue next time.
As I have noted, Ontario's economic performance relies on a strong and vibrant private sector. To gain permanent jobs for our citizens and productivity improvements that enable us to compete in world markets, business must be willing to undertake investments in new plant and equipment. Government has an important role to play in providing a climate favourable to capital formation and long-term employment creation.
In spite of improving economic prospects, business continues to approach new investment and job creation with some caution. In this environment, selective actions by government can be instrumental in reinforcing economic recovery by encouraging the private sector to undertake new job creating investment and by ensuring that our labour force is properly trained.
Later, I will outline new initiatives to expand manpower training. Now, I am proposing the following measures to promote new investment:
Ontario will parallel recent federal actions that improve loss carryover provisions under the corporations income tax. Businesses will now be able to carry noncapital losses back three years and forward seven years for purposes of determining Ontario income tax liability. This will be effective immediately for small businesses, farmers, fishermen, and phased in over the next two years for other businesses.
In addition, net capital losses will be eligible for a three-year carryback as well as for the existing indefinite carry-forward provision. These measures, which will be of particular benefit to small business, will provide $40 million in tax relief in this fiscal year.
Turning to the issue of encouraging investment in production facilities, I have carefully examined the implications of our current retail sales tax policy. Existing provisions allow an exemption for machinery and equipment used directly in the manufacturing process. While this tax expenditure provides significant support to business investment, its scope can be enlarged.
Also, the complex nature of the production process, particularly in this era of high technology, means that the Ministry of Revenue must constantly make difficult rulings to determine the tax status of particular items of equipment. This has led to frustration and uncertainty for companies and people attempting to create new production facilities.
Consequently, I am proposing that effective midnight tonight the exemption for production machinery and equipment be expanded substantially. In addition, I propose to exempt from retail sales tax all purchases of tools and parts used for the repair and maintenance of exempt production machinery.
To complement the thrust of these investment incentives, I propose to exempt from retail sales tax the purchase of certain transportation vehicles and equipment such as heavy trucks and trailers.
With these measures, we will assist Ontario industry to improve its productivity which, in turn, will help to protect and create jobs. I estimate these measures will provide some $95 million of additional incentives in this fiscal year.
While the capital tax plays an important role in the province's revenue structure, we have been careful to ensure that this tax represents neither an unfair burden nor a needlessly complex part of business life. Already the bulk of corporations in Ontario pay a flat tax of either $50 or $100. This ensures that small business, in particular, is able to cope with this tax and not only the larger corporations pay the designated rates.
Since corporations are liable for capital tax regardless of their profit position, the tax can cause difficulties during a protracted downturn in the economy when some companies simply do not have sufficient cash flow and must borrow to meet ongoing liabilities.
Farm equipment dealers, for example, have suffered more than many during the recession. I am therefore proposing to extend temporarily the flat tax provision so that corporations in an operating loss position and that have taxable capital of between $1 million and $2 million will pay only $100.
This provision will be effective for two taxation years, ending after May 10, 1983, and before May 11, 1985. I estimate that this measure will reduce provincial revenues by $13 million this year.
I have stood in this House many times and emphasized the vital role small business plays in the Ontario economy. Last year I introduced a major incentive for small business, namely, the complete removal for two years of small business corporations income tax. Many small business people and their organizations have said this is the most important small business incentive introduced by any government anywhere in Canada for decades.
In determining the best small business policy for this budget, I was impressed with an observation in a brief I received from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. It states that approximately 150,000 new small business ventures were born in 1982 and that 200,000 new businesses will be established this year.
"Thus," says the brief, "the dynamism of the new and young firm continues in spite of the recession. Even more now than usual it is most important to create a business environment in financing and taxation to foster additional formations and the growth" of successful new firms.
This observation has important implications when one considers the key role played by small business in creating jobs. I am proposing to extend the small business exemption from corporation income tax for one additional year. This will expand our small business incentive to a value of $180 million this year.
Another important element of Ontario's support for small business is the small business development corporations program. For the past few years, SBDCs have been increasing the supply of equity capital available to small businesses and they have been helping them to address one of the major concerns of most small businessmen.
To date, some $140 million has been invested under the program. Over 600 separate investments have been made by 314 small businesses in manufacturing, tourism, research and publishing. It is the single most successful venture capital program ever created in Canada.
To strengthen this program further, I have decided to increase its allocation significantly to $30 million for 1983-84, and I am proposing to expand the application of the program by increasing the employee limit for an eligible small business from 100 to 150 employees. To assure that the benefits from this program are distributed widely, I also propose that a limit of $5 million be imposed on the total allowable investment by any number of SBDCs in any one small business.
I believe we must assess carefully the longer-term role of this program so this summer I intend to establish a consultative process that will allow the small business community, the accounting and legal professions, investment analysts and all other interested parties an opportunity to provide me with their views. The advice and recommendations from these parties will help me to assess whether certain changes to the current approach would ensure an even more successful program in the future.
When we look at future productivity, we must keep in mind the sector that has demonstrated the greatest productivity gains in the past and continues to be one of the cornerstones of our economy. I refer, of course, to agriculture.
This government continues to be responsive to the needs of this very important sector. In 1982-83, some $45 million was advanced to the Crop Insurance Commission of Ontario to compensate farmers for their tobacco crop losses caused by hail storms and early frost. Also, the farm adjustment assistance program, which was to expire in December 1982, was extended for one more year to help farmers facing a difficult economic situation.
In this budget I am making provision for a new beginning farmers program. It will provide up to five percentage points in interest subsidy on eligible loans to beginning farmers for a period of five years. Up to 1,000 new farmers will benefit each year. At current interest rates, this program is expected to provide $9 million in interest subsidy in the first full year, and as much as $135 million over five years. The details of the program will be announced in the coming weeks by my colleague the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Timbrell).
This year, funding for the regular programs of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food will be increased by 9.3 per cent. The decrease in the overall allocation for 1983-84 reflects the very high level of extraordinary expenditures which were made last year, including the $45 million for the tobacco crop loss and an additional $15 million for the farm tax reduction program.
Almost a decade has passed since major reforms to the Mining Tax Act were introduced.
I believe the time has come for a comprehensive review of our mining tax to ensure it is meeting its objectives of providing a fair return to the people of Ontario for nonrenewable resources, while encouraging further processing and supporting the long-term interests of the mining industry. Later this year, my colleague the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Pope) and I will announce details of how this review will be undertaken.
In the meantime, I would like to announce a modest incentive to assist our gold producers. Currently, a significant amount of the production of gold in Ontario is used in making the Canadian Maple Leaf gold coin. I propose to remove the retail sales tax from this coin to encourage its production in the face of increasing future competition.
The performance of research and development in Canada has been a topic of discussion and concern for a number of years. R and D can be an important source of competitive advantage, and society as a whole benefits from the innovation of new products and new processes. It has been argued that Canada performs poorly in this essential area compared with other countries. A budget paper I am tabling today addresses this issue. It indicates a marked improvement in R and D performance in the last few years.
I believe the tax policies and Board of Industrial Leadership and Development programs we have put in place have played a major role in this improvement. In fact, our analysis of the tax treatment of R and D in a number of jurisdictions shows Canada to be the most generous. Other studies confirm this finding. If the proposals advanced in the recent federal budget to simplify and increase the accessibility of R and D incentives are implemented, then the current international advantage for Ontario firms in the tax treatment of research and development will be reinforced.
In the face of unexpected economic adversity over the past 18 months, the Ontario economy continues to show fundamental strength. I am confident that, as we emerge from the 1982 recession, our diversified economic base will provide the foundation for a sustained period of economic growth. Nevertheless, I am keenly aware of the need to assist the recovery in its early stages and particularly to accelerate the growth of employment. Therefore, I am announcing today selective measures to stimulate consumption and expand our job creation effort.
The pace of our economic recovery will depend a great deal on the strength of consumer demand. To encourage consumer spending and strengthen confidence, I have decided to implement a temporary program of retail sales tax exemptions for selected items.
I propose a 90-day exemption from retail sales tax on purchases of new household furniture and appliances.
Hon. F. S. Miller: The Premier (Mr. Davis) and I may have trouble explaining to our children, who have just bought a bunch of furniture, what that is about.
A detailed list of exempt items is included in the appendix to this statement.
This tax relief will prompt consumers to accelerate spending decisions and will have a positive impact on important sectors of the economy. By targeting narrowly on products with high Canadian content, the greatest gains in production and employment can be achieved. I estimate that this initiative, which will begin at midnight this evening and extend to August 8, 1983, will save consumers some $55 million this year.
In addition to this tax cut, I will now announce more job creation measures and new initiatives for manpower training.
Members will recall that last May I introduced more than $170 million in short-term job creation initiatives. These programs provided temporary jobs for nearly 45,000 Ontario citizens. In November I announced two additional programs. Ontario committed $50 million for its own program to stimulate employment over the short term. We also agreed to co-operate with the federal government to create the Canada-Ontario employment development program. Our $100 million was added to an equal federal commitment to make $200 million. Private sector, municipal and nonprofit groups have quickly taken advantage of these moneys. To date, 1,300 projects, which will create more than 15,000 temporary jobs, have been approved.
In his recent budget the federal Minister of Finance said more funds would be allocated to job creation programs. I am prepared to provide provincial funds to match that new commitment for the COED program by the federal government if it is willing.
I would like now to announce another new job creation initiative. It is an accelerated capital works program involving $247 million worth of projects, which will create 12,000 jobs. The projects have been advanced from the longer-range plans of ministries so that they can proceed now while the economy needs additional stimulus. Construction will take place over the next two years, and in some cases local governments will contribute a portion of the funding. This capital works program, which is targeted primarily at regions of the province with higher levels of unemployment, will be co-ordinated by BILD. Details will be announced over the next few weeks by my colleagues.
Youth employment has for many years been a priority of this government. In 1982, our programs provided temporary jobs for 75,000 young people. I have decided to increase the 1983 allocation for youth employment by $36 million to bring the total for this year to $121 million. This will provide 100,000 jobs for Ontario's youth.
As part of this expansion, I am allocating $25 million for a new, accelerated youth employment program. It will provide a wage subsidy of $100 per week for up to 20 weeks to employers who add unemployed young people to their payrolls. A portion of the expenditure will be targeted to recent graduates of post-secondary institutions. I anticipate this new program will create 12,500 jobs.
I turn now to the important issue of manpower training. Earlier, I announced measures to create long-term employment opportunities through initiatives to encourage investment and to stimulate productivity growth. Equipping our people with appropriate skills makes a major contribution to economic development and to that productivity improvement; more important, it gives individuals the opportunity to pursue productive and rewarding employment.
I have decided to allocate a further $14 million to BILD this year to expand skill development programs in Ontario. Existing programs will be supplemented and funding will be provided for new programs to encourage employers to accelerate their hiring plans and to create new jobs and training opportunities. I am pleased to note that one of these programs will be of particular benefit to women interested in entering technical occupations.
Further details of these new manpower training initiatives will be announced by my colleague the Minister of Colleges and Universities (Miss Stephenson).
I turn now to the housing sector. The Ontario renter-buy program, introduced in the 1982 budget, proved very successful in promoting new home purchases and creating rental unit vacancies. More than 15,000 new home buyers will have received assistance under this program, with a total provincial commitment of more than $75 million. The program made a major contribution to the recovery of the housing sector.
I expect this momentum to continue in 1983, because new starts will be encouraged by lower mortgage interest rates and improving economic prospects. The preliminary data for the first quarter of 1983 are very encouraging and support a forecast of 53,000 new housing starts for the year, an increase of 38 per cent over the 1982 level.
While I am encouraged by these indications, I believe we do need to provide a degree of stimulus in the rental sector. Therefore, I am proposing this afternoon a $40-million stimulative package aimed at creating and improving the stock of rental accommodation in the province. This new initiative will assist in the rehabilitation and construction of more than 5,000 units, representing 12,000 jobs in construction and related activities. I expect the full amount will be committed this year and that cash flow for this year also will be $16 million. The details of the program will be announced by my colleague the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing (Mr. Bennett).
Before turning to our revenue requirements for this year, I would like to review briefly some highlights of our expenditure program for 1983-84.
In these difficult times, one of our highest priorities must be to provide our people with a sense of security about the availability of fundamental programs that provide support to the individual and the family. In 1983-84, $10 billion will be spent on health care and social services, well over $1,000 per citizen.
We will introduce improvements to treatment centres for the physically handicapped children in a number of communities throughout Ontario. Almost 500 new beds will be opened for the aged and the chronically ill. Last fall, we introduced a special program costing almost $70 million to provide additional social assistance throughout 1983-84 to people most severely affected by the recession.
Our total spending on education this year will be $5.5 billion, an average of about $1,800 for each young person in the province. In recognition of the increasing importance of computers in society, the Ministry of Education is working with school boards to provide software packages for use in elementary and secondary schools. There are now about 7,000 microcomputers in publicly supported schools in Ontario.
New capital spending on our education system will be $116 million this year. This will emphasize our priority on technological training, with expansions or new facilities in Sault Ste. Marie, Oshawa and Guelph. The province has also decided to proceed with the natural resources centre at the University of Toronto.
In special education programs the province has increased funding by 16 per cent to $260 million in 1983-84. Last fall a third demonstration school for children with severe learning disabilities was opened. To provide assistance to students, funding for the Ontario student assistance program will be increased by $9.6 million to $119.4 million in 1983-84. This program helps approximately 90,000 students in the province every year.
Dans le cadre de la stratégie à long terme du gouvernement destinée à préserver et à mettre en valeur nos ressources naturelles, le ministère des Richesses naturelles signera huit nouvelles ententes de gestion forestière cette année. Le Programme ontarien d'exploration minière devrait rapporter $30 millions grâce aux activités d'exploration en 1983-84. Jusqu'ici, plus de 450 projets d'aide à l'exploration minière ont été désignés, ce qui représente prés de $90 millions de dépenses d'exploration. Ce programme a déjà permis de créer 2,000 nouveaux emplois et a joué un rôle majeur dans les importantes découvertes d'or à Hemlo et à Sturgeon Lake.
Le gouvernement continuera à améliorer l'accès aux ressources en construisant et en ouvrant cette année plus de 1,800 kilomètres de routes d'accès dans le Nord. En 1983-84, norOntair assurera des liaisons régulières entre 21 communautés du Nord de l'Ontario grâce à neuf avions qui parcourront, selon les estimations, environ 1,564,000 milles. Et le programme rail-traversier de la Commission des transports du Nord de l'Ontario assurera un service à 380,000 passagers en 1983-84.
The province will expand its efforts to promote exports of Ontario products this year. The allocation for the programs of the Ministry of Industry and Trade will be increased by 15 per cent. However, because of the $75-million payment in 1982-83 to meet our commitment for the Massey-Ferguson assistance plan, the actual dollar estimates of the ministry will be lower.
Since it was created two and a half years ago, the Board of Industrial Leadership and Development has devoted $407 million to support economic development. Over 80 new programs and initiatives have been funded. In 1983-84 BILD will invest over $50 million in the recently established centres for the promotion of new technologies and advanced applied research, including the six technology centres, the Innovation Development for Employment Advancement Corp., the fusion fuel technology project and the Allelix Biotechnology Co.
BILD will provide the universities and community and agricultural colleges with $21 million worth of high-tech equipment and training support and direct over $40 million to initiatives in the agricultural, forestry and mineral sectors to upgrade resources, intensify renewal efforts and promote technological advancement.
I have now outlined special job creation measures and some highlights of our overall expenditure program. Another of the great strengths of this province is the reputation of its government for good financial management. We intend to continue to meet our responsibilities to existing and future citizens. Accordingly, the bulk of the stimulation programs I announced earlier must be financed by revenue increases, which I shall now discuss.
Before discussing tax measures, let me turn to Ontario health insurance plan premiums. The province of Ontario commits over 32 cents out of every spending dollar to health care. This fact alone means that even modest percentage increases in health spending can create significant revenue requirements. While OHIP premiums provide an important source of funds, the growth of health care expenditures has outstripped premiums in recent years. Five years ago they paid for 23 per cent of health spending; this declined to just 19 per cent last year.
Last May I released a paper that examined the possibility of addressing part of this problem by replacing OHIP premiums with a payroll tax. I have received a number of briefs concerning this paper, most of which express doubts about the wisdom of introducing a new payroll tax. I intend to heed this advice and I do not intend to proceed with any further study or discussion of the payroll tax concept at this time.
This year premiums occupy a unique place in our revenue structure because they are an administered price and therefore are subject to the provincial restraint program. While this program allows for cost pass-through and therefore a double-digit premium increase could be justified, I believe the overall credibility of the inflation restraint program could be harmed if such an increase were permitted to go through.
Consequently, I decided to restrain the increase of our OHIP premiums to five per cent this year.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. F. S. Miller: This modest monthly increase of $1.35 for single persons and $2.70 for family coverage will yield $60 million in additional revenues. I need not remind the members that 70 per cent of OHIP premiums are paid by employers.
I also propose that additional revenues may be obtained from beverage alcohol by increasing the retail sales tax from 10 to 12 per cent on purchases of beverage alcohol at retail stores. Purchases at licensed establishments will remain taxable at 10 per cent. This increase will be effective May 24, 1983. Members can stock up.
It is estimated that $31 million in additional revenue will be generated from this measure, with price increases amounting to about 20 cents per bottle of average-priced spirits, 10 cents per bottle of popular wines and 15 cents per case of 12 bottles of beer.
I am also proposing to increase revenue from the taxation of tobacco. First, I am proposing that the ad valorem tobacco tax rate be increased from 40 to 45 per cent for cigarettes and cut tobacco. Cigars will stay the same.
Hon. Mr. Davis: That includes pipes.
Hon. F. S. Miller: They are already at 45 per cent.
Second, a seven per cent Ontario retail sales tax will be applied to all tobacco products. The retail sales tax will be levied in addition to the tobacco tax and will be applied to the retail selling price, inclusive of such tax. This will mean that the taxation of tobacco products is more consistent with our treatment of other products. I anticipate that these measures, effective midnight tonight, will raise additional revenues of some $135 million.
I now turn to the corporations income tax. As a paper accompanying this budget shows, Ontario's taxation policies provide a balance between the taxation of individuals and corporations, while ensuring that taxes on business are consistent with our economic growth prospects and with the realities of international competition. With this in mind, I have determined that it is fair and affordable for the corporate sector, along with individuals, to help maintain the essential services our people require.
Therefore, I am proposing that the general rate of corporations income tax be increased from 14 per cent to 15 per cent, while the rate on income from manufacturing and processing operations, mining, logging, farming and fishing be increased from 13 per cent to 14 per cent. This change will apply to taxation years of corporations ending after May 10, 1983, and will generate an additional $70 million of the expected total revenue increase from corporations income tax of $255 million. Small business income, as noted earlier, will continue to be exempt.
I would like to announce one additional temporary tax measure which will be necessary to assist in the financing of our public programs and new initiatives for job creation. Beginning July 1, 1983, and continuing through the 1984 tax year, a five per cent surcharge on Ontario personal income tax will be collected. It will be called the social services maintenance tax.
Mr. Wrye: That's great stuff.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: Four dollars an hour and one gets taxed. That is great. That is a great plan.
Mr. Breithaupt: Call it the Suncor tax.
Hon. F. S. Miller: I borrowed that from the New Democratic Party. They told me to do it. That is exactly what they said.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Lower-income Ontarians will be protected since the surcharge will apply only to Ontario taxpayers with taxable income in excess of $2,178 this year. As a result, some 500,000 taxpayers will not pay this tax. For those who are affected, the average tax increase amounts to about $1.40 per week. Over two million of these taxpayers will, in fact, pay less than $1 per week in increased income tax.
This means that those citizens of Ontario who have jobs will contribute a modest additional amount to ensure that decent public programs and job creation initiatives are paid for without undue increases in our deficit. This measure will yield $170 million in this fiscal year.
Details of the tax measures I have announced this afternoon, as well as a number of additional retail sales tax changes of a technical nature, can be found in appendix A to this statement. Legislation to enact these measures will be brought forward by my colleague the Minister of Revenue (Mr. Ashe).
Now that I have outlined the major actions of this budget, let me move to my forecast for the Ontario economy. As I said earlier, there are encouraging indications of economic recovery.
Inflation has decelerated significantly since the middle of 1982. Public sector wage and price restraint and a favourable outlook for food and energy prices will, we believe, cause this trend to continue. Industrial production has risen in the latest two months for which data are available. Interest rates are at their lowest levels in three years and seasonally adjusted employment in Ontario has increased by 24,000 since the low point of last November.
Real growth in gross provincial product should average 1.9 per cent for 1983. While modest by historical standards, this is a massive improvement from last year. Employment will be on an upward trend throughout the year. I expect the number of people employed in Ontario by the fourth quarter of 1983 will be 65,000 above the level in the fourth quarter of 1982. The consumer price index is forecast to rise by 6.6 per cent, the lowest annual increase since 1972.
Last fall I introduced the legislation required for the inflation restraint program which is a key element in our efforts to foster economic recovery. This program was essential. The private sector, already hard hit by the recession, could not be expected to pay for unwarranted growth in government expenditures.
During these difficult times, the program holds the costs of government down in two ways. First, compensation increases have been limited for over 1.5 million employees in the broadly defined provincial public sector. Second, restrictions are placed on increases in prices set or directly authorized by Ontario ministries or agencies.
By keeping its own house in order, the Ontario government has made an important contribution to the reduction of inflation, both directly through cost and price restraint and indirectly by providing leadership to others. In this manner, the restraint program has made a constructive contribution to moderation in the rate of inflation. This moderation is expected to continue over the next year; unit labour cost increases have decelerated and, as I indicated earlier, our inflation outlook is favourable.
While the measures contained in this budget will help to restore economic prosperity, much remains to be done. Ontario's job losses over the past couple of years have been high and unemployment has risen to completely unacceptable levels. Ontario's public sector workers largely have been sheltered from those events. In part, this is due to the design of our restraint program. When it became necessary to make an extraordinary effort to hold costs down, the choice was made to preserve employment by placing limits on wage increases rather than requiring major layoffs. I might also point out that with declining inflation a five per cent wage increase is not that bad.
Looking ahead, fiscal realities make it essential to continue to constrain government expenditures. Wage demands in the public sector must continue to moderate. Otherwise, it simply may not be possible to maintain the degree of job security in the future that has been provided to date. Public agencies, municipalities, boards of education, universities, colleges and hospitals -- indeed, all bodies financed largely through tax dollars -- must be expected to show restraint in their compensation plans. Recipients of provincial funds should not anticipate future increases at levels above, or even at, the rate of inflation.
I should also note that restraint is not a matter for the public sector alone. Recovery will require everyone, whether in the private or public sector, to restrain his demands for higher wages and prices.
Nor can our efforts to constrain government spending be limited to wage restraint. We need to examine carefully all aspects of our expenditures to determine where we can find further improvements in savings or efficiencies. While Ontario's record in holding the line on government expenditure is well known, we intend to redouble our efforts. To do this, we have created a formal program review process to examine all provincial programs to see where savings can be achieved.
As part of this review, each ministry will undertake a thorough reassessment of its programs and priorities and recommend to cabinet where expenditures can be reduced. This exercise will apply to all ministries, including my own. In this regard, I have questioned the usefulness of continuing the Ontario property tax credit now that comprehensive property tax reform has been postponed indefinitely and local taxes account for a lower percentage of personal income than they did in the early 1970s.
Before concluding, I would like to discuss briefly the Canada pension plan. As Treasurer, I constantly must balance the desirability of increasing social benefits with the need to ensure that such increases are not only adequately financed but also delivered through the most appropriate vehicle. These concerns have influenced our reaction to proposals to amend the Canada pension plan and to explain why the government of Ontario has not ratified the so-called child-rearing drop-out amendment.
However, it is clear from the many representations that have been made to the government, particularly from the Ontario Status of Women Council, that the drop-out amendment has the widespread approval of people across Canada. Because of this fact, and with the desire to promote a spirit of goodwill in the pension reform process, the government of Ontario will set aside its longstanding reservations and will remove its veto of the CPP drop-out amendment.
Tomorrow I will initiate the process of formally notifying the federal government of Ontario's decision. Later this year, the new minister with responsibility for women's issues will elaborate further on pension reform measures that will be beneficial to women.
Let me now conclude this budget by summarizing our financial position. A brief review of the past fiscal year again shows this government's sound financial stewardship. The record shows our actual expenditures and revenues were both within 0.7 per cent of the original budget estimates I tabled last May. We accomplished this during one of the most difficult years in the post-war era. This kind of management record is second to none. Moreover, in 1982-83 our deficit in relation to output was the lowest of any province in Canada.
During the course of the previous year, we responded to the many economic and social pressures with in-year expenditure increases of $728 million. These were financed mainly by $562 million in offsets from existing programs. As a result, total expenditures went up by $166 million, or less than one per cent. This enviable expenditure management record was achieved by my colleague the Chairman, Management Board of Cabinet (Mr. McCague).
In 1982-83 we allowed cash reserves to decline rather than borrow at record high interest rates. These reserves will be replenished through an orderly borrowing program in a market that now has more advantageous rates. The recession has also had a considerable impact on government revenues, but overall our revenues were within $150 million of the original forecast. Details of our financial accounts and our in-year changes are presented in appendix C.
In the 1983-84 fiscal year, total provincial revenue is estimated to grow by 7.9 per cent to more than $22 billion. I think Mr. Allan had the first billion-dollar budget, and we have multiplied that a bit. This revenue performance reflects both the forecast upswing of economic activity and the revenue measures I have announced. Provincial spending is expected to grow by 7.7 per cent to $24.7 billion in the current fiscal year. This rate of growth is below that projected for the provincial product.
I have outlined certain revenue measures and the program review process that we have set in place to find ways of further improving government efficiency. I have also indicated that last year we were able to find significant in-year savings. This year I am setting a target now of $300 million of in-year expenditure savings yet to be identified.
Mr. Foulds: What does that mean? All you cabinet ministers applaud that.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Cabinet is sadly lacking in its applause for that one.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. F. S. Miller: In other words, I believe our total expenditures can be reduced by $300 million, and this has been incorporated in our net cash requirements projection. These savings are essentially applied to the job creation programs described earlier.
I estimate net cash requirements for 1983-84 to be $2,695 million. When this deficit is projected in relation to the gross provincial product, it will be lower than last year's level. It will be financed by $2,080 million from nonpublic sources, with the balance from public capital markets.
Of the projected $1 billion to be borrowed publicly, $267 million will be used to retire maturing debt and $118 million will be used to augment the province's liquid reserves. Further details of our fiscal plan are appended to the statement.
Pour conclure, M. le Président, je suis certain que les politiques énoncées dans ce budget soutiendront l'économie ontarienne dans le voie du redressement et de la prospérité à long terme.
Ce budget favorise la coopération fédérale-provinciale.
Il maintient l'augmentation des dépenses gouvernementales en dessous du taux de croissance de l'économie.
Il stimule les investissements des entreprises et la création d'emplois.
Il contrôle le déficit.
Il limite l'augmentation des primes d'assurance-maladie à cinq pour cent.
Il accélère la mise en chantier de nouveaux travaux d'immobilisations d'une valeur de $247 millions.
Il crée 100,000 emplois cette année pour les jeunes.
Il lance des mesures pour améliorer la formation de la main-d'oeuvre.
Il aide les jeunes agriculteurs et les locataires.
Il offre un encouragement fiscal immédiat pour l'achat d'appareils ménagers et d'ameublement.
In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I am confident the policies in this budget will assist the Ontario economy on its path to recovery and long-term prosperity.
Hon. F. S. Miller: You can applaud longer. I am running slow.
This budget fosters federal-provincial co-operation.
It holds the increase in government spending below the growth rate of the economy.
It stimulates business investment and job creation.
It holds the deficit in check.
It limits Ontario health insurance plan premiums to a five per cent increase.
It accelerates $247 million of new capital projects.
It creates 100,000 jobs for youth this year.
It initiates measures to improve manpower training.
It helps young farmers and renters.
It provides an immediate tax incentive for the purchase of appliances and furniture.
This budget continues to build upon our record of rock-solid financial stewardship. It is a budget that will assist the restoration of growth and prosperity in our beloved Ontario, a province that will long continue to profit from the leadership of the Premier (Mr. Davis).
Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Speaker, we would be interested in seeing the budget the Treasurer would have presented if the Premier had moved on to greener fields.
On motion by Mr. T. P. Reid, the debate was adjourned.
The House adjourned at 5:47 p.m.