The House met at 2 p.m.
Mr. Speaker: I ask all honourable members to join me in greeting and welcoming Mr. R. M. Chilcott, member of the legislative body of Guernsey who is visiting Toronto with Mrs. Chilcott. They are present in the members' gallery.
Mr. Chilcott is president of the States of Guernsey Insurance Authority, the government body responsible for pensions and most other forms of social welfare, and is a member of the executive committee of the Guernsey branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.
TOXIC WASTE DISPOSAL
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I will ask a question of the Minister of the Environment. The minister knows it is Environment Week in Canada and I am sure he will want to participate and show his good faith in the entire matter.
May I go back to the question of Perkinsfield and ask the minister this question: how is his ministry planning to stop the plume of toxic waste from the Pauzé landfill site? It has already migrated, I understand, some 775 metres from the dump at a rate that engineers estimate is increasing by some 70 metres per year. How does the minister plan to stop that from reaching the cottages at Balm Beach and other communities in the area? Is the minister considering removing the heaviest concentration of liquid wastes from that site?
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, to a large extent the answers to both those questions are dependent on the outcome of work which is at present under way. The member is aware, for example, that we have consultants working on the precise definition of the parameters of that plume and looking in detail at the characteristics of the hydrogeology in the immediate area.
There are a variety of possibilities that will presumably be explored when we have all the information with regard to the plume. For example, we would look at whether the installation of purge wells would be effective in that situation. I think it would be precipitous on my part to presume to state what the particular approach might be at a time when the information is still not complete.
With regard to the site, once again --
Mr. Speaker: Go ahead.
Hon. Mr. Norton: Is this a warning? I am becoming so dutiful, Mr. Speaker, I almost automatically sat down.
Mr. Speaker: You are getting nervous.
Hon. Mr. Norton: That is right; you are making me very nervous.
With regard to the site and the material that is at present there, that will also depend, I think, upon a complete identification of what is there and the rate at which it is leaving the site. In fact, there is some indication from the study of the plume that what is migrating from the site has in fact diminished, because of the greater concentrations away from the site as opposed to adjacent to it.
Again, the strategy requires full information before we make any definitive statement upon a particular course of action.
Mr. Peterson: I understand the impatience of people in the area, because it is a known fact, and known to the ministry, that this illegal dumping was going on as long ago as 1973, and the minister's predecessors were apprised of that information at the time. Now, of course, there is a tremendous reaction and the ministry is paying far more attention to this matter, given the gravity of the situation.
I repeat the call I made to the minister some time ago. On the evidence so far, there exists a prima facie case of serious public health hazard in that area. I have given the minister the information before, and he is aware of it from his own studies.
Would he not agree -- as his ministry is testing, and as it is now trying to determine the extent and nature of the problem -- that part of the testing should be in the public health area? Would he also not agree that he should be using his ministry's expertise, the medical officer of health and a variety of other experts to make sure we fully understand all the public health ramifications of this, and what exactly is done to those residents. Would the minister not agree that is a fair request?
Hon. Mr. Norton: As I indicated to the honourable member when he raised precisely the same question, I believe, last week, my ministry does not have within it the medical expertise to make that determination. The medical officer of health for that area is involved, in conjunction with our staff, in looking at that situation.
We share all the information we acquire with him; in fact, I would suggest once again that this is a decision that ought to be within the area of the medical experts, not the environmental expertise within my ministry. If there is any feeling or opinion on the part of the medical people that that is necessary, then it would be for them to raise it with us, I think.
Mr. Peterson: The Ministry of the Environment has conducted an investigation into late-night dumping, and it came to a conclusion as late as 1978 that there were some 90,000 tons of highly toxic waste dumped illegally. The ministry chose not to prosecute for a variety of reasons at the time. Then when it had the information, the time had run out; the statute of limitations had taken the ministry out of the play, so it could not prosecute. At that time it was six months; now it is two years.
Does the minister feel that is still adequate under the circumstances, given the very long time it sometimes takes to understand the ramifications of some of these illegal actions, and given the instance of seeing, in this case, a public health hazard some years after the original offence? Does the minister not feel his ministry should give some consideration to extending the statute of limitations on these offences beyond the two-year period?
Hon. Mr. Norton: That may be something we should look at. I would not close my mind to that at this point, certainly. I hope, though, the honourable member is not suggesting, as he did a week or so ago, that he has evidence of recent illegal dumping, because if that is the case, I would urge him to share whatever information he has.
The ministry has its special investigation unit, operating in co-operation with the Ontario Provincial Police and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, monitoring access roads to that site -- and has had for some time. We have found no evidence, either through those observations or from examination of the site, of any illegal dumping that has been taking place, even though I know some individuals have had that suspicion or raised that concern. Certainly, on the basis of very extensive monitoring, we have found no evidence of that at the present time.
With regard to the limitations period, certainly that may be something we should have a look at.
GREYMAC TRUST CO.
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, in the absence of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Elgie), I have a question for the Premier.
The Premier will be aware that Greymac Trust Co. was placed on a monthly licence in July 1982 because of some concern about the real estate investments and mortgages of that company. He will also be aware through his close scrutiny of this entire situation, his close involvement with the takeover, that on October 29, 1982, a member of the minister's staff wrote to Greymac Trust warning the company that its complete disregard of the Canada Deposit Insurance Corp. guidelines "places your insurance coverage in jeopardy and consequently is a situation that we cannot countenance." What the staff member was saying was that the depositor's funds were in jeopardy on October 29, 1982.
Could the Premier explain to this House why, on that very same date -- October 29, 1982 -- the ministry changed Greymac Trust's licence from a cautionary monthly licence back to the normal annual licence?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I am sure the minister would be delighted to explain that to the Leader of the Opposition.
Mr. Peterson: The Premier may want to take a pass on this, pretend he does not know anything about it because it speaks very deeply to the regulatory capacity of his government and why those licences were granted when it was obvious to anyone that for two years there have been major violations of the Loan and Trust Corporations Act. I can understand the Premier perhaps wanting to take a pass on this matter.
Was the Premier's government aware at that point that there were those major violations affecting tens of millions of dollars of the Greymac Trust portfolio and that the depositors' funds were at risk at that point?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I do not think the government per se was aware. Whether the ministry may or may not have been, I am sure the minister will be delighted to answer. I am sure these questions just highlight the fact that the Leader of the Opposition was in my office offering advice that ultimately led to the two pieces of legislation we introduced. I still have great difficulty to this day understanding how he is wandering around the province saying he did not support the second piece of legislation.
Mr. Peterson: That is a very direct answer to my question.
The final supplementary I have for the Premier is this: given the fact that every bit of information after the fact points to a complete breakdown in the ministry, and given the fact that no one at any senior level appeared to know what was going on, because they tolerated this succession of illegal acts that subsequently resulted in the kind of takeover legislation that was brought about, would the Premier not agree it is now time for an independent look at this entire situation to find out why there was that breakdown in the ministry?
Would the Premier not agree now that it is time for that royal commission inquiry which everyone who has been looking at this situation has called for -- everyone except the Premier, which leads one to the conclusion that perhaps he does not want all the facts to come out? I am asking now, will the Premier bring about that independent review so we can find out why there was such a total and complete breakdown in the ministry?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I realize the leader of the community or Liberal Party really presumes he is speaking "for everybody." I think I probably talk to as many people in this province as he does, perhaps as many people in the industry, although I probably do not have as many friends in the industry as the Leader of the Opposition does. I have not run into very many, if any, who have been calling for the inquiry the member refers to.
The Leader of the Opposition, in the preamble to his question, referred to the "takeover legislation." I want it on the record, for the second time today, so the public of this province, when the occasion arises, knows full well that the legislation, in general terms, was urged upon the government by the Leader of the Opposition in the confines of my office. To hear him saying today to some of his friends that he did not support that legislation, that it was repugnant to him -- I think that is the terminology he used -- after he suggested it to us, I find is moderately contradictory.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Peterson: On a point of personal privilege: The Premier has chosen to misrepresent the facts deliberately, Mr. Speaker. I am going to tell you what those facts are. I was called to his office and told he wanted to bring in legislation that day or the next day. There was some discussion, and our party supported, in general terms, the takeover legislation. We disagreed on the subsequent act, the Crown Trust Company Act, which allowed him to sell the assets of Crown Trust. That was the situation. The Premier has no right consistently to misrepresent my position, or anyone else's position, on this matter.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
ADMITTANCE TO NURSING HOMES
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Health. It concerns the access of patients with Alzheimer's disease to nursing homes in Ontario. I have been in contact with a number of individuals whose relatives suffer from Alzheimer's disease. I want to draw two cases in particular to the minister's attention.
One is the case of Claudette Foisy-Moon whose mother, aged 71 years, was rejected for admittance by two nursing homes in Toronto because they believed that, since her mother was suffering from Alzheimer's disease, they would not be able to care for her. Her mother is now in a rest home and the cost is $720 per month for shared accommodation which, as the minister will know, is substantially above the rate charged by nursing homes. The minister will also be aware that anyone staying in a rest home is not eligible for extended care benefits from the Ministry of Health, so the entire cost of that rest home is borne by Mrs. Foisy-Moon.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Rae: I can cite to the minister other cases from Sudbury and cases from Ottawa as well with respect to patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Is he aware of the problem of people being rejected for admittance by nursing homes because of this disease? Can he tell us what kind of steps he plans to take to give some help and assistance to people whose relatives are suffering from Alzheimer's disease?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, there is no question that patients throughout the system, whether they are designated, or ask for, access to nursing homes, chronic care facilities or acute care beds, often have difficulty getting placed in the right facility. It has, of course, nothing whatever to do with -- I should not say "nothing" whatever, but often has not much to do with the fact that a private nursing home is involved. What it has to do with is the availability of the number of beds needed for some more critically ill or more difficult cases than others.
I receive, in the course of a day, probably five or six letters coming into the ministry with regard to access to a chronic care bed in chronic care facilities for particular cases. We try to sort those out. Often, as the member will be aware, we will be in a circumstance where, for example, St. Catharines will not have a bed but Niagara Falls or Toronto will have a bed appropriate to a particular case.
In any case, whenever those particular details are drawn to our attention, be it a problem in a nursing home or a public facility, we do try to get them resolved. If the member will give us the details of the cases he referred to, we will see if we can resolve them as well.
Mr. Rae: I would like to ask the minister this question: The cost of the delays in admittance for care is being borne not by his ministry but by the families who have to provide the care. This is so, whether it involves private nursing care at home -- and in many cases that requires intensive care, often with nurses available 24 hours a day -- or when patients have to go to private rest homes not licensed by the ministry.
Does the minister have any plans to sit down with the nursing homes in this province and deal with this problem of access? He has admitted on previous occasions, in particular on November 30, 1982, that it was a problem.
Second, can he announce plans today to provide some kind of financial assistance for those families who cannot get their relatives into the appropriate form of care and who are suffering real financial deprivation because we do not now have the right mix of care in this province? If he cannot announce this today, when can he do so?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I would not accept that we do not have the right mix of care in this province.
There were two questions there. The honourable member asked first if we would be prepared to meet with the nursing home association with regard to access to the beds. All the private nursing home beds in this province are occupied at present. Therefore, if we were to deal with the problem he has raised -- access to those beds by patients who are now located in other places -- it would mean we would have to provide more private nursing home beds in the system. There are no empty beds out there.
I will relay to my colleagues that the member believes we do need more private nursing home beds and see if they will support me in that quest. I do hope to be able to add more chronic care beds and nursing home beds to the system this year, but there is no unused capacity in the nursing home system, so those cases he is talking about are two of a number of cases that are on the waiting list for nursing homes throughout the province.
Mr. Rae: But they are not letting them in.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: There are a lot of people who cannot get those beds.
Mr. Cooke: They are not letting them in and you know it.
Mr. McClellan: It is called screening.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I will move on to the second part of the question which relates to the placement of people in appropriate facilities. We are going to be spending money in areas such as the experiment conducted in the Ottawa area by Dr. Dall.
Dr. Dall has done phenomenal work, literally, in streaming people into the right kinds of beds in all the hospitals and all the nursing homes in that area. It is very relevant to this discussion to point out that in Ottawa he has succeeded in getting the co-operation of the doctors, the acute care hospitals, the chronic care hospitals, the community hospitals and the private nursing homes. When he was able to get the co-operation of all of them, he was able, with the assistance of the medical fraternity in that area, to get people more appropriately placed in all of those facilities, including the private facilities.
The net result is the waiting list for those extended care facilities has gone down by 25 per cent in the last 12 months. It relieved substantially the pressure for acute care beds for the kind of case the honourable member raised, i.e. people waiting for chronic or extended care beds.
That is the kind of thing we believe we ought to be investing in because the net result has been that many people in the Ottawa area are now in their homes where they ought to be, instead of being institutionalized when they ought not to be. That is the kind of thing we will be spending our money on while we also add some capacity to the nursing home system and the chronic care facilities as funds allow.
Mr. Mancini: Mr. Speaker, the minister may recall that I have had correspondence with him concerning the basic problem of access to both nursing home beds and chronic care beds, but we hear once again the refrain that they will be looking into this matter and that they intend to have more beds available to us this fiscal year.
Does the minister know exactly how much money the government intends to spend in this area? Does he know roughly where it will be spent? There is a tremendous shortage all across my constituency -- in Amherstburg and in Leamington -- and I have brought these concerns to his attention.
Finally, does the minister not agree with me that it would be cheaper in the long run for the ministry to have these beds put in place now, rather than having these patients in very expensive hospital beds?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, the answer is, I do not have all those details yet. My colleagues and I are trying to do the responsible thing, which is to deal with the finances that are available and to try to figure out what the priorities are, both within the Health ministry and within the government at large. As those decisions are made, we will see if any nursing home beds will be added; and if so, how many, where they should go and where the priorities properly lie throughout the government.
It is easy for the member, as it is for me, to seek more for his own constituents, but we of course have to make those priority decisions province-wide. When I reflect back, given the growth of the system over the past few years -- which is some 22 per cent in terms of real new money into the system -- and the fact we have more institutional beds per capita than any other jurisdiction anywhere, I would have to say we have done a pretty good job in meeting those needs to date.
Mr. Rae: On November 30 the minister said: "Another issue we must address is the right of nursing homes to pick and choose their patients, because a profit-motivated system appears to have a built-in preference for patients who need the least attention. The result is not rational in terms of the effectiveness of the health care system."
I have a quote from the president of the Alzheimer Association of Ontario, who told MPPs that Extendicare on Starwood Road in Ottawa, the example the minister pointed to, has told her as president of the society that it does not want to take any more Alzheimer's patients.
It seems to me the minister was prepared to recognize that there was a problem on November 30. The problem was screening being carried out by nursing homes because of the funding formulas and because of the ways in which they feel they can make a profit, and this is affecting many thousands of people in this province who have relatives with this awful disease.
I would like to ask the minister, if he thought that the system was irrational in November, that there was a problem and that it was tied to the profit motivation in the system, is he not prepared to stand up in June and say the problem really exists and there are people who are suffering because of the nature of the system?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I think that was a speech I made to the Ontario Nursing Homes Association last November. If it was not then, I said the same words to the nursing home association at its annual meeting. So the member will not think I behave as others do, which is to say only the words where they are most popularly or comfortably heard, I said the same thing to the nursing home association.
The reason I said that and still believe it today is that we have some problems in the system, one of which I might say right off the top is that we categorize our facilities on the basis of hours of care per patient. As long as we fund nursing homes flat across the system, with the same per diem across the system, and as long as nursing homes have different levels of care required of them, obviously those nursing homes that end up with heavy care patients are going to have more commitments and more expenses than those nursing homes that have light care patients.
Hospitals act in the same way. Some of the pressures on their budgets require them to do such things as say: "We already have pressure on our beds. That is a particularly difficult transfer for us to take and we prefer not to take it right now. See if you can find another public general hospital or another facility that will take that case."
The point I am making, and we discussed this again last week with Dr. Dall, is that the proper thing to do in the system is see if we can allocate our beds on the basis of the services available in that facility as opposed to hours of care. That is what I would call a more rational system. Under that system, which is the one I think we ought to be going to, I would say quite clearly, as I have said previously and on many occasions -- I could show the member speeches covering a year that indicate this -- we have to move co-ordination placement services to points at which they can designate people for a particular bed in the nursing home.
I agreed, long before he showed up in this Legislature, that private nursing home beds ought to be allocated by public authorities operating through placement co-ordination services. That has long been a position of this government and of this ministry, and as we move to change the categorization of patients, we will be able to move towards that goal. We are well on the way to that goal and we were well on the way to that goal before the member found my speech of last November. I could send him more.
Mr. Speaker: New question; the member for York South.
Mr. Rae: The minister talks an awful lot but he has not produced the action to give the necessary assistance to the families in trouble in Ontario.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Is this another question, Bob, or a speech?
Mr. Mackenzie: Are you nervous, Larry?
Mr. Speaker: Order. Question, please.
SECURICOR INVESTIGATION AND SECURITY LTD.
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Attorney General concerning Securicor. The Attorney General will know that for more than a year we have been raising questions in this Legislature with respect to this company. He will also know that we have had expressions of concern going back more than a year from his colleagues the Solicitor General (Mr. G. W. Taylor) and the Minister of Labour (Mr. Ramsay).
Given the facts that have emerged about the conduct of this company in a number of disputes, the most notable being the Automotive Hardware dispute which produced the Ontario Labour Relations Board decision of last month, I simply want to ask the Attorney General whether he is prepared to move to lay criminal charges against the principals of this company and the individuals involved in the strike at Automotive Hardware.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, as the leader of the New Democratic Party knows, the Solicitor General was questioned about Securicor during his estimates. He indicated the decision of the Ontario Labour Relations Board was being reviewed by the lawyers within the Ministry of the Attorney General and, if any criminal charges are warranted, that course will be seriously considered. I cannot tell him at this moment what point their review has reached, but I know it is a matter about which some of my senior law officers have been consulted and I expect to hear from them shortly.
It may be that while I was in Charlottetown at the meeting of provincial Attorneys General a week or so ago and this was being raised in his ministry's estimates, the Solicitor General may have given a more recent update than what I am telling the honourable member now.
Mr. Rae: The Attorney General should know it is because we cannot get very much information from the Solicitor General that we have to go to the next wicket, and that is what we are doing.
Given the fact that at Charlottetown he and his colleagues expressed real concern about the threat to civil liberties from a certain federal proposal, I would like to ask the Attorney General whether he would take a look at what is happening concerning surveillance in Ontario by private companies hired to do just that very thing. If he is really concerned about civil liberties in Ontario, he should start taking some steps with respect to the activities of this and other companies whose business is not security but insecurity.
In particular, I would like to ask the Attorney General how long it is going to take before a decision is reached with respect to the laying of criminal charges in this matter. It has been more than a year; how long is it going to take for his ministry to reach a decision with respect to this matter?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: When the member says it is more than a year, I am not sure what he is referring to. I am of course aware of the recent decision of the Ontario Labour Relations Board, and I can tell the leader of the New Democratic Party that some of the activities attributed to this company are of concern to us on this side of the House. I do not want to be thought to be endorsing what they have been accused of. I am also mindful of the fact there is an appeal before the courts, I am told, in relation to the decision of the Ontario Labour Relations Board. That was my most recent information.
In any event, I should be in a position to advise the House in the very near future as to whether any criminal charges are warranted as a result of the findings of the Ontario Labour Relations Board.
Mr. Rae: The Attorney General knows perfectly well that criminal charges have nothing to do with the decision of the Ontario Labour Relations Board. Criminal charges have to do with evidence that was available to his police earlier on.
Mr. Speaker: Will the honourable member place his question, please?
Mr. Rae: If the Attorney General will look back over the record, he will see that questions were raised about the activities of this company, not only at Automotive Hardware but elsewhere as well, more than a year ago. Can he at least inform the House when the investigation began and when he thinks it will be concluded?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: The Ministry of the Attorney General is not an investigative ministry. The Solicitor General will be able to give the member particulars about any police investigation. All I can tell him is when our law officers have been consulted. I do not have the specifics at this time.
VIOLENCE AT MENTAL HEALTH CENTRE
Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Health. The minister is no doubt aware of the problem of increasing violence at the Queen Street Mental Health Centre. I wonder whether he can outline what steps are being taken to deal with it.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, I do not know what the honourable member's definition of increasing violence is. Our most recent reports from Queen Street, including one two or three weeks ago when I was there speaking with all the senior staff, indicate that while there are variations from time to time in what is happening, the situation is well under control. Probably the institution has not operated this well in 10 or 15 years. The staff are most happy with the progress of things at present. If the member has any details, will she please raise them?
Ms. Copps: According to the May 1983 issue of the ex-patients' magazine, Cuckoo's Nest, which I am sure the minister received, there were 35 incidents of violence at the centre in March, enough to prompt the establishment of a special union-management committee to deal with the problem. My first question to the minister is, why are there no patients on this committee?
Second, how does the minister expect the hospital to solve this problem when it is clear, according to Cuckoo's Nest, that part of the problem comes when therapists are reluctant to discharge people into conditions in the community that are "filthy, overcrowded, unsupervised and unsafe"? The result is that on some days the occupancy rate at the hospital is 99 per cent, resulting in patients "receiving very clear messages from an overworked, undertrained, resentful and frightened staff."
How does the minister respond to these comments from ex-patients in the Parkdale community?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I know some of the people who produce that publication, and I have great respect for them. As is the case with many other people I respect, I do not always share their views. Being in a position to know at first hand how things are going in the institution, I do not quite share their perspective of how things are going either in the institution or out in the community.
When I peer back over the past several years and assess the situation in Parkdale and areas surrounding Queen Street today and compare it with a couple of years ago, substantial progress has been made. I am sure the member will agree that substantial progress has been made in the quality of housing and after-care programs, in the linkages between Queen Street and the community, in the psychiatric assistance and leadership project, in the project case managers we put in through Archway, in the additional housing we supplied, together with the Supportive Housing Coalition, and in the fact that the patients' advocates program has two people instead of only one as at other institutions. All in all, the situation at Queen Street is most gratifying.
I respect the people who publish the magazine, and from time to time we have listened to the issues they have raised, for example, the famous fence. As the member knows, the fence was ultimately taken down and removed. I happened to agree with their position on that. I do not happen to agree with their perception of how things are going at Queen Street now.
I hope the member will look at the situation carefully herself and speak on it further. At present, I am most gratified by the progress at Queen Street.
Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, I rise to correct the record. In his response to my question about the condition of rooming houses in Parkdale today, the minister said he thought the situation had improved in recent months. This view is in conflict with the view expressed by the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Drea) on May 5 --
Mr. Speaker: Order, please.
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY LEGISLATION
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Labour. I am sure he is aware that two shipyard workers, Walter Osadic and Barry Dornan, were killed last week in the hold of the John B. Aird at the Port Arthur Shipyard drydock in Thunder Bay. Just four days previously, a coroner's jury into the death of three men last February in the ballast tanks of the ship Richelieu at the same shipyard made some 16 recommendations.
Can the minister tell me and the workers at the Port Arthur Shipyard how long it will take the Ministry of Labour to enforce the recommendations of that coroner's inquest, especially recommendations 3, 4, 5 and 11, which have to do with such simple things as giving each employee a copy of the occupational health and safety regulations, presenting seminars to supervisory personnel, giving general information and demonstration sessions to all employees and enforcing the Occupational Health and Safety Act?
How long will it take his ministry to take seriously the enforcement of the Occupational Health and Safety Act in the drydock?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, the executive director of the occupational health and safety branch in my ministry, along with the director of the industrial health and safety branch and a special adviser, are travelling to the Port Arthur Shipyard on Wednesday of this week, at which time they will meet with management of the shipbuilders and representatives of the United Steelworkers of America.
Mr. Foulds: Has the minister been made aware of the testimony of James Kempton to last week's coroner's jury in which he indicated that the health and safety committee had made suggestions for improvements in certain areas and these suggestions were ignored. According to Kempton, the company response was, "Do you realize how much it will cost?"
Will the minister agree that the term "confined space" as outlined in sections 72 to 75 of the regulations for industrial establishments should apply to all work done in ships below deck in drydock? In connection with last week's incident, will he ensure that the ministry thoroughly investigates whether section 44 of the regulations was properly adhered to? Can he tell us whether battery-powered lights could have avoided the electrocution and deaths of the two men?
Mr. Speaker: Just before the minister responds, I would ask all honourable members again to please curtail their private conversations.
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: First, I am aware of the comments that were made at the time of the inquest by the worker in question.
I am trying to recall all the questions the member asked. Perhaps I could best go about it by stating that there is a thorough investigation going on at present by several different bodies. For example, the industrial health and safety branch of my ministry is conducting an investigation, and that is expected to be completed and in the coroner's hands some time today.
There has also been a tentative inquest date set for June 13 at the courthouse in Thunder Bay on Camelot Street. There is also an investigation going on by Ontario Hydro, and it is my understanding that the federal marine division has been investigating the matter. Also, the United Steelworkers of America has been investigating the very tragic accident that occurred last week.
As I indicated, the senior officials of my ministry will be in Thunder Bay, not only to talk about the results of the inquest from the previous accident but also to talk about this latest one. This is a very serious matter and it is being taken very seriously by everybody concerned. I know it is.
I just want to assure the honourable member not only that every possible attention is being given to the recommendations of the inquest from the first fatalities but also that investigations are going forward at a very rapid and very complete stage with respect to the latest fatalities.
Mr. Wrye: Mr. Speaker, in terms of the trip on Wednesday by members of the occupational health and safety branch, has the minister instructed those members to indicate to both parties when they meet with them that they would expect action on any of the recommendations, or has he not yet reviewed the recommendations from the earlier fatalities and the coroner's jury that arose out of that earlier accident? Does the minister intend to act on those recommendations and, if so, which recommendations is he going to act on immediately?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, I have reviewed the recommendations. If one looks at them, some of the recommendations merely mean compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Of course, that will be done. Some of the other recommendations fall outside the jurisdiction of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and those are being studied at the present time.
I want to repeat what I said earlier; this is a very serious matter and we are not leaving any stone unturned to prevent it ever happening again.
Mr. Pollock: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of the Environment, if he is here.
Mr. Speaker: The question is to whom?
Mr. Pollock: I have a question for the Minister of the Environment.
Mr. Speaker: The Minister of the Environment is not in his seat.
Mr. Pollock: I will have to pass then.
Mr. Cousens: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Transportation and Communications on rail safety.
Mr. Epp: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: I understood the rules held that if someone asked a question, looked for a particular minister to address the question to and the minister was absent for whatever reason, his turn went to the next political party. In this case, it should be the Liberal Party rather than a colleague of his.
That has been a tradition you have carried along for a few years, Mr. Speaker, and I submit to you that the next questioner should be from this side rather than from over there.
Mr. Speaker: You are absolutely right, except for one thing: I did not hear a question.
Mr. Epp: What do you mean, you did not hear a question? He got up, so the question is now here.
Mr. Speaker: The honourable member for York Centre.
Mr. Cousens: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask a question of the Minister of Transportation and Communications having to do with the whole subject of rail safety. Although the subject of the rails comes under the jurisdiction of the federal Minister of Transport, I would like to know what success our minister can point to in terms of improvements in rail safety that affect the people in Ontario as a result of his discussions with the federal minister since the 1981 Canadian Pacific derailment in Mississauga?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I understand that following the Grange royal commission, some significant improvements in rail safety have been brought into being. Probably the most significant of these is the requirement that is referred to as gateway or interval inspection where trains are inspected periodically, either electronically or visually.
Also, speed limits have been implemented for trains carrying dangerous goods through municipalities. I believe it is 35 miles per hour if the train has been inspected according to the rules or, if that is not the case, the speed limit is reduced to 20 miles per hour.
There have been a number of other initiatives, such as regulations which have been gazetted requiring ball bearings to replace the old type of bearings on cars carrying dangerous goods. I think a number of other initiatives are under way. There have been certain modifications to tank cars. The railway transport committee now requires that it be notified of general burnoffs or hot boxes. That regulation, I believe, is in place and I understand new car regulations are being drafted at this time.
Mr. Cousens: In the light of the significant improvements our minister has helped to bring about, and I believe he has because we are one of the biggest customers of the federal rail service through our own GO Transit, I would like to ask the minister whether he can respond to a concern of mine which is shared by the member for York North (Mr. Hodgson).
There has been a recommendation made that dangerous cargo now be shipped through Markham, Unionville, Thornhill and Vaughan. If that were to be the case, we are talking about heavily populated areas that could be affected.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Cousens: What can the minister do to help prevent the intrusion of dangerous cargo into our community when these other methods have been introduced?
Hon. Mr. Snow: I understand the railway transport committee asked its regional manager, a Mr. Post, to co-ordinate and submit a report on possible realignment or redesignation of routes for dangerous goods. This report, I understand, has just been submitted to the railway transport committee. We were unable to get a copy of it until just this morning, and obviously I have not had time to look into even the recommendations as of this date. However, as I have read from the press, certain recommendations were made with regard to rerouting of trains.
Now that the report has been published, I believe it will be open for comment until about the end of August. All interested organizations, municipalities and the like will be able to put their comments into the RTC before any action is taken. I am sure we will be studying that report, and I expect the province will also be making recommendations on those recommendations.
Mr. Kerrio: Mr. Speaker, as the minister knows full well, there is an American railroad which is taking the short route from Niagara Falls, New York, to Detroit. As Niagara Falls is such a large chemical-producing centre, has he satisfied himself as to the contents of those shipments of chemicals that travel on the Canadian side from the chemical manufacturer? Is he aware of the concerns we have that they be rerouted around the major parts of the residential areas of Niagara, Welland and all the Canadian cities that might be threatened by dangerous chemicals routed over that rail?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I presume the member for Niagara Falls is referring to the Canada Southern line, Conrail, and it is my understanding that there is very little traffic travelling that line at this time. Practically all the traffic is already being rerouted around the south of Lake Erie even though it is of greater distance. The traffic on the Conrail line has very much diminished and, in fact, an agreement has been entered into between Conrail and Canadian National and Canadian Pacific to sell that line to a consortium of CN and CP; that will be the subject of an RTC hearing, presumably later this year.
As far as exact details of the goods travelling on that line are concerned, I believe there is still one train per day travelling that particular line, and I do not have at my fingertips details of what commodities are carried. I know it serves some communities through the Lake Erie north shore, and some of them have expressed concern to me that the discontinuance of this line, as is a possibility, would have an adverse effect on them. I have not heard of any major chemical movements along that line.
One of the concerns we have is that the new federal regulations for rail movement of dangerous goods may not be compatible with the US regulations; consequently, there could be a conflict there. This is one of the things that came out in the Grange report, that even if the RTC required every car to have the new ball or roller bearings, that could not be implemented on the US railroads; and as many of their cars come to and from, it would be very difficult --
Mr. Speaker: I believe the minister has answered the question.
Hon. Mr. Snow: If the honourable member has any specific concerns about movement, I will be glad to hear them.
Mr. Cunningham: Mr. Speaker, to the Minister of Tourism and Recreation: Is he aware that last week, in the city of Hamilton, his cabinet colleague the Minister of Industry and Trade (Mr. Walker) commented, "This is not exactly Niagara Falls; Hamilton is not the honeymoon capital of Canada"? He implied that our community was unworthy of provincial support for tourism assistance and defined it as an industrial centre only. Is this the new ministerial policy relating to tourism for the Hamilton-Wentworth area, or is his colleague in cabinet just running off at the mouth again?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, I will ignore the latter part of that question. I assure the honour- able member that Niagara Falls, Hamilton, Burlington and all towns and villages in between are very much a part of the tourism scene in Ontario. We will continue to support them as we have in the past.
Mr. Cunningham: What specific initiatives might the minister be taking to refute the misconceptions that have been advanced by the Minister of Industry and Trade? What specific initiatives is he going to take to help promote that community? It has a myriad of very fine tourist facilities, most of which may be located in my constituency.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I do not think we have to talk about refuting anything. We are going to do what we have done in the past; we will continue to support the tourism attractions in that great place: the Royal Botanical Gardens, Prudhomme's Landing, Niagara Falls itself, the Hamilton convention centre, the new arena -- one could go on and on. We will continue to advertise the member's great area in the United States and in Ontario. We will tell the 120 million Americans who live within one day's drive of his great city to come on over and enjoy themselves. We will do so knowing they will enjoy themselves.
UPPER OTTAWA STREET LANDFILL SITE
Mr. Charlton: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of the Environment. I presume the minister and his staff have had time to go through the interim report of the Upper Ottawa Street landfill site study committee. He should be aware that the study committee set out a number of problems it found in identifying the wastes that had gone into that site.
The report said there was a basic lack of information about waste materials deposited in past years in the Upper Ottawa Street site and other landfill sites and that this lack presents a major stumbling block in designing studies to investigate possible health hazards.
The report also stated clearly that the waybill system the ministry has set up, supposedly to monitor this waste, is open to oversight and abuse. It said, "Lost records, uninformative descriptions of waste materials and identification of the waste hauler but not the waste generator are among the problems that we encountered."
In view of these statements, can the minister tell us what he has done in his ministry to overhaul and improve that waybill system?
Can the minister also tell us why there is such a huge discrepancy between the amount of waste his ministry has identified and the numbers the Ontario Waste Management Corp. have thrown out? I understand there is a dispute over the figures between the ministry and the corporation, but certainly the discrepancy is huge.
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, that question seems to involve two almost unrelated matters. Before answering, could I have the Speaker's consent to answer both parts? One deals with the Upper Ottawa landfill site, the other with an issue relating to waste identification in a report of the Ontario Waste Management Corp.
First of all, the waybill system that has been in place now for some time in the Ministry of the Environment is one that has undergone repeated review and revision. In fact, the very point the honourable member raises with respect to identification of waste generators is part of the next generation of that waybill system, which is currently being drafted.
Since the time frame to which the member's question refers, the waybill system has been upgraded; in fact, it has been computerized so that there is a much more extensive system for keeping tabs on the information we receive in the form of the waybill system from the waste haulers and landfill sites across the province. There has been substantial improvement since the time frame to which the Upper Ottawa Street dump relates. The next phase of the development is well under way and ultimately will lead to what has been referred to as a cradle-to-grave system with regard to tracking hazardous or toxic materials that may be generated in the industries of this province.
The question relating to what appears to be the discrepancy between our estimates and the Ontario Waste Management Corp. estimates with regard to volumes of waste appears to me to relate, in part at least, to the definitions that are being applied. The work that was done for the Ontario Waste Management Corp. by a private consultant relied upon a particular formula approach to estimate the volumes of waste generated. As I understand it, it was related to a formula where one takes the number of employees at a given site and attributes a certain volume of waste generated to each employee employed there. In fact, the work we have done does not seem to confirm those figures. There are ongoing meetings between the staff of the Ontario Waste Management Corp. and the staff of my ministry to try to more clearly define the precise volume of waste that is present in the industrial community of this province.
Mr. Speaker: That was a great answer. Thank you.
Mr. Chariton: I think the minister said in the first part of his answer to my question that there had been improvements made in the waybill system. Perhaps the minister could get for us, and table in this House, the locations of the eight to 10 million gallons of liquid industrial wastes that were going into the Upper Ottawa Street dump in 1978; where are those wastes now going?
Hon. Mr. Norton: If the member wishes, I could try to table our computers in the House. I am not sure what the member is asking for.
INSPECTION OF NURSING HOMES
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, on Friday last, I believe, I agreed to table with the opposition members a list of nursing homes against which legal action has been taken and the disposition. I wish to do that now.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I rise to welcome a distinguished visitor, and a guest of this province, who is under the Speaker's gallery. He is His Excellency Dr. Ali Fahkro, Minister of Education for the state of Bahrain.
Dr. Fahkro and his officials are visiting Ontario at my invitation to determine ways of increasing the levels of co-operation which were established last year by the Ontario Educational Services Corp. in providing Ontario's experience and expertise to Bahrain's rapidly expanding educational system.
I am sure all members would like to join me in welcoming Dr. Fahkro, who has joined us today for question period.
WINDSOR BOARD OF EDUCATION ADMINISTRATION BUILDING
Mr. Cooke: Mr. Speaker, I have a petition addressed to the Lieutenant Governor in Council. "Through the clerk of the executive council, the petitioners, 4,185 ratepayers assessed as owners and residents in the city of Windsor, whose names and addresses are attached hereto, humbly request the Lieutenant Governor in Council to issue a commission of inquiry into the proposed expenditure of $4.2 million by the board of education for the city of Windsor for the reconstruction of its administrative building which is situated at 451 Park Street West in the city of Windsor.
"Your petitioners base this petition on the following grounds: That the said board of education has not adequately considered the financial implications of utilizing alternative sites and locations for the purpose of obtaining its administrative space requirements, and that would allow the sale of existing building on Park Street West and its existing property on Eugenic Street East; namely, the conversion, in conjunction with the city of Windsor, of the Steinberg building located on Chatham Street East in the city of Windsor, or more particularly referred to in the report of H. A. Walker and Associates dated April 9, 1983, attached as Appendix A, whereas on page 4 of section 4 it notes the Steinberg alternative would result in a net saving to the taxpayers of $1.8 million; and B, the conversion of the vacant or soon to be vacant school site."
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
ST. AUGUSTINE'S SEMINARY ACT
Mr. Robinson moved, seconded by Ms. Fish, first reading of Bill Pr35, An Act respecting St. Augustine's Seminary of Toronto.
Motion agreed to.
INSTITUTE FOR CHRISTIAN STUDIES ACT
Mr. Watson moved, seconded by Mr. Treleaven, first reading of Bill Pr21, An Act respecting the Institute for Christian Studies.
Motion agreed to.
RESIDENTIAL TENANCIES AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Ruprecht moved, seconded by Mr. Newman, first reading of Bill 59, An Act to amend the Residential Tenancies Act.
Motion agreed to.
LANDLORD AND TENANT AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Ruprecht moved, seconded by Mr. Newman, first reading of Bill 60, An Act to amend the Landlord and Tenant Act.
Motion agreed to.
RESPONSE TO WRITTEN QUESTIONS
Mr. Wildman: Mr. Speaker, I rise again in regard to standing order 81 and the response to written questions. I want to point out that questions 292 and 295, both standing in my name, have been on the order paper for more than 14 days, and the ministry has not yet deigned to respond. I would hope you could encourage the members of the executive council, first, to learn the rules and, second, to follow them.
Mr. Speaker: I am sure the minister will have the benefit of your remarks and will act accordingly.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
DEGREE GRANTING ACT
Hon. Miss Stephenson moved second reading of Bill 41, An Act to regulate the Granting of Degrees.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I would like to reiterate at this time my conviction regarding the absolute need for this piece of legislation. That conviction was reinforced just a few weeks ago when the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation announced it was investigating a number of mail order colleges sited primarily in Ontario. Four of them were within shooting distance, I suppose, of the city of Toronto, which is somewhat disconcerting.
It has been the tradition in this province and in the rest of this country that a charter to grant degrees could only be obtained with the consent of the Legislature of the provincial jurisdiction. This tradition has served the purpose of ensuring that universities and other degree-granting institutions were constituted in such a way as to make sure there were sound academic programs, sound financial governance and legal validation of the degrees awarded by the institutions.
The boundaries of the authority to grant degrees were defined by the inclusion of this power in the statutory charters of each of the institutions granted that capability; but it has now become visible and quite obvious there is no legal authority to exclude other individuals or other institutions within this province from granting degrees in Ontario. I believe it would serve the public interest to limit the operation of universities and degree-granting institutions in this province to those institutions having charters which this Legislature has seen fit to grant or that have, on the other hand, appropriate academic accreditation or authority from other recognized jurisdictions.
Prospective students under those circumstances would have the assurance that any degree program offered in this province would have legal and academic credibility. In that circumstance, employers would be protected from job applicants with questionable credentials, and Ontario's educational reputation in other jurisdictions would also be protected as it should.
This bill does not encroach upon the fundamental freedom of individuals or institutions to provide educational programs or individuals to operate educational institutions. It would, however, ensure that the Legislature of Ontario would have to be convinced of the educational soundness of the institution before such responsibility could be granted to it. That responsibility, of course, would be the granting of degrees.
Institutions may, in fact, continue to operate to provide diplomas or certificates, but the traditional degree as designated in the area of activity of most universities should be limited to those institutions. All Ontario's publicly supported degree-granting universities or institutions and their federated or affiliated colleges will be exempted from the provisions of this act. Private religious-based institutions, theological schools and bible colleges will be exempted provided they obtain statutory charters from this Legislature in the traditional manner.
I was pleased to note that six of the private bible colleges have, with the support of the Ministry of Colleges and Universities, obtained their degree-granting charters. A number of others are in the process of applying at this time and, as you noted, Mr. Speaker, the Institute for Christian Studies with the support of the ministry has today provided through one of our members the first reading of a bill to grant that institution the right to grant a degree.
The ministry will support all reputable bible colleges that wish to obtain charters, provided they have the support of the community they wish to serve, have sufficient resources to offer a sound academic program, are not seeking grants from the public purse and wish to provide only religious or theological degrees.
Secular institutions that wish to offer degree programs in arts and sciences will be required, I believe, to affiliate with a recognized degree- granting institution in the province or with an institution outside the province that has ministerial consent to operate in Ontario. Those institutions that are unable to find such suitable affiliation arrangements will not be able to grant degrees unless they obtain a statutory charter from this Legislature. They will, of course, be able to continue to offer their programs as they do at present, and they will not be prevented from granting diplomas or certificates or other appropriate academic designations for successful pursuit of study in their area.
I hope the members of this House will see fit to pass this bill forthwith.
Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, this is an opportune time for the assembly to take up again the question of degree mills. I want to say at the outset that it is certainly my position, and has been my position for many years now, that we ought in this province to look at ways and means of protecting the public against some of the degree mills and against the proliferation of the so-called fly-by-night institutions to which the good doctor made reference in her opening remarks.
I must say without any fear of contradiction I feel very strongly for once in my life that the minister is very much on the mark. I agree with her wholeheartedly. I think this is the third time this kind of legislation has been brought forward. If the current minister has not floated this bill herself twice --
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Once.
Mr. Conway: -- she has done it at least once. I think one of her predecessors may also have thought about it if, in fact, it was not introduced. It is not the first time we have seen a bill such as the one before us, An Act to regulate the Granting of Degrees.
I want to say to the minister for transmittal to her staff that I would like to congratulate whoever was responsible for preparing the policy compendium. I found it a terse but helpful document. I should not say terse because it has many pages, but it is the kind of backgrounder I think members of this House ought to be receiving and that is not always the case. I want to say to the Minister of Colleges and Universities I think her staff did an excellent job in backgrounding this legislation. I would be very pleased if she would convey that to the author or authors, if they are not in the House at this time.
Mr. Breithaupt: Not quite like Suncor.
Mr. Conway: The member for Kitchener (Mr. Breithaupt) reminds us of other initiatives which were perhaps not as well backgrounded. I really mean that. It is a --
Hon. Miss Stephenson: The member said one of the advantages was the fact it was terse.
Mr. Conway: As the minister well knows, I have a great liking for that which is terse and laconic. I recommend that to the minister's attention.
I would be interested to have the minister, in the course of the discussions on this legislation, help the assembly understand as best she can what kind of specific problems there have been with respect to the degree mill. I hear stories from time to time, not all that many -- I notice, for example, she made reference to the fact that in recent weeks the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been looking at what were described in the University of Waterloo Gazette of May 18, 1983, as three fake universities doing business in Ontario. The three mentioned in that report were the United American Medical College, the Johann Keppler School of Medicine and the North American University.
However, this report in the University of Waterloo Gazette of May 18, 1983, went on to mention a spokesman for the Ministry of Colleges and Universities who is referred to as saying the ministry knows nothing about the three schools that were alleged to be under investigation by the FBI. I guess what I am asking the minister in a simple, straightforward way is, for those of us who support the legislation, could she indicate during this debate more specifically the nature and extent of the problem as she and her departmental officials have experienced it?
She might very properly draw out the kinds of difficulties for people who are perhaps not as aware as a distinguished alumnus from the University of Toronto medical school about what is and is not credible in the academic world.
Mr. Nixon: Are you an alumnus?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Alumna.
Mr. Conway: I do not think the Latin allows her that.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Yes, it does.
Mr. Conway: Perhaps it does. I suppose it does.
I keep thinking of the British election as I look across at the minister. I am getting very distracted. Did the members see the line about the concern of the Conservative back-benchers at Westminster that too great a mandate will turn the dominant Mrs. Thatcher into the domineering Mrs. Thatcher? I sometimes think that --
Mr. Nixon: Why would you be thinking about that?
Mr. Conway: The member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk raises a question I will not answer.
For those of us who do support the legislation and understand in general terms the kinds of difficulties there might be in the community, with unsuspecting people getting degrees which are not recognized by the peer institutions to be as legitimate as the individual might imagine, or the problem of the employer who is confronted with a degree from Pacific Western University which is referred to in her compendium, or the people at Horizon and their good works, perhaps the minister could take a moment in the course of this debate to be more specific about the case examples where problems have arisen.
Has she as minister, for example, been confronted in the past five years with a number of employers, people from the business community, who have expressed concern about a Master of Business Administration that has been issued by a given institution that is doing business in this province? I would appreciate that. I have no quarrel with the intention of the legislation and I endorse the principle of Bill 41 without any difficulty or reservation. As the member for Kitchener whispered in my ear moments ago, I would like to know a little more about the bad apples as the minister and the ministry have found and experienced them.
Mr. Nixon: She heard about them first on the news.
Mr. Conway: I do not imagine that is true. I have talked to my friend and colleague the member for Hamilton West (Mr. Allen) who will be making his remarks in a moment. I presume he has the imprimatur of his caucus to proceed with at least one amendment that this party is prepared to favour notwithstanding --
Mr. Wildman: Did he say imprimatur?
Mr. Conway: Imprimatur, but I may have confused someone over there.
We are prepared to favour the amendment that was drawn to my attention by the good doctor, the member for Hamilton West. Amid these doctors I find myself a real innocent.
Mr. Breithaupt: A QC does not even count here.
Mr. Conway: The member for Hamilton West has shown me an amendment to deal with some of the concerns of people in the religious and theological community. I was interested in the minister's comments when she indicated that the attitude of this government would be as outlined. She would be very anxious and willing to encourage the incorporation -- incorporation may not be the right word -- the chartering by the Legislature of the bible colleges and theological schools, as long as they met the criteria she outlined.
There is one concern my caucus colleagues have had, and I have had some discussion with the minister in this connection. I think it is important for me to indicate this. I know in his remarks my friend the member for Kitchener may touch upon it very briefly. Notwithstanding our unanimous support for the bill and its principles as outlined in the legislation and in the minister's comments, we do have a concern about process in at least this one area. There is no question that a few establishments are already doing business. The minister well knows one of the groups I am referring to, the Canadian School of Management, which is associated with the Northland University of Whitehorse in the Yukon.
My leader and I met with the delegation from the Canadian School of Management and we gave them a commitment that we would strongly favour a brief committee hearing on this bill. We in the small "l" and large "L' Liberal Party felt that those people and institutions that were going to be disenfranchised or compromised -- or we at least felt that was going to be the result of this legislation -- had the right to make their case before a committee of this Legislature.
I have talked to the minister about this. I should tell her honestly that, after talking with her about it, I talked to some of my colleagues and, if it is at all possible, they are determined we should have a brief committee hearing to deal with those two groups. The other one is the Canadian Christian College, which has been to see some of us, and I know not just members of the lowly opposition.
I see the look of despair and almost disbelief writ large across the expansive countenance of my friend the member for York Mills (Miss Stephenson). Notwithstanding our support for the legislation, my colleagues feel very strongly that we should, to the very best of our ability, provide the opportunity for a hearing. It need not necessarily be a lengthy one. I am not in favour of a long hearing.
Mr. Breithaupt: A day.
Mr. Conway: My friend the member for Kitchener says a day and that is probably more than adequate, because I know of only two groups. It could even be less than that.
In fairness to those people who are going to be affected, notwithstanding that they may have come before this House in the private bills' committee on an earlier occasion, as the member for Kitchener indicated to me before the debate began --
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Or may again.
Mr. Conway: Or may again -- in her generosity I think the minister must understand that when we legislate in this particular capacity, the normal course of events is to give people affected by this kind of bill the opportunity to respond to it. My point is simply that after talking to the minister and caucusing again with my leader and my colleagues, it is strongly felt on this side an opportunity should be made for those groups. They are not numerous. I am actually thinking of only two that have brought the matter to my attention.
I should point out the member for Chatham-Kent (Mr. Watson) rose in his place today to introduce private legislation dealing with the Institute for Christian Studies. It was one of the groups which, in an earlier incarnation, was very concerned about what this legislation might do to it.
An accommodation has been worked out and I certainly appreciate what the minister has done to give effect to that compromise, but the reality remains that for a couple of other groups we feel there should be some opportunity in the free and generous spirit of our democratic parliamentary ways around here for those people to come forward to make their case, notwithstanding the fact they may have made it in another committee, and in another way, not that many months or weeks ago.
I personally, and my colleagues, support the principle of this bill and we are anxious to see it become law at an early time. We would certainly be encouraged in that support if the minister might give some more specific indication of the actual difficulties she, her department and others in Ontario have experienced as a result of the so-called degree mills or their distant cousins operating outside the law.
Mr. Allen: Mr. Speaker, I rise personally and on behalf of my caucus to support the intentions and general characteristics of this bill to regulate degree-granting powers in Ontario.
The issue it addresses is one that has been, in many respects, a growing one since the 1960s. That was a time of rapid university expansion in North America and abroad, and a time when many institutions expanded beyond their borders and jurisdictions, thereby creating a number of problems for adjacent jurisdictions whether they be fellow states, fellow provinces or fellow nations.
The institutions sometimes expanded with the backing of proper accreditation in their home jurisdictions and sometimes not. There grew to be a set of problems facing established universities, university students, and professional and business institutions, relying upon the authority and authenticity of the degrees offered that was in some respects unprecedented.
Because of lack of local accreditation, for instance, the quality of teaching could not be relied upon. There was concern, for example, that out-of-jurisdiction institutions might terminate their operations and leave students stranded and unable to pursue or complete their studies. If those institutions lacked accreditation, students might be unable to transfer academic credits gained quite legitimately, and to which there may have been some substance, to other institutions not accepting or recognizing, and properly so, such unaccredited operations.
There were problems in some other jurisdictions, not those in Canada, in which certain turf had been carved out by particular institutions, and the emergence of degree-granting operations from other jurisdictions trespassed and caused conflict between institutions that had in the past accepted certain roles and limits to their operations. Some jurisdictions have managed to cope with that problem effectively; some, like the state of Washington, for example, have not.
Ontario is moving to close down the operation of some obviously illegitimate and inadequate institutions in this province, and for good reason. However, at the same time as that is being done, the legislation attempts a much broader task, which is to establish in law a tradition that the Legislature is the only authority capable of chartering a degree-granting institution in Ontario.
In some measure that has been an accepted tradition in the British and Canadian scenes. This goes back to 1571, I think, when Oxford University was first chartered and later to 1877 when Cambridge was provided with a charter. For some time after the establishment of those institutions the only way a degree could be offered was by affiliation with either of those institutions.
In the 20th century, individual bills have been brought forward in Great Britain covering the accreditation of universities other than those two institutions. A much varied post-secondary educational scene has existed in the British Isles since then. It is probably impossible to find in Canada a 19th century institution that was not legally brought into existence to offer degrees other than through the assembly or the Legislature of a province or the preceding entities or jurisdictions.
The variety that has ensued over time has been rather striking. There are single, separate institutions like Queen's University, for example, or federated institutions like the University of Toronto where the degree granting is centralized and the affiliated institutions follow somewhat the old Cambridge or Oxford models.
However, as the institutions of Ontario have multiplied and developed, the problem I alluded to arose, specifically in the 1960s and 1970s. I refer to the problem of a variety of institutions wishing to move in on the new popularity, and perhaps the new necessity, of having post-secondary degrees for all kinds of pursuits. In illegitimate ways, they exploited that need and that opportunity.
However, as the Legislature moves to assert its authority, which now has been abridged in some measure and only existed in tradition in the past, it is necessary, it seems to me, for it to recognize something of the delicacy of the task in which it is engaged. The delicacy comes from a very settled orientation in western civilization respecting the relationship of political power, of faith and of learning. It has long been recognized that the orders of truth, the orders of belief and the orders of political power should in significant measure, if not totally in some aspects of the western tradition, be entirely separated from one another.
Historically, it has not been the case that the university has been separate from politics, nor has it been separate from faith or religion. Indeed, the latter connections have been very close. I think it would be difficult to find in any western jurisdiction an original tradition of higher learning that was not either substantially or partially founded in a religious tradition.
Likewise religion and politics has never been entirely separate. Yet it has been recognized clear boundaries should be drawn between those major endeavours in western society. There should be clear boundaries between those three broad pursuits of western man as he searches for truth, as he tries to live by faith and as he attempts to live in an organized community in which compromise and power also is part of the reality.
I want to read a brief statement by Kenneth Hare on the subject of academic freedom which embodies the separation of learning from the other two orders, academic freedom and, in particular, the political order.
"Academic freedom," Kenneth Hare says 'is part of the general freedom of liberal democratic societies. The best universities, those that pursue and spread their learning most effectively, seem to be those that govern themselves. It is true that we can justify such freedom on other grounds.
"A democratic society must try to limit governmental regulation and control. The more its institutions are free and independent, the more effective is democracy itself and the more true freedom remains to its citizens. A state that tries to cherish such free institutions will usually put the universities high on its list, for universities are or ought to be not only a main home of knowledge and wisdom, but also the intellectual conscience of the nation.
"Nevertheless the practical case for freedom is that free universities are better than servile universities and hence they serve the public interest."
In the light of the importance of the issue involved in government regulation, not just of degrees but of the institutions granting degrees, I call attention to the fact that this bill attempts to regulate not simply degrees, but tries to limit and control institutions through the limitation of degrees, and tries to limit the number and extent of institutions through this bill.
It could have been argued, it seems to me, that this legislation to regulate degrees might have been conceived differently, that there is some difference, indeed, between the concerns which the legislation means to address and the means that are chosen to address those concerns.
The approach that has been chosen, obviously, is an indirect one. If the province, for example, had chosen to move directly it could legislate either for or against the operation in Ontario of specific out-of-province institutions, or it could have legislated or acted with respect to specific illegitimate degree granting undertakings in the province itself. It could have concocted consumer-type legislation to control spurious degrees of one kind or another.
Direct approaches like that might have obviated the need for the regulation of all degrees and the further regulation and limitation of universities and the pursuit of university structures in the province.
That raises a question as to whether there is some further intention behind the bill to which the bill itself does not give explicit expression. That is a subject which I want to come back to. It seems to me there are perhaps at least two additional matters or background concerns this legislation addresses, and in the context of which it has to be seen.
The first one of those I want to come back to is the policy of the ministry. It has been a subtle policy for some time that there shall be no new free-standing university institutions in Ontario.
The second, perhaps a little bit more an attitude than a policy, is what has happened as a consequence of the debate we have gone through in the course of moving from Bill 4 to Bill 137 to Bill 41; that is, the tendency which now is becoming enshrined in a formal way to distinguish sharply and too exclusively between religious degrees and so-called secular degrees. I think that separation, pursued to the logical conclusion, creates certain problems the ministry has already had to confront, it is with respect to the last point that I want to submit an amendment for discussion in committee.
However, let me move through some of the aspects, some of the defences of this legislation as presented in the compendium.
The various compendia prepared for Bill 4, Bill 137 and now Bill 41 have been very helpful. My colleague the member for Renfrew North (Mr. Conway) has suggested this was an admirable and illuminating model of a compendium. I am not sure I am prepared to go quite that far because I find it still leaves me with a number of problems.
I am quite prepared, when I look at the problem areas that are sketched out in the compendium, to recognize that nonaccredited institutions are a problem because they offer a degree which legitimate universities will not accept, etc. If those institutions do not have accreditation anywhere then, obviously, they should not be functioning in Ontario and a way must be found to preclude the effects of their operation, their impact upon students and their competition with legitimate programs.
It is not that I think the competition exists at any significant level. It is hard to imagine very many students are going to take advantage of unaccredited institutions which have no reputation or standing among the public, so that does not seem to me to be a big problem that requires the scale of legislation we have before us.
Second, when I move to degree-granting institutions which are accredited at the undergraduate level by regional accrediting institutions in the United States, I find it difficult to understand how they are a problem because, later on in the compendium, the ministry suggests to us that the way in which it is going to regulate those institutions is by referring their authenticity and qualifications to the very accrediting institutions that accredited them in the first place in the United States.
If that, indeed, is the mechanism then the mechanism will not solve anything. If there is a problem with accredited American institutions, the legislation and the suggested technique will not solve anything either. I am just not sure where accredited institutions from the United States operating in Ontario are a problem or, if they are a problem, how the ministry's approach offers us anything by way of a solution.
The subject of degree mills is, of course, the popular aspect of the legislation, the popular issue that has been seized upon as the issue has been discussed. If one ranges through the clipping literature that has been generated by the passage of this bill through its history to date in its various incarnations as Bill 4, Bill 137 and now Bill 41, one finds it has been the degree mills, the bogus operators which have galvanized the tension.
Those degree-granting institutions perhaps deserve the infamy heaped upon them by the press, by the public or by anyone concerned with the problem at all. That any mail box operator should be able to present himself as a university and offer phoney credentials for $200, $300, $400, or sometimes much more, obviously is a matter that needs some regulation.
I wonder how far this legislation really goes in coping with the degree-mill problem. The clipping the previous speaker referred to made it quite obvious how easy it was for several of the institutions that recently turned up in the Federal Bureau of Investigation study in the United States to escape notice and go on their merry way, sending out their letters, raking in their money and mailing back the degrees. When somebody turns up to try to find out who they are, or where they are, no one can discover where they exist. They have already gone. I am not just sure what mechanism we have in place that can satisfactorily resolve that problem.
Perhaps more to the point, the compendium does say that although the degree mills are not a particular problem at the moment in Ontario, they are re-emerging in the United States. They may be. They certainly are not a significant problem in Ontario. The FBI study that was undertaken of the American operators, both in the United States and their extended operations into Canada, say they have not uncovered any Canadians who bought degrees from the universities and used the degree to their advantage to obtain a job or a pay raise.
In other words, the degree mills are a relatively slight and insignificant issue as far as Ontarians are concerned. If the report is true, all Ontarians, obviously, simply repudiate them. There is really no sale for their operation here. Again, I am somewhat concerned about the scale of legislation that is to redress a problem that is relatively slight.
There is another source of bogus university activity or weak university activity that is the subject of concern in this legislation. That is the option that exists, and has existed for some time at the federal level, for individuals to petition for letters patent under the federal Corporations Act and, by paying $200 and getting the permission of the department in question, simply float a university and be in business.
Perhaps it is not quite that easy. Trish Crawford of the Toronto Star last year tried to do that and got most of the way with it. What she discovered was that the federal ministry told her she would have to apply to the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada before she could be registered as a university. In fact, while that might have been a handy argument used by the federal minister, it really is not one that is effectively operative. Northland Open University under federal letters patent never did go to the AUCC for accreditation. It does not have to. What it has to do if it wants recognition of a certain kind is to go to the AUCC and get that recognition; but to operate as a university, call itself such, that route was obviously not necessary for it to do that.
While a body such as the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada can act as a restraining influence on the course of degree granting, it does not have any absolute limit to it. It might have been interesting if this legislation had proposed to establish something like the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada as a formal degree-authenticating institution and to have circumscribed somewhat the powers of the ministry itself with respect to the post-secondary realm, universities in particular, as far as its powers in that realm were concerned. However, it has chosen not to do that and the vehicle it has put in place certainly will close off most of the legitimacy of institutions that attempt to secure federal letters patent.
Coming back to a point I made a moment ago -- well, I will just continue with the compendium for a moment longer: the compendium goes on to suggest the operation of the bill is a very economical and not costly way of managing this whole domain of regulating degrees and universities.
I want to submit that when the compendium suggests most institutions would automatically be eligible or ineligible depending upon their status elsewhere -- the clause I referred to earlier with respect to accredited foreign institutions -- the ministry has already found itself in some difficulty because the matter is not that simple.
What the ministry is embarking on is a new set of powers which does, after all, have some inherent academic implications. The ministry cannot regulate degrees or regulate the emergence or nonemergence of universities, and legitimate them or not legitimate them, without being essentially involved in what is a matter of academic judgement.
The ministry has already had an application from an institution known as Bridgeport University or Bridgeport College wishing to offer a master of biological sciences in Ontario. It is an American institution with legitimate accreditation in the United States. When the Council of Ontario Universities asked the ministry whether it would accept the American accreditation of Bridgeport University, and hence the quality of program it would offer, the ministry said no, because it was not happy with the quality of the program it understood was being proposed.
The ministry said: "No. What we will do is ask the American accrediting agency to evaluate Bridgeport University against higher standards." If that is an accurate reporting of the ministry's procedure, I find it very curious because why would an original accrediting agency in another domain or jurisdiction even want or let itself be persuaded to measure an instrument it has already accredited against still higher standards, to function somewhere else in a domain where that accrediting agency has no responsibility at all? It does not make any sense.
What the ministry is confessing in the course of that kind of response -- and I repeat, if that is an accurate representation of the course of events and considerations -- is that there is an area of academic judgement in degree granting and university accrediting implied in this legislation that the ministry itself is not prepared or equipped to embark upon. I must say that issue gives me some genuine concern.
One can say, "Yes, the ministry will call in such and such advisers. We will put academic representatives in place. They will evaluate. Legislation will come before the Legislature and it will be considered."
But, after all, what is being said if that is the response? What is being said is: "That would be a matter for our judgement. Perhaps we will bring them in; perhaps we will not. Perhaps we will refer to them; perhaps we will not. Perhaps the Legislature, when it receives a bill petitioning for a degree-granting institution will draw those representatives in from the academic world; perhaps it will not."
But how much depends upon whim? How much depends on the mood of the day or the personality of the person in place at the moment as the process of accreditation proceeds?
So I have some concerns about the bill in terms of the academic implications it has for the ministry's own operation, an operation which I think it is not, at least in itself, equipped to undertake.
It has been suggested, of course, and it is in the compendium and in the previous compendium, that other provinces in this country have legislation of this kind. In a sense that is true. Most of the bills that accredit or incorporate universities in British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan, for example, do have clauses in them that limit the use of the term "university" beyond the institutions in question and limit the capacity to grant degrees.
None of them, however, goes as far as this legislation does, and none of them purported in the course of moving in on this domain to regulate in any fashion the offering of degrees of divinity or religious degrees of any kind. Most of them state by way of preface, "with the exception of degrees in divinity," "with the exception of degrees of religious colleges" and so on, making a clear disclaimer with respect to the jurisdiction of the Legislature over the offering of religious degrees. So this legislation is rather more extensive than the legislation the compendium refers to in other provinces, and the comparison is somewhat misleading when it is given to us in so offhand a fashion.
If the control of degree-granting powers in Ontario is not offered in a specific and direct way, such as by way of consumer legislation prohibiting the marketing of certain kinds of degrees in certain kinds of ways, why is this bill struck on such a grand scale? I suggest it is precisely because the government has had a policy since the 1960s of not allowing any new, freestanding, degree-granting institutions, as the compendium puts it, in the province because Ontario is already well served by 16 degree-granting institutions.
When one moves into the area of policy, in important respects obviously one is moving outside the domain of the bill itself. I think it is important to note, at least in passing, that the bill has to be seen against the background of policy. The background of policy is the intent that there shall be no new, freestanding, degree-granting university institutions established in this province. That might at first glance appear to be quite satisfactory. After all, there are 16 well-established, respectable, degree-granting institutions, and they themselves have petitioned for this kind of legislation. They have felt the need of some protection for their own degrees. I have indicated that the challenges to their degrees have been very slight.
I also note that the degrees that were specifically drawn attention to in the compendium are, interestingly enough, masters of business administration or management degrees. I am not sure just how much of the balance of pressure has come from various sectors in the university world upon the ministry to produce this legislation. Superficially it would seem in the compendium material that it has been very heavily the burgeoning masters of business administration programs, the business schools in the universities, that have felt most offended by the arrival of, for example, the Canadian School of Management affiliated with Northland Open University, or one or two other imported American MBA programs of various degrees of quality, or management upgrading programs such as are established or proposed through agencies like Horizon University.
It is not a foregone conclusion that policy is necessary. Policies can change. However, given some of the problems in some of the major post-secondary institutions in Ontario, a case might well be made for creating a quite different university structure. I believe it was Desmond Morton who suggested in a rather persuasive article in the Toronto Star that a private university in Ontario could be a very stimulating development on the whole university scene.
I think a good case could be made for allowing the religious communities in this province to develop further and further into the world of liberal arts and perhaps other studies, considering the extent to which they do have this tendency through their initial theological training institutions.
After all, in the past it was often rather miserable sectarians founding rather questionable institutions that in the long run produced some of the major post-secondary institutions of Great Britain, the United States and Canada. I do not have to remind members that Anglicans, Presbyterians, Methodists and Baptists historically have moved into education and ultimately into the realm of post-secondary education. One could add any number of groups to that list now.
For me, it is not a foregone conclusion that the policy hovering in the background of this legislation, which would be implemented in some significant measure, is either necessary or well conceived. I now come to an underlying problem which already seems to have afflicted this legislation and to which I want to submit an amendment.
When this kind of legislation was first proposed it became evident that it would severely affect those institutions in the post-secondary realm that were offering religious degrees. It appeared the legislation would trespass significantly upon that degree of separation of church and state which had seemed appropriate in this province until that time. It seemed it would limit in some measure the ambition of religious bodies as they attempted to formulate educational institutions that would serve their own needs.
Some of them, such as the Canada Christian College, organized themselves to offer theological degrees. They found it necessary to beef up their applicants; so they moved into a grade 13 program which is accredited by the Ministry of Education. They also wanted to think ahead to offering some arts programs. They never did elaborate anything by way of a liberal arts program, but it was there as a potential in their legislation. They are now petitioning for status that would abandon that ambition, strike out the "arts" references in their accreditation and simply make theological education the object of their college.
To resolve that problem, the ministry quite sensibly assured the religious colleges in question that it would put guidelines in place, which it since has done, that would assure them they would have no problem securing and maintaining charters if they met four qualifications, which were: if they had resources to operate a sound academic institution; if they had the support of the community behind their operation; if they were not seeking government grants; and if they requested religious and theological degree designations only.
That seemed to take care of the matter for the moment, separating out what appeared to be religious degrees and religious degree-granting institutions from secular universities and secular degrees.
But the world is never that simple. Along came the Institute for Christian Studies, which in some measure has had its interests met in the meantime, or will have if the bill tabled this afternoon passes, as I have no doubt it will. What the Institute for Christian Studies questioned is something very fundamental to this notion that one can distinguish between religious and secular degrees.
For some years, the Institute for Christian Studies had been offering a master of arts program in philosophy and wanted to continue to offer that program. But an MA was a secular degree, according to the ministry; so that could not be used. Some compromise had to be developed.
The institute's argument was very interesting. It is one that strikes a very responsive chord in the universities of our time. The argument was: "No program of study is value-free, and if no program of study is value-free and if values attach themselves to those ultimate communities of ideology or religion, then there is no way finally of distinguishing between a secular and a religious degree."
What they proposed to base their studies upon was a recognition of that fact, in consequence of which they proposed a curriculum of study which would lead precisely into that whole issue; namely, whether one was studying aesthetics, the philosophy of science, history or whatever, it was impossible to shake free from a value orientation of one kind or another.
Therefore, when the ministry took that whole approach and said, "That is a direct reflection of your religious bias and you are trying to promote another religious degree," it was very difficult for the institute to persuade the ministry that something else was the case.
If one looks at the universities in this country from the 1960s onward, that general recognition that the institute itself had was very central to any one of the liberal arts studies in particular; and I think one could say the same in the realm of science.
After all, members may be familiar with the famous experiment with regard to the nature of light. My kids are still wrestling with that in high school; I grew up with it. Is light particles or is it waves? Nobody can devise an experiment that can test both at the same time to determine whether it is one or the other. Every time you set up an experiment to test whether it is a wave, you discover it is wave light; if you set up another experiment to test whether it is particle light, you discover it is a particle. You cannot get beyond that.
What issued from that in the world of science was the idea of complementarity -- that judgement in the long run in that kind of situation is dependent entirely upon the instrument used. One gets a kind of scientific subjectivity at work so that one cannot get beyond certain issues and resolve them beyond a certain standpoint.
Analagously, in the world of the arts, all of us being human beings involved as persons growing up in cultures, societies, homes, families and religious institutions find it impossible to get away from those subjective value orientations. In my own world, in history, the whole question of interpretation rather than fact has become the main élan of historical studies in recent years.
What has that to do with the issue at hand? Simply that, properly speaking, one cannot separate religious from secular degrees or religious from secular learning. Hence, when we run up against an institution such as the Institute for Christian Studies which proposes that argument and justifies what appears to be a value-oriented program in secular terms, it is not allowed to give a so-called secular degree.
The problem of the institute was compounded by the fact that the ministry has a policy in place which also prohibits the origination of new post-secondary or university institutions. While the institute was struggling on the one hand with the problem of trying to discover a way of getting around the degree problem, it was also having some difficulty with the mere fact of maintaining an existence in the university system in Ontario, because it was having difficulty finding a university to affiliate with.
What the institute represented for me was a major initiative in university education based upon an appropriate and proper insight into the nature of study and into the significance of values and religion in relation to all domains of study. But there were the difficulties that institute faced in finding a niche for itself in the system when no other universities would take it on simply because it would cost money to permit the affiliation at a time when the University of Toronto, for example, was already closing down institutes. This indicates for me that there is a major problem needing to be addressed, not simply in the legislation as it exists but also by virtue of the combination of the legislation, the existing attitude and the policies currently in place in the ministry.
For that reason, it seemed wise to propose an amendment, which I wish to table with the Clerk of the Legislature --
The Deputy Speaker: I think that will wait.
Mr. Allen: Can that wait? All right. I can wait to table it later, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. McClellan: You can tell us what it says.
Mr. Allen: Yes, I am going to. The amendment proposes that a new section 4 to be added to the act which would read as follows: "The minister shall not refuse consent to the incorporation of a university by reason alone of an institution's religious affiliation, nor shall the minister prohibit a university from granting degrees by reason alone of an institution's religious affiliation" and that the existing section 4 become section 5 and that remaining sections be renumbered appropriately.
The Deputy Speaker: The suggestion is that a copy be given to the table so at least it can be placed with the bill.
Mr. Wildman: That's what he was trying to do.
The Deputy Speaker: I was in error.
Mr. Allen: As the Liberal critic has suggested, rather than send this bill out to committee for hearings, our caucus concluded it would be much better to meet most of the needs that are in the field and most of the objections that have been expressed, which appear to have come over the history of this bill from religiously affiliated institutions, by proposing an amendment of this kind.
It is an amendment I have submitted to the Council of Ontario Universities. It has received consent or support from the officers of that organization and from the executive of the Ontario Confederation of Ontario University Faculty Associations. Both of those bodies have indicated they are quite inclined to support this amendment.
Although I have outlined a number of areas where I have problems with the legislation, I believe that with some sensitivity in the ministry in putting this legislation in place, many of the abuses we have discussed can be coped with. I hope the minister will address herself to some of the problems I noted with regard to the question of the accredited non-Canadian institutions that appear to be a problem to the ministry. I hope the amendment will commend itself to her.
Mr. Breithaupt: Mr. Speaker, I am most interested in this bill. If you will allow, I will outline my own experience in this area. In 1969, I was elected to the board of governors of Waterloo Lutheran University and served on the executive committee of that board for some four years, in the last year as vice-chairman of the board, when the university became provincially operated and changed its name to Wilfrid Laurier University. Whether or not I suggested a name at the time, being on that board, the results over the past 14 years have been excellent for that university's experience as the newest of the provincially operated universities within Ontario.
If my own recognition of that experience has not been satisfactory, I can only refer to the fact that the only interest which His Honour the Lieutenant Governor maintained after his appointment was as chancellor of Wilfrid Laurier University. Not only is he involved, but also the Premier (Mr. Davis), as the recipient of an honorary degree, as from most other locations, can attest to the excellence of that organization.
The point of my remarks is only to show, through my own modest experience in that situation and as vice-chairman of the board of governors of Waterloo Lutheran Seminary for five years, the fact that I have learned of the vitality to our educational system and know of the value of degrees and diplomas granted by institutions in Ontario. For that reason I am pleased to support Bill 41.
As we look at the background of educational experience, which many of those in this Legislature have been privileged to have, it has resulted in the obtaining of certain goals, be they diplomas, degrees, or in some instances doctoral qualifications; and the value of those is often dependent upon the status of the university, the college or the institution from which they have been granted. That status must not be compromised in any way. Indeed, it has been one of the strengths of the Ontario university system that the qualifications for degrees have been maintained at a high and ongoing level. I commend the ministry and the personal interest of the Minister of Colleges and Universities in this area, because that quality, once lost, can be regained only after many long years of hard work.
Certainly the requirements for future degree- granting institutions to be incorporated only by an act of the assembly and the decision to control the use of the word "university" or any derivation or abbreviation thereof are reasonable and appropriate steps.
I only wish the government was as concerned with the use of the term "Queen's Park" as it is with the use of the term "university." That is, of course, entirely another matter.
Mr. Conway: Quite another story.
Mr. Breithaupt: I think there is a problem in the bill, and that is the problem to which my colleague referred in his opening remarks. By this legislation, I understand there are certain groups and organizations, apparently two from my understanding of the comments today, that may lose their rights to grant certain degrees.
I know nothing about the value of the courses or of the degrees being granted by the groups, but it does seem to me that if there are several particularly affected organizations, they should at least have the right to make a submission on their own behalf to a standing committee of this Legislature. If they are to lose certain rights, opportunities or practices they have acquired -- I do not know whether that is the case -- then surely it would be a reasonable approach to use a half day of a standing committee's time for them to be able to make whatever explanation they have.
In the remarks that have been made this afternoon, the names of certain groups were mentioned. I am not familiar with those particular ones. My colleague referred to two that, in one way or another, are caught in this legislation, as I understand it, and would as a result forfeit whatever rights they have to the granting of degrees. It is my understanding that the continued offering of courses for diplomas, certificates or other so-named --
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Academic designations.
Mr. Breithaupt: Exactly -- designations, would continue and they would be judged by the persons who wished to take those courses leading to whatever certification they might bring entirely on their merits.
In this instance the matter of degrees alone is dealt with and those groups at least would be on a proscribed list by not having that opportunity. I do not know if there is merit in the claim that is being advanced or not. It seems to me it would be reasonable for a standing committee to spend an afternoon and allow the two or three, or however many there are, of these organizations that are affected, as opposed to those with a post office box that are never going to bother to show up, at least the opportunity to make their case, whatever that case may be. In that give and take with the minister and those persons present before a committee of the Legislature, we would have the opportunity to hear quite clearly the opinions and the values stated out in the open by the parties involved.
I notice an amendment has been brought in by the member for Hamilton West (Mr. Allen) on behalf of his party dealing with a manner in which this problem could be resolved without the necessity of going to the committee stage. I do not know whether that would be a satisfactory result or not.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: It does not resolve the Canadian School of Management.
Mr. Breithaupt: Oh, the amendment only involves one certain segment.
In any event, I think we have the opportunity to deal with this in an appropriate fashion by taking a bit of time and allowing these people to make whatever case they may have. It may be somewhat old hat to the minister, no doubt, in that she has gone through this on a number of occasions, and so have members of her staff. That is not the case with respect to the Legislature, and I think it would be the right way to deal with the thing.
In any event, I am quite pleased to say I support the bill. I believe there is a requirement for this kind of responsible review of university designations and degrees within the province. I do think it is worthwhile at least to have those who are affected be able to make their case, briefly, before a committee, within the next week.
Mr. Di Santo: Mr. Speaker, I would like to speak briefly on --
Mr. Conway: It is good to have the member with us.
Mr. Di Santo: I thank the member. I am most appreciative of being able to participate in the orders of this Legislature when I am allowed to do that. I would also appreciate very much if the minister responsible would do the same.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: I haven't said a word.
Mr. Di Santo: The minister does not interject, so I will go directly to the bill. That is very unusual.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: I shall.
Mr. Di Santo: The member for Hamilton West expressed the position of our caucus which is to support the bill. He also introduced an amendment which we think is necessary to give some guarantees to religious institutions that exist in our society and which have been in operation for a long time.
He gave a very interesting, very learned speech, and I listened very carefully. I think this bill is important because in a modern society there should be a definition of degrees and it is important that the government should be the party to establish what value to give to a secular degree.
I do not think this is in contrast with some of the thinking of the free enterprisers we read of in these days preceding the federal convention of the Conservative Party.
Mr. Wildman: Gordon Walker wouldn't support it.
Mr. Di Santo: I do not know if it is part of that philosophy that degrees should be freely achieved by people who decide to get a degree or if this is considered an intervention of the government in the lives of citizens, but from that point of view, this can be construed as a very massive intervention. In fact, there is only one organization, the Canadian School of Management, that thinks this bill gives the government very sweeping powers.
I think it is accepted that, because degrees are important to the way the citizens operate in our society, there should be some standards that should be publicly defined by the government. For that reason, we will go along with this bill. I was quite surprised, when I came to this country, to find there was a proliferation of pseudo-universities in North America which were granting degrees that people could use, for the cost of only a few hundred dollars. Of course, they had no value in terms of qualification and knowledge on the part of the people who held those degrees. They were, nevertheless, permitted either by the fact that the legislation, as mentioned by the members for Renfrew North (Mr. Conway) and Hamilton West, allows the concession of letters patent for the small amount of money or because of traditions. I was surprised when I realized that getting a university degree was so easy.
The amendment introduced by my colleague the member for Hamilton West is important. He made a distinction that is basic and important as far as this bill is concerned, that is, the distinction between secular and religious degrees. A secular degree is an identification card for a person who wants to exercise a profession, to have a specific role for which the degree qualifies him or her. A religious degree has no practical effect as far as public recognition goes in terms of professional qualifications or jobs. It is only internal to the religious denomination to which the person adheres. It is also part of a long tradition. We realize that.
Actually some of the great religious thinkers were people who never went to a university. Nevertheless, they are recognized today as part of the academic elite we respect. I can only mention St. Thomas Aquinas, who was defined as a subtle doctor, doctor subtilis --
Mr. Di Santo: The member for Bellwoods (Mr. McClellan) said he was also known as doctor angelicus, but I was referring to the definition that referred to the development of his thought, which was so important for much of western thinking in the Middle Ages and beyond. He was never part of a public school or of a recognized university. Nevertheless, he laid the foundations for one of the most vivid developments of western philosophy.
Also, schools that are very important in terms of the development of knowledge have never been recognized as public institutions, but they have developed an internal, dynamic way of thinking that we recognize without any problem. So it is important that we give recognition to the religious institutions as far as granting religious degrees is concerned. They are internal things that do not affect the public life or the behaviour of the people who get those degrees in the performance of particular jobs or professions.
For that reason, I support the amendment of my friend the member for Hamilton West. If the minister will accept this amendment, perhaps there will be no need to send the bill to a committee, because the legitimate groups that would like to operate within this bill are protected by this amendment. I hope the minister will accept the amendment, and we will support the bill.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, in response to the interesting input of the members opposite, I would like to say one or two things about Bill 41 as it is currently written. The member for Renfrew North asked specifically about the numbers and types of concerns that have been expressed related to institutions that could not be called universities in the traditional sense but were attempting to function. We have had several, there is no doubt about that.
For the early part of the last decade, there were relatively large numbers of institutions that at least stated they had an interest in functioning within Ontario. Some of them made some attempts which failed, and some of them did not actually invade the province; but there were two or three significant institutions -- I think the honourable member would recognize them by name -- about which there was very real concern over the quality of whatever degree they might finally produce as a result of their so-called academic programs.
The first that comes to mind, of course, is Rochdale, an institute that purported to grant degrees and applied for that right. It was not granted that right by the Legislature -- quite appropriately since it dissipated itself into the night on the wave of some narcotic or other that had been distributed widely within its doors.
There were others; Philathea is one that had an interesting history which I will not recount here. It had as many names as it had interesting histories and it was a little difficult to keep track of. I am sure certain members of this Legislature have had some experience with that group of interesting individuals. There was also another interesting one, Nova University, which is still intruding in various ways from time to time. It provides so-called courses which I doubt any peer group would consider really satisfactory as a foundation for a university degree.
In this act we have not suggested the Ministry of Colleges and Universities was going to act as an accrediting body. I think the member for Hamilton West is somewhat mistaken in his perusal of this bill. We are certainly not suggesting government should form an academic credentials commission in this province. That is not the role of government. It is surely the role of the academics in the institutions themselves or related organizations to provide that degree of assessment and critical examination which would ensure the quality of the academic program.
That is why we suggest those institutions which have been accepted in other provinces and those this Legislature has determined are appropriate for granting degrees in this province should grant degrees. In other jurisdictions we will accept the decision of the academic credentials committee, whatever that committee is. We know most of them and we certainly will investigate those we do not know to find out whether their activities are appropriate or not.
However, the example raised by the member for Hamilton West had to do with the program being offered at present in Toronto by Bridgeport. We ask only two criteria, I think very legitimately, about the programs offered here: first, the program must be offered at the home institution; and second, the standard of the program offered here must he equal to that offered at the institution's home base. Would the member agree those are legitimate questions?
If those two questions can be answered in the affirmative, then it is no longer a problem. We do not have answers to those questions at this point, but we are not attempting as a ministry to act as the academic credentials committee for that program in this province. We would certainly anticipate the appropriate institution in the United States would be able to give us the answer to those questions very clearly since that surely is their capability.
The member says there are not any other jurisdictions like this but I would say that is not entirely accurate. Prince Edward Island's Legislature, because of its concern about a specific institution, passed an act almost exactly like our former act during its last session. The Nova Scotia Legislature also has one on its books right now -- I think it has proceeded to second reading, has it not? -- that undoubtedly will be pursued at its next session.
There are other means of control in other provinces, and other provinces apparently have written their legislation to ensure that although the practice which has been carried out in this province -- and has been, I think, appropriate -- is within their capacity, they also have the capacity to say that no institutions other than the institution which is given the right by the Legislature of that jurisdiction to grant degrees will do so.
Now that is really all we are asking in this act. We are not asking for any special privilege on behalf of the Ministry of Colleges and Universities or the government. We simply want to ensure that the excellent degrees granted by Wilfrid Laurier University continue to be and are perceived to be of that excellent quality, and that no Ontario degree of significantly lesser quality be allowed to tarnish the value of that degree in the eyes of anyone.
If everyone within the province were as knowledgeable as the member for Kitchener, the member for Hamilton West or the member for Renfrew North, there would not be a problem. Each of those individuals looks very carefully at the degree of an applicant and determines where that undergraduate education was taken; each in his own critical sense determines whether he believes that institution is an appropriate source for a degree and whether there is value in the degree granted.
Unfortunately, not all individuals have that capacity and there must be some protection offered the general members of the public. They are being told an individual applicant has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the university of north overshoe, and they have no idea where that institution is or what it does.
As a matter of fact, there has been a fairly significant decline in the numbers of inquiries and the numbers of intrusions since we first introduced this bill in this Legislature. It is obvious that those who are of the fly-by-night variety are not really very anxious to become entangled in legal battles within this province.
Mr. Conway: They went into the trust company business.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Is that how they got there? But there are those who, not having been granted the right to grant degrees by this Legislature and not having the legal right in any province as far as I know to grant degrees, persist in the statement that they are having their rights trampled upon and are being disenfranchised.
It is a bit difficult to be disenfranchised when you have never had a franchise, and I would remind members that the charter granted to Northland Open University is a federal charter. A federal charter does not give an institution a right to grant degrees in a provincial jurisdiction except under the aegis of provincial law.
I have before me a letter from the former Deputy Minister of the federal Department of Consumer and Corporate Affairs, one very distinguished woman by the name of Sylvia Ostry, who states: "Nevertheless, while incorporated federally, Northland may operate in Ontario only in accordance with Ontario law. Given the educational objects of this corporation, it is clear that the Ontario government has the power to regulate its activities within Ontario."
Northland Open University is granting degrees at the present time on the basis of its perception that the federal charter gives it the right to do so in Ontario. It is obvious that is not so. If Northland, through the Canadian School of Management, wishes to grant degrees, it has only to apply to this Legislature for a charter to do just that.
I would remind the members that is precisely what the institution did. I would remind them too that the institution withdrew its request to grant degrees, in the act it brought before this Legislature, when it was determined that the members of the committee hearing the bill were not likely to grant that.
But Northland has the right as has any other institution to appear before this Legislature through the means of a private member's bill for that purpose. It is my understanding that it wishes to do so in the future.
It can at this time grant certificates, diplomas, and I suppose any number of designations that would ensure people understood that the individual had participated in a program at the Canadian School of Management. I have heard from many who felt the program was very good and warranted their attendance and participation. Unfortunately, according to this Legislature, at this time that institution does not have all the criteria necessary to be granted the right to give degrees for those who participate in the program.
I will only mention the other institution mentioned by my colleague the member for Renfrew North (Mr. Conway) by stating very clearly that college did register its intent but it did not get past the registration of intent. When it had completed that initial act, information was requested of them -- that is, these essential points: that there is evidence they are supported by the community they purport to serve; that there is evidence they are sound both academically and financially and will not go out of business in a short period of time and leave their participating students high and dry; and that they will not in the future expect public moneys in support of their program.
To this point, it is my understanding we do not have the information that has been sought from that other institution. I am not sure that information would be brought before a committee of the Legislature either. They have had something like nine months, a rather pregnant period, in which to produce that vital information for us. If they have not been able to give it to us in that period of time, and if they were really very interested in having a charter, they are very unlikely to be able to produce it for the members this week, or next week, in any hearing.
Those are the only two. Otherwise, I think there are six religiously based institutions that will be coming forward. Six have already come forward with private bills. The Institute for Christian Studies bill was introduced today. That matter has been resolved entirely to the satisfaction of ICS through a long period of discussion, which was worth while and valuable and has provided the opportunity for that interesting and rather unique institution to continue to function in a very appropriate fashion.
The member for Hamilton West (Mr. Allen) has signified he wishes to introduce an amendment to this bill which proscribes for the minister any action based on the religious orientation of the institution. I would remind the honourable member that the minister does not have the right to deny an institution a charter to function within Ontario. We may have policies, which we will state clearly, but that does not deny an institution that right.
If an institution can persuade the committee of the Legislature that it fulfils all the criteria, that it is important for this province to have that institution, then the Legislature can provide that right. It would appear to me that rather than including that amendment in the bill, which seems to provide a proscription, a negative kind of attitude within the bill, we should leave the bill as it is in order to ensure the Legislature continues to have the right to function in the way we believe it should, granting the right to grant charters for degrees or withholding those as it sees fit.
I have probably gone on long enough about the bill before the House. I have no great quarrel with the idea that we go to a committee. Both of those institutes, if they wish to have an opportunity to speak publicly before a committee of this Legislature, would have that opportunity with the introduction of their private members' bills.
One of them has already had an opportunity to appear before the committee within the past 18 months. As I said, in a very long period of time, the other has not as yet produced the information which would provide the ministry with the knowledge to help the ministry to determine whether it could support that institute's application for a religiously based or theologically based degree.
There was one little piece of information which I believe the member for Hamilton West suggested that institution had become involved in, and that was that in order to expand its base it was establishing a grade 13 program. It is my understanding that grade 13 program is a private, foreign student visa school. It has little to do with the institute's or the college's own activity relating to a religious degree-granting capacity. They are entirely separate issues and I do not think it should be discussed in this arena at all.
I believe it would be more appropriate if we were simply to proceed to the discussion of this bill in committee of the whole if that is necessary. If it is the insistence of the members opposite that we go to a standing committee of the Legislature, I will accede to that, but I do not believe we should expend more than one-half day of the Legislature's time in that kind of activity because I do not believe it will be productive nor worth the time of the members of the Legislature to do more than that.
Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, on a point of clarification: Just so the minister is under no misunderstanding as to where we are on this, we certainly appreciate her willingness and we would state emphatically that it would be our pleasure to accept the offer of one-half day to deal with what we believe are the only two references that have been commented upon. I know it is perhaps not her preferred option, but I do think as the member for Kitchener (Mr. Breithaupt) has indicated, we have an obligation to hear these people. We would certainly accede to her suggestion that one-half day can be scheduled at some time that is mutually convenient and agreeable.
The Deputy Speaker: Well, why not?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, this is in response to the point of clarification. Obviously, this is no time for negotiation, but I would like to suggest that perhaps in that one-half day in standing committee, those two institutes might be heard. At the same time, we might complete clause by clause with the agreement that we would report the bill totally to the House for third reading.
Motion agreed to.
The Deputy Speaker: Is it agreed that the bill will now go to the standing committee for social development?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: If I may, Mr. Speaker, I think probably we should speak to the House leaders to determine wherever it could most appropriately go. If I am not mistaken, the social development committee is a bit bogged down at the moment.
The Deputy Speaker: Is there agreement that we can agree at a later date on which committee it will go to?
Mr. Breithaupt: We can certainly agree that it simply go to standing committee. The House leaders can decide what committee would have a half day, that is to say one session, within the next week to deal with the matter as expeditiously as possible and notice would be given to the two groups.
The Deputy Speaker: Apparently, we have to name a committee and we can change it. Shall we just call it social development and it can be changed later?
Bill ordered for the standing committee on social development.
The Deputy Speaker: Moving right along with great rapidity, I beg to inform the House that in the name of Her Majesty the Queen, the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor has been pleased to assent to certain bills in his chambers.
Clerk of the House: The following are the titles of the bills to which His Honour has assented:
Bill 34, An Act to authorize the Raising of Money on the Credit of the Consolidated Revenue Fund;
Bill 38, An Act to amend the Corporations Tax Act;
Bill Pr6, An Act respecting the Borough of East York;
Bill Pr24, An Act to revise Smith Bros. and Sons Builders Limited.
EMERGENCY PLANS ACT
Bill 2, An Act to provide for the Formulation and Implementation of Emergency Plans.
Hon. G. W. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to address the House on second reading of this bill to provide for the formulation and implementation of emergency plans. In recent years, there has been a heightened awareness of the need for emergency preparedness. In Mississauga, a train derailment in 1979 required a massive mobilization of resources and the evacuation of 250,000 persons. As Solicitor General, I myself was involved in a similar emergency in Medonte township near Barrie in 1982.
We have also faced snow emergencies, falling satellites, forest fires and a host of other potential tragedies. These emergencies have generally been very well handled, which is a tribute to advanced planning and preparation and also to the dedication of the professionals involved at the time. Municipalities, of course, have initial responsibility for responding to an emergency situation. They have hospital, ambulance, fire, police and other essential services located within their boundaries. The proposals in this bill respond to municipal requests for legislation that reflects and supports their role in planning for and responding to emergency situations.
The bill represents a legislative foundation upon which emergency planning response can be based. Depending on the nature and extent of the emergency, the senior levels of government may become involved at some time. Consequently, the legislation also provides for planning at the provincial level and spells out the interrelationship with municipal planning. Where the province becomes involved in the emergency, the bill ensures a co-ordinated response from both levels of government. For example, the emergency planning office in my ministry has committed a great deal of time and energy to formulating a comprehensive provincial emergency plan to be followed in case of an accident at a nuclear facility.
As members are likely aware, the province recently conducted an exercise involving a simulated accident at the Pickering nuclear generating station with hundreds of participants. The exercise was designed to test a revised nuclear contingency plan. The exercise was a success. It proved the plan was effective and pointed to procedural improvements that we are now incorporating in that plan. Once this legislation is passed, that plan will be given the statutory authority needed under sections 7 and Hon. G. W. Taylor moved second reading of 8 for its implementation. Moreover, this nuclear emergency master plan is a basis upon which municipalities are forming their local nuclear emergency plans.
The bill before us is the result of an extensive consultative process. In 1980, an international conference was held on the anniversary of the Mississauga emergency and the desire for legislation was discussed in a preliminary way. At the same time, an interministerial committee was formed to develop draft legislation. This resulted in the release of a discussion paper in June 1981. The public response was reviewed by the Ministry of the Solicitor General and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and a revised draft was then tabled in the Legislature. A bill was introduced in the last session, and that bill has now been reintroduced as Bill 2. There are some technical improvements on the previous version.
I believe this is a valuable piece of legislation which will assist municipalities in making immediate and effective response to emergencies. I also wish to mention that the bill complements the laws regulating the transportation of dangerous goods and the program in place to protect the environment from the adverse effects of spills and other accidents.
I commend this bill to the members and express the hope that it will, after due consideration, be enacted into law.
Mr. Cunningham: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of my party, I am anxious to respond to this item of legislation. Initially, I should say we will be supporting the legislation which, in the view of many of us, is long overdue.
Notwithstanding our support, the bill in our view has some deficiencies I would like to outline briefly. Fortunately, in society today we do not seem to have the common occurrence of the emergencies the minister has referred to. Notwithstanding the fact there has been an absence of an itemized, detailed plan for some of the emergencies the Solicitor General (Mr. G. W. Taylor) has described, we have, as a society and as a government, coped very well none the less. It has been fortunate indeed that we have not had more fatalities and more tragedies attendant to the disasters we have had in the past. In my view, that certainly is good fortune.
Having said all that, I would hope that in the future we could contemplate some consideration for something that might be more relevant to the needs of people in society today. Those would perhaps be the people who would unfortunately find themselves in their own emergency, perhaps trapped in a car accident or perhaps part of a multi-car or truck collision that may in fact even occur in the minister's own constituency. I know the minister, residing in a community that does have a lot of tourism not only in it but through it, is mindful of the propensity of car accidents and crashes that occur in his own area.
For one who finds himself confined in a horrendous car accident or in a complicated pileup, with maybe 20 minutes or half an hour to find himself removed from it, that can be an emergency as severe as an earthquake, a flood or a tornado at any particular time. I know the Ministry of the Solicitor General has been working with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications in developing some concept for extricating people from motor vehicle accidents. I would say frankly, without being too partisan, that the implementation of that program has been woefully inadequate; in fact, it has been absolutely totally inadequate.
There has not been a comprehensive, compulsory, mandatory program across Ontario that would provide for the necessities to either fire departments, police departments or rescue squads -- for the want of a better group -- in equipment and the knowledge that would be required to accommodate extrication from very serious disasters.
The minister may reflect on the difficulties we had with a terrible tragedy involving a school bus several years ago -- I think again in the area of the minister's constituency, or not that far from it -- where some secondary school students were on their way for a day of skiing. A terrible accident occurred. It is not just the provision of an instruction manual or a small grant for the purchase of the jaws of life for these particular programs that is necessary; it is a lot more than that.
A second point I think is absolutely fundamental -- and it may not be required to be within the confines of this particular item of legislation but it is absolutely totally fundamental in Ontario if we are going to be prepared to deal with emergencies, particularly emergencies that would reflect on the health of an individual. It is the necessity for paramedical or improved ambulance facilities in Ontario.
Our response as a fairly civilized, generally advanced province to the whole notion of paramedics is again terribly inadequate. We have the medical resources; we have people within the medical profession who desperately want this to become a reality. I think of the public utterances and urgings, perhaps only 10 days ago, of Dr. McMurtry of the emergency care facility at Sunnybrook. He was highly critical of his brother's ministry in relation to its continuous foot-dragging in the provision of those paramedical services.
It is just not good enough to pass Bill 2, say we have this plan and begin the necessary co-ordination I know the minister is anxious to provide leadership in, if we do not have several of those important programs in place.
One is the kind of extrication program and training every municipality should be very familiar with. Again, it is not just simply having the jaws of life in the back of a car or associated with a fire equipment vehicle. The other thing is to be able to co-ordinate the movement of people to health care facilities and to provide some paramedic attention for them in the event of an emergency, disaster or tragedy.
That brings me to another point. I think it would be very prudent, as we contemplate this item of legislation, to expand upon the definition of emergency and add to it disaster, and to appreciate there may be a distinction, either in definition or in law, between the two. I would hesitate to see us endeavour to deal with some municipality or section of Ontario, at some point in the future, and deny them the assistance they may require by virtue of some nitpicking in the definition of what would be constituted to be an emergency and what would be determined to be a disaster.
Section 12 of this bill indicates that, "Where money is expended or cost is incurred by a municipality or the crown in the implementation of an emergency plan or in connection with an emergency, the municipality or the crown, as the case may be, has a right of action against any person who caused the emergency for the recovery of such money or cost, and for the purposes of this section, 'municipality' includes a local board of a municipality, a county and a local services board."
That is all very well and good, but the harsh facts of reality are that if the emergency is by any means severe and the damages are extensive, in the absence of any form of insurance by the party referred to, it is totally unlikely any meaningful recovery would be obtained.
We are mindful, of course, that in this bill we convey to the Premier the power to exercise or perform any duty that is conferred upon a minister of the crown or crown employee. In fact, the declaration of emergency can and must be made. We are mindful that we can force a municipality by way of declaration, without any legislation in this House. Of course, it is a necessity to be able to act immediately. I think the fact we could force the municipality to take action makes it incumbent upon us to be the primary agent to ensure the municipality is compensated if there is an expenditure of funds.
An individual in society may act in a negligent fashion, and may necessitate an emergency in a municipality, a district, an area that would be a local services board, or a county. We may find ourselves in a situation where the minister may recommend to the Premier that an emergency be declared. Unfortunately, I anticipate that will probably happen in the future.
It is simply not good enough to have that provision and the attendant right of action, and then say to the municipality that they endeavour to recoup that money from a carrier of a toxic industrial waste who may be judgement-proof, who may not have insurance, who may be hauling his or her waste at a midnight hour, or from someone who is negligent in running a railway car or whatever.
As a matter of principle, I do not believe the municipality should then be in the sorry situation where it would either have to litigate and go through the attendant expense that would be associated with that, or be in a situation where it would find itself unable to recover from the guilty or responsible party -- if negligence could be proven -- if that group, individual or company were unable, by virtue of insurance limitation, absence of insurance or resources, to pay the money back.
Simply put, I believe that if the government of Ontario has that power it should be the government of Ontario that pays for it. If we then choose, after the fact, to go after someone who would be determined to be responsible, then so be it. If we have that power over the municipality, it simply is not right in my view that we do not compensate the municipality if we require it to take action.
I have gone on as long as I intended on that particular section, but it is something I would like the minister to seriously consider, because I really believe it is unfair to our municipalities. It exposes them to a tremendous, unknown potential liability, because this kind of thing is very difficult to determine. If this bill becomes law, I believe it would be prudent for municipalities, various counties and local service boards to be required to take a very long and serious look at their liability policies to determine whether they are adequate to protect them should such a situation arise.
This brings me to what must be a fundamental point as we contemplate this legislation; that is the necessity, as we in the Liberal Party have advocated for a long time, of setting up a contingency fund provided and administered by the province to help municipalities when these unfortunate occurrences take place, be they ice storms, floods, hurricanes or whatever.
As members, we should not find ourselves in a situation where we are involving ourselves on an ad hoc basis, coming hat in hand to the Legislature to ask for support for our municipalities for something that would be determined to be possibly beyond their control in a genuine disaster or emergency. This is particularly true in the case of smaller townships and municipalities; I believe it is possibly beyond their scope financially to set up their own funds or to accommodate the annual payment of an insurance premium that would protect them in the event of such an emergency or disaster.
If we set up our own fund in Ontario, which might be tantamount to self-insurance, or paying our own premium, if I can describe it as such, then it might obviate the necessity for a municipality to have the extensive kind of coverage that many of them have and, by virtue of the scale involved, it might provide some very real savings to some of our municipalities.
I know that saving money for our municipalities is not a paramount consideration to this government. It seems that every time we have a budget, the groups in society that get it the worst are the school boards and the municipalities, as we merrily raise Ontario health insurance plan fees and impose sales taxes and licensing fees where we have not before. But on this particular occasion, the minister might take it upon himself to provide some leadership in this regard.
I anticipate, assuming this bill passes, that the minister will assume a leadership role in the development and implementation of these plans. Frankly, I concur in this entirely; perhaps it is long overdue.
I was listening to the minister's comments about Mississauga. Frankly, for my own part, I was impressed with the manner in which the government moved so quickly on that and was able to evacuate a larger part of an entire community without any loss of life, albeit with some discomfort for the people in the community. It would appear that even though we did not have a finite, well-developed, well-enunciated emergency or disaster plan, somehow, as a society, we were able to survive. It impressed me without equivocation.
The situation in Medonte was somewhat similar, in my view. The minister, because I believe it was his own constituency and he was marginally alert, was able to provide some leadership in that area.
I know in my own area we have had our own small emergencies periodically. Every 10 or 11 years we have a significant flood in the Dundas Valley. That has more to do with the necessity to provide better drainage in the Dundas Valley than it does with anything else, but that is something we can deal with in our own way in time.
Several years ago, the minister may recall we had a tragic gas tank explosion. A tanker truck carrying gasoline with a pup tanker behind it came into collision with a snowplough. Tragically, the driver of the gasoline tanker was burned to death in that accident, I am reliably advised by people living in the area that had the wind been blowing the other way, most certainly anywhere from two to five houses could have been taken out by that disaster.
I do not know what kind of emergency or contingency plan would have prevented that, but it is certainly something that, as a matter of policy, we might want to deal with in terms of safety in the movement of dangerous goods and explosive goods.
There is a proposal to put a very significant propane storage facility in that immediate area. I am advised this will necessitate the movement of 40 to 50 trucks on that dangerous part of Highway 6, which I do not necessarily think is advisable. Simply put, I am saying that occasionally, with a little bit of forethought, we could reduce the potential for these kinds of emergency if we are thinking.
I want to conclude by saying I am anxious to see this legislation supported. I hope the minister will bear in mind my comments as they relate to the necessity to improve our policies, our procedures and our equipment for extricating people from car accidents in Ontario. Frankly, we are woefully inadequate in the development of any kind of policy in that regard. It is incredible to me that in 1983 people should die needlessly, trapped in a motor vehicle, while people are desperately trying to extricate them with inadequate equipment or waiting for the proper equipment to arrive.
Finally, there is the necessity to improve our paramedical and ambulance facilities. Many jurisdictions in North America have better facilities than we do. Frankly, I think the position advocated by the Minister of Health (Mr Grossman) is deplorable.
Mr. Stokes: Do you mean they are not world leaders?
Mr. Cunningham: I should not respond to the interjection from my friend the former Speaker, but the hard facts of reality are that the statistics indicate we are not world leaders when we should be. We are world leaders in so many areas of health care, or at least we were, and it is a terrible tragedy that we cannot update our ambulance facilities and our paramedics.
I believe it is a very severe indictment indeed when Dr. McMurtry, the brother of the Attorney General, is as vituperative as he is on this very issue. He is not by any means alone within his profession in the discussion of that most important topic. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of doctors in Ontario, and those associated in the practice of medicine, who realize we simply are not discharging our responsibility as it relates to protecting these people.
I speak very seriously on this subject, because in my constituency we do not have a hospital. I am not advocating that we establish one either, but it is absolutely fundamental to the people who live in my constituency and travel through my constituency on the way to their summer vacation places in the Bruce Peninsula that we have the kind of ambulance services that can respond immediately and provide the life care facilities that would allow people to stay alive until they get to the Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital in Burlington or to our very fine facilities at Chedoke-McMaster Hospitals.
I hope we will hear the minister's voice -- if not in this House, then publicly -- indicating his support for such a procedure. In many ways I think it relates to his function as the Solicitor General, particularly if he is to have carriage of these emergency plans we are contemplating today. I hope we will hear his voice speaking out.
It is obvious to me that the senior panjandrums in the Ministry of Health are dragging their feet because either they do not have the will or the desire to see paramedics in Ontario, or they lack the money, or they are harbouring the illusion that we can continue to wait forever until this letter-perfect system that they try to describe can be implemented.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of lives are being lost while we drag our feet on this matter. Having discussed this important issue with some of these doctors, I can sense the frustration they have as people die before them in emergency wards, or even while waiting to get into emergency wards for treatment.
I support this legislation on behalf of my party. I say it is commendable that after 40 years the government in power has determined that we need such a program, and I anticipate it will be of service to the public. But it will be absolutely useless if, in tragedies involving a threat to human life, we lack the programs and the ability to move people, under the best and most modern care that we know, to health care facilities.
In conclusion, I hope the Solicitor General will find his tongue on this matter and will speak up, and that we will hear him and will know what the government's policy is on it.
In the presence of the Minister of Education, the Minister of Health (Mr. Grossman) makes reference to the necessity to make sure everybody will be trained in cardio-pulmonary resuscitation. As a physician -- albeit, I gather, nonpractising at the moment -- the minister is absolutely totally mindful of how important that program is. Maybe it should be part of a compulsory health care course, and compulsory before someone gets a grade 12 diploma in this province. It might be a very interesting idea; it certainly would save lives.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, I would like to speak briefly on second reading of Bill 2, An Act to provide for the Formulation and Implementation of Emergency Plans.
In due course, I would hope the minister would agree that the bill would go into committee of the whole House, so that we could have some discussion about the particularities of various clauses in the bill which I think need elucidation and explanation by the minister.
I may say that our caucus gave consideration at some length to the provisions of the bill, but we have agreed as a caucus to support the bill on second reading because we consider it to be a necessary bill.
The crucial consideration in the caucus agreeing with the bill in the way in which it has been formulated and presented to us is the precise and clear statement that, whether it is the head of a council of a municipality declaring an emergency or whether it is the Premier declaring the emergency, as provided for in particular sections of the bill, the limitation on his powers is very clear and explicit; that is, he "may take such action and make such orders as he considers necessary and are not contrary to law to implement the emergency plans" formulated under the enabling provisions of the bill.
I think the insertion of those words is crucial to the acceptance of the bill by this caucus. I was pleased that it is clear and unequivocal that the actions of the head of a municipality or the Premier of Ontario to be taken, and the orders to be given, must be necessary and must be not contrary to law. I think the conjunction of those phrases is appropriate and reflects adequately the kinds of protection which individual citizens need, even in times of emergency, against encroachment to any extent greater than is necessary and certainly not contrary in law in order to give effect to those emergency plans.
We are solaced by the protection which the bill does provide because, contrary to the time when the first bill, Bill 167, was introduced into the last parliament, we now have the protection for individual citizens of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms contained in the Constitution of the country, which will provide a bulwark of protection for individual citizens against encroachments, even in time of emergency, beyond what is necessary and beyond what could otherwise perhaps be considered contrary to law.
The limitation of the Constitution is one which is agreed and that is that the rights and freedoms set out in the charter are subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.
Basically for those reasons, we will support the bill. We believe it is a necessary bill. We know the ministry and some of the municipalities have been proceeding with the development of the kinds of plans which will be given legal effect when this bill is passed by this assembly and receives royal assent. Nothing that we intend to do in connection with this bill is designed in any way to delay the passage of the bill because it is an essential base, as the minister has said, upon which the emergency plans can be formulated.
I have read the discussion paper which was originally circulated in relation to emergency planning legislation on the occasion of the introduction of Bill 167. I did not have the opportunity of attending the international conference held to consider the lessons learned from the emergency which occurred in Mississauga and I know of the minister's personal involvement in the emergency which occurred in Medonte township shortly after he took office as Solicitor General.
We do not have any serious problem with the necessity for the bill. We believe it should be passed as quickly as possible. We were concerned with the delay in bringing the bill forward, considering that we did have the original Bill 167 before the assembly and, prior to that time, a draft of a bill for discussion purposes.
Fortunately, the other concern I had has not created a problem because I was concerned, as I know ministers of the crown were concerned, at the time of the derailment in Mississauga about the jurisdiction and authority of police officers to implement matters of judgement that were necessary, related to the evacuation of the area surrounding the mishap and to the determination about the times when people could return again to their homes.
I do believe that while there is considerable legal learning about the role of the police, it is best left to the courts to determine the extent and degree to which a police officer in breach of the law can plead necessity or plead that the action he has taken is in some way justified in the circumstances.
At that time I was indebted to the then Assistant Deputy Attorney General, now the Deputy Attorney General, for sending to me a number of the cases involved with the exercise of police powers. I need only refer to one, the extraordinarily detailed and scholarly judgement of County Court Judge Zalev in the case of Regina versus Walker in 1979, reported in volume 48 of the Canadian Criminal Cases, second edition, at page 226. It sets out quite clearly the ambit of the authority of a police officer in carrying out his duty with respect to other laws and his requirement to abide by those laws.
The dissertation of the learned county court judge in that case satisfies me the province's judiciary is quite capable of dealing with the role to be played by peace officers when they are called upon to carry out their duties under the Police Act and the common law, particularly in cases that would arise if emergencies were declared.
The Solicitor General made a brief statement as part of the opening remarks in his recently concluded estimates about some of the planning under way in the emergency planning office of his ministry. It is under the direction of Mr. Kenneth Reeves, the co-ordinator of that office. He referred to the work being done in co-operation with both the federal government and municipalities. This work is being done so that under the public safety programs of the province adequate protection will be available and adequate plans formulated to meet emergencies when they arise.
So I will support the bill on behalf of our caucus and ask that it go into committee of the whole House in order that a number of matters can be raised. I would hope the minister could elaborate on these and provide us with information that would satisfy us about certain particularities in the bill. With that I conclude my remarks and we will proceed in committee of the whole to ask certain questions of the minister.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I too welcome reintroduction of this bill and hope it will be supported on all sides. I am a little concerned that financing the cleanup following certain types of disasters is not clearly dealt with. The bill does not deal with it other than in one section where we, with our usual generosity, indicate that a bylaw may be passed by a municipality to provide for moneys associated with the formulation and implementation of the emergency plan.
I know that does not really refer to the much larger amounts of money that would be necessary to restore damaged homes and other property. However, I believe it would be useful if the government were to come to grips with some sort of a readily understood formula. I think it fills a felt need in the broader community to have an official designated with the power to say, "Yes, this is an emergency."
We are used to watching American news where the governor or the mayor of the town declares an emergency situation. There is something satisfying when the chief official in the local area or in the state has indicated recognition of the situation. One then realizes that the constituted power recognizes an emergency exists and, therefore, there will be a priority in the allocation of facilities under the control of government.
I was quite surprised that the Premier was the designated individual in the instance of a provincial emergency. I can see that is as it should be, but it is not often our statutes give specific powers to the Premier to do things like that. In the past, while there has never been an individual minister empowered to make the designation, I believe at the time of the emergency situation in the counties of Brant, Oxford and Norfolk, following the very destructive tornado about five or six years ago, it was the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs who had the power to indicate the government recognized the existence of an emergency situation. He came out of cabinet, having had approval for such a designation, saying that for every dollar raised in support of the situation at the local level, the provincial government would add $4.
It has always been of interest to me that this readily understood formula varies depending upon the location and the size of the emergency. There have even been those people cynical enough to think that from time to time politics has some small part to play in the richness of the designation.
I am glad to see that at least the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Pope) has the good grace to look at me when I say that, because the last time we had a very rich designation was after a fire emergency in a town not far from where he lives. Was it Cobalt? The great Cobalt fire. And was the designation $10 for $1, or $25? It was a very large and generous designation; I am not even sure the town was able to use all the money available. We should bear in mind that, in many instances, the designation itself has little to do with the requirement for funds.
Certainly the rebuilding after the devastation from the tornado that went through Brant, Oxford and Norfolk counties was funded to a large extent by donations given by interested citizens, many of them from a good long distance away. We had many donations from Toronto, all parts of Ontario and even from outside the province. People were so generous that the government was not called upon to fulfil its commitment, which I believe was $4 donated for $1 raised.
The local committee used the money raised locally to begin with and then started in on the additional money supplied on the basis of four to one. As I understand it, they used only about half of the available outside dollars. I suppose there were people who had generously handed over the results of a raffle of a quilt or something like that.
I am sure members will be interested to know that the Liberal Association of Brant-Oxford-Norfolk raffled a pig. I think we turned over $700 and were very glad to do so. It was not overly generous; I wish we could have done more. I was impressed by the strong commitment on the part of the local citizens to raise funds which were then spent this way and by the fact that the generosity of the government of Ontario -- which was very much a headline matter at the time of the disaster -- was not called into play when the actual bills were being paid.
If the Premier (Mr. Davis) were here, as he usually is in these debates, he would say, "You cannot have it both ways." I like the idea of local citizens pitching in and raising the bucks to pay for damage in their own communities and appealing to other citizens to do so, but it does get me down a little bit when the day after the disaster the cabinet ministers come in with government airplanes and tiptoe around in their shiny patent leather shoes saying, "Ain't it awful," and then leave in the plane the next day. That is about all they do.
The Premier himself came up to look at the devastation in Brant, Oxford and Norfolk. I do not know whether he had on his patent leather shoes that day or not.
The one thing I am concerned about is that this bill does not come to grips with paying to clean up the disaster. I believe that is something the committee should deal with. I hope, Mr. Speaker, if you are chairman of the committee at the time, you will not hesitate to rule in order an amendment by the opposition that might move towards the correction of this. However, the Clerk has his eye on me and he might possibly give some opposite advice both to myself and to yourself in that regard. We will hope for the best in that connection.
The other thing I am pleased about is that the atomic situation, if I may call it that, is dealt with directly in one of the sections. I believe the requirement for a fully worked-out plan in the case of an atomic emergency is so important it deserves a clear and specific section of its own.
Section 8 says, "The Lieutenant Governor in Council shall formulate an emergency plan respecting emergencies arising in connection with nuclear facilities" The last time we tried an exercise in an emergency associated with a nuclear facility was the famous atomic game played out in Pickering about three weeks ago. I am not sure whether the Minister of Revenue (Mr. Ashe) had anything to do with it, but it had all the earmarks of his direction in that most of the people in the area did not know the program was under way.
I would like to know, when the minister replies on this bill, whether he can give us some additional information as to what has been done to provide for atomic emergencies in the past and how this bill is going to deal with them more effectively than what we have already experienced. This is certainly an area where we cannot depend, obviously, on the expertise of local citizens. After all, it is not just a few trees blown down in a road or a few chimneys blown off houses; it is a situation where expertise is essential.
On the other hand, I would say an emergency resulting from a severe storm or even a flood is often dealt with better by local officials than by waiting for some designated, highly paid provincial public servant who is a sort of czar of emergency measures. I well recall the time of the tornado, which I have now referred to three or four times. When I arrived at the site myself about three o'clock in the morning, the Ontario Provincial Police were on the scene and, under the direction of our local staff sergeant, Bud Soroka, the situation really was well in hand.
Staff Sergeant Soroka has since retired, but I think he is typical of the leadership the OPP can provide in communities right across the province. They already have a radio network, they already have cars readily dispatched to the scene and naturally these people command a good deal of respect in the community. Somebody has to give the orders to close the road or to redirect the citizens and assist in giving the direction that is required to rescue people who may be trapped or in special danger.
In the instance I am talking about, many of the police officers also were known to the citizens involved and the leadership they were able to give was extremely valuable. I would hate to think that, in the event of a real emergency, there would be people standing around saying, "We have to phone Toronto or" -- worse still -- "Barrie to see what the Solicitor General thinks about this." Obviously, there would have to be people on the scene, as there are now, who could take the lead immediately.
I would also like to mention, and this is provided for in the bill quite well, that the leader of the local municipality was on the scene, working there all night and co-ordinating a number of farmers with chain saws and tractors to get the roads open and to be sure there was nobody in any of the homes, barns and other buildings that were wrecked who had been trapped and was perhaps even in danger of losing his or her life.
Local leadership amounts to everything and the idea of some central official having the responsibility for emergency measures across the province does not fill me with a great deal of relief. I have a feeling that, instead of local leadership, we might get back to those ridiculous situations where we were planning for atomic war and there was an emergency measures person, designated by the government down here, whose main job seemed to be to provide all the comforts of home and Queen's Park in some sort of emergency bunker dug into the caves up in the Barrie area.
I can remember reading once that they had thousands of metal signs secreted away in the cellars of this building, or one building nearby, which were all arrows of a certain colour, to point the way out of the city in the event of an imminent nuclear explosion or maybe even after a nuclear explosion, it is easy, once one establishes a bureaucracy dealing with this sort of thing, for those people to go away by themselves and have a whole lot of meetings in some boardroom somewhere -- maybe in the Ministry of Education if the boardroom is not in use -- where they would decide all sorts of expensive and, in many respects, ridiculous alternatives to an emergency that would never occur.
I can see I am entrancing the House with my argument in this regard, so I might as well make plans to have dinner and talk to some more- receptive people. But I do believe the bill could be improved by simply giving some indication the government of Ontario is going to use the consolidated revenue fund to assist the community in cases of real emergency, and not simply use offers of that money for a certain kudos, political or otherwise, that is far removed from the sort of generosity that is needed when people are looking at their ruined houses, buildings and lands, and wondering how they are going to continue in their businesses and with their family responsibilities.
Mr. Stokes: Mr. Speaker, I want to speak briefly on this bill to say I support the intent of the bill and add, like other members who have spoken, that it is long overdue.
There is only one brief comment, or eliciting of some information, that I would like from the Solicitor General. It has to do with local services boards which is the interpretative clause 1(i). If the members will notice, subsection 7(6) states specifically, "For the purposes of this section, 'municipality' includes a local board of a municipality, a county and a local services board."
The minister will know we have several local services boards that have been set up under the aegis of the Ministry of Northern Affairs over the past three or four years, most of which operate on a voluntary basis. The chairperson of the board and the members of the board, some of whom are fortunate enough to have a volunteer fire department, have other little committees that work in an ad hoc way. Some of them operate a little locally owned waterworks system. Some of them have subcommittees that look after recreational facilities, strictly on a volunteer basis.
I would like some explanation from the minister as to how he sees these little local services boards fitting into the provisions of this act. When one looks at subsection 7(4) it says, "The Premier of Ontario may require any municipality to provide such assistance as he considers necessary to an emergency area or any part thereof that is not within the jurisdiction of the municipality"
I am not saying this is not a good thing. The Premier may declare the emergency. Under this act, a chairman of a local services board may, under certain circumstances, declare an emergency. One would hope there will be some background. I do not know whether the critic of our party got some background as to why this bill was being introduced and the rationale for it. I want to know whether or not the implications of this act were fully thought out in terms of the responsibilities and the involvement of a local services board.
One would have hoped the Ministry of Northern Affairs would have had some input, because it is responsible for the legislation setting up these local services boards and the minister has, under section 7 of this bill, made them municipalities for purposes of that particular section.
I am not saying it is a bad thing, but I am wondering how well thought out it was, because the liability thing may come into it when dealing with a lot of people who act on special services committees, such as a volunteer fire department, or a volunteer committee that looks after a recreational facility, or something like that.
There may be some local services boards that have been set up throughout the north that do have some paid employees or some paid staff. If there are, I am not aware of them. I know we have a local services board in Armstrong, one in Rossport, one in Hudson and I think one in Lappe just outside of Thunder Bay. There are several of them up there but I am not aware of any of them that has a full-time chairman or full-time committee members. They certainly do not have full-time fire departments or police departments or anything of that nature.
I am just wondering if, when the minister is responding, he will tell me the rationale for including local services boards and whether or not he took into account the fact they are there. While the people who are on the board are elected, they are certainly not full-time administrators. They do not get any emolument that I am aware of, certainly not the people who act as volunteers such as a volunteer fire department.
I am wondering whether all the provisions of this act should apply to them. I am not saying it should not, but I want to know the rationale for their inclusion. It seems to me that, if one were to apply the provisions of section 7 of this act to local services boards, it may be a responsibility they may not want to assume and they are not capable of assuming, given the nature of their existence and the kinds of things they were set up to do.
If the minister could respond to those questions, it would be very helpful.
On motion by Mr. Epp, the debate was adjourned.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, before I move the adjournment of the House, I might indicate that it has been agreed that Bill 41, An Act to regulate the Granting of Degrees, will be heard tomorrow afternoon after question period in the standing committee on general government.
The House adjourned at 6 p.m.