The House met at 2 p.m.
Mr. McKessock: I rise to inform the House that the apples on members' desks are courtesy of Georgian Triangle Apples Ltd., packers in the Georgian Bay area. There are some McIntosh and some Delicious apples.
I brought these apples down to present at the estimates of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food tomorrow, but in view of the fact there are some rumours we may not be here tomorrow, I decided to present them today. If there are not enough to go around, please share them.
These apples are from controlled atmosphere storage which allows us to have apples all year round, thereby reducing the need for imports.
Mr. Speaker: On behalf of all members of the Legislature I would like to thank the member for Grey (Mr. McKessock) for his thoughtfulness on such a hot afternoon in supplying us with cool, crisp Ontario apples.
Mr. Rae: Can we eat them now?
Mr. Speaker: Not in the House. Sorry about that.
Mr. Nixon: We need special dispensation.
Mr. Speaker: Perhaps if they leave the lights on long enough.
Hon. Mr. McCague: Mr. Speaker, I have a message from the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor signed by his own hand.
Mr. Speaker: The Lieutenant Governor transmits estimates of certain sums required for the services of the province for the year ending March 31, 1984, and recommends them to the Legislative Assembly, signed in his own hand, Toronto, June 21, 1983.
Mr. Cousens: Mr. Speaker, on a point of personal privilege: As the member for York Centre, representing the very important towns of Richmond Hill, Markham and part of Vaughan, I am pleased to be part of Queen's Park.
My constituents and many members in this House may wonder if I have other aspirations. I would like to make it very clear to you, Mr. Speaker, and to all the people of this House and this province that it is not the Don Cousens, MPP, member for York Centre, who is running in Willowdale. I have no intention of running for federal office. I hope to run again and be here for many years to continue serving in this government.
Mr. Speaker: I am certainly assured to hear that.
REPLY FROM MINISTER
Mr. Wildman: Mr. Speaker, on a point of personal privilege: It is my understanding that the successful functioning of our representative form of democratic government is predicated on individual elected members of the Legislature raising questions of urgent public importance for their constituents and for the people in this province, and the ministers of the crown responding to these questions with answers in the chamber as well as remedial actions, where necessary, outside this House. That is why this institution is called a parliament.
The members of this party have been carrying out our responsibility of raising questions with the Minister of Labour (Mr. Ramsay) regarding health and safety in the work place throughout this session. In all cases the Minister of Labour has stated that he is looking into the particular issue, investigating it or reviewing it, or that he will report back, but the minister has yet to report back on any of these issues in this House this session.
Mr. Speaker, I ask you to investigate this matter to determine if the minister is deliberately stonewalling on health and safety issues, and if so, is he making a sham of the parliamentary process?
Mr. Speaker: I am sure the minister will take notice of your remarks and will respond accordingly.
INELIGIBILITY OF BILL
Mr. Speaker: Yesterday afternoon the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel) introduced a bill entitled An Act respecting Insured Services under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan. On careful examination I find the principle of the bill introduced yesterday to be the same as that of the one introduced by the member on May 17, 1979, and subsequently ruled out of order by Mr. Speaker Stokes. His reasons at that time were that the bill would increase the services under OHIP and must of necessity increase the expenditure of public funds under the plan.
I totally concur in that ruling and find that the bill, being a money bill, can be introduced only by a minister of the crown supported by a message from the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor. I therefore rule that the bill is out of order and must be omitted from the order paper.
Mr. Martel: Might I ask Mr. Speaker a question?
Mr. Speaker: No.
Mr. Martel: One simple question.
Mr. Speaker: No.
Mr. Martel: What? On a point of order, then.
Mr. Speaker: No. There is nothing out of order.
Mr. Martel: Yes, there is.
Mr. Speaker: No, there is not.
Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, can you tell me why you allowed this bill to be introduced last year and you are saying no this year? There should be consistency from this one Speaker. You cannot rule it out of order this year, having not ruled it out of order last year.
Mr. Speaker: Oh yes, but I can and I did. Just because you slipped it by last year does not necessarily mean you are going to slip it by again.
Mr. Martel: Why don't you let it get by you this year, as you did last year?
Mr. Speaker: I guess I am just more vigilant this year.
Mr. Martel: That is awful, you know. You missed it last year; why don't you just forget about it this year?
Mr. Speaker: I cannot; I have noticed it already.
Mr. Martel: It is to protect women in this province that I introduced that particular piece of legislation, and the government of Ontario should look at that bill.
Mr. Speaker: Undoubtedly they will.
Mr. Martel: No, they will not.
Mr. Speaker: You have already introduced it. Order.
Mr. Speaker: I am not sure that this is in order --
Mr. Kerrio: Do it anyway.
Mr. Speaker: I am going to.
An hon. member: Anything goes.
Mr. Speaker: No, no. I just want to correct a statement I made. I do not want it to be misinterpreted. I would ask the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel) to pay attention. I agreed tacitly when he said he had introduced a bill last year. In the intervening period, my staff has done considerable research and finds that no such bill was introduced.
Mr. Martel: It must have been the year before.
Mr. Speaker: It was, indeed.
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
POLLUTION ABATEMENT EQUIPMENT
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, in keeping with the tone of this afternoon's proceedings, I have for the benefit of the honourable members a cool, crisp statement.
The speech from the throne indicated the government's intention to support efforts by the private sector to pursue export markets for pollution control equipment and services. Today I wish to enlarge on that commitment, and to outline briefly for honourable members how the Ministry of the Environment intends to assist the private sector in its export of Ontario's wide range of advanced environmental technology and expertise.
There are three basic reasons for my ministry's active role in this important export initiative.
First, the world market for pollution abatement equipment and environment-related services is already large, and it is growing as all nations show increased concern for environmental protection and improvement.
Second, Ontario has nurtured a growing manufacturing industry for the supply of abatement equipment and an increasing body of expertise in environmental engineering and planning services. The Ontario market is approximately $160 million, not including consulting engineering.
Third, it is an area in which the basis for co-operation between the public and private sectors is already well established. The public sector, at home and abroad, is a major buyer of pollution control equipment and services from the private sector.
I am advised that in 1981 alone, the latest year for which figures are available, here in Ontario a total of approximately 22,000 jobs was generated in the design and engineering, construction and installation, and manufacturing of air- and water-related pollution control equipment. Annual export sales of Ontario-produced equipment for these sectors are in excess of $10 million. These figures do not include solid waste systems and instrumentation.
We estimate that nearly 85 per cent of Canada's pollution control equipment and service industry is based at present in Ontario. This development of a manufacturing base, supported by many design and engineering firms, has been largely stimulated by the high priority the Ontario government has placed on environmental protection, and the government's demand for equipment and services.
Clearly we now need to provide all the assistance we can to encourage and support the efforts of private companies to expand into new export markets. We can take advantage of the opportunity to create new long-term jobs and new sources of income for our people. In delivering its programs and services to the public, my ministry has encouraged the development of new technology and the application of more sophisticated equipment of many kinds.
These include advanced analytical equipment for our laboratories, new monitoring equipment and models for our air quality programs, a wide range of research into hazardous contaminants, the development of new waste treatment technology, and a world training and certification program for treatment plant operators.
We have put together an initial inventory of several potential areas of assistance and advice that the ministry can provide to private companies. I would stress that the provision of assistance and advice will be our main thrust rather than direct marketing activities by the ministry.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. That is great. Thank you very much.
Mr. Roy: Try to make it a bit more crisp.
Hon. Mr. Norton: It is very crisp.
As part of our preliminary analysis, potential export markets were also examined. While the world market for abatement equipment is large, much of it is concentrated in Europe and the Mediterranean basin, and Canada already has well-established trade links with these regions.
I propose to support the marketing efforts of private companies through the services of the Ontario International Corp. The corporation will be my ministry's sole marketing agent to deal with the private sector, the federal government and export markets. The OIC, therefore, will provide a single window for prospective exporters who may want access to our pool of skilled engineering, operating experience and scientific knowledge.
In order to ensure efficient liaison with the OIC and the necessary staff support, I am proposing to transfer one full-time professional staff person to the corporation. I shall also provide some funding for market studies to guide our industry and the OIC in developing export market strategies for pollution equipment and services.
Over the longer term, the ministry will be exploring with other ministries the potential for encouraging research and development of abatement equipment by both private and public sectors. I am convinced we can use the skills and experience of both sectors to develop new products for the growing world market. This will have a beneficial impact on employment opportunities for more Ontarians.
I plan to proceed immediately with the implementation of this program. With the Ontario International Corp., we have already established contact with some of the larger private firms to explain our approach. We expect to hold more meetings within the next few weeks. I look forward to the realization of significant economic and social benefits from our collaboration with the corporation in expanding growth opportunities for the Ontario pollution control industry.
LIBRARY PROGRAM INITIATIVES
Hon. Mr. McCaffrey: As all members are aware, the Ministry of Citizenship and Culture has been undertaking a review of the Public Libraries Act. This review has produced, most recently, the policy document, A Foundation for the Future.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the many people who participated in the Ontario public libraries program review. The contributions of all these dedicated individuals will continue to assist the government in developing programs and policies for many years to come.
As a policy paper, A Foundation for the Future developed broad guidelines and addressed the major policy issues in the libraries field. Later this fall, I intend to bring to this House revisions to the Public Libraries Act which will address the various policy issues defined during that review.
Today, I would like to outline for the Legislature the first of a number of specific program initiatives my ministry will be undertaking designed to meet the needs of our francophone communities. I will be indicating other major initiatives in the very near future.
One of the revisions to the Public Libraries Act which I will be proposing later this fall will be a commitment to promoting the right of equal access to library services by the francophone population of our province. An example of this will be a legislative guarantee of francophone representation on the Ontario Provincial Library Council.
To assist in meeting this goal of equal access, a French-language library co-ordinator will join the libraries and community information branch of my ministry to work with the local libraries to improve French-language library services. This co-ordinator will work closely with French-language library consultants at the regional library system level.
In addition, funding will be made available to assist local libraries in acquiring French-language materials.
My ministry will also be working with the Ontario Library Association to examine various issues relating to the library profession. A primary concern, expressed by the English and francophone library communities, is the need for training and development programs for librarians, trustees and library technicians.
As many members realize, we are entering our second 100 years of public library service in Ontario. It can give us all a great deal of satisfaction to know that we are building a firm foundation for the future based on the insight and knowledge of many people who have contributed to the consultation process. The hard work of these dedicated volunteers, both professionals and nonprofessionals, was indispensable to the public libraries review.
Mr. T. P. Reid: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I heard there was going to be a cabinet shuffle this summer, but this is getting ridiculous.
Hon. Mr. Davis: The only thing that is ridiculous to the member for Rainy River is that he is not one of those being considered.
Mr. T. P. Reid: I thought I was on a short list.
Hon. Mr. Davis: He is certainly on a short list.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I have a brief statement on a matter of some interest to cultural enthusiasts across the province. Over the recent weeks and months there has been considerable discussion and resulting public interest in the prospects for a new sports stadium to serve the people of Ontario.
Most of that discussion to date has concentrated on the notion of an enclosed or domed stadium and, because of the population base needed to sustain the operation of such a facility, it has been assumed that it would be located in or near the Metropolitan Toronto region. Contributing to this discussion, a number of --
Mr. Stokes: The government has the Natural Resources Centre in the south; why does it not put the domed stadium in the north?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I would say to the honourable member there is one geographical location that gets priority over his riding and that is mine.
Mr. Breithaupt: Brampton is close.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Brampton is close, there is no question about it. There is a little site about two miles east of town.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Contributing to this discussion, a number of specific plans and proposals have been put forward.
Within the next few weeks, I understand, a comprehensive report -- I want to emphasize this, Mr. Speaker -- on the Canadian National Exhibition will be released publicly. That report will include comprehensive recommendations related to a domed stadium, which were developed in conjunction with the plans suggested for the CNE. I did not want anyone in the public to think that report will necessarily solve the problem. That will be coming out about mid-July.
After a number of discussions with the people knowledgeable about this matter, including the chairman of Metropolitan Toronto and friends in Ottawa, I have come to the conclusion that if we are to look in a serious way at the possibility of undertaking construction of such a facility, and if we are to arrive at a reasonable, rational decision in regard to the issue, public discussion requires a degree of focus which is currently lacking.
For this reason, I have decided to appoint a three-man study group to examine various matters related to a possible domed stadium for the province. In specific terms, although we are very cautiously conservative over here, this group is also progressive.
This group will be asked to consider any and all proposals that have been developed to date, and there have been several; those that may come forward in the near future, and I know of one; and any other reasonable possibilities; and to offer suggestions and recommendations in regard to such matters as:
(1) the potential uses for such a stadium; (2) the most appropriate site; (3) the infrastructure requirements, including those to deal adequately with questions of traffic; (4) the cost of such a facility and related infrastructure; (5) the financial requirements of ongoing operation; (6) the possible methods of funding such an undertaking; and (7) any other matters that seem relevant to the issue, which is really an indication there may be other matters I have not thought of which the committee will be pursuing.
Clearly, the study group will have to make itself available for discussion with any and all proponents, municipal representatives, prospective users and other interested parties, in order to ensure that all ideas and prospects are fully canvassed as a basis for the report it will bring forth.
Finally, I will ask that this report be completed by the fall of this year.
I am pleased to announce the membership of the study group will be as follows:
The chairman will be Mr. Hugh Macaulay, recently retired chairman of Ontario Hydro.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I thought of the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel), but I just did not think his cultural interest lay in this particular direction.
Mr. Martel: I want to run Inco. You can't deliver the promise.
Hon. Mr. Davis: His two fellow members will be -- hold your hat -- Mr. William Bremner, chairman and chief executive officer, Vickers and Benson Companies Ltd. -- and the Liberal leader (Mr. Peterson) might just acquaint the members with the functioning of that particular organization. Where is the applause for Billy?
Hon. Mr. Davis: That is better. He happens to be a very able soul. The members may want to hide it, but I am not reluctant to tell what he does. He runs Vickers and Benson. Vickers and Benson has been known to write some of the material for the national Liberal Party of Canada.
Mr. Cunningham: Unlike your friends at Camp, they have commercial clients.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Yes, that is right.
The other member will be Mr. Lionel Schipper, president of Schipper Enterprises. Mr. Ray McNeil, executive co-ordinator in my office, will serve as secretary of the study group.
I am convinced the experience, competence and objectivity which these gentlemen bring to this assignment will provide us with sound advice and much relevant information regarding this proposed project. When that advice and information are available, then clearly the political judgement will have to be applied at all three levels of government to determine the relative priority which such a project should have in the total array of requirements facing governments at this time.
I am sure all members of this House will look forward to the working group's report and wish it every success in what will undoubtedly be a most interesting and hopefully worthwhile review.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, just before I proceed with the statement I have for today, I thought I should draw to your attention that we have here on an unofficial visit a very distinguished person in your gallery, the former United States Secretary of State, Senator Edmund Muskie.
I might indicate, Mr. Speaker, that he is accompanied by the former federal member for the riding of York-Scarborough, Paul McCrossan.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, this year is the first time that July 1, this country's 116th birthday, will be officially called Canada Day. Therefore, I would like to highlight at this time for the members of this House the many celebrations that will be held around our province to mark this very important date in our history.
The honourable members are aware there was much debate over the years as we strove to bring home our Constitution. Likewise, there has been a great deal of debate in the past year over the change in name of Canada's official birthday from Dominion Day to Canada Day.
As we celebrate this historic event, it would be fitting for us to remember at this time the significance Dominion Day has had over the years for many Canadians. Like many events in Canada's history, the designation "dominion" was a compromise. The early Fathers of Confederation rejected their favoured name, Kingdom of Canada, for fear it might offend the republican sentiments of our neighbours to the south. The term "dominion" was chosen by Sir Leonard Tilley and it came, of course, from the Scriptures, Psalm 72, "He shall have dominion from sea to sea."
Although this choice may have been a compromise, it came to symbolize Canada's uniqueness, that of a nation that grew from four original provinces to reach out to both the Atlantic and the Pacific, a nation which prizes tolerance and freedom for all its citizens. The name not only recalls the values of freedom and democracy inherited from Britain, but also the Canadian men and women who so valiantly fought to defend this heritage in two world wars.
But just as we cherish our heritage, so do we have enormous pride in our determination to move forward as an independent country. It is this spirit which has enabled us to grow strong and to prosper as a nation and as a province, and it is in this spirit that we as Canadians last year proclaimed our new Constitution and in that same year chose to rename our national holiday Canada Day.
Along with our maple leaf flag, our national anthem and our new Constitution, Canada Day symbolizes our renewed sense of purpose and confidence in the future of this great country. At the same time, however, we of course cherish our historical links with the crown as a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations.
In recognition of the English, French and multicultural heritage of this province, and in tribute to the tremendous energy and devotion of our people, we will be celebrating Canada Day extensively throughout Ontario this year.
In addition to our traditional picnic here on the lawns of the Legislature at Queen's Park in Toronto, a party which attracts thousands of Ontarians from all walks of life, people can join in celebrations from the traditional Feu de Joie, at Kingston's Old Fort Henry, to the re-enactment of life in Canada 116 years ago, at Upper Canada Village in Morrisburg.
They can attend such events as the Great Rendezvous Pageant in Thunder Bay, which recreates the arrival of fur traders from Montreal to the Athabaskan country for the annual North West Company meeting, an exchange of furs and trade goods at the Lakehead, or they can enjoy fireworks, parades, sporting events and crafts shows in a whole host of cities such as Belleville, Forest, Grimsby, Guelph, Brantford, Kenora, London, and so on.
M. le Président, ce ne sont que quelques exemples des nombreux événements dans lesquels participeront les citoyens de l'Ontario pour fêter le 116e anniversaire du Canada le 1er juillet.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Now in French.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Martel: How long did you take lessons for that?
Hon. Mr. Wells: I will give the member lessons if he would like.
Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: Could I invite the minister to join French classes with John Crosbie this summer?
Hon. Mr. Wells: I already have some good French staff in my office who can assist me.
I invite all honourable members to join in the special celebrations of this first official Canada Day, the 116th birthday of our great country, wherever they may happen to be in Ontario.
GROUP HOME INITIATIVES
Hon. Mrs. Birch: Mr. Speaker, with your permission, I would like to take a few moments to advise the honourable members of several initiatives that have been undertaken recently by my secretariat.
During the 10 years that I have been privileged to serve as Provincial Secretary for Social Development, one of the things that has given me great satisfaction and much hope for the future is a growing public awareness of the fact that, if given the opportunity to live in a residential neighbourhood instead of institutions, thousands of men, women and children with special needs or disabilities can be helped to lead richer and more productive lives.
That awareness is best seen in the many communities whose elected officials and residents have embraced the provincial group homes policy which I first announced in September 1978. At that time, there was only one municipality in Ontario whose bylaws made specific provision for the establishment of group homes in residential neighbourhoods. There were many who doubted that our policy of encouraging but not requiring other municipalities to effect such changes would be successful. But many communities, both large and small, have responded positively to the challenge and a number of others now are in the process of doing so.
A recent government survey reveals that 73 per cent of Ontario municipalities, with a combined population of 6.2 million, permit some or all types of group homes in residential areas.
I am encouraged by this fact but realize, as you do, Mr. Speaker, that a number of smaller Ontario municipalities have yet to address this issue and to make specific provisions for the integration of people with special needs or disabilities into residential neighbourhoods. For this reason, and because we realize that resistance to neighbourhood group homes is frequently founded on myths and misinformation, the secretariat has accelerated its efforts to assist those who are now working, or who wish to work, towards the orderly development and equitable distribution of group homes in Ontario.
The resource manual I am holding, which is being printed for wide distribution to municipalities, service providers, members of the Legislature and other interested groups and individuals, is the most comprehensive document published to date on the subject of group homes.
I believe the manual will fulfil several important needs. It will give municipal officials a clear understanding of the provincial policy, the types of programs that we license or approve, the way in which group homes are established, regulated and assessed, and the most appropriate means of effecting changes in their official plans and zoning bylaws. It will provide service agencies and individual operators with a step-by-step guide to influencing changes in local policies, establishing individual group homes and responding effectively to the legitimate concerns of the community. Last, but not least, it will equip each of its recipients with the ability to answer questions about Ontario group homes policy and practice in a clear and consistent fashion.
Although the manual has already been reviewed and endorsed by a number of responsible agencies and individuals, it is being distributed as a working document, with the expectation that those who use it will provide us with their comments concerning possible improvements or areas in which additional information may be required.
In a related initiative, the secretariat will soon distribute the first issue of a quarterly newsletter, the purpose of which is to foster informed dialogue about group homes and other community living options for people with special needs or disabilities. This newsletter will be of particular interest to group home sponsors.
We have also begun production of a companion publication to the manual and the newsletter. It is intended to provide members of the general public with an explanation of the provincial policies and clear answers to the most frequently asked questions about group homes, the types of people they serve and the ways in which they are established, regulated and assessed. These booklets will be made available through community groups and municipalities during their work of forwarding group home bylaws.
We have also entered into an agreement with the city of Toronto to cosponsor a series of group home workshops for service providers, government officials and community leaders in each of the city's 11 wards. These workshops, which will serve as a model for the development of similar programs in other communities, are scheduled to begin in September of this year. They will focus on many aspects of the issue, but they will particularly emphasize the need for community dialogue and for operators to be more responsive to the legitimate questions and concerns of their neighbours both before and after a group home is established.
I believe that initiatives such as these, plus our continuing commitment to work with communities in bringing about the desired changes, will hasten the day when people with special needs or disabilities are welcomed as neighbours and as valued members of every community in Ontario. I invite each member of this Legislature to join us in this very important endeavour.
CORONERS' INQUEST RECOMMENDATIONS
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, on June 16, 1983, the leader of the New Democratic Party raised questions concerning the ministry's policy and procedure in response to the jury recommendations arising from coroners' inquests. I undertook to table with the House the ministry policy that is in place on this important subject.
Incidentally, this will partially respond to the concerns expressed on a point of order by the member for Algoma (Mr. Wildman) a little earlier this afternoon. In addition, later today I will be responding to another question that had been put to me on occupational health and safety matters. The member for Algoma indicates there are others outstanding; I know of only one other. If there are others in addition to that, I would appreciate the member letting me know, because this was the type of working relationship I enjoyed with his predecessor, the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel), as far as occupational health and safety matters were concerned.
In so doing I would advise the members of the House that the Ministry of Labour continues to review carefully the coroners' jury recommendations. At no time have jury recommendations been ignored, as members of the third party have suggested.
Let me take a moment to describe some of the procedures involved in responding to the verdict of a coroner's jury. The local officer of the occupational health and safety division and the coroner's office work in close co-operation during the investigation of a fatality. The ministry investigating officer attends the inquests and gives evidence based on the facts and findings obtained during the course of his or her investigation.
Once a copy of the verdict is received by the ministry through the office of the chief coroner, the branch of the division commences a detailed review involving a visit to the company. The officer meets with the employer and worker representatives to discuss the recommendations and determine what action will be taken at the work place to implement the recommendations.
In preparing the response the division considers whether any orders have been issued or should be issued and whether a prosecution is pending. If there is to be a prosecution arising from the fatality, the ministry will so indicate to the chief coroner and advise him that a ministry response to the jury's recommendations will be forthcoming upon the completion of the court proceedings.
The remarks of the member for York South (Mr. Rae) on Friday last were critical of the distribution of the ministry's responses to the jury recommendations. He suggested that my ministry send copies of its response to the chief coroner to all parties given standing at the inquest. In the first place, coroners' verdicts sent to the ministry by the chief coroner do not indicate who was given standing, and I understand that the chief coroner does not maintain such a list. Second, though, any party who does not receive the ministry's response is sent a copy upon request.
Let me assure the members that the policy of the ministry is to make its responses available to a wide audience so that the parties will be in a better position to prevent the recurrence of this type of fatality in the future. This is stated quite clearly in the policy guidelines used by the ministry.
However, it has come to my attention that from time to time the ministry may not send responses to the joint health and safety committee, and my deputy advises me that this improvement to the procedure will be made forthwith. In this way, the ministry will be enhancing the role of the committees to make additional positive contributions to the health and safety of workers.
In addition, the division has received agreement from the Ontario Federation of Labour that all ministry responses will be sent to the federation for consideration by its membership. This too is a positive improvement to the distribution scheme. Finally, in the construction and mining sectors, jury recommendations and the ministry responses are shared with the labour management committee of the Construction Safety Association of Ontario and the mining Legislative Review Committee of the industry, respectively. In addition, the legislative review committee of the occupational health and safety division advises on proposed amendments arising from coroner's jury recommendations.
I will now table this policy, dated January 11, 1982, on responses to coroners' verdicts. This policy simply consolidated division practice. The policy indicates that there is in place an appropriate procedure responding to the jury recommendations of coroners' inquests.
PUBLIC COMMERCIAL VEHICLES ACT REVIEW COMMITTEE REPORT
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, in my eight years as Minister of Transportation and Communications I have often reported to this House on activities falling within the purview of my ministry. Few of those occasions have given me as much satisfaction as I feel today, because it is my pleasure to table the final report of the Public Commercial Vehicles Act review committee, a report that is the culmination of two years of extremely hard work.
I am pleased too, because the committee's members were chosen as spokesmen for a number of different perspectives on trucking regulation. That these forceful industry representatives were able to come together on the thorny issue of regulatory reform seems to me a very encouraging sign that here, finally, we will have a set of recommendations upon which to base reasonable, fair and enduring legislation.
One of the cornerstones of that legislation has been laid in the very committee itself. The process of consensus, which has been the committee's hallmark, will become the model upon which the development and implementation of new legislation is based. The committee has shown us the path of shared responsibility and co-operation and it remains for us to use that experience in the difficult task ahead of drafting a new, relevant PCV Act.
The report is a complex, detailed document which I received only last night, so I have not had time to digest it fully, but two of its basic premises were emphasized to me at the committee's final meeting yesterday. The first is the adoption of a set of public interest objectives and principles for the regulation of trucking in Ontario. From what I have read of them, these seem to me to be simple and sensible and they provide us with just the sort of reasonable, realistic philosophical base we need for successful legislation.
The second basic premise is that the implementation of change should be gradual, carefully staged, so existing carriers would have every opportunity to adapt to any new regulation. This is a place where, as I said earlier, the committee's own model will be useful, because I believe it is very important that the government share with the shippers and carriers the direction and responsibility for the pace of detailed development of changed regulation.
This approach will prove useful in guaranteeing that smaller and regional carriers will have the opportunity to adapt, to reposition and function profitably under any new system. To see a new PCV Act emerge from these premises, the government will have to adopt the substance of the report and this House will agree to the necessary legislative changes.
Inasmuch as the objectives and principles seem sound and the process of implementation reasonable, there are two things that must happen immediately to allow us to get on with developing legislation. I am referring here to the establishment of a control period and the setting up of an administrative structure to effect the regulatory changes.
I believe the committee is right in asking for a period of adjustment to smooth the transition from the old system to the new. To provide for that, it recommends a control period be established to distinguish between those carriers already in business or those which have made application under the existing Public Commercial Vehicles Act and those which apply after today.
In order to clearly delineate between these groups, I have agreed to request the Ontario Highway Transport Board to make a distinction between existing carriers and new applicants for a two-year control period. This will enable existing carriers to "grandfather" themselves into the new system. It is only reasonable that people who bear the burden of making some fundamental changes in the way they operate be given priority over those who apply without having to carry the baggage of the present PCV Act.
This control period will give us two years in which to arrive at a new act, two necessary years, not only for readjustment but for the task of developing appropriate legislation. We must consider the review committee's report along with that of the Uffen commission on truck safety and the committee on the transportation of dangerous goods.
Foreseeing that long and complicated process, the committee has suggested the establishment of a shared administrative structure, including an implementation steering committee and a number of task groups to flesh out the details of legislation and ensure its sensible development over the two-year transition period.
This, again, seems to me to be a useful opportunity to continue the process of consensus the committee has developed. It has come some distance towards reconciling various industry viewpoints, so it is logical to build a new structure on the committee's model.
To that end, I am writing this week to all the major groups which have expressed an interest in the report asking them to nominate individuals prepared to serve in the implementation structure. The members of the steering committee and the task groups already identified will be chosen from that group of nominees. Those who remain will be called upon for specific tasks as required. All nominees will be kept up-to-date and consulted periodically to ensure as broad a consensus as possible.
As groups within the industry nominate candidates, they may also want to create internal committees to liaise with the new implementation structure, as some have already done.
With the control period and the steering committee established, I am confident the progress the review committee has made will continue until a new PCV Act is in place. Even with two years for implementation, that still means a tight timetable. I expect we will see initial transitional reforms to the PCV Act in the Legislature this fall.
As I said at the outset, tabling this report today gives me a great deal of satisfaction. It represents what I feel to be the correct role of government in debates of this nature, that of providing a structure wherein various industry interests can come together to solve their own problems.
I understand that members of the committee will be available to answer questions from the press and interested parties this afternoon at 5 p.m. in committee room 2 in this building. I congratulate them for their perseverance and dedication and look forward to the day when their labours bear fruit in a new, sensible and realistic PCV Act.
BURLINGTON BAY SKYWAY
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I am extremely pleased to be able to tell the members of this House that today I signed the award document for the largest dollar volume contract in the history of my ministry, a contract calling for the twinning of the Burlington Bay Skyway.
Specifically, the contract for $38,747,886.54 has been awarded to Pigott Investments Ltd. of Hamilton, the parent company of Pigott Construction Ltd. It calls for 7,542 metric tons of structural steel, 79,285 metres of steel H-piles, 4,679 metric tons of reinforcing steel and 36,208 cubic metres of concrete.
While I will admit it is virtually impossible to track all the jobs that will be created through the subcontractors and suppliers, I can say it should mean employment for some 1,400 Hamilton and area carpenters, electricians, labourers, steel workers, etc., a sizeable economic shot in the arm for the region.
The new bridge, which will eliminate a serious traffic bottleneck, will span Burlington Bay parallel to and just west of the existing skyway which was opened to traffic October 3, 1958. It will have an overall length of 2.6 kilometres, with the structure itself being 2.2 kilometres. The 151-metre central span will allow for a vertical clearance of 36.6 metres above high water. The overall deck width of 21.25 metres will provide for five driving lanes, shoulders and barrier walls.
Pigott's bid, some $40,000 under its nearest competitor, calls for three poured-in-place reinforced concrete spans, the balance being structural steel spans in the approaches. Construction is scheduled to begin almost immediately with completion, barring the unforeseen, in late 1985.
Although it is not part of my statement, I will mention to the House that Pigott Construction was one of the major contractors on the present Burlington Skyway which opened in 1958. Although that contract was not awarded as one major contract the way this one is, Pigott carried out the majority of the work. The balance was carried out by the contractor who was the second bidder on this job and lost by only $40,000 on an almost $40-million contract.
RIDING OFFICE LOGO
Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: I have made complaints on a number of occasions to you personally and to your predecessor about some members who closely identify their riding offices with their party. Just recently you sent us a memo saying we should not get involved in any identification of political parties with riding offices.
I have received a few complaints about the riding office of my dear friend the member for Ottawa South (Mr. Bennett). I want you to look at this picture, Mr. Speaker, and give us your opinion whether this offends your principle. Do you feel this particular riding office logo too closely identifies his riding office with the Progressive Conservative Party?
Mr. Speaker: Perhaps you could send it to your member on the Board of Internal Economy and it will be brought up at the appropriate time.
Mr. Peterson: Could you maintain a little order here, Mr. Speaker?
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Peterson: Thank you very much.
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations regarding the ongoing trust company matter. This being the last day, I think it is important to discuss some of these issues.
The minister will be aware that over the past six months we have brought to his attention thousands of apartment units, affecting roughly 45 properties at the very least, all of which have not been in compliance with the law as it exists in this province.
The minister has been reluctant to share information with members of this House, although he is prepared to make that public in various court documents. I draw the minister's attention to the report of the interim receiver and manager of Kilderkin Investments of June 15, 1983, filed in court, which he will be aware is a searing indictment of his ministry's negligence in the entire trust company affair.
How could he allow those kinds of things to go on? It says in the report: "Some transactions appear to be complete shams, structured to appear as bona fide deals in order to produce cash for the principals. Some flip transactions had the effect of improving the balance sheets of Greymac and Seaway and thereby expanding their borrowing bases, which in turn permitted substantial funds to be raised from the public." Some of them, of course, were sold through the government's own savings and loan office.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Peterson: How could the minister have allowed, for at least two years prior to the takeover, this kind of wholesale violation of the act? It is still continuing under his ministry. How can he explain that?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, may I take a while on this? The Premier (Mr. Davis) says I must get down to a brief and quick --
Hon. Mr. Davis: No, I want him to understand it.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: He wants him to understand the issue.
Mr. Martel: That would take all afternoon.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I say to the Premier, I cannot take that long.
Mr. Speaker: Now to the question, please.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Speak slowly.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I will speak slowly then, if that is the idea.
First, I think the statement that there is an ongoing situation with respect to monitoring activities in the registrar's office is an absolutely unfair and unfounded criticism. I do not accept it; I reject it.
It will be no surprise to the member that the majority, if not all, of the matters he has brought to the attention of this Legislature were matters that were already known to the ministry. As a matter of fact, he has even gone to the trouble of having people follow my staff so they could keep track of where they might find information. Last Wednesday, they even went to the trouble of phoning the office to get some information about a trust company the member proceeded to ask questions about the next day.
One can commend the member for some of the work he has done, but not for much of the work which my staff has had to do for him. Frankly, it is causing them a problem because they want to get on with dealing with the affairs of this province and not with supplying the member with information so he can come to the House and ask about it.
It will come as no surprise to him that there is a Morrison inquiry looking into the activities with respect to three particular trust companies and two mortgage companies in this province that are federally incorporated. It will come as no surprise to him that we are carrying out an internal review of the adequacy of the monitoring capabilities of this ministry and, if necessary, there will be an external review of that. He will also not be surprised to learn that a white paper, I have already promised this House, will be presented in some way before the Legislature for discussion.
To suggest that nothing is going on and that we are unaware of whatever is happening shows he has not been following what has gone on in this House.
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, on a brief point of privilege: The minister has now alluded on at least three occasions to the fact that we were following him or his staff about. That is absolutely, categorically untrue. Perhaps there should be an investigation into some of the paranoid people working for this man. They have reason to be paranoid because they have been so incompetent over the past two years.
Mr. Speaker: Supplementary, please.
Mr. Peterson: That is categorically untrue and I think we should dispel that little myth at the present time.
We have brought to the minister's attention a number of other trust companies that have violated the Loan and Trust Corporations Act in this province, none of which he has denied. How many special examinations has he ordered of other trust companies under subsection 151(1)? Will he table those reports and the names of those trust companies?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: It is true that last Thursday in this House the Leader of the Opposition requested information about another trust company, London Loan, I believe it was. I have had occasion to discuss that with the registrar and the specific information requested is being prepared.
In asking that question, I hope the member understood the history of that institution. He knows it was incorporated in the mid-1970s and lay dormant. He knows it was then purchased by Argosy. He knows that while Argosy was still functioning, prior to the events he is also well aware of, that portion of it was sold off to a group in London. I hope he knows that since that time it has been run, as far as the registrar is concerned, responsibly, efficiently and with integrity. The registrar assures me there is absolutely no risk to depositors.
It may well be true that a number of mortgages and transactions inherited with the purchase of that company required dealing with in certain ways, but to suggest that there is anything fundamentally wrong with that company at this time, I think is totally irresponsible on the member's part -- unless he wants to stand up and make an accusation against them. The registrar is firmly of the opinion that it is a well-run and efficient organization that did not deserve the member's criticism.
Mr. Peterson: He was firmly of the opinion that Greymac was in good shape when he gave them back their annual licence at the end of October. That is the kind of firm opinion the minister is getting out of the registrar.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Peterson: Presumably, the minister is going to act on a number of these matters in the next three months. Will he undertake now to put before a committee of this Legislature those reports that will be forthcoming to him? I am referring particularly to the internal review of his own ministry. Will the minister put that report before a committee of this Legislature so we can have an external review, or is he going to continue stonewalling, resisting all sorts of independent reviews of why this whole matter happened? Will the minister put that into committee?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I know this will offend you, and I do not want to take too much of the time of this House, but may I take a little time? I do not want to offend your wishes, sir, but I must say the introductory remarks with respect to Greymac were unwarranted and contained statements the member knows are not correct.
First of all, the member knows very well that the legislation, which he understands very thoroughly because he keeps quoting sections out of it, at that time did not permit the registrar to issue limited licences. The registrar was doing it on his own initiative, and I would hope he would commend him publicly for doing that.
He knows full well that was not so. That was pointed out quite firmly by representatives of Greymac in October. He knows full well that a lengthy letter was written to that company requiring their signature, guaranteeing that they would not do certain things and would not commit certain moneys, which they then proceeded to do.
To suggest that in October he was guaranteeing the position of Greyniac because the licence was renewed is totally inaccurate. The member knows that, and he should not say it when he knows it is not true.
With respect to the other documents, I have already committed to this House that the Morrison report will be tabled in this House; as to the internal review and possibly an external review, I have already said there will be some process of review, the exact nature of which will have to be determined.
Mr. Peterson: It is a preposterous proposition. He wants it both ways.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
C. H. LEWIS LANDFILL SITE
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of the Environment. He will be aware of the discussion of a number of landfill sites over the past few months in this House: Upper Ottawa Street, Perkinsfield, Fighting Island and a variety of others. I want to bring to the minister's attention another dump site of which he is probably aware, the C. H. Lewis (Lucan) Ltd. dump in the village of Lucan.
As the minister is aware, that dump site has been operating in contravention of the conditions of approval set by his ministry according to a certificate of approval issued in January 1972. Is the minister aware that dump was registered to receive the waste from 5,000 people in three communities and it is now receiving the waste from some 16,000 people in many more communities, including London township, Lobo, the University of Western Ontario and the Ipperwash army base?
How could the minister allow this ongoing violation of his own regulations?
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, I am sure the honourable member is well aware of the fact there are probably 1,500 landfill sites in Ontario. At the moment, I do not have the details of that particular licence at my fingertips. I will certainly be pleased to review it and report back to the House if I have that opportunity before the House rises for the summer. If not, I will otherwise communicate to the member on the status of it. At the moment I cannot either confirm or deny whether the information he has presented to the House today is accurate. I have to review the licence to be sure.
Mr. Peterson: It is so unfair. I guess the minister would like to know ahead of time before we ask him questions, as would the Minister of Health (Mr. Grossman); but the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Elgie) would not like to know because he feels the staff has to do too much work for us.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Peterson: I am just trying to get the differences among the variety of opinions over there.
I want to draw to the ministers attention that, in addition to this ongoing violation of the licence, it has been determined that some 1,200 parts per billion of phenol were found in the leachate coming from that dump site into the Ausable River. Will the minister use his good offices to stop that leachate immediately, to bring in whatever is necessary to prevent that leachate from leaking into the Ausable River? It has already contaminated one well, and the potential harmful effects of this, of course, are very serious, given its location.
Hon. Mr. Norton: I will respond to the first question the leader asked as well as to the second. No, I do not suggest he should give me notice in advance of all the questions he wishes to ask. I note, as he has tried to do on occasion, that he has carefully prepared written questions, which he reads from when he stands in the House; and in spite of the suggestions he has made from time to time, I very rarely have to make reference to written material to read a response to him. In fact, I suggest to him that I am much more familiar with the situation with respect to environmental issues in this province than he has any hope of ever becoming.
By the same token, when he dispatches his minions to try to ferret out the most obscure bit of information he can, he has to expect that there are going to be times when I may not have the response at my fingertips and I might require some time to review such a licence.
The member does know that I have had in place now for some time a multidisciplinary task force that is looking precisely at potential problems with respect to landfill sites.
Mr. Speaker: And I am sure you are going to look into it.
Hon. Mr. Norton: I will be pleased to respond to the member on the specifics of his second question when I have had an opportunity to review it.
Mr. Charlton: Mr. Speaker, I assume, as is always the case with the minister, that his staff has been closely monitoring this site and has reports on ground water tests and on tests in the wells around that site as well as some identification of the contaminants that are leaking out of that site. Will the minister, in the process of finding out about this site, table with this House the monitoring reports of his ministry on that site and the surrounding area?
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, as the honourable member knows, we probably are one of the most open ministries anywhere in any government in this country. We have always made it a practice to share whatever information we have as a result of tests, whether we are talking about Stouffville, Perkinsfield or wherever. Of course, I would be delighted to share with the member whatever information we have that he would like.
Mr. Peterson: I should ask, if the minister does not know anything about it, why does he talk so much? But I will ask him a question in response to his last point, which is categorically untrue.
Is the minister aware that his officials requested that C. H. Lewis hire consultants to do a hydrogeological study of the landfill? That study was filed, with copies going to his ministry as well as to Mr. Lewis. Lawyers have requested copies of it on behalf of the citizens at the appeal hearing, and the minister has denied the citizens copies of that report. Will he use his offices to make sure that all this information is made public?
Hon. Mr. Norton: I do not know who has been feeding information to the member. I have never denied access to any such report.
INSPECTION OF NURSING HOMES
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Health. Given the fact that sections 1, 3 and 17(2) of the Nursing Homes Act give very specific authority to his inspection service to go into any home that is offering nursing care to determine whether or not that home is offering nursing care, I wonder whether the minister can explain the apparent policy of his ministry, as has been expressed by Ms. M. Butteriss, the administrative assistant to the director of the nursing home services branch, as well as by his predecessor, the current Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Timbrell), in correspondence with the member for Windsor-Riverside (Mr. Cooke) with respect to another rest home, where they both indicated that, in their view, the Ministry of Health could not exercise authority over rest homes.
Can the minister please explain this apparent contradiction in policy between the actions of the ministry and the clear wording of the Nursing Homes Act with respect to his authority to investigate the operations of homes that are providing nursing care in the province?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, clause 1(g) of the legislation to which the leader of the third party is referring defines "nursing home" not as he would define it but, rather, very specifically as not including any premises falling under the jurisdiction of the Charitable Institutions Act, the Children's Mental Health Services Act, the Children's Residential Services Act, the Homes for the Aged and Rest Homes Act, the Mental Hospitals Act, the Private Hospitals Act or the Public Hospitals Act. It is quite clear in the legislation that the Nursing Homes Act does not, as is spelled out in clause 1(g), include premises that fall in the Homes for the Aged and Rest Homes Act.
Mr. Rae: Is the minister denying the fact that there are currently rest homes in the province that are not regulated and that are providing a level of care that could be described as nursing care? Can he explain why the inspectorate has not carried out its authority under subsection 17(2) of the act, when the communications director for the Rest Home Association of Ontario, Mary Gurney, has stated to us she estimates that in its membership's homes, which do not include the full gamut of rest homes, as the minister is fully aware, at least three of every 30 residents require nursing home levels of care?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The honourable member can ask the question why they are not under this legislation, and he can suggest there should be different pieces of legislation or different inspection procedures for rest homes. But, with respect, those are not questions that properly lie with the Ministry of Health. The member should address these questions either to my colleague or to the various municipalities that have quite clear and direct authority to undertake the appropriate inspection of rest homes.
Mr. Rae: I simply want to point out to the minister that at the press conference it held this morning, the Ontario Nursing Home Association indicated it felt the Ministry of Health should establish a uniform standard of care and one set of regulations to govern all long-term care providers. It also suggested, and I am quoting, "Enforce regulations in all long-term facilities irrespective of their institutional setting by any designated inspection branch."
Why is that not now the policy of his ministry? Does he not realize there are a number of rest homes that are operating outside the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Community and Social Services, outside the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Health and outside any regulation by any municipality? Does he not recognize there are a number of homes that are not covered at present? Does he not think we should have a uniform standard of care for people in institutions in this province?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Let us deal with the facts of whether they are totally unregulated or uninspected or whether there is no legislation in place to accommodate that. Rest homes and boarding homes largely come under municipal authority. There are a number of acts in place, in case the member has not been able to check them out, which give local authorities the power to take all appropriate steps. Any local medical officer of health has power under the legislation to take appropriate steps if he sees fit. The fire marshal's office has jurisdiction for fire standards. Local municipalities have bylaws guarding, for example, the number of persons living in a rest home, and on and on.
With respect, if the member wants to suggest that municipalities and fire marshals are not meeting their responsibilities under the legislation with regard to rest homes then he should put that proposition to the municipalities and let their fire chiefs --
Mr. Foulds: You are not meeting your responsibility.
Mr. Martel: You should quit your job.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I do not need help doing my job as the member's leader does from his two seatmates there.
Mr. Martel: Tell us about all the facts that are not right.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Okay. It will ruin the member's holidays.
In any case, if the leader of the third party wants to put the proposition that those currently responsible for inspecting the rest homes in this province are not doing their jobs, he should go to the municipality and the fire marshal's office and point out where they and the local MOHs are not doing their job. With respect, none of that falls under the purview of the Ministry of Health.
Mr. Rae: We are pointing one finger and making one proposition, and that proposition is that the Minister of Health is not doing his job.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
CORONERS' INQUEST RECOMMENDATIONS
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Labour with respect to the statement he made today about coroners' inquests. Specifically, I want to ask the minister about the document dated January 11, 1982, which he tabled with the House today, in which there are a number of questions which it is recommended should be asked when replying to a recommendation.
Subsection 2(c) says, "If no section of the act and regulations apply, will we have to consider additional regulations, or is there another strategy that is equal or better?"
I simply want to draw to the minister's attention two instances in the last year and a half: the tragic death of Milton Gerald Abrams, who was a farm worker on a farm near Napanee--November 17, 1982, was the date of the coroner's inquest; and January 12, 1983, when a coroner's inquest into the tragic death of Patricia Friedman at the Campbell Soup hatchery in Elma township took place.
I want to ask the minister whether any conclusions were drawn by his ministry with respect to the exclusion of agricultural workers from the Occupational Health and Safety Act in either of those two tragic deaths. If they were, can the minister explain why we have had absolutely no action in this Legislature with respect to changing the law of the province so that farm workers and agricultural workers have the same protection as other workers under the Occupational Health and Safety Act?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, I believe it was a very few months ago that the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Timbrell) announced the formation of a special task force made up of representatives from the ministries of Agriculture and Food and of Labour to study this very matter.
I must admit there were some problems in filling the complement of members of that task force. That has been resolved in the past month, and we are very optimistic their work will get under way almost immediately. I am looking forward to their deliberations and to the recommendations they will make in this respect.
Mr. Rae: In view of all the recommendations for changing the regulations and for changing the law that have emerged from the coroners' inquests in the past year and a half, why have we been unable in our survey of the regulations to detect any real changes in them to reflect the number of tragic accidents that have occurred in the past year and a half?
Specifically, I wish to ask the minister a question with respect to the mining industry. There have been a number of recommendations from coroners' juries that miners should not be allowed to work alone. Can the minister tell us whether there will be any changes to the Mining Act and regulations under the Mining Act to protect the underground workers and to make it illegal for workers to work alone underground?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: I am not in a position at this time to give a substantive answer concerning any changes in the regulations in respect of workers being alone on the job, other than to say that the matter is under very active study at the present time.
Mr. Rae: When I first raised this question on Thursday, June 16, the minister answered that the coroner had discretion in terms of deciding whether to call an inquest into an accidental death outside a construction or mining site. He indicated the factors, saying they were "first, that criminal charges have been laid; second, that the circumstances of the death are obvious and the facts are well known; third, that a recent inquest has been held on a similar incident; and finally, that the circumstances of the death were unique."
I ask the minister to think for a moment about the implication of that third factor. Would he not agree that it is precisely when similar incidents have occurred and no subsequent action has been taken by the Ministry of Labour that another coroner's inquest should be held to continue to put pressure on the ministry and on the employers to change the law and to protect the lives of workers in the work place?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: If I interpreted that correctly, that was a statement of opinion rather than a question and I accept it as that.
Mr. Speaker: The Minister of Labour has the answer to a previously asked question.
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, on May 10 the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel) and the member for Algoma (Mr. Wildman) raised questions concerning diesel emissions at the Canadian Rock Salt Co. Ojibway mines. I have quite a detailed response and, rather than read it, I will send it across to the honourable members.
Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, even though I have not read the statement, could I ask --
Mr. Speaker: You are just going to anticipate it.
Mr. Martel: I anticipate it based on two studies I received recently.
Dr. Ken Westaway, professor of chemistry at Laurentian University, indicates that seven out of the 13 polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons that workers are exposed to in mines where diesel equipment is being operated are carcinogenic. Seven out of the 13 substances are carcinogenic. Not having read the minister's answer, is the minister prepared to have his staff do a major study on the effects of being exposed to diesel emissions so we do not have to wait 20 years down the road, which is the latency period for these things to take effect, until people start dropping dead, as at Elliot Lake, before introducing change?
Would the minister order an immediate study of the total effect of diesel emissions? It might be in his statement; I do not know. If it is not, would he order an immediate study of the effects of diesel emissions on workers who are exposed, since seven of 13 substances are carcinogenic?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: The date escapes me, but a briefing session for the member for Sudbury East and the member for Algoma has been set up within the next short period of time with respect to the mortality study. I believe the matter the honourable member has raised can be addressed at that time. He will then have had the opportunity to look at the detailed response I have already provided.
NEIGHBOURHOOD IMPROVEMENT APPLICATION
Mr. Eakins: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. The minister will recall that he recently held an availability session in Perth with several municipalities in the area, attended by a number of his colleagues. In response to a question from the mayor of Smiths Falls regarding its application for an Ontario neighbourhood improvement program grant, the minister was quoted as having made reference to the manner in which the town handled its last capital project and in effect accused the town of bungling and mismanagement.
Will the minister tell this House whether he has made a decision on the ONIP application by Smiths Falls and what that decision is? Second, is the minister prepared to apologize to the town for the statements made at this public meeting, which the minister publicly agreed to do if his allegations were proven false?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, first, I think I answered the question in relation to the ONIP grant at the time I dealt with the community of Smiths Falls. I indicated clearly at that time the application it had made for 1983 was not receiving favourable consideration. Second, I have no reason to make an apology. I believe the silence of the community indicates clearly the statements made by the minister had some degree of accuracy, if they were not completely accurate.
Mr. Epp: Mr. Speaker, is the minister aware that the last capital project undertaken by Smiths Falls, under the community services contribution program, was funded jointly by the federal government and the provincial government and that the federal government has indicated it has no problems with the way Smiths Falls administered that program? In fact, as a result of consulting the community renewal branch of his own ministry, the administrative problems were of a trivial nature and in no way affected the town's eligibility for an ONIP grant. Is the minister aware that all administrative details between his ministry and the town have been settled very satisfactorily?
Given that and the fact that he indicated on May 13 he would apologize if his facts were found wanting -- that in his opinion things were not correct, is the minister now prepared to apologize to the town and to clear up the embarrassment he has caused the town through his inadvertent or blatant statements, which have been found to be completely incorrect?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, I am not sure whether the member for Waterloo North listens to his colleague the member for Victoria-Haliburton (Mr. Eakins). Indeed, that member asked just two minutes ago whether I wished to make an apology.
Let me say first of all that the community services contribution program was administered entirely by my ministry; it was funded federally and provincially but administered by the province. The federal government has not been involved in any way, shape or form in any of the administrative responsibilities; so for the federal government to say things went absolutely correctly or properly is, of course, somebody's imagination, because the federal government was never involved in any portion of the administration or the approval program. That was the responsibility of this ministry and this ministry only.
With respect to the request for an Ontario neighbourhood improvement program grant, I said to the community of Smiths Falls that I would send people from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing down to meet with them to review very clearly and precisely where we believed there were some faults in their present use of public funds. They have been at the meeting, they have met with their administrative officers, they have met with other members of their council and I offer no apologies. Silence, I said before and I repeat again, indicates that the remarks given to me by my staff and repeated by me in the presence of the mayor and the members of that council are correct.
Let me add only one other thing. In relation to the CSCP fund, there will probably be a surplus of moneys from that particular allocation made two or so years ago to Smiths Falls. If there is a surplus, there is a possibility that we will be able to entertain some of the ONIP requests of 1983 under the provisions of those funds, which are funded jointly by the federal and provincial governments.
Mr. Epp: Even your own staff in the community renewal branch said the administrative problems were relatively minor --
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: I have to suggest to the member for Waterloo North that if he got some indications from my staff saying we are wrong, then I will offer the apology. But I want the member to make it very public with a statement and a letter indicating that, because it is not true.
RETAIL FOOD PRICES
Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations; it concerns consumer matters, for which he has responsibility, and the Inflation Restraint Act, for which he has responsibility.
I wonder whether the minister would explain why this one-pound container of pure soya oil soft margarine has gone up from $1.15 in June 1981 to $1.43 this June, an increase of 20 per cent, while the price the farmer gets for his soybeans has dropped from $291 a metric ton to $250 -- figures from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food -- down 14 per cent in the same two years.
Perhaps he would also explain why the average supermarket price of this two-pound package of Fleischmann's, which is made from pure corn oil, has increased by 20 per cent in those same two years, from $2.73 to $3.39, when the price of corn paid to the farmers, according to OMAF figures, has decreased by 21 per cent from $157 a metric ton to $118 during that same period of time.
Now that the farmers are being ripped off as well as the consumers, will the minister abandon his traditional hands-off policy on prices and use the powers he has constitutionally to investigate and stop these kinds of exploitation of both the producers and the consumers?
An hon. member: What about the dairy farmers?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Does he not care about the dairy farmers?
Why did the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Timbrell) leave, Mr. Speaker? I do not understand that.
I might say I was not greatly surprised that the member for Welland-Thorold rose, because the cameras were already on him; so I knew it was all well planned. I also knew that when he rose, it would be the same old problem. He always wants to look at the bad side, never at the good side. He does not want to tell us that between April and May prices went up fractionally. He does not want to tell us that May on May, one full year, prices of food, on average, went up by three per cent. He does not want to tell the good news, because he could not go home and tell the message that things are not going badly overall.
He does not want to tell us that dairy and eggs went up by only 6.1 per cent. He does not want to tell us that beverages, on average over a year, went down by 0.4 per cent. He does not want to tell us that beef over the year went down by 0.9 per cent. He does not want to tell those things, because they tell, on the average, a good story, and he does not like good stories.
Mr. Swart: The Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations sure evaded my question. High prices are always a matter of fun and jokes to the minister. I wonder if it would be possible to convince the minister he should take some action if I showed him this two tub, one pound package of margarine from the United States which sells for 89 cents there compared to $1.43 here.
Mr. Speaker: Order. This is a very important matter and we should listen attentively to the member for Welland Thorold.
Mr. Swart: These are both made by the same company, and that is less than two thirds of the price charged for it here. Would it help to convince the minister if he knew this two pound package of Fleischmann's corn oil margarine sells for $2.14 in the US compared to $3.39 here?
Does it not impress the minister that the three multinationals which control the market here have much higher profits relative to Canada than they do in the US? Nabisco, which now owns Standard Brands's Blue Bonnet and Fleischmann's, says in its latest financial report, after bemoaning its operation elsewhere, "However, earnings show a strong increase over a year earlier levels, particularly for operations in Canada, Spain and Italy." Lever Brothers, which sells Monarch and Imperial, doubled its profits in Canada last year.
Mr. Speaker: I am waiting for the question.
Mr. Swart: It is coming right now, Mr. Speaker. Why do the minister and his government so stubbornly refuse to intervene, ever, to protect the consumer against price gouging?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I want to protest. When the Minister of Health (Mr. Grossman) was the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations, he at least used to get the margarine sent over to him. When the minister to my left, who does not want to be known as being on my philosophical left, was the minister he used to get cans of orange juice. I get nothing.
I must say, though, that I was interested the member for Welland-Thorold did not single out the particular city or the particular store where he is buying his US goods. The store where he used to shop went bankrupt because it was having a lot of problems. We checked that one out carefully some eight or nine months ago, and it did not exist any more.
We also carried out studies comparing Windsor and Detroit which showed that by and large there was equilibrium but, if he is suggesting there will be occasional variations that will be significant, certainly there will be. I know he wanted to stand up the other day to complain about the fact that, for example, canned juices had only gone up 1.3 per cent per year. I know he wanted to stand up and say, "That is not fair to the company", but he did not do that.
This government takes an interest in the overall issue, and I say that year on year, the issue looks pretty good with an increase of three per cent over a year.
Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, on point of privilege: The minister complained I did not send him any of the margarine. I just want to say that, while he was standing, I looked at the area of his belt and I did not think he needed any more spread.
Mr. Riddell: Mr. Speaker, is the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations aware that, if the consumers of Ontario expect to have a continuity of high quality foods produced in this province, they may have to look at spending more than 17 per cent of their take-home pay on the good food that is produced here? Otherwise, it is going to be difficult for our farmers to survive.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I do not think that could be said more precisely by the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Timbrell) or myself. Certainly, as we look at these issues, we have to look at an equitable return for farmers as well as stability of supply. There will be variations because equitable return to the farmers remains a fundamentally important goal for this government and this Legislature.
PAYMENT FOR PRODUCE GROWERS
Mr. Watson: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Agriculture and Food. My question concerns Southland Canning and the fact that growers in my constituency and southwestern Ontario have not yet been fully paid for their 1982 tomato crop, which was delivered and processed by Southland. Can the minister advise this House on the status of the settlement proposals that would result in the growers who delivered tomatoes to this plant being paid for their produce?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I think the member is familiar with the background, as are the members of the House, and with the difficulties of the company in question. We have been in touch for some time with representatives of the Agricultural Products Board which has made an offer with respect to the purchase of the remaining inventory of this company.
We have offered to participate with that board in an enriched offer to the affected growers. I have confirmed that offer in writing recently to the Minister of Agriculture of Canada. I am hopeful the minister and the Agricultural Products Board will accept our offer so that the growers involved, while not receiving 100 per cent compensation, will certainly receive considerably more than if this company were allowed to proceed into receivership and bankruptcy, and then try to realize on unsecured debts.
Mr. Mancini: Mr. Speaker, on several occasions my colleague the member for Kent-Elgin (Mr. McGuigan) has written to the minister and has asked questions in the House on a regular basis concerning Southland Canning. Like the other members, I have constituents who are being affected by Southland Canning's financial problems. The minister is aware, of course, that the canneries are licensed by his ministry and before they are licensed he must assume they are financially solvent, so he does have some responsibility in what has transpired
Will he finally agree to the suggestion put forward by the member for Kent-Elgin, to defer from collecting the Board of Industrial Leadership and Development money that was given to Southland Canning and have that money go to the producers who are going to suffer severely if they are not paid for their products? If he takes that step, he can solve the problem immediately almost all by himself.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, first, the total indebtedness to the growers is $510,000. Second, the amount of money BILD put into this company is $350,000. Third, while our money is in a secured position, we have no way of knowing whether we will get all or any of it when this company is finally wound up.
Had the member been at estimates last Wednesday afternoon, he would know the member for Kent-Elgin and I had a rather lengthy discussion on this very matter. I pointed out to him that, particularly because we might well realize zero on our money depending on how this all plays out, to put up the BILD money could turn out to be a very hollow gesture. I pointed out that reason and also the concern of the BILD committee and the chairman of the BILD committee of cabinet about the precedent.
Given those facts, I have opted instead with my staff to work with the Agricultural Products Board. We have offered to assist it and participate with it in an offer to the growers which will not give them 100 per cent, but will certainly leave them in a much better position than if the company, as I said earlier, was just allowed to be put into receivership and go bankrupt. Given that the moneys owing to them are not secured debts, if that scenario were to unfold they could wind up with nothing. Obviously, I do not want to see that happen. That is why we have made this approach to the Agricultural Products Board.
I discussed it with the member's colleague last Wednesday afternoon and I shared with him on a confidential basis the very information I just gave the member for Chatham-Kent (Mr. Watson).
Mr. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Education. On Monday, June 13, I asked the minister a question about Advanced Business Computer Systems International Inc., known as ABC. In her reply, the minister seemed to suggest the failure of ABC to participate in the educational computer consortium of the Ministry of Education was perhaps due to its declining an invitation to participate.
If the minister will check back, she will know that ABC was enthusiastically approached by a ministry official in June 1982, which resulted in a June 18, 1982, letter from ABC requesting participation, information and ministry specifications. When no answer was received, ABC made telephone calls to the ministry which were not answered.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Newman: A second letter of November 9, 1982, also went unanswered by the ministry. Approaches to the Ministry of Education through the Ministry of Industry and Trade resulted in the promise of a meeting, but that was never held.
Will the minister advise what policy was served by systematically excluding ABC, a very interested Canadian manufacturer of educational computers, from the ministry's process of developing an educational microcomputer?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I shall certainly investigate the allegations made by ABC, which is a rather familiar set of initials. It was my understanding any contact regarding participation in this activity would be made through the Canadian Educational Microprocessor Corp. rather than specifically through the Ministry of Education.
I do not believe there would be any direct contact with the Ministry of Education in this area in November, since Cemcorp was most certainly in place and had been in place, although there was a period of difficulty, between June 1982 and September 1982. I believe Cemcorp was the appropriate site for discussion about participation in the manufacture of the educational microcomputer.
I shall investigate that. I do not believe those in the Ministry of Education who participated in the discussion in Cemcorp would not answer mail or return telephone calls directed to them. I shall investigate those allegations and report.
Mr. Newman: The minister has tried to give the impression the educational computer consortium was and is open to participation by Canadian high-tech companies and that ministry specifications resulted from collaboration with the industry and the Canadian Advanced Technology Association.
Will the minister admit she has created a monopoly to provide this province with educational microcomputers and that Cemcorp is the chosen instrument of the ministry for the supply of those computers? Will she also admit Cemcorp was instrumental in developing the specifications that limit Ontario government subsidies to those companies which conform to the specifications and, in the short term, only Cemcorp products will qualify for that subsidy? Will the minister confirm this is the case?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: No. It is not a monopoly. In spite of the attitude of the corporation existent within his riding, the honourable member should understand that we have not produced a monopoly. We have developed specifications for an educational microcomputer that will permit the participation of any company -- I hope a Canadian company -- able to meet those specifications.
I hope the member will remember that the advantage provided for the purchase of such equipment in schools is that 75 per cent of the cost of the educational microcomputer that can meet the specifications will be supported by a grant from the Ministry of Education. If a board buys a microcomputer that does not fit those specifications, it can expect no advantage of that sort.
As I clearly told the member the other day, we have assisted Cemcorp in the development of the specifications. They have brought together the companies which are investing in this private company and we have guaranteed that, if the prototypes developed function effectively in the three-month trial period, $8 million worth will be purchased for the school system of Ontario. That is the guarantee. We have not produced a monopoly and we have no intention of doing so.
HOSPITAL ADMITTANCE DELAYS
Mr. Cooke: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Health. I wonder if the minister is aware of the incredible delays taking place for people in southwestern Ontario who need to get into University Hospital or Victoria Hospital to have the kinds of operations that cannot be done in the smaller communities, for example, Windsor, Chatham or Sarnia.
In particular, I would like to bring to his attention the two specific cases of Thomas O'Connor and Nancy Clinninsmith, both of whom needed heart surgery and had to wait up to three months to get into University Hospital. Dr. George Wong, whom we contacted, indicated to us that a wait of three months is not unusual. These are not optional operations. These are operations he considers to be "immediate, serious, surgical intervention."
Nancy Clinninsmith was told to go home when she went into University Hospital. She went down there and the operation was delayed for an additional six weeks. She is 30 years old, has five children and was advised by the hospital to take it easy while she was at home waiting for the operation.
What is the situation and what action is the ministry prepared to take so there are adequate facilities to take care of the large demand?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, I want to be quite clear that we are reviewing the data supplied to us from University Hospital to ascertain whether there is a referral pattern in that part of the province which is putting extraordinary pressure on those beds. There may well be. As we review all this with UH, if it turns out those are real problems and not problems that can be otherwise managed, we will have to look at adding some beds in that area. That has been the case for several months as we have been reviewing those data.
Mr. Cooke: The minister will be aware that apparently Dr. Scott, an outside consultant, was hired and has prepared a study we are told has been sitting on the minister's desk for quite some time regarding University Hospital. Further, the hospital indicates the reason there is a problem is because it is underfunded and actually needs 26 more beds in the intensive care and trauma units.
I have brought two cases to the minister's attention this afternoon; there are obviously many others. When can we expect the government to react to provide the proper facilities for a hospital that serves a large area of Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Let me separate those two items. I have to suggest strongly that the hospital, given what it is currently doing, is not underfunded. I think most serious observers of the scene, including the people at UH themselves, would acknowledge that the hospital is decently well funded for the procedures its doctors are now doing.
With regard to whether an additional 26 beds in the intensive care and chronic care units are needed, that is a different question. One of the things we have been seeing in that part of the province is that many of the doctors in the area, having been in receipt of a lot of new, updated emergency techniques and information, are beginning to send more and more of their cases to the CCUs and ICUs in London as opposed to maintaining them in other hospitals.
Obviously, it is hard for us to make an immediate judgement with regard to whether all or most of those referrals are proper ones, but we can conclude that what is happening in that part of the province is the doctors are now better informed and are making better judgements -- to be fair, perhaps more cautious judgements -- now that they know the kind of care available in London.
One of the problems is the doctors now know a lot more about what can and cannot be done in London. Where they have even the slightest indication facilities and beds are available, they are tending to move their patients in there. We are trying to sort that through. I might say we are getting a great deal of co-operation from UH, Victoria and all the doctors in the area as we try to sort out exactly what has happened there.
I want to reconfirm our commitment to putting the necessary amount of ICU and CCU beds in that area. As the member knows, recently we opened some beds in Windsor to reaffirm our commitment, and that situation in London will be reviewed.
Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, while the minister is looking at the issue of potential bed shortages in the city of London, I wonder if he would also include a response to the Brampton, Mississauga and District Labour Council, which wrote to him recently with a copy to the Premier (Mr. Davis) about the problem of potential bed shortages in Brampton.
As well, would the minister respond to some 50 hardship cases in Ajax which have been tabled? These have been brought to his attention and to that of the member for the area, and are a call for an increase of beds for that area. A number of sources have told them that they cannot expect any hospital bed expansion until the 1990s.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, my colleague the Minister of Revenue (Mr. Ashe) has spoken to me many times about that situation. I hope shortly to be able to indicate what steps we shall take to alleviate the bed pressures in Ajax and, of course, other high-growth areas west of Toronto. There is no question about the pressures being put on both areas due to population growth.
In the case of Peel, we acknowledge the need for more beds. Again, that is past the study stage and at the point at which I think we will be able to indicate a further expansion of Peel Memorial Hospital.
SUBSIDIZED RENTAL HOUSING
Mr. Gordon: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. Will the minister give us a commitment today to take advantage of the inherent flexibility built into the rent supplement program to lever more apartment units for those in dire need of rental accommodation in Sudbury? At the present time, we have the intolerable situation of 196 families being in the dire-need category with the Sudbury District Housing Authority.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, I am at the moment reviewing, with the Sudbury District Housing Authority, the rating system in relation to the 196 families or thereabouts who require units.
I am aware that in the Sudbury area a number of units which are currently owned by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. are for sale, but have been repossessed. We will commence to negotiate with CMHC the possibility of using some of those units for our rent supplement program. I offer to the members of this House that, while the situation in Sudbury as described by the member for Sudbury (Mr. Gordon) is important, we have the same problem in several other communities.
I re-emphasize that, if we are to try to respond to the needs of those communities, it will be because we have a federal-provincial co-operative program. If I can get a further allocation of units from the federal government through CMHC, we shall be able to respond in a positive way to the needs in those communities to a greater degree than we are able to do at the moment.
I shall again attempt to negotiate with Mr. LeBlanc some further allocation, in the case of Sudbury in particular, and for some of the other communities where we have a high waiting list requirement for publicly assisted units.
Mr. Gordon: Is the minister aware that in Sudbury we have 3,000 workers in the resource field who were laid off and, of course, many of those workers now are receiving unemployment insurance? Some of them will find themselves on welfare shortly and are going to be in dire need of housing. I ask the minister if he is prepared really to go after the federal people to provide the funds and help that is necessary.
Mr. Gordon: I see the New Democrats are taking issue with me and are laughing at the problems of the people of Sudbury.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Gordon: I might say to those New Democrats who are laughing at these people that, if they think they are the only people who can talk for their constituents, I have to tell them they are all wrong.
Mr. Speaker: Will the member for Sudbury please resume his seat?
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: When I got up and engaged in this sort of thing -- you can check the record -- you suggested I was going to find my way out.
Mr. Speaker: No, I did not.
Mr. Martel: Yes, Mr. Speaker, you certainly did. You said, "This is the last time I am going to tell the member for Sudbury East." You might do the same to your side of the House.
Mr. Speaker: With all respect --
Mr. Martel: No, not with all respect.
Mr. Speaker: You have been warned so many times.
Mr. Martel: You play that game all the time.
Mr. Speaker: I did call him to order; the honourable minister.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Knowing the great understanding that northerners have among themselves regardless of their political allegiance, and knowing there are members from Sudbury representing other political causes in the federal government, I suggest that the member for Sudbury and the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel) might like to approach the federal minister who represents that part of Ontario, Judy Erola, and ask her if she would like to give them some help in trying to secure from Mr. LeBlanc an extra allocation for Sudbury. Knowing the importance of that allocation, Elie, you and Jim could get together, and I am sure between the two of you, could impress upon Judy the importance of this extra allocation.
Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, did you hear that? He addressed me by my first name. Are you prepared to tell him what you told Bob Rae yesterday?
Mr. Speaker: I think all honourable members are well aware they must refer to the members by the names of their ridings and not by the names of the members. I point that out to the minister.
Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, you only notice when it is from this side of the House.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I ask the record be so corrected.
Mr. Speaker: Thank you. The time for oral questions has expired.
Hon. Mr. Ashe: Finally.
Mr. Speaker: Many minutes ago.
Mr. Gordon: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: The point I would make is that, given the fact the New Democrats laughed when I brought up the business of 3,000 workers receiving unemployment insurance in Sudbury, I think it is about time the member for Sudbury East met with me to see what is wrong.
Mr. Speaker: That is not a point of order. Will the member for Sudbury resume his seat, please?
Mr. Martel: Here we go again.
Mr. Speaker: Yes, but he is a new member, and you are not.
Mr. Martel: I know. He is a slow learner.
ASSISTANCE TO FARMERS
Mr. Riddell: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: I want to make this point of privilege while the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Timbrell) is still within hearing distance. The minister has led us to believe that before this session ended, he would be making an announcement about the beginning farmers' program and, accordingly, my colleagues and I have been conveying that same message to the farmers right across the province.
It is my understanding we are heading for adjournment, perhaps today, and the minister still has not made an announcement about the beginning farmers' program. Many of these young farmers are holding off on the closing of their deals with the Farm Credit Corp. until they find out what the minister has in mind in connection with the beginning farmers' program. Could we hear something today, assuming we may not be back on Thursday?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to deal with the point of privilege or order; I am not sure which. I was speaking with one of his colleagues.
Mr. Speaker: It was neither, really.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: We covered the matter in estimates last Wednesday afternoon. I shared with the member the fact that the cabinet of this province approved our proposals two weeks ago, and we are waiting on the approval of the federal Minister of Agriculture to conclude our discussions with the Farm Credit Corp. When we have that finished, I will announce all the details.
The most important question the member has been asking me is the effective date of the program. I told him last week; it is May 10, the date of the budget.
TELEVISION IN LEGISLATURE
Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, a point of information or a point of interest: Will the Speaker take note that our friends who led the fight for television coverage, once again left shortly after the two leaders raised their questions. I draw that to your attention, because they led the fight for television coverage and they are never here to provide that television coverage.
Mr. Speaker: I am sure that those responsible will take note of that.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: I would like you to rule on the last exchange between the member for Huron-Middlesex (Mr. Riddell) and the Minister of Agriculture and Food. Was that a point of order or an extension of question period?
Mr. Speaker: As I said, and the member obviously missed it, it was neither. It was not a point of privilege. It was not a point of order. However, it was a point of interest. It think the honourable member rose on a point to --
Mr. Wildman: He asked a question.
Mr. Speaker: No, he did not ask a question.
Mr. Breaugh: It sure sounded like it.
Mr. Speaker: He phrased it very carefully; that the minister had said a statement would be made before the House adjourned. The minister consequently explained his actions.
Hon. Mr. Wells moved that the following committees be authorized to meet during the summer adjournment in accordance with the schedule of meetings agreed to by the three party whips and tabled today.
The standing committee on social development, to consider Bill 42 and the annual report of the Ministry of Community and Social Services; the standing committee on resources development, to consider the document, Reshaping Workers' Compensation for Ontario, and the government of Ontario white paper on the Workers' Compensation Act; the standing committee on public accounts; the standing committee on procedural affairs; the select committee on the Ombudsman; the standing committee on members' services, and the standing committee on regulations and other statutory instruments.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I might indicate that when this House does adjourn for the summer there will be approximately 95 private members engaged in committee work. It will total something like 345 hours of work. As I have indicated, there are a number of committees embarking on very important studies. They will be looking at bills, they will be working on the workers' compensation reports, and so forth.
Motion agreed to.
AUTHORIZATION TO TRAVEL
Hon. Mr. Wells moved that the following committees be authorized to travel during the summer adjournment. The select committee on the Ombudsman, to Vancouver, BC, the week of September 11, 1983; the standing committee on members' services, to Victoria, BC, the week of August 28, 1983; the standing committee on procedural affairs, to Washington, DC, the week of October 2, 1983; the standing committee on public accounts, to Washington, DC, the week of October 2, 1983; and the standing committee on social development, to adjourn from place to place in Ontario, if required, during one week in the period September 9 to October 7, 1983.
Motion agreed to.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
EXECUTIVE COUNCIL AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Wells moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. Gregory, first reading of Bill 77, An Act to amend the Executive Council Act.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this bill is twofold. It brings up to date and changes the names of the ministries listed under the act and it also provides, in accordance with the recommendation of the Commission on Election Contributions and Expenses and in conformity with the Inflation Restraint Board, increases for various ministers, etc., of 4.86 per cent.
LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Wells moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. Gregory, first reading of Bill 78, An Act to amend the Legislative Assembly Act. Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, this bill does several things. It changes the remuneration for members of the assembly and others who have special responsibilities, again in accordance with the recommendation of the Commission on Election Contributions and Expenses and in conformity with the Inflation Restraint Board. The indemnity is raised by 4.86 per cent and the expense allowance by five per cent.
The bill also provides that the Board of Internal Economy can handle matters such as travel allowances, mileage and things like that. It also provides for a procedure for dealing with disciplinary matters and grievances for the staff of the Office of the Assembly.
GOVERNMENT ADVERTISING CONTROL ACT
Mr. Foulds moved, seconded by Mr. Philip, first reading of Bill 79, An Act respecting Advertising by Governmental Organizations.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of the bill is to control the type of advertising placed by the government of Ontario in broadcasting and print media. The bill prohibits the placement of advertisements by the government of Ontario that have the effect of promoting, directly or indirectly, the political party to which the members of the executive council belong.
The bill authorizes the Commission on Election Contributions and Expenses to receive and inquire into complaints concerning government advertising. If the commission determines that a government advertisement does, directly or indirectly, promote the political party to which the members of the executive council belong, the government of Ontario must immediately withdraw the advertisement from further use.
ELECTION FINANCES REFORM AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Foulds moved, seconded by Mr. Philip, first reading of Bill 80, An Act to amend the Election Finances Reform Act.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this bill is to prohibit advertising by the government of Ontario during the course of the provincial election campaign. The bill contains exemptions from the general prohibition for advertising related to the administration of the election and advertising required for emergency purposes.
The purpose of both these bills is to end the crass use of government advertisements by the Conservative Party.
ELECTION FINANCES REFORM AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Philip moved, seconded by Mr. Foulds, first reading of Bill 81, An Act to amend the Election Finances Reform Act.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Philip: Mr. Speaker, the bill is intended to clarify that municipal corporations are not entitled to make contributions under the act. This will close the loophole in the act by which the taxpayers of the city of Peterborough made contributions to the fund-raising dinners of the member for Muskoka (Mr. F. S. Miller) and the member for St. Andrew-St. Patrick (Mr. Grossman).
EMPLOYMENT STANDARDS AMENDMENT ACT
Ms. Bryden moved, seconded by Mr. Mackenzie, first reading of Bill 82, An Act to provide for Equal Pay for Work of Equal Value.
Motion agreed to.
Ms. Bryden: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of the bill is to repeal part IX of the Employment Standards Act entitled "Equal Pay for Equal Work" and replace it with a new part IX entitled "Equal Pay for Work of Equal Value."
The bill requires an employer to pay his or her male and female employees equal amounts for work of equal value. An assessment of the value of work performed may be made by an employment standards officer. In assessing the value of work performed by employees employed in the same establishment, the criterion to be applied is the composite of the skill, effort and responsibility required in the performance of the work and the conditions under which the work is performed. The reduction of wages to achieve compliance is prohibited.
Complaints under part IX may be made by an employee, a class of employees, or an employees' organization. An equal right of appeal for employers and employees from orders made by an employment standards officer under part IX is provided.
VDT OPERATORS' SAFETY ACT
Mr. R. F. Johnston moved, seconded by Mr. Wildman, first reading of Bill 83, An Act for the Protection of Video Display Terminal Operators.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: Mr. Speaker, this is a reintroduction of Bill 18 which we debated in the last session and which has been cleverly amended to make it impossible for the Minister of Labour (Mr. Ramsay) not to adapt it for his own purposes and bring in regulations to protect video display terminal operators in Ontario.
Mr. Charlton: Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the member for Cornwall (Mr. Samis), that leave be given to introduce the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel).
Mr. Speaker: Carried.
Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, as I move to introduce my bill, I would ask you to inform the House that I did move this bill in 1980-81, but a year in this place is so happy it goes by without us knowing it.
Mr. Speaker: I would be happy to so inform the House.
ONTARIO LAND INFORMATION ACT
Mr. Martel moved, seconded by Mr. Renwick, first reading of Bill 84, An Act respecting a Register of Ontario Land Information.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of the bill is to authorize the creation of a public register showing the ownership of all privately held land in Ontario, the use of the land and whether its owner is a resident or nonresident of Canada. Every owner, purchaser or vendor of an interest in land in Ontario would be subject to a recording requirement, and maybe at last we would find out who owns Ontario.
EASTERN PENTECOSTAL BIBLE COLLEGE ACT
Mr. Pollock moved, seconded by Mr. MacQuarrie, first reading of Bill Pr34, An Act respecting Eastern Pentecostal Bible College.
Motion agreed to.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
The following bills were given third reading on motion:
Bill 58, An Act to amend the Municipal Act.
Bill 64, An Act respecting certain Health Facilities.
Bill 66, An Act to amend the Workers' Compensation Act.
UNITED NATIVE FRIENDSHIP CENTRE ACT
Mr. T. P. Reid moved second reading of Bill Pr18, An Act to revive the United Native Friendship Centre.
Motion agreed to.
Third reading also agreed to on motion.
BERNARD BETEL CENTRE FOR CREATIVE LIVING ACT
Mr. Cousens moved second reading of Bill Pr20, An Act respecting the Bernard Betel Centre for Creative Living.
Motion agreed to.
Third reading also agreed to on motion.
STAR OF PROGRESS SPIRITUAL CHURCH ACT
Ms. Fish moved second reading of Bill Pr23, An Act to revive the Star of Progress Spiritual Church.
Motion agreed to.
Third reading also agreed to on motion.
MORTON TERMINAL LIMITED ACT
Mr. Newman moved second reading of Bill Pr27, An Act respecting Morton Terminal Limited.
Motion agreed to.
Third reading also agreed to on motion.
ANDONALD ENTERPRISES LIMITED ACT
Ms. Fish moved second reading of Bill Pr29, An Act to revive Andonald Enterprises Limited.
Motion agreed to.
Third reading also agreed to on motion.
ST. AUGUSTINE'S SEMINARY OF TORONTO ACT
Mr. Robinson moved second reading of Bill Pr35, An Act respecting St. Augustine's Seminary of Toronto.
Motion agreed to.
Third reading also agreed to on motion.
PUBLIC SERVICE SUPERANNUATION AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Wiseman moved second reading of Bill 65, An Act to amend the Public Service Superannuation Act.
Mr. Breithaupt: Mr. Speaker, I presume the minister does not have a particular statement with respect to this bill.
Mr. Speaker: Does the minister have an opening statement?
Hon. Mr. Wiseman: Mr. Speaker, perhaps if I were to read this it would eliminate any questions the members may have. This amendment deletes the requirement from section 20 of the act that a survivor spouse's pension terminates upon his or her remarriage. It is in line with a similar amendment made in March 1983 by regulation under the Power Corporation Act, which deleted a similar provision in the Ontario Hydro pension and insurance plan.
The same type of amendments have also recently been made to British Columbia and to Quebec pension plans. The amendment is retroactive as far as eligibility is concerned, so that any spouse whose allowance has been discontinued in the past because of his or her remarriage, can apply to have it reinstated. The payments would recommence effective the first day of the month following royal assent and would be in the same monthly amounts that they would have been had they not been discontinued. In other words, the recipients will receive the same inflationary adjustments as pension persons whose allowance has not been discontinued.
We estimate that a maximum of 414 pensions have been terminated because of remarriages in the past 20 years, and we can expect that because of deaths, etc., only about 75 per cent of them will apply for reinstatement. The ongoing annual costs of this will be approximately $858,800 plus some additional administrative costs.
In cases where payments are currently being made to a deceased pensioner's children because of the remarriage of his widow, these children will not be cut off but will continue to receive allowances until they are 18 or, if they are still being educated on a full-time basis, until they are 25. This, of course, will result in a double payment being made for a time in some cases.
Subsection 20(8) has been amended to make it clear that only the child or children of the original pensioner receive the survivor's allowance and not the children of his widow's second marriage.
There will be no restrictions upon a remarried spouse receiving more than one pension if he or she survives two superannuated marriage partners. There will also be no reduction or adjustment to the allowances where a payment has been made to a deceased contributor's estate because of a remarriage of his or her spouse. The aim of this amendment is to treat pensions as property earned by the contributor rather than as instruments of social policy.
This may answer some of the questions of the member for Erie (Mr. Haggerty), who had to leave and go back to his riding, about the age of children and whether children were involved in the legislation.
I understand the member for Kitchener (Mr. Breithaupt) will be saying something on this subject. I refer him to pages 16 and 18 of the Public Service Superannuation Act, which deals with children up to the age of 18 who are not attending school and makes reference to the payment for children up to the age of 25 when they are being educated in colleges or universities.
I should mention that many members have got in touch with roe and the Chairman of Management Board and others about this amendment. There was one woman who wrote quite a few times, and I am sure she will be quite happy to see this go through. She is a Mrs. Ruth Holmes of London. The Minister of Industry and Trade (Mr. Walker) has talked to me on many occasions about this woman.
It is a good amendment and I hope the members will support it.
Mr. Breithaupt: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in support of this bill. As the minister mentioned, my colleague the member for Erie had to return to his constituency this afternoon and asked me to attend to make some comments on this bill on his behalf.
When we look at the throne speech that opened this session, it was interesting to read on page 16 of that speech one brief paragraph which I will refresh the members' memories with. The paragraph read by His Honour was as follows:
"The Public Service Superannuation Act will be amended to eliminate the unfair practice of discontinuing a survivor's pension upon remarriage. This change will apply retroactively to those individuals, mostly women, who have been inadvertently penalized by the current provisions."
That commitment by the government was certainly welcome, because in that throne speech it was about the only specific proposal that was placed before this Legislature by the government opposite. Now we have the legislation before us and it certainly is worthy of support.
It was interesting to note that the minister suggested there have been some 400 persons involved in this situation over the past 20 years. The question I would ask to have some elucidation upon would be how the minister proposes to contact and advise all those who may have been cut off in this situation so their particular rights can be revived. This is an area that the minister's opening statement did explain to some degree. I recognize that the particular questions asked by my colleague the member for Erie and some of his concerns were addressed in the minister's opening statement.
We welcome the legislation because it is an area where some hardship will have occurred and where persons really have been dealt with unfairly. Now that we see the government moving to correct those circumstances, it is indeed welcomed by the opposition. However, there is one area that does interest me, and that is the procedure for contacting persons. If the minister can briefly address this in his remarks, I believe there will be no further requirement and the bill can be approved promptly.
Mr. Philip: Mr. Speaker, we welcome this bill. The bill recognizes a basic principle, namely, that a pension is property that has been earned by an employee and that it should be treated as a firm asset belonging to that employee or, after his or her death, to those who represent him.
This amendment is consistent with the feeling of the select committee on pensions, which recommended in its final report in 1982 that a change in the surviving spouse's marital or economic status should not alter the spouse's entitlement to the pension. I think this is a basic principle that is being followed in this bill.
We have all read about numerous cases of injustice before this bill's coming into force. One of the most glaring cases was the one in London, which the minister referred to, where a woman had been married to a public servant who passed away. She began to receive the pension, and then she remarried and lost it. This person married another former public employee, and he passed away; but she was not eligible, because she had married him after he had retired.
In this case the individual suffered double jeopardy and, as a result of this bill, even though it is not retroactive, this same person at least will receive a pension from now on. So we will support the bill and we welcome it.
Ms. Bryden: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased the government has finally recognized that this particular provision in the present act discriminated against and penalized women in most cases. It is another small step the government is taking towards bringing about equality for women and removing discriminatory clauses.
I hope, though, that it is only the beginning of action by the government to remove many other discriminatory situations that affect women in this province, and I hope the government will not consider that long-overdue legislation is the real answer to many of the problems.
The bringing in of the drop-out clause after many years of resisting it is something this province should be apologizing for, because they kept women waiting so long. In addition, this particular piece of legislation has required amendment for many years. I hope this is only the beginning of a recognition by the government that there are many discriminatory sections in our legislation that need to be reviewed and revised.
Hon. Mr. Wiseman: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable members for their comments.
I would like to say to the member for Kitchener, who asked how we would notify these people, that it will be up to the surviving spouse to get in touch with us. We will advertise, but we have no way of checking to see whether the 412 people are alive at this time. I am sure that once this becomes public through some advertising, people who have a claim against this -- some of those 412 -- will come forward and be reinstated.
I thank the member for Etobicoke (Mr. Philip) for his comments. I appreciate the comments of the member for Beaches-Woodbine (Ms. Bryden), but I would just like to tell her that this legislation does apply to men and women. I know she was concerned with the women; but just in case someone misunderstood it, it does apply to men as well, so it is very equal and very fair. I do appreciate her comments and I am glad she supports the amendment.
Motion agreed to.
Third reading also agreed to on motion.
RETAIL SALES TAX AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Ashe moved second reading of Bill 73, An Act to amend the Retail Sales Tax Act.
Hon. Mr. Ashe: Mr. Speaker, this bill implements the announcement on June 17 by the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) that extends to November 7, 1983, from the previous date of August 8, 1983, the appliances that were given a temporary exemption in the May budget of the Treasurer.
Because there seemed to be a little confusion in some parts of the media after the Treasurer's announcement last week, I think it is only fair to make sure it is on the public record that there is no extension to the period of time when the appliances can be purchased. They still must be purchased on or before August 8, 1983, though the delivery period has now been made coincident with that made for the purchase of other household furniture, as announced in the same budget.
We are pleased to bring forth this piece of legislation. It indicates the wisdom and the acceptance of that portion of the Treasurer's budget, and it will be one further stimulus in the Ontario economy in the next short period of time.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Speaker, we agree.
Mr. Breaugh: We too, Mr. Speaker.
Motion agreed to.
Third reading also agreed to on motion.
EXPROPRIATIONS AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. McMurtry moved second reading of Bill 72, An Act to amend the Expropriations Act.
Mr. Breithaupt: Mr. Speaker, I realize this bill is not printed. Could I have at least a typescript copy of it? It would be helpful.
The Deputy Speaker: What is it called?
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: I might as well say it now rather than supposedly on the principle of the bill. I am sure you would agree that our sessions hardly would be complete if the Attorney General did not shamble in during the last 10 minutes and suggest to the government House leader (Mr. Wells) that a bill that is not even printed, has not been brought before any caucus, should be passed immediately. He looks deeply into the eyes of the Attorney General's critics on each side, they exchange significant glances and away it goes.
I asked him for a copy and he sent me over a typescript copy.
The Deputy Speaker: What is it called again?
Mr. Nixon: The Expropriations Amendment Act, 1983.
I am sure, like most of the things the Attorney General does, it is completely innocuous. I do not think there is any problem at all with proceeding with it, but surely he must have a little more respect for his House leader, who has been working very hard to get the business of the House ordered in such a way that we can get to the end without some of the sensitive people in the opposition getting up and venting what is almost rage.
I do not suppose it really matters what we do about this, but it could have been the vehicle for some sort of discussion about the Land Compensation Board, which has worked so effectively and which the minister is now dissolving in that great morass of the Ontario Municipal Board, which is taking on more and more of its responsibilities. I guess we do not have any objections officially, but I have some personally.
The Deputy Speaker: That is a point of order. Do you want to speak to second reading now?
Mr. Nixon: No.
The Deputy Speaker: Does anyone want to speak to second reading of this bill that is not printed?
Mr. Breithaupt: Mr. Speaker, the only comments I would make with respect to this bill are to deal with the matter of the amalgamation of the membership, which had been done by cross-appointment, and to raise some concerns with respect to the staff appointments of those civil servants who are and have been working for the Land Compensation Board and for the Ontario Municipal Board.
As the Attorney General mentioned in our brief discussion during the question period, the purpose of these amendments is to clarify, as I understand it, some concerns which the chairman of the Ontario Municipal Board has as to the propriety and authority of certain members sitting on particular matters. To resolve that concern, this amendment is before us, and it is one I am prepared to accept.
I agree with the comments of my House leader concerning the opportunity we might have had to discuss the activities of the Land Compensation Board and to see the projections as to the benefits that are to be received by the people of Ontario as a result of the amalgamation and cross-posting of the various persons who are involved in this situation. The Ontario Municipal Board, however, is to continue after this experience of a separate Land Compensation Board fades into the memory of our collective legislative conscience.
I would appreciate hearing from the Attorney General in particular on the matter of the protection and involvement of staff personnel who had been working for the Land Compensation Board. Interestingly enough, a week or so ago I received a call from a person involved with the Land Compensation Board, inquiring as to whether the Liberal opposition was going to support this legislation. Of course, at that time my only response was that we had not seen the legislation as yet; however, in the absence of any comments one way or the other, the bill likely would go through the Legislature.
The person who called me mentioned that there were concerns among some members of the staff as to their job retention and their circumstances, and I agreed that I certainly would at least raise this point to have the Attorney General clarify what the expectations are for those persons who have been involved as civil servants working on the staff of the Land Compensation Board.
If that is resolved, then obviously we have no further comment to make on the amalgamation itself. This has become a matter of government policy, which changes from time to time, since those days when the Land Compensation Board was first formed as a bold new experiment to have particularly qualified persons deal with the mathematical results, shall I say, as compared with the Ontario Municipal Board's more traditional involvement in the review of certain bylaws and certain other municipal activities.
There was the attempt to divide these responsibilities, I hope in the name of efficiency and in the name of specialization. Now we find this example has drawn to an end. I would appreciate hearing from the Attorney General as to his expectations of the operation of this new organization once the Land Compensation Board is no more as a result of this amendment.
We are prepared to accept the amendment. I look forward to having the Attorney General's comments on the points I have raised.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, we in this caucus support the bill as put before us. Actually, it gives effect to what took place a couple of years ago, when all of the appointments were cross- appointments interchangeable between the two boards, and it is now time to consolidate the activities of the Land Compensation Board formally in the Ontario Municipal Board.
One must not think for a moment, of course, that this will make any really significant or substantial change. The work of the Ontario Municipal Board not only is in a state of disarray but also has very substantial arrears. I have no objection, nor do members of my caucus, with whom I spoke this afternoon at the urgent request of the Attorney General, to the fact that the bill be dealt with this afternoon. But the bill, of course, will not solve any of the problems.
Fortunately. we are in the midst of the Attorney General's estimates, and either later on this week, should the House still be in session, or early in the resumed session in the fall we will have an opportunity to discuss the work of the Ontario Municipal Board, particularly with respect to the vexed questions of the immense arrears of assessment appeals before that board.
It is, as the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon) had to say, an innocuous piece of legislation. It will not affect the world in any real sense, except with regard to the point made by my colleague the member for Kitchener, and that is the concern, which I expressed to the Attorney General, that he give this House an accurate and complete assurance there will be no loss of employment as a result of the passage of this bill. I cannot conceive that there would be a loss of employment, considering that the board has so much work and the number of the members of the board is in the process of being increased, as I understand it, and I am sure he will be readily able to give that assurance to us.
Mr. Conway: Are you available for some work?
Mr. Renwick: Frankly no, I am not; I would not want any misunderstanding about that. The last place I would like to go is the Ontario Municipal Board. I would rather stay here; it is much more stimulating, particularly the stimulation of an afternoon such as this, and the debate on such a bill as this.
Mr. Speaker, it is with something less than enthusiasm, but it is with the agreement of the New Democratic Party; we agree on the passage of this bill this afternoon.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I would like to express my appreciation to the members opposite for their co-operation in dealing with this legislation at this time. I would also like to apologize to them for shambling in at the last moment, as the distinguished member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk has pointed out.
I know I will be expressing the appreciation of the hardworking chairman of the Ontario Municipal Board, Mr. Henry Stewart, who called today requesting I approach the opposition party with a view to early passage of the bill. He indicated that although for all practical purposes the boards had been amalgamated since October 1981, as the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick) has pointed out, there is a problem with respect to quorums that will be solved with this legislation.
It will assist in a resolution, to some modest extent at least, of the problems of backlogs raised by the member for Riverdale inasmuch as they can have a better allocation of board members with respect to dealing with the backlog.
The passage of this legislation will not affect any of the employees of the two boards. No one will lose his job as a result of the passage of this legislation.
Again, I would like to thank the members opposite for their spirit of co-operation in the public interest.
Motion agreed to.
Third reading also agreed to on motion.
The Deputy Speaker: Are there any more surprises?
LABOUR RELATIONS AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Ramsay moved second reading of Bill 62, An Act to amend the Labour Relations Act.
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, two weeks ago today I spoke at some length about the rationale for introducing an expressed prohibition against professional strikebreaking into the Labour Relations Act.
The proposed amendment is in keeping with the government's commitment to incremental legislative reform to meet emerging problems which threaten labour-management stability in this province.
Other provinces have preceded Ontario in enacting legislation to prohibit the disruptive influence of third parties during labour disputes. However, this bill before the House is unique. It is at once a measured and innovative response to the problem of professional strikebreaking.
The protection afforded by the proposed section 71a is twofold:
First, the section creates an offence based upon particular strike-related misconduct, whether perpetrated by an employer, an agent of an employer or a striking employee. The act also creates what may be described as the status offence of professional strikebreaking.
A person who is not a party to a labour dispute, but whose primary object is to interfere with the exercise of rights during the dispute, is a professional strikebreaker for the purposes of the section. I have referred to this provision as a status offence because a person's primary objective can be deduced from statements or representations, as well as inferred from actual conduct.
The bill affords protection proportionate to the apparent mischief caused by the interference of certain security firms with the rights of trade unions and their members. It does not prevent an employer from continuing to operate during a lawful work stoppage, nor does it prevent the employer from retaining the services of a security firm to protect its property or personnel during a labour dispute.
The bill is simply intended to prohibit provocative and disruptive conduct which holds the potential for escalating disputes and prolonging their resolution.
Once again, I believe this proposed legislation illustrates the government's determination to create and maintain the conditions necessary for stable and effective collective bargaining relationships in this province.
Mr. Wrye: Mr. Speaker, our party will gladly support the amendment and the legislation proposed by the Minister of Labour. For our part, we can only say it is long overdue.
I want to make a few remarks because, as the minister knows, we will ask that the bill go to the committee of the whole House and we will be moving some amendments because we believe the present wording of Bill 62, in a number of cases, is a little too narrow and could cause some problems.
Basically, this bill creates three new offences: engaging in strike-related misconduct, retaining the services of a professional strikebreaker and acting as a professional strikebreaker.
The first offence does not speak of a particular person, but rather of particular behaviour. It is not directed at strikebreakers per se. It is illegal for anyone, and not only strikebreakers, to engage in strike-related misconduct. Thus, it is behaviour itself which is now offensive.
The definition of strike-related misconduct, however, really has two critical components. I submit both are quite deliberate in terms of the drafting of this legislation. First, while the course of conduct described is quite broad and even includes the catch-all, to quote the bill, "or any like course," it should be noted that the conduct must be intended -- and I emphasize the words must be intended -- to interfere. The reference to specific intention is significant because it introduces a criminal law concept in this legislation.
It is not enough for the course of conduct to have resulted merely in an obstruction or interference, for example. Those results must have been specifically intended from the very beginning of the activity. That may seem to be merely a legal distinction, but I submit it is not.
I draw the attention of the members to the experience of the hate propaganda section of the Criminal Code where this very situation has resulted because of the judicial interpretation given by the courts to the term "intended." If the wording remains as it is, a nonprofessional strikebreaker engaged in strike-related misconduct will have a good prima facie defence merely by alleging and raising evidence to the effect that he did not specifically intend his surveillance to interfere with the right under this act.
At the appropriate time, we will propose a specific, simple amendment of the section to insert the word "that" in place of "intended to" and alter the verb tenses accordingly. In our judgement, that is an effective way to pre-empt the problem.
The other problem is that strike-related misconduct must occur in anticipation of, or during, a lawful strike or lockout. In other words, misconduct such as infiltration and surveillance, though it may be reprehensible or repugnant, will not be caught by the section unless it occurs in anticipation of or during a strike.
Some may argue the act provides other remedies for unfair practices during nonstrikerelated situations. But this is not necessarily true in all cases of misconduct; the activity of surveillance comes to mind. Thus we regret the definition, in these terms, is so narrow.
The second offence created through this legislation, retaining the services of a professional strikebreaker, is in our belief a little weak because the term "retain" is not defined. I wonder whether this will cause problems. It has, for example, a precise meaning in the legal context requiring, among other things, the exchange of funds. If this meaning were applied, there might conceivably be problems in cases where no obvious consideration of funds has been exchanged. To avoid those problems at the appropriate time we propose that the term "use" should replace the term "retain."
The third offence makes it unlawful to be a strikebreaker, On the surface, it appears to be quite hard-hitting, but on examination of the definition of a strikebreaker, we again see two potential weaknesses.
The first is the term "primary object" and the problem is the question as to whether the prohibited behaviour is the person's primary object. For example, what if the gathering of industrial intelligence is the primary object and the disruption that the act and the amendments speak of is the secondary object? This defence seems to me to be now available.
The effect of the phrase "primary object" is to allow casual strikebreakers on to the premises. However, in my view, a better phrasing than "primary object" would be the insertion of the words "who purposefully" in place of "whose primary object in the board's opinion."
That leads me to the second concern I have about the definition and that is "in the board's opinion." Our concern is there must first be a determination by the board before the course of conduct is proscribed. This in turn means there must be a complaint by a party to the dispute. This will involve an expenditure of time and money before the repugnant behaviour this bill seeks to remedy is prohibited. It seems to me there should be a presumption that such behaviour is bad.
We have those concerns, but I want to say in support of the bill, and the general sense and principle of the legislation, that it is long overdue. I note with some interest that in the compendium to the bill the results of the Ontario Labour Relations Board findings in the Securicor and Automotive Hardware situation are appended in their entirety.
It is very interesting to me and my colleagues that, in its decision, the board would start out by pointing to the preamble to the Labour Relations Act:
"It is in the public interest of the province of Ontario to further harmonious relations between employers and employees by encouraging the practice and procedure of collective bargaining between employers and trade unions as the freely designated representatives of employees."
I am sure we are all familiar with that and it seems to me this gets us back on the road to having that harmonious relationship. Clearly it is not, and cases like Automotive Hardware prove it, in the best interests of the employees -- in this case members of the United Steelworkers of America -- to have had the kind of infiltration and disruption of their activities as has been noted in this one case, and has happened in other cases.
I would argue it is also not in the best interests of the employers of Ontario. In this case, and I think it is a significant one, the strike dragged on for some additional period of time because of the activities of those professional strikebreakers. As a result, I think it is fair to suggest that firm was unnecessarily hurt by the activities of the strikebreaking firm.
We are pleased the government has finally come forward with a proposal to end categorically this repugnant practice in the province. We will support the legislation in principle, and we will attempt to propose improvements which I hope the minister will accept when we get into committee.
Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, we will support the bill that is before us, Bill 62. I want to congratulate the government and the minister on finally recognizing the enormity of the problem we have had in Ontario in terms of the activities of firms such as Securicor. We hope we are not dealing with just symbolism or a perception of the answer being the reality in terms of this bill. We do not think the bill is what it should be. It is not nearly strong enough and it is not the bill we would have brought in. I want to make that clear.
If one is going to have fairness in a legal strike situation in this province, one has to have legislation such as Quebec has decided on that prevents the taking of another man's job in a legal strike situation. It is as simple as that. There is also the moving of materials in or out of a plant.
I think it was the list of events, including Central Precision and culminating with the Automotive Hardware OLRB decision, that finally outlined the plain and simple truth of harassment, infiltration, suggestions of committing illegal and even criminal acts, that probably made the case come to the point where this government could no longer refuse to bring in legislation.
Perhaps it was also some of the questions being raised and what was going on in a number of other strike situations -- Central Precision obviously being one of them -- where the unfairness of the situation was underlined. There was a legal strike situation of a number of employees who, I think, typified the best employees in Ontario in terms of their honesty, their hard work, and their own family and personal backgrounds.
Yet some 27 of the 110-odd employees ended up being arrested as a result of information charges by Securicor. It effectively removed the effective leadership from that picket line situation, by very minor charges in most cases.
The incident yesterday in the Viceroy Rubber and Plastics Ltd. situation here in Toronto disturbs me no end. I am sure the minister is aware of the activities there of Ronald Bruhm who has bought that company. He has quite a record of being extremely anti-union. I am sure the minister will find out if he does some checking on some of Bruhm's other operations.
He has decided he is going to take on those workers. Indeed, the day before they were in a position for a legal strike situation, he locked them out. It got so bad yesterday he drove a truck through the line with some of the strikebreakers.
The minister also knows one of the plant employees was hit and taken to hospital. Fortunately, it would appear his injuries were not severe. Yesterday's incident resulted in confrontation and a reaction by the plant's employees. It is something I can well understand.
I have been through enough of these situations myself to know the anger that was generated amongst those workers as a result of the cars carrying the strikebreakers through the line in that operation, going through at such a pace that a striker was hit and injured.
We have seen all too much of that kind of activity in Ontario in the last year or two. I happen to think it is a sign of the times. When things are tough, the employers in some cases decide they are going to take on the union; they are going to knock back some of the workers' rights.
The perception of workers in the province is one of not getting a fair shake. We have tried to make that point with the minister. We are not trying to be nasty or create a situation in the community. We are just trying to point out that almost everything that happens leads to that perception.
With the kinds of situations we have had, there was an obvious need for legislation. I think some of the shortcomings in the legislation, two or three of them pointed out by my Liberal colleague, are fairly obvious.
I am not sure this bill will deal with such situations as the one that came to light in the last few weeks at Bedford Bedding and Upholstery Co. Ltd. It was not a strike situation; it was an attempt to organize a plant of some 130 workers.
One finds a union sitting with close to 55 per cent of the cards and, all of a sudden, they thought they found this same Securicor outfit had four employees in the plant hired within the last few weeks. Whether there is a little bit of a loosening up of the information at the registrar's office or not, I do not know, but when we called the registrar we found out that, not only are those four people employees of Securicor, but they were ready to give us two more names if we wanted them.
Why in blazes has this company infiltrated that plant with employees of a firm notorious for strikebreaking if it is not to do what it can to see there is no certification, no union in there in the first place?
We have some serious doubts about this bill. I wish that rather than the British Columbia approach, the Minister of Labour (Mr. Ramsay) had decided on the Quebec approach and brought an element of equality into a legal strike situation. I recognize that is not a popular position in Ontario today, but it is certainly what we would have liked to see.
I have a number of concerns with the bill, but we have made a conscious decision not to try to amend it. If I had my druthers, I would just as soon not try to amend Tory legislation. I usually find it is not that good legislation to begin with. I do not really want to be part of trying to plug the loopholes or improving it.
That may sound a little harsh, but that is a personal feeling and not necessarily the position of my colleagues or of this caucus. But by the same token, we recognize the value of the bill that is before us as being a recognition of a serious situation in Ontario.
We also recognize that the workers in Ontario and their unions are going to have to go to the board, using this section. Because of some of the doubts I have about whether it is a little too narrow, or just how strong the bill is, I suspect they are going to have to go before the board, based on the new sections we have and section 64 of the Labour Relations Act.
I am also sure we are going to have to depend on the kind of judgements we get from the board. That always bothers me. That is why I would like to see the legislation a little tighter, because we may not always have the personnel; we will certainly have unions, particularly some of the smaller or weaker unions, that do not have the resources, the staff or the competence to fight a case. The Steelworkers, in the Automotive Hardware case, went through almost a year and a good many hearings before the Ontario Labour Relations Board. That is why it would be useful to have the legislation a little tighter.
I want to raise some of our concerns with the minister. Some of them are similar to those that were outlined by my colleague in the Liberal Party. In subsection 71a(1) of the bill, would "strike-related misconduct" cover a situation such as infiltration of a union in an organizing effort, as we had at Bedford Bedding?
It raises a serious question. It is exactly the same kind of firm that has been doing the dirty work in these situations. It is the same kind of firm in Ontario, and it is pulling this kind of stunt when it is just a step ahead of a legal strike situation.
Will this section be able to deal with a situation like that? I think it may be a little too narrow and we are going to have to use other sections of the act. If we find we are into delays and long cases before the board, that is going to be a serious problem.
In clause 71a(2)(a), "'professional strikebreaker' means a person who is not involved in a dispute," and the phrase "whose primary object" bothers us. I guess it is once again a question of whether we are going to be arguing interpretations before the board in terms of this legislation. What is the primary objective? As has already been said, they could be there to provide security and, incidentally, to cause problems on a picket line.
In clause 71a(2)(b), "a course of conduct" bothers us a little because it seems to indicate a pattern of activity is necessary. Is that the case, or can there be one incident or one action that should clearly make the case? I think when Mr. Ivers was counselling theft by officers of the local, obviously to put them on the spot, or was suggesting certain things they could do such as blowing up or ripping up the railway tracks into the plant, that should be enough.
Are we once again into a question of interpretation by such words as "course of conduct" in that section and "intended to interfere with" as the necessary approving intention? It sounds as if it should be fairly straightforward, but it bothers me a little bit whether the case can be made that the intention was to interfere with the rights of the workers and the unions in a case like this.
The burden of proof, the onus, should be on the employers. We would like to see that a little clearer. Why "lawful strike or lockout"? I make the point with the minister that an agent provocateur such we had in the Automotive Hardware case could be there to provoke a situation deliberately in a strike and create an unlawful situation. Are we covered in that case? I am not sure.
There are a number of amendments we could have made to this legislation. In making our decision, I have no hesitation in telling the minister and this House that we consulted at considerable length with a fair number of people in the trade union movement and found out we had a situation in the province that is bad enough that we want to see what this legislation does. We do not think it is the answer.
The trade union movement would be extremely happy with my Bill 12 or a variation of it that we have here. In the meantime, if this is all we have to hang our hat on, let us find out if the interpretations are going to be that narrow and what kind of a problem it is going to cause us. If it is going to cause us problems and if the minister has not dealt with the serious situation out there in the community, then he can bet his bottom dollar we are going to be back and so is the entire labour movement and they will be twice as angry as they have been up until now on this issue. That is the point I would like to leave with the minister.
This kind of a bill would not have prevented the death of brother Claude Dougdeen in the Alcan situation. That would be much better dealt with by legislation dealing specifically with the problem of replacing workers on their job, their livelihood, when they finally do make the decision to go into a legal strike. That is really the route I wish we had gone.
We have not yet heard any result, and I know this bill was not intended to deal with that situation, but I cannot finish here without suggesting to the minister that it is almost inconceivable to me, to my colleagues, to almost anybody I have talked to in the labour relations field, certainly to the trade union movement -- and I might tell the minister, to my surprise, even to some management people I discussed it with -- that the Solicitor General (Mr. G. W. Taylor) up to this time has not removed the licence from Mr. Ivers. He has not seen to it that he is no longer a licensed private investigator in Ontario and he has not removed the licence to operate of Securicor Investigation and Security Ltd.
I suggest also, if there is not fast action, while this may deal with some of the individual strike situations, if there is no action to deal with a firm that just never should have been in business in this province, we are going to see what we already sense happening; that is, a sort of swelling of the organization.
As I am sure the minister is aware, the owners of Securicor have already branched out under three or four different names. At least, the cards we are getting in our strike situations in Ontario name the same principals but give an entirely different security company name. I do not know what he is going to do or how fast he is going to deal with the question of the inadequacies of the licensing agreements and the control of these kinds of security firms, but if we do not have something very quickly we will not even know who we are dealing with, without a fairly long investigation; it may be the very same people who have been causing us problems up until now.
There are a lot of things that are not yet settled in this issue, but we are willing to take this legislation at face value as a recognition by this government that there is a serious situation here, to use it and use it very quickly to find out whether it is going to do the job or whether it is simply too narrow in its definitions.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, my colleague the member for Hamilton East (Mr. Mackenzie), who is much more knowledgeable about these matters than I am, has covered a great number of points about the bill that are of concern to this caucus, though we agree to support it.
We are agreeing to support it basically because it is the first time in the history of Ontario that the term "strikebreaker" has at least appeared in legislation. Of course, all the bill does is create another statutory offence and confer jurisdiction on the Ontario Labour Relations Board to deal with the matter. It will be a long time down the road before there is any definitive adjudication before the board to determine whether the amendment as proposed to us today is adequate to deal with the problem.
I do not often venture to prophesy about what will happen, but we will find it is inadequate because of the circumstances in which it was introduced, the terminology that is used in the bill and the very technical problems that are involved in the language of the bill. I do not intend to go into those matters. We had a thorough discussion in caucus and, as my colleague said, we had a reasonable discussion with knowledgeable representatives in the field of labour law with respect to the terminology of the proposed amendment and we have serious and grave reservations about it.
We accept that mainly these days we must take what crumbs come to us from the government and we trust that our reservations, our scepticism and our cynicism about it will prove unwarranted. I cannot help reiterating what my colleague said. It is inconceivable to me that in the course of conduct that Securicor has been engaged in, not just in Automotive Hardware but in any number of instances that my colleague and others have put on the record in this assembly by way of questions, by way of information and by way of the brief and memorandum prepared for the steelworkers' union, the long list of incidents that have been exacerbated on the picket lines across the province by private investigators licensed by the government, at this time the Solicitor General has not made any statement in this House about the damning judgement issued against Securicor by the Ontario Labour Relations Board.
One wonders what status that board has in the minds of the government when another ministry of the government waits and waits just simply to issue a show-cause statement against Securicor with respect to the suspension of its licence under the Private Investigators and Security Guards Act. I cannot conceive of what they are doing. My guess is that the conspiracy charge that should be used against Automotive Hardware and Securicor will never be laid under the Criminal Code; that we will get a protracted show-cause hearing carried out in a casual way under the Private Investigators and Security Guards Act, and at some point in the distant future that company's right to carry on business in Ontario will be suspended and then withdrawn and it will appear in another form somewhere else.
They will be licensed again. The Ontario Provincial Police will know when their undercover agents are acting as agents provocateurs in strikes and they will pretend that they keep an even hand between labour and management when they know very well who has gone underground and what is taking place.
We will never know the answers to that until such time as this party is the government of the province and we can investigate and find out the extent and degree of the knowledge of the Ontario Provincial Police and of other police forces, derived from the OPP or informed directly to the local police forces in strikes, as to who the people are who are underground in labour disputes and causing the kind of exacerbation of relationships that we do not need in this province.
The minister knows; he comes from a part of the world that is not unknown to have strikes of serious consequence. It is strange that most of these strikes take place in the smaller operations in an attempt to organize, to get a first contract, to get certified in the first place or to obtain a first contract in the second place. That is where the problems occur in Ontario. We never get a single, solitary instance of the willingness of industry in the province to come to grips with the situation which occurs in these exacerbated strike situations.
What we do find is an unwilling government waiting until the very last minute before it takes the kind of action mirrored in Bill 62. It never sits down and says to industry and labour: "Let us solve this problem. What are the limits to which management can go when there is a withdrawal of labour capacity in a lawful strike? What are the limits of what management can do?" We continue to operate in the situation where the police are called in, in many cases are placed in a very difficult situation and in many other instances, as the evidence now shows, they are aware of the activities taking place by agents provocateurs carrying on their business by licence issued by the government under the supervision of the Ontario Provincial Police.
Where is the even hand? Where does the minister think we are going in labour relations in this province if the answer and the sole response is whether or not a union has the strength, capacity and time to take a matter before the Ontario Labour Relations Board under this proposed legislation? He knows as well as I do that the United Steelworkers of America is one of the strongest labour unions in Ontario among many unions which are very weak.
In a relative sense the steelworkers and indeed the United Auto Workers are weak in comparison to the economic power brought to bear constantly by the government in collusion with industry when we are trying to improve labour relations in the province. That kind of collusion is something which we will never be able to get across to the government because it denies it takes place, that it is all even-handed, that the police are there only to keep the peace.
There is never any question raised about the extent of the limitation on management's powers when labour has lawfully withdrawn its capacity to work from a plant in the course of a lawful strike. That is the question the government and this bill are not dealing with. I would have assumed that this minister, in collaboration with the Solicitor General, would have said right off the bat:
"Certainly we will do this. Certainly we will look at Bill 12. We will strike a committee during the summer to study the problem and to get an appropriate amendment to the Labour Relations Act which at least to some extent meets the major concerns of the labour movement in this area which have been in existence for a long time."
He would have said to his colleague, "Will you introduce into the Legislature an amendment to the Private Investigators and Security Guards Act which says very simply that it is prohibited by any private investigator to operate under his licence in any labour dispute in Ontario?"
It is just that simple. There is no place for the private investigator to be hired by management and to take action having anything whatsoever to do with a labour dispute. It is not simply a question of whether or not he carries out the more serious matters identified in the bill in the definitions of strikebreaker and strike-related misconduct.
This is the core problem. The minister has to ask himself, "Why should there be private investigators at all?" If there were security guards protecting the property of a plant prior to a labour dispute in the plant, all right, but under no circumstance can security guards be added to the capacity by management with respect to that plant after a labour dispute has taken place.
Police action should be even-handed; however, this government must learn that in many instances, the police are not taking part in an even-handed operation. It is not even-handed because the government has failed to clearly enunciate the limits that must be imposed and respected by management and what management can do when labour lawfully withdraws its work force from a particular plant. That is what it is about.
Increasingly, we are going to hear the Minister of Industry and Trade (Mr. Walker) talk about leaving the private sector to deal with the problem of unemployment, when the private sector in this province has not in a single, solitary instance voluntarily agreed to try to maintain the labour force at the time that drastic changes are taking place.
To industry in this province, labour is an expendable item. It is that simple. The minister can talk all he wants about social contracts, but this government must understand that if it leaves it to industry, there can be no social contract in this province in which labour can take part. Industry is totally unwilling to face up to its responsibilities with respect to the work force of the province.
It is absolutely surprising, 100 years after John Maynard Keynes's birth, that in Ontario we have a situation whereby the deliberate monetary policy of the government of Canada -- not to mention the monetary effects on Canada of the policies of the United States and Great Britain -- has induced a state of unemployment which has weakened the labour movement in the province to such an extent that it has no way of coping with this onset of violence and other methods by which management is trying in every way it can to destroy the work that many people have put into the labour movement over the years.
We get this inch-by-inch progress which we cannot even call progress, and we have to wait until we get a damning judgement from the Ontario Labour Relations Board before we get this piece of legislation which we are debating today. This is in itself an indictment of the government's policy with respect to management relations with labour.
Let us not kid ourselves. This government and the federal government have absolutely no conception of inducing industry in this province or industry in this country to co-operate with labour in the face of massive unemployment. Industry is taking advantage of the working people in the country at a time when they are weak in their capacity to respond. At a time of insecurity, industry is moving in on the labour movement in a very destructive way.
We continuously hear talk about co-operation, social contracts and tripartite arrangements between industry, labour and government. Those tripartite arrangements will never take place as long as there is a government in Ontario which says that the only way to social justice is by giving everything to private enterprise; that if somewhere down the line there again occurs an opportunity for social justice in the province, it will only be because of the beneficence of private enterprise.
I can tell the minister that if this government follows that course there will come a time when the reaction will set in and people will begin to understand that economic security and economic progress are quite consistent with social justice. That is what this party is saying; that is what this party is trying to say to the government day in and out. But the one does not follow the other, the one does not give way to the other.
The only way in which we can have economic progress, economic justice and economic growth in this province is if the government understands that there has to be social justice. One of the principal components of social justice in this province is the essential necessity for government to say to labour: "Yes, we will stand with you. Yes, we will say to the industry of this province, 'Make certain that in every advance you claim you are going to make in the private marketplace there is a concomitant commitment to labour to honour and respect the dignity of work.'"
Until the minister understands that, we will find a high degree of scepticism, cynicism and, if I may say so, a lack of respect for a government that believes this bill is an answer to the damning indictment of Automotive Hardware and Securicor before the Ontario Labour Relations Act.
My last word this afternoon is to say to the minister to pick up the phone to his colleague the Solicitor General and ask him what he is doing about the conspiracy between Automotive Hardware and Securicor to subvert the laws of Ontario in labour matters. What is he doing about it and what role is the Minister of Labour going to play in making certain he does something about it? The last question is, what role did the Ontario Provincial Police and the Metropolitan Toronto Police play in the Automotive Hardware-Securicor operation?
Those are fundamental questions. They are questions that need open and clear answers. I find it passing strange that nothing has been done with respect to Securicor or Automotive Hardware as we sit here this afternoon to pass Bill 62.
I am a cynic, and I confess it. I want the minister to know I do not really count on this bill accomplishing anything. But as I said, and as we recognize, even we on occasion have to take crumbs.
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, about four and a half years ago, the day after the by-election in which I was elected to this Legislature, I met the member for Riverdale for the first time; it was in an airport, before I had even visited this chamber. I said to him at that time, if I recall correctly: "Mr. Renwick, I know you by reputation. You are reported to be one of the very best speakers and debaters in the Ontario Legislature, and have been in that capacity for many years." He very modestly sloughed off the compliment. But, after listening to him today, I would say the reports I received four and a half years ago were obviously quite correct. I stand in awe of the manner in which he expressed his opinions on a very serious matter.
I am indebted to the member for Riverdale, to the member for Hamilton East and to the member for Windsor-Sandwich for their learned and constructive comments this afternoon on this bill. I thank them and acknowledge their contributions.
Motion agreed to.
Bill ordered for committee of the whole House.
House in committee of the whole.
LABOUR RELATIONS AMENDMENT ACT
Consideration of Bill 62, An Act to amend the Labour Relations Act.
Mr. Chairman: It has been brought to my attention that there are some proposed amendments. Does the minister have any amendments?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: No.
On section 1:
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Wrye moves that subsection 71a(1) of the Labour Relations Act, as set out in section 1 of the bill, be amended by striking out the word "retain" and substituting therefor the word "use."
Mr. Wrye: Mr. Chairman, I have already raised our objection to the use of the word "retain" in the legislation as it exists. I made the point to the House before, and I make it again to the minister. I hope he will accept this amendment.
Our concern with the word "retain" applies within a legal context in exchange of funds. We believe the insertion of the word "use" instead of "retain" would cover off this legislation in all possibilities. It would not allow for a very narrow interpretation that might throw out the intent of the act, which I believe we on all sides of the House support, and that is to end this deplorable practice.
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Chairman, I would ask for your advice as to whether you would wish me to comment after each of the amendments or after they have all been presented.
Mr. Chairman: That is not the appropriate way. If the minister wants to comment after each proposed amendment, he can comment now on this proposed amendment.
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: I have one preliminary comment before I speak to the particular amendment. I would not want the member for Windsor-Sandwich (Mr. Wrye) to think we have just discarded these amendments out of hand and have not studied, reviewed or assessed them. They are certainly quite reasonable. Senior staff of the ministry have looked at them in depth. We will not be accepting them, but I do feel they were submitted with the best possible motivation.
In the case of the amendment before us at present, it does not appear to me that the scope and application of the section would be altered by changing the word "retain" to the word "use."
Mr. Chairman: All those in favour of Mr. Wrye's motion will please say "aye."
All those opposed will please say "nay."
In my opinion the nays have it.
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Wrye moves that clause 71a(2)(a) of the act as set out in section 1 of the bill be deleted and replaced by:
"(a) 'professional strikebreaker' means a person who is not involved in a dispute who purposefully interferes with, obstructs, prevents, restrains or disrupts the exercise of any right under this act in anticipation of, or during, a lawful strike or lockout."
Mr. Wrye: Mr. Chairman, we dealt with the matter during the debate on second reading. We believe the phrasing we offer to the Legislature is superior to that now proposed in the legislation for two reasons.
First, the phraseology "primary object" could lead to interpretation of whether the primary object was disruption, for example, or whether the primary object was general surveillance or general intelligence, which would not be improper.
I believe my friend the member for Hamilton East in his remarks also pointed out we could get into a difficult situation in regard to arguments that a professional strikebreaker or a person involved in a dispute was involved in disruption as a primary object. We believe the very offences this legislation sets out under "strike-related misconduct" should in and of themselves violate the act. We should not have to prove before the board that it was not the primary object.
Second, we have proposed to delete the phrase "in the board's opinion." Once again, we believe to leave that phraseology in would delay action on such complaints. Complaints would have to be laid and then they would have to be adjudicated. Our object is to put an end to this kind of repugnant behaviour just as quickly as possible.
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, the proposed amendment would eliminate intention as an element of the offence and I cannot agree that this section should apply to penalize inadvertent actions.
Mr. Chairman: The member for Windsor- Sandwich has moved an amendment to clause 71a(2)(a).
All those in favour will please say "aye."
All those opposed will please say "nay."
In my opinion the nays have it.
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Wrye moves that clause 71a(2)(b) of the act as set out in section 1 of the bill be deleted and replaced by:
"(b) 'strike-related misconduct' means a course of conduct of incitement, intimidation, coercion, undue influence, provocation, infiltration, surveillance or any other like course of conduct that interferes with, obstructs, prevents, restrains or disrupts the exercise of any right under this act in anticipation of, or during, a lawful strike or lockout."
Mr. Wrye: Mr. Chairman, the only change we have proposed other than making the verb tenses fit accordingly is to replace the words "intended to interfere" with "that interferes."
We believe the actions we have seen and the experience with the hate propaganda section of the Criminal Code indicate the kinds of problems we will get into if the words "intended to" are left in this legislation. As the wording now exists, a nonprofessional strikebreaker engaged in strike-related misconduct would have a defence simply by alleging and raising evidence to the effect he did not specifically intend his surveillance to interfere with a right under this act.
Consequently, our view is that by simply changing this wording we can clean up this situation and bring in a piece of legislation which will speak a little more effectively to end the behaviour this legislation sets out to end.
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Chairman, I must admit I inadvertently addressed this particular amendment when I got to my feet on the last occasion.
Mr. Chairman: The member for Windsor-Sandwich has moved an amendment to clause 71a(2)(b).
All those opposed will please say "nay."
In my opinion the nays have it.
Section 1 and 2 agreed to.
Bill ordered to be reported.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Norton, the committee of the whole House reported one bill without amendment.
LABOUR RELATIONS AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Ramsay moved third reading of Bill 62, An Act to amend the Labour Relations Act.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Timbrell) is not here. He is just down the hall at a meeting. Would the House like to proceed with the credit union bill?
Mr. Breithaupt: Mr. Speaker, we could do it. The remarks are obviously going to take more than the six minutes available to us, along with the other bills. Perhaps it would be more convenient to call it six of the clock at this point.
Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, might I ask the government House leader, because of the lateness of the hour and because my critic is not here for that bill, if we could adjourn and reconvene at eight o'clock.
The House recessed at 5:53 p.m.