32nd Parliament, 3rd Session






































The House met at 2 p.m.




Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, despite some encouraging economic signs, farmers face uncertainty posed by the rise and fall of interest rates, fluctuating commodity prices and even changes in the weather, which, as the members know, can wipe out a season's work overnight.

This government recognizes the economic and social importance of the farming community and has designed a number of programs to help bring greater economic security to the business of farming in Ontario. In addition to our continuing participation in programs such as crop insurance, I would like briefly to advise the members of the status of some of our newer initiatives.

First is our work to introduce a national tripartite stabilization program for the beef, pork and lamb industries. The members are aware that such a program, funded by producers, provinces and the federal government, would establish a kind of safety net to protect farmers against low prices. I stress the safety net concept, because this program in and of itself will not solve all the income problems facing these industries. We are taking a long-term structural approach that has many elements. Each of these addresses a specific objective, but the common link is that of providing a solid foundation for the industry on which to build for the future.

The deputy ministers of the four provinces that have a majority of production in these commodities, namely, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario, met with federal representatives in Ottawa on October 6. As I informed the House last week in answer to an oral question, an agreement among the officials was reached, and I have asked the federal Minister of Agriculture to convene a meeting of ministers to follow up on this issue as soon as possible. I can assure the House of my continued efforts to bring such a plan into existence as soon as possible.

A second major initiative is the Ontario farm adjustment assistance program, or OFAAP, which, as the members know, provides loan guarantees and rebates on interest rates. This program has been extended once already by the government and has helped more than 3,600 farmers across Ontario to stay in business. This year some customary sources of operating credit for farmers, such as supply companies, have curtailed their lending activities. This has contributed to higher demand for short-term bank loans and, consequently, a demand for further government guarantees. At the same time the demand for interest rebates has diminished because, of course, the prime rate has fallen. OFAAP will meet this need and provide a bridge to improved conditions on an economic and commodity price front.

In view of the continuing financial difficulties faced by Ontario farmers, I am announcing today that the government will extend the Ontario farm adjustment assistance program in its present form for a third year. Both new and renewal applications will be accepted until December 31, 1984. The extension will ensure participating farmers of access to adequate operating credit for 1984. It will also provide an avenue of assistance for those not under the program this year but whose position has deteriorated. Finally, it will provide a safety net for farmers should interest rates rise again.

A third initiative with which the members are familiar is the beginning farmer assistance program, BFAP, which is designed to help first-time farmers obtain startup capital to get into the business. This program is much more than a simple assistance program for beginning farmers. It addresses a fundamental problem which has plagued our agricultural community, the need to rejuvenate the industry by encouraging qualified young people to invest their future in a strong growth sector. It is an investment in the future, a program that will help to ensure the wellbeing of a major industry.

I am pleased to announce that a total of eight financial institutions have now been approved as lenders under this program. They include the federal Farm Credit Corp., three of our chartered banks, three of our largest credit unions and one trust company. This will broaden considerably the reach of the assistance offered by BFAP. Applications are now being processed, and our first qualifying beginning farmers will be starting their careers very soon.

A fourth initiative I have advocated is the agribond concept. Farmers continue to rely on substantial volumes of long-term credit; so it is imperative to find adequate sources of funds to recapitalize the industry and to recognize this investment opportunity.

Last July's federal-provincial agriculture ministers' meeting in Prince Edward Island endorsed the concept I put forward of agribonds as a means of tapping the financial resources of private investors. Under this concept, bonds for agricultural use will be sold at below-market rates in return for tax concessions. I wish to advise the House that discussions are now taking place at provincial government levels with a view to presenting a proposal along these lines to the federal Minister of Finance.

The final initiative we are currently making headway with concerns farmers who take outside jobs to make ends meet. I believe they are being unfairly penalized by a change to a section of the federal Income Tax Act imposed by a decision of the Supreme Court of Canada. The ruling limits the tax deductibility of losses from farm businesses to $5,000 for some small and part-time farmers.

At the PEI conference the ministers agreed with my suggestion to develop a joint proposal to the federal Ministers of Agriculture and Finance to change a section of the act to conform with the original intent of the act. All provincial ministers have been contacted on specific changes and a joint response is being co-ordinated by my ministry's staff.

I freely admit that these initiatives are not the total answer. Rather, they are intended to deal with some of the root problems facing agriculture. They are part of our long-term objective to remove the barriers preventing a return to prosperity for farm enterprises in this province and across the whole country.


Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, as we all know, in Ontario people have come to know and to expect a level of health care service that is second to none. We can rightly claim that among our hospitals and other institutions, as well as among our health care professionals and their allied workers, we achieve a level of excellence that has both national and international recognition.

Because the health care system is so large and because, with the introduction of new technologies, it is becoming increasingly complex, the Ministry of Health has the important mandate of introducing those measures that will enhance the level of protection being offered to health care consumers. It is with this objective in mind that I now wish to introduce two amendments to Ontario's health disciplines legislation.

Specifically, this Health Disciplines Amendment Act, which will be introduced later today, will do the following. It will give to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario the authority to suspend or restrict a physician's licence on an interim basis pending a hearing by the college's discipline committee when the college's executive committee is of the opinion that the continuing practice of that physician might bring harm or injury to a patient; and it will give the college's current peer assessment program the needed regulatory authority.

2:10 p.m.

Currently, the College of Physicians and Surgeons can suspend the licence of a physician suspected of being physically or mentally incapacitated until the matter is determined by a final decision of the college's fitness to practice committee or by the courts; however, this provision does not apply to physicians who are suspected of professional misconduct or incompetence and consequently referred to the discipline committee.

It often takes six to 18 months between the time an allegation is made against a physician and a decision is reached by the discipline committee. If there is a subsequent appeal to the courts by the doctor, the time of delay is extended even further. The college therefore considers interim orders to be essential for the protection of the public in a small number of cases each year.

The peer assessment section of these amendments refers to the regular review of physicians' practices by other physicians to ensure that the quality of patient care is being continually maintained. The college's program began on a voluntary pilot project basis in 1979. Standards of patient care among 100 physicians were reviewed by physician-assessors. Patient records were examined and an interview conducted with each doctor under assessment.

In 1981, 197 physicians were assessed. Of the 15 physicians whose standards were judged deficient, none was considered to be neglectful of or dangerous to patient care. Physicians whose standards of care are considered to be deficient are, however, interviewed by the peer assessment committee. The process is considered to be an educational one, and the committee does not have the power or the right to revoke the physician's licence.

In the event that the assessors discover what they believe to be incompetence or misconduct, this would be reported to the college registrar, who then has authority to appoint investigators. The results of the investigation could lead to the physician being tried by the discipline committee or being reviewed by the fitness to practice committee.

Currently, the peer assessment program is being run under the authority of a regulation. This regulation is now being challenged in the courts by the Association of Independent Physicians of Ontario, which claims that the regulation accords no statutory authority to the program and that it violates patient confidentiality. But the college reports that the conduct of the assessors was acceptable to 98 per cent of those whose practice was assessed. Approximately two thirds of the physicians visited reported that the assessment was beneficial to their practices.

The college and my ministry also believe the program is especially helpful in monitoring the practices of physicians in solo practice with little or no hospital exposure and who are thus seldom subject to the professional scrutiny of their colleagues.

On the issue of confidentiality, we also believe we have accommodated the concerns of the Association of Independent Physicians of Ontario. The names of the patient records selected for assessment may be withheld from the assessor if the physician believes this is appropriate. Any patient information gained during the assessment must likewise be kept confidential and records may not be removed from the physician's office.

With this brief description, I believe the members of the House will very clearly understand the reasons behind these amendments and the obvious safeguards to patient care in this province they will make available.



Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Energy. The Minister of Energy no doubt will be aware of the Ontario Energy Board's latest report with respect to the rate increase of Ontario Hydro. The board said in that report:

"In the board's opinion, the control of inflation is so crucial to the health of the Ontario-Canadian economy that inflationary feedback considerations cannot be disregarded in the determination of Hydro's net income and rate increase proposal. Indeed, the board considers the fight against inflation to be of such paramount importance that Hydro, in its own interest, as well as Ontario's, ought to champion the taming of inflation."

Would the minister not agree that Ontario Hydro's decision to increase electricity rates by an average of 7.8 per cent is going to contribute substantially to inflation in this province and in this country?

Hon. Mr. Andrewes: Mr. Speaker, the Ontario Energy Board's report comes about as a reference on the part of the Minister of Energy to that board and comes to me as a report and a recommendation. The board of directors of Ontario Hydro has the responsibility, by statute, for establishing that rate.

Ontario Hydro has very responsibly set the rate for 1984 at a 7.8 per cent increase. In doing so, they have acknowledged the recommendations of the Ontario Energy Board. They have taken into consideration all the issues the board has raised with them with the exception of the question of net income.

To preserve the financial integrity of the organization and to reduce its borrowings in 1984, they have disagreed with the board and moved to the required net revenue figure of $400 million, That exceeds the board's recommendation by some $50 million.

I remind the Leader of the Opposition that the differential between what the board is recommending and the rate actually established by Ontario Hydro amounts to about 60 cents per householder per month. In terms many people might understand, that represents less than a third of the price of a package of cigarettes.

Mr. Peterson: Is the minister aware that Hydro's rate increase is some 56 per cent above the current rate of inflation? I asked originally whether the minister would agree that this substantial price increase is going to contribute to inflation. Is it or is it not going to contribute to inflation? That is the question.

Hon. Mr. Andrewes: In responding to the second question of the Leader of the Opposition, I remind him that 70 per cent of Hydro's costs are costs related to interest, fuel, machinery and equipment, which are beyond the direct control of the corporation. Thirty per cent of its costs are related to operation, maintenance and administration. These are costs the utility has been endeavouring to address.

I am confident the increase represents a very difficult attempt by that utility to come to grips with rising costs in general. I am also confident it represents a fair and reasonable rate for electrical consumers in the province.

Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, I remind the minister that nursing home workers also have to pay interest costs and fuel costs. That has not stopped the government from ramming them with a fixed increase.

I want to ask the minister a question specifically with respect to the government's so-called price restraint policy, which one could drive a truck through. Will the ministry make a recommendation to the Hydro board with respect to the rate increases? If not, why not?

Hon. Mr. Andrewes: Mr. Speaker, I remind the leader of the third party that the legislative mandate under the Power Corporation Act gives responsibility for setting rates to the Ontario Hydro board.

Members of this House will remember the rates were reviewed in 1982 and those rates were affected by a piece of legislation brought through this House -- Bill 179. At this time we are told new restraint guidelines will be introduced into the House, and I am confident those guidelines will apply to Ontario Hydro as well.

Mr. Peterson: Would the minister not agree that this price increase of close to eight per cent makes a mockery and damages the credibility of his past wage and price control program? God knows about the future. Would he not agree with that? That is the first part of my supplementary.

2:20 p.m.

The second part is, would he not agree with me that it makes a mockery of any theory of independent accountability of Ontario Hydro? It is a reference to the Ontario Energy Board, which has no authority whatsoever; it comes back to Hydro and Hydro again unilaterally decides what it wants to do. It shoves it on the consumer, it shoves it on the public, just as it is shoving it to the minister right now.

Hon. Mr. Andrewes: Mr. Speaker, in response to the first part of the Leader of the Opposition's question. I would not agree. It does not damage the government's credibility with respect to the restraint program.

In response to the second part of his question, the report that was issued by the Ontario Energy Board, if he will look at the recommendations it made, with the exception of the net revenue portion, all of the items referred to in that report and the instruction and the references coming out of that report have been considered and acknowledged in this rate.


Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker. I have a question for the Minister of Labour. The minister is no doubt aware of the announcement made at two o'clock today in my riding of London Centre with respect to the closing --


Mr. Peterson: Could you contain them, Mr. Speaker?

Mr. Speaker: I was just on the verge of standing and asking the two honourable members to please refrain from their conversation. The Leader of the Opposition has the floor with a new question.

Mr. Peterson: As I said, the Minister of Labour is no doubt aware of the announcement made at two o'clock today in London, Ontario, of the closing of the MacMillan-Bathurst corrugating factory there, taking 100 jobs out of London.

I know the minister is aware of this. Could he bring us up to date on his interventions, his negotiations, his talks with both the union and the management there to try to salvage that plant, to try to keep the equipment there and to look at possible alternatives for keeping that plant going?

Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, it is correct that I met with the president and vice-president of the company on October 14, at which time they advised that MacMillan Bloedel and Consolidated-Bathurst, through a joint venture in their respective packaging divisions, had formed a new company called MacMillan-Bathurst Inc.

The new company has a total of seven plants in Ontario and 17 overall in Canada. There is one each in Pembroke, Whitby, Rexdale, Etobicoke, Guelph, St. Thomas and London. Several of the locations have duplicate facilities, including those at London and St. Thomas. They also have dual facilities in Winnipeg and one of those is also being closed at the present time.

The London facility is old; it was built in the early 1900s. Most regrettably, there are layoffs at all of the plants in the province. It is a case of rationalization by the company to remain competitive in the marketplace.

The employees will receive a benefits package including severance pay and pension benefits; relocation assistance will also be provided. The only problem there, as I indicated earlier, is that the other plants this company owns are on layoff at the present time and there would have to be callbacks there before preferential hiring would be in effect.

I share the concerns of the honourable member. In fact, it was I who suggested to the president and vice-president that they share this matter with the Leader of the Opposition in that he is the member for the riding. We certainly did explore with the president and vice-president the possibilities of a change in their attitude, and I must admit we were not very successful in that respect.

Mr. Peterson: The minister will be aware of the history of at least a part of the consolidated company with respect to plant closings and what is going on, and the long-term trend is obviously very worrisome. But to speak specifically to this plant, he will be aware it is an older plant, it had several previous owners and a number of the workers are older, with limited employment options, be it throughout the MacMillan-Bathurst system or anywhere else, given the degree of skills and the training.

Will he use his good offices and the powers he has under the act to move in with special training assistance so we can move immediately to protect the shattered remnants of some of those people's lives?

Hon. Mr. Ramsay: We will certainly do that. We do have a program in conjunction with the federal government. This problem is a very serious one, wherever and whenever it happens. Most regrettably, because I have to deal directly with them, it seems to me it is happening almost on a daily basis but it is really not quite that severe. Nevertheless, whether it is one plant or 20 plants, whether it is one employee or 20 employees, it is traumatic for the employees, their families and the community in which the plant operates.

There are no easy answers to these problems at this time. As the Leader of the Opposition has indicated, it is particularly traumatic for those who are too young for retirement or early pensioning, and they are too old for practical retraining or for finding other jobs in the period of recession we are going through. I worry more about those individuals between the ages of 45 to 55 than about any others, because those are the people who have the most difficult time.

I would like to make one observation and I would like to do it with a qualification. There seems to be some brightness at the end of the tunnel. I am reluctant to say it is a definite trend, but it would appear to be. With that qualification, I can advise that our latest figures for the period January through August show a substantial decrease in the number of permanent and indefinite layoffs between this year and last year. In terms of the number of workers affected, it represented approximately a 52 per cent decrease.


Hon. Mr. Ramsay: That is absolutely correct. I am hopeful that is a trend, but I must caution everybody to wait for a few more months before we come to any conclusions.

Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the Minister of Labour if this president he met with is the same president who told us he would not appreciate any company telling him who to hire when we tried to get it to consider recommendations for some of the employees, and therefore he did not want to tell anybody else whom he should hire?

If it is the same company president who told us the company would not consider selling to the employees just as Texaco would not consider selling a choice corner location to Imperial Oil, because they were not going to have that kind of competition, and if it is the same company that was found guilty before the Ontario Labour Relations Board of bargaining in bad faith, does the minister not think it is time we considered the re-establishment of a plant shutdowns committee and public justification so that there can be some consideration for the workers involved, who are the only ones left holding the stick in every case like this?

Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, it was not the same president, but to be honest with the member there is certainly a connection.

I thought I made these comments in my first answer, but what has happened is that MacMillan Bloedel and Consolidated-Bathurst, through a joint venture, have formed a new company called MacMillan-Bathurst Inc. The case to which the honourable member refers was Consolidated-Bathurst and its president. The person with whom I met was an executive with Consolidated-Bathurst. His name escapes me at the moment, but he was raised and educated in Hamilton.

Ms. Copps: Mr. Haiplik?

Hon. Mr. Ramsay: That is correct. He is now president of this company.

As far as the last part of the member's question is concerned, as to whether I have any intention of asking that the plant severance committee or plant closure committee be reconstituted, the answer is I do not at this time.

2:30 p.m.

Mr. Peterson: The statistics the minister quotes are no solace to the workers here, just as they were no solace to the workers who have never been called back in Hamilton after the same company was involved in this whole thing. All his good intentions are not going to get the baby new shoes.

Would the minister get together with the Minister of Industry and Trade (Mr. F. S. Miller) and his officials immediately upon that minister's return from the Far East and try to look for alternatives for the plant? Would he try to do that before the plant is stripped of its machinery and rendered useless, as happened in the Hamilton case? Would he explore every creative alternative with his cabinet colleagues to try to keep that machinery going and not let it be taken away until he has exhausted every possibility?

Hon. Mr. Ramsay: I have not had the opportunity to speak with the Minister of Industry and Trade because he has not been available. However, my officials have been in touch with officials of that ministry and we do have the same objective the honourable member has pointed out to us.


Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Natural Resources. The minister will be aware of correspondence between my colleague the member for Nickel Belt (Mr. Laughren) and Mr. W. K. Fullerton, director of the forest resources branch of the ministry. He will also be aware of conversations which have taken place among the member for Nickel Belt, members of our research staff and workers in the ministry with respect to some very basic information we were trying to get from the ministry.

The minister should be aware that we asked for information with respect to the nine largest licensees. We also asked for information with respect to areas cut over and areas regenerated by these nine largest companies. We asked for the latest available fifth-year stocking levels for each licensed area held by the nine companies, and we asked for the latest available survival rates for each licensed area held by each of the nine companies.

We were told, in correspondence, that this information was going to be collected and made available. A member of my staff was subsequently told on September 30, 1983, by the Deputy Minister of Natural Resources that this information could not be released on lands licensed to forest companies due to "confidentiality considerations."

How does the minister expect the Legislature to be able to do its job if this information is being withheld from members on grounds of so-called confidentiality?

Hon. Mr. Pope: Mr. Speaker, the honourable members know that from time to time they have received information from the forest resources branch of my ministry to assist them in their concerns about our forest resources, the state of reforestation and regeneration activity.

I am aware of the request from the leader of the third party and of the information members of his task force are requesting of us. We have been working on getting that information in a form that is going to be helpful to him and the members of his task force. Some of the information cannot be disclosed on a company-by-company basis, but we are trying to obtain it on the basis of our districts and on the basis of forest management agreement holders. We will provide that to the member.

I believe that information will be provided to the leader of the third party within a few days. When it is available, I think it will show, contrary to the supposed factual statements members of the task force have been making in northeastern and northwestern Ontario, that the survival rate is far in excess of what has been predicted. The member for Nickel Belt predicted a survival rate of 25 to 30 per cent in northeastern Ontario. We presumed he had a factual basis for saying that, but it is obvious from later statements by the leader of third party in Thunder Bay that he did not.

Mr. Rae: The information our task force presented to the public was provided to us by the Ministry of Natural Resources. The only information we have been able to go on has been from that ministry and from the forestry companies themselves.

Mr. Speaker: Question, please.

Mr. Rae: Mr. William Foster, the Deputy Minister of Natural Resources, told the Canadian Institute of Forestry on October 5, 1983, "Our ministry is taking steps to become more communicative to explain the whys of forest management to our various audiences more effectively." Given this statement, why can Natural Resources, told the Canadian Institute of Forestry on October 5, 1983, "Our ministry is taking steps to become more communicative to explain the whys of forest management to our various audiences more effectively." Given this statement, why can we not have information on a company-by-company basis? The licences are granted on a company-by-company basis. Why can we not have the information on this basis so that we could be in a position to assess the progress of the forest management agreements themselves?

Hon. Mr. Pope: The member knows that the detail of companies' development activities and reforestation activities relates to their ability and has an effect on their ability to obtain contracts for markets. Therefore, he understands some of the constraints on the --

Mr. Rae: No, I don't.

Hon. Mr. Pope: I am sorry the member does not understand. I would have thought he would have talked to some of the marketing people for some of these forest products companies to see the competitive kind of position they are in in the North American and world market scene. Then he would have understood some of the constraints.

I have just told him that we are going to try to give him as much information as we can. I have seen some of the numbers and we are going to give them to him as quickly as we can, to add to his knowledge of the regeneration efforts of the government of Ontario.

I told the member during last spring's session that we have a capacity now in our public and private tree nurseries for 130 million trees. He has accepted that as fact and he has now gone beyond that argument, which he threw at us for five years, to an argument that every acre cut should be regenerated. I understand that; that is part of the charter.

Mr. Martel: The Premier (Mr. Davis) said, "Two trees for one."

Hon. Mr. Pope: That is right. But the member also has predicted to the people of northeastern Ontario all sorts of what he calls factual information, which is, in reality, his own self-serving interpretation of what is going on.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Thank you. That was a very complete answer.

Mr. J. A. Reed: Mr. Speaker, if the minister's current policy of keeping certain aspects of these agreements confidential is working against him -- obviously he is in a dispute over the survival rate of reforestation with members of the third party -- would it not be in his interests and in the interests of reforestation in general in Ontario, considering that this is crown land we are talking about, that this information be continually made public and that those companies which signed the forest management agreements be made aware that this will be part and parcel of the condition of signing those forest management agreements?

Hon. Mr. Pope: Mr. Speaker, as the honour- able member is aware, we have open houses which show the 20-year and five-year plans. The annual cutting plans of the companies are available to the public. He can go to open houses and look at the detail of the forest management agreement structure. He can look at the specifics of any arrangement between the Ministry of Natural Resources --

Mr. Foulds: Yes, the only thing you cannot look at is the results.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Pope: He can go ahead. It would be a refreshing change if he would take the time to do that. He would find it very informative. He should go and look at the 20-year and five-year plans and the annual cutting plans and look at the input from all of the other groups. We get more than 20 people in Timmins to look at the Abitibi-Price forest management agreement. We get more than 20 people in Port Arthur.

Mr. Foulds: I have gone many times; the only thing you cannot look at is the results.

Mr. Speaker: Order. Thank you.

Mr. Rae: With great respect to the minister, the information with respect to insufficient regeneration, the "not satisfactorily regenerated" figures, the information with respect to the minimum rate --

Mr. Speaker: Question, please.

Mr. Rae: -- all that information is information that the ministry made public in 1981-82. We have asked for the information for 1982-83. We have asked for information on an individual company basis.

How are we as a Legislature going to be in a position to assess the performance of individual companies that have signed individual licences in terms of the forest management agreements, how are we going to be able to assess the validity of those FMAs, if the minister does not give us the information with respect to the individual companies? How can we possibly know whether they have been successful or not if he is not prepared to come clean with the information?

Hon. Mr. Pope: But the member is already going around saying they are not successful, and in fact they are successful; that is the reality of it.

Mr. Rae: That is not true. Your spies have misinformed you.

Hon. Mr. Pope: Oh, my spies now. We are not supposed to listen to what the member has to say. No one else was there; he is lucky we were there.

Mr. Speaker, we are going to provide the member with the information in detail. I tried to explain to him, and if he looks at page 2 of his communiqué of September 22, 1983, he will see exactly what I mean.

For his own political purposes he interpreted NSR lands to mean that they were becoming silvicultural deserts, written off for future use as productive forest lands. That is nonsense and the member knows it. In 1977, with great fanfare, he took the media from Thunder Bay to north of Thunder Bay to see what he called a silvicultural desert, a waste land. He had pictures taken. If he goes back there today, he will see conifer and hardwood trees growing there because natural regeneration brought that area back into production and will in the future. He does not want to accept that.

2:40 p.m.

Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, all I can say is what has happened and what has been said have been misreported to the minister by his loyal employees, who have tagged our task force from one end of the province to the other. They have even given him an incorrect assessment of exactly what is there.

Mr. Speaker: A new question, please.


Mr. Rae: I was going to address a question to the acting Minister of Health. I thought he was here. He was here earlier on in question period and I was advised he was going to be here throughout.

Mr. Speaker: Perhaps you could direct your question to somebody else.

Mr. Rae: It is a hard choice to make. I am glad the acting Minister of Health has returned. I would not want to have to choose somebody else. I would like to ask him a question with respect to the operation of the Hawkesbury District General Hospital by the American multinational, AMI.

Press reports have described a dramatic turnaround from a deficit to a surplus situation at the Hawkesbury hospital following the takeover by AMI under the approval of his predecessor, now the Treasurer (Mr. Grossman). I wonder if the minister can confirm the following facts. Last year's deficit was eliminated by a Ministry of Health grant in terms of the previous year -- it received about $345,000 from the province; and the so-called surplus has been generated in the following ways: interest has been saved because previously the hospital apparently paid out about $78,000 in interest on operating loans, so they have improved their cash flow situation in a rather rudimentary fashion; they have reduced salaries by $140,000; and they have increased revenues by $200,000 by recruiting more patients from Quebec.

Can the minister confirm those facts and can he explain why the people of this province are paying $300,000 for that kind of practice?

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, my friend was opposed to this arrangement when it was suggested. It now seems that it is an innovative way to handle the management of the hospital and it has now been shown that AMI is effectively operating the hospital. It has turned a deficit into a surplus. Patient care has not suffered. Indeed, such a great newspaper as the Toronto Star in a headline editorial gives great credit to this innovative procedure and suggests it be looked at.

I will read the editorial for the member if he would like.

Mr. Speaker: That is not necessary. The standing orders do not provide for that.

Hon. Mr. Wells: I realize that, Mr. Speaker, but it certainly says, to paraphrase it, that the lesson from the AMI experience at Hawkesbury is surely that good management can lead to higher productivity and better health care.

Mr. Rae: The minister has referred to the Toronto Star editorial and he talks about such novel practices.

Mr. Speaker: Question, please.

Mr. Rae: One of the practices that has been instituted is that all department heads are now involved in preparing budgets and monthly financial reports. The reporting has become faster and more efficient, a basic thing that should be happening in every hospital in this province.

I repeat the question to the minister. Why are the people of this province paying a $300.000-management fee, plus half of any surplus over $750.000, to a foreign multinational company for such basic first-year business administration kinds of practices?

Hon. Mr. Wells: In this particular case they are paying the fee to get the efficiency and quality of health care that is now being provided in Hawkesbury.

Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, is that why the Ontario government, through the Ministry of Health, is considering contract management in its psychiatric hospitals for nonmedical related areas.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I cannot give the member any specific examples of whether we are or are not in some of the psychiatric hospitals, but we are doing that in a number of government institutions as well as in psychiatric hospitals. The contracting to the private sector of things like cleaning services, food service operations and so forth is something this government has been doing. Contract management, the various modes of doing this, are something this government has been doing, and doing successfully, for a long time in order to save costs.

Mr. Rae: The hard fact is this government has simply bailed out a large multinational corporation and, in turn --

Mr. Speaker: Question, please.

Mr. Rae: -- has said what an economic miracle it has wrought. What an absolute con job they have done on the government.

I would like to ask the minister if he is aware that AMI has now been found guilty in the anti-trust case that was launched in the United States by the Federal Trade Commission? Is the minister aware of that fact. How does he feel about this great institution which the government has imported from the United States? If there is one thing we do not need to import from the United States, it is their lousy health care system and a company that has been found guilty of anti-trust behaviour in the United States.

Hon. Mr. Wells: I think if my friend reads that, they are guilty probably under the laws of the United States because they were managing too many hospitals and that was not felt to be effective there.


Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Let me tell the member that we are not importing any had methods or had systems from the United States. We are not shutting our ears and our eyes to innovative ways of handling and helping the health care system to work in this province. The situation at Hawkesbury is an experiment. It has been working fairly well so far.


Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Unlike what my friend has done, who has suddenly had to look around to try to find ways to discredit AMI --

Interject ions.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Wells: -- and is suggesting they cannot do the job in Hawkeshury, I want to be sure the success story that is so far evolving in Hawkesbury is, indeed, a success story. We are having some independent people take a look at it, as well as continuing the regular monitoring that goes on there. We will guarantee that patient care is as good as or better than it has ever been and we will guarantee that hospital operates in the effective way all Ontario hospitals operate.


Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the first minister. It concerns the restraint policy of his government and, more especially, the role of the first minister in the execution of that restraint policy.

What does the Premier think it signals to the people of Ontario vis-à-vis restraint when three months ago he had the clear choice of standing with either a minister of his government, whose stated aim was the control of expenditures in his department, namely, the former Minister of Government Services, the member for Lanark (Mr. Wiseman), or standing with his deputy minister, whose apparent aim was to spend money freely in ways that seem to have violated the spirit, if not the letter, of the tendering practices of the Ontario government?

2:50 p.m.

What does it say to the people of Ontario with respect to the Premier's own practice of restraint when they see that, given the choice, he stood with Allan Gordon and his $900-a-day consultant and denied the member for Lanark in his efforts to restrain public expenditures in his department of this government?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, it will come as a great shock to the honourable member, knowing the way he approaches some of these issues, to try to understand that the Premier of this province made no such choice.

Mr. Conway: What does it say to the people of Ontario when they read in the public press of a minister of the crown who, upset about what was going on in his department and having asked for an appointment with his Premier because, to use the former ministers words, "I hit the roof when I heard that Allan Gordon had proceeded with his $900-a-day management consultant;" concerned about the situation and having hit the roof, that minister went to see the Premier only to find that the Premier saw to it that the minister hit the deck?

What has he said to the people of eastern Ontario, people like the good members of the Lanark county council and their colleagues next door in Leeds and Grenville, who have expressed very deep concern and protest about the dismissal of the member for Lanark as a bona fide farm representative within the executive council of this province?

What has he said to the people of rural eastern Ontario who properly complain about their under-representation? What is he going to do to restore that? What does he intend to do to redress the very considerable slap in the face he has delivered in the execution of his choice in favour of Allan Gordon and the dismissal of the member for Lanark? What is he going to do to restore the credibility of his government with the good people of eastern Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Looking back over several years, I rather think the honourable member, as a representative of the Liberal Party, the Peterson party or the community party, should understand the reality of the word "credibility." He used the term the "Progressive Conservative Party in eastern Ontario." If he takes out a map and looks at the elections going past many years, he will find that credibility has been well demonstrated and, always being an optimist, I expect it will continue.

I think it is very unfortunate that an honourable member would raise in this House gossip he has read in the paper as it relates to the determination of appointments or people who leave cabinet. I have communicated to the same people the member refers to in Lanark county, because these matters are always of great concern to me, that one of the most difficult responsibilities a Premier has is the selection of people to move into cabinet and the need to have people leave cabinet.

The member has on more than one occasion called into question the competence of ministers of the crown. I am just delighted, and I wish the member for Lanark were here to listen to his enthusiastic support for the way he discharged his duties because I share that point of view. As I sit here day after day watching him attempt to play long-term leader in anticipation of his party's next convention, I say to him I really question that the day will ever come when he will have to make decisions of that nature.

Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: The Premier has accused me of introducing, to use his phrase, gossip into this chamber. I do not believe I have gossiped in this chamber. If the Premier can indicate how l have gossiped in this chamber, I would be very pleased to --

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Mr. Conway: The people of Lanark, Renfrew, Leeds and Grenville are not going to take that --

Mr. Speaker: Order. The member for Renfrew North will please resume his seat.


Mr. Speaker: Order.

Mr. Samis: Mr. Speaker, could the Premier explain to the people of rural eastern Ontario why the long tradition of cabinet representation for rural Ontario was not followed after the dismissal of the member for Lanark from the cabinet by the Premier?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, if the member would look back historically, he would find periods of time, within terms of numbers and geographic representation, when there have been different percentages from various regions of the province. That has been the case; it will be the case again. In terms of rural representation in cabinet and in our caucus, I know that he sits there in total and complete envy because there is not a single soul in the New Democratic Party caucus who can represent rural Ontario in this province.


Mr. Cooke: Mr. Speaker, I have a question to the Premier which concerns extra billing and the opting out of doctors in Ontario.

How can the Premier guarantee universal and equal accessibility to health care to the people of this province when -- and I will use two examples -- in the county of Middlesex, an area which serves all of southwestern Ontario, especially the university hospital, 100 per cent of the anaesthesiologists are opted out, and in Toronto 91 per cent of the anaesthesiologists are opted out of the Ontario health insurance plan? How can he guarantee universal and equal accessibility to health care services to the people in those areas with such statistics as those?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, we have been through this discussion before. The former Minister of Health (Mr. Grossman), the present Minister of Health (Mr. Norton) and the former Minister of Health once removed (Mr. Timbrell) have already answered that question. I would just say in general terms that the policy of the government is as it is. The member objects to it; he opposes it and I understand that. He will just have to accept the fact that it is our policy.

Mr. Cooke: I have heard poor answers from the Premier before, but that has to be the weakest. He leads the government that has dealt with this policy and that refuses to give universal accessibility to seniors, to low-income people and to those on fixed incomes. In addition to the opted-out anaesthesiologists in those two areas, eight of nine gynaecologists in Sudbury, more than 50 per cent of the orthopaedic surgeons in Windsor and 58 per cent of the ophthalmologists in the city of Toronto are opted out.

How can the Premier guarantee equal accessibility to low-income people in Ontario with those kinds of statistics? When is this government going to act to reinstitute universal accessibility in our health care system in this province?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I would suggest, with great respect, that universal accessibility is there in spite of the figures he uses.


Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel) has a supplementary. I will sit down while he asks it.

Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, while the Premier is looking at the issue, I wonder if he might comment -- and I realize that the Minister of Health is not in a position to respond personally -- on this matter. About eight weeks ago we tabled a case with the ministry which dealt with an overbilling of some $800 for a scoliosis victim. Would the first minister let us know what his government's response has been to this individual case where it was obvious that an adjustment for a scoliosis victim would not be made until the overbilled amount was received by the physician in question?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I am sure the honourable member has already checked this. Perhaps she would give me the answer to her inquiry on whether this was submitted to the central mediation committee of the Ontario Medical Association. If that has been done, she can let me know; if not, then we can see that it is done. I had assumed she had already checked that and she could quietly let me know the answer to that mediation.

3 p.m.


Mr. Boudria: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations concerning the conversion of gasoline-fuelled vehicles to propane. In the opinion of Mr. Mike Austin, the chief instructor of the Propane Conversion School -- I am sure the minister knows of him; he is the leading expert in the field -- half of the 20,000 vehicles that are converted right now have shoddy installation and are accidents waiting to happen. The minister acknowledged some of this recently in a letter he has sent.

In April and July, Mr. Austin chronicled for the fuel safety branch the many conversion flaws he has come across. He has also recommended that a comprehensive inspection program should be instituted throughout the province. I understand that the Insurers' Advisory Organization of Canada has also recommended that. Will the minister now put such an inspection program in place? If not, why not?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I think the honourable member has raised an important issue with respect to the safety of propane motor vehicles. I am pleased that he did raise it, because it is an issue that has concerned many in this government.

As the member knows, if he has been following the progress of legislation and regulations that have been passed over the past year, the regulations respecting installations and the conversion of cars to propane have been upgraded and changed so that this province, I may say -- and again, I know the member does not like to hear it -- in all humility, is in the forefront in North America.

But that is never enough. We are not satisfied with being the leader in that area. We have had meetings with many people who have concerns that they share with us with respect to propane. We had meetings with Mr. Austin, who, as the member knows, has a particular interest in this area, since he has a school and does some of the conversions himself.

I think it is fair to say that we have been pursuing a variety of approaches now to ensure that those people who have converted their vehicles to propane can be assured that they will be safe. I expect to be making an announcement within the next week with respect to that, and I have no further comments at this lime.

Mr. Boudria: Just so the minister can understand the gravity of this situation, some installations are being done right now using grocery types of nylon straps to hold some pipes on cars, and I have photographs of those on current installations. I also have here a hose, which is a fuel line, that is completely burned from rubbing against an exhaust pipe and could have caused an explosion.

Mr. Speaker: Question, please.

Mr. Boudria: According to the same people, we are told there is one accident a week involving propane in this province. Will the minister tell us whether he will have independent people reviewing the installations before the vehicles are even allowed to be fuelled in tins province?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: First of all, I think the member does a disservice to the public and to the propane conversion program, which I think is of great benefit to the public. The member knows full well that propane has been proven in Europe to be one of the safest fuels there is. We continue to strive to have a system in this province that can offer the same kind of perfection. For the member to single out individual instances without the whole story being told does him and the public a disservice, and I think it makes the member a sham.


Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Premier that is of some concern to Hamilton. I wonder whether the Premier has been able to arrange a meeting with the mayor of Hamilton or with other officials there concerning the funding of the arena-trade centre in the city of Hamilton.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I must confess that noise was emanating from the other side of the House, so I just got something about the arena. Would the member for Hamilton East mind repeating the question?

Mr. Speaker: Just before the member does, I did not hear to whom he placed the question, and I would ask all honourable members to please limit their private conversations or to have them elsewhere.

Mr. Mackenzie: I said I was placing to the Premier a question of some importance to Hamilton. I was wondering whether the Premier had made any arrangements to meet with Mayor Morrow or with others in Hamilton concerning the provincial share of the funding of the arena-trade centre.

Hon. Mr. Davis: It could be my fault, but I do not recall the mayor asking for a meeting. I know the government has given a commitment with respect to the arena. If the honourable member is suggesting that he wishes to meet and discuss the various percentages or proportions for the arena, I would be delighted to meet with the mayor of the city of Hamilton. It maybe that he made a request in my absence.

I can assure the member that I would be delighted to meet with the mayor of Hamilton at any time. I know the member supports him in his municipal endeavours, although I do not think the member ever supported him in his, shall we say, more partisan endeavours.

Mr. Mackenzie: The mayor himself has said the suggestion of a meeting with the Premier is well taken and it has to do, as I am sure the Premier is aware, with the fact that the federal contribution is now worth $5.5 million and there was a commitment that the province would match this.

Mr. Speaker: Question, please.

Mr. Mackenzie: The province's share is $4 million, and I think a legitimate case can be made for the additional $1.5 million for this major complex in the city of Hamilton. I am wondering whether the Premier would initiate a meeting with the mayor.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I am delighted to ascertain from the member's question that the mayor has not asked for a meeting from me and I have refused. I sense from what the member is saying that he suggests I should initiate a meeting to see whether I can find a way to give the city of Hamilton another $1.5 million. In fairness, I would think the initiation for that sort of endeavour should properly come from the city of Hamilton.

The history of this is fairly clear. We made our commitment at a certain date. My recollection is that the federal government made its commitment and advanced the moneys, and the differential now relates to interest that has been earned on those moneys. So we have not altered our position in terms of the amount we said we would allocate to this important resource in the city of Hamilton.

I am always delighted to chat with the mayor if he wishes to seek an appointment with me.

Mr. Cunningham: Mr. Speaker, over the course of the summer I read something in the Hamilton Spectator about a dome proposal for the city of Toronto; that has absolutely nothing to do with the convention centre we are contemplating in Hamilton, which would cost approximately one per cent of what is being contemplated for the dome.

Would the Premier take it upon himself to involve the member for Wentworth (Mr. Dean), the Minister without Portfolio, in arranging a meeting with our fine mayor, Mr. Morrow, regarding the original commitment, which was I understand to match the federal funds, to ensure that we get the extra $1.5 million, which I might say we desperately need?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, very fortunately, I do have the advice and guidance of the Minister without Portfolio, who brings forward, in a very persuasive and realistic way, the concerns of the people of that part of our province. I point out to the honourable member that whatever he may or may not have read about a dome -- and I am delighted to know he was reading over the summer -- that is a totally unrelated matter, a totally unrelated issue.

I have always been quite pleased to talk to the mayor of Hamilton -- the present mayor, the former mayor and the former mayor before the former mayor -- about any issues affecting the citizens of that community, and I would be delighted to speak to him again.


Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, while we are talking about convention centres, I thought I should ask a question on behalf of what we in Ottawa call the B and B boys, the member for Ottawa South (Mr. Bennett) and the member for Ottawa West (Mr. Baetz). I understand they have been lobbying on behalf of the convention centre in Ottawa so that it will get the same benefit as is currently being given to the Toronto convention centre; that is, that the province is prepared to pick up its deficit.

Can the Premier advise whether he is going to give an affirmative answer to those two cabinet ministers, two of the three he has left from eastern Ontario? Also, can he give us an undertaking that if he does make that commitment, it will not require a change in name for the convention centre to something like the B and B Pavilion or the William G. Davis Hall?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I recognize how upset the honourable member would be if there were a structure of that significance named after the Premier of Ontario in that part of the world.

Mr. Roy: Especially in my riding.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I also know that when I attend the official opening of that convention centre, as was the case when I was there for the sod-turning of the courthouse, the member for Ottawa East will be there, front and centre, endeavouring to take as much political credit as he can for that initiative.

I also say to the member that I have been contacted on that issue by the two Ottawa ministers, plus the members from that community, on a seven-day-a-week basis. I am delighted that on the one day out of seven that the member is here, he had the initiative to raise this with me. They do it seven days a week; he does it once a week.

Mr. Roy: Is it not something that I can do in one day what it takes them seven to do?

Mr. Speaker: Is that your question?

Mr. Roy: By the way, the way the Premier operated that backhoe at the courthouse, he damned near ran over about 10 Tories.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I noticed you were in the front row, anyway.

Mr. Speaker: Now for the question, please.

3:10 p.m.

Mr. Roy: I would like to ask the Premier whether he can give us a solemn undertaking here that he will give the same benefits to the Tories from Ottawa-Carleton as he will to the Tories from Toronto, that there will be no discrimination among Tories and that the people of Ottawa-Carleton can get the same provincial benefit; that is, that the province will pick up the deficit for that convention centre as it has promised to do in Toronto.

Hon. Mr. Davis: With great respect, I think the member is not really familiar with what we have promised to do in the city of Toronto. No such determination has been made. If he were here seven days a week, he would understand what is happening in other parts of the world. I know his perspective is very narrow; it relates to the courts and his practice. I understand that; I am very sympathetic to his personal concerns.

Mr. Roy: Let's not talk about law --

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I only say to the member that we have always endeavoured to treat the various parts of this province with equity. I am sure that will be the case with respect to the Ottawa convention centre.

Just as a final note: I may have run over close to 10 Tories in the front row, but the member was in the lead.

Mr. Roy: I was not.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: It sounds to me like a good tradeoff; the Premier should have gone ahead.

Mr. Speaker: Now for your question.


Mr. R. F. Johnston: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Labour. It concerns video display terminals, which are in the news again.


Mr. Speaker: Order. I am sorry. I did not hear to whom you are placing your question.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: This question is for the Minister of Labour and it concerns video display terminals.

The Advisory Council on Occupational Health and Occupational Safety finished its report on February 8. On February 25, the minister received it and made a number of recommendations about video display terminals and the reproductive concerns. I understand since that time he has asked them to clarify a couple of their positions. Can he fill the House in as to what has taken place since that time and when we can expect a decision, as my understanding is that they have not changed their original memorandum to the minister?

Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, last evening I put in the mail to the member for Algoma (Mr. Wildman), the NDP occupational health and safety critic, and to the member for Essex South (Mr. Mancini), the Labour critic for the official opposition, a copy of -- I am sorry; I prepared letters to the member for Algoma and the member for Essex South and sent a letter to Dr. Fraser Mustard, the chairman of the Advisory Council on Occupational Health and Occupational Safety, asking for his permission to release these two letters to the respective critics.

Everything I have at the present time the honourable member would have in the official report of the Advisory Council on Occupational Health and Occupational Safety, except for one final letter that I wrote to Dr. Mustard on October 11 which confirmed his letter of September 9, and I would read a portion of that:

"I was reassured to note that council has reaffirmed its earlier position that there is no evidence of a health hazard from ionizing radiation from properly designed, manufactured and maintained machines. Furthermore, council has reasserted that the same statement can be made in relation to non-ionizing radiation in infrared, ultraviolet and microwave frequency ranges of the electromagnetic spectrum.

"In the September 9 letter, council also advises, based on a review of the scientific literature and several radiation surveys, some of which were not published when the advisory council memorandum was completed, that there appears to be no evidence of a reproductive hazard to VDU operators from low-frequency, non-ionizing radiation emissions from these units.

"The advisory council's overall conclusion is that there is no scientific evidence of a positive hazard from VDU emissions to the pregnant operator, the foetus or both."

All of that information should be in the hands of the respective critics within the next few days.


Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: On Tuesday I brought to your attention that the Minister of Industry and Trade (Mr. F. S. Miller) has been absent from the House ever since we resumed in the fall. There are many matters that concern members of the House, but most particularly for the member for Brantford (Mr. Gillies) and myself is the disposition of the important White Farm Equipment bankruptcy involving the employment, or lack of employment, of 1,000 people.

I wonder whether the Premier is prepared to designate himself as knowledgeable in this, or some other person, so we can get the kind of public information that so many of the unemployed and others are interested in, or perhaps he will make a statement.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, on that point of order: I think the honourable member very properly is registering a concern on this issue. I assumed, perhaps erroneously, after he raised this on Tuesday, that he might direct a question to me. I actually made an effort to have some information available for the member if he had raised it. Perhaps I can meet him in the next two or three minutes under the gallery and tell him what I know. I will be delighted to share that with him.

Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: I appreciate the offer, but it should be a public statement of what is going on.

Mr. Speaker: That is hardly a point of order, but obviously the member has resolved his problem.


Mr. Wildman: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: I sincerely believe that the comments made in jest, I believe, by the Premier (Mr. Davis) with regard to the representation of rural areas in this province are an abuse of my privilege and an insult to the farmers and the electors of Algoma. It is an example of this government's real lack of knowledge of and concern for agriculture in northern Ontario. I would hope other ministers in that government would make the Premier aware that there are farmers in the north. I want to emphasize that I am --

Mr. Speaker: Order. Will the honourable member please resume his seat? I must point out that it was not a point of privilege, with all respect.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please.



Mr. J. A. Reed: Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions.

"To the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"We, the undersigned teachers, beg leave to petition the parliament of Ontario as follows:

"Whereas we oppose the extension of the Inflation Restraint Act because it is inequitable in its application to the citizens of Ontario and restricts our basic free collective bargaining rights; and

"Whereas we believe that an extension of the act or measures which will have a similar effect would violate the spirit of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms;

"We petition the Ontario Legislature to restore our free collective bargaining rights forthwith under Bill 100, the School Boards and Teachers Collective Negotiations Act."

It is signed by teachers from Edward Johnson School and Rockwood Centennial School.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Speaker, I have a similar petition.

"To the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"We, the undersigned teachers, beg leave to petition the parliament of Ontario as follows:

"Whereas we oppose the extension of the Inflation Restraint Act because it is inequitable in its application to the citizens of Ontario and restricts our basic free collective bargaining rights; and

"Whereas we believe that an extension of the act or measures which will have a similar effect would violate the spirit of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms;

"We petition the Ontario Legislature to restore our free collective bargaining rights forthwith under Bill 100, the School Boards and Teachers Collective Negotiations Act."

It is signed by 38 teachers from Robert Moore Public School and Alexander Mackenzie School in Fort Frances and Donald Young School in Emo.

Mr. Philip: Mr. Speaker, I have a petition which reads as follows:

"To the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"We, the undersigned teachers, beg leave to petition the parliament of Ontario as follows:

"Whereas we oppose the extension of the Inflation Restraint Act because it is inequitable in its application to the citizens of Ontario and restricts our basic free collective bargaining bargaining rights; and

"Whereas we believe that an extension of the act or measures which will have a similar effect would violate the spirit of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms;

"We petition the Ontario Legislature to restore our free collective bargaining rights forthwith under Bill 100, the School Boards and Teachers Collective Negotiations Act."

It is signed by 315 teachers in Mississauga, Rexdale and Burlington.

Mr. Breithaupt: Mr. Speaker, I have a similar petition, signed by several teachers of the Wellington County Teachers' Association who reside in the city of Kitchener.

Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, I have a petition in a similar vein, signed by several teachers from the educational centres at Canadian Forces Base Petawawa.

3:20 p.m.

Mr. Lupusella: Mr. Speaker. I wish to table a petition which reads:

"To the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"We, the undersigned teachers, beg leave to petition the parliament of Ontario as follows:

"Whereas we oppose the extension of the Inflation Restraint Act because it is inequitable in its application to the citizens of Ontario and restricts our basic free collective bargaining rights; and

"Whereas we believe that an extension of the act or measures which will have a similar effect would violate the spirit of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms;

"We petition the Ontario Legislature to restore our free collective bargaining rights forthwith under Bill 100, the School Boards and Teachers Collective Negotiations Act,"

The above petition is signed by 210 teachers from Brockton High School, Bloor Collegiate Institute, Oakwood Collegiate Institute and Heydon Park Secondary School.

I support this petition.

Mr. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I too wish to table a petition to the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. This petition is signed by teachers from three different schools from the county but the teachers are residents of the city of Windsor.

Mr. Riddell: Listen to this petition, Mr. Speaker.

"To the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"We, the undersigned teachers, beg leave to petition the parliament of Ontario as follows:

"Whereas we oppose the extension of the Inflation Restraint Act because it is inequitable in its application to the citizens of Ontario and restricts our basic free collective bargaining rights; and

"Whereas we believe that an extension of the act or measures which will have a similar effect would violate the spirit of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms;

"We petition the Ontario Legislature to restore our free collective bargaining rights forthwith under Bill 100, the School Boards and Teachers Collective Negotiations Act."

This petition was signed by nine teachers from the Colborne Central Public School. I want to draw to the attention of the members that the school is located in the great riding of Huron-Bruce but a majority of the teachers reside in the great riding of Huron-Middlesex.

Mr. Samis: Mr. Speaker, I wish to table a petition to the same effect from a grand total of 15 teachers from Eamers Corners Public School in the riding of Cornwall and from the staff of Martintown Public School in the riding of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry.

Mr. Eakins: Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to present the following petition:

"To the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"We, the undersigned teachers, beg leave to petition the parliament of Ontario as follows:

"Whereas we oppose the extension of the Inflation Restraint Act because it is inequitable in its application to the citizens of Ontario and restricts our basic free collective bargaining rights; and

"Whereas we believe that an extension of the act or measures which will have a similar effect would violate the spirit of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms;

"We petition the Ontario Legislature to restore our free collective bargaining rights forthwith under Bill 100, the School Boards and Teachers Collective Negotiations Act,"

This petition bears 54 signatures representing teachers in the Archie Stouffer Elementary School, Wilberforce Elementary School, Victoria Street Elementary School, Cardiff Elementary School, Gooderham Elementary School and the Haliburton Highlands Senior Elementary School, all in the great county of Haliburton.

Mr. Bradley: Mr. Speaker, I have a petition to present to the House on behalf of a number of teachers under the jurisdiction of the Lincoln County Board of Education. It reads:

"To the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"We, the undersigned teachers, beg leave to petition the parliament of Ontario as follows:

"Whereas we oppose the extension of the Inflation Restraint Act because it is inequitable in its application to the citizens of Ontario and restricts our basic free collective bargaining rights; and

"Whereas we believe that an extension of the act or measures which will have a similar effect would violate the spirit of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms;

"We petition the Ontario Legislature to restore our free collective bargaining rights forthwith under Bill 100, the School Boards and Teachers Collective Negotiations Act."

This petition is from teachers from these schools under the jurisdiction of the Lincoln County Board of Education: Jordan Public School, Parliament Oak, Meadowvale, Lakeview, Edith Cavell, Lakebreeze, Gainsborough, Vineland, Lincoln Centennial, Maywood, Memorial and Smith.

Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, I too have a petition similar to those that have been given by other members here today, in which the petitioners are requesting the Legislature to restore the bargaining rights of the teachers as provided in Bill 100. I will not read the petition, but note that it is signed by 10 teachers from the Fonthill public school in the riding of the Minister of Energy (Mr. Andrewes).

Mr. G. I. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"We petition the Ontario Legislature to restore collective bargaining rights forthwith under Bill 100, the School Boards and Teachers Collective Negotiations Act."

One is signed by five teachers from Caledonia, Cayuga and Hagersville, and the second one is signed by teachers from Nanticoke, Cayuga, Selkirk, Jarvis and Hamilton.

Mr. Elston: Mr. Speaker, I likewise have a petition on the same subject signed by a teacher who teaches at the Colborne Central School, the lone representative from the riding of Huron-Bruce who occupies a staff position there.


Mr. Wildman: Mr. Speaker, I have a petition to the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"We, the undersigned, beg leave to petition the parliament of Ontario as follows:

"We, the people of the Sault and surrounding district, are hereby petitioning against the unfair decision of the Ministry of Natural Resources regarding the moose hunting regulations.

"We the people would like to see fairness to all by completely closing the moose hunting season for two years rather than this computerized validation tag system which we do not and will not support now or in the future."

This petition is signed by 269 hunters from Sault Ste. Marie, Batchawana, Echo Bay. Haydon, Hawk Junction, Searchmount and Goulais River. It is submitted because these hunters do not believe they are being treated fairly. They believe the ministry is thinking of making money out of the moose hunt, instead of promoting conservation.



Mr. Robinson from the standing committee on social development reported the following resolution:

That supply in the following amounts and to defray the expenses of the Ministry of Education be granted to Her Majesty for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1984:

Ministry of Education, ministry administration program, $41,585,900; education program. $3,047,426,000; services to education program, $55,798,200.


Mr. McLean from the standing committee on general government reported the following resolution:

That supply in the following amount and to defray the expenses of the Office of the Assembly he granted to Her Majesty for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1984:

Office of the Assembly, Office of the Assembly program. $30,830,900.


Mr. Kerr from the standing committee on regulations and other statutory instruments presented the following report and moved its adoption:

Your committee begs to report the following bill with certain amendments:

Bill Pr32, An Act respecting the Brockville Young Men's Christian Association/Young Women's Christian Association.

Your committee begs to report the following bill without amendment:

Bill Pr38, An Act respecting New Horizons Day Centre Incorporated.

Your committee further recommends that the fees plus the actual cost of printing be remitted on Bill Pr32, An Act respecting the remitted on Bill Pr32, An Act respecting the Brockville Young Men's Christian Association/Young Women's Christian Association, and Bill Pr38, An Act respecting the New Horizons Day Centre Incorporated.

Your committee further recommends that Bill Pr15, An Act respecting the City of Hamilton, be not reported, it having been withdrawn by the applicant.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, can you use your influence to get the lights turned off for a little while, or are we going to have them on all afternoon?

Mr. Speaker: Would the Sergeant-at-Arms please look into that?

3:30 p.m.



Hon. Mr. Wells moved that the estimates of the Ministry of Labour be transferred from the standing committee on resources development to the standing committee on general government, to be taken after the estimates of the Ministry of Energy.

Motion agreed to.

Hon. Mr. Wells moved that the select committee on the Ombudsman be authorized to sit the evening of Tuesday, October 25, 1983.

Motion agreed to.



Hon. Mr. Wells moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. McMurtry, first reading of Bill 92, An Act to amend the Health Disciplines Act.

Motion agreed to.


Hon. Mr. McMurtry moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. Wells, first reading of Bill 93, An Act to amend the Family Law Reform Act.

Motion agreed to.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to introduce today a small but important amendment to the Family Law Reform Act to respond to concerns raised by members of this House about the sufficiency of the enforcement measures available under the act.

The bill is an amendment to section 30 of that act and accomplishes two things. First, it makes the remedy of an attachment order, an extremely effective remedy which might be called a continuing garnishment, available against payments under a pension plan. Second, it improves the provision for the variation of an attachment order to make it clear the order can be varied whenever the circumstances of the parties change.

I would emphasize that pensions, even public service pensions, can now be reached by a writ of execution or a notice of garnishment. This bill makes pensions subject to the continuing garnishment remedy called an attachment order, just as salaries and wages are subject to an attachment order under the existing section 30.


Hon. Mr. McMurtry moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. Wells, first reading of Bill 94, An Act to amend the Charities Accounting Act.

Motion agreed to.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, the amendment to the Charities Accounting Act I have just introduced is a measure intended to correct the definition of "land" in the 1982 amendment to the Charities Accounting Act.

The 1982 amendment prohibits charities from holding land for any purpose other than actual use or occupation in the carrying out of their charitable purposes. However, we did not intend to prohibit charities that have surplus funds available from lending the money out and taking mortgaged security for those loans. The amendment is to restore charities rights to take mortgaged security for loans as they were permitted to do under the now repealed Mortmain and Charitable Uses Act.

The amendment is retroactive to the effective date of the 1982 amendment to the Charities Accounting Act.


Hon. Mr. Snow moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. Wells, first reading of Bill 95, An Act to amend the Public Vehicles Act.

Motion agreed to.

Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I have today introduced a bill to amend the Public Vehicles Act. The most important item in this bill is the proposal to make it easier to provide transportation services for physically disabled persons living in rural areas. We propose to do this by exempting those services from requiring a licence to operate beyond municipal boundaries when operating vehicles equipped with special lifts or ramps and while they are being used exclusively for the transportation of the physically disabled and their attendants.

Another item proposed is to eliminate the authority of a municipality to levy a fee for a public vehicle operating on a route through its municipal limits. There are only three municipalities in the province doing this at present -- Guelph, Oshawa and Brantford -- and the significant administrative costs outweigh the revenues collected.

There are also several housekeeping items to clear up, redundant provisions regarding licence plate requirements now covered by the new permanent plates on public vehicles.


Hon. Mr. Snow moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. Wells, first reading of Bill 96, An Act to amend the Highway Traffic Act.

Motion agreed to.

Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I have introduced today a bill to amend the Highway Traffic Act. Many of the provisions and amendments I will refer to are necessary to improve operational procedures and provide legislation that will be consistent and compatible with the new driver registration system introduced last December.

Some specific provisions have been made regarding motor vehicle permits. A replacement permit will no longer be issued for a vehicle with unpaid fines listed against it. In addition, no one will be allowed to have more than one permit bearing the same plate number or describing the same vehicle. Conditions have also been clarified for the use of dealer and service plates by vehicle manufacturers, dealers and persons in the business of repairing or customizing who require these plates to do business.

It is imperative under the new vehicle registration system that proper use of the permit be enforced. With this in mind, provisions have been made to grant police officers and officers appointed under the act the authority to seize permits in addition to plates and evidence of validation in cases where drivers have unauthorized use of a permit, have obtained a permit under false pretences or have defaced or altered the permit in any way.

Another area of concern is the general penalty. The general penalty level has not been raised since the 1968-69 session of the Legislature. As a result, its deterrent value has been eroded by inflation. We have included an amendment to raise the minimum from $20 to $40 and the maximum from $100 to $200.

3:40 p.m.

We have also removed from the general penalty section the penalty for driving a motor vehicle without a licence or without the proper class of licence, and provided a separate penalty for this offence, ranging from a minimum fine of $100 to a maximum of $500.

To clarify the meaning of "highway" in the act, the definition has been rewritten to include the entire right of way. Also, "traffic" has been redefined to include pedestrians, animals, vehicles, streetcars and other conveyances.

The legislation has been carefully amended throughout to make the streetcar driver subject to many of the same provisions as drivers of motor vehicles. Drivers of streetcars will be required to hold a valid driver's licence and follow the same basic rules of the road with regard to yielding the right of way, blocking intersections, following too closely, school bus stopping laws and careless driving offences. They will be subject to the same penalties for driving a vehicle under suspension.

Streetcars have also been included in the types of vehicles which cannot be operated in unsafe condition. Also included are combinations of vehicles such as passenger vehicles and trailers.

A special provision has been made to save the public in remote areas the considerable inconvenience of having to travel to a ministry issuing office to have a licence upgraded and endorsed. People authorized to conduct tests for selected drivers' licences and re-examinations, referred to as "selected signing authorities," will be able to endorse existing licences for a temporary period specified in the regulations, to indicate that the holder of the licence has qualified for an upgraded licence.

Some basic housekeeping revisions to the act include the raising of the fine for improper lighting on bicycles from $5 to $20 and the requirement for motorcyclists to fasten the strap under their chin when wearing their regulation helmets and to ensure that passengers under age 16 conform with the provisions of the act.

In addition, the length of a semi-trailer has been amended to increase the maximum length from 14 metres (45 feet) to 14.65 metres (48 feet). This increase will bring Ontario's maximum length in line with all other Canadian jurisdictions and, I might say, with the United States as well.

I trust my honourable colleagues in the House will see the value in these new provisions and amendments to the Highway Traffic Act.




Mr. Mitchell moved, seconded by Mr. Williams, resolution 15:

That, due to the large number of children who are killed or injured in falls from apartment windows, this House urges all municipalities that have not already done so to pass bylaws under the Planning Act to require that all upper-floor windows capable of being opened in multiple dwelling-unit buildings be fitted with suitable locking or latching devices and/or strengthened screens so that children cannot climb or fall through.

Mr. Speaker: Thank you. I would like to take this opportunity to point out to the honourable member that he has up to 20 minutes for his presentation and he may reserve any of that time for his windup.

Mr. Mitchell: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It seems only a short while ago that I was able to take a seat in this House after a by-election back in the great riding of Carleton. It seems, as I say, only a short while ago, and yet almost three years have gone by. I want to assure the members I have been working basically that long researching the particular resolution I am introducing today. I would also be remiss if I did not say I had some great help in doing so. I guess one should recognize the parliamentary intern program because my intern, who worked closely with me, did an awful lot of this work and for that I am thankful.

I am sure we have all seen such headlines in the paper as this one, which reads: "Tot Stable after Falling off Balcony." This was a lucky child. I am sure we have also seen headlines like this: "Window Safety: How Many More Will Die?"

My interest in this resolution came about when a gentleman attended my constituency office who was the father of a young child who had been lost through this type of accident. I am asking that this House, by supporting this resolution, urge all Ontario municipalities which have not already done so to pass bylaws under the Planning Act to require that all operable upper-floor windows in multiple dwelling unit buildings be fitted with suitable locking or latching devices.

Someone asked me the other day why I did not go to a full-blown bill and why it is a resolution. I might answer that by pointing out that had I gone to a full bill, I would have had to be very specific about the type of fastenings or fittings that were needed and, frankly, I am not qualified to do that. But I believe the municipalities with the staff they have and the various building inspection branches and works departments do have that capability and are also able to identify those that would be best to provide the safety I am looking for in multiple dwelling units.

I have introduced this resolution with the hope of accomplishing two things.

First, as an effort at public education I hope the debate on this resolution will serve to remind us that a serious and, in the case of children who live in some high-rise buildings, a life-threatening situation exists which has only been partially resolved.

Second, and more important, it is my hope this resolution will encourage concrete actions to remedy this situation and, consequently, result in a reduction of the risks of injury and death to which some children are currently exposed.

By way of background, over the period of time we were in preparation of this resolution, and further to a letter that was sent out on August 30, 1976, by the Honourable John Rhodes, during my time in my role as parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations, we followed up that letter of Mr. Rhodes. I might read a little of it.

In his letter he said: "In recent years a number of children have died as a result of falling from unprotected window and balcony openings in multi-storey buildings. Following an inquiry into one recent death, the chief coroner of Ontario requested that a review be made of the powers available to municipal councils to require the installation of protective features on external openings on such buildings. As a result of this review, I am advised that municipalities have two ways by which they can require that such features be installed which are as follows:

"The new Ontario Building Code makes provision for the installation of safety features on windows and other external openings in newly constructed apartment and multi-family buildings. The municipalities therefore have the power to ensure that protective devices be required in buildings erected in accordance with the new Ontario Building Code." Remember, this letter was in 1976.

He goes on to say: "These new provisions cannot, however, be applied retroactively to existing buildings erected before the code came into effect. For such buildings, I am advised that a municipality has, through the application of a maintenance and occupancy bylaw, passed, under the provisions of section 36" -- now I believe section 43 -- "of the Planning Act, the power to require that safety features be installed, providing the bylaw prescribes an appropriate standard. Such a standard may be derived from the standard prescribed in the Ontario Building Code or an alternative standard which the municipality deems to be appropriate.

"Since this is a subject of significant public concern, I would be obliged if you could bring to your council's attention the powers described above, which are available to a municipality in ensuring protection for children occupying suites in multi-storey buildings. Your council may deem it appropriate to amend its maintenance and occupancy bylaw to provide for the requirement of such safeguards."

3:50 p.m.

As I say, that letter went out from the Honourable John Rhodes in 1976. I followed up that letter. In fact, I was quite pleased because, when I began to follow it up, I did get responses, and I must commend the city of Toronto and others for the fact that they have acted on it. I know other speakers are going to speak about that, so I will not digress except to say that if the members are interested in how much research went into this project, it is the story, the sad story in here in some cases, of young children. It also contains comments from the various provincial authorities and comments and responses from the municipalities throughout the province, and I make them available to any member who might be interested in reading through them.

The injury and death of children under the age of 15 caused by accidents in Canada has been characterized by some medical and safety experts as a silent epidemic. According to the Canada Safety Council, this silent epidemic claims on an average the lives of 1,200 children under the age of 15 every year.

There was an article recently in one of the newspapers about the fact that this resolution was being put forward. Somehow or other the opinion got out that there were no statistics to back it up. There are statistics. I told the person I did not have them right in my hand at the moment. By the way, these are deaths. There are many statistics available, but in many cases there are no statistics available from the hospitals for those young people who lived through such a fall.

I have the statistics here from 1969 to 1978. In 1969 it appears that only one was reported; in 1970, two; in 1971, one; in 1972, three; in 1973, one; in 1974, four; in 1975, two; in 1976, two; in 1977, three. That is what I have during that period.

But do numbers really count here, or are we concerned about one child? I suggest very sincerely that we are concerned about one child. As I said earlier, in addition to these fatalities, this silent epidemic injures and maims thousands of other children in Ontario and Canada every year. It has been estimated, for example, that for every fatal accident involving a child, between 200 and 900 children are admitted to hospital and between one and four children are permanently handicapped. The bottom line is that we in this country have one of the worst records for childhood accidents among western industrialized nations.

This is not a record of which we should be proud. The statistics reveal a tragic waste of young lives made all the more tragic by the fact that many of these so-called accidents are preventable. The objective of this resolution is to help prevent the recurrence of those tragic incidents in which children have been hurt or killed by falls from or through windows in multiple dwelling-unit buildings.

It is a funny thing, Mr. Speaker -- perhaps it is not funny; that is a wrong use of words perhaps -- this resolution is obviously directed to the safety of young people, but many of us, I am sure, will recall the accident that happened here in Toronto approximately a year ago when an adult fell from a second-storey window and was killed.

In any event, we are dealing with a limited risk situation, though one which is fairly prevalent in urban centres. As those of us who are parents can readily attest, children have an apparently God-given talent for falling down, over or through just about any object imaginable.

It is perhaps indicative of the age we live in and a modern passion to measure all things measurable that we now have statistics to confirm what every parent has long known. A study conducted by the Hospital for Sick Children indicates that since 1976 falls have been the most common cause of injuries to children. In the period surveyed, the hospital recorded 1,000 injuries to children caused by falls down stairs, including 10 who fell down escalators and 107 infants who fell down stairs in walkers. Another 34 children were hurt in falls from porches, 28 from roofs, five from falls over banisters, and 351 from beds or cribs with 54 of those being from bunk beds.

In addition, 426 children were injured in playground falls. Of particular relevance is the fact that 12 children were hurt in falls from balconies and eight were hurt in window falls. Window falls from multi-storey dwellings are of specific concern because they often result in severe injury or death.

It is not within the power of any legislature, public agency or parent to protect children totally from falls. The repeal of the law of gravity, unfortunately, lies beyond our jurisdiction, but we do have a responsibility to do what we can to create a safe environment for children.

National data on the scope of the problem of children injured or killed in window falls are difficult to obtain. In fact, I have a letter somewhere in here from British Columbia which I will read. It is addressed to me and says, "With respect to your letter of November 17 dealing with children and window safety, we have been unable to track down coroners' reports concerning children falling from windows; so we must assume that these have not occurred in British Columbia." As I mentioned, information is not all that readily available.

Information compiled by the associate committee of the National Building Code of the National Research Council of Canada indicates that over a seven-year period, 1968 to 1975, there were 13 deaths as a result of window falls. There are also records of five other cases in which children were seriously injured as a result of window falls. In many of these reported cases, screens had either been removed from the windows or gave way under pressure.

It is particularly disturbing to note, of the 23 cases of children killed or injured in a fall from a balcony or window, that all but one or perhaps two that we have been able to ascertain occurred in or around the Toronto area. In Ontario, I am aware of approximately 22 deaths that have been caused by falls from windows or balconies. These deaths occurred between 1969 and 1983. Of those deaths, 19 involved children under the age of 12, of whom 17 were five years or younger.

I would like to save a little bit of time for wrapping up and adding just a final request for support to this House. If I may, I will leave it at this point and reserve the balance of my time for a wrapup.

The Deputy Speaker: I thank the member for his remarks, and he has four minutes reserved.

4 p.m.

Mr. Epp: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be able to speak on this resolution, which I am certainly going to support, and I commend the honourable member for bringing it forward.

All of us are aware of the tragic instances that startle our senses sometimes when we read the newspapers in the morning or evening. I have a few reports of them here. The member has listed a number of statistics, which I do not want to repeat, but we do have a number of instances where children have not had the proper protection and, in their innocence, have climbed up on sofas, climbed out of windows, fallen and either have been very seriously injured or have met their death.

That is most regrettable and there are things that can and should be done. In fact, there are things that should have been done over the years to try to protect against this. This is particularly real in metropolitan areas such as Metropolitan Toronto, in regionalized areas such as Ottawa and Hamilton and in other areas where there are a lot of high-rises.

I am somewhat at a loss to understand why this should be put at the doorstep of the municipalities when the government could pass legislation making this mandatory overnight. Obviously, the government would want to consult the municipalities, builders and so forth on these matters, but it is something that could have been included in the Ontario Building Code some years ago. The fact that these deaths have become more prominent in the past few years does not excuse the government from the fact that these things have happened for many years. The government has been aware of them and it has done nothing with respect to trying to resolve the problem.

If I am correct, some of the regulations which the member suggests should be included by the municipalities are currently not in the Ontario Building Code such as where a window perhaps should not be opened any further than four inches. It is something I think Mayor Lastman of North York suggested. That is something that either in legislation or regulations the government could incorporate overnight and it is still not doing it.

I would hope the member would get his own back-benchers and particularly the cabinet behind him in this. I have no difficulty in supporting him on it. I only wish he would be able to convince his own colleagues in the cabinet that they should do it.

The Minister of Labour (Mr. Ramsay) is here. I know he is very concerned about this, and I know he is a sincere individual. I hope he can persuade his colleagues as well as the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing (Mr. Bennett), who is absent. Somebody should tell him to get on the bandwagon and do something, because he can do something much more quickly than the 835 municipalities which individually have to pass maintenance and occupancy bylaws. I suggest to the member for Carleton (Mr. Mitchell) that he really should speak to his own people about this and do something.

I find it somewhat strange too that we are imploring the municipalities to do something, to pass these bylaws to protect the youngsters, but when municipalities ask the province for various assistance the province turns a deaf ear to the municipalities.

Let me suggest a few instances of this. One, of course, is recent; that is the demolition bylaw that the city of Toronto has asked for and the resolution that I believe the borough of York passed within the past few years asking the province to pass a law that would give it authorization to control the demolition of buildings.

What I suggest is that the province is very selective in the things it wants to accept from municipalities and the things it does not want to accept; in other words, selective autonomy as far as the municipalities are concerned. I do not disagree with the member, but I suggest that he should first go to his colleagues on his side of the House and get them to be a little less selective with respect to autonomy and look at what they can do as the government of this province.

With respect to unconditional grants, there are many municipalities across the province that say they are not being consulted by the province. Again, this is a very selective form of attention the province is paying to the municipalities.

Conversion to hotels is something a colleague of mine, the member for Parkdale (Mr. Ruprecht), has mentioned on a number of occasions. He asked the government to pass legislation preventing apartment buildings from being converted into hotels. This was raised in the spring when there were a lot of conversions, but so far we have not had any indication from the government with respect to these matters.

Not long ago the city of Etobicoke asked for passage of Bill Pr47, which concerns the adult-only buildings. They wanted some legislation on this matter, and the government has not acted. The city of Toronto has asked for tighter legislation with respect to historic buildings.

The point I want to make is that I have no difficulty in supporting the resolution. I commend the member for bringing it forward. I am not opposed to municipalities taking these steps and passing these bylaws. But it is a long drawn-out effort.

There are a lot of municipalities out there; there are more than 800 of them, as I pointed out. So the government could correct this through one piece of legislation, make it retroactive and thereby probably save a considerable number of lives.

I suggest to the member for Carleton that he should look seriously at imploring his colleagues on that side of the House to take that type of very positive, very constructive action, which is necessary in circumstances of this kind.

The Deputy Speaker: I thank the member for his remarks. The member for Etobicoke has 10 minutes.

Mr. Philip: Mr. Speaker, I support the motion. I support it because I believe the honourable member wants to do something about what is an ongoing problem. He has mentioned how far back members in this House have been aware of the situation.

Like the former speaker, I have some concerns as to the route the member wants to go. It is a laborious, highly expensive route that he wants to take. What he is saying essentially is that we as a province are going to give up our responsibility and try to convince the municipalities that they should act in a responsible way.

If the problem is as he says it is, and I believe it is a serious problem, then I would suggest that the fastest route to go would be an amendment to the Ontario Building Code. A private member's bill, which he could introduce with the support of his minister, would receive, I am sure, unanimous consent in this House, and very soon the problem could be corrected.

I recognize that the member has a problem with that. He has a problem with the incumbent minister in that particular portfolio. The former speaker pointed out just how intransigent the present minister is when it comes to doing any of the kinds of reforms that municipalities have asked for in terms of protection for some of their people when they violate what the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing considers the property rights of landlords.

That has been a major problem, both with Bill Pr13, the city of Toronto bill, and indeed with legislation requested by the city of Etobicoke and other municipalities to protect their citizens from various types of abuses.

The other question I have for the member is, why has he restricted it to windows? When a researcher who does some work for me called the coroner's office, the response was: "Yes, that is a problem. There are some children being killed that way. But the major problem in terms of children losing their lives through accidental deaths of falling comes not from windows but from balconies."

With all the research the member has done, one would have thought that he would have at least expanded his resolution to deal with the problem of balconies where, as I understand from the coroner, there are a lot more tragedies than there are from windows.

4:10 p.m.

The member has pointed out that the city of Toronto has a bylaw that was proposed to come into effect in October 1983 to require landlords to retrofit the windows of their buildings with safety latches. However, my understanding is that substantial opposition came from the larger landlords and that the city of Toronto has postponed, at least temporarily, the amending of the housing standards bylaw, which it has the power to do and which it is going to do under the Municipal Act.

The city of North York since 1981, as the member noted, has required safety devices in apartments where there are resident children six years of age and under. The landlords are required to install them or the tenants may repair or install them and the municipality will inspect to make sure the building is up to standards.

I have never been a great fan of the Ontario Housing Corp., but it is interesting that Ontario Housing has shown some leadership in this regard on a province-wide basis. It shows what can be done province-wide when one very large landlord, namely, the Ontario Housing Corp., decides it wants to act. The field manual for Ontario Housing deals not just with windows but also with balconies. It says:

"Tenants signing a lease must be made aware of the choices available to them in connection with balcony and window safety. Each tenant must be notified that sliding window stopping devices preventing windows from opening more than four inches are either available or can be designed to fit any kind of window and, upon request, will be installed by the housing authority staff.

"A record of advice and notification must be maintained, together with the date of request of installation and the date that the work is completed.

"Where the tenant is advised by staff regarding window devices but declines the offer, a signature to that effect will be necessary; and if the device is removed by the staff as a result of the tenant's request, a signature must also be obtained.

"The stopping devices for window washing must be replaced by contract or project staff. Screens in high building projects must be capable of restraining a horizontal load of 34 kilograms" -- in other words, about 75 pounds -- "total and must be secured to the window frame with channels and angles at least three eighths of an inch, legs on all four sides.

"The housing authority and manager's staff must be constantly on the alert for potentially dangerous situations, and parental supervision, for example, must be supplemented and reinforced by the staff."

Then it goes on to give fairly elaborate instructions about how the housing authority managers must issue warning notices to tenants outlining the requirements on balcony doors and that repairs of defects must be made immediately in these areas. So Ontario Housing has taken some leadership in this, and we can see what can be done very quickly when the province or one of its provincial agencies wants to act.

In conclusion, I simply want to say that I wish the member had introduced a bill. I wish it had applied province-wide through the building code. I wish it had gone further, that it had dealt not just with windows but rather with an even more serious problem of balconies and doors. None the less, I hope that voting for this may serve some educational purpose. Maybe the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing will even read or hear of this and decide that he will take some action at the provincial level before too many more children are injured or, worse still, end up in another coroner's report.

Mr. Kolyn: Mr. Speaker, I too am pleased to have the opportunity to participate in this debate and to support the resolution introduced by my colleague the member for Carleton.

As a representative of the riding of Lakeshore, in the great city of Etobicoke, a riding that has its share of apartment buildings, I have a special interest in this resolution. I am sure that my interest is shared by all members but especially by those who have had constituents suffer the loss of a child through the type of accident that this resolution seeks to prevent.

I was pleased to note that in his remarks, the member for Carleton made mention of the fact that the borough of Etobicoke has in place a bylaw which provides for the installation of safety devices on openable windows and balcony doors upon request of the tenant.

Mr. Philip: It is the city of Etobicoke.

Mr. Kolyn: I am sorry. I thank the member for correcting me.

While it is not possible to know how many children's lives have been saved as a result of the installation of safety devices. I believe it is safe to speculate that many may have been.

Take the case of Etobicoke, for example. Between the years 1969 and 1975, three children in Etobicoke were killed as a result of falls from apartment buildings. In one case, a child fell from an apartment balcony railing. In the other two cases, death resulted from falls caused by the fact that window screens, which the children were leaning against, gave way.

However, since 1975, to the best of my knowledge, there have been no reported deaths of children in Etobicoke caused by falls from apartment windows. No doubt part of the credit for this happy circumstance must go to the bylaw.

As the data presented by the member for Carleton indicated, deaths and injury to children as a result of window falls are a serious problem. The data also indicate that it is a more serious problem in Ontario, and especially in Metro Toronto, which has such a concentration of high-risk areas, than it is in the rest of Canada.

However, window falls as a cause of death and injury to children are a problem in urban centres around the world. Just as we have in Ontario, governments around the world have attempted to deal with this problem through a variety of means. It is possible to identify seven different methods that have been adopted in other jurisdictions in an effort to prevent accidents of this type.

Some countries require that operable windows be set at a height above the floor so as to be inaccessible to small children. In other cases, building codes require that window sills be designed in such a way as to ensure the children cannot climb them. Other jurisdictions require window guards, barriers or strong screens, either generally or in special circumstances -- for example, on large openable windows. Others require that large or low windows he unopenable.

Latching devices which limit the size of a window opening are also popular. In some cases, a double-latch system is required. One latch limits the size of the window opening to four inches; the second latch is either too high for children to reach or too complicated for them to operate. An adult can operate this second latch to open the window fully for cleaning or for emergency egress.

The Swedish building code regulations are especially worthy of note. In addition to general regulations, the Swedish code has one section, section 9, which specifically deals with child safety in apartment buildings. The objective of this section, as stated in the code, is to protect children up to six years of age from accident.

I believe it is important that we in Ontario be aware of the experience of other jurisdictions that have attempted to deal with this problem. Our municipal colleagues in particular could benefit from the knowledge of what other Ontario municipalities and other jurisdictions have done in an effort to minimize the risk of window falls. Such knowledge no doubt could be usefully applied in the design of effective safety bylaws.

Knowledge of past experience is especially important, because experience has shown that some of the apparently obvious solutions actually create more safety problems than they solve. For example, if windows are set too high above the floor, escape from the dwelling unit -- say in the case of fire -- becomes more difficult. Rescue efforts also may be made more difficult.

4:20 p.m.

Similarly in the case of strong screens which could hinder emergency egress and inhibit rescue efforts, I know this has been a source of concern for fire departments across the province. Their concerns, I suggest, are well founded. There is at least one recorded case in Ontario in which heavy-duty screening, installed to protect against falls, may have contributed to the deaths of two young children in a townhouse fire. Some members might recall that tragic incident which occurred in the city of North York several years ago.

The concerns which were expressed to my friend the member for Carleton about the adequacy of some safety measures and hardware are no doubt genuine. Municipal officials are quite right to take these factors into account when reviewing this matter.

Essentially, the problem is to balance the need to protect children from the risks of falls from windows without making emergency egress too difficult. Through their bylaws, a number of Ontario municipalities have attempted to address this problem in a constructive fashion. Their efforts can serve as a model for other municipalities contemplating action in this area.

As my friend has pointed out, since 1975 Ontario's building code has required safety latches on the windows of apartment buildings of over three storeys built or renovated since that date. I would note that since 1978 the Ontario Housing Corp. has required that an automatic safety device be built into every window.

Some concern has been expressed about the cost of retrofitting older, pre-1975 buildings with the necessary safety equipment. It has been pointed out that the window frame design of some older buildings makes it impossible to install strengthened screens without extensive renovations. This, however, does not preclude the installation of safety latches on the windows.

For example, when the city of Toronto was studying this matter, it asked a local firm to look into the questions of designing the necessary safety hardware and the cost of installation. The firm reported that it had been able to design the safety system which would meet the requirements set by the bylaw. The firm designed two systems to cover all types of windows.

According to cost estimates provided to the city by the firm, the hardware costs associated with their design would be less than $2 per window. Further, it was estimated that the safety latches could be installed at a cost of less than $15 per window. We are thus looking at a cost of under $17 per window to build a safer, more secure environment for children in our province.

In addition, the Ontario Housing Corp. safety system which I referred to earlier can also be used in retrofitting older buildings. The cost of installing this system during manufacture is less than $6 per window. Whatever the cost, it would be a small price to pay to save children from injury or death caused by falls.

As a society, we have found better ways to build even higher buildings. Surely we can devise ways to make those buildings safe for children. Those Ontario municipalities which have passed bylaws dealing with this problem deserve our thanks and congratulations. Those municipalities which have not yet done so, must be encouraged to act and must be assured of the support and concerns of this House.

I would urge members of all parties to lend their support to my colleague's resolution.

The Deputy Speaker: I would like to thank the member for Lakeshore (Mr. Kolyn) for his remarks. The member for Prescott-Russell.

Mr. Boudria: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am glad you remembered the name of my riding. I was a little worried for a while.

Hon. Mr. Gregory: The hoser.

Mr. Boudria: I want the member for Mississauga East (Mr. Gregory) to know that I have concern for that as well.

I am very pleased to have the opportunity to speak on the resolution proposed by the member for Carleton.

Last year the standing committee on social development undertook hearings in this Legislature on the issue of child abuse. No doubt the members are aware that we have had extensive hearings into that issue.

One of the witnesses who appeared before the standing committee on social development was Professor Cyril Greenland of McMaster University. In his submission, he stated to us, and it has been mentioned earlier today, that Canada had the highest incidence of children's accidents of any country in the western world.

Those are very frightening statistics. When one thinks of all the things we try to do to improve safety records in this country, it seems we have not done the right thing.

I am glad the member for Carleton has brought up this resolution, aiming to correct the problem he identifies. But I believe the whole problem of safety and accident prevention for our children is certainly a far wider area than what has been raised today. Nevertheless, I applaud the intention of the resolution.

We could be talking this afternoon about an assortment of matters pertaining to the issue of accident prevention. I do not intend to take much time to do so, because we are here to discuss the issue of how to prevent accidents involving high-rise apartment windows. I want to illustrate some cases from a series of newspaper articles I have gathered for this discussion.

Here is one from the Toronto Star of June 16, 1983, in which we have the headline, "Doctors Should Prescribe Home Safety for Children." It talks about all kinds of things, from the way our electrical outlets are designed, to excessively hot water in our homes. Sometimes children end up being scalded.

Also, there is the problem of guns lying around the house. Poisonous substances left lying about our homes are another important issue that we should be talking about. The very famous one of children being left unattended in those very famous shopping carts is another issue of concern all of us should be addressing.

All of this is to say that we have a long way to go in reducing the number of accidents our children are suffering in this country, and especially in this province, because that is the area we are concerned with today.

Only two days ago we raised in this Legislature the matter in which children are often allowed, permitted and sometimes encouraged to drive such things as motorcycles and snowmobiles and the like. We see children as young as six, seven, eight and nine years of age driving big machines.

I am particularly pleased to say the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow) favoured the amendment I proposed to his new all-terrain-vehicle law, preventing children under the age of 12 from driving the motorcycles I referred to in that law.

Sometimes, and I have referred to this before, we can call some of those phenomena we see "the neglect of affluence." It is interesting to see how we as a society portray different kinds of child neglect in a different way.

We have heard, for instance, in the same committee I referred to previously, how a particular family may have had an alcohol problem and therefore a child was allowed to be in a home and froze because of lack of heat or something like that.

On the other hand, a child who is given a toy snowmobile and freezes because he falls off it into a snowbank, or that type of thing, does not have nearly the same kind of stigma attached to it. That is ridiculous, because any form of child neglect that causes injury should be a concern to all of us.

Similarly, when we discussed this particular resolution, it is evident that upon occasion children are allowed to be alone in apartments when they should not be. Often they are allowed to play near windows; often they are on the balconies outside these high-rise buildings and fall off them too.

4:30 p.m.

We have a situation here where the member for Lakeshore said it would cost something in the order of only $17 to correct a problem with any given window. While that is not a very large amount, when one considers the alternative one cannot help but wonder why this has not been done already.

I recognize that the building code, since 1977, now contains measures to prevent a recurrence of some of the things that have happened in the past. We all know, especially in view of the housing shortage we are experiencing right now, that not very many buildings have been built in this province since 1977. Had there been very many buildings constructed, we would not be in the housing mess we are in at present.

Therefore, we can only assume that the new law that has been referred to by the member for Carleton has not had a very great effect up until now. I can see only one solution to the problem and that is to pass laws forcing the existing buildings, over a given period of time, to correct the problem and not leave it up to each individual municipality.

We have been elected and have the responsibility for administering those things in the province. I cannot help but believe we have to enact more serious laws to this effect than we have in the past, allowing for a time frame to ensure that some of the owners of the smaller dwelling units will not be put in a situation where they will not be able to afford the modifications that are necessary to the buildings in order to avoid this happening in the future, but nevertheless, establishing some form of time frame -- perhaps so many windows on so many buildings have to be done each year over the next three or five years.

If we do not pass any kind of law ourselves to that effect and just pass the buck on to the municipalities, I do not think we will ever solve this problem.

We are looking at the laws of today, and it is very difficult to pass laws retroactively, but high-rise buildings have not only been built since 1977. The government of this province has been in power for more than 40 years now. Surely we have all been here and been in the situation long enough that we know those buildings have existed.

The high-rise building has been built in this country for a very long time. We have known about these problems for a long time and it is time that we stopped talking about them and addressed the problem through legislation, allowing some time frame to correct the problem, but nevertheless putting in a finite deadline, at which point we will say we have finally licked this problem.

Having said that, we will have corrected only one small area of accident prevention for children because it is my view that with the record we have in this country and the province, we have to go much further.

Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, I wanted to address myself --

Mr. Nixon: What a leader he would have made.

Mr. Breaugh: Remember the old Nixon now? Fantastic statement. Great results too.

I wanted to participate in the discussion this afternoon because this resolution does touch upon a problem that has been a concern to many of us. I applaud the member for the initiative of putting the resolution before the House. It is unfortunate that he was unable to attend throughout most of the debate this afternoon because there are many members here who have been aware of this as a problem for a lengthy period and who have some experience in trying to resolve the difficulty.

Though I am sure all of us will support this resolution, because this is a very serious matter under discussion, I think many of us who have been working in this field for any period of time realize that the solution proposed in the resolution itself is somewhat shortsighted. It misses the basic problem. I think we have to look at what is the difficulty.

If one wants to, I suppose one can say that the problem is with children and the problem is in urban centres and is basically that kids sometimes fall out of apartment windows. I think that is a rather shortsighted view, because the truth of the matter is that any opening above the ground floor in any kind of building has the potential to be a dangerous thing. If one wants to truly attack the problem one does not simply ask someone else to do something about it. One begins to put in place all of the things which governments can do.

In this order, I would say the simplest and most straightforward way to begin the process would be to go to the National Building Code and make some form of safety device for any kind of an opening above a ground floor mandatory. The reason I would pick that as my first approach is that most of the mortgaging in the country is written to that particular code.

The second most obvious one would be to move to something which is right in the government's own jurisdiction and that is the provincial building code, because there are also mortgages written to that particular code. The third level would be to move towards uniformity where municipalities have local building codes and to do it there.

If one began the process in that manner, one would immediately pick up all new construction. That would solve a portion of the problem. The matter of retrofitting has to be dealt with, and it is not an easy one to deal with, because one can go through the bylaws that are written in Ontario and elsewhere to try to cover this problem through a local bylaw and one soon sees that is a tricky piece of business.

When one talks about retrofitting, one really has to be prepared to talk at the same time about some kind of an incentive program, whether one is talking cash amounts of money, as the government of Ontario and the federal government have from time to time done with home owners, for example, to make certain kinds of home improvements, the most recent ones having to do with the saving of energy. One needs some kind of incentive, whether that is money in a person's hand or the ability to write it off in property taxes. There has to be something in that, if one wants to do it on a large scale, to really catch the problem, something which provides an initiative for individuals and in some cases companies or corporations in the private sector and in some cases people who are functioning in the public sector as well.

There needs to be some level of study done in terms of whether one wants to go to a particular device. Having looked at several different kinds of municipal bylaws, it seems to me that many of them resolve one problem -- that is to say they provide some device which safely locks a window or prevents a child from falling out a window -- and promptly create other problems, as other members have mentioned, such as access during an emergency period. I think there is a good deal to be studied in this particular regard. There are many things which people should do.

The one thing I regret about this resolution is, I recall being on municipal council in the early 1970s when this problem was discussed in our area. We discussed it with provincial Ministry of Housing officials at that time. They had a fairly rational argument about a decade ago. They said: "This is a relatively new problem, at least it is new in terms of the government being aware of it being a substantial problem. Our first line of defence would be to turn to the municipalities and say, 'Why don't you put together some municipal bylaws which will resolve the problem?'"

It has been about a decade since those discussions first began. It has been, by my count, about seven years since the then Minister of Housing, John Rhodes, wrote to the municipalities asking them to put together these bylaws. It has been debated at municipal conferences, at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and at local councils for the better part of a decade. It is apparent to me that municipal councils are not going to do that, for whatever reason.

We have had a decade of experience and I think it is time to recognize that perhaps what municipal councils are saying is that they would be happy to pass a corresponding bylaw at their local municipal level to cover this problem, but they are anxious to see the federal and provincial governments do their fair share of attempting to resolve it too.

It is not as if the problem is new. It is a problem which is dramatic when a small child falls out of an apartment window here in Toronto. It gets the news for a while. Unfortunately, it is the kind of thing which does not get repeated follow-up stories. One will see the mayors of municipalities, if a tragedy like that occurs in their municipality, address themselves to the problem. The difficulty is that is not good enough. We need more than that. We need building codes and municipal bylaws which address the problem and we probably need some incentive programs at different levels of government to see that the retrofitting occurs.

4:40 p.m.

After about a decade of discussion on the matter, I would have wanted more than a resolution and a private members' debate this afternoon. It seems to me the problem is clear and the solutions are becoming just about as clear. There are some direct actions which the province could take and has resisted for the better part of a decade. I find that somewhat regrettable.

It seems to me that the federal government has been aware of the problem and has taken very little action of its own. As a matter of fact, the only place where I can find very much activity of a concrete form is at the municipal level. Perhaps that is because people who sit on municipal councils, when a tragedy such as this occurs, are more likely to have personally to experience a little bit of that tragedy. They are going personally to have to explain at the next council meeting why they do not have a bylaw which attempts at least to resolve this problem.

What would have pleased me more this afternoon would have been to see a resolution, if the member wanted to use that form at, which addressed itself to the problem in total rather than just in part. It would have been a resolution which pointed out the responsibilities different levels of government have to take some concrete action to resolve the problem.

From the remarks I heard this afternoon, I think it is rather unfortunate that people seem not to be aware that this is also a rather severe problem for elderly citizens who have some difficulty with mobility. It is a problem that is not restricted to a window but is a very real problem no matter what kind of form the opening takes. If there are resolutions to those problems that have been used in other jurisdictions, then we should be aware of those and attempt to adopt them.

Like most things which governments attempt to do these days, it is not a problem which is going to be resolved by any one level of government. One of the things which used to confuse me when I first got elected to this Legislature was that people in Oshawa did not always know what provincial jurisdiction was. It used to cross my mind that they did not understand the process of government in Canada. The longer I am elected, the more I think they were right and I was wrong. It is true to say that in Canada government, in the largest sense of the word, must take some kind of cohesive action before anything really occurs.

I would have been happier with a resolution which was more comprehensive and which addressed the larger problem, rather than a version of that. But I will be pleased to support the resolution. I hope the member will have a little time to follow up. I would also appreciate an explanation as to why he was not present for the debate this afternoon.

Mr. Williams: Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to participate in the debate this afternoon, particularly given the length of time I have to respond.

I had a very lengthy series of matters to bring before the Legislature this afternoon, but given there is only one minute left to me, I will simply point out how the city of North York, of which I am proud to be a resident and former member of the council, has taken the initiative that is mandated to all municipalities under the provincial Planning Act to deal with apartment buildings that predated the enactment of the Ontario Building Code.

As the sponsor of this resolution pointed out, there are legislative ways and means to deal with this problem, but it does require the participation and joint effort, not only of the provincial government but of the local municipalities.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Cousens): I thank the honourable member for his participation.

Mr. Williams: The city of North York is to be commended for having been one of the first to initiate the local bylaws necessary to provide the protection sought under this resolution.

The Acting Speaker: Thank you.

Mr. Mitchell: Mr. Speaker, in response to the question raised by the member for Oshawa (Mr. Breaugh), when I left I informed the member of the opposition who was speaking that I had to leave, unfortunately, to chair a committee to allow a member to come up to participate in this debate. I came right back from the committee as soon as that time was allocated. I trust he will accept that comment.

There have been a lot of comments that this particular resolution does leave quite a degree of responsibility to the municipal governments, but I am pleased to report that the municipalities are responding to this particular resolution and to the letters that have gone out with regard to it. A number of our major urban centres, including Toronto, North York, Scarborough, Hamilton and Etobicoke have passed bylaws requiring the installation of safety devices on operable windows.

By way of example, on April 22, 1983, the city of Toronto passed a bylaw, scheduled to come into effect on October 1, which requires that every window capable of being opened within a dwelling unit within a multiple occupancy dwelling shall incorporate automatic engaging devices that limit the opening of the window to a maximum of four inches and that cannot be removed or bypassed other than by use of a tool designed specifically for that purpose.

The borough of Etobicoke requires under its maintenance and occupancy bylaw, adopted under the Planning Act, that the owner of the building, upon request of the occupant, install safety devices on operable windows or balcony doors which will prevent a child from opening the door or window beyond four inches.

The city of North York requires similar safety devices in every apartment located above the first floor in which there are resident children aged six or under. The North York bylaw further stipulates that any occupant of a dwelling unit which requires such devices but refuses to have them installed is guilty of an offence.

These few examples should serve to indicate to the House the type of actions which municipalities have taken to prevent window falls.

It was some two and a half years ago when I began this, and I began it as I said earlier because a father had visited me at my constituency office to see what could be done because he himself had been on somewhat of a one-man crusade trying to convince people that this was a problem. It may not be the total answer, but I suggest to the members who have spoken in support of this that certainly it is a step. I will take the challenge issued by the member for Oshawa and continue to pursue it, but I do ask for the support of the whole House for this resolution.


Ms. Copps moved, seconded by Mr. Peterson, resolution 16:

That the principle of equal pay for work of equal value be enshrined into the Employment Standards Act.

Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, first of all, might I preface my remarks by expressing thanks for the tremendous work of my colleagues on this issue, the tremendous work of many groups across this province who support this principle and, in particular, the work by a person who has joined our research staff of late, Cathy McBride. I do want members to recognize that some of the remarks I have to make represent not only my beliefs, but the beliefs of many people across this province.

This country has come a long way in its fight for fair pay and fair play in the job market. Indeed, there are many among us who may believe we already have enough laws governing how we are employed, when we are employed, what hours we work and when we take our vacations. The cynics among us may be asking, "Why another law to incorporate that ethereal concept of equal value legislation?"

4:50 p.m.

First of all, we must address what the law would do. It is a well-known and oft-bandied fact that women in this province earn, on average, 63 cents for every dollar earned by a man. It is also a fact, contrary to popular belief, that the last decade has not made a significant impact in narrowing that gap, this despite the fact that we have had equal pay legislation in this province since 1951.

What would my resolution do to rectify that? We already have laws in this province governing equal pay for equal work. In other words, I am paid the same as my male colleagues on this side and on the government side of the House. However, the law at present is very clear that a comparison can only be made of similar jobs. Hence, a lifestyles reporter of a newspaper could within the present legislation be compared with a city reporter. My resolution would allow a comparison of dissimilar jobs by firmly defined indicators, including skills, responsibility, effort and working conditions.

The concept of equal value legislation is not new to this province, nor is it new to this government. I am sure all members of this House will be proud to know that the Ontario government was a signatory to the International Labour Organization convention 100 back in April 1972. That is say, and to say clearly, that this government has supported the principle of equal pay for work of equal value for more than a decade. Now is the time to enshrine that principle in law by amending the Employment Standards Act.

Will the law abolish the inequities present in salary comparisons today? Of course not. Even liberal -- and I stress small "l" liberal -- estimates show that the legislation would potentially affect only up to 10 per cent of the jobs in Ontario. What about the bureaucratic nightmare that would supposedly ensue as a result of the law? That same vision of chaos was incited during our discussions of introducing the protection of the handicapped into the Ontario Human Rights Code. In fact, the stampede of complaints in that area, as I am sure the former Minister of Labour will recall this, never materialized.

Suffice it to say that we have an existing office in this province, through the employment standards branch, that already deals with existing complaints about contraventions of current equal pay legislation. Those officers could easily be trained to incorporate the equal value composite test into the consideration of their case investigations.

As to the impact on small and large businesses in this province, again we must be clear in stating that we believe that no good corporate citizen would knowingly discriminate by paying different salaries to workers who are performing jobs of equal value. In our age of reason that inequality simply does not make sense.

What is needed, and what is needed now, is a broad-based understanding of exactly what is involved in the new legislation. To this end, I would point to an example that can be understood by all. A seamstress in an auto parts firm is paid 25 cents less an hour than her colleague who sweeps the floor, and yet no complaint can be made under the present legislation because the jobs are dissimilar.

At a major Ontario university the predominantly female clerks, who are required to have a grade 12 education and certain clerical and typing skills, are paid $1,000 per year less than groundskeepers in the same establishment with no educational requirements and no prerequisite skills; yet again under the present legislation those comparisons cannot be made because those jobs are dissimilar.

Is equal value legislation designed only to assist women, one might ask? Of course not. Although it has been seen in the context of issues affecting women, because women for many historical reasons have been isolated in low-paying job ghettos, this legislation would assist anyone who was being unfairly paid in comparison with fellow workers. Suffice it to say that the heralded federal government decision on this issue affecting some 3,300 workers included an effect upon 1,000 men.

There is a much more fundamental issue involved, and this is where we must address the question of putting principle into practice. The present Minister of Labour (Mr. Ramsay) has stated, as has this government on numerous occasions, he supports the principle but the timing is not right. That has been the position taken by this government since 1972. But is it fair to the thousands of ghettoized workers in this province who are being paid less money for work of the same value? Is it fair that they have been faced for more than a decade with ongoing discrimination that has been fully known because the government endorses the principle but is concerned about the timing?

What we are discussing is an economic issue. At stake is the start upon the road to economic equality for the women of this province, a start that has already been made by the government of Canada and the government of Quebec. The perfect economic moment may never be here. When times are good, we lose focus on those who are not faring as well. When times are tough, we say we cannot support the economic burden.

It seems to me this same issue of economic equality would likely have deterred landowners from freeing the sharecroppers in early American history. The same issue of economic timing deterred the introduction of equal pay legislation when it was introduced in this Legislature in 1951.

Equal pay for equal work legislation was introduced in this province before I was born. It is clear legislation has not succeeded in addressing the inequalities everyone recognizes in the system. The time has now come for the second step, enshrinement into the Employment Standards Act of equal pay for work of equal value.

We are not seeking cosmetic changes to the present equal pay legislation. We are seeking endorsement of a principle which was originally endorsed by this government more than a decade ago. We are seeking enshrinement into the Employment Standards Act of legislation that will guarantee equal pay for work of equal value to every worker in this province.

I do not want to mislead this House. Passage of this legislation will not result in salary parity for men and women across this province. As I stated earlier, we are considering a resolution which, if implemented, would affect approximately 10 per cent of the jobs in this province.

However, this resolution must be endorsed as a first step in a series of legislative and educational initiatives that will lead to equality of opportunity for all. We women must be prepared to dare. We women must be prepared to consider nontraditional occupations. Our children must be educated to understand that each of us, as an Ontarian, has an equal right to dream and an equal right to achieve.

We often bemoan individually and collectively the lack of female representation in our government. The key to representation, the key to opening doors of opportunity for women across this province, is economic equality. Until we as a Legislature and as a society can stand together and say we support not only the principle, but the practice of equal pay for work of equal value, we will be robbing our province of one of our greatest natural resources.

Women make up a tremendous storehouse of energy, ideas and commitment. It has been said the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. I call upon my colleagues on all sides of the House to join together today to help women help rule Ontario.

5 p.m.

Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, it is with great pride that I rise on behalf of my party, as the leader of our party, to indicate our full support, naturally, for the resolution put forward by the member for Hamilton Centre (Ms. Copps).

Mr. Speaker will recall that it was a colleague, now departed to the land of nonpolitics, Mr. Bounsall, who moved a private member's bill in this very Legislature with respect to the question of equal pay for work of equal value, a bill that was passed by voice vote of the Legislature but opposed by the government at that time.

It was opposed by the member for York East (Mr. Elgie), the then Minister of Labour, and by the former Minister of Labour, Mr. Macbeth, when they spoke in the Legislature and, as a result, went into the limbo to which private members' bills are sometimes sent.

This is a resolution and not a bill, but it is still a statement of principle that is extremely important for this Legislature to express. It is now the law of Ontario that if a man and a woman, or indeed any two people, are doing exactly the same work, it is illegal for an employer to discriminate in terms of pay or benefits between those two people. That is the principle of equal pay for equal work.

I want to suggest that is taking only a very small step to dealing with the real world of discrimination that exists in the work place. The minister is well aware of that discrimination and of the pattern of discrimination in terms of pay, classification and ability to receive a reward for work well done. We need to take a further step, the step that has taken place at the federal level and in the province of Quebec, and that is the step of assuring equal pay for work of equal value.

The government's resistance and the arguments one hears in opposition to this principle are exactly the same arguments with respect to employment standards that the Tory mind, if I can use that term in its loosest sense, has invoked against every single basic improvement in the rights of working people, men and women, in the past 100 years.

I challenge you, Mr. Speaker, to look at the Legislative Assembly debates, or those in any jurisdiction, and at the expression of opinion that came from employers' councils and their spokesmen in the Legislature or in the House of Commons from the Tory party with respect to children working, with respect to public education and with respect to every advancement that has ever been made in the field of employment law, and you will get exactly the same arguments from the Tory side.

What are the nature of those arguments? It is too complicated. It has never really been done before. It requires too much regulation. It is too much intervention in the marketplace. It will make it more difficult for people to make money out there. It will cause economic chaos and ruin.

Those are the horrors that are paraded and, indeed, were paraded by the member for York East when he was the Minister of Labour and by Mr. Macbeth when they spoke on this issue. I think it is time we came of age in this Legislature and refuted those arguments for the entirely bogus arguments that they are.

It has not produced chaos at the federal level, where it has been introduced, and it has not produced any form of chaos in the province of Quebec, where it has been introduced. Has it cost some money? Yes, of course, it has cost some money.

Has the federal public service had to respond, in terms of the arbitrary nature of its previous classifications, to the legitimate concerns raised by women working consistently in job ghettos and demanding a way to get out? Yes, it has.

Has it meant the Public Service Commission has had to fork out some money in terms of past payments? Yes, it has. But what a small price to pay for the implementation of an essential concept in the new world of work in which we happily find ourselves in this province.

When I was first elected as a federal member, I can remember the Minister of Employment and Immigration -- it was a Liberal at that time -- talking about the secondary labour market. Then the Liberals suddenly realized that concept might strike some people as discriminatory, which it is. The illusion that women are somehow working out there for pin money has got to be one of the most nonsensical and absurd neanderthal ideas still occasionally roaring its way across the Tory horizon.

They stopped talking about the secondary labour market, quite properly, because women are in the labour market as much a matter of right and of necessity as men are. They have the same rights with respect to employment, opportunity, advancement, promotion and skill recognition as men do. Yet the patterns of pay in the world of work still do not reflect that reality. The patterns of pay in the world of work represent that archaic point of view which says, quite simply, that there are certain jobs that are for women only.

I will give the minister a very practical example of what I am talking about. A man in his fifties came into my riding. He had been looking for a job for more than a year. He saw an advertisement in an Italian paper for a job at an auto parts factory in north Toronto. He answered the advertisement and went to the office. He was told by the personnel officer in that firm: "I am sorry. We cannot hire you. We cannot even offer you a form." He said, "Why?" The personnel officer said: "Well, I am sorry. We are only hiring women for the job. This is women's work that we are hiring people for." I said: "You have got a case for the Human Rights Commission. Go and take it." He has gone and taken it.

The reality of what is happening in our society is a reflection of the world-of-work attitude which says there are women's jobs and there are men's jobs. There are no such things as women's jobs and men's jobs. There are people's jobs. The jobs that women have done in many factories, in many plants, in many offices and in many government services have been consistently underestimated in terms of their importance. The skill attached to those jobs has been consistently underestimated.

I want to suggest that it only makes sense for the government to take the next step. When we debated this last, in 1979, we had the argument from the member for York East and we had the arguments from the Tory side. They basically expressed the view that it was time for further study; we needed to look at it harder and further.

I must say that I am personally sorry that the president of the Ontario Status of Women Council has chosen, in her recent remarks in the past few months, to make similar kinds of arguments. In doing so, she has in herself -- perhaps unwittingly; I do not know -- contributed to the resistance to progress in terms of equal pay for work of equal value.

I know she has written to the Minister responsible for Women's Issues (Mr. Welch), under the date October 6, 1983. As members will recall, when the members of the Legislature were last able to vote on the principle of equal value in 1979, on Ted Bounsall's private member's bill, members of all three parties joined in a voice vote to pass the bill on second reading.

For reasons that I do not fully understand, she neglected to mention that in terms of the speeches made in the debate, the speeches from the Tory side were consistently opposed to the private member's bill. That somehow does not appear in Miss Barnes's letter to the minister.

I want to suggest that this is one step. I will be presenting a private member's bill in this session to deal not only with the question of equal pay for work of equal value but also with an equally important matter; that, of course, is the matter of affirmative action.

I want to suggest that we need both these things. We need aggressive government leadership in the field of affirmative action. We need some laws that start stating some requirements. We need some laws that start changing the world of work and start bringing some employers, including the government itself, into the 20th century as far as recognizing the role of women in the work force is concerned.

I want to suggest to the minister, even if it has been said that this may not be the be-all and end-all, that the principle of equal pay for work of equal value is an essential principle, one that we commend in this House. We support the resolution. We wish it were a private member's bill. We want it to be the law of this province and we want it to be the law today.

5:10 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, it seems appropriate that the members of the Legislature should be discussing this particular resolution today. Coincidentally, this happens to be the day we picked some time ago to stage a reception to mark the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the women's bureau in the government of Ontario. When this bureau was created 20 years ago, it was the first provincial bureau of its kind, originally designed to examine, improve and publicize the nature and extent of the needs of the women of this province in the labour force.

Over the years, under the direction, creativity, advice and counsel offered by many officials and friends of the bureau, the women's bureau has provided very sound and current advice and information to this government regarding legislative and program changes deemed to be important to women in areas such as equal pay and sexual harassment and special employment programs. Their counsel has enabled us to work effectively towards the goal of achieving greater equity and a greater degree of fairness for the women of the province.

With the creation of the Ontario women's directorate earlier this year, the women's bureau, as part of that directorate, will continue with renewed vigour and increased enthusiasm to ensure that women have a fair and equitable share in Ontario society. Indeed, as important and as significant as this anniversary is, the determination of this party in government to find workable solutions to remove compensation inequities facing women in the work force goes back even before the creation of the women's bureau.

As some members will recall, it was in 1951, 32 years ago, that the then Minister of Labour, the Honourable Charles Daley, my predecessor as the member for Lincoln in this House, brought forward the Female Employees' Fair Remuneration Act, the first piece of legislation in Canada dealing with the subject of equal pay. Since that time, and in response to a developing jurisprudence, successive amendments to this legislation have led to the enactment of the present section 33 of the Employment Standards Act, a section that provides substantial protection against discrimination in pay based upon sex.

Through the Ministry of Labour, we are actively pursuing the legislation now on the books to ensure compliance throughout the province. In March 1980, for instance, the Ministry of Labour added a special investigation unit with new resources to conduct equal pay investigations, and this has resulted in equal pay settlements benefiting some 1,800 women in the past three years.

In 1975, the women's bureau introduced an affirmative action consulting service for employers outside the Ontario public service. More than 230 employers now have affirmative action programs which affect more than 300,000 women across this province.

Today I would like to take this opportunity, as part of the discussion in the debate of this resolution, to commend the women's bureau's achievements in working towards ensuring the equal participation of women in the work force of this province.

One can see that, as a result, we have a very long and very honourable track record in working with employers and with women's groups. We must therefore see our continuing commitment to the objective of justice, fairness and equity as an ongoing and developing process. We must continue to move forward until this goal is reached, when we have done everything possible and practical to remove any obstacles that stand in the way.

It is this process of staged progress that has ensured the orderly transition, acceptance and implementation of public policies that have consistently placed Ontario among enlightened jurisdictions in matters of economic justice and social conscience.

The resolution we have before us this afternoon presents a further opportunity for this House to continue the commitment by Ontario to dynamic principles of equal opportunity; principles that reflect achievements gained and present circumstances, not to overlook future objectives. It is with this established pattern of successful, staged progress that we will support this resolution.

An hon. member: When are you bringing in the bill? What's the timing of your stages?


The Acting Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Welch: Once again, consistent with the tried and understood practice of the past, we will move forward by the introduction of additional stages based on sound, workable improvements to be seen, therefore -- if I can put it this way -- as staged progress to a stated goal.

The intention of this House in supporting this resolution is quite clear. We also know --


The Acting Speaker: Order.

Mr. T. P. Reid: We're bunting when we need a home run.

The Acting Speaker: Honourable members, you will have your opportunity.

Hon. Mr. Welch: I would hope, Mr. Speaker, that members of this House would take this matter very seriously. This is a very serious resolution and I cannot understand the opposition being so frivolous about this matter.

The Acting Speaker: The minister will continue and the interjections will cease.

Hon. Mr. Welch: The intention of this House in supporting the resolution is quite clear. We also know that there happen to be honest differences of opinion with respect to the process of implementation. These problems will have to be addressed as part of the ongoing work to accomplish our goal, and it is to be hoped that there will be ample opportunity for full public discussion on this subject. In the meantime, there are some positive steps that will be taken by this government now, and in this regard my colleague the Minister of Labour (Mr. Ramsay) will introduce certain and specific amendments to the Employment Standards Act.

In closing my remarks, let there be no mistake by this House, the employers of the province or the women of Ontario about this minister's commitment and this government's stated objective of achieving in this jurisdiction equity with respect to compensation in the work place -- a work place where ultimately, through aggressive efforts at occupation desegration, jobs will have no gender.

5:20 p.m.

Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, may I say how very proud I am to participate in this debate, and to commend my colleague the member for Hamilton Centre (Ms. Copps) for her leadership in this matter and for one of the finest speeches I have heard in this House in a long time.

Mr. Foulds: Better than any you have given.

Mr. Peterson: Certainly I include my own, but I include that member's as well.

This is an example of outstanding leadership and my colleagues, all the rest of them male, stand four-square behind the honourable member, admire her very much and are proud of the way she has carried this.

But I say also this is not a new position for us. We have felt this way for some time. Periodically these issues come forward and new leadership has to be shown. It is an historic view we have had and we are proud now to have the opportunity to discuss it again in this House.

I was very interested to listen to the Minister responsible for Women's Issues (Mr. Welch) and I say in all candor I have absolutely no idea what he said. I gather he is going to vote for it. I do not know what he is going to do about it.

What is so important today is to devise a method of progress, a specific plan of action. He alluded to some specific amendments that I gather the Minister of Labour (Mr. Ramsay) is going to introduce. I have no idea what they are.

It appeared to me, listening to his words carefully, that he indeed supports the principle, but we have established many long years ago that we support the principle. What we are here today to do is to encourage this government to bring specific action to this program. That is why we are here. I think probably we have reached past even the principle stage and I gather everyone is in favour of it, but the point is we have been in favour of it before and nothing has happened.

I remember other magnificent debates in this House when all the members have reached unanimity of purpose on difficult issues and then nothing happens. When it becomes the responsibility of the executive branch to do something, it lies flat.

This is a clarion call for action. There are people who have followed this debate at great length and who have given a great deal of their time and effort to try to persuade legislators that we have to move. There is sufficient proof in the marketplace, in other provinces, in some companies that have been more progressive than others, and in the federal government that none of the historic arguments against the equal pay for work of equal value concept is valid any more.

I believe we have the proof that the old saws, the old objections, the old clichés that were stated very well by the leader of the New Democratic Party are no longer valid at this time.

Lest those cynics believe there would be a wholesale revolution in the streets with the introduction of this kind of legislation, I remind the members it will affect five, 10, perhaps 15 per cent of the work force at the very outside. But it would bring justice in real situations.

Where it takes courage is not to agree that a female sweeper deserves the same as a male sweeper, we are all past that; it is going to be in making some tough judgements about work of equal value between categories -- that requires judgement, it requires experimentation. We are going to make some mistakes. We are going to need rules and guidelines and people to enforce those things, but we have all those things in place now. We do not need any more bureaucracy than we now have in Ontario to do this.

My colleague has spoken very sensibly about the problems of implementation. We know that each business could have its own development scheme. Let us face it, most big businesses today have their own job evaluation plans anyway. We are not even asking for a quantum leap into something that has not been tested and tried or something that is difficult. We are asking to enshrine in principle a concept, an idea whose time has come, something that is worthy of all our support.

When one looks at the practical aspects of this thing, I do not really believe we are suggesting things that are not tried, that are too dangerous, that are going to cost too much or are subject to any of the other objections.

My friend the minister talked about successful staged programs. I do not know what that means and I frankly do not know what his plans are except to support this resolution in principle. I say very frankly, I have the odd regret about the way this resolution is worded. It is very easy to support it in principle, and if one interpretation is put on it one can wriggle out of bringing action by supporting this amendment.

Very clearly what my colleague is asking for is not just acknowledgement of the principle by way of preamble or statement of principle in the legislation, but specifically to legislate the concept and make it the law of the land. We are not just asking for homage to the principle, for pious speeches or for everyone to get together. We are asking for specific changes in the legislation.

I want there to be no mistake about it, as members read the resolution, that the principle of equal pay for work of equal value be enshrined in the Employment Standards Act. I believe, as do my other colleagues who have spoken, we have had enough public discussion on this matter. We have had hearings, debates and committee hearings in this House. It has achieved all-party support and those of us who believe in progress are disappointed there has not been more progress.

I am impressed that the government created a women's bureau 20-odd years ago and it is well and good that it is having a party today to celebrate that. But I do not believe that is justification for not moving the whole way on this concept now, unless there are doubters in the government caucus. Thoughtful members want to think about all ramifications of this bill and I respect that. But I repeat, we are not asking for a quantum leap. We are not asking as much as the cynics would say we are.

I do not know how the minister or his colleague the Minister of Labour are going to respond -- either tomorrow, the next day or whenever -- but we are suggesting in this resolution that we move now, not six months or a year from now. We are suggesting that the concept of equal pay for work of equal value be enshrined in legislation. We have discussed the principle. I hope we will all agree on it today. But we will be looking very carefully at the executive branch and the new minister who has been charged with responsibility for women's issues. That move obviously demonstrates some sensitivity of the government towards these things.

Now the minister is on trial, and not only by his colleagues in the House and his own party. Some 8,500,000 people across this province are looking to him to provide the leadership. He is charged with this responsibility and we will be looking to him. He will have our full support when he moves towards enshrining equal pay for work of equal value once and for all in the legislation.

Ms. Bryden: Mr. Speaker, I too support the principle stated in this bill in favour of equal pay for work of equal value. The shocking wage gap between women and men will not be closed until we have equal pay for work of equal value on the statute books. We need it, along with mandatory legislation for affirmative action and for opening up nontraditional jobs and training courses to women as well.

The gap at the present time is one where women in Ontario on average make 64 per cent of what men make. Even in the Ontario public service, where the government is the employer, women still make only 76 per cent of what men make, and the figure has changed only minimally in the last year. We have a long way to go before we achieve equality for women in the marketplace.

As my leader pointed out, this will not be the first time this Legislature has supported the principle of equal pay for work of equal value. We did it in 1979, but the bill was allowed to die on the order paper after extensive public hearings at which the majority of briefs were very strongly in favour of the legislation.

5:30 p.m.

I might also point out as a historical fact of interest that when the new spokesman for women's issues in this province was Provincial Secretary for Social Development in 1973, he signed a document entitled, Equal Opportunity for Women. In it, he in effect opened the door to the principle of equal value.

He said: "The concept of remuneration on the basis of the value of the work performed rather than the nature of the job itself is being given renewed emphasis. In consideration of this interpretation, the Ontario government proposes to re-examine the appropriate sections of the Employment Standards Act with a view to broadening the concept of equal pay."

We have had 10 years for him to have endorsed the principle in some sense, but we have had no action.

We will come closer to implementing the principle only when we have legislation on the statute books. It is unfortunate we do not have a bill before us today so that the government could be put to the test of whether it would support an equal pay for work of equal value amendment in the Employment Standards Act.

I might remind the minister that I introduced such a bill last June but, unfortunately, the lottery of private members' hour has not afforded me an opportunity to bring that bill before the House. I am glad my leader will be bringing in a bill shortly when his slot comes up, which is even earlier than I will have a slot.

Even if the House endorses this motion today, I am not optimistic we will see anything happen that will bring this principle into effect. I think both the Minister responsible for Women's Issues (Mr. Welch) and Sally Barnes have expressed sufficient grave concerns about implementation matters, an indication they are not ready to do anything more than talk about further study.

We have had lots of studies and we have the example of the federal government which has had an equal pay for work of equal value law in its Canadian Human Rights Act for five years. They have made some very significant awards under that law. They have learned how to work this kind of legislation.

For instance, under their law, an award of $17 million was given to about 3,000 food, laundry and general service workers, two thirds of whom were women. When their work, job and wages were compared with other subgroups in the federal civil service, mostly male groups, the criterion applied was a composite of skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions. The jobs were not identical, but they were sufficiently similar in the requirements under those four criteria that a substantial award of back wages was given to 3,000 people.

How can we be told by the minister and the president of the Ontario Status of Women Council that they do not know how it would be implemented and they do not know how it would work, when I understand they have not even been to Ottawa to look at the federal administration of that section of the human rights code.

I would also commend them to examine the administration of the United States equal opportunity law which has been in effect for a good number of years, which has been bringing in awards under their law and which has considered equal pay for work of equal value both for women and minority groups. We do have models and we do not have to retreat to the argument that we do not know how it will work.

It seems to me there is one real hidden argument the government is sold on, and that is, it would cost too much. The people who are telling them it would cost too much are the multinational corporations, the Canadian Organization of Small Business and other supporters of the Conservative Party who are not prepared to put out the extra money that bringing in this kind of equality and ending this discrimination would require.

Sally Barnes said in one of her speeches it would cost the provincial government a considerable amount to bring in a pilot project in the public service. It looks like she is still supporting the principle that we cannot afford it at this time.

I think the people who are trying to overcome the economic recession should be aware that to bring in equal pay at this time would be the right medicine. It would be a shot in the arm for our ailing economy. It would be a great increase in purchasing power, because all those underpaid women would probably spend all the money they get in awards.

That is exactly what the economists are saying we need. They are talking about a tax cut as a proposal. Instead of a tax cut for the well-to-do, I say let us give equal pay for work of equal value to hundreds of thousands of women.

I am a little concerned that this appears to be a very late conversion by the Liberal Party. Perhaps they are doing the same thing Sally Barnes was doing -- they are looking over their shoulder and seeing an election coming.

Sally Barnes, as we know, has recently written to the minister suggesting the Minister responsible for Women's Issues --


The Deputy Speaker: Order.

Ms. Bryden: The Liberal women's perspective advisory committee, from whom I have received notices of meetings and objectives, has not yet mentioned equal pay for work of equal value in any of the notices I have seen. We have yet to see whether they are prepared to push ahead and support my bill of implementation.

The Conservative position cannot be called a conversion in any sense of the word. They have really opposed this concept from the very beginning. As my leader pointed out, we do not know how many Conservatives supported the voice vote in 1979.

But the Minister of Labour (Mr. Ramsay), in March 1982, said it was impractical and unenforceable. Then in August 1982 he said he supported the principle but the government could not afford it at that time. He has continued to take that position, and the Minister responsible for Women's Issues just last Tuesday in the House refused to answer a question as to whether he supported the principle and said he was still studying the question.

The Deputy Speaker: The member's time has elapsed.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, the issue of equality for women is clearly complex. It is an issue that demands public awareness and a great deal of understanding if it is to be effectively resolved.

Only a generation ago, a young woman was expected to marry, raise children and remain in the home. Very few occupations were open then to the erroneously called "weaker sex," and then only if the woman was single. It was only when they were in desperate financial straits that married women usually worked outside the home. The result was that women of intelligence and talent were prevented from living up to their full potential.

Those old days, unfortunately, have not entirely passed into history. Many women still have to struggle for employment opportunities that many men take as their right. None the less, social and economic structures have changed dramatically over the last two decades and a major change has been the large number of women entering the work force.

The proportion of women to men in the work force has almost doubled since 1950. Today they constitute almost 44 per cent of our total labour force. This influx has transformed the nature of the economy and the structure of our social institutions.

5:40 p.m.

The dimensions of these changes are certainly predicted to increase. Statistics show that the percentage of women enrolled in post-secondary educational institutions continues to increase at a very rapid pace. In 1961 the full-time enrolment in Ontario universities consisted of approximately 75 per cent males and 25 per cent females. In 1971 females had closed the gap to one third of the total and in 1980 almost one half of full-time university students were female.

That is important because it is on the basis of this increased higher educational level of female students and graduates that women will increase their overall wages in this society. There is no doubt that one of the factors in the wage gap that has been traditionally in place has been the traditional attitudes about and expectations of women, which have resulted in lower qualifications and, therefore, lower wages. This accounts for a significant part of the wage disparity and is a particular concern of mine. There is discrimination at the work place, and our Minister responsible for Women's Issues has elaborated the ways in which the government will commit itself to resolving those.

Mr. Speaker, since I am apparently unable to complete this, I shall ensure that my remarks are printed for distribution.

Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, first of all, I really appreciate the support that has been given this issue by my colleagues on all sides of the House. I am, as my leader has already stated, somewhat confused by the response of the government in that again it appears from the response of the Minister responsible for Women's Issues that the principle of enshrinement is supported but that there is a discussion of staged progress.

One of the things I would like to make very clear is that, in my understanding and in the understanding of the members of my party, support for the resolution as it has been tendered here in the Legislature indicates, and certainly the expectations on our side will be, that there will be legislation to enshrine the principle of equal pay for work of equal value during this session of the Legislature. I think the proposed amendments to the Employment Standards Act that were referred to by the Minister responsible for Women's Issues today and that have been discussed by his colleague the Minister of Labour in past weeks would merely apply cosmetic changes to existing equal pay for equal work legislation and are simply not sufficient.

When we talk about equal pay for equal work legislation, which has been enshrined in this province since 1951, which has been enshrined, indeed as I said earlier, since before I was born, it is clear that this legislation in and of itself is not sufficient and is not working to close the wage gap.

I was very happy to hear the Minister of Education and Minister of Colleges and Universities (Miss Stephenson) comment on other areas of change where this government can show some leadership. Certainly the area of education is an important and a critical area and the area of affirmative action is an important and a critical area.

But it is imperative that this Legislature realize that what all members are supporting here today is not merely the principle but the action, the legislation, the law of equal pay for work of equal value. If all of us on all sides of the House support the resolution, as I anticipate when we have a recorded vote, members can rest assured that all of us on this side of the House will be pressing very hard for that very legislation within this session.

It was ironic that the minister commented in his earlier remarks about the party today to celebrate the 20 years of the women's bureau in this province. I cannot comment on the leadership the government showed in that area. I can comment that the Ontario government, with the institution of the Ontario Human Rights Code, did show leadership in that area and I can comment that the women's bureau has made an effective and viable contribution in many areas to employment standards for people within the Ontario Legislature and in other employment places. But I can also comment with respect to the fact that, unless we enshrine action with this resolution, we will remain in the political wilderness when it comes to the issue of equal pay for work of equal value.

I am glad that my colleague the member for Lake Nipigon (Mr. Stokes) did mention the issue of the bill. As a matter of fact, it was my point quite clearly to enshrine this in the form of a resolution so that it would be effective, clear and simple for all members of this Legislature, one, to understand what it is that they are supporting and, two, to be prepared to call upon the government to bring in a bill to enshrine the principle of equal pay for work of equal value.

With respect to the Ontario women's directorate and the women's bureau, who can argue but that these all have a viable contribution to make? Yet it seems to me that if one is talking about staged progress, one is talking about a government that back in 1972 in the International Labour Organization convention 100 said and signed and put its John Henry to the support of equal pay for work of equal value in principle. More than a decade has passed since that time; surely it is time now for all members on all sides of the House to stand up and be counted on this issue.

I want to make it clear for both the Minister of Labour and the Minister responsible for Women's Issues that mere smoky mirrors on present equal pay legislation will not be enough. There are men and women across this province who will be watching them for leadership, who will be looking to them in this session of the Legislature to bring in the promised law regarding equal pay for work of equal value. If they choose to introduce a mere tinkering with the present legislation, if they choose not to enshrine the concept of equal value legislation, then I must say all of the discussion today and all of the discussion that has preceded the debate today will have gone for naught.

I for one believe that there is the political will on all sides of the House to resolve this issue. I for one am convinced that every fair-minded citizen in Ontario supports the concept that people should be paid equally for work of equal value. I am also convinced that the Minister of Labour, in his good offices, will bring in legislation in this session to make sure that that principle and that concept become a reality.

The time has passed to talk about staged progress. The time has passed for the kind of petty partisan comments that were made by some members of the New Democratic Party. If the member for Beaches-Woodbine (Ms. Bryden) is really interested in what the Liberal Party is doing on the issue of employment, she can come to the conference that we will be holding on December 3 to discuss the issue.

It is clear and has been clear for a number of years that all members in all parties on all sides of the House support the principle of equal pay for work of equal value. What is at stake today is not the principle; it is the action; it is the legislation. Every member who stands when we call for a recorded vote, every member who stands to support this resolution, will be saying for all of Ontario to see that we support not only the principle of equal pay for work of equal value, but we support the law and we expect that we will be able to deliver a Christmas present to the people of Ontario in the form of legislation enshrining the concept of equal pay for work of equal value into the Employment Standards Act.

Without that principle, without that legislation, this discussion will have been a sham, our acceptance of the symbolic significance of the principle will have been a sham, and the people of Ontario will have been defrauded by a government that is not prepared to stand firm on, for and about its principles.

We go beyond principles here today. I want all members to realize that if they do rise in support of this legislation, it is to support not only the principle, but the legal enshrinement in the legislation into the Employment Standards Act of equal pay for work of equal value. All members on all sides of the House have made the distinction clearly; even all of those people who chose to participate in the full debate are clearly cognizant of the issue that is at stake here today.

I want to join with my colleagues on all sides of the House in congratulating the members for treating this in a nonpartisan manner and in urging the government of Ontario to bring in legislation in this session which will make this resolution law in Ontario.

5:50 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker: Mr. Mitchell has moved resolution 15.

Motion agreed to.


The House divided on Ms. Copps motion of resolution 16, which was agreed to on the following vote:


Allen, Ashe, Baetz, Barlow, Bennett, Birch, Boudria, Bradley, Breaugh, Breithaupt, Bryden, Charlton, Conway, Copps, Cousens, Cunningham, Cureatz, Dean, Eakins, Eaton, Elgie, Elston, Epp, Fish, Foulds, Gillies, Gordon, Grande, Gregory, Grossman, Haggerty, Harris, Johnson, J. M., Johnston, R. F.;

Kells, Kerrio, Lane, Leluk, Lupusella, Mackenzie, Mancini, McCaffrey, McCague, McClellan, McGuigan, McNeil, Miller, G. I., Mitchell, Newman, Nixon, O'Neil, Peterson, Philip, Piché, Pollock, Rae, Ramsay, Reed, J. A., Reid, T. P., Renwick, Robinson, Rotenberg, Roy, Ruprecht, Ruston;

Scrivener, Sheppard, Shymko, Spensieri, Stephenson, Swart, Taylor, G. W., Treleaven, Van Home, Walker, Watson, Welch, Wells, Williams, Worton, Wrye, Yakabuski.

Ayes 82; nays 0.


Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, just before adjourning for supper, I wonder if I could indicate the business of the House for the remainder of this week and next.

Tonight we will debate the interim supply motion standing in the name of the Treasurer (Mr. Grossman). On Friday we will begin the estimates of the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs. On Monday afternoon, if necessary, we will continue the debate on the interim supply motion of the Treasurer.

On Tuesday, October 25, in the afternoon, we will begin with private bills on the order paper, do second reading of Bill 68, and second reading and committee of the whole of Bill 86 and Bill 87. On Tuesday evening we will continue the estimates of the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs.

On Wednesday, October 26 the usual three committees will have permission to sit in the morning. In the afternoon of Thursday, October 27, during private members' public business, Mr. Ruprecht's and Mr. Mancini's resolutions or bills will be considered. Next Thursday evening we will debate the motion for adoption of the final report, 1981, of the select committee on pensions. On Friday, October 28, we will deal with the estimates of the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs.

The House recessed at 6:02 p.m.