The House met at 2 p.m.
PRINTING OF LEGISLATIVE PAPERS
Mr. Speaker: On Thursday, October 27, the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel) asked as a point of privilege for information concerning the printing of the bills, Orders and Notices, Votes and Proceedings and daily business sheets by Noble Scott Co. Ltd. while there is a strike at its plant.
I should point out that this matter does not constitute a matter of privilege or a point of order as it does not affect any of the recognized privileges of the House, nor does it indicate anything out of order in the procedure of the House. However, as it is a matter of great interest to the House, I felt I should make an explanation, as I had indicated I would.
On Thursday, October 20, the pressmen at Noble Scott went out on strike. The strike was called by Local 10 of the pressmen's union, which was engaged in negotiating a contract with the Council of Printing Industries which represents 14 employers. The strike was called in two of the 14 plants; namely, Carswell and Noble Scott.
The strike has closed down the operation of the presses but has not extended to the employees engaged in the typesetting and other functions in the plant. Consequently, Noble Scott is continuing typesetting with its normal union staff. They do not produce the press work and consequently the normal printing and public distribution of the House documents is suspended.
However, Noble Scott assures us it is able to supply a limited number of copies, sufficient to supply the assembly and its offices by a photocopying process involving only nonstriking regular staff and not involving any procedure that is in the jurisdiction of the striking staff.
Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, privilege or whatever you want to call it: As a member here, I feel that if we are contributing in any way --
Mr. Speaker: Perhaps a point of interest.
Mr. Martel: In fact, we are contributing towards strikebreaking by the purchasing of those materials from that company. I think we should discontinue that until the strike is finalized. I would ask the Speaker to consider doing so or calling a board meeting so we can discuss it.
Mr. Speaker: Obviously, the member for Sudbury East did not hear what I said. I am assured by legal counsel that we are not engaged in anything even remotely resembling strikebreaking.
FUNDING OF TRANSITION HOUSES
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I am surprised the Minister of Energy (Mr. Andrewes) does not have a statement today. Questions are accumulating that I am sure he will feel obliged to answer shortly in this House.
I will ask a question of the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Drea) or his surrogate in the House. The minister is no doubt aware of the report of the standing committee on social development on wife battering and the fact that we in this House, and indeed across this province, are waiting for a response from his ministry.
One of the key recommendations was that funding for interval and transition houses should be transferred to a block-funding basis as opposed to the current irregular way of funding. Why would the ministry of which he is temporarily in charge not have responded already to meet the crisis in funding that is developing right across the province?
Hon. Mr. McCaffrey: Mr. Speaker, that is an important question. As the honourable Leader of the Opposition knows, the delay in responding can best be accounted for by the fact that a number of ministries have a number of terribly important initiatives in this area on which we place the highest priority. It has at the very least required an inordinate amount of co-ordination with regard to funding and a variety of other things. I think the government is now in a position this week to make the response that has been requested.
Mr. Peterson: I gather the minister just told me he is going to respond this week and I will welcome a response. I hope he is personally aware of and will factor into his response the crisis that is developing in a number of centres around the province.
The Women's Centre in Owen Sound will probably be closed down very quickly. Avoca House in Eganville only has enough funds to remain open for another five weeks. Bernadette McCann House in Pembroke has laid off all its staff and is only running day to day on volunteers. The Women in Crises Centre in Sault Ste. Marie has had to dip into its mortgage fund and will not be able to carry on very much longer. Mainstay House in Fort Frances has already closed and probably will not be reopened, barring some emergency relief.
The point I am trying to make and which I ask the minister about is that since it is a crisis, would he not agree with me that time is very much of the essence? Will he in his response bring in programs to deal with those crisis situations immediately rather than have some program coming into effect a year or two from now?
Hon. Mr. McCaffrey: Yes, that is absolutely correct. When I say there is urgency on it, if all goes well at a meeting that is scheduled for later this afternoon, it will put us in a position where the government will be able to make all those detailed responses tomorrow. That is the objective.
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, can the minister tell us why, up until the present, the government has rejected the concept of block funding? Is it still the view of the ministry that block funding is not the way to go? How can he justify that, given the unanimous opinion of the standing committee on this very important question with respect to security of funding over a period of time for these centres?
Hon. Mr. McCaffrey: Mr. Speaker, I think one of the last issues to be ironed out deals specifically with that, and I hope it will be done later today.
I might just say there are some substantive reasons for avoiding block funding as an alternative, but all those issues will be addressed in detail, I hope, tomorrow. Most assuredly, it is our target that all appropriate statements and detailed statements in this critical area will be made this week.
Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, am I to understand that the minister in his answer to the supplementary is backpedalling on the issue of block funding? I can understand the problem of co-ordination, which the minister referred to in his reply to the question from my leader, but on the issue of block funding there was clear-cut, unanimous support from all members of our committee as to the block-funding decision being a decision to be made exclusively by the Minister of Community and Social Services.
Why is there difficulty with co-ordination on that question when the minister unilaterally decided last summer to develop a program for $1.6 million in capital funding for new transition houses across the province when, at the same time, his ministry was well aware there were transition houses across this province literally hanging on by the skin of their teeth?
Hon. Mr. McCaffrey: Mr. Speaker, I cannot say funding has not been an important ingredient in the discussions, of which there have been four or five per week in the last number of weeks. As a government, we are terribly anxious to respond in detail to all of this. Funding has not been the only issue. It has been a question of the form of the facilities -- I say facilities rather than institutions -- that can best be made available to help women in need.
I guess it is obvious there has been some legitimate debate about whether institutions, as some transition houses might best be described, are the best way to go, or whether there are other community facilities where immediate help can be provided, perhaps without having to deal with core funding.
RETAIL SALES TAX
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Revenue. The minister is no doubt aware of the history of the famous Miller hamburger budget when he taxed everything that moved and everything that one consumed in this province. It led to a series of discussions with the mobile caterers, as he will recall, in regard to the many thousands of people he turned into tax collectors in this province. At that time an agreement was negotiated whereby they would pay some 35 per cent of their full sale purchases to prevent them from having to charge and collect tax on every single sale. Subsequently, that was moved to five per cent.
In a time of restraint, and his government is talking a great deal about restraint, is he contemplating elevating that wholesale levy to nine per cent, which would have a highly inflationary effect on the prices charged by those mobile caterers?
Hon. Mr. Gregory: Mr. Speaker, as the Leader of the Opposition well knows, any policy regarding taxes is a result of the budget of the Treasurer (Mr. Grossman). At this point I would not like to venture an answer, but I will get back to him after a discussion with the Treasurer.
Mr. Peterson: The minister is the collector and the agreement was negotiated. He is now by way of regulation, not through any device in this House, attempting to raise those taxes. That is the reality. The minister becomes involved whether he likes it or not, or whether he would like to blame it on the Treasurer or not.
Being the good believer in restraint that he is and the good free enterpriser he is, would he not agree that this round of taxation would be highly inflationary? Is he aware that, for example, the average cup of coffee from one of those mobile trucks would go from 40 cents to 45 cents because of rounding? A package of gum could go from 40 cents to 45 cents, a chocolate bar from 50 cents to 60 cents, and a sandwich from perhaps $1.60 to $1.75 -- increases in retail prices in the order of 10 per cent.
Would the minister not agree with me that when his government is talking about a restraint program -- who knows what that is, but let us say it is five per cent -- if he initiated any change in regulations that drove prices up more than five per cent, he and his government would be contributing to inflation, not preventing it?
Hon. Mr. Gregory: Yes, I would not necessarily agree with the member. If, as he said, an increase of this amount would change the price of a cup of coffee to 55 cents, rounding it off, then apparently it is not only the taxation department that is getting more money, but part of that increase would have to come to the wholesaler or retailer himself.
With regard to the initial thrust of the member's question, I have to refer him back to my answer in the first place. I will need to discuss this with the Treasurer and I will get back to him.
Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the minister would undertake to put this proposed regulation before the Inflation Restraint Board before it is implemented.
Hon. Mr. Gregory: I believe they all go. I will not give the member an answer at the moment, but I will get back to him.
Mr. Peterson: That is something else to get back to us on.
The minister is aware that the tax is now levied through the commissaries where most of the mobile caterers buy their goods for distribution. He is aware that we are dealing with roughly 35 of them in the city of Toronto, and there is a distinct possibility that if he goes ahead to levy these taxes there will be a breach of agreement. The minister will be turning everybody into a tax collector; he will be substantially complicating the lives of these small businessmen; he will be turning them all into retail tax collectors and putting an undue hardship on them.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Peterson: Surely the minister would agree with me that it is his responsibility to keep these independent businessmen alive. Would he not agree to review this entire policy and not proceed with that tax increase?
Hon. Mr. Gregory: As the Leader of the Opposition well knows, anyone who is a tax collector for the province of Ontario is paid for that service. One might say that by adding another tax collector to the rolls we are increasing the earning power of that body.
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Premier concerning Ontario Hydro. I am sure he is aware of the agreement that was signed 20 years ago by Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., Hydro and the government of Ontario -- the so-called Pickering agreement -- which states: "Whereas economic risks still exist in view of incomplete full-scale plant experience…"
I wonder if the Premier would not agree, given the design flaws that now appear to be plaguing the system, that economic risks are still being experienced. Given the economic risks we are experiencing today from the Pickering design flaws, I wonder if the Premier would care to justify the government's decision to go to nearly 70 per cent reliance on nuclear power by 1993.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I will not get into a debate on the figures and just what the percentage of power produced in Ontario will be in that particular year.
I totally understand that the New Democratic Party is opposed to the generation of electrical energy from a nuclear source. I think it is interesting, though, now that I have been given the opportunity to reflect for a moment or two on the history of nuclear energy in Ontario, to remind the leader of the New Democratic Party that in spite of some, I think, comparatively modest difficulties in the past few months, the units at Pickering, which have been on stream now really for many years, have performed competitively on an international basis. I think unit I was probably first or second in the world in efficiency and other units at Pickering have certainly been competitive on an international basis. Most people who are knowledgeable in the industry -- these are the objective observers -- are inclined to suggest, with respect, that the Candu system is probably superior to its competitors.
I know the leader of the New Democratic Party has a certain philosophical association with the government of France. I understand that, I respect it and I do not quarrel with it. It is interesting to note that in that country, even under that government, there has been a rather substantial commitment to the generation of electrical energy from that particular source.
I am always intrigued when we get into discussions of this nature, where concerns are raised on certain environmental issues. I know the leader of the New Democratic Party, when he happens to be in certain regions of Ontario, is always inclined, as are his colleagues on either side of him, to remind people of the problems that we as a government have been identifying, and providing leadership on, with respect to acidic precipitation. I think he must know, even in his less lucid moments, that there is no acidic precipitation as a result of the use of the nuclear option.
I think we have to keep these matters in perspective. I was intrigued at the series of articles in the Toronto Star over the weekend related to Ontario Hydro. I will not sum up those articles for the member, but I will remind him of something else. Internationally, Ontario Hydro is probably one of the most efficient of utilities anywhere in the world. It is generating electricity at a price that is competitive. My recollection is that it is three and a half times cheaper than the state of New York; it is cheaper than the state of California, the state of Florida, you name it; it is cheaper than most utilities in western Europe.
The member can be critical of the nuclear option. I just remind him that his party used to have a seat in Cambridge. It does not have that seat any more, because the people up there understand that if his party were ever in power, there would be thousands of people out of work in that community.
Mr. Rae: It really is a pity we do not have simultaneous translation in this House, because that might help to clarify exactly what the Premier is saying. The fact is that under his leadership and under the management of the Tory party, Ontario stands virtually alone in the world in relying exclusively on one form of electrical generation for its future electrical needs; and that is playing fast and loose and recklessly with the economy of this province, whether it is a question of jobs or whether it is a question of costs.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Rae: Given the number of breakdowns that have occurred and the cost of replacement fuel, will the Premier not agree that his government has managed to create the worst of both worlds? We are paying the capital costs of a nuclear system and the operating costs of expensive fuel to substitute for the nuclear power we cannot use because the system is in a state of breakdown at the moment with respect to many of its reactors.
I simply ask the Premier to comment on that and to justify again the decision of his government to go to a system of electrical generation that stands almost alone in the world in terms of its reliance on one form of power instead of a balanced approach, which would provide far more jobs in Ontario than the approach his government is following today.
Hon. Mr. Davis: With great respect, the balanced approach the member recommends would not provide additional jobs or more jobs in Ontario. It might generate a little more economic activity in the coal fields of West Virginia, Virginia and Pennsylvania. I know that would suit him, but it does not suit me. I know he thinks it might generate the consumption of natural gas from our sister province of Alberta; that, to me, is not a credible option.
I say with the greatest of respect, this province never apologizes for being a world leader. I know that leadership is anathema to the member; he is always reluctant to assume any form of leadership. But I will just remind him that, first, I do not think his figures are totally correct and, second, when one looks at balance in relation to the performance of Ontario Hydro with the Candu system, it meets any competition anywhere in the world. The member tends to ignore that. He tends to ignore its record of accomplishment.
I understand the politics of this. I understand his aversion to the use of nuclear energy for electrical generation. I know that if he had the responsibility, he would never have started Darlington and he would not have started Bruce. There would be no nuclear industry in Ontario. We would not have this technology available to us. He would go back to the Dark Ages, if he were Premier, and I intend to see that that does not happen.
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, the Premier will be aware that one of the very serious questions that people concerned with Hydro are asking now relates to its ability to inspect and to understand the nature and extent of some of the problems that have been developing, particularly in the past three months or so. I am sure the Premier will agree that at this point we do not know the answers to some of those problems. We are pursuing technical solutions to those problems at present.
Is he concerned about the lack of ability to inspect these reactors from a technical point of view, the same kind of concern that caused problems with licensing in Europe? And the Premier will be aware that we have sold only one Candu reactor in Europe, in Romania. Mr. K. P. Gibbs of Motor-Columbus Consulting Engineers Inc. in Baden, Switzerland, in a paper entitled Some European Licensing Requirements of Relevance to Candu, expressed this concern and said that one of the reasons Europeans were not anxious to pursue this was that lack of ability to inspect.
Is the Premier aware of that and does he share those same concerns?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I just hope the gentleman the Leader of the Opposition is quoting has a little more knowledge and understanding than his other expert on energy. But I only pass that on as a casual observation, because I did want to remind the honourable member that another tar sands project has been approved even since that quote from his researcher.
I will just quote Phil Bates, the assistant vice-president, international ratings group, at Standard and Poor's:
"Ontario Hydro is a self-supporting utility with good financial performance. It's neutral as far as the province's triple-A rating is concerned. It neither brings it up or down. Ontario Hydro's cost overruns on nuclear construction have not been nearly as high as the overruns in the US, and the performance of Candu, despite recent troubles, has been excellent."
Mr. Speaker: Order. This is deteriorating into a debate.
Mr. Rae: I wonder whether the Premier, given --
Mr. Speaker: Order. The member for York South has the floor.
Mr. Rae: The Premier will be aware that Pickering was originally started, in a sense, as a pilot project, which was to be the model for all the other reactors that were to be built in the system. The point of what has happened in the past few months is that this project is now experiencing certain difficulties that may have major implications for the rest of the system with respect to design, with respect to what has happened to the pressure tubes, with respect to the problem of garter spring migrations that have turned up elsewhere and with respect to problems with heat exchangers causing heavy water spills.
Using the simple test of economic prudence, how does his government justify going flat out towards an almost uniquely nuclear system? Talk about balance in a system; they are the ones who are creating a total imbalance in the system. How does the Premier justify that on grounds of economic prudence alone, given the problems that are now being experienced and given the implications those problems may have for the rest of the system? How can he justify that, given the costs and given the cost of substitute fuel at present?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Of course, the question itself is a contradiction, because the member talks about the cost of substitute fuel and he knows that the cost of substitute fuel is higher than the initial cost of the nuclear option.
We get back to the position of the New Democratic Party. I understand it; it is caught up in other emotional issues that they entertain, and I do not quarrel with those either. I know this is all part of their general outlook on the world community, and some of their views some of us might happen to share. Their options on how they intend to deal with others who are not quite as co-operative on this issue in other parts of the world, of course, I will not comment on here in this House. I say that very kindly to the member for Scarborough West (Mr. R. F. Johnston).
But they are not going to con me into saying that the nuclear option for efficient, safe delivery of electrical energy to the people of this province is not a credible option. We have had some difficulties in the past few months with respect to Pickering. We also have a 15- to 20-year time frame in which those reactors have performed extremely well and where the people of this province have had the benefit of that form of electrical generation.
The member forgets what has happened and the experience we have gained and he forgets that, in comparison with the kind of technology available in other parts of the world, the Candu system has been adjudged by most objective critics as being, if not the best, one of the superior systems.
Mr. Rae: That is why it has sold so well.
Mr. Speaker: Never mind the interjections, please.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Sure, we have had some problems at Pickering. But put them in the context of the number of years they have performed; put them in the context that we have been in the forefront of some aspects of technological development.
I know the member is always upset when we do things in this province that other people in the world have not done. I take a certain degree of pride in it; I am not as negative as he is. I do not want to turn back the clock. As I said earlier, and I am not being facetious, the member really would have us in the Middle Ages in some of his philosophical and economic policies.
Mr. Rae: It is clear that it is the Premier who is living in the past and not looking towards the future of this province, and it is the people of Ontario and the workers in Ontario Hydro who are going to pay the price for the government's arrogance and complacency with respect to relying on one technology and one form of electrical generation.
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, my next question is to the Attorney General. He will no doubt be aware of the exchange that took place in this House on October 11 between myself and his seatmate, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs (Mr. Wells).
One of the comments made by the minister was that he was disappointed that so few people were aware of the achievements which the government had made and which the province had realized in the field of recognizing the rights of Franco-Ontarians; it was a pity this was so and perhaps everybody shared a degree of the blame for the fact the achievements of the government were not more widely known.
Given that statement by the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, I wonder whether the Attorney General can explain to the House why, when he introduced the Courts of Justice Act on Thursday, he made absolutely no reference to the fact that the government had made a symbolic move with respect to the recognition of French language rights in the province and a move of substance as well in terms of guaranteeing rights as a matter of law in the province and several districts in this province?
I wonder whether the Attorney General can explain why nothing was said in English in terms of an announcement in the House at that time, or in French, or in any language that I can recall in the House on Thursday, but that certain information was given to the French-language press which was not made equally available to the English-language press? Can the Attorney General comment on that and on the effect it may have on the sensibility of people in this province with respect to the introduction of this important measure?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question from the leader of the New Democratic Party, because I was going to stand up in a very few moments and ask permission to read a brief statement which is directed to the very question he has asked. With the permission of the House, I would like to do that. It is a very brief statement, and I can give it in the form of a statement and enlarge on it.
Mr. Rae: If we could have a copy, I would have no objection.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: A copy should have been delivered to the member for York South.
Mr. Speaker: Before proceeding, may we have the concurrence of the House to revert to statements?
STATEMENT BY THE MINISTRY
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I do have a brief statement to make on the question of French-language services in the courts of Ontario. I do so because of some obvious confusion and misunderstanding arising from the introduction last Thursday of the latest version of the --
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: The member for Prescott-Russell (Mr. Boudria) is interested in this statement if none of his other colleagues are.
Mr. Boudria: Yes; they are, they are.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I do so because of some obvious confusion and misunderstanding arising from the introduction last Thursday of the latest version of the Courts of Justice Act, 1983. I want to stress again, as clearly and precisely as possible, the commitment of the government and of my ministry to the provision of French-language services in the administration of justice.
I made that commitment in 1975 shortly after being appointed Attorney General. Since that time, services have been steadily expanded. In 1978, we amended the Judicature Act to provide in law for the use of the French language. At the same time, the federal government went ahead at my request with amendments to the Criminal Code to provide in law for the use of the French language in the criminal courts. In eight years, we have come an enormous way to the point where we now provide a full range of services in areas where 83 per cent of the francophone population reside and a significant range of services where 96 per cent live.
A draft of the Courts of Justice Act was first distributed in March 1983. A revision was made and issued on June 28. The second version contained the section on language that has now created some interest in the media. Section 135 codifies the existing law where French and English are recognized as the languages of our courts.
In 1978, this assembly unanimously adopted legislation which made English and French the languages of record in the courts of justice in our province. As I mentioned, these sections were in the June discussion paper, 2,000 copies of which were widely distributed. An official of my ministry spoke about this particular section in public in September and was quoted about it very prominently in the French-language media.
When this legislation was introduced on Thursday last, some 30 copies of it were delivered to the press gallery, together with extensive explanatory notes. I checked with the legislative counsel's office before coming into the House to be assured that had happened. I was told by the chief legislative counsel that 30 copies had been delivered with extensive explanatory notes.
A reference to the language section is made at the top of page 2 of the explanatory notes.
Mr. McClellan: Oh, it must be a plot. It's a plot.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I had assumed that in a mass of comprehensive statutes such as the new Courts of Justice Act, the explanatory notes would be of some interest to some members of the media. Given the high interest in the Courts of Justice Act, I look forward to a thorough discussion in the Legislature this fall.
There were very extensive explanatory notes and if one looks at them, it makes very clear that this was a codification of the existing law. It is true, as I explained to Mr. Cruikshank of the Globe and Mail, who spoke to me that same afternoon, we knew no new rights were being created, no new extension was being made: this was a codification. The reference in the Courts of Justice Act, as I said to him, as I say to the member now, and I agree with him, at the very least is certainly of great symbolic importance over and above what we have already created.
As far as I am concerned, the suggestion that there was any mystery about this is a tempest in a teapot, which occasionally happens in this great Legislative Assembly.
ORAL QUESTIONS (CONTINUED)
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, the Attorney General refers in his statement to the effect that section 135 codifies the existing law. I want to quote from the explanatory material that has been provided by his own ministry where it talks of section 136:
"Clause 4(e) of section 136 is a new provision that permits with the consent of all parties pleading further documents be filed in the French language only." That is a new provision. Clause 4(f) is a new provision that permits the reasons for judgement to be in either the English or French language.
The Attorney General knows full well that I am not quarrelling with what he is doing. What I am quarrelling with is the way in which this was done. Let us take some pride in the achievements.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Rae: Let us take some pride in the fact that this is what the government is doing on behalf of all of the citizens of this province. We cannot do this if that is not made clear to all the citizens of the province in both languages at the same time. Why did the Attorney General not refer to that in his statement? Does he not think it is of importance? Why did he not refer to it on Thursday?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, the matter is very clearly set out in the explanatory notes. This is a massive and important piece of legislation with many dozens of provisions that are of immense importance to anybody interested in the administration of justice in this province. If the honourable member is suggesting that on the introduction of similar legislation it would have been more appropriate to read the eight pages of explanatory notes as part of my statement, I would be glad to do it.
The member knows very well that I have never, ever missed an opportunity to demonstrate our continuing commitment to the provision of French-language services in the administration of justice.
Mr. Boudria: Mr. Speaker, perhaps I should try to change the tone of this somewhat. Concerning the precedent that has been created in this legislation, does the minister intend to convey pressure on his colleagues to ensure that other legislation is referred to as official in both French and English in this province?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, the commitment of the Premier (Mr. Davis) and all of my colleagues to the extension of French-language services has been well made and has continued at a dramatic pace. Any reasonable observer would have no difficulty in appreciating the depth and sincerity of this commitment.
Mr. Rae: I do not think one can reach any conclusion other than that this government is attempting to communicate different messages to different parts of the province with respect to a very important matter of policy. That is something that has to stop if we are going to make real progress.
Given the statement in this act with respect to the now official status of the French language in the courts of this province, what conceivable objection could the Attorney General or the government have simply to making that part of the Constitution of Canada? He knows full well there is a clause in the Constitution, the Charter of Rights, that applies specifically to that. What possible objection can he have to taking that even more symbolic step for all the citizens of this province with respect to French language rights in our courts?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: To clarify something again for the leader of the New Democratic Party, French was made an official language of the courts of this province in 1978. Where has he been in the last five years?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, on Thursday last week, in my absence, the member for Kent-Elgin (Mr. McGuigan) directed to the Premier (Mr. Davis) a question concerning the difficulty which might be experienced by teacher-veterans in acquiring leave times from their school boards in order to attend services of remembrance on November 11.
Unhappily, the member is not in the House today but I would like members to recall this is the first year under the amended regulation on the school year and school holidays. One of the significant revisions made in that regulation as a result of a thorough review of the school year was to change November 11 from a school holiday to an instructional day upon which students would be in school.
The regulation stipulates that a Remembrance Day service shall be held at every school on November 11, but it also permits a school to participate on that day in a service of remembrance at a cenotaph or other location in the community. As an extension of this latter provision, I would urge school boards to accommodate the requests of teachers and other employees who, as war veterans, wish to be excused from their regular duties to attend services of remembrance at a location other than their schools.
Bearing in mind that this matter is exclusively one of employer-employee relationships which lies totally within the jurisdiction of each school board, I have no hesitation in encouraging school boards to respond to such requests in a manner in keeping with the purpose and spirit of Remembrance Day.
I would like to take this opportunity to remind members that this is not the only initiative taken by the Ministry of Education to assist schools, teachers and students to observe Remembrance Day in an appropriate and meaningful manner. The resource booklet entitled Remembrance Day, which was prepared by the ministry with the assistance of practising educators, was distributed to the schools in 1980. This booklet is a rich compilation of a wide range of thoughtful and thought-provoking materials. It also outlines activities sensitively arranged and tastefully presented to assist our young people to prepare for this important moment of remembrance.
A memorandum was sent to all school principals to serve as a reminder of how the time leading up to November 11 could be used. The memo stressed the importance of providing students with an opportunity to acquire and enhance an understanding of the significance of Remembrance Day by developing a deeper appreciation of the qualities of endurance, courage, sacrifice, loyalty and dedication to the principles of freedom and peace.
At this moment of international unrest in particular, which finds us all increasingly conscious of the fragility of peace and of the sanctity of freedom, it is my sincere hope this year's observance of Remembrance Day will have profound meaning for those whose future lies ahead of them, as well as for those who have already dedicated their past to setting their future at the risk of service for this country.
Mr. Bradley: Supplementary question, Mr. Speaker: I am sure the latter sentiments expressed by the minister will be shared by all members in the House, as indicated.
In looking at the first part of the response, I am pleased the boards of education have that right, but why would the minister not simply issue a provincial directive which would solve this matter, so it does not happen that one board is following one policy and another board another policy? I understand they have that opportunity and no doubt the minister would encourage them to permit those teachers to be absent, but why would she not issue a provincial directive?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: I thought I made it rather clear that matters which relate to this kind of day-release fall totally under the aegis of the employer-employee relationship at the board level.
I would certainly encourage boards by memorandum and other kinds of activities to release those veteran teachers and staff members for that day. In many instances, they will not have to be released but in some they probably will. I would certainly encourage them to do so. However, I am not sure it is appropriate that the minister should interfere rather directly into that labour-management relationship at this time. I think the boards can do that fairly easily.
POLLUTION IN LAKE ONTARIO
Mr. Ruprecht: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of the Environment. He is aware that for many years in Toronto polychlorinate biphenyls have entered our sewers from various chemical plants and, consequently, are draining right into Lake Ontario. He also knows that since the announcement made by --
[Failure of sound system]
Mr. Ruprecht: I will not repeat my question. I will just carry on.
Mr. McClellan: Ruprecht for leader.
An hon. member: You are not interested in the environment. That is what is wrong.
Mr. Ruprecht: I do not think those guys are interested in the environment. If they were, they would have been at the Canadian General Electric plant on Friday. I did not see them there at all, none of them. Their leader was not there. The member for Scarborough West (Mr. R. F. Johnston) was not there. None of those people were there.
Mr. Speaker: Now for the question, please.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: That is because we heard you were going to be there.
Mr. Speaker: I am sure the honourable member has raised a very serious matter. Would he please proceed?
Mr. Ruprecht: The minister knows that at present CGE is draining into our sewer system amounts of PCBs that are beyond his own guidelines. Since he knew about this and about previous incidents, and since he knows there are fairly large amounts of PCBs in the Toronto sewer system, I would like to find out from him when he will be ready to make this information public. Is he ready to make this public now and tell us precisely the amounts of PCBs found in the Toronto sewer system today?
Hon. Mr. Brandt: Mr. Speaker, it is entirely unfair for the member to be suggesting publicly that the level of PCBs, either in the Toronto waterfront, in drinking water, in raw water or in the system is anything but below the acceptable levels established by the Department of National Health and Welfare.
I would like the honourable member to write these numbers down because, quite frankly, he has made some statements in the newspaper which I think are going to going to raise, quite unfairly and quite inappropriately, the anxiety levels of some of the people who live in that area. Health and Welfare has suggested an appropriate upper limit of 3,000 parts per trillion of PCBs in water. The highest level our ministry has been able to measure in Toronto, which goes through the very sewer system the member is talking about, is 50 parts per trillion.
I would like to suggest to the member that there is such a vast difference and such a large amount of safety built into the factoring we are using at the moment that I am absolutely flabbergasted he would even raise the question.
[Failure of sound system]
Mr. Speaker: Order. Perhaps you could just move over and use one of the other microphones.
Mr. Ruprecht: The other light is on now. Is he trying to confuse me or what?
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Ruprecht: If I were the minister, I would not be so flabbergasted because I was told by the Canadian General Electric officials themselves, while he is sitting there smugly saying that I am turning on the alarm bells, that at present 75 parts per million are coming from that plant into the Toronto water system.
That is different from what the minister is indicating. If the minister is so concerned about it, should he not go over there himself and find out the facts? Why has the minister not gone there and found out what it was?
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Ruprecht: Let me ask my second question. The minister knows there are literally hundreds of gallons of PCB wastes stored at this plant and other plants in Toronto. I am thinking especially about the Junction triangle area. A simple fire in any one of those storage sheds would cause another Mississauga-like disaster which would have catastrophic health effects.
Hon. Mr. Brandt: Come on.
Mr. Ruprecht: Come on: what does he mean, come on?
Mr. Speaker: Will the honourable member just place his question, please?
Mr. Ruprecht: Finally, let me simply ask the minister, when will he approve the technology for the destruction of PCBs? What is his timetable for it?
Hon. Mr. Brandt: I am pleased to respond to the serious part of the member's question with respect to the evolution of the technology in connection with PCBs. As the member may be aware, the Ministry of the Environment has invested quite a considerable amount, some hundreds of thousands of dollars, in the plasma are technology. That experimentation is going on at this particular time. It is a technology that other jurisdictions are looking at as being one of the answers to the destruction of PCBs.
Also, we have the diesel destruction mobile unit technology in Ontario now and it is taking care of part of the problem. My ministry is open to suggestions as to a better way to remove the existing PCBs. However, I want to say that of any of the jurisdictions of which I am aware, of all of those that I have looked at anywhere in North America, our system is the most advanced with respect to looking after the problem of PCBs.
It is unfair to suggest that the level of PCBs in the leachate from the site of Canadian General Electric that the member is talking about, or the level of PCBs that has gone into the sewer system, or that which is being treated by our sewage and water treatment plants, is anything but acceptable. It is unfair of the member to suggest anything other than that. Quite frankly, the federal government establishes some of the guidelines I am relating to.
I think we should put on the record the fact that we have a problem. The Minister of Labour (Mr. Ramsay) and I have had some extensive consultation on this with respect to the environment both inside and outside of the plant. I want to go on record as assuring the people who live in that area that there is no problem, that, to the best of the knowledge I have been able to get from my staff, who are experts in the field and who know how to deal with these kinds of questions, there are no health problems whatever either in that area or as a result of the drainage that has occurred offsite from that area in to the storm sewer system.
HOMES FOR SPECIAL CARE
Mr. R. F. Johnston: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Community and Social Services. While the minister is turning people out of the small institutions for the mentally retarded, which have active programs for those residents, he is at the same time turning down his triministry project to provide programs for mentally retarded people in homes for special care and nursing homes around the province.
Would the minister confirm that instead of producing -- and I quote from the announcement of the ministry when it first came up with this program -- "improved programs for 2,920 mentally retarded people in the first four years of that triministry project with about $27.5 million being put into it," even his own ministry people, when they are adding up the number of residences with programming, say a maximum of 1,300 people are receiving programs, and he has underspent those projects by $8.7 million, or 32 per cent, leaving the vast majority of those people still without any meaningful program in those homes for special care?
Hon. Mr. McCaffrey: Mr. Speaker, periodically we get into these questions that require a more detailed response than I am in a position now to give. It is nobody's fault, it is because they deal with some specific numbers. I would like to be able to respond to the question as soon as I can, which may be tomorrow.
May I just say, with regard to the initial comment in the question about the speed of deinstitutionalization, it seems to me that it was only last Friday we were being criticized for going a little bit too slowly with deinstitutionalization.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: I am afraid the acting minister did not understand my concerns about what is happening. It is not the speed in particular.
While the minister is looking into this question and learning a bit about what is involved in the triministry project and the decentralization that is taking place, will he please have a look at the fact that programming, according to his ministry officials, does not necessarily mean that there are actually programs in place for those people? It can mean there is a service co-ordinator who is there, supposedly to provide services but who has no money to do so.
Will he find out how many homes there are with nonprogram programs at the moment? These are homes such as the Muskoka Nursing Home, which has 67 residents who are receiving no programming at all even though $150,000 has been requested for a life skills program, a multisensory program and enhanced staffing to help the people in that home. Will he tell us how many of them are fictitious programs as well?
Hon. Mr. McCaffrey: I will report back.
Mr. Boudria: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. Tomorrow, November 1, is the date that the legislation of his colleague the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow) concerning mandatory child restraints will take effect in this province. Given this fact, can the minister tell this House what arrangements, if any, he or the Minister of Transportation and Communications have made with various car rental agencies or their organizations throughout the province to ensure that child restraints will be available in rented automobiles?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I will be glad to advise the Minister of Transportation and Communications that he has been asked that question.
Mr. Boudria: We have contacted nine car rental agencies across this city and all except one told us they did not have child restraint seats for tomorrow, the day the legislation will take effect. The only agency that said it would provide seats will do so at an extra cost to the consumer who is renting the automobile. Does the minister not think this program is unfair to consumers? Will he undertake to contact that organization today to ensure that car seats are provided for children at no cost in each and every case when automobiles are rented?
It would be rather ridiculous if a person had to carry a car seat underneath his arm from here to the airport in order to have one when he got off at the other end of the airplane ride to Thunder Bay, Ottawa or some other location.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I will be glad to confirm again to the member, if he did not understand it the first time, that the Minister of Transportation and Communications will be interested in the question he has raised.
In doing it, I hope he is also acknowledging that the minister has been in the forefront in the issue with respect to restraints for adults and children in this whole country. First, he should have praised the efforts the minister has made over the years to be in that position.
Ms. Bryden: Mr. Speaker, in view of the great dearth of members on the front benches, I cannot address this question to either the Minister of Transportation and Communications or the Treasurer (Mr. Grossman). Therefore, I will ask the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations if he will take to the Treasurer the request that the remission of the sales tax on child restraints be permanent and not just until the end of this year. They are essential and people should be encouraged to use them.
Mr. Speaker: I must point out to the member that is hardly supplementary to the answer the minister gave.
Mr. Cooke: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the acting Minister of Health before he leaves the assembly.
First I would like to report to him one of the many cases that has been called in or written in to our office on the effects of his government's refusal to act on extra billing. Lorraine Stewart lives in Sudbury. She had to have an operation by an ophthalmologist which had to be done in Toronto because the facilities for the doctor were not available in Sudbury. The following bills were extra billed to this individual: June 7, $15.20; June 8, $687.20; and June 22, $218.48 -- a total of $920 in extra billing. This for an ophthalmologist here in Toronto where 71 per cent are opted out.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Cooke: In view of the fact this family has an income of $18,000 per year, I would like to ask the minister, when is this government going to act to stop extra billing in Ontario, which hits people on middle and low incomes very hard and is halting any progress that should Be made in health care in terms of universal accessibility?
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, since I noted in the paper that my friend had advertisements asking people with these particular problems to write in, it probably means he has a number of them. I think this is justifiable. He is going to be bringing them to us from time to time. I would like him to give me all of the information and I will thoroughly look into each of these problems. If he wants to send them all over at once, rather than raising them one at a time in the House, I will be glad to arrange for the answers.
Mr. Cassidy: The minister would be embarrassed.
Hon. Mr. Wells: No, I am not embarrassed. For instance, one of the things that is forgotten is that while about 14 per cent of the doctors of this province are opted out of the Ontario health insurance plan, of the 60 million to 70 million claims each year, I think only about six per cent are actually billed above the OHIP rate.
Mr. McClellan: Seven per cent. That is 11,000 per day.
Hon. Mr. Wells: No. Six per cent are billed above the OHIP rate. This means that even a large number of the doctors who are opted out are accepting the OHIP fee schedule as full payment. My experience has been that a number of people who are dealing with opted-out doctors are only paying the OHIP fee schedule and the doctor is accepting that. This is one of the things.
Mr. Di Santo: That is not true. The minister knows that.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Wells: My friend says it is not, but that may be the solution to the problem in some of these cases.
Mr. Cooke: Back to this case of the $920.
Hon. Mr. Wells: However, all I am saying is that if we are going to deal with specific cases by name in this House, that is something I really am very loathe to want to do because I hate to deal with people's medical problems on a personal basis publicly in this House. If my friend will send over the details on that particular case, we will look into it and get the answers.
Mr. Laughren: Mr. Speaker, my colleague referred to the constituent from Sudbury. Since the minister seems to be saying that we now have a means test administered by the medical profession for people who need medical care in the province, I would like to ask him more generally if he thinks it appropriate that in a community like Sudbury 88 per cent of the obstetricians and gynaecologists, 50 per cent of the paediatricians and 44 per cent of the anaesthesiologists are opted out.
Hon. Mr. Wells: All I can tell my friend is that the policy of this government has been that there be a certain degree of freedom to the medical profession to operate either within or without the plan. At the present time, that exists in this province. I am not convinced the medical care of the people of this province is suffering because of it.
Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, when the minister is looking at the issue of user fees, I wonder if he might at the same time investigate what appears to be an increasing practice among opted-in physicians. I refer to the practice of adding an annual surcharge on an individual or family basis from anywhere between $25 and $50 so that a family might be able to have forms filled out or other charges waived on a regular basis. It appears to be an increasing practice among individual doctors to levy surcharges on patients with no regard to whether or not any services are being delivered during that fiscal year.
Hon. Mr. Wells: With all due respect to the honourable member I did not know I was answering a question about user fees. I thought I was answering a question about opting in or opting out extra billing by doctors. I am not aware of any doctors who are levying a special surcharge, except that I just now asked my colleague the Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson) and she said she had heard of a couple of cases in Mississauga.
I have never had any brought to my attention in my riding. I am happy the member has brought this to my attention. If she would give me the doctors' names and the situation, I will get an answer for her. But I have never had it brought to my attention by anyone before. I would like to know more about it -- about what doctors are doing it -- and find out exactly under what conditions it is being done.
EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR WOMEN
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to provide the information requested by the honourable member for Port Arthur (Mr. Foulds) and the honourable member for Windsor-Sandwich (Mr. Wrye) regarding the equal opportunity co-ordinator at Loyalist College of Applied Arts and Technology.
The provision of skills development opportunities to women is a high priority of the government of Ontario. Therefore, the Ministry of Colleges and Universities has undertaken several initiatives to assist women to enter occupations that have in the past been considered the sole preserve of the male of the species. Many of these initiatives are implemented by colleges of applied arts and technology.
Equal opportunity co-ordinators are important, but they do not bear total responsibility for all this program. Assisting women to enter nontraditional occupations is a responsibility of the total college staff. Colleges have a number of resources at their disposal to attain the objective. Many provide programs specifically designed to inform women of the career potential in nontraditional occupations.
The ministry recently funded the development curriculum for an 18-week program for women entering nontraditional occupations, and the Treasurer (Mr. Grossman) recently allocated $4 million to the technical upgrading program to enhance the colleges' ability to serve the career needs of women. In fact, I should like the honourable members to be aware that at the precision skills unit of Seneca College there are more female students than there are male.
Colleges in this province also provide career and academic counselling on a year-round basis. The counsellors provide services to both men and women. The board of governors of all colleges have designated at least one person as an equal opportunity adviser. At present two of those positions are vacant. The funds for these positions, while not specifically earmarked by the ministry, are allocated by the college board of governors from the operating grant provided by the Ministry of Colleges and Universities.
Responsibility for determining the best method of serving the needs of women entering nontraditional training programs and occupations is left to the board of governors of each individual college. The Loyalist College board has provided for a part-time contract by the 1983-84 academic year, September 6 to June 22. This position, of course, is renewable. The person in the position has considerable experience at Loyalist College and is very well qualified to advise women on skills development opportunities at that college.
Mr. Speaker, a college's ability to provide equal training opportunities is measured not by the number of hours worked by an equal opportunity co-ordinator but by the total resources of the college committed to that task.
Mr. Bradley: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Education concerning the rumblings emanating from the Association of Large School Boards of Ontario. This is to the effect that the boards under their jurisdiction, or at least who make up their membership, have indicated an extreme reluctance to assume responsibility for the children who are now attending a developmental centre, such as the Lincoln Developmental Day Centre in the Niagara Peninsula, until such time as her ministry clearly identifies how this implementation will take place.
In view of that, what actions is the minister prepared to take to alleviate the concerns of these school boards and of the parents and the staffs involved? What specific instructions does she intend to provide for them?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, first, I should like to clarify for the members of the Legislature that there are no boards under the jurisdiction of ALSBO. ALSBO is a voluntary organization.
Mr. Bradley: I said "who make up their membership." The minister was just waiting for the question.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Fine. The member said "under the jurisdiction of."
Second, the member knows, because I have given him sufficient information to be aware of it, that there has been a concerted effort by the implementation team for special education working with the various boards, particularly in the Niagara Peninsula, and other agencies in that area, to develop the appropriate planning mechanism that will ensure that the children who require the educational program will receive it in the circumstance that is best for them as individuals, rather than following any specific route.
We will be advancing to boards in the not too distance future a rather more direct focus on this activity than perhaps has been available in the past. The date will be made known to the member when it is known to me.
INFLATION RESTRAINT LEGISLATION
Mr. O'Neil: Mr. Speaker, I have petitions that have been submitted to me by teachers in my area that read 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 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."
These petitions were submitted to me by teachers at the Stirling Junior School, Bayside Elementary School, Sir John A. Macdonald Elementary School, Belleville, North Trenton Elementary School, ACM L. S. Breadner primary and senior schools at the Canadian Forces Base, Trenton, Frankford Elementary School, Foxboro Senior Elementary School and Harry J. Clarke Senior Elementary School in Belleville.
Mr. Di Santo: Mr. Speaker, I would like to present a petition 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 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 16 teachers from Grenoble Public School and Tumpane Public School.
Mr. Yakabuski: Mr. Speaker, I have a petition 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 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 105 teachers from the following schools: Opeongo High School, Arnprior District High School and Madawaska Valley District High School.
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, I would appreciate it if you recognize the Adult Day School of the city of York and Runnymede Collegiate Institute from the city of York. They have both supplied a number of signatures with respect to the constitutionality and the effect of the Inflation Restraint Act on teachers who teach in the city of York.
They are petitioning the Legislature of the province to "restore our free collective bargaining rights forthwith under Bill 100, the School Boards and Teachers Collective Negotiations Act," which petitions I fully support.
Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, I have a petition to add to the thousands that have been tabled here against the extension of the Inflation Restraint Act and the restoration of bargaining rights to the teachers. I would think from the magnitude of the numbers the government would be considering that it not extend the Inflation Restraint Act.
This one is signed by Ross Staples, H. D'Amico, C. Liebau, N. Cheel and Eleanor Cook.
Mr. Hennessy: I have a petition also 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 rights; and
Mr. Treleaven: Mr. Speaker, I have a petition in the same wording from 11 teachers from Innerkip Central school.
Mr. Cooke: Mr. Speaker, I like the last presenter the best. He chaired the committee that screwed the workers of this province.
I also have a petition that objects to the extension of Bill 179. I supported this idea last year. I support it this year, unlike the people across the floor or to our right.
Mr. Speaker: I was given to understand there was a motion, but apparently there is not.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
POWER CORPORATION AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Peterson moved, seconded by Mr. Conway, first reading of Bill 104, An Act to amend the Power Corporation Act.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, this bill is intended to require the approval of the Legislature for borrowing by Ontario Hydro, for borrowing by the government of Ontario on Hydro's behalf and/or for government of Ontario guarantees of Hydro bonds.
POWER CORPORATION AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Conway moved, seconded by Mr. Peterson, first reading of Bill 105, An Act to amend the Power Corporation Act.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, this bill would require the approval of the Legislature after a hearing by one of its committees for the appointment or reappointment of the chairman of Ontario Hydro.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
House in committee of supply.
ESTIMATES, MANAGEMENT BOARD OF CABINET
Hon. Mr. McCague: Mr. Chairman, it gives me pleasure to present again the estimates of the Management Board of Cabinet. I am accompanied today by my two deputies, Bob Carman, Management Board secretary, and George Waldrum, chairman of the Civil Service Commission. Both men and their staffs played significant roles in support of the government initiatives that enabled us to meet the severe economic and social pressures of the past year without compromising Ontario's financial position or curtailing services to the public.
As Chairman of Management Board, I am proud of our achievements of the past year. These were due in large measure to the capable and loyal support of board members who, as we all know, are busy with cabinet responsibilities in addition to their board duties. I can always count on their close attention to board business, even on those all too frequent occasions when our meetings start at eight.
I would be remiss if I did not also acknowledge the dedication and support of Ontario's fine public service staff. We could not have maintained Ontario's customary high quality of service in the face of very serious constraints without their co-operation and commitment to their responsibilities.
As the former Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) noted in his May 10 budget, in-year expenditures for 1982-83, because of many factors beyond our control, increased by $728 million, a level that could have pushed the provincial deficit well over 3 billion and placed Ontario's triple-A credit rating in jeopardy. This was a situation that had to be averted. As the year progressed and the disparities in expenditures and revenues developed, we rolled up our sleeves and went to work at restraining spending throughout government.
Mr. T. P. Reid: I thought you were already doing that.
Hon. Mr. McCague: And continuing.
Mr. Chairman: Order.
Hon. Mr. McCague: Management Board's expenditure control strategies, designed to strengthen the government's expenditure control process, demonstrated their worth during the course of our endeavours.
As a result of the constraints imposed by Management Board and savings from existing programs, we succeeded in offsetting the increased spending by $594 million. This had the effect of limiting the actual spending increase to $134 million, a rise of less than one per cent over the original budget estimate for the year. I suggest to the honourable members that this is nothing less than a remarkable achievement, given the fact that we continued to maintain our high level of service in the face of increased demand.
Ontario enjoys a well-earned reputation for prudent fiscal management. Our government spending has represented a declining share of the gross provincial product in five of the past seven years and, as a result, we have the lowest per capita expenditure of any provincial government. Our record of restraint during this ongoing period of economic turmoil not only has reinforced our reputation for good management but also has provided us with a built-in capacity for financial flexibility, which we were able to put to good use during the past year.
I think it is safe to assume that Management Board did not win any popularity contests along the way. We had to be very firm in our imposition of constraints, which invariably required ministries to make tough decisions about where they could reduce or postpone spending.
Although Management Board and its secretariat cannot take credit for ministry programs, we can derive much satisfaction from the effects our management initiatives have had in achieving affordable program delivery. We are maintaining the pressure for increased productivity, better decisions, greater value for money and improved overall management practices. I will be discussing these activities in greater detail later, but I suggest, for example, that our focusing on enhanced expenditure control strategies and greater efficiency, in combination with our constraint strategies, definitely helped us over the rough spots of the past year.
But we are not in a position to rest on our laurels. We are continuing to experience strong expenditure pressures, which I know will remain throughout the 1983-84 fiscal year. The challenge to be better managers and to maintain our levels of service for a growing population while maintaining our fiscal integrity remains as strong as ever. It is a challenge I am confident we can meet.
An important element of our overall plan to make more efficient and effective use of available funds is our program review process. As I mentioned last year, ministries have been asked to undertake a thorough reassessment of their programs and their priorities and to recommend to cabinet where expenditures can be reduced. The savings recommended by the ministries will give the government the flexibility to redirect resources to programs that require enrichment or to introduce new programs to meet emerging social and economic needs.
A program review team has been formed by Management Board to advise and assist ministries in this broad program reassessment. Ministries have been encouraged to look at any and all of their programs and to consider a range of possibilities for change. One of the alternatives may be a program cutback or reduction. This could be accomplished by being more selective in targeting support or by decreasing certain activities. In the latter case it may be that the costs are simply considered too high given the current economic circumstances.
Another alternative is to introduce further efficiency measures into the design and delivery of programs. Improved productivity by both managers and staff will help us to hold down our costs. Fees for services are another possible means of dealing with some of the program expenditure increases that we have experienced in recent years. Increasingly, and particularly in the nonsocial service areas, we may have to look to the users or beneficiaries of a program to share in the costs involved.
Finally, in some instances we may have to contemplate extensive program change. We will have to ask ourselves whether considerations that gave rise to the program in the first place have changed sufficiently over time so that the current program no longer can be as readily justified, or we may have to consider whether elements of the program have reached the stage of maturity where they could be carried on by an appropriate group in the private sector.
The reality is that we have tough decisions to make. In today's fiscal climate we have to look even harder at what our priorities are when it comes to spending money. It is the government's ongoing responsibility to sort out competing demands. Today that responsibility has become an even more difficult challenge, but we are meeting it.
As members will recall, the 1983 Ontario budget announced that the total expenditure on existing programs would be reduced by $300 million. These savings are essentially required for the job creation initiatives described in the budget. The September 30 Ontario Finances reports that the entire $300 million has now been identified through two rounds of constraints.
However, the provincial government cannot go it alone. More than 70 per cent of its expenditures are transfer payments to local governments, institutions and individuals. While the Inflation Restraint Act has reduced inflationary wage pressures, which account for a major portion of transfer payment expenditures, our restraint efforts cannot be limited to wage restraints if we are to achieve our current year fiscal targets. We count on the active support of the municipalities, boards and institutions that receive transfer payments in our efforts to contain costs.
This government has demonstrated its leadership in increasing productivity and restraining inflation. Undoubtedly, many publicly funded agencies and institutions are devoting time and effort along similar lines, and I commend them for their efforts. However, I draw to their attention that the fiscal realities of the day demand that they continue to strive for even greater efficiency and improved expenditure management.
I would now like to deal with value-for-money auditing, which goes beyond the traditional financial audit process to include the auditing of both financial and management controls. This change makes the auditors key members of the management team. It is their responsibility to test the quality of vital control information and report directly to the managers and the deputy ministers, who must take whatever action is appropriate. This process ensures that the controls so essential to our value-for-money and accountability efforts are regularly evaluated and improved when it becomes necessary.
Ministries bear the main responsibility for implementation of value-for-money auditing, but Management Board, in close co-operation with the internal auditors' council and the Ministry of Treasury and Economics, provides necessary support and direction. This new audit role requires that internal auditors upgrade their skills. To meet this need, Management Board has established a major training and development project. The project is supported by a steering committee and the full-time secondment of an internal audit director through the Civil Service Commission, together with the active participation of the commission's staff development specialists and the internal audit community.
The project has a mandate to design and implement a suitable training program to improve the skills and capabilities of internal auditors, who are required to perform complex management control systems audits, which include consideration of value for money and electronic data processing. The project is approaching the halfway point. The training design phase is nearing completion. A process will be developed to assess the training needs of individual audit staff members, and implementation of the training program is anticipated during the last half of the project.
While we are vigorously pursuing the concept of value-for-money auditing, it will take time before we realize its full benefits. In addition to the training program just noted, the new and more mutually supportive relationship between managers and auditors will take time to mature.
I should point out that the direction established by the government for the development of the internal audit function is compatible with that recommended by the Provincial Auditor in his 1979-80 annual report. It is reasonable to expect that the attainment of this new type of auditing function will encourage the Provincial Auditor to place increased reliance on the findings of the internal audit branches, leading in turn to a more efficient use of scarce audit resources.
Let me now focus more directly on the question of staff numbers. As a result of our manpower control policies, the number of Ontario public servants continues to decline, with a decrease of 430 employees from March 1982 to March 1983. Since the introduction of Ontario's restraint program in 1975, public service strength has declined by 6.6 per cent, from 87,109 in 1975 to 81,396 in March 1983. This represents a staff decrease of 5,713 employees.
To help members visualize the dimension of such a decrease, let me offer this illustration: If that number of people were still on the payroll, we would have to raise more than $100 million in additional taxes to cover the salaries, wages and benefits. Looking at it yet another way, the number of Ontario public servants in 1975 was 11 per 1000 population; this year, it is nine per 1,000 population.
These figures not only demonstrate our determination to reduce costs but also reflect the increased efficiency of our civil service, since they were achieved in the face of a population increase of 7.6 per cent during the same period of time.
Members may be interested to know that since January 1976 there has been a 15.4 per cent decrease in the number of executive positions, demonstrating that all levels of our civil service are subject to our manpower controls. As of June, there were 585 executive positions in the service, a net decrease of 104 positions since 1976.
The Ontario government continues to utilize the agency structure in many areas to good effect. For example, it looks to the Ontario Economic Council for advice, to the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission for effective program delivery and to agencies such as the Inflation Restraint Board for regulation.
Mindful of the need to ensure efficient use of all government funds, Management Board strives also to ensure that our agencies are administered in an effective manner.
To this end, during fiscal 1982-83, all policies pertaining to the administration of agencies were reviewed and updated as appropriate. A revised policy on conflict of interest in relation to the appointees to agencies was introduced. Appointees are required to declare any conflict of interest, and the agency chairmen must notify their ministers.
I should emphasize that agency appointees are also subject to the provisions of the Inflation Restraint Act, and increases in their remuneration are being limited to a maximum of five per cent this year.
The sunset review process is into its second year and continues to be effective in determining whether agencies are playing a useful role. Of the 24 agencies reviewed during fiscal 1982-83, six were terminated and 18 were continued for a further defined period of time. Eight new agencies were created during fiscal 1982-83. Twenty-eight agencies are scheduled for review prior to March 31, 1984. This number includes six newer agencies established during fiscal 1980-81.
A key element in the effective management of agencies is the memorandum of understanding which establishes financial and administrative arrangements and clarifies the respective roles and responsibilities of the agency and the minister to whom it is responsible. These memoranda are required for schedule I and II operational and regulatory agencies, just over 120 agencies at present.
Memoranda have been completed for the vast majority of operational agencies, including the larger corporations with substantial budgets and major roles to play in the delivery of key government programs. To date, about half the regulatory agencies have completed their memoranda.
The efficient operation of agencies is very important to this government, and we have taken appropriate steps to ensure the accountability framework for agencies is clearly defined. While Management Board establishes the general rules of practice for all agencies in its Manual of Administration, it is the minister to whom the agency reports who is accountable for the agency's performance. A high degree of accountability to the Legislature is maintained through legislative review of mandates, tabling of memoranda of understanding, and the scrutiny of the Provincial Auditor and the public accounts and procedural affairs committees.
I believe these mechanisms work very efficiently in ensuring proper and economic use of government funds by agencies of the government.
We have recently come to the end of a three-year developmental phase of the management standards project, one of our more ambitious initiatives in the interest of improving the quality of management performance in the Ontario Public Service.
Interministerial working groups have collaborated in the development of 19 publications relating to the new management standards. The final booklet of the series, Program Design and Implementation, has just been released. All management standard booklets have been given widespread distribution within the Ontario public service and are available to the public through the government bookstore for a nominal charge. An extension of the project is a newsletter, Managing Together, which is distributed to 11,000 managerial staff throughout the government.
We have published nine issues of Managing Together, which have presented topics ranging from managing organizational change and technology to a staff interview with William Ouchi, the California professor who gained international attention with his book Theory Z, which deals with the Japanese challenge to North American management practices.
In addition to helping managers keep abreast of management trends, the newsletter provides them with an opportunity to share their ideas and experiences with others in the management community.
Of course, we did not have to wait for a series of publications to begin to realize the benefits of the project. The interministerial action it generated created a vast pool of shared knowledge that produced early returns. Ministry A was impressed by what ministry B was doing and both learned something from ministry C.
Among the final project activities was a series of dialogues with senior management personnel throughout the province at which the emphasis was on participation by those who attended. The message came through loud and clear that there is enthusiasm and support for management improvement.
I had an opportunity this past March to extend my personal thanks to some of those persons who participated in the project. I think it would be appropriate now, on behalf of members of Management Board, to express appreciation for the continuing effort being made by staff throughout the government to improve our management practices.
I can assure the honourable members that the formal conclusion of the project's developmental phase does not signal the end to our efforts along these lines. Management board co-ordinated the development of improved management standards. The ministries are now at various stages of reviewing their current management practices. This will lead to the development of three-year implementation plans for upgrading their practices consistent with the standards.
Let me assure you this is not a paper exercise. Management Board is not interested in ministries developing an involved process that is going to get in the way of our principle objective, which is improved program delivery.
Each deputy minister is held accountable by Management Board for implementing management standards within his or her jurisdiction and will report to us on the progress being made.
This will occur during the deputy minister's 100-minute oral presentation to the board concerning the management situation within his or her ministry.
During last year's estimates I mentioned our preparations for this new technique and the fact that a pilot project involving three ministries was being organized. The pilot project was an outstanding success and we are now hearing from deputies on a scheduled basis.
In addition to reporting on their progress towards improved management standards, the deputies' presentations provide them with the opportunity to discuss the ministries' achievements, pressures or problems.
Management Board members, in turn, may question the deputies on the points they make and are also able to obtain first hand information on any ministry matters in which there may be a special interest.
Management Board in the past has tended to see the ministries through a window of problems. This new approach provides the board with a completely new perspective -- one, I suggest, that will lead to a fuller appreciation on our part of what makes each ministry tick.
The process was developed and tested by the secretariat's managing by results project team and the staff of the management standards project. Established in 1981, the managing by results, or MBR, improvement project is engaged in the process of strengthening the use of MBR by ministries and central agencies in order to integrate it more fully in government planning and control processes.
Under the MBR approach, the ministry determines in verifiable terms the end results to be achieved by a program for a particular client group within the approved financial and manpower resource allocations. During the year the ministry monitors the actual results, takes corrective action where necessary, and reports these results to Management Board. When planned results are not being achieved, a ministry is required to discuss its proposed corrective action with the Management Board secretariat and often to appear before the board.
Members of the MBR improvement team have met with the senior management groups within each ministry to improve the understanding of MBR and to promote the MBR approach as an integral part of the ministry management process.
To assist managers in understanding and applying the MBR framework, a publication, entitled Manager's Guidelines to Managing by Results, has also been distributed. A more comprehensive guide on the development and use of MBR, designed mainly for the analytical staff of ministries, is planned for this year.
Management board secretariat, in consultation with the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the government purchasing community, has continued its ongoing review of purchasing policies.
This review is intended to ensure that we acquire and manage the goods and services required to deliver government programs in a manner which makes the best possible use of the available financial, material and human resources. We also seek to maximize government purchasing opportunities in support of the growth of Canadian manufacturing and research and development capabilities.
To this end, during the past year, the board revised its competitive purchasing policy, which now provides for greater standardization of purchasing practices within our decentralized purchasing system and for the identification and removal by ministries of barriers to the use of Canadian goods and services.
These revisions are intended to expand the pool of qualified potential suppliers available to bid on government contracts through the competitive purchasing process. This makes good business sense, both to the government as a buyer and in the increased opportunities it offers to suppliers of Canadian goods and services.
In addition to providing a purchasing environment which is responsive to the use of Canadian goods and services in delivering government programs, we must also be pro-active in identifying government purchasing opportunities which have the potential to stimulate economic growth. Management Board, therefore, recently established the industrial development review policy.
This policy provides for the identification and review, from a corporate perspective, of purchases with the potential to support economic development. Because of its industrial development expertise, the Ministry of Industry and Trade has been asked by the board to assume the lead role in implementing this policy.
In consultation with the Ministry of Industry and Trade, we will be monitoring the results of the policy to assist us in the development of other strategies to promote this increasingly important aspect of purchasing. Developing and implementing strategies to support Canadian business through purchasing is an ongoing and long-term process. However, it is one to which Management Board is committed and which the secretariat, in consultation with the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the government purchasing community, will continue to address.
In response to constraints, reduced staffing levels and the public's continued expectations for high levels of service, our public servants are looking to information technology to boost their productivity. This is reflected in our growing investment in computer services and other information technology tools. This year, as in previous years, Ontario will spend more on information systems than our sister provinces, but the per capita costs of these computer-related expenditures will remain among the lowest and most cost-effective in the country.
Much of our success can be traced to an early start at computerizing the government's operational systems in the 1960s and 1970s. Our larger population also gives us an advantage over other provinces through economy of scale. In addition, we cannot forget the highly developed skills of our technical and managerial staff who have served us so well. However, the very maturity of our information technology systems does in itself present new challenges in the years ahead.
For example, the maintenance of existing computer systems is currently absorbing upwards of 70 per cent of our skilled systems staff. The remaining staff are struggling with the complexities of newer and ever-changing technology, and considerable backlogs for the development of new systems are emerging.
Faced with a need to get more things done and an overburdened systems development community, many managers in both the private and public sectors are purchasing their own computers and attempting to develop their own systems. With the availability of the microcomputer, the hardware investment in such systems is deceptively small and, therefore, often does not involve Management Board.
While I would normally applaud such initiatives, I am concerned that they could result in a proliferation of incompatible computer technologies. This, in turn, would increase our support costs, multiply the complexity of our development effort and seriously reduce our ability to implement a common computer communications network. Furthermore, the impact of such technology on our staff requires a careful, co-ordinated systematic implementation that takes into account the complex issues of human response to change.
That is why I have asked the staff of Management Board secretariat to bring together a task force comprising senior managers throughout government to address the issue of creating a corporate strategy for the use of information technology. This strategy will address itself to the broad directional issues of government administration, rather than detailed operational issues. It will chart a path through the minefield of alternative information technologies for the next several years.
Under the chairmanship of the secretary of Management Board and the direction of the eight deputy ministers who form the technology directions committee, the task force of senior managers is already working to determine the scope, nature and approach to such corporate strategies.
It is too early in the process for me to share any results of this initiative, but I would like to mention some of the major areas this working group will be examining. First, and in my opinion foremost, they will be looking at the impact of technology on people. In 1956, 17 per cent of the labour force in North America was classified as white-collar workers. Today, almost 60 per cent of the labour force is involved in white-collar activities and this represents a massive shift to information-related jobs.
This growing army of knowledge workers, as they are often known, includes teachers, clerks, accountants, scientists, engineers and administrators, and is ample testimony that we have moved from a predominantly industrial society to a predominantly information society.
The productivity engine of the new society is the computer and related telecommunications technologies. Just about everyone and every job in the government will feel the impact of these technologies in the next 10 years.
Our strategy must ensure that the computer is the positive force which will enhance the quality of working life and not simply automate existing tasks or, even worse, become a control device that distributes work to people and monitors the results. The early centralized computers forced us to design assembly line type jobs which provided little satisfaction to workers and to change traditional office routine in order that the efficiency of the computer itself could be maximized.
Today, with the advent of the inexpensive microcomputer and the computer terminal, we are no longer required to organize around the single, large computer mainframe. By maintaining a focus on people we hope to employ the new technology in a manner that enhances the dignity and wellbeing of the staff who use it. The onus is on us to retain a healthy and stimulating work environment, and we are very much aware of that responsibility. We have found that people do not usually resist technology: often, they welcome it. On the other hand they do react negatively to social change and changes in personal status that inappropriately applied technology can bring to the work force.
The issue of people and technology would not be complete if I did not talk briefly about the need for the education and training of those employees affected by technological change. Our strategy must address this through a continuing education program. Special consideration will have to be given to those in occupations that will be most affected by technological change, including the many women who hold secretarial and clerical positions in the public service.
With a retraining program, and taking into account the ever-increasing program demands placed on the civil service, it would be our hope and objective that civil servants whose positions have been overtaken by technological change could replace any vacancies created through normal attrition.
A second major area that must be addressed by the strategy team is technology itself. We anticipate that we will have to make tough decisions about standardization of computer technologies, systems development techniques, data networks and so on. Appropriate strategy will preserve our future options and will, for example, permit a government-wide electronic mail service, simplified computer-to-computer communications, resource sharing between ministries and common approaches to systems development.
The strategy will have to consider our responsibility to our indigenous Canadian hardware and software industries, as well as to those multinationals that have manufacturing and research facilities in this country. If we do not use our own manufactured products we can hardly expect to develop a flourishing export business to other countries. There are many other areas that must be addressed by the strategy, but most are of a technical nature.
From all of this, members can see that the task we are undertaking is massive both in size and complexity. However, we intend to move with dispatch and plan the first draft of a corporate strategy in about a year. What we learn from developing and implementing it will greatly assist us in developing a more effective, refined strategy for the use of information technology in the 1986-87 time frame. More important, government managers will have a framework and a statement of direction, which will enhance their ability to improve their program delivery and productivity through intelligent choices in the increasingly complex and pervasive world of microtechnology, systems design, telecommunications and office automation.
Once we have developed a corporate information systems technology strategy, a number of other policy changes will be required, including a revised computer acquisition policy and a new systems development policy. However, I would not expect any of this to be started before the draft corporate strategy is in place, or next fiscal year at the earliest.
There are two areas which will require our immediate and earnest attention and which cannot wait for the outcome of the corporate strategy. The first area involves the security of government computer systems, and the second focuses on the need to resolve an impending problem in the area of records management.
Good records management is an essential part of good government administration. It is a less glamorous side of information technology since it deals largely with the mundane task of filing huge volumes of original documents and working papers which may be required for future reference yet are no longer required for the day-to-day needs of a ministry program.
Some documents -- for example, courtroom proceedings -- must be held for 15 years and then moved to archival storage in perpetuity. Others must be held for at least seven years before they can be destroyed. Under the Archives Act the authorization of the provincial archivist is required to destroy records. However, records of historical research interest may be retained by the archivist for an indefinite period in the provincial archives.
Recent government initiatives have resulted in an overall 10 per cent reduction in space allocation standards for ministries, thus forcing these ministries to forward greater amounts of records to the relatively inexpensive storage space available in the records storage centres administered by the Ministry of Government Services. Unfortunately, these centres are already at close to 100 per cent capacity, and we are using more expensive private sector storage for the excess requirements.
Members of my staff are working with the archivist, the Ministry of Government Services and the Records Managers' Council to develop a solution to this dilemma. Options under consideration include the expansion of available records centre space, the relocation of the public archives to a larger building, a significant reorganization and the use of private sector records centre facilities. Also, we will be carefully examining relationships involving Management Board, which creates the relevant policies, the Ministry of Government Services, which operates the records centres, the ministries that use the centres and the Archives of Ontario, which are part of the Ministry of Citizenship and Culture.
I do not have to explain to members the sensitivity of the personal and corporate information stored in the computer files of the various ministries. Furthermore, members are probably well aware of the growing capacity of members of the general public to attempt to access such information through home computer terminals and personal computers. These individuals have recently gained considerable notoriety in the United States by accessing the files of several major corporations, including the Los Alamos nuclear laboratory.
To date, there have been no known serious breaches of our computer security systems. At the same time, I am confident that without further tightening of these security systems and the relevant corporate policies regarding their use, we would become vulnerable to any concerted and knowledgeable effort to penetrate our computerized information files.
Mr. Nixon: You mean by some 12-year-old.
Hon. Mr. McCague: It has been that in some countries.
In the months ahead, the secretary of Management Board will be issuing a set of security directives to all deputy ministers. At the same time, work is already under way on a new administrative policy on computer security. The latter will require many months of effort to complete since it will not only be designed to deal with the security and privacy of information but will also address microcomputer security as well as the issue of recovery in the event of a large computer centre disaster. Security-related responsibilities of government managers, computer users, internal auditors, data processing services agencies, common carriers and central agencies will also be reviewed in the light of new technologies.
In 1983-84 Management Board will also be issuing new policies on the use of consultants in the public service. I know that members on both sides of the House have frequently expressed an interest in this area and I am glad to report that the new policies will clarify procedures for the purchase and use of the services of technical, management and systems consultants by government.
I would like to conclude my comments on information technology by emphasizing that we are indeed facing a very complex and demanding situation. Our corporate leadership through the creation of a strategic direction with a high level of service-wide support and management commitment will be breaking new ground in the public sector. We cannot mandate an end to technological change. We must, therefore, learn to manage it as an integral part of our future.
As we venture deeper into the complex technology of the information age, the Civil Service Commission will play an increasingly important role in planning and carrying out the necessary training programs that will enable our staff to adjust to the new challenges and demands of the work place. To assist in putting the activities of the commission in perspective, I believe it would be worth while at this time to review the commission's goal statement, which reads as follows:
"To provide corporate personnel policies, programs and services which, in conjunction with effective leadership and management throughout the Ontario public service, will result in a proficient and committed work force, effectively supporting government policies and programs that are consistent with the merit principle, the concept of public service, stated overall government policies and priorities, and the responsible use of public funds."
The former Treasurer outlined the substantial progress Ontario has made in improving public service efficiency in appendix C of his 1983 budget. This excellent record of achievement serves not only as a testimonial to our staff, but also to the positive employment environment created by the policies and programs of the Civil Service Commission.
The commission continues to maintain a close watch on staff strength, while reinforcing the government's overall efforts to maintain a high level of service with fewer staff. Once again, I would emphasize that staff reductions are being achieved through improved management techniques and not through indiscriminate cuts.
While new programs and activities which require staff continue to be initiated throughout government, ministries are finding these resources from within by making adjustments in other areas. This process is producing the desired results and its effectiveness is being bolstered by a number of training initiatives which I will discuss in more detail.
The honourable members may recall that in September 1982 the Civil Service Commission imposed restrictions on external recruitment. This action was taken to provide employment opportunities for staff affected by program adjustments, while continuing the government's commitment to a gradual reduction in the size of the public service. The restrictions have proved to be effective in achieving the government's objectives, while at the same time reducing advertising costs for vacancies.
Of course, we could not expect to fill every position from within the public service. Where it was essential for the operation of government programs and where there was an absence of qualified internal applicants, the Civil Service Commission has approved requests for external advertising and hiring. For example, during the past year there were more than 50 vacancies in the public service for computer systems specialists. In response to this critical situation, the commission co-ordinated the development of a corporate advertisement which appeared in four major newspapers and subsequently established an inventory of systems personnel which was made available to all ministries.
I have been advised that many of the vacancies have been filled by qualified individuals who responded to the advertisement. We not only effected considerable savings, but also developed a co-ordinated approach to the recruitment of a particular job skill.
We have been successful in placing the majority of staff declared surplus as a result of the many adjustments taking place. To date, more than 80 per cent of all employees declared surplus have found alternative employment in the service. For example, during the fiscal year 1982-83, 969 notices of release were issued, many resulting from the relocations to Kingston and Oshawa, and only 87 employees had to be released. Six of those have subsequently been recalled to other positions. These figures clearly show our efforts to place employees are successful.
The government's policies are being reviewed to assess their adequacy in responding to anticipated work force adjustments. The emphasis in this review and in the initiatives which will result is on taking earlier action to prepare employees for impending changes and providing greater assistance for employees we must relocate, or develop new skills for, to meet changing job demands.
In addition, the commission has developed a technique for focusing quite precisely on the skills and knowledge requirements of a particular occupational group. The course of study now being developed for internal auditors is one example. An entry level training program for staff who show an aptitude for systems work, but who in the normal course of events would not be eligible to apply for jobs in the systems field, is another example.
The same approach has been used to analyse the specific knowledge and skill requirements of middle managers in the public service. The results are already being used to revise the course offerings of the commission.
Last year the corporate management development program was initiated to provide quality training and development for senior managers and executives. This high priority program, which is funded by the commission, is designed to develop further executive skills and awareness of the issues which will have a significant effect on future management of government resources. It has been extremely popular with the client group, and there are waiting lists for several of the offerings.
The Civil Service Commission plans, as well, to encourage the development of individual middle managers who show promise as potential executives. Their managerial strengths and weaknesses will be assessed; then special assignments, secondments, developmental moves and other courses will be considered.
The honourable members will recall that the Inflation Restraint Act requires that all agreements expiring after September 21, 1982, be extended for one year from the expiry date or next anniversary date with a five per cent maximum increase in compensation.
The Ontario Public Service Employees Union asked that two benefits be implemented on January 1, 1983: an increase in shift premiums from 35 cents per hour to 40 cents per hour and an improvement in the co-insurance feature of the dental plan from 60/40 per cent to 75/25 per cent. It was agreed that the two benefit improvements would be implemented at a cost of 0.14 per cent of payroll with the remaining 4.86 per cent applied as a salary increase.
The act also provides for a minimum of $750 and a maximum increase of $1000 to all employees earning $20,000 a year or less. We exercised the discretion permitted under the act and awarded all eligible employees the full $1,000. All category agreements are now in place for 1983, as is the collective agreement on working conditions and employee benefits. Increases have been awarded to employees in the management and excluded categories to provide five per cent, less the cost of benefits.
Discussions with the Ontario Provincial Police Association have also been concluded. The OPPA requested that no changes in any benefits or other cost items be made and that the full five per cent be applied to salaries. This was acceptable to the government, and the agreement with the OPPA for 1983 is now in place.
I would like to take this opportunity to focus on our Ontario public servants in their role as concerned, community-minded citizens, which was demonstrated by their generous support of the United Way and cancer, heart and diabetes fund-raising campaigns. During 1982-83, public service employees throughout the Ontario government contributed $1,197,000 to the United Way. This compared with $1,025,000 raised in the previous campaign, a 17 per cent increase. The localized spring campaign, formerly known as heart-cancer, which was expanded this year to include support for Diabetes Canada, raised $282,900, an even more remarkable increase of 20 per cent over the previous campaign.
Mr. Chairman, that concludes what I wish to say.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Speaker, my opening remarks, unlike the minister's statement, will be relatively brief. I am glad to see there is some concern in Management Board about the security of information vis-à-vis computers. It is something the public accounts committee has urged on the government and particularly Management Board for some time.
I wish to talk about four or five topics in my opening remarks. I hope the Chairman of Management Board could make note of some of these questions. It might save us time when we come to the actual estimates.
He made reference in his remarks to the Manual of Administration. In the last fiscal year, in the last year before public accounts, we have had a dichotomy of views, to say the least, as to what the Manual of Administration means, how it is to be applied and whether it is a direction provided by Management Board or a requirement that Management Board regulations be followed.
By my reading of the act, I can only presume, under section 3 of the act which details in specifics the authority of Management Board, the Manual of Administration is a document that requires compliance by those deputy ministers and also, interestingly, it says within the act, by the agencies, boards and commissions that are emanations of the government.
I am somewhat surprised the Chairman of Management Board did not make some reference to the speech contracts of the Provincial Secretary for Justice (Mr. Walker). This is a matter that has been in the public forum for almost a month now. It was almost two weeks ago that the Chairman of Management Board indicated to questioners in the House that he would be looking into this matter and reporting. I am somewhat at a loss as to why he did not deal with these problems to some greater extent in his remarks.
I noticed that at about page 16 he made a fleeting reference to the matter of tendering the work of consultants, speechwriters and so on. He said we would at some point be very happy to hear about these things. We would have been happy to hear about them today while we are doing his estimates.
I would like to know what force and effect the Manual of Administration has. We had the Deputy Minister of Revenue who came in on at least two occasions almost in the same way Hydro works. He brought in so much information that nobody could follow what he was talking about. The Provincial Auditor had drawn to the public accounts committee's attention, through the special report the committee asked him to do, that the procedures in Revenue were not well laid down, particularly as they related to computer systems in government in that ministry.
When he was not patting himself and the government on the back, the minister probably spent 70 per cent of his remarks talking about computers and the computer age we are involved in. It is interesting that the committee found we were spending something like $170 million in the last fiscal year in software, hardware, salaries and so on. Yet while the minister indicates some of these things are in the works, one did not get the impression the government had a good handle on the new technology and how it was to operate.
I am glad, for instance, to see that the minister indicated in his remarks he was concerned about the proliferation of computers, particularly microcomputers, throughout the government. They may not all be compatible one with the other, and we may very well find within different departments of the same ministry computer equipment that is not compatible within a ministry, let alone across the government.
But I stray from my original point about the Manual of Administration. Mr. Russell, the deputy minister, put on quite a performance before the public accounts committee. Basically, what he said -- and I am sorry I do not have the quote here today, but I am sure the minister has heard it -- was something to the effect that "the Manual of Administration is simply a guide, and if we choose to do something in a different way, we just go ahead and do it." In response to the question, "Was this cleared with Management Board?" the answers were, "Yes, it was," and then, "No, it was not."
We had the further example of the now -- can I say Mr. Laschinger is functus or defunctus, to use one of the --
Mr. Nixon: These functus deputies have a habit of coming back to life once the odour blows away.
Mr. T. P. Reid: In any case, Mr. Laschinger was at that point assistant deputy minister in the then Ministry of Industry and Tourism, of all places. We will get to that a little further on in my remarks as well.
He was responsible for approving a contract without tender to a design and architectural construction firm for Future Pod. He was asked to appear before the public accounts committee and, with an arrogance I have scarcely seen evinced even by the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) of this province on occasion, he told the committee very bluntly that it was a management decision, that he had made the decision regardless of what the Manual of Administration said, and that he would make the same decision again if the circumstances called for it. In fact, he implied to hell with Management Board and to hell with the Manual of Administration, he was in charge and he was going to spend taxpayers' money the best way he saw fit.
The third instance that comes to mind in regard to the Manual of Administration took place only in the last month or so and concerned the salary of one Dr. Donald Chant, the person the Premier (Mr. Davis) plucked out of the realms of the environmental movement to be chairman of the Ontario Waste Management Corp.
It was a very interesting conjunction of events. We had Mr. Carman, who I believe is one of the best deputy ministers in the government -- by the way, Bob, I hope that is not the kiss of death for you -- before the public accounts committee, telling us about agencies, boards and commissions. Mr. Carman told the committee that the Manual of Administration was required to be followed.
We were talking particularly about agencies, boards and commissions, and Mr. Carman told us that the line of authority, as is indicated in the minister's briefing notes, is through the ministry that particular ABC comes under. In this case, we were talking about the Ontario Waste Management Corp. which answered through the Ministry of the Environment.
One of the questions somebody asked Mr. Carman was, "Do the salaries of the people in this particular ABC," which I believe is a schedule 2 agency, "have to be approved by the minister?" I am paraphrasing, but I believe Mr. Carman's answer was "Yes" or "Absolutely, yes."
Not 10 minutes later, Dr. Chant, who had been sitting in the audience and had heard this exchange, was a witness before the public accounts committee. We learned that his salary had been set at something like $92,000 or $93,000, more than $20,000 more than the salary any deputy minister in the government was getting at that point.
We asked Dr. Chant how his salary was set, and he said the board of directors set it. We asked if that salary did not have to be approved by the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Brandt), and Dr. Chant said: "No. Absolutely not." We learned subsequently that Dr. Chant's salary was set somehow through the auspices of both the Ministry of the Environment and the office of the Premier.
It became obvious to those of us who sat there that there had been some problem with Dr. Chant's salary. Dr. Chant seemed to have gone off on a frolic of his own and almost set his own salary. The terms and edicts -- if I can put it that way -- of the Manual of Administration and the accountability process through the Minister of the Environment seemed in this instance to have been completely neglected, to be polite, to be charitable. At worst, perhaps, they were knowingly abrogated.
Dr. Chant was before the standing committee on public accounts as late as last Thursday and we understand his salary now has been set, apparently with the Premier's office again getting into the act, at the level of a deputy minister.
If I may diverge for a second, Mr. Chairman, it always amuses me that the government sets up a lot of these agencies, boards and commissions for the express purpose in its mind of avoiding problems or cooling them down; then it finds the people it appoints come back to haunt it.
Not to speak ill of the dead, there was Judy LaMarsh and the study of violence in the communications industry. There was Patrick Hartt and the commission on Indians and the northern environment. Now we have Dr. Donald Chant in the same litany of mistakes and mismanagement the government falls into by trying to avoid dealing with problems in the first instance.
I would like to have a definitive statement from the Chairman of Management Board as to just exactly what degree it is required that these people follow the procedures of the Manual of Administration. What happens if they are not followed? What happens in the case of Dr. Chant? He apparently got his salary knocked back and perhaps received a slight tap on the wrist.
But what happens to John Laschinger? I will not speak for other members of the committee, but I think even members of the government party were a little upset about his approach and attitude. We are concerned about the Ministry of Revenue not following the procedures --
Mr. Nixon: He didn't do much of a job for Crosbie either.
Mr. T. P. Reid: He did buy that big balloon for $3,500. I hope they never make him secretary of Management Board. He put Crosbie in the hole some $250,000.
Mr. Nixon: The only place he could work is in Ontario.
Mr. T. P. Reid: I will make a small wager that he will be back here -- unless, of course, some unknown assailant hits Mr. Mulroney over the head in a dark alley and drops a whole bunch of Ontario Place buttons as he leaves the scene, hoping to get his boss another chance at it.
In any case, we would be particularly interested in the Manual of Administration. We would also be particularly interested in the problem concerning consultants and speechwriters. The first question I have is, who wrote this speech for the chairman? I trust it was not contracted out, although it sounds as bad as some of those the Provincial Secretary for Justice has been known to deliver on occasion.
I am sorry the Chairman of Management Board did not see fit today to say something about the Provincial Secretary for Justice's situation so we could clear the air. It is not as if this needs a great deal of time, effort or study. I would have thought the matter could have been dealt with by the Chairman of Management Board; he has some of the best civil servants in the province on his staff.
Incidentally, I note in the briefing notes that the minister has a staff of about 170. Just looking at the 1981-82 public accounts, volume 3, details of expenditures, it is interesting that approximately 140 of those people are earning over the $30,000 limit. Some of those salaries are fairly healthy. One wonders, that being the case, why we could not have had a report on this situation earlier. Second, one wonders why it seems to go on time after time.
I do not know whether it is worth rehashing the $400,000 that was spent without following the Manual of Administration, section 50-3-2, on purchase and management of professional services. "The consultant's output can be measured against defined objectives. The scope in terms of reference for the project is clearly understood and documented. Skilled resources are not available for this project within the ministry."
I was leafing through the government phone book earlier today. The Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Timbrell), no coy, shy, retiring maiden he, states right in there that he has a speechwriter. One can phone up that speechwriter by dialling the number that is listed right in the book.
We also have, of course, the whole situation; but we will not talk about the $400,000 that went to Martyn and Gwyn Williams, without following the Manual of Administration, without following usual procedures.
Again, I can go through volume 3 of the public accounts and look at the high-priced help under the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Correctional Services and wonder why these speeches could not have been done in house. I thought the leader of the third party had a delicious line, if I may use that phrase, when he said he thought all these years that the former Minister of Industry and Tourism, now the Provincial Secretary for Justice, was only putting his own foot in his mouth when he made those speeches, but obviously it was somebody else's foot that was being put in his mouth and we were paying for the shoe leather as taxpayers.
The other matter that we have some interest in, again in relation to the Manual of Administration, is this whole business between the Deputy Minister of Government Services and the now functus -- I like that word; I do not think it is a word, so let us say "defunct." My lawyer friend on the other side says "defunct" -- the now-defunct Minister of Government Services.
Mr. Nixon: Lawyers say "functus"; real people say "defunct."
Mr. T. P. Reid: I understand lawyers eat quiche as well; so one can take it from there. However, the point is that not only was the Manual of Administration not followed in terms of these contracts let out or put out, authorized and approved, and almost, one gathers, initiated by the deputy minister, but also a minister of the crown got the boot in the fight between him and his deputy minister.
It is a strange situation, to say the least, when an elected official trying to implement, one gathers, the government policy as reiterated here this afternoon by the Chairman of Management Board gets fired by the Premier for trying to do exactly that and the deputy minister remains.
I would have thought we might have had some comment from the Chairman of Management Board on this business. I would have thought, for instance, that in all that foofaraw and back-patting- -- and I will be the first, by the way, to say that I think the Chairman of Management Board and his staff, probably because generally they are so quiet, are probably one of the better organizations overall in this government.
It was interesting that the chairman, given this first occasion of his estimates, said nothing at all about Mr. Gordon hiring a consultant at $900 a day without going through the regular procedures.
I am looking forward to hearing about the instance where Mr. Gordon went out and hired a consultant -- some kind of computer expert, I understand -- to computerize all of Ontario's legislation. I do not have the figure at hand, but I think he did it for probably more than $140,000. He computerized all our statutes, I gather, or most of them, and now he is in the happy position of selling that information back piecemeal to various government ministries and, presumably, to agencies, boards and commissions.
Not only was he hired, as I understand it, without going through proper channels and procedures but, second, having done the work and having been paid, one presumes, a reasonable amount of money, he is now in the process of leasing us back our own information -- and I gather at a fairly good price. Maybe the Chairman of Management Board can tell us something about that as well.
It leaves a bad taste in people's mouths, not just the people in this chamber but the public at large, when they read about the government's efforts to practise restraint and that civil servants are restricted to a five per cent increase, all in the name of restraint, and then it seems that friends of the government and even friends of the deputy ministers receive contracts that most people would consider relatively rich, without any proper procedures being gone through.
It is always of interest to me and frustrating, I must say, as a member of the opposition. I am not here to defend my federal brethren, but we hear all the foofaraw about Mr. Macdonald and his $800 a day.
It is still mentioned day after day in the newspapers about how we have 1.5 million unemployed and this high-priced lawyer is getting $800 a day. But the things that go on in the Ontario government never seem to be at best more than one-day wonders. I do not know whether it is the fault of the press or of us in the opposition or whether the public at large is apathetic towards these matters, but it puts the lie to a lot of things -- unfortunately, the good things -- that the Chairman of Management Board says he and his little band of happy followers are trying to achieve.
I want to talk as well about the contract employees. I am always interested to hear the numbers roll with such facility off the tongue of the Chairman of Management Board and the Treasurer (Mr. Grossman) about how many employees we have or do not have and how we are cutting them down. I would like to know whether the Chairman of Management Board can tell us how many contract employees there are in the government, how many of them there are in each ministry and what their contracts are. That would be very interesting.
I note, for instance, again -- and I am using, unfortunately, the 1983 volume of public accounts; I have not been able to get volume 3 yet -- that even under Management Board I see an item of $1,123,820 for temporary help services for 1981-82: GO Temp, Wordpower Specialists and so on. Even the Management Board of Cabinet, that great shining beacon of restraint and example, is apparently bringing in people under contract or short-term work or seasonal work or whatever. That distorts the whole employment picture somewhat. As a matter of fact, before it slips my mind, one of the questions is whether the Chairman of Management Board has an outside speechwriter. Is the minister shaking his head "No"?
Hon. Mr. McCague: That is the third time you have asked that question.
Mr. T. P. Reid: I know, but is the minister shaking his head "No"?
Mr. Philip: Head shakes are not recorded in Hansard.
Mr. T. P. Reid: I will not ask for the name of the civil servant who wrote this speech for him, because it is not all his or her fault.
Mr. Nixon: It is their fault.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Their fault, yes. I also want to talk somewhat about some comments or executive interchange. I understand the Chairman of Management Board has seconded some people to do some reviews of policy, analysis and programs. I am wondering what that really entails and whether Management Board participates in any kind of executive interchange with people outside the government. This is a technique that seems to be fairly popular at the federal level, which means that probably we should not follow it, but particularly in the computer field and some of these high-tech things it may well be something that would he useful, both from the civil service point of view and from the Management Board point of view and for the general benefit of the taxpayers.
The last matter I want to talk about -- I do not wish to talk about it at length -- is to reiterate the concern of the standing committee on public accounts and of the Provincial Auditor about tendering of contracts. Ever since I have been around, the Provincial Auditor has stated year after year that contracts have been let without tender, or that they had been under the $15,000 limit but there had been three or four related to the same project adding up to well over the $15,000 limit. There is obviously some cutting and pasting going on in that respect.
The last topic I wish to address briefly is the matter of merit pay. I think my friend the member for Etobicoke (Mr. Philip) will be referring to this as well. Frankly, I am confused about merit pay. I am confused as to whether it is efficacious at all. We have a definition as such from Mr. Waldrum of the Civil Service Commission. The more I hear about merit pay, the more confused I get.
It was interesting when the public accounts committee was down in Washington in October that we had someone from the Government Accounting Office, their equivalent of our Civil Service Commission, talk to us about merit pay. It seems to be one of those things that has been around, and is around, and nobody wants to deal with it. Mr. Waldrum, in response to the Provincial Auditor's report and to the public accounts committee on February 17, 1983, made these comments about merit pay:
"Information derived from performance appraisals can support administrative decisions such as the granting or denial of merit increases, promotions, transfers and other manpower planning decisions. However, this is not the primary purpose of such reviews. The primary purpose of such reviews is to improve or maintain high performance through the encouragement and enhancement of employee development."
Mr. Waldrum goes on further: "Our policy development review found that when administrative concerns influence the performance appraisal process, the primary objective, to improve organization effectiveness through employee development, can be undermined. Also, our explorations have shown that by requiring documentation, undue emphasis may be placed on administrative requirements to the neglect of the developmental performance appraisal process between manager and employee."
Then he goes on to reiterate what he said before: "The 1980 final report to the standing committee on public accounts noted that merit pay as applied to the Ontario public service to this point in time is merely the pay system which moves a new employee or an employee in a new job from the starting rate for the job to the job rate. In other words, new employees start at a level below the appropriate job rate and move in stages to the job rate as they acquire experience and knowledge on the job. This kind of progress quite properly is based on satisfactory performance and not on outstanding performance, as would be the case if an employee were moving beyond the normal maximum rate for the job."
I find those two statements almost contradictory. I understand that there are steps in the merit pay business. As you progress, if you show up for work and are still breathing, by the sound of it, you get a merit increase up to the next step. However, we learn that in terms of merit increase, there are different percentages you are entitled to.
At one point, we were told if you did really well, or if you were average, you would get five per cent. If you were a little above average, you would get six per cent and if you were really outstanding, you would get eight per cent. That does not square with the normal steps you get as you learn and progress in your job. It is either one thing or the other. It is a reward for good performance, if you like, or it is a step thing that comes almost automatically as you live and breathe and show up for work.
The other thing that bothers me about the whole situation is that it seems to me there should be two parts to the performance appraisal system. One is that the employee should know from the very beginning what is expected of him or her. That is the same system that is used to arrive at the merit increases, if they are such as I have described. The employee should have the right to know what is expected of him or her. He or she should be sat down at the beginning and told: "All right, this is what I expect you to achieve. At the end of the year we are going to sit down and we are going to go over A, B, C, D, E, F, G, to see how well you have met the criteria we have set for you."
I think that is important and I think the employee deserves that. If it were done in those terms, then the whole system would be acceptable to everybody. What bothers me about it is that it is one of those amorphous things, one of those things that seems to be paid attention to more by lipservice than by actual practice.
The public accounts committee, if I recall correctly, suggested that performance appraisals should go into people's personnel files. Mr. Waldrum told us they do not, because they could hurt high performance levels or injure employee development. I think that is a crock of nonsense. It seems to me, if people are doing performance appraisals correctly, then those things should be placed in the files of the employees. Someone may have some grievances, there is no doubt about it, but in the name of all that is holy, if employee A is working for the Ministry of Natural Resources and transfers to the Ministry of Northern Affairs, how does Northern Affairs know what it is getting? In fact, it does not.
One of the great shell games this government plays is to keep creating these new ministries. In a lot of cases, all the other ministries shuffle off a lot of people they have been trying to get rid of into the new ministry. The new minister, or the new person who comes along, does not know what he or she is getting. It just seems to me to be an exercise in futility to go through a performance appraisal and not have something in the personnel file on the people who have undergone the performance appraisal.
I am not minimizing the problem. I know the difficulties of people sitting down with the people they work with, year in and year out, day in and day out, and saying, "Now George, I am not very happy about this, that or the other thing. You need a little work here, a little work there, but on X, Y and Z, you are doing a marvellous job." It is to the employee's benefit that this be done, as well as to overall efficiency in the government as well.
I find it frustrating to see the government paying lipservice to these kinds of things and saying we have this in place when the whole thing is no more than the whole matter of the usual smoke and mirrors which we experience in dealing with the people across the way.
Those are a few of my remarks. I will have some more specific questions when we go through the votes. I might put the Chairman of Management Board on call right now that I am going to be interested in some of the payments listed in volume 3 of the public accounts, particularly on page 178 under "Other Payments." This is 1981-82, as I have said. We see Arbitration Services Ltd., $40,500; Foster Advertising Ltd., $983,571; Freeman Communications $42,649; Harry J. Waisglass Consultants Ltd., $56,544; and Ken Penrose and Associates, $34,735. There is even one listed here as Management Board of Cabinet, $83,347. I do not know what that is. Modern Information Communication Association Inc. was paid $59,625. It would seem even the Chairman of Management Board is not without his friends.
Mr. Philip: Mr. Chairman, it is a pleasure to participate in these estimates. This is the first set of Management Board estimates on which I have been the critic for our party, and I believe as well it is the first set on which the member for Rainy River (Mr. T. P. Reid) has been the critic. I enjoyed listening to a number of his remarks. As a member of the public accounts committee of which the member for Rainy River is the chairman, I think he asked a number of very relevant questions that are of vital concern to those of us on that committee who are in the business of seeing whether there is value for money being spent.
I want to deal with his questions on merit pay at some length later in my remarks. It is certainly a question we dealt with as a public accounts committee when we visited Washington and some of the reservations I had about the whole concept of merit pay were certainly heightened by the studies done by the auditing office there and by various other studies that we looked at.
The issues, also raised by the member for Rainy River, about contracts and contract employees are also relevant and it is something I will want to deal with at some length. I will be interested in the minister's response to both of us.
I found the minister's speech to be interesting in parts, but I must say the speech reminded me of the old definition of periphrasis: "Periphrasis can be described as circumlocutory, pleonastic, oratorical sonority, circumscribing an atom of ideology lost in verbal profundity."
When I was training managers at the university, I often found that the longer the term paper, the poorer the quality. Often a student who did not understand the basic issues would try to confound with jargon, figuring that if he repeated it enough and gave a long enough answer, either in examination or term paper, somehow the examiner would find the right answer in all the verbiage.
I found a few interesting comments in there, not clear comments but comments that at least bear some attention. I would like to address some of them on the appropriate vote, but I found his comments, for example, on privacy rather interesting. It is good to see that the government is finally moving on this issue, and I would hope we will be dealing with this at some length. It seems to me the problem we must come to grips with is that the privacy of individuals is in jeopardy not only from government but also from large corporations.
One wonders about the way in which this information is being used by corporations, either for their benefit or against the benefit of the employees, and by sales companies, either for or against the benefit of the consumers. One wonders when this government will finally come to grips with the need, perhaps, for privacy legislation. Indeed, to my knowledge, Quebec is the only jurisdiction in Canada that has come to grips with at least putting it into its freedom of information act, and I would like to deal with that at some length under the appropriate vote.
I also found some of the minister's comments on page 10 interesting, where he says: "We also seek to maximize government purchasing opportunities in support of the growth of Canadian manufacturing and research and development capabilities." However, I do not notice anywhere in there any mention of a policy either of buying unionized products or at least of buying products that are made by corporations that pay a union wage, so one has to ask what is the objective of this government. Is it in fact purely to buy at the cheapest price possible regardless of the exploitation of certain employees that may be taking place?
More specifically, it also does not deal with the whole idea of contract compliance. In the United States, of course, the American government has done that. It has in fact seen to it that those companies that discriminate against women in the work place will not obtain government contracts, yet this government has failed to come into the 20th century and deal with the reality of that. Indeed, only recently Fleet Industries received an award for development after being convicted of violations under the Human Rights Code in discriminating against women. One wonders why this government does not use its influence, its huge buying power, to see that those companies that discriminate against women are not able to obtain government contracts.
The minister made very slight reference to the whole area of what, for want of a better phrase, I would call the Walker affair. The Provincial Secretary for Justice gave a series of contracts to two private consulting firms; we all know that. In the public accounts committee, my colleague the member for Algoma (Mr. Wildman) moved a very specific notice of motion dealing with this:
"That the standing committee on public accounts set aside time prior to December 1, 1983, to call before it such persons, including the Provincial Secretary for Justice and the Chairman, Management Board of Cabinet, as may be necessary in order to ascertain whether the procedures outlined in the Ontario Manual of Administration were followed in the letting of contracts totalling $153,000 for consulting services in connection with the opening of six technical centres in Ontario; and
"That the standing committee look at ways in which these procedures might be better provided for or specified in the Manual of Administration; and
"That the standing committee investigate whether similar practices have been or are being pursued by other ministries."
The member for Wentworth North (Mr. Cunningham) moved another motion that was complementary to that. I think that shows the concern by both of the opposition parties about the way in which these contracts were awarded.
The minister will recall that I had indicated in the House on October 21 that I would be moving a motion in public accounts committee to that effect. Unfortunately, because of a death in my family, I was not there, but my colleague the member for Algoma did a credible job in moving the same type of amendment. At that time, the member for Port Arthur (Mr. Foulds) asked the Chairman of Management Board for some specific information. I refer the Chairman of Management Board to the question.
The member for Port Arthur asked: "I wonder if the Chairman of Management Board can clearly indicate to the House the essential question before us, not the one the Premier is trying to avoid, and that is whether the proper practices, the proper procedures, with regard to tendering contracts and completion have been followed in the case that is being discussed this morning in the House?"
That is the essential question, not who got the contract, what cronies they were, how they campaigned for whoever, but rather whether the appropriate procedures were being followed.
At that time, the Chairman of Management Board answered: "Mr. Speaker, I have not delved into the matters that are before us this morning or that appeared in the press. The person who wrote the article contacted me about speechwriting for ministers and whether or not it is covered in the Manual of Administration, which it is not. I understand that some other contracts are in question, and if the member would like me to I would be glad to look into it."
The member for Port Arthur came back with the supplementary question, "Does the minister not think that the guidelines and procedures outlined for management consulting services certainly should have applied in the case of the tech centre business?" In other words, what we were asking for was not the speechwriting contracts but rather the tech centre contracts.
I would like to deal with the speechwriting contracts later in my presentation because I would like to refer to parts of the Manual of Administration where I think it may be covered. I want the minister's comment on that.
The member for Port Arthur said: "The guidelines say very clearly that before seeking assistance from management consultants the ministry shall establish the feasibility of the project, ensure that consultants' output can be measured against defined objectives, that the scope and terms of reference for the project are clearly understood and documented, that skilled resources are not available for this project within the ministry and that, and I quote directly, 'ministries shall not retain individuals as management consultants for purposes other than management consulting as defined above.'"
The member for Port Arthur asked, "Can he tell us whether or not the project tendering requirement that all exceptions require the prior approval of Management Board for an exemption from tendering was followed?"
At that time the minister said: "The honourable member always starts off with, 'Do you not think...,' and I am not sure what that means. As I said, I do not at this moment recall a request for an award of a contract or whatever it is to the gentlemen in question ever having come to the board, and I told the member I would look into the matter."
I have been away for three days because of, as I mentioned, a death in the family, but I am told that answer has not been forthcoming. Because we did not have enough time in question period, in the limited time one has to ask a question, to deal with the matter when the member for Port Arthur and I raised it, I would like to go through with the minister those sections of the Manual of Administration which are directly relevant to this and ask him some fairly specific questions. I hope his answers will be of benefit when he eventually appears before the public accounts committee, but we may also be able to resolve some of the issues now.
The question is whether the procedures of the Manual of Administration were followed. That is clearly the essential question we in this party are concerned about. We are more concerned about that, whether there was a breach of the Manual of Administration, than whether somebody happened to be a friend of somebody else.
If we look at section 53 of the Manual of Administration, we start off with: "The objectives of this directive are to ensure that management consulting services are used only when appropriate and desired to ensure that management consulting services for projects can be obtained without incurring inappropriate time delays or procurement costs."
Then we go into management consulting services. It says: " . . . professional services provided on the basis of a defined project by individuals or organizations, to investigate and identify management problems related to the policy, organizational, operational and administrative aspects of government, to recommend solutions to these problems and to assist in implementing the solutions."
Then it says: "Management consulting encompasses consulting services in the areas of policy, strategy planning, operational management, human resources, finances and information systems and technology. In addition to these traditional areas of practice, management consulting also includes multidiscipline studies of complex policy issues such as feasibility of resources, development analysis and alternative policy strategy and regional planning."
We go on then to a key section in it, having defined what exactly management consulting was. It says, "Ministries shall not use consulting services in a quasi-employee or quasi-supervisory role to supplement ministry staff on a temporary basis."
We do not have the contracts tabled by the Provincial Secretary for Justice before us yet, but the minister knows the contract now. So the question one must ask is, has that guideline been complied with? In the case of the provincial secretary, was it used in a quasi-employee or quasi-supervisory role to supplement ministry staff on a temporary basis?
All the stories that come out in the press about the provincial secretary suggest he was claiming he could not get the services he required within the government. Therefore, this minister must ask whether or not those services the provincial secretary required were available in the government. If not, why was this section on project feasibility violated?
Then it goes on to project approval. It says, under item 4, "Specific Management Board approval is required for any project prior to initiating the project when the estimated total cost of the project is over $10,000 and the project involves a financial information system or an organization study."
If it was a management consulting service, as it appears to be, if it does fall under 50-3, why did it not then? If it was not, did it have the prior approval of the Chairman of Management Board?
The key words occur on the next page. "All exceptions require the prior approval of Management Board for an exemption from tendering." That clearly is the question this minister has to address himself to here. When the member for Port Arthur and I asked the question in the House, the minister did not recall the provincial secretary coming to him. Now that the minister has had several days to look into the matter, we would like to know whether the provincial secretary did obtain that permission. If he did not, is he not in violation of the Manual of Administration? And what does the minister intend to do about it?
If the provincial secretary's action is not covered, then we run into a whole series of other problems. Clearly I would think this minister would agree that if the provincial secretary's action is not covered, it should be. Therefore, a reasonable question is, what action does the minister intend to take in keeping with the spirit of the Manual of Administration? It is fairly clear about the way tenders must be offered.
Further, what action does the minister intend to take to amend the Manual of Administration so that this kind of thing will not be repeated, if his conclusion is -- and I think that is a large if -- that the provincial secretary was not in violation of the sections of the Manual of Administration I have just quoted to him?
The other question I found very disturbing in the press is Mr. Walker's claim -- I am simply summarizing what he says; I do not have the exact words in front of me -- basically of "Why pick on me? I am not the only guy who is doing it. Everybody is doing it." That is the old argument we were warned about in catechism class. Just because everybody else sins does not give a person a right to sin.
He says everybody is doing it; other ministries are doing it. I think if I were the Chairman of Management Board I would sure as hell like to find out which other ministries are doing it. If it is a repeated violation, who is doing it? If this is a way of getting around the Manual of Administration, then I would want to know which ministries are doing it and how, and I would find ways of putting a stop to it.
The Manual of Administration is designed to set out procedures by which the government conducts its affairs in an orderly and efficient manner. If there are ministries that are finding their way around it, how many ministries are doing this? Is Mr. Walker just fishing to try to get other people into the same stew he is now in over this, or are there other ministries? If there are other ministries, then it becomes an even worse problem than we originally thought when we uncovered the Walker problem.
It is the responsibility of this minister to spell out in no uncertain terms what procedures he plans to correct and any errors and omissions that may exist in the Manual of Administration, if there are errors and omissions, if there is the kind of action Mr. Walker claims other ministers have managed to walk through. In order to come to some reasonable analysis of what has gone on in the affair of the provincial secretary, it is clearly incumbent on this minister -- if the provincial secretary had any respect for the Legislature, he would have already tabled the contracts -- and it is clearly the responsibility of this minister to have examined the contracts, as he no doubt has already done, I would assume, the first day this came up. If I were the minister, I would be down in the office of the Provincial Secretary for Justice grabbing the contracts as quickly as possible, along with my lawyers, to look at them and to table those contracts in the House.
It is reasonable to table them either in the House or table them with the public accounts committee, assuming that the motion of the member for Algoma or the member for Wentworth North will pass. If it does not pass, he could at least table them in the House so that we can ask some intelligent questions on them. We have a right as a Legislature to see those contracts so that we may pass judgement on whether there have been violations.
Section 50-6 sets out what it calls "creative communication." Here we deal with an area that the minister thought perhaps the speeches were not covered by. I would like to read one section of 50-6. Under the definition of what it calls "creative communication services," it defines them as "advertising, promotion, public relations and creative communication research."
Is speechwriting included under that definition? I do not know. Maybe the minister is right; maybe speeches are not covered under that. When we read further down, if it is not covered, should it not be covered? If, instead of having the usual public employees who are on the staff of the ministry assisting the minister in writing his speeches, if contracts are needed to help this minister or any other minister with his speeches, then surely that should be covered under this section on creative communication services. The definition is too vague. We really do not know the answer to that, and that is something we in the public accounts committee and we in the Legislature deserve some counsel on from the minister.
It goes on to say, "A short-term communication task with stated objectives and with the scope of service, estimated cost, timing and expected results clearly defined." That is what it defines as a project.
Were the minister's speeches projects under that definition, or do they fall under the definition of creative communication services? We do not know, but the minister clearly should say something on that.
I also want to refer further down on the page on that same item. It says: "The acquisition of creative communication services, either through the agency agreement or for a specific project over $15,000 is based on competitive selection procedures. Suppliers capable of capability presentations are reviewed and evaluated, using predetermined selection criteria."
One has to ask the question whether those people who provided the great speeches the member for London South (Mr. Walker) bestowed on us and the rest of the population, for which the taxpayers paid so much, went through that kind of screening process. I think we know the answer. The answer is no. If so, then why is the member for London South not before this minister answering some very tough questions about why there appeared to be a violation of the Manual of Administration?
Then we go on to controls. "Records retention: Supply evaluation, selection documentation, calling reports, documenting the suppliers' service performance shall be retained for a period of one year after a contract is terminated." Was that done? If so, maybe we can see what we got for all the money we spent as taxpayers. Maybe the minister can table those. I would like to see a speech that costs thousands and thousands of dollars to the taxpayers.
It goes on to say: "Further procedural requirements on the acquisition of creative communication services are published in the guidelines, which are available from the executive co-ordinator, corporate advertising and special projects, Ministry of Tourism," and so forth.
In the Manual of Administration, there is a theme. The theme is that one does not go outside for something that one can get inside. The theme is that one does not purchase something without a proper tendering process if it is over a certain amount unless one has prior consultation with and gets approval from the Chairman of Management Board. I think we, as a Legislature, have a right to know the answer to some of those questions. Since we raised that issue in the House on October 21, one would hope the minister would have some responses for us by this time.
Before leaving the member for London South -- and I would like to deal with some other aspects of the Manual of Administration -- I find it interesting that we sometimes get big, brown-paper envelopes. The member for Rainy River raised the whole issue of contract workers. I would be interested in knowing if this minister, as the minister responsible for co-ordinating efficiency, knows how many contract workers moved with the member for London South when he moved from the Ministry of Industry and Trade to his new ministry. If the contract workers were hired for specific functions within the Ministry of Industry and Trade, then why would they be relevant in going to do work in another ministry?
My understanding is the number who moved could be as high as 17. I may be wrong on that. Sometimes the tips we receive from inside the public service are not accurate, but I would like to know how many contract workers moved with the member for London South from one ministry to another. What were the terms of their contract? What were they hired to do? Why can they suddenly be picked up from one ministry, from work that was so important that they had to be hired on contract to do it because the regular public service could not handle it, and be locked into another ministry?
Maybe we have another flood of speechwriters here. Lord only knows how many speeches he has given if one requires 17 to turn out the quality of speeches we have heard from that particular minister.
Are there contracts arranged in the Premier's office? That is an interesting comment. I am sure the member for Rainy River would be interested in the answer to that question. Are the contracts of the contract employees, the ones who worked for Mr. Walker and some of the other ministers, arranged --
Mr. Chairman: Order. I remind the member that he should not be referring to Mr. Walker but to the Provincial Secretary for Justice or to his riding name.
Mr. Philip: My problem was that I was referring to the minister in two portfolios. Therefore, it was easier to use his name.
Mr. Chairman: His riding might help then.
Mr. Philip: I am sure Hansard will make the appropriate substitution because they know my intention. However, I accept the Chairman's comments.
If the contracts were not arranged in the Premier's office, how did these people obtain their contracts? Who arranged them? It would be interesting to see some of these contracts. I would also be interested in knowing how many other contract employees there are for each of the ministries and how many of these have moved when ministers have moved. If we want to get specific when the minister answers, I would be happy to give him the names of certain ministers whom we would be particularly interested in. I can do that either off the record, so he can supply them to me, or on the record when he gives us the answer.
This whole business of contracts that we are faced with by the member for London South also raises an issue that we in the public accounts committee have been trying to get the answers to for some time, and that is the whole issue of government advertising. If we read the document called Revised Draft for Cabinet and Central Agencies: Rules and Responsibilities, which I believe was turned out by the legislative library, or it may have been turned out by the ministry -- I do not have a title of the authors here -- it says:
"Management Board performs the overall general management function for the Ontario government, and the board is the agent of cabinet responsible for ensuring the government's programs are managed appropriately. It is responsible for ensuring prudence, integrity and efficiency in the conduct of the government's business. It controls government expenditures, establishes overall management, technological and administrative policies and fulfils the role of the employer for the government."
That is why we in the public accounts committee are very interested in the operations of this ministry. One of the areas we have been trying to get some kind of handle on in public accounts for a number of years -- and the chairman and I have asked for information and we have been unsuccessful -- is the government's whole advertising program.
I have moved motion after motion. I have said that maybe it is important that we in public accounts look at what appears to be an expenditure on an annual basis that runs as high as four times the amount of the executive jet the Premier scrapped after public pressure; maybe it is important that we see whether there are clearly defined objectives for each of the advertising programs; maybe it is important that we see whether or not there is an evaluation of that. We have not been able to get anywhere because, of course, the government members on that committee constantly block any looking into the advertising.
When I asked the Minister of Government Services (Mr. Ashe), he said, "Each ministry is on its own." We have been able to obtain some figures through the legislative research service. I find it interesting, when we look at 1982-83 and 1983-84 for the information services and communications branch of the ministry, how we end up with some very large increases: the Ministry of the Attorney General, up 45.1 per cent; the Ministry of Community and Social Services, up 30.4 per cent; the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations, up 20.4 per cent; the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, up 107 per cent. Note all the information we get from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, whose minister does not seem to be able to provide housing for the 18,000 families that are on the waiting list for municipal housing.
Mr. Boudria: But he can tell us, though.
Mr. Philip: But he can tell us all there is an austerity program on. We get to the Ministry of Natural Resources: up 188 per cent, up considerably.
One has to ask, where is the management in this government that talks about cutting back on pensions of retiring public employees, teachers and hospital workers, many of whom are earning little, and tells us we need to tighten our belts, when we see how these ministries squander and increase the amount of money spent on government advertising? What we are talking about is millions and millions of dollars.
Just as the press and the Friedmanites have been aghast at the fact that Bennett in British Columbia who talks restraint is actually increasing expenditure, we have the same problem here in Ontario: they talk restraint, they freeze people's wages, they try to run a restraint program on the backs of working people but, when it comes to their own pet projects, when it comes to blowing their own horns, they do not have objectives that are clearly identifiable and they spend as though they were Santa Claus.
Where is the Chairman of Management Board ensuring that each advertising project has a set of objectives that is measurable and is evaluated? Would he help those of us in the standing committee on public accounts who are concerned about getting a grip on that, and those of us in the Legislature who are concerned about it, at least to find out what the objectives of each of the programs are, whether there are objectives that are clearly stated and what kind of evaluation there is on each of those government advertising projects?
I suspect that the answer will be no more helpful than the Minister of Government Services (Mr. Ashe) has given and that the government does not really want an inquiry into this area as to whether there is good management in it and value for money. If they did, of course, their members would not have blocked it time again in the public accounts committee.
I want to deal with another matter I have some difficulty with it because I am new to the portfolio, but I have some concerns and I wish to share them. I think some of the remarks I have made to date may be considered partisan in their nature -- that is my job in opposition -- but on this matter I would rather deal with it in as open and nonpartisan a manner as possible, because I am concerned about the problem, and I am sure the Chairman of Management Board will share some of my concerns.
It seems to me, as someone who has trained both managers and trade union leaders in the past, that if a system is going to work it has to apply to all people in the same way so they feel there is an equal sense of justice. If one is going to have mechanisms in place, the people who are being served by them have to have some confidence in those mechanisms.
I know the Chairman of Management Board, and indeed our own House leader, and members of all the parties were involved in the preparation of Bill 78, the Legislative Assembly Amendment Act. There are some important changes in that act, some of which may be considered to be good and some not so good.
The crucial change is that recourse to the Public Service Grievance Board is abolished. It is true that the chairman of the hearing board is appointed after the Speaker has requested and considered the views of the chairman of the Public Service Grievance Board, but one has to question whether or not this is a substitute.
The current procedure allows the Speaker -- and in this case we simply have to call the Speaker what he is, which is the employer -- to appoint two of the three members of the hearing board, and in certain circumstances, all three.
I recognize that the Chairman of Management Board showed considerable flexibility when our House leader expressed concern about a proposal that would have given the Speaker even more power over that, the appointment of all three. It is to his credit that he showed some flexibility on that.
That fact the Speaker may not appoint all three is not the point. The point is, there is no fair arbitration process with one appointing two thirds of the arbitrators. Surely that is a basic principle we have to look at.
When my colleagues said, "It seems to be better than what we had in the past," I guess I have to understand why they feel that way. But at the same time, I have to ask whether there is more we can do in this process. I also have a number of concerns.
First, the Board of Internal Economy discussed successive drafts of the bill; I recognize that. Without going into the details of what went on there, my general understanding is that the bill that came out was considerably better for the employees than what was originally contemplated.
There are some positive changes. The disciplinary process can only be initiated by one of three senior officers. Before, the Speaker could proceed "if any complaint or representation is at any time made to the Speaker." The grounds for disciplinary action are now exclusively misconduct; before they were misconduct, unfitness to hold office and so on. One has to say that at least there are some improvements by going this route.
I argue, however, that Bill 78 still has some problems in it, and I hope the Chairman of Management Board will look at it in a nonpartisan way. It is problematic in terms of the removal of the access to the Public Service Grievance Board. It is problematic in terms of the stacked hearing board that has been substituted for it.
In summary, I would say that the bill does not go far enough in protecting the employees and that, given the scale of redefinition of the employee's rights, it ought to have received more attention, perhaps by me and by other members in the House. Having said that, I think it is time for Management Board to again look at this. The responsibility for not having looked at it more carefully is clearly the government's. Government has the leading role in this and the bill certainly deserves extra attention.
I want to add one more thing. The employees of this House do not have a grievance procedure for anything except if dismissed, suspended or reprimanded. Employees cannot initiate a grievance for other things. In the case of one library researcher, that person had to make a very complex legal argument to get to the grievance board, because there was no way for an employee to grieve anything.
This was the case under the old act, and it is still the case. Civil servants, on the other hand, can grieve whatever action is taken by an employer if it is contrary to the collective agreement. But in the case of this non-unionized employee, that kind of option was not open without a very elaborate legal procedure. One has to ask why the government has two procedures.
Also, are there not inequities still in the way in which Bill 78, which became law, deals with employees? Supposing there is an employee, as in the case of this one I am acquainted with, who was clearly hired to do one type of work. The employer does not discipline or try to fire, does not give an evaluation that says the employee is incompetent, which could not be proved. The employer simply assigns other work so the employee cannot perform in the profession the person was clearly trained for. That presents a problem. I suggest we need a more open grievance procedure which will allow us to come to grips with those kinds of management-employee problems.
I want to deal also with the issue of merit pay. The chairman of the standing committee on public accounts, the member for Rainy River, referred to some of his concerns. Some of his concerns are not directly related to the kinds of issues I have, but I think we both had an interesting experience on our trip to Washington and meeting with the equivalent of our Provincial Auditor. They have done an extensive study into merit pay and concluded beyond any reasonable doubt that it violated every management principle they could think of.
I will try to recall from memory what my basic concerns were, as raised by the study. First is that when an employee gets to management level or professional level, it encourages secretiveness. It also encourages employees who feel they are going to get that extra $1000 to practise one-upmanship with the boss on the guy next to him by getting on the side of the boss.
The study indicated that merit pay encourages employees to hold back on documents rather than share information, that it encourages an unhealthy competitiveness rather than co-operation, which is necessary in a professional type of environment, and that it encourages manipulation of management by employees.
In those instances where an employer or boss happens to be weak in his or her position, those employees who are threatening to that person may receive a lower rating. Therefore, merit pay tends in some instances to encourage rewarding those who are the least creative, have the least courage and are the least innovative. It instead rewards the "yes men" who are pleasing to the boss.
One of the things they found out -- and our notes are still being prepared on those meetings; I wanted to have them for these estimates -- was that there seemed to be no consistency, either from one department to another or from one department to another in the same area.
No one would disagree that when controls end, the kind of money some employees have lost through the lack of merit pay should be awarded to them, but the point I am making is that public servants should be paid for the job they are doing. We should not bring in artificial incentives of rewarding some and not others.
They are not measurable when one gets into certain areas.
I do not doubt that if you are a very hard-nosed 19th-century manager and you run a chicken plant, you can probably increase the production of chicken-plucking by giving some kind of incentive award to the guy who goes faster. When I hear the Provincial Auditor say he even measures his secretaries in that way, I wonder what kind of measurements are in place.
I do not feel very much confidence when I hear the comments of the Civil Service Commission. In the public accounts committee of October 29, 1981, Mr. Waldrum said on page 4, "One of the specific concerns is that our performance appraisals are always submitted in the written form." In fact, they are not. I believe the member for Rainy River has already pointed that out.
If performance appraisal, if merit pay is going to be based on a decision that is not even in writing, that one cannot define, that one cannot come back to and see whether there is some consistency in the evaluation, that one cannot measure, then one has to wonder whether it is not open to the caprice of management.
He went on to say: "Management is not in the lock-step merit increase. It is one that is almost exactly the wording that you have in your notes, which is graduated in accordance with the merit of the individual."
He further said: "I would have to say I do not think our union would greatly favour the idea that we would implement merit pay within the bargaining unit. Having said that, that does not mean that at some stage in the game proceeding to do that, but it would have to be negotiated with the union."
There is another problem. They say they are not going to do it with the union employees because the union will not go along with it, but it is okay to spring on the other guys who happen not to have the advantage of a union to fight for them.
I say to the minister, as someone who has been in the field of management training, that the whole concept of merit pay, when it becomes anything of an evaluation of professional people, becomes something that has proven itself to be ineffective.
In fact, it violates anything from Maslow's hierarchy of needs, to the Blake-Mouton grid or any other management study. You do not motivate people after a certain level, once you have paid them properly, by giving them these artificial things. You motivate them by consulting with them, by involving them in decision-making, by providing the kind of work support systems that make their job meaningful, by giving them the kind of training that will help them progress in their position and by all those other things.
Merit pay is extremely divisive and simply creates the kind of sharkism that is unreasonable in modern management. I really question whether the minister should not take a stand on that. He should read some of the studies we have brought back from Washington once they are tabulated and deal with that essential issue.
I want to refer to the minister's statement, if I may, on page 10, which I found interesting. He says:
"Management Board secretariat, in consultation with the Ministry of Industry and Trade and government purchasing community, has continued its ongoing review of purchasing policies. This review is intended to ensure that we acquire and manage the goods and services required to deliver government programs in a manner which makes the best possible use of available financial, material and human resources."
I wish to ask a very specific question on that. Perhaps the minister has been asked this question before; not having been the critic, I am not aware of it. The Ontario government does not operate a central travel arrangements office. Each ministry, in accordance with the general guidelines established under the Manual of Administration, has its own procedures for travel arrangements.
According to officials at the management policy division of the Management Board, a central travel agency has been considered; however, because of factors such as the fact that travel is done out of many locations and some concern over the bureaucracy that would be needed to set up such an operation, this idea has not been acted on. I gather that the Ministry of Government Services has arranged special hotel and car rental rates and prepared a list of accommodation offered at a discount for government employees on government business.
I guess the question is, if it is too bureaucratic to set up provincially, then why has the federal government been so successful with it? The federal government established a central travel service office within the Department of Supply and Services in 1968 to provide reservation and ticketing service for civilian federal government departments and agencies across the country. Canada's two major airlines, Air Canada and CP Air, provide domestic and international reservation and ticketing services in both official languages under contract to the federal government at 32 locations in Canada. These two carriers also provide connecting services to any destination in the world.
If we look at the federal scene, the airlines are also under the direction to find the cheapest fare possible and the most direct routing. This reservation system can also accommodate personal preferences with the overall financial guidelines for civil service travel.
Some of the perceived benefits of this, according to the federal officials we talked to, have been the provision of fast, efficient and economical centralized service, reduction in the costs of government travel and minimization of the involvement of departmental staff in making detailed travel arrangements. They contend that Supply and Services also provides periodic quality control checks on the airline reservation and ticketing service, so we have a built-in mechanism to make sure the airlines are providing value for money to the government.
In view of the volume of business involved and the fact that the airlines do not have to pay travel agent commissions, the airlines find it attractive to provide this service with no direct charge to the taxpayers. Indeed, the airlines pay Supply and Services a fee of one per cent of net billings, which covers the cost of the travel service, carrier payment and customer department billing operations. This arrangement with the airlines for travel, accommodation and car rental worldwide probably also accounts for the small size of the central travel service operation, which in the federal government currently consists of only six staff members.
So one must ask, if the federal government can provide this service and can, as it claims, save taxpayers money, what has this ministry really studied. What studies have they done to conclude otherwise? Or is it simply another one of those situations in which somebody says, "Well, we'll look at it," and provides a pat answer so the opposition will go away and not raise the question again?
If a company like Imperial Oil can provide that same service to their employees as a way of saving money for Imperial Oil, why cannot the provincial government do it as a saving to the taxpayers? Imperial Oil, for example, is a large private firm that has a central air transport and reservations department to handle staff travel arrangements. This central arrangement, they claim, is felt to be efficient. Its office has computer connections to Air Canada and American Airlines ticket reservation systems and is able to issue airline tickets.
Again, if we look at other private enterprise companies, we see that Bell Canada does not have a central travel office, but five years ago American Express was given responsibility for making the travel arrangements for Bell. In fact, American Express runs what amounts to the co-ordinating office or the travel office.
Those are some of the issues I wanted to raise with the minister. I hope we will have an opportunity later to deal in some depth with the issue of privacy, which I consider a major issue, and to find out why there is no indication that the government may be even thinking of privacy legislation. With those remarks I will end, and hope the minister might respond in some detail to me and the member for Rainy River.
Hon. Mr. McCague: Mr. Chairman, may I move down, please?
Mr. Chairman: Certainly.
Mr. Haggerty: Move right out the door.
Mr. T. P. Reid: We will certainly give you a more sympathetic hearing on that than your cabinet is prepared to give us on office space.
Mr. Chairman: I am sure the minister is going to ignore interjections. Does the minister intend to respond at this time?
Hon. Mr. McCague: Mr. Chairman, I think the member for Rainy River started off on the issue of the relationship of deputy ministers -- I think Mr. Russell was the first one he raised -- and the authority which the Manual of Administration carries. I am referring here to a letter I wrote previously to the member. He wrote me in April regarding those two matters. I said there was no organizational reporting relationship between the deputy ministers and Management Board. The deputy ministers are directly accountable to their ministers.
To continue: "Nevertheless, Management Board and deputy ministers do share common goals in respect to the successful implementation of government programs. Deputy ministers, under general ministerial guidance, are responsible for delivery of government programs.
"In addition, Management Board develops and promulgates the administrative policies and guidelines which facilitate the prudent and economic operation of government programs. The board, as a committee of cabinet, acts in an overview capacity both in terms of the financial and personnel resources used and results achieved.
"The Manual of Administration, volume 1, contains the administrative policies. These administrative policies are mandatory. The responsibility for ensuring compliance of the policies throughout each ministry rests with senior and ministry management.
"If due to special circumstances, a ministry feels it is not able to comply with an administrative policy it can seek an exemption from Management Board at any of the board's regular meetings.
"The Manual of Administration also contains guidelines. These are recommended but not mandatory practices. Ministries normally comply with the guidelines. However, they may at their discretion depart from the guidelines, provided that there is good reason to do so. Normally, such departures from the guidelines are documented in the ministry's own Manual of Administration and often represent a ministry's specific policy or interpretation of the general guidelines." The member, in his letter, referred specifically to the testimony of Mr. Russell before the committee. "In his testimony he refers to noncompliance with a few of the standards in the Manual of Administration on the spectrum system." I am assuming any comments about deviations from the rules referred to the spectrum methodology.
I think probably those are the relevant points.
Mr. Conway: What does all that mean?
Hon. Mr. McCague: You understand, I am sure.
Mr. Conway: I am not so sure I did.
Mr. T. P. Reid: I am still confused.
Hon. Mr. McCague: The member for Rainy River raised the question of the ministry and its tender for Future Pod, I guess it was. As I said in the other letter, the deputy minister does have the power to waive competition where the related procedures would result in unacceptable delays in program delivery. As the member probably knows, we were not involved at Management Board in that item. I guess the member will have to ask any specific questions about that of the Minister of Tourism and Recreation (Mr. Baetz).
The member asked about Dr. Chant. That is one I will have to look into to see whether we dealt with that item at Management Board. I do not recall it having been dealt with by us.
The member raised the issue of my being rather slow in answering the points that were raised regarding the Provincial Secretary for Justice (Mr. Walker) a week ago Friday. I still have not had an opportunity to look into that as fully as I would like to. I was away all last week and just returned late last evening.
Mr. Conway: Where were you?
Hon. Mr. McCague: For the member's information, I was in Switzerland last week.
Mr. Conway: On very important business.
Hon. Mr. McCague: Very important business.
Mr. Conway: Alan Gordon was wine testing.
Mr. Chairman: Would the minister continue with his comments and ignore the interjections.
Hon. Mr. McCague: I will be prepared for that tomorrow, if there are questions during question period, and in my estimates, which I understand will carry on Friday next.
One of the questions asked by both members of the opposition was on the question of merit pay. That is a complex and difficult issue which I think all companies, institutions, government and so forth have had great difficulty with.
The member for Rainy River raised the issue of some conflicting points of view he thought he had heard from my deputy, Mr. Waldrum. I think such may have been the case. All we can do is talk about merit increases in the context of present policy. They are affected by the Inflation Restraint Act.
In the management classes, I presume we are talking about the year 1983 on those. No, I do not think we are. I think I have been handed the wrong piece of paper, so I will refer back to it.
Reference was made to the matter of the contract regarding QL Systems and computerization of the statutes. The question was, was the proper procedure followed and did the government obtain value for money? Some reference was made to the fact that this gentleman, having done his work, was then in a position to sell information back to government.
We did receive at Management Board a request to approve a contract to QL Systems for the provision of a computerized version of the statutes of Ontario. The award was approved on the basis that QL Systems was the only known supplier of such a service. The government required a computerized version of the statutes so that word processing systems and photocomposition equipment could be used to automate the updating and printing of the statutes. Productivity gains from using this new technology made the investment cost-effective.
QL Systems had already translated most of the Ontario statutes into a computerized form; therefore, it was cheaper to use them than for the Ministry of Government Services to hire new staff and key this information into computerized form itself. The approval by Management Board was on the understanding that the Ministry of the Attorney General would also use the same computerized version as part of its planned new maintenance system for the statutes in the office of the legislative counsel. So that particular contract did come to Management Board and was approved as an exemption from tendering.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Was that a one-shot proposition, or do we have to pay every time we use it? Did we get the system, or do we still rent the information from QL?
Hon. Mr. McCague: We still rent the system from QL.
Mr. T. P. Reid: We have the software program in our hands now; the government has it. We do not have to go back to QL and say we want a printout or whatever. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. McCague: I will have to get you the answer to that.
Then a question was raised about the number of contract employees. As of August 31 of this year there were -- did you ask me the number of contract employees?
Mr. T. P. Reid: Yes, by ministry if you can give them to us.
Hon. Mr. McCague: I am sure I can read these figures to you. They are: Municipal Affairs and Housing, 250; Industry and Trade, 135; Ontario Development Corp., 21; Labour, 387; Natural Resources, 7,566; Transportation and Communications, 1,546; Tourism and Recreation, 1,967.
The total of classified staff as of August 31 -- and you have to remember a lot of the parks people and MTC people are still on staff -- was 66,725. The total of unclassified staff was 25,689. I do not have the end-of-the-year figure right here at my fingertips, but I am not sure what your question is in particular.
Mr. T. P. Reid: We will go into that next Monday.
Hon. Mr. McCague: Okay. I have lost my list here for the moment.
The Acting Chairman (Mr. Treleaven): Viewing the clock, does the minister wish to end until the next time with his estimates?
Hon. Mr. McCague: Yes.
On motion by Hon. Mr. McCague, the committee of supply reported progress.
The House adjourned at 6 p.m.