32nd Parliament, 3rd Session


































The House met at 2 p.m.



Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege, as I see the Treasurer (Mr. Grossman) just entering the chamber: Would you not agree with me that the privileges of the 124 members of this House have been infringed upon in that the Treasurer has seen fit to release details of the program he is presumably going to read to the House? He has released at least some of the significant details to selected favourites of his representing the dailies in the city of Toronto.

This program is of great importance to citizens right across the province. It has been delayed at least once while he and his colleagues have been attempting to make up their minds what to do with it; but then to read about it in some detail in the press of the city of Toronto before he makes his much-heralded statement, I consider an infringement on my privileges and on the privileges of the other members of the House, with the exception of the Treasurer who probably, as of this morning, knows what he is doing for today. Does it not even concern him that he is now known as Leaky Larry across the province?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, as my colleague will learn when he reads the statement in a moment, the details this morning were not totally accurate. There are elements of this statement that I would guess might have been even more noteworthy, had there been any leaks in point of fact. The information that, unfortunately, got out is significantly dated. I want to assure all members of this House that absolutely no information was forwarded by anyone with or without our knowledge, implicitly or explicitly given in any way whatsoever. The members will see that when they hear the statement.

Mr. Speaker: Having listened very carefully and attentively, I must point out it is not a matter of privilege. It may he a matter of courtesy, but not of privilege.


Mr. Nixon: Further to the point I raised before the minister's statement, I am sure you will agree that the details of the statement are precisely as we read in the Claire Hoy column in the Toronto Sun and in the Rosemary Speirs et al article in the Globe and Mail. How is it that the minister assured us before he began that those details were incorrect?

Naturally, we must accept his assurance that he was not responsible for the early distribution of the matter. We will agree that the full statement was not distributed, although the news reports are that the doctors would be included and that in any range of employment it would be possible that the percentages would be above or below five per cent.

Would he not think that there is a serious leak in his own ministry and that perhaps he should investigate it? Either that or he should send out the statement to all the provincial dailies, because I can tell him the Brantford Expositor is upset about this. The minister was clearly not in possession of all the facts when he assured the House that the material was not presented to the press early, if not by him then by his many officials gathered under the gallery.

Mr. Speaker: I must point out to the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk that it is hardly a point of order. It is hardly up to me to make a judgement --

Mr. Nixon: Who is going to protect us if you do not?

Mr. Speaker: I think you made the point very well, and the minister will take into consideration the very remarks you have made; there is no doubt about that.



Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, on October 11 I reported to the House that our government had approved a proposal to introduce legislation continuing for one year our public sector wage restraint and administered price efforts.

I now wish to report to the House on the steps we will take this year in our continuing efforts to fight inflationary pressures in the Ontario economy. These measures have been developed after extensive discussions with individuals and organizations representing both labour and management. We are grateful for their valuable advice and counsel. Many suggestions have been incorporated in the steps I will announce shortly. Before doing so, however, we should note the positive results of the public sector wage and price restraint program over the past year.

There is no question that our government's action last fall contributed to both the dramatic decline in inflation and the economic recovery now under way. This has given us the flexibility to invest in strengthening the recovery by addressing major issues such as new job creation. For this we should all be grateful to my predecessor, the now Minister of Industry and Trade (Mr. F. S. Miller), whose commitment and dedication guided the development of that very successful program.

The government's decision to introduce the inflation restraint program last year was a difficult one, but it was necessary. Canada was in the midst of the longest and most intractable recession in our post-war history. Layoffs and bankruptcies were tragically commonplace. High interest rates stalled business investment and stifled consumer spending. People were losing their jobs, their farms and their businesses.

Yet, despite the federal government's rigid pursuit of tight monetary policy, the Canadian rate of inflation remained at double-digit levels, as did wage settlements in the private and public sectors. Further, the gap between Canadian and US wage and price performance was increasing. In other words, our wage and price trends were contributing to further economic deterioration. In the private sector, pay freezes, or cuts in some cases, became the norm for those who remained employed, and too many suffered the hardship of unemployment.

Faced with the alternative of having more people out of work because local school boards, hospitals or governments themselves could not afford high settlements for all, we felt it was better to have public sector employees remain employed but share a moderate pay increase.

This then was the scenario that precipitated our legislation. Accordingly, we took a decisive step towards fighting inflation and restoring confidence in Ontario's economy. The inflation restraint program contributed to the fight against inflation in three ways.

First, the program demonstrated leadership to the private sector. It signalled our commitment to lower wage settlements and reinforced the downward trend in private sector wage increases. Second, it helped control the cost of government by limiting increases in public sector spending, increases that are ultimately passed on to taxpayers and consumers in the form of higher taxes, user fees and charges for government services. Third, the program helped reduce government demands on capital markets, thereby easing the pressure on interest rates.

It is now quite clear that the inflation restraint program, combined with federal government initiatives, has made a significant contribution to the economic recovery now taking place.

Our inflation rate has diminished dramatically over the past year. The latest year-over-year inflation rate was five per cent, the lowest in more than a decade. Public sector wage settlements in Ontario increased by 5.9 per cent in the second quarter of 1983, down considerably from their 12.7 per cent level one year earlier. This moderation in the public sector was important to reinforce and support similar trends in the private sector.

2:10 p.m.

We now have 169,000 more jobs in Ontario than we had in November of last year. This is a direct result of the more secure environment, which has helped to restore consumer spending and investor confidence.

Now is not the time to retrench or become complacent. There is evidence to suggest that inflationary expectations may again be on the rise. If that is indeed the case, if rapid inflation recurs, the jobs that have been created, and many more, would be at risk. We could lose all we have regained.

But recovery cannot be based solely on public sector wage restraint. Our program has played an important role in helping the private sector, both management and labour, make the difficult transition to a more cost-competitive, low-inflation environment. However, in the longer term, if the private sector is not prepared, able and willing to exercise continued restraint and control, if for no other reason than to protect its own jobs and investments, then our society and economy will have far-reaching problems indeed.

As a government we are prepared to meet our obligation by establishing reasonable and responsible levels for public sector wage and price increases. The burden of restraint should not be carried by the public sector alone. The high quality of government services that the citizens of this province have come to expect is a measure of the high standards and professionalism of public sector employees in Ontario. They have made a major contribution to the wellbeing of our province and its citizens. Their loyalty and their excellence are unmatched.

The private sector, both management and labour, must now meet its obligations by setting and making realistic wage agreements, agreements that show a commitment to maintaining international competitiveness, improving the health of balance sheets and protecting and generating employment.

In both the private and public sectors, wage and salary leadership must begin with the leaders. Senior corporate managers cannot expect their employees to accept noninflationary wage settlements unless they themselves set an example by keeping their own salaries within acceptable limits. Elected officials, including this assembly, should do the same. In this regard, I would like to request that the Board of Internal Economy review its decision on living allowances in light of the program being announced today.



Hon. Mr. Grossman: You had better start to applaud.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Let the record show that no Liberals applauded.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Mr. Conway: Old Concorde Grossman himself. Travel the world on superliners.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Sean, before you get nervous you should talk to your House leader. Trust me. Talk to your House leader before you say something else you will regret later.

Mr. Conway: Concorde Grossman. You ought to talk about any of us.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Sean -- you explain, my party is quite clear on the issue.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.


Mr. Speaker: Now, everybody having made these observations, the Treasurer will continue, please.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: In cases where there are previously voted salary increases or indemnities, such as those involving some school trustees, they, too, ought to use the mechanisms they have in place to bring these increases back within the appropriate range.

Further, firms that are either insulated from normal competition or protected by tariffs have a special obligation to avoid the temptation to pass the buck of easy and expedient settlements on to the rest of the economy. If we have learned anything from the recent economic recession, it is that backing away from our restraint commitment would be the ultimate abdication of responsibility. We will not abdicate that responsibility. We will continue our course of public sector wage and price restraint for one more year.

While collective bargaining will be restored, we will ensure the continuation of restraint by placing clear limits on funding for all public sector wage increases during the coming year. Our grants and transfers to municipalities, school boards, universities and other publicly funded institutions, as well as allocations for our own civil servants, will provide for average compensation increases of up to five per cent for a group.

Mr. Nixon: That is what Claire Hoy said.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: No, he did not.

In addition, we have examined our allocations for medicare. Last year the government first considered the matter of payments to physicians under the Ontario health insurance plan in the context of the inflation restraint program. Because that legislation was directed specifically towards limiting increases in the wages and salaries of public sector employees, we concluded that physicians, as self-employed professionals, were exempt.

Mr. Kerrio: The tooth fairy brought them their money.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: You agreed with that, Vince.

Hon. Mr. Davis: That is what you said to your doctor.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Since our restraint program this year is based on limiting funding for grants and transfers used to pay for public services, including health, we believe medicare payments for physicians' services fall within the framework of this year's program.

We have shared this view with the officers of the Ontario Medical Association because we would have welcomed their co-operation and support in providing private sector leadership in this effort to control inflation. We have concluded that we cannot in fairness exempt their portion of the OHIP transfers from the restraint program. Therefore, the schedule of benefits will be adjusted on April 1, 1984, by five per cent rather than the seven per cent reflected in our agreement with the OMA, bringing it into line with the funding of all other transfers.

Hon. Mr. Davis: You will have to oppose that.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Yes, we are looking for members opposite to oppose that, as they did last year.

It is important to note that the five per cent figure we have chosen for this program is not tied to current or anticipated rates of inflation. Rather, it represents an amount we consider to be fair, reasonable and responsible, given current economic conditions and the need for continued restraint.

We have decided not to legislate rigid wage controls this year, for, in the long term, reliance on a legislated cap is not the answer. Ultimately, it is artificial. Real restraint can only be, and we believe will be, achieved through the resolve and commitment of all those involved in the bargaining process.

Earlier I indicated we will rely on collective bargaining and normal dispute resolution mechanisms to ensure fairness and flexibility for both employers and employees in the public sector. In our consultations, representatives of both business and labour demonstrated sensitivity to current economic difficulties and stated quite clearly they were committed to bargaining responsibly and with restraint. They have a clear obligation now to live up to that commitment.

We believe this process should, however, be monitored carefully. Therefore, we will give the Inflation Restraint Board a new mandate to oversee wage development in the public sector. As the legislation requires, I will be advising the board that the criterion against which it will assess compensation increases in the broadly defined public sector should indeed be five per cent.

In making this assessment, the board will consider increases in total compensation; that is, it will consider increases in wages, benefits and perquisites and the cost of providing merit increases and increments. In determining compliance, the board will consider the average increase for a group of employees. This means that in a bargaining unit it would be possible to provide larger percentage increases for some employees, as long as the average increase for the group is at or below the five per cent guideline.

To ensure that our restraint objectives are understood and to keep the government informed of instances of noncompliance, those covered by the program -- essentially the same group as under the Inflation Restraint Act -- will be required to file reports of changes in their compensation plans. The board will have the power to demand whatever information it needs to carry out its duties, including costing of compensation packages. It will report cases of noncompliance to the Treasurer.

In our consultations with both employers and employees, concern was expressed about the binding arbitration process. Accordingly, in the course of the next year the government will be inviting those affected by arbitration to express their views on that process. In the meantime, it is important that this year's restraint program be reflected in arbitrations.

We have decided, therefore, that while the normal operation of binding arbitration will be resumed, two important qualifications will be in effect during the restraint period. First, where public sector collective bargaining disputes are resolved by binding arbitration, arbitrators will be required to take into account the employer's ability to pay in the context of existing provincial fiscal policy. Second, no arbitration award will be allowed to take effect or be implemented unless it contains a clear statement of the arbitrator's assessment of the cost or saving to the employer as a result of the award.

The purpose of these provisions is to ensure that in making their awards, arbitrators analyse and take into account the true and total cost of changes to collective agreements. This will enable all parties to understand the actual dollar cost of changes to their terms of employment. Employees will have access to information they should have but until now have not always had. Further, the public has a right to know the total cost associated with the public services they receive.

During our consultations, many expressed concern over the lack of a comprehensive data base on public sector compensation. More complete information would increase the effectiveness of collective bargaining and improve the quality of the arbitration process. Therefore, our government proposes to establish a joint labour-management public sector pay research agency to develop and maintain a reliable data base for public sector bargaining. My colleague the Minister of Labour (Mr. Ramsay) will be announcing further details of this proposal at a later time.

2:20 p.m.

Members will recall that the Inflation Restraint Act prohibited merit increases for those earning more than $35,000. This provision was based on the government's view that those with higher incomes and secure jobs were in a position to make a greater contribution in a period of restraint. Conversely, we allowed for increases above the five per cent limit at the low end. The low-income provision and the more restrictive treatment of high-income persons were appropriate in the Inflation Restraint Act. Now that we are returning to collective bargaining, the distribution of wages in a settlement is a matter to be resolved by the parties.


Hon. Mr. Grossman: Why do those members not applaud that? We have great belief in the system on this side of the House. The member for Port Arthur (Mr. Foulds) should join us.

Any control program inevitably gives rise to certain problems and anomalies. We believe the new program has the necessary flexibility to permit these to be addressed in collective bargaining.

The new legislation contains transitional provisions that have been designed to ensure an orderly return to the environment of free collective bargaining. The legislation will require that all pay increases taking effect during the restraint period be calculated as part of the total compensation package and be filed according to procedures set forth by the Inflation Restraint Board. This includes merit increments and other increases that otherwise would have occurred automatically after the expiry of Bill 179.

An important part of Ontario's inflation restraint policy over the past year has been the restraint program for administered prices, those prices either directly set or regulated by the province. We believe the system put in place last year was very fair, and we have decided to continue an administered price program.

The cabinet committee on administered prices will have a role similar to the Inflation Restraint Board on the compensation side of the program. All increases above the guideline will be brought by ministers to the committee for review. Increases the committee finds inconsistent with the administered price criteria will be referred back to the relevant agency or ministry and reported to cabinet.

If the committee determines that there is developing a pattern of administered price increases inconsistent with the criteria, the government will then decide what further action might be required.

In summary, this transitional year marks a move away from comprehensive controls and towards a more flexible approach to wage and price determination in the public sector. Over the longer term, however, responsibility for restraint must rest with public sector employers, employees and those who determine administered prices. In the meantime, our government will continue to exercise vigilance over wages and prices in the public sector.

I have outlined our public sector wage and price restraint program for this year. Might I pause to say it is a result of many months of extremely hard work by my most dedicated staff in the Ministry of Treasury and Economics as well as the staff from several other ministries within the government, and for their efforts I should like to applaud them.

Through our system of grants and transfers, we will provide for average compensation increases of up to five per cent for a group. This principle will also be applied to our funding of the OHIP fee schedule, which determines payments to physicians. The Inflation Restraint Board will be given a changed mandate to oversee wage developments in the public sector. Arbitrators will be required to take the employer's ability to pay into account and will be required to cost the impact of their awards. A review of arbitration will be undertaken and a labour-management public sector pay research agency will be established. A restraint program for administered prices will be in place.

However, it must be remembered that the fight against inflation requires the commitment of employers and employees in both the public and private sectors.

This is the second time in a decade that a program of controls is being phased out. If it does not work, if there is no evidence of realism or responsibility, we will have learned that the problems in public sector pay determination are more fundamental and more deep-rooted than we now believe.

All of us -- government, business and labour -- have a collective obligation to prevent the recurrence of high rates of inflation. Rapid inflation would jeopardize our jobs, homes, farms, small businesses and, indeed, our entire economic future.

Our objective is to create a secure economic environment, an environment that sustains job creation, stimulates productivity growth and provides for real wage gains at low rates of inflation. Now is the time for all in our society to explore new horizons and set new goals. We must rededicate ourselves to the task of strengthening our economy and creating balanced progress and growth.

In closing, might I say that, as a government, we want to be able to move to support and encourage our economic recovery; it is too fragile to risk, too important to neglect. With this program in place, we are confident we can invest safely and optimistically in our future.

2:30 p.m.


Mr. Speaker: Before proceeding, I ask all members to join with me in recognizing and welcoming in the Speaker's gallery Dr. William Filanté, assemblyman from the San Francisco Bay area of California. For the information of members, Dr. Filanté is visiting Ontario as part of a California State Assembly transportation committee delegation being hosted by the Urban Transportation Development Corp. and the Ministry of Industry and Trade.



Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Treasurer. I note with some interest what he has said about prices on page 6 of his statement. He has said really nothing new except that he has a new cabinet committee on administered prices. Will the Treasurer guarantee to the people of this province that no government licences, fees or any other regulated prices will go up by more than five per cent under this control program?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: No, Mr. Speaker, there are some of them that must go up by more than five per cent or else they would be harming the very people whom the Leader of the Opposition wants to stand up and pose to be protecting when he suggests that sort of thing, and he knows that.

Mr. Peterson: How can this program expect to have any credibility if the government raises Ontario Hydro prices by more than five per cent? Now the Treasurer is saying in this House that he is going to raise some other administered prices by more than five per cent. How can he expect it to have any credibility whatsoever?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I will tell the member why. It is because I think the majority of Ontarians are more sensible than he perhaps gives them credit for. I do not think there are a great number of Ontarians who think they would be well served if for cosmetic reasons we were to say, for example, that Hydro, which even the Ontario Energy Board said needs more than five per cent, should not get that figure.

I have not heard the Liberal Party --


Mr. Speaker: Order.

Mr. Bradley: Don't be nervous. Just answer the question.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: The member and his colleagues will be nervous until they figure out a position on this. I understand that. I have not heard the Liberal Party of Ontario suggest that Hydro should be held to five per cent, and the member opposite can correct me if I am wrong.


Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I would like to hear the member's explanation to those who put some value in a credit rating and in running these things properly and in accordance with legislative mandate as he explains that Hydro should be taken down to that kind of figure. That is the ultimate in irresponsibility and the ultimate in copping out, may I say quite frankly, to the cosmetic optics of politics.

Obviously, it would be eminently easier for all of us simply to say, "Yes, it should be held to five per cent." But when the member's children, my children and others are paying staggering debt loads for their having lost their credit rating or paying staggering credit costs because of Hydro's being stripped down for political reasons to below what is affordable and sensible, we will rue the day we did that. It would be irresponsible.

Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, the minister can gnash his gums all he wants. The fact is, when it comes to price review, the program had absolutely zero credibility last year because of the way in which it happened and because of the measures that were taken, and it will have zero credibility next year.

I simply want to ask the Treasurer why the whole process of review on the price side is so different again this year from what it is on the wages side. On the wages side he has things happening publicly. He has an overall framework, a pattern of controls, a pattern of limitations; he has a review agency; he has a new pay research agency. On the prices side he has three or four or five cabinet ministers meeting in private and then throwing up their hands and deciding to do nothing.

Why is there such a dramatic contrast between what the minister is doing on the wages side to the lowest-paid workers in this province and what he is doing on the prices side, when those very workers are having to pay price increases for heating and for a number of other things that are well above the five per cent limit he set on his wage earners?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, I want clearly to reject the premise that what we are doing on the prices side is different from what we are doing on the wages side. It is a mirror of what we are doing on the wages side. Neither side has any rollback power. The boards on both sides have no power to roll back. The persons responsible for both wage settlements and price setting have to answer to the public and show the kind of responsibility they undertook to have.

I suspect the member is not aware of how many administered prices this government is responsible for. To put the whole question of the credibility of the price program in some perspective, let me tell him that exactly 18 prices were allowed last year to go above the five per cent guideline; exactly 18. The number of prices out there that were controlled without any need to go and ask for permission, but simply because this government and its ministers responsibly held them to five per cent or less, was more than 2,000. Out of more than 2,000 price increases the people of this province could have faced in the absence of our restraint program, they actually faced 18.

I have to say that even in the member's wildest moments of incantation it would be hard to convince a whole lot of members of the public that 18 prices out of more than 2,000 destroys the credibility of the program.

I would have --

Mr. Speaker: That was a very complete and informative answer. Thank you very much.

Mr. Peterson: What is the minister saying? Is he saying that his ministers, on their own, controlled prices in more than 2,000 instances but 18 were exempted? Is he saying, then, that the mechanism he had in place to control prices was not operative? Is that what he is saying?

Mr. Speaker: Question, please.

Mr. Peterson: How can he expect any credibility for the program when there are any administered prices over the five per cent? That sticks in the craw of every person in this province who is restrained, and it destroys the credibility of the program. Surely he understands that. Surely he understands the discussion across this province with respect to the program and how its credibility has been undermined.

He is the one who has come forward to make a new concession today in response to a press article about MPPs' expense accounts. He is concerned about the optics of it. Why would he not go the extra mile and control all prices that are under his jurisdiction?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: The member must have confused either himself or me with his question. I have to say, when this government is responsible for more than 2,000 administered prices and when all but 44, which was the number that went to the Inflation Restraint Board, were in fact controlled by the government, by the ministries without going to that board, I feel fairly comfortable in saying, notwithstanding the member's premise, that this government did control prices.

2:40 p.m.

It controlled 2,000 of them; 44 were controlled in another way after there had been a determination here in a preliminary way by the ministers involved that there was a case to be made for a further price increase on a cost pass-through basis.

Of the 44 that went to the board, 18 were allowed. With that kind of record, I can say to the member quite comfortably that we can go to the public and say with or without a program we managed here, without accessing the program and without asking for exemptions, to control approximately 2,000 of our prices, simply because we had the will, determination and courage to do that.


Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I have a new question with respect to the minister's handling of the doctors in this province. On page 4, he says he has changed his logic completely on doctors being controlled under this program. To me it is an extraordinary leap of logic why he is doing this now, or at least going part way this year and not last year. However, there has been something of a conversion on the road to Damascus and he sees the equity of the position we put forward before.

According to his own statement, the minister is taking the doctors' increase from seven per cent down to five per cent for this year, but he neglects to mention that doctors will be receiving an additional three per cent on January 1 of next year, so doctors will be getting eight per cent, not the five per cent he talked about. Why did he deliberately choose to try to fool the people of this province in this matter?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, now that we have decided to adjust the schedule of benefits to five per cent, I am sure the member will go out and tell all the members of the medical profession that he is in favour of rolling back -- how much? To five? How much was he in favour --


Hon. Mr. Grossman: Just outbid us, because that is what he wants to put forward cosmetically to the public. Might I say my statement was quite explicit. It did not say 1984 adjustments; it said April 1, 1984. We did not mislead anyone in any way. We talked about the April 1 adjustment.

If it is his position that the other adjustments for next year ought to be rolled back, he should feel free to put that position, but he should think about it carefully. All I can say is the adjustment we are talking about is the April 1 adjustment, and any suggestion he wants to make that we hid that is, with respect, inappropriate. It was right in the statement.

Mr. Peterson: Doctors will be getting the five plus three this year, which is eight per cent. The minister is only rolling it back from seven to five per cent. He is going to allow that adjustment. Is my understanding clear that they will not be subjected to the same guidelines as other people who are restrained in this province? Would the minister think about that carefully?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: We have thought about it carefully and, if he will read the contract in question, he will find the April 1 adjustments are those adjustments which are meant to be the annual renegotiations and adjustments in accordance with annual collective agreements where people re-establish the benchmarks for the year. That process --

Mr. Peterson: Catch-up.

Hon. Mr. Davis: No, read the contract.

Mr. Peterson: Do you want me to remind you what you said?

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: He should be careful. I have lots he said last year.

Mr. Speaker: Order. Supplementary; the member for York South.

Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, the officials of the Ontario Medical Association have always made it clear that for their part they do not regard the settlement that was reached with the government -- which was negotiated at 14 per cent, 11 per cent and seven per cent, or whatever it was, by the Treasurer when he was the Minister of Health -- as a binding contract in any sense.

What is the Treasurer's response going to be if the members of the medical profession decide to opt out in increasing numbers as a result of the decision of the government to roll back the transfer payments? Is he going to take any steps whatsoever to deal with an increase in extra billing which, given the behaviour of the profession, is almost inevitable? Is he going to deal with that issue or is he simply going to let it lie?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, if I heard the member's preface correctly, he said the OMA had not regarded the agreement as binding in any sense. Is that what the member said?

Mr. Rae: On their individual members.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Oh, I see. The member for York South has clarified his position.

For 85 per cent of their numbers and for 95 per cent of all services rendered they are obviously honouring that agreement. The member might have other ways to say this year that he agrees the contract should be rewritten, whereas last year he was strongly suggesting the doctors' contract should not be adjusted. As the member tries to figure out what he is going to do with that position, I might suggest he finds another way to come at the extra billing problem other than to say the doctors are not honouring the agreement. With respect, they do honour the agreement.

Finally, on the extra billing question, the acting Minister of Health (Mr. McCaffrey) will continue to deal with that as he has so ably done until now. I would anticipate the vast majority of the members of the medical profession who have not seen fit to opt out for many years will not begin to do so now in any significant numbers. The member knows well the opting out numbers are declining and have been for four or five years.

Mr. Peterson: I am having serious difficulty with the Treasurer's logic. Last year he concluded that doctors were self-employed professionals and were exempt from the program. This year he concluded they should be part of the program. The Treasurer has gone a little bit of the way there. He has knocked them down two per cent but not down the full six per cent that would have brought them in line with the other restraint program.

Why did the Treasurer go only part of the way? Why would he not make the doctors part of the program the same as everybody else under the legislation? Why would he make that artificial distinction?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: The position of the Liberal leader then is to roll back seven plus three, roll back 10 to five? Is that the position? I want the member for Niagara Falls (Mr. Kerrio) to understand it this weekend.


Mr. Speaker: Order.


Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, for technical reasons the Treasurer has not been able to provide us with a copy of the bill. It would have been extremely useful in enabling us to focus attention on what the government is doing.

The Treasurer made some reference to cosmetic optics. He is the master par excellence of that in the chamber, so I am going to have to ask some questions as to exactly what he means and what he intends to do. As he will be aware, the Inflation Restraint Board, in addition to rolling back the settlement at the Sensenbrenner Hospital, has also rolled back settlements at the family service bureaus in Brantford, the county of Renfrew, the township of Charlottenburgh --

Mr. Speaker: Now for the question, please.

Mr. Rae: I have to get this information on the record.

Mr. Speaker: Please place your question.


Mr. Rae: They are all good though. There is even one in Peterborough.

Mr. Speaker: The honourable member knows full well that he is not supposed to be referring to material such as he has. I would ask him to place his question, please.

2:50 p.m.

Mr. Rae: This is my question. There have been rollbacks, there have been takebacks by the Inflation Restraint Board, there have been people in the nursing home sector whose wages have been significantly rolled back and they are permanently frozen in a situation where they are well behind people in other nursing homes and people in other sectors -- hospital workers for example; real inequities have been built into this system as a result of what the government did last year. Sensenbrenner is not the only example. There are real problems with what has been bequeathed to the province and to the public sector workers.

Mr. Speaker: Now for the question, please.

Mr. Rae: What is going to happen to those public sector workers as a result of the changes that are being brought in? Does the Treasurer intend to do anything special for these people, as he has indicated he wants to do for the Sensenbrenner Hospital workers? What is he going to do to see that people are not permanently frozen and caught and stuck in a situation where their wages are well behind those of other people working at exactly the same jobs at a hospital just down the road?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, as I indicated in the statement, there are anomalies and problems that crop up in these things, and one of the reasons we have opted for this very flexible program is that I believe all of those can be accommodated in this current year.

My colleague the member for Cochrane North (Mr. Piché) and I had a discussion earlier today with regard to a mechanism whereby at no one's expense, at expense to no other workers, the hospital workers at Sensenbrenner can have their problem solved without having to pay any money back to anyone, and that indeed will be possible because of the unique and innovative character of this piece of legislation. So thanks to the work of my colleague the member for Cochrane North and the flexibility of this bill, that problem will be solved.

Mr. Rae: I do not know how many conjurers the Treasurer has on his staff, but I have asked a very direct question with respect to people who have fallen behind significantly as a result of what the government has done to workers in the public sector, and I think we deserve a straight answer.

There are workers, for example, at the Barton Place Nursing Home whose wage increases would have brought them up to the level of other workers in nursing homes right across the city of Toronto and they have been kept behind and frozen behind by the Inflation Restraint Board.

I am asking the Treasurer specifically, is there anything in the legislation that deals with the problems of those workers and guarantees that this year they will be allowed to catch up without taking away from any other workers in the public sector? Is there anything which guarantees that in the legislation?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: The best guarantee that I have understood, particularly in the positions put by the third party, is the collective bargaining system. That is one of the reasons we have chosen to reintroduce collective bargaining across a wide range this year.

I want to say, with all respect to the leader of the third party as he seeks for an island to jump on here, on all of the injustices or purported injustices he has raised today and on other days he has said many times would not have happened if there had been full and free collective bargaining, I do believe that full and free collective bargaining will resolve the inequities.

I have great confidence in the negotiators, and since I have that great confidence in the negotiators on both sides of the table, particularly in the union negotiators, to work first to address the inequities at the low end -- and I know they will do that -- I can say with some comfort that this legislation has enough flexibility to look after all of those people.

Mr. Wrye: Mr. Speaker, since we have not seen the legislation, can the Treasurer elaborate on page 4 of his statement? After reviewing the process the Inflation Restraint Board went through last year, he has a new final mechanism. He says simply that the board "will report cases of noncompliance," presumably groups over an average of five per cent, "to the Treasurer."

Could he please inform the House what happens then? Is the cabinet going to be empowered to roll back settlements? What will happen when there is noncompliance? Would the minister elaborate?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, we believe that this program and the fight against inflation really requires the joining into it of everyone in the system. Therefore, we anticipate that the negotiators throughout the system will have to deal with the discipline put on them by their voters, their constituents and the public at large in answering for those settlements that are above five per cent.

They will also, of course, have to face the reality that many of those agencies will be funded sufficiently to provide only a five per cent increase in compensation for the group. If any of those agencies are prepared to give more than five per cent, they will have an obligation to explain to their public how they are going to find the additional funds.

That is the most important mechanism. Therefore, in reporting to the Treasurer these cases of noncompliance, we anticipate two things. One, where appropriate, those decisions will be made public and will be available for public scrutiny and judgement. Second, by having them reported to us, we will be able to monitor the inflation syndrome. If we believe there is not the degree of commitment we have been promised by both management and labour, then we will be able to make the appropriate adjustments and take the appropriate steps when we come back into this House in the spring. But there is no rollback.

Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, how does the Treasurer expect the nurses at Pinewood Court in Thunder Bay to meet the order number 3609 of the Inflation Restraint Board? They have been ordered to pay back to the management of the nursing home increases ranging from $34 to $2,000, and those paybacks must occur before the end of December this year, when those nurses will earn only $2,000 per month at the very highest. How does he expect them to follow that order? Does he not see that as an injustice in the tactics of the Inflation Restraint Board?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, I have not had a chance to review that case. However, if the honourable member and perhaps the member for Fort William (Mr. Hennessy) would like to sit down with me, as my colleague the member for Cochrane North did, and peruse those circumstances in the context of the new legislation, perhaps we can find a remedy in that case as well.

Mr. Rae: I would like to ask the Treasurer a broader question. I do not think he has addressed this question. He has controls by another name when he slaps on the five per cent increase. The only kind of flexibility in the system is within bargaining units and not between bargaining units. What we are talking about is a problem between bargaining units. I hope the Treasurer will grasp that problem because it is going to come back and hit him time and again in the administration of this new program.

Given the overall economic circumstances the province now faces, and the fact that capital investment in the private sector has not taken off, given the fact that observers have seen and said that overall recovery is being held back by a lack of consumer demand, can the Treasurer justify for the Legislature once again, so we can understand what the government is saying, where is the incentive for recovery? Where is the engine for recovery going to come from?

It is not coming from the private sector at the present time. Clearly it does not come from the public sector or from the last budget. It is not going to come from an increase in consumer demand. Where is the incentive going to come from to get the economy moving again in the 1980s?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: The private sector and government.

Mr. Rae: The minister knows that no new jobs were created in the last month that was covered by Statistics Canada. He knows the statements that have been made by the Conference Board of Canada and by some individuals that controls are solely a cosmetic exercise. How are the private sector and the government going to generate employment when such a strong clamp has been put on consumer spending and on the ability of consumers to be able to lead this recovery in any way?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: With respect, the member's theory that the more money that is paid to those who are employed in the public sector will aid the recovery is simply a different version of Ronald Reagan's trickle-down theory. In his trickle-down theory he would have it that if one reduces taxes on the wealthy in society, jobs will trickle down and that wealth will trickle down through the economy and get jobs for those who are unemployed.

The member's suggestions are very similar. It is Reaganomics applied to the public sector. It says if one pays more to those who are employed in the public sector then somehow the unemployed people in the streets of his riding and mine will be the major beneficiaries. Both the member and Ronald Reagan should be ashamed of the new partnership.

3 p.m.

Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, in reading the Treasurer's statement about this new program, I see no mention whatsoever of whether he has received legal advice from the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) indicating the bill he is now proposing is within the new Charter of Rights. Can the minister give us his assurance that he has received an opinion from the Attorney General, that his officials have reviewed the legislation and are satisfied it is legal this time?

What assurance can the Treasurer give us that the advice he is receiving this year is better than the advice he got last year, when it was illegal to put the doctors in last year and it is legal this year?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, the member will see when the legislation is introduced that is not part of the legislation itself.

In answer to the first part of the question, as always I ask for and get the best legal advice perhaps in the country from my colleague the Attorney General. He has informed me that in the opinion of the crown law officers this is in compliance.

Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, I am sure we will all sleep more soundly knowing the Attorney General has given his approval to this legislation. That gives those of us on this side a lot of confidence.

Mr. Speaker: Question, please.

Mr. Rae: I would like to return to the question I was addressing to the Treasurer. Is this it? Is this the economic program with which he is going to take us into the winter? Is this all he is going to do in terms of generating some kind of incentive for growth in the provincial economy?

The Treasurer has led the troops up the hill and now he has started to take them back down again on exactly the same route. We have not moved at all in terms of a government that is committed to full employment and job creation. Is the Treasurer going to do anything for job creation or the economy to get it going prior to the winter?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: As I indicated at the end of my statement, I believe this program will allow us to move to make appropriate investments in recovery. With regard to the timing of those new investments, might I say to the leader of the third party it will be in the fullness of time but probably sooner rather than later.


Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, I have a question to the Treasurer, to that sorcerer's apprentice who has travelled the globe on Concorde at public expense, to that man who spent thousands of dollars when he changed ministerial department offices, to that man who personally spent an eighth of a million dollars to secure re-election in 1981.

Mr. Speaker: Question, please.

Mr. Conway: My question is to that man who invites all members to join him in protecting the public purse in the cause of restraint. Is the Treasurer, that man who spent an eighth of a million dollars to secure re-election to this House, most of which was a tax-supported expenditure --

Mr. Speaker: I presume you do have a question.

Mr. Conway: Given the Treasurer's sensitivity about our leadership in this role, our 12 per cent allowances and all that reference which was not included in his text, will he give an undertaking that he will move expeditiously to amend the election expenses legislation of this province to establish a cap on those tax expenditures that go towards elected members and those seeking elected office?

Then the public treasury will not be prevailed upon as it has been in places like St. Andrew-St. Patrick and Don Mills, where literally hundreds of thousands of tax-supported dollars have been put on account for putative leadership candidates or other such partisan activities. Will the Treasurer give us an undertaking that he will take that leadership and protect the public treasury in the cause of restraint in that very specific way?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, I hope the member feels better after all that. I can understand that cathartic exercise will not only make him feel better but will take him back to the excesses of last weekend when his leader was even suggesting the Liberals might win the next election.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Actually, I read it was a minority.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: It is a good thing the crown law officers were not in the vicinity over the weekend. They might have caught some unusual substances there.

I understand the member for Renfrew North's continuing frustration with the fact that some of us on this side were ourselves able to glean more popular support from those who financially support parties. We were able to do that personally with more success than the entire Liberal Party of Ontario. It only shows the continuing good judgement of the people of this province.

Mr. Conway: Will the Treasurer not agree with me that since he is now prepared to subject our 12 per cent increase on accommodation allowances to a review, it is now time to re-examine the enormous drawdowns on the public treasury with respect to election expenses financing which, uncapped, creates the very clear impression, and in many respects the absolute reality, that the public purse is being asked to subsidize events and personalities at a time of restraint in a way that was never intended when that legislation was brought forward some eight and a half years ago?

Surely the Treasurer will want to agree with me and all other members that we must show that kind of leadership, and surely he will want, in the interest of leadership and credibility, to bring forward that kind of improvement to cap the public expenditures in that key area.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I think it is appropriate for the arrangements that have been made here to be reviewed by the Board of Internal Economy. I happen to have glanced at some preliminary figures, and they indicate to me that the members of this assembly have been most responsible and, notwithstanding that the ceiling has been raised by about 12 per cent, their actual expenses, which are only paid, as the member well knows, on the basis of invoices submitted, will not increase, with a couple of exceptions, by more than five per cent in any event.

That being the case, it is appropriate for the Board of Internal Economy to review the circumstances and see whether that kind of directive, which is obviously going to be misinterpreted and misunderstood, should stand the light of day or not. If the Liberal Party and the member think that a look at it, which is all I suggested -- I did not suggest there be a rollback or that it was wrong; I suggested it was appropriate for the board to look at it.

Mr. Conway: Is the minister prepared to cap the public expenditures on election expenses? Is he going to spend another $140,000 of taxpayers' money to get re-elected? That is the issue. He can show some leadership.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I will leave the member to his own excess.

Mr. Speaker: Order. Next question.


Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Treasurer. I am concerned about another rather dangerous intrusion into the entire process of collective bargaining in Ontario, and that has to do with the instructions or rules for arbitrators.

I wonder if the Treasurer could be a little clearer about or would explain exactly what his intentions are with regard to arbitrators' rulings and what acts he will be specifically looking at in terms of any instructions given to arbitrators.

Mr. Speaker: Before you proceed, I would ask that the private conversations flying across the floor here stop. I am having trouble hearing the question and I am sure the Treasurer is.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, I know the question was with regard to arbitrators. I wonder if the member would mind repeating it.

Mr. Mackenzie: As I said, I am concerned about another dangerous intrusion into the collective bargaining process. I wonder if the Treasurer could be a little clearer on what his intentions are in terms of instructions to arbitrators in Ontario. What acts will be specifically dealt with?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, first, a couple of members opposite have raised a question about needing a copy of the legislation to comment on it. I have copies prepared for distribution, but I was informed by legislative counsel that until the minister gets leave to introduce the bill it would be inappropriate to circulate it prior to that time.

In terms of the arbitration, it is much as I tried to describe in my statement. Arbitrators will be asked to take into account ability to pay, which I am informed it is the view of many people, if not most, they already do. Therefore, I am not sure what impact that will have. But if there are arbitrators who are not taking into account ability to pay, it is certainly appropriate that they do so.

3:10 p.m.

The other portion of it will relate to costing. We think it is appropriate in this environment, in any event, for the costs of all items determined in an arbitration to be well understood by both parties to the negotiations and also well understood by the public.

Those are the rather modest steps we will take in this area. They will not be carried further in terms of this legislation than the legislation itself. In other words, these are one-year changes.

Mr. Mackenzie: Does the minister not recognize that many of the rights and gains that have been made by working people in this province have been made as a result of arbitrators' decisions? What he is doing is interfering with the integrity and freedom of arbitrators to rule in Ontario. I see it as an insidious extension of the control process in this province and a very dangerous one.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: My position is that last year there were no arbitrations; this year there will be arbitrators and the arbitrator's decision stands.

Mr. Mackenzie: They are told what they can do.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: With respect, we have not told them what they can do. We have indicated to them that in reaching their decisions they should take into account the ability of the public to pay. I do not think that ought to present a problem for them.

I think asking them to put costing in there, to throw some light on the process, will do a couple of things. Labour groups often have not understood the financial implications of what they are asking for and have not understood the economics of what they might also begin to ask for. This will allow them to have that information at hand.

I also think it helps any process if, as the third party has often said, more sunshine is put on it. I can see no danger, no impediment, no reining in of their flexibility. There may be imposed upon them a clearer understanding, a clearer need to analyse the cost of what they are recommending. I think that is only helpful and fair to all parties to the arbitration.

Mr. Sargent: Mr. Speaker, in this outline of public sector wage and price restraint, if the minister is totally sincere in this position, why does he not look at the back of the list in front of him where 32 cabinet ministers are listed. It is the largest cabinet in Canada. Another 32 members are parliamentary assistants. Why does he not prove his sincerity to the people of Ontario and say he is going to cancel all the assistants to the ministers and get rid of all those limousines?

Mr. Speaker: An interesting question but hardly a supplementary.

The Minister of Revenue has a very brief reply to a previously asked question.

Mr. Sargent: What does that mean? I want an answer.

Mr. Speaker: It was, as I said, a very interesting question.

Mr. Sargent: Let him answer it then.

Mr. Speaker: It was not a supplementary.

Mr. Sargent: For the record, what is he going to do?

Mr. Speaker: The Minister of Revenue.


Hon. Mr. Gregory: Mr. Speaker, I would like to respond to the question raised by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Peterson) last week on the application of retail sales tax on mobile caterers.

As a result of the 1982 budget which applied the retail sales tax to all prepared foods, my staff met with the president and executive officers of the mobile caterers' association to work out an arrangement that would benefit the small operator, given the circumstances under which the majority of these mobile canteen operators work.

This arrangement was negotiated with the explicit objective of avoiding as far as possible vendorizing every mobile caterer. Consequently, the arrangement was available to most operators. However, it was restricted to those who made all their purchases through central commissaries rather than keeping track of the tax on each individual sale, tabulating these collections and completing a sales tax return at the end of each month.

The arrangement involved a formula, based on information supplied by the association, which applied a percentage rate of 3.5 on the total wholesale purchases by the operator from the commissaries. This percentage rate applied to total wholesale purchases would equate to the tax collected by the operator. It took into account the industry-wide mix of taxable and nontaxable sales, as well as unsold items because of spoilage and industry-wide average markups. There are approximately 800 caterers dealing with the commissaries and approximately 500 independent caterers. Therefore, this would avoid registering 800 operators.

The association agreed to offer this arrangement to its customers, the caterers, on the understanding that the rate would be changed if there was any change in the taxable-nontaxable mix or as a result of a review of the operation of the formula as a result of an audit within a year's time. Consequently, when the purchase of tobacco products became subject to retail sales tax on May 11, 1983, the formula rate was immediately increased to five per cent to reflect this change in the mix of taxable and nontaxable items.

Second, my branch has now completed the audits we agreed to do and has established that the new formula rate should now be nine per cent on purchases at the wholesale level, which is designed to reflect markups in the prices at which taxable goods are sold at the retail level. Since the formula rate reflects only the tax already being collected by the operators, I do not concur with the Leader of the Opposition that the price of coffee would now be increased by 10 per cent.

Finally, there is no question of this formula being embodied in a regulation. We will continue to work with the association, as we do with many such organizations, to offer administrative easements which result in the correct tax being collected and remitted with a minimum of disruption on the part of our vendor population.

The increase in the formula rate to nine per cent in no way represents an increase in tax because the caterers should already have been collecting retail sales tax properly from their customers from the beginning in 1982. The important thing about this arrangement is that it greatly simplifies collecting and remitting taxes by a very large number of individual caterers. I believe this is exactly what the Leader of the Opposition wants.

Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, with great respect, the minister obviously did not understand what was going on in his own ministry. He has now had a chance to bring himself up to speed on how the system works. We understood all of that when we asked him the question.

The tax is going from five per cent to nine per cent at a wholesale level. He now understands that. That is going to reflect itself through in retail prices that are going to be inflationary on their own. According to the mobile caterers, the price of a coffee will go from 40 cents to 45 cents -- roughly 10 per cent -- and a chocolate bar will go from 50 cents to 60 cents as a result of the minister's increase of an inflationary tax from five to nine per cent.

How can he stand in this House today, the same day the Treasurer (Mr. Grossman) is issuing his pitch for restraint, and now introduce a tax that is going to be inflationary at the 10 per cent level and is going to drive prices up and make a mockery of his Treasurer's program?

Hon. Mr. Gregory: I did explain the problem, and the Leader of the Opposition obviously did not understand. I explained very carefully that the nine per cent tax at the wholesale level would be reflected in a seven per cent rate at the retail level. I hope he will understand that.

As for his first remark that I did not know it was in my ministry, he very definitely indicated in his question that it was a new tax. Therefore, I suggested that I should perhaps discuss it with the Treasurer because I was not aware of a new tax being imposed.

Mr. Elston: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, who I understand is with us somewhere. If not, perhaps he could return.

Hon. Mr. Davis: He is here spiritually, I can assure you.

Mr. Elston: Perhaps I could have my question set down in favour of my colleague's.


Mr. Haggerty: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Premier. I am sure the Premier is aware of the high unemployment rate in the Niagara region. Is he aware of the news release of October 7, 1983, whereby the governments of Canada and Quebec announced that Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. would establish a light twin helicopter manufacturing facility in Quebec, creating an estimated 2,775 skilled jobs? Government's participation in the project totals $275.4 million and the Quebec government's share of seed money is $110.2 million.

Can the Premier inform the Legislature if a second helicopter deal is in process to establish a manufacturing facility in Ontario in partnership with Messerschmitt-Bulkow-Blohm GmbH of West Germany? If so, will this be a joint venture between the Ontario and the federal government to provide the necessary seed money and how many jobs will it create?

3:20 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I cannot answer the honourable member's question beyond saying that there have been and continue to be discussions with respect to another possible investment in the helicopter industry in Ontario. When the Minister of Industry and Trade (Mr. F. S. Miller) is ready to share more information, he will be more than delighted to do so. However, I really would not want to lead the member astray at this moment other than to confirm that yes, there have been negotiations and they are continuing.


Mr. Wildman: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Treasurer with regard to the effect of his restraint program on municipalities. Is the Treasurer aware that the city welfare department in Sault Ste. Marie has handled a total of 20,482 cases during the first nine months of 1983, an increase of 8,901 cases, or about 77 per cent, over the first three quarters of 1982? Is the minister also aware that in October 1983 about 4,550 people in Sault Ste. Marie were dependent on welfare assistance, an increase of 21 per cent over October 1982?

If he is aware of that, I would ask him whether by limiting the municipal transfer payments to only five per cent he is not forcing city council to cut services at the very time when they should be increased or else to raise property taxes to Sault residents, many of whom are experiencing serious financial hardships as a result of long-term layoffs.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, let me clarify the program. I indicated today that the transfers to municipalities and to other transfer recipients, on account of their wage account, would be increased by five per cent. The final determination of the transfers to all those agencies will be announced when we are finished the allocations process in about a month's time. The honourable member should not confuse the transfer payment control mechanism here, which is only on the transfers on account of wages, with the ultimate transfer payment total for all expenses of the municipality.

Mr. Wildman: Is the minister aware that the city of Sault Ste. Marie has expended about $7 million so far this year on welfare benefits and is projecting a total expenditure over the year of $9.5 million, which is about $1.5 million over the budget allocated for that area?

Am I to understand from his answer to my previous question that they might not even get the five per cent? If he is not suggesting that, can he confirm that there is going to be extra assistance for municipalities like Sault Ste. Marie that are in serious trouble as a result of the economic situation which his package does absolutely nothing to cure?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Let me try to clarify once again. The transfer payments for public sector wages, which I announced today at five per cent, have nothing whatever to do with the balance of the transfers that will be used to meet welfare obligations and other municipal activities. If it has any impact at all, it will be that if municipalities are successful in reaching wage settlements for less than five per cent, they will have more financial flexibility in terms of the other things they wish to do. That is a feature of this program they can handle themselves.

To clarify, the announcement today is that the transfers for wages only will be five per cent. The transfers for all the other activities of municipalities, including welfare obligations, will be announced at a later time.


Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Colleges and Universities. It deals with the Ontario special bursary program.

In the past two or three weeks in this Legislature there has been a great deal of discussion and support for women's issues. The minister will recall that there was unanimous approval and support for the equal pay proposal introduced by my colleague the member for Hamilton Centre (Ms. Copps). We also recall that just last week the Minister responsible for Women's Issues (Mr. Welch) and the Provincial Secretary for Justice (Mr. Walker) announced some new governmental initiatives in support of women.

The minister will be well aware that the special bursary program to a large extent helps single mothers who are trying to get back into the work force, but to do so they have to get special training, particularly in some of the basic areas. Is the minister prepared to put any additional funds into that program when it has been brought to our attention that many of the colleges to which these single women go are now running out of that money?

I have been advised that St. Clair College has a waiting list of 15 students, Cambrian College has a waiting list of 13 and Algonquin College has a waiting list of 12. Does the minister have any intention of assisting these colleges and other types of institutions with the shortfall for this program?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I am sure the honourable member will recall that two years ago an effort was made to ensure the availability and accessibility of credit programs at the elementary and secondary levels for those students who required that kind of preliminary educational program to qualify for training programs that would move them into nontraditional employment or into more rewarding employment in terms of enrolment.

We provided specific funding to the schools of this province through the school boards to ensure that all individuals, no matter what their age and no matter what their experience before, could attend a program provided by an elementary or secondary school, or a school board as purchased from a college, which would allow them to attain a secondary school graduation diploma free of charge.

That capacity is there. I urge those students who are currently awaiting programs at colleges to seriously consider attending programs in their local school board's jurisdiction for which they do not require any fee at all.

The special bursary program is there to assist those, particularly women, who require that additional educational assistance to acquire the basic skills that would allow them to move into a training program. They really do not qualify for Ontario student assistance, which is a post- secondary program rather than a secondary program.

Most of these students require elementary or secondary upgrading. The schools of this province stand ready to provide that, I hope in more flexible ways than had been available in the past. Certainly we will do our best to assure them that they have the opportunities to do just that.

Mr. Sweeney: I would concur with the minister that the alternative program is available and should be supported, but the minister will also be well aware that many of the single mothers who are trying to get back into the work force have to have new and different kinds of skills in addition to the basics. They can only get those at a place like a community college.

I further remind the minister that on October 7, speaking to the Rotary Club in Guelph, she said, and I hope I quote correctly: "But whatever the demographic shifts, whatever changes in skills are required for the marketplace" -- and that was what I was referring to -- "we have a well-established infrastructure in place. When they call our name, we will be there."

The minister's name is now being called by these women. The colleges, trying to respond to the shifts and changing skills required in the marketplace, cannot do so. They need the special bursary program for those women who need that additional assistance. I ask again, does she have any provision to deal with this situation?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: The special bursary program provides for the support of educational costs, and we most certainly do that. The requirements of most of these young women are not in the area of the provision of educational costs; it is other support that is required.

One of the difficulties I tried to outline to the member was that many of these young women are attending what they perceive as college courses for the basic upgrading that would allow them to move into the college course. I hope they will not look only at the provision of that kind of educational program at the college level. We are certainly prepared to be of assistance with a special bursary. It is an educational cost-support program, and it is there.

3:30 p.m.


Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Treasurer, who is lurking behind your throne there and is coming back into the House now.

I would like to ask the Treasurer this very simple and direct question. What specific program is he going to implement this winter to retrain and re-employ those workers over 45 years of age who are facing unemployment this winter, who have been laid off and who are, in the words of the Minister of Labour (Mr. Ramsay) as quoted in the Sault Ste. Marie Star, in the worst position because they are "too young to be pensioned and too old to be retrained, and anyway they have nowhere to look for work anyhow"? What is the Treasurer going to do for those specific workers this coming winter when they face an unemployment period, on average in the latest statistics, of 27 weeks?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, as I indicated earlier, we are now looking at all those options. I have had consultations with many of my colleagues, including the Deputy Premier (Mr. Welch) in terms of his particular responsibilities and the Provincial Secretary for Social Development (Mr. McCaffrey) in terms of youth unemployment and the great number of unemployed in the category the honourable member refers to. We have had extensive discussions with the Minister of Industry and Trade (Mr. F. S. Miller).

All those discussions are continuing inside the government. When we feel the appropriate kind of program has been developed, and when we have a better understanding of what the federal government intends to do, which we might have after its throne speech, then we will take appropriate steps.

That is a judgement Treasurers must make from time to time in view of their responsibilities, and I cannot give any undertaking. The member has never been able to get an undertaking from my predecessor or from any other Treasurer with regard to the timing of those steps.

Mr. Foulds: Is the Treasurer saying that those men over 45 years of age in this province might as well give up hope of finding a job, those 165,000 who are currently unemployed?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: No. And so the member does not go outside and say I said that, let me be very clear. No, the member cannot say that; no, we are not abandoning those people; and yes, we do intend to do something. I hope it is able to be as well funded and as successful as the tremendous job creation program my predecessor mounted last May, which the member objected to but which put tens of thousands of people back to work in this province.



Mr. Kolyn: Mr. Speaker, I am tabling a number of petitions on behalf of my Conservative colleagues. The petitions 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."

Mr. Riddell: Mr. Speaker, even though it may seem after the fact with the announcement of the government's "restraint if necessary, but not necessarily restraint" program, I am obliged to present a petition.

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

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

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

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

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

This is signed by 141 teachers and staff of the Huron County Board of Education teaching in such schools as Stephen Central Public School, J. A. D. McCurdy Public School, Exeter Public School, Zurich Public School, Vanastra Public School, Holmesville Public School, Clinton Public School, Seaforth Public School, Hullett Central Public School, Robertson Memorial Public School in Goderich and the Huron county board office.

Mr. Stokes: Mr. Speaker, I have a similar petition with the exact wording. It is signed by teachers of the Crolancia Public School in Pickle Lake and the Schreiber Public School.

Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Speaker, I have a petition signed by 226 teachers.

"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:

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

It is signed by teachers from A. R. Kaufman Public School, Doon Public School, Forest Glen Public School in New Hamburg, Country Hills Public School, Centennial Public School, Prueter Public School, Floradale Public School, Stanley Park Public School, Central Public School, Northdale Public School, Breslau Public School and Victoria Public School.

Ms. Bryden: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition from 17 teachers who reside in my riding.

"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."

I believe this petition is still relevant, because they refer to other measures, and I support the petition.

Mr. Haggerty: Mr. Speaker, I have received a letter from the Federation of Women Teachers Associations of Ontario with enclosed petitions addressed 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 petition is signed by petitioners from Garrison Road Public School, Fort Erie Elementary School, Douglas Public School, Ridgeway Public School, Rose Seaton Public School and Elsie English Memorial School for the Trainable Retarded. All these are from the town of Fort Erie.

Mr. Elston: Mr. Speaker, I have a similar petition here signed by 94 teachers from schools in my riding to the same effect as that put forward by my colleague the member for Fort Erie (Mr. Haggerty). Those teachers are from Hullett Central Public School, Turnberry Central Public School, Brussels Public School, East Wawanosh Public School, Howick Central Public School, Grey Central Public School, Brookside Public School and Wingham Public School.

Mr. Van Horne: Mr. Speaker, I have a similar petition, petitioning the Legislature to restore free collective bargaining rights forthwith under Bill 100, the School Boards and Teachers Collective Negotiations Act.

This first petition is signed by 253 teachers from the following elementary schools in the city of London: Ryerson, Manor and Highland Park, Sir Isaac Brock, Northridge, Northdale, John P. Robarts, Lord Elgin, Knollwood Park, University Heights, Brick Street, Tweedsmuir, Empress, Riverside, White Oaks Senior, Masonville, St. Georges, Prince Charles, Victoria, Sir Winston Churchill, Northbrae and Princess Anne.

I have a second petition with the same preamble from teachers who live in the city of London and in my riding of London North but who work for the Middlesex county board. These teachers, totalling 27, represent the following schools in the township: East Williams, Centennial Central in Arva, Biddulph in Lucan, Plover Mills, Caradoc Central, Leesboro Central and River Heights.

3:40 p.m.

Mr. Bradley: Mr. Speaker, I have a petition from a number of teachers from various schools in the Niagara Peninsula, including DeWitt Carter school in Port Colborne and Caroline M. Thompson school in Port Colborne, but people on the petition are from various parts of the Niagara Peninsula. It 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

"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."



Hon. Mr. Wells moved that Mr. Rae replace Mr. Lupusella in the order of precedence for private members' public business and that the requirements of notice as provided in standing order 64(h) be waived.

Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, since the motion calls for waiving notice, I think it would be only fair if the honourable member who is assuming the more advanced place in the list give the notice of motion now so that, although it is waived as far as the order paper is concerned, we at least know what he has in mind.

My own feeling, as I have expressed previously, is that when there are changes in the order of private members' business for a reason other than illness they detract to some extent from the independence of the topics to be selected. Since my colleagues as well as members in all the other parties have done this from time to time it is a little late to protest, as the lady said.

But I would say in this particular motion, which calls for the waiving of notice, that surely the New Democratic Party, since it is now using private members' hour as an instrument of party policy, might indicate what subject we are going to be treated to when the leader's advanced turn does come around.

Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, let me first indicate that the problem is that the member for Dovercourt (Mr. Lupusella) has asked to opt out and is not going to take his position, as he was to have done next week, so there will be a vacancy.

The issue, of course, is the private member's bill moved by the leader of the NDP last week. I believe it is a bill on equal pay for work of equal value, similar to that which was introduced by the other member. We know how everyone voted on the resolution. I am sure that on the bill they will be overjoyed at supporting it.

Motion agreed to.


Hon. Mr. Wells moved that the order for resuming the adjourned debate on the motion for second reading of Bill 174, An Act to provide for the Removal of Certain Waste from the Malvern Area, be discharged and that the bill be withdrawn.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, the reason for this motion is that a new memorandum of understanding between myself and the Honourable Jean Chrétien provides that the federal government will be the proponent and pay for and remove the soil with the co-operation of the province.

Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I know you will want to limit any possible debate on the withdrawal of the bill. While I have a good deal of confidence in Mr. Chrétien in making this commitment, evidently some of the government House leader's constituents do not share that confidence in his commitment that the soil is going to be withdrawn and deposited in some quarry he has found just outside the corner of his constituency.

Before we withdraw the bill, can he give us some specific date by which the soil is going to be removed and packed away in this quarry?

We have moved towards a solution on a number of occasions and I am sure the minister recalls the incomplete debate on this particular order. I think there was some indication of support on all sides if the minister could give the House the location where the radioactive soil would be deposited. He has finally negotiated a location but, according to his constituents, they are very much concerned that there is not an active date for the removal of the soil or a time limit. Perhaps before we withdraw the bill we could have certain reassurances from the minister who has carried this responsibility for such a lengthy period of time.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: And done it so well.

Mr. Nixon: That remains to be seen. The soil is still where he put it.

Mr. Charlton: Mr. Speaker, I have some concerns as well on this issue of the withdrawal of Bill 174, but not in the same vein as the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk. It was my impression last evening that the minister set out the time frame fairly clearly in which this matter would be resolved.

My concerns lie more in the area of what the formal process will be around the environmental study, both of the site and of the process of removing the soil. How will that environmental study be vetted once it is completed? Will that study be made public? How will we go through the process of vetting the environmental recommendations in that study? That is of far more serious concern than the day on which the excavation will proceed.

I have some concerns about the bill being withdrawn without some clear assurances that there will be a process in place to vet the environmental impact of the whole proposal.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, my friend was there last night. If some of my friends from the official opposition party had been there, they would have heard exactly where the site is. It is about a quarter of a mile from Steeles Avenue on Reeson Road, which is in the northeast section of the riding of Scarborough North.

Mr. Nixon: Right behind the zoo.

Hon. Mr. Wells: It is not right behind the zoo. It is probably a mile or so from the zoo.

Mr. Eakins: Is it in the minister's riding?

Hon. Mr. Wells: Yes, it is in my riding.

The date given was some time in late March or early April next year. As soon as the soil is ready, the removal will begin. It is a federal undertaking, so the environmental process will be carried on by the proponent, which is the office of low-level waste management through the federal Department of the Environment.

Motion agreed to.



Hon. Mr. Grossman moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. Wells, first reading of Bill 111, An Act to provide for the Review of Prices and Compensation in the Public Sector and for an Orderly Transition to the Resumption of Full Collective Bargaining.

4:24 p.m.

The House divided on Hon. Mr. Grossman's motion for first reading of Bill 111 which was agreed to on the following vote:


Andrewes, Ashe, Baetz, Barlow, Bernier, Birch, Boudria, Bradley, Brandt, Breithaupt, Conway, Copps, Cousens, Cunningham, Davis, Dean, Drea, Eakins, Eaton, Edighoffer, Elgie, Elston, Epp, Eves, Fish, Gillies, Gordon, Gregory, Grossman, Havrot, Hodgson, Johnson, J. M., Jones, Kells, Kennedy, Kerr, Kerrio, Kolyn, Lane, MacQuarrie, Mancini, McCaffrey, McCague, McGuigan, McKessock;

McLean, McMurtry, McNeil, Miller, G. I., Mitchell, Newman, Nixon, Peterson, Piché, Pollock, Pope, Ramsay, Reid, T. P., Riddell, Robinson, Rotenberg, Roy, Runciman, Ruprecht, Ruston, Sargent, Scrivener, Shymko, Snow, Spensieri, Stephenson. B. M., Sterling, Stevenson, K. R., Sweeney, Taylor, G. W., Timbrell, Treleaven, Van Horne, Watson, Welch, Wells, Williams, Wrye.


Allen, Bryden, Charlton, Cooke, Di Santo, Foulds, Grande, Laughren, Lupusella, Mackenzie, Martel, Philip, Rae, Samis, Stokes, Swart, Wildman.

Ayes 83; nays 17.

Mr. Speaker: We are reverting to bills. The member for Port Arthur.

Mr. Foulds: I hope I can find it.

Mr. Speaker: I hope you can too.

Mr. Foulds: No; I ask permission to revert to bills in an hour.

4:30 p.m.


Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I would like to table the answers to questions 29, 37, 38, 316, 318, 319, 320, 322, 323, 324, 325, 326, 327, 328, 329, 332, 333, 337 and 338, the interim answer to question 330 and the responses to petitions presented to the Legislature, sessional papers 156 and 175, all of these standing on the notice paper [see Hansard for Wednesday, November 9.]

Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, could I engage the House's indulgence?

Mr. Speaker: Do we have the permission of the House to revert to bills?

Agreed to.



Mr. Foulds moved, seconded by Mr. Swart, first reading of Bill 112, An Act to provide for the Observance of Remembrance Day.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, the bill is intended to ensure that Remembrance Day is observed as a general holiday on November 11 under both the Employment Standards Act and the Education Act.



The following bills were given third reading on motion:

Bill 61, An Act to regulate Off-Road Vehicles;

Bill 85, An Act to amend the Crop Insurance Act (Ontario).


Mrs. Scrivener moved second reading of Bill Pr9, An Act to revive Roitman Investments Limited.

Motion agreed to.

Third reading also agreed to on motion.


Mr. Piché moved second reading of Bill Pr39, An Act to continue the Corporation of the Union of Townships of Eilber and Devitt under the name of the Corporation of the Township of Mattice-Val Côté.

Motion agreed to.

Third reading also agreed to on motion.


Hon. Mr. Brandt moved second reading of Bill 52, An Act to amend the Environmental Protection Act.

Hon. Mr. Brandt: Mr. Speaker, I had spoken earlier to the opposition critics about changing the order and apparently that is not possible. With their concurrence we can proceed with Bill 52, as was originally placed on the order paper. I had suggested we move to Bill 51.

Today I am moving second reading of Bill 52, An Act to amend the Environmental Protection Act, which received first reading on June 2, 1983. The act is being amended to provide the ministry with improved capability to ensure delivery of effective abatement programs.

The amendments include provision of protection to employees who assist in enforcement of the legislation. A director will be empowered, subject to appeal, to issue orders to prevent pollution and to lessen the effects of discharges that may take place by requiring that equipment and personnel be available and appropriate procedures implemented. Assurance of finality of control orders once in place is achieved by a provision that closes a loophole that arose from a judicial decision which, in effect, conferred a right of appeal against a refusal to extend a control order.

I have a few motions to amend to be dealt with in committee. As a result of discussion that took place during my ministry's estimates, I have concluded that the protection to employees who assist in investigations should be extended to investigations by Ministry of the Environment staff proceeding under the Fisheries Act of Canada as well as under legislation administered by my ministry.

As a result of a decision by the Ontario Court of Appeal on October 17, 1983, to which I referred when we discussed this bill previously, I intend to move an amendment to provide that the authority to make an order under the act includes the authority to require the person to whom the order is directed to take such intermediate action or such procedural steps, or both, as are related to the action required by the order and as are specified in the order.

I will be making a few other motions to amend in committee to clarify provisions in Bill 52 as well.

Mr. Elston: Mr. Speaker, we have these amendments placed by the Minister of the Environment as he then was in June. At that point we welcomed some of the steps that were to be taken, because in the amendments to this piece of legislation we see the incorporation of some of the material we as a party have been requesting for some time. Included in that are the amendments dealing specifically with the item of protection of employees who do report the questions --

Mr. Laughren: The community party or the Liberal Party?

Mr. Elston: Mr. Speaker, the gentleman at the end of the row down there is confused again, as those people often are. Unfortunately for us in the Legislature, we have to put up with their nonsense. This, of course, is one of the times when they figure they have to enter debates on a very low level.

The Deputy Speaker: It is always good advice to just ignore the interjections.

Mr. Elston: We will ignore them, even though the government pays them to be here in numbers even larger than they really are. In any event, we will continue and deal with the amendments before us.

It is interesting to go through this bill and see the results of continued and persistent activity on the part of the opposition party, including some members down there who know a little bit about the environment, but more specifically with respect to amendments suggested by the Liberal Party and by my predecessors as Environment critics.

In particular, I want to note that although a good number of these amendments are worth while they do not go the full route in providing the type of coverage for the environment, the environmental protection which we as a party see necessary for this province.

4:40 p.m.

We would have been much happier had they fully supported a bill which I had introduced and which a former leader of the Liberal Party had introduced, and that is the environmental rights bill. It includes a good number of items which would --

Mr. Martel: I hope you are going to move the amendments.

Mr. Elston: The poor man down there does not understand there are amendments which would be better put and that --

Mr. Martel: I understand perfectly well about moving amendments.

Mr. Elston: The member should be quiet. He does not know what he is talking about.

The Deputy Speaker: Order. It is still good advice to the member to ignore the interjections.

Mr. Elston: He obviously does not understand the sensitivity of the environmental issues and what could have been done with this piece of legislation had there been incorporated in it some of the other material from the environmental rights bill we introduced before.

There are one or two sections that will be coming into this bill, and I welcome those inclusions. I would have preferred if in the amendments as well there had been a proposal by the minister to include a freedom of information section which would allow people access to the types of information which are necessary if he is truly and fully going to be able to come up with a full-scale environmental protection bill.

With those few opening remarks and criticisms about the scope of the bill, I welcome the second reading proceeding, along with the passage of several of these amendments.

Mr. Charlton: Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of Bill 52. However, there a few comments I would like to make. I suppose as good a place to start as any is where the member for Huron-Bruce (Mr. Elston) left off in his comments. Obviously, the case is very clear that it is he who does not understand the environmental process that has gone on in this Legislature.

Mr. Nixon: That is highly unlikely.

Mr. Charlton: We are happy that the Liberal caucus in 1980 finally got on side in terms of issues such as the protection of employees for giving information and for taking action under the Environmental Protection Act. This party and this caucus moved amendments to that effect starting in 1973. The environmental rights bill which the member referred to as being moved by his leader was a bill that emanated out of and was much weaker than the environmental Magna Carta moved by my colleague the member for Beaches-Woodbine (Ms. Bryden) some time prior to the movement of that rights bill.

It should be clear on the record that we do not mind the Liberals coming second in realizing the importance of issues. They can continue to come second for as long as they want, but the record should be clear that those issues are the issues of this party and were raised by the members of this caucus a good seven years before they were raised by the Liberal Party.

We are happy to see the protection the minister has built into this bill for employees. However, there are some sections of this bill which are still somewhat inadequate. For example, we have dealt at great length in this bill with the Environmental Appeal Board, but we have failed in all the clauses where we have dealt with it to deal with one of the basic problems with the appeal board. As the act is at present constituted, the only person who has a right to appeal to that appeal board is a proponent or an opponent. A citizens' group does not have the right to appeal under this piece of legislation.

I am sure the minister can see and understand the folly of that in terms of the overall fairness of the process. It is still a one-sided system which is not adequate to serve the people of Ontario. We are in a position where we cannot move that amendment here today because the appropriate subsection of the appropriate section is not before us, although the appropriate section is. However, since the minister is going to be moving a number of amendments himself, perhaps through the course of this process he could seriously consider opening up that appeal process and making it as fair as the other kinds of appeal processes we have dealt with in this Legislature, because it is a very important issue in the overall protection that is provided to the public. Their right to appeal has to be there.

There are a couple of other issues I would like to comment on. Basically, the bill is a companion to Bill 51, which we dealt with last week. I can agree with the amendments that set out the appeal process around control orders being a stay, except where the control order is a stop order or an order requiring monitoring.

On the other hand, we again have this undefined ability of the minister to remove a stay or to allow the removal of a stay in other circumstances as well. We somewhat question what the definitions will be that will govern the minister's ability to allow other exemptions to the stay section. We feel a little uncomfortable, as we always do, in dealing with powers that are bestowed on a minister without defining clearly the terms and/or guidelines under which those powers will be exercised.

It is not a major problem. We are not going to oppose the bill as a result of it, but I certainly would like very seriously to hear some comments from the minister about what the intentions of the additional exemptions may be. What areas is he thinking about? Why did he put that clause in these two bills? We would like to get an indication of what his intent is.

The Deputy Speaker: The Minister of the Environment.

Hon. Mr. Brandt: Mr. Speaker, to move on to subsection 1(2), I move that clause 1(1)(ca) of the act --

Some hon. members: Wait a minute.

The Deputy Speaker: I was inviting the minister to make any wrap-up remarks on the debate for second reading.

Hon. Mr. Brandt: Oh, I am sorry.

The Deputy Speaker: Then we will complete second reading and we will be going into committee, where presumably you will be putting your amendment. Do you have any comments at this time?

Hon. Mr. Brandt: No, Mr. Speaker. I will deal with the individual comments raised by both of the critics as we deal with those amendments.

Bill ordered for committee of the whole House.

House in committee of the whole.


Resuming consideration of Bill 51, An Act to amend the Ontario Water Resources Act.

On section 2:

Hon. Mr. Brandt: Last week the committee carried a motion to amend clause 42a of the Ontario Water Resources Act, as enacted by subsection 2(1) of the bill. This section deals with the administrative or overhead charges.

4:50 p.m.

This afternoon I will be moving a further amendment to clause 42b of the act dealing with the method of billing. I will also be moving an amendment to section 3 of the bill to provide for a notice and comment procedure prior to any regulations being made with respect to the administrative or overhead charges.

Before moving the first motion, I would briefly like to recapitulate the purposes of clauses 42a and 42b so there will be no confusion between these two amendments. First, in 42a, which we have dealt with, existing agreements permit the municipalities at this time to be charged administrative costs. This was not brought out clearly in our discussion of last week. As a practical matter it would be difficult and expensive to apportion these costs to each municipality on an accurate basis if done individually. If these costs were divided on an accurate basis, they would tend to impact more severely on the smaller municipalities.

Some costs, such as Workers' Compensation Board costs, are incurred on an irregular basis and could have a severe impact on any municipality in a particular year. The new clause 42a will permit these costs to be aggregated and divided among all municipalities in a fair manner. This can be on the basis of a percentage of their operating costs or on any other fair basis set by the regulations.

Last week's amendment makes it clear these additional charges tend not to be related to costs incurred for the specific sewage or waterworks in question. I will be moving an amendment later this afternoon to provide that any regulation related to this section will be subject to a notice and comment procedure. This is to build in an element of fairness and balance with the municipalities in case there are any problems or concerns they have with respect to the regulations once they are finalized. This will give any affected municipality an opportunity to make representations in the event any proposed regulation would appear to affect the municipality unduly or unfairly.

Clause 42a will result in municipalities paying the full costs of water and sewage services, including administrative costs which are allowed under legislation now. Therefore, it will remove a disincentive to municipalities taking over direct operation of sewage or waterworks provided by the province.

Because the costs will be split among all municipalities, some will be paying more and some less than they would if the costs were accounted for on a project-by-project basis. We anticipate the first proposed regulations will be published in the Ontario Gazette and distributed to affected municipalities in time for the regulations to be in force during the 1985 calendar year.

I will now deal with the new clause 42b in a motion I will be making to amend that.

Mr. Chairman: The minister may wish to put the motion and then make his comments after.

Hon. Mr. Brandt: All right. We have already dealt with 42a. If you wish the motion on 42b, I can put that now.

Is that your wish, sir?

Mr. Chairman: Yes. You say 42a has been carried?

Hon. Mr. Brandt: Yes, 42a has been carried.

Mr. Elston: Mr. Chairman, I have a question with respect to the statement made by the minister.

Can he tell us how many municipalities are now being subsidized? He would have put it that way, I suppose, if one capsulizes those statements. How many are paying more than they really should at this time? Can he tell us how many of those municipalities he hopes this legislation will encourage, to put it mildly, to take over the operation of their systems and how much this might be anticipated to cost them in taking over the operation.

Mr. Chairman: Perhaps the minister would like to respond to that. Then we will move to 42b.

Hon. Mr. Brandt: Yes, Mr. Chairman. There were a number of questions there, and I will try to answer them all if I can.

First of all, all municipalities that have systems that are at present operated by the province are, in effect, not paying the administrative charge or the operating overhead charge that is provided for by the province at this time. I cannot give the member a specific number; perhaps I could get that from the staff.

But the reality is that all of them have a factoring that is allowed under existing legislation, which is built in but is very difficult to assess in direct cost because of the reasons I have discussed earlier. It is extremely difficult to assess in a fair and equitable way the allocation of time, as an example, for the head office or for any of the district offices or regional offices, and also where we have time allocations specifically allotted to a given project. So the answer to the first part of the question the member raised is very simply that the administrative costs are being absorbed by the province at the present time.

It is not anticipated that this cost will be any more than a five per cent factor. I am talking about five per cent in the administrative overhead. Once that is blended into the total cost of the operation, I have not seen one yet that would exceed perhaps two or 2.5 per cent of the existing operations. In other words, by the time one blends in that cost, it would be up about 2.5 per cent in terms of the blended cost over the whole system. But in doing it that way, as I indicated before, we do protect those small municipalities against a large increase.

All we are doing is charging the administrative cost that is built in now. It is impossible to allocate those costs now on an individual basis; it must be on a blanket basis across the province. I cannot give the member a specific number on what that amount might be, although I can tell him from the response I have had from the staff in their review of this entire situation that it really is a relatively small amount of money, considering the entire province. I would say it is in the range, maximum, of $2 million over the total system, that is blended across the entire province.

Mr. Elston: Mr. Chairman, I wonder if the point of the discussion really is that the blending of these payments, or charging a blended administrative cost to all these small municipalities, is to be encouraged, or is eventually to be discouraged and then have these municipalities take over the operation of these facilities. Is the minister anticipating an extra call by those municipalities for funding to support the operation of their facility, or is he looking at their getting the extra dollars from the taxpayers of their municipalities?

Hon. Mr. Brandt: Mr. Chairman, first of all, we are encouraging more local autonomy, which anyone who has operated at the municipal level, like our colleague from the Waterloo riding, would know is something that has been going on for some time and something I would personally encourage.

In regard to where they would get any additional funding that would be required, it will be an extremely small amount of money in any individual system. If the municipalities -- and I have heard them say this before -- can operate the system more efficiently than those guys at Queen's Park or those guys at the Ministry of the Environment with its big head office at the corner of St. Clair and Avenue Road, they can take over the system. That is what we are trying to build in here as an encouragement or an inducement for the local municipalities to take over the system.

We have built in, by way of a bit of a fail-safe in the legislation that is being proposed, an opportunity for notice and comment on the part of the municipalities if they feel they are being unfairly dealt with. There is that opportunity for them to respond to the ministry if they sense that the charges are too high. There is an appeal process that is built in. We anticipate there is going to be a problem in some areas where right now there are some municipalities that are receiving an unfair benefit and are not paying for the true cost of the operation of that system.

5 p.m.

Mr. Elston: If the minister will be encouraging all municipalities, whether large or small, I take it, to take over these systems, I wonder whether during the formative period for these facilities it will be possible to have a more direct liaison with those municipalities so they can be sure the costs they are going to be taking over, and the operating costs they are going to be taking over in terms of funding interest charges and things, will be well known to them rather than being a surprise at the time the keys are turned over by the ministry to the local officials.

Hon. Mr. Brandt: There will be sufficient lead time built into what we are proposing to give them that kind of pause so they can reflect on what might happen to them a year or two down the road.

Specifically, in response to one of the member's earlier questions, the intent is to have some of the larger systems taken over by the municipalities, as opposed to the smaller systems. There may well be in the province some smaller systems that will be operated by the province from now ad infinitum, because the expertise may well not be available to the municipalities, at least on a cost basis that makes any sense.

Essentially, this legislation and the administrative cost I am talking about is directed at the larger municipalities to buffer the smaller ones against those large increases. The likelihood of some of the smallest systems being taken over by the smaller municipalities is remote at this time. In all probability it will not happen for the next decade, as I see the timing at the moment.

Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Brandt moves that subsection 42b(4) of the act, as set out in subsection 2(1) of the bill, be struck out and the following substituted therefor:

"(4) The crown may determine the amounts due under an agreement on an annual basis for principal, interest and operating and other costs instead of on the basis of volumes and may require payment of the amounts annually or by way of more frequent periodic payments.

"(5) The provisions of an agreement that apply in respect of a petition to the Lieutenant Governor in Council in respect of a rate apply with necessary modifications in respect of an amount determined under subsection (4)."

Does the minister have any remarks on this amendment?

Hon. Mr. Brandt: No, not at this time.

Mr. Chairman: Does any member wish to speak to the amendment?

Mr. Rotenberg: Carried.

Mr. Elston: There is a very anxious member in the chamber.

Mr. Chairman, I want to make a couple of remarks to put on the record some of the concerns that have arisen. I appreciate the reasons for bringing this amendment into the House. There are a good number of municipalities, as discussed with the minister in estimates, that are very concerned about the calculation of costs and how the whole system works, particularly in the light of the fact that we are getting very large percentage increases on the rates that are being charged to municipalities. That has occurred even in these days of restraint.

In many ways, although we are providing the new means and a new ability to calculate and deal with those rate questions, I hope the minister can appreciate it will be well if he can do his best to hold any increases in those charges and costs to a satisfactory level with a view to the overall restraint program. Perhaps he would like to comment on that and tell us how he plans to work that part of restraint into the very practical and day-to-day operation of these facilities in Ontario.

Hon. Mr. Brandt: First, Mr. Chairman, we would operate on a cost-recovery basis, but I want to assure the member for Huron-Bruce that as a result of the changes we are proposing here we are removing the uncertainty in the rate setting process. It now extends, sometimes, over a three-year agreement and on other occasions over a five-year agreement, which causes even more of a disruption for municipalities.

By getting away from the volume measurement -- in other words, the amount of water used in some instances -- and with the annual rate charge being proposed here, the municipalities will be in a position to know what the bill will be a year in advance. We cannot give them that assurance now. As the member well knows, in some instances, because of weather conditions, the usage of water can go up or down quite dramatically. When that happens, the residents of a particular municipality are left with whatever extreme conditions may arise with respect to what the overall costs of operating that system are related to the total volume of the system.

I want to assure members that we are bringing in these amendments with the municipalities in mind. We are not doing it to pull a fast one on them or to assess them additional charges. We are trying to give them a very clear picture of what their operating costs are going to be for the next 12-month period.

I might add that there is a provision within this amendment for periodic payments. Because of its particular financing a municipality may want to make a payment on a monthly basis or on a quarterly basis, whatever. That is the kind of arrangement that can be made with the ministry.

I want to assure members again that the intent of this is to remove the uncertainty from a municipality. At this point, the uncertainty is built into the process in many instances with the three- and five-year agreements. We have them built with a volume factor included in the process; but sometimes, despite the best intentions on everybody's part, there are some of those very large increases which the member for Huron-Bruce is referring to. We hope that is not going to happen now as a result of this.

Mr. Charlton: Mr. Chairman, I do not have any serious concerns with these two subsection amendments proposed by the minister, but I just want to raise a question.

During the course of his comments, the minister has alluded to the global adjustments that will be made in an effort to try and make the adjustment payments a little fairer. He has alluded to the fact that he thinks in most cases that will work to the advantage of the smaller municipalities over and against the bigger ones. I do not think any of us would disagree with that.

I would like to know whether the ministry has developed formulas that indicate that is true, or is that still to be done? What approach is he taking to this that indicates to him that those things will happen? What is he basing those comments on? If we vote on this amendment based on the perception that there is going to be an adjustment that will make things fairer across the board or across the province and likely it will be the smaller municipalities that will benefit, what is he basing those comments on? I ask so we can feel comfortable with supporting a concept which we obviously support.

Hon. Mr. Brandt: First, Mr. Chairman, the administrative charges, I have indicated, would be blended in a fair and equitable way. If the municipality feels that is not the case and if the kind of unfair horror story that the honourable member may be envisaging could conceivably happen, we have built a notice, comment and appeal process into the bill to give a municipality an opportunity to respond if it is being unfairly treated.

In an instance where the municipalities feel the province is overcharging -- that is obviously what the argument would be at some point during the course of the process; they would say the province is "making money on us" or taking advantage of us" in some fashion -- then the municipalities have the opportunity to operate the system themselves. But they cannot have it both ways.

I am sure the member can understand that. The municipalities cannot say, "To operate the system through the province is costing us far more than we can afford, but we do not want to operate it ourselves either." There has to be a reasonable cost assessed against the system or they can take the system over.

5:10 p.m.

Mr. Charlton: I am not disputing the minister's intent. His intent has been clear in his comments. Is there something -- a mechanism or formula -- already in place which will go into effect immediately to do this blending when we pass this bill? That is what I am asking. Is it just conceptual at this point? Is it the minister's intention to find a way to do the blending to accomplish what he is expressing now, or has a formula already been developed?

Hon. Mr. Brandt: A specific formula has not been developed. That would be included in the regulations that would be drafted. I have agreed to discuss those with the member at the time of drafting the regulations. That may cover the concerns he is raising. What we are talking about now is perhaps a philosophical application to the way in which it would be handled.

Mr. Boudria: Mr. Chairman, I want to take a few minutes with the minister and bring to the attention of the House a question I have with regard to the rate in Hawkesbury, in my constituency.

A day or so ago I sent the minister the present rates charged for sewage in Hawkesbury. Industries in the town are paying, I believe, a rate of 76 cents per 1,000 gallons. Some of the larger industries are paying in the order of $40,000 to $50,000 a year.

The minister is aware that the same community suffered a 20 per cent decrease in its assessment this year. The decrease was caused by a closure of the town's largest employer, the Canadian International Paper mill. It was also the largest user of the sewage plant and those other facilities as well.

The fact they have shut down means there are fewer contributors paying the sewage rate. The net effect is that the clerk of the municipality informs us the rates for next year will be $1.02 per 1,000 gallons. That is an increase of between 30 and 35 per cent. That creates a situation whereby it is very difficult to attract new industries, or it is certainly more difficult than if the rate were lower.

I want to know whether the provisions the minister is addressing now would possibly help Hawkesbury or other communities like it throughout the province that are faced with this very serious problem. I am wondering what assistance would be possible in this way. Would this mechanism give the minister an opportunity to assist Hawkesbury with that kind of problem?

Hon. Mr. Brandt: In fairness, Mr. Chairman, I do not believe the legislation and the amendments being proposed here would address the kind of problem which has arisen in Hawkesbury. I share the deep concern the honourable member has indicated to me both privately and in the House today with regard to the economic downturn that has occurred in Hawkesbury as a result of the closing of a vital and important industry. I can only say that I have spoken to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing (Mr. Bennett) and we will get back to the member with respect to a more comprehensive and co-ordinated response on the part of our ministries.

One has a very fundamental and serious problem when the town's major industry closes and leaves people holding the bag, not only with respect to sewage charges but also with respect to the community's assessment. I do not think this kind of legislation, even though it is an improvement for municipalities the size of Hawkesbury under normal conditions, can address the kind of problem the member is raising at this point. I wish it were so, but I would be misleading if I were to tell him the answers are in these amendments.

Mr. Boudria: Is the minister indicating that he is looking at the Hawkesbury problem with his colleague the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing? If so, could an answer be forthcoming in the near future?

I realize the situation where people in a community are attempting to secure new industries is often contingent upon the fees industries have to pay, whether they be taxes, water rates or sewer rates. Those are the factors, along with the price of the labour force, that either make an industry move to a community or make it decide to move elsewhere.

The minister may be aware that in the past few months there was a rumour that a company based in Ste. Thérèse, Quebec, known as Minasco Aerospace, would move from that area and establish itself in Cornwall. We want the people of Cornwall to have lots of employment, but as the member for Prescott-Russell, I would like them to come to Hawkesbury first and elsewhere in the province second. They did not come to Hawkesbury; they eventually chose Cornwall.

Whether those fees had anything to do with it, I am not sure -- probably they did not in this particular case, because they wanted an existing plant of a given size that happened to be there -- but there are certainly many examples of industries attempting to move where it would make a difference.

In conclusion, whatever the minister can do -- and the sooner the better -- it will be appreciated by our community, because we have a very serious problem.

Hon. Mr. Brandt: We are working on it. I will get back to the member as soon as possible. I cannot make any promises at this time, but I share his concern, as does my colleague. We will do what we can within our limitations to assist in any way possible.

Motion agreed to.

Section 2, as amended, agreed to.

On section 3:

Hon. Mr. Brandt: I have a rather lengthy amendment.

Mr. Chairman: Mr. Brandt moves that section 44 of the act, as amended by subsection 3(5) of the bill, be further amended by adding thereto the following subsections:

"(5) Before the Lieutenant Governor in Council makes a regulation under clause 1(k), the minister shall cause notice of the proposed regulation to be published in the Ontario Gazette.

"(6) A notice under subsection 5 shall set out the text of the proposed regulation and shall request that comments, briefs and submissions thereon be filed in writing with the minister within 60 days after the date of publication of the notice or within such longer period as is specified by the minister in the notice.

"(7) Upon expiry of the period for the filing of comments, briefs and submissions, the minister may recommend the proposed regulation to the Lieutenant Governor in Council with or without changes in the text.

"(8) Where the minister intends to recommend the proposed regulation with changes in the text,

"(a) the minister need not publish a further notice under subsection 5;

"(b) the minister shall cause notice of the changes in the text to be published in the Ontario Gazette; and

"(c) the minister shall not recommend the proposed regulation to the Lieutenant Governor in Council until at least 30 days after the date of publication of the notice under clause (b).

"(9) Subsections 5 to 8 apply to a regulation that amends or repeals a regulation.

"(10) The minister shall cause a copy of each regulation made under clause (1)(k) to be sent to each municipality or other person with whom the crown has an agreement for the provision or operation of a sewage works or a waterworks or the provision of sewage service or water service."

5:20 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Brandt: I have no comments at this time.

Section 3, as amended, agreed to.

Hon. Mr. Brandt: There are no amendments to sections 4, 5 or 6.

Sections 4 to 6, inclusive, agreed to.

On section 7:

Mr. Chairman: Mr. Brandt moves that the bill be amended by adding thereto the following section:

"7(1) The said act is further amended by adding thereto the following section:

"65(1) In this section,

"(a) 'make' includes issue or give;

"(b) 'order' includes direction, requirement, report or notice.

"(2) The authority to make an order under this act includes the authority to require the person or body to whom the order is directed to take such intermediate action or such procedural steps or both as are related to the action required or prohibited by the order and as are specified in the order.

"(2) Section 65 of the said act, as enacted by subsection 1, applies in respect of every order made under the said act whether or not the order was made before this section comes into force."

Mr. Brandt further moves that sections 7 and 8 of the bill, as printed, be renumbered as sections 8 and 9 respectively.

Hon. Mr. Brandt: Mr. Chairman, this part of the bill has been discussed earlier and effectively puts in place the mechanism that is required by the ministry to phase environmental abatement programs in the case of an industry that is under an order and where we have had some difficulty as a result of a recent court decision.

I believe the opposition critics are familiar with what happened in the particular instance and this is simply to plug an existing loophole that we feel is essential if we are going to enable the ministry to move in and to do something about a potentially harmful environmental problem, or where the existing legislation can be used in terms of the appeal process as a delaying tactic. This amendment hopes to overcome that.

Mr. Elston: Mr. Chairman, just to confirm what was stated earlier by colleague the member for Kent-Elgin (Mr. McGuigan) when he addressed some remarks on second reading, I guess we are aware that in putting a measure like this into place we always have to weigh the question of our due process experience here in Ontario. At some point or other, when it comes to the public interest in protecting the environment, we have to measure whether the arming of a public official with heavy-handed powers is warranted.

At this stage, I only want to comment that it is time we go with the necessary steps required to protect and preserve the environment. It is all too evident to us that trying to regenerate after the fact something that has been destroyed is not only expensive but is almost impossible in a number of situations.

We have seen other examples, as the minister alluded to, where a continuation of an operational practice by a citizen of the province has continued to degrade the environment at a time when all available legal methods were exhausted. Perhaps it has done nothing more than cost a fair number of dollars and, in addition, cost the people of Ontario a healthy environment. It is in that sense and with those concerns expressed and registered on the record that we are in support of the closing of this loophole.

Section 7, as amended, agreed to.

Sections 8 and 9, as renumbered, agreed to.

Mr. Chairman: Shall the bill, as amended, be reported?

Mr. Elston: Mr. Chairman, I just want to speak for a second to bring to the attention of all members who might have missed the significance of clause 42(b) that during the controversy which rages in the national capital with respect to units of measurement, we have again incorporated the metric system in the operations of Ontario. It slipped by us without being noticed. I know the Minister of the Environment would want the public of Ontario to know that he, at least, is in support of the federal folks in Ottawa who are enforcing the adoption of metric units in the everyday life of the province.

Mr. Chairman: Order. I am sure if the minister had wanted to bring that up he had every opportunity to do so.

Hon. Mr. Brandt: For the record, it is optional.

Bill, as amended, ordered to be reported.


Consideration of Bill 52, An Act to amend the Environmental Protection Act.

On section 1:

Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Brandt moves that clause 1(1)(ca) of the act as set out in subsection 1(2) of the bill be amended by inserting, after "used" in the first line and in the second line, "alone."

Motion agreed to.

Section 1, as amended, agreed to.

5:30 p.m.

On section 2:

Mr. Chairman: Mr. Brandt moves that subsection 1(a) of the act as set out in section 2 of the bill be amended: (a) by striking out, "at a location not within the building or structure," in the third and fourth lines and inserting in lieu thereof, "in another building or structure;" and (b) by striking out, "at the location not within the building or structure," in the sixth and seventh lines and inserting in lieu thereof, "in the other building or structure."

Section 2, as amended, agreed to.

Sections 3 to 5, inclusive, agreed to.

Mr. Elston: Mr. Chairman, I would like to raise a point of order if I might. It would make it an awful lot easier for us if the people who are assisting the minister would make these amendments available to us beforehand. If we could have the amendments prior to the reading it does help us to see exactly what wording is going in there. Rather than bringing these things to us after the fact, I wonder if it would not be a bit more helpful to have them in advance.

Hon. Mr. Brandt: The staff will accommodate the request of the member for Huron-Bruce. Certainly from a logistical standpoint, it would assist both myself and the members of the opposition to follow along. We are always totally fair.

On section 6:

Mr. Chairman: Mr. Brandt moves that subsection 17(2) of the act, as set out in section 6 of the bill, be amended: (a) in clause (a), by inserting after "or" in the fourth line "from or on the;" (b) in subclause (b)(i), by inserting after "or" where it occurs the first time in the third line "from or on the;" and (c) in subclause (b)(ii), by inserting after "or" in the fifth line "from or on the."

Section 6, as amended, agreed to.

Sections 7 to 19, inclusive, agreed to.

On section 20:

Hon. Mr. Brandt: Before I proceed, may I ask if the material has been provided?

Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Brandt moves that section 127 of the act, as amended by section 20 of the bill, be further amended by adding thereto the following subsections:

"(1b) Upon application with notice by the owner or the person who had the charge, management or control of a thing detained by a provincial officer, a justice of the peace may make an order for the release of the thing detained to the person from whom the thing was seized where it appears that the thing detained is no longer necessary for the purpose of the administration of this act and the regulations.

"(1c) An appeal lies from an order or refusal to make an order under subsection (1b) by a justice of the peace in the same manner as an appeal from a conviction in a proceeding commenced by means of a certificate under the Provincial Offences Act."

Mr. Elston: Mr. Chairman, I wonder if the minister would comment on the definition of "thing detained" and allow for the types of testing on this thing that this provincial officer might be conducting.

Hon. Mr. Brandt: Mr. Chairman, the intent here is to make a provision within the act so that if there is a seizure of material -- a "thing" the way it is defined in the act -- that is required for an investigation, the mechanism that is proposed here is that over a reasonable period of time it must be returned to its rightful owner if it is no longer required for the purposes of the investigation.

We did not have that before. Something could be seized and could be kept for an indefinite period of time. This builds in an element of fairness with respect to the party who may be under investigation.

Mr. Elston: My real point in asking is whether "thing" is definite enough to provide the boundaries that the minister is looking for in an examination of the substance or whatever it might be that he is retaining. The question is with respect to whether the word "thing" is what he really requires, or whether he should have other words in there as well to broaden and encompass a number of items or substances or whatever.

Hon. Mr. Brandt: My understanding is that the definition of the word "thing" is relatively all-encompassing and would cover the kinds of things that would come up in the course of an investigation. According to the best advice I have from my most capable legal staff, they have advised that this is appropriate for the requirements we might have during the course of an investigation.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Brandt moves that section 20 of the bill be amended by adding thereto the following subsection:

"(2) Subsection 127(2) of the said act is amended by inserting after 'air' in the fourth line 'or to detain or remove any thing;' and by inserting after 'thereon' in the sixth line 'to detain or to remove any thing.'"

Motion agreed to.

Section 20, as amended, agreed to.

Section 21 agreed to.

On section 22:

Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Brandt moves that subsection 134b(2), as set out in section 22, be struck out and the following substituted therefor:

"(2) No employer shall,

"(a) dismiss an employee;

"(b) discipline an employee;

"'(c) penalize an employee; or

"(d) coerce or intimidate or attempt to coerce or intimidate an employee, because the employee has complied or may comply with,

"(e) the Environment Assessment Act,

"(f) the Environmental Protection Act;

"(g) the Fisheries Act (Canada);

"'(h) the Ontario Water Resources Act; or

"'(i) the Pesticides Act,

"or a regulation under one of those acts or an order, term or condition, certificate of approval, licence, permit or direction under one of those acts or because the employee has sought or may seek the enforcement of one of those acts or a regulation under one of those acts or has given or may give information to the ministry or a provincial officer or has been or may be called upon to testify in a proceeding related to one of those acts or a regulation under one of those acts."

5:40 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Brandt: I appreciate the input provided by my colleague's office on the amendment proposed on section 22. We had a very thorough and complete discussion of the need for this particular amendment during the course of the estimates. I think it is a very good indication of the democratic process working in this House. The opposition parties have proposed -- I am not going to give specific credit to one or the other, but the reality was that it was unanimously endorsed. I appreciate those kinds of recommendations and we try to accommodate them where they make sense, as this amendment does in this particular bill.

Mr. Elston: My only question really deals with, as I had raised before I saw the amendment, the broadening of the application of the particular section to the Canadian act, the Fisheries Act. Rather than appearing to deal specifically with the act, I wonder whether it should have been worded so that this section deals with the enforcement of the act, which is part of the provincial purview.

I do not know whether that constitutional question was discussed fully with the minister's staff, but it would appear that somehow this provincial legislation is affecting the federal. I think it should be made clear, or perhaps it may or may not need to be made clear, that we are really only talking about protecting an employee who complies with the investigation by a provincial officer or the enforcement abilities under a system of delegation of enforcement that has come down from the government of Canada.

I raise that only as a question now so we can be assured a constitutional question will not be brought forward which may jeopardize this section and, as a result, cause a whole series of difficulties with the enforcement of other parts of this. That is the only reason I raise that now.

Hon. Mr. Brandt: We may well not know the bottom-line answer to that particular question until such time as there is some form of a challenge before the courts on the question raised by the honourable member. Let me just assure him that we know we are on safe ground with respect to laying charges under that particular act and, in fact, we did so in the Spanish River matter. The intent, as the member is well aware, is to protect employees who may provide information to the ministry operating under those particular charges as they relate to the Fisheries Act. My only comment is that I believe we are on constitutionally safe ground, but it has not been tested or proven at this particular point.

Mr. Charlton: Mr. Chairman, I think I would agree from my reading that the proposed amendment by the minister is just dealing with an employee who takes some action under the Fisheries Act or provides information about an offence under the Fisheries Act so that charges can then be laid. I do not see any problem of this section interfering with the actual operation of the Fisheries Act itself. I certainly welcome and support the amendment.

I do have one question for the minister. I assume in preparing this amendment he has looked at all the possible problems around employees taking environmental action on and under a number of pieces of legislation. I ask the minister whether he considered at all the Occupational Health and Safety Act, which has a connection to the extent that an action taken under that act or a complaint or issue raised by an employee under that act may also have application under one of these other acts in the context of a pollutant escaping from an industrial premise or being poured down a sewer or whatever.

That employee may have made a comment or given information under the Occupational Health and Safety Act as opposed to one of the environmental acts. I do not know whether there is any problem there. I am just raising that to see if perhaps we should be adding that one piece of legislation to the list. I do not know the answer to that.

Hon. Mr. Brandt: The answer is simply this: at the moment there is no point in building duplications into this legislation. The specific question the member for Hamilton Mountain raises, as it relates to occupational health and safety, is more than adequately covered by the legislation under which my colleague the Minister of Labour (Mr. Ramsay) operates.

The provisions of that act give coverage for certain situations the member is well aware of. In relation to an environmental matter, we have now provided new coverage for employees' security in this legislation. It is not really required that we cover matters beyond the scope of environment, other than in the area of the federal Fisheries Act to which we have already alluded.

Mr. Elston: I have one further matter under this section while we are here. It refers to a matter that was raised by the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel) during the estimates and deals with a problem a little further down the line from the actual employer-employee situation where there is a contractor's employee on the site. I feel this section would deal with the situation where the employee was fired by the contractor, but in essence, if the pressure came from the company that owned the actual facility, there is no means of getting back to alleviate that pressure.

I do not know how to prevent us from getting too complicated in this matter, but it is not beyond the realm of possibility that there might be a situation where, for example, X Forest Products has hired Joe Concrete Worker and his employees, to put a lot of pressure on the concrete workers not to report matters or at least to dismiss people who would like to report violations. This section would provide an employee of the concrete company with a way of receiving some restitution or removing a dismissal, but there is no way of going from the concrete company back to the actual owner of the site. I wonder if the minister considered that scenario and whether it would overly complicate matters to take that extra step to get to the originator of the coercive forces.

Mr. Martel: Mr. Chairman, could I just comment as well? The difficulty, as my friend outlined, is even further compounded by the fact that many of the people who work for a construction company are hired by the hiring hall practice. In other words, if a company needs a few new employees, it goes to the union, if there is one, and hires someone the union puts forth through the hiring hall practice. If there is no union, of course, it is different.

5:50 p.m.

The fear I have is that a company could simply blackball a worker and no one would be prepared to hire him. All kinds of excuses could be used for not hiring Joe Jones because he reported this incident. Whenever his name came to the top of the list, he would be excluded. The company could simply say: "We do not need anybody at this time; we are not proceeding with the job," and the fellow who has reported the incident is out of luck.

It is a very difficult area and I am not sure how we are going to get around it, but unless we get around it in the case I outlined in committee -- very carefully I might add -- the possibility is there. The minister and I talked later on about the difficulty of trying to resolve it. I hope he can indicate if there is any possible way to do this. There must be a way of protecting those people who are in the construction field and are hired through the hiring hall practice.

Hon. Mr. Brandt: In putting these amendments together, we intended to cover all employees who could in any conceivable situation provide information to the ministry under any of these acts that would assist us in carrying out our mandate, that is environmental protection. Quite obviously, the direct employees of the firm would be covered.

There is a hazy area as to whether or not a third-party employer who is one step removed comes under the same conditions that are outlined here. Frankly, I cannot respond to the member on that right now. It is certainly our intent to cover a construction worker, for example, who would be on site and would be the employee of someone who had contracted or even subcontracted the job out. We intended that employee would be covered as well. I am sure the member realizes it is much more difficult to get at that party the further removed he is from the principal company itself.

However, we have proposed here that a very high percentage of all employees in a position to expose a company that was operating in some inappropriate fashion would be covered. This would constitute a vast number of employees.

I will get clarification in regard to that other area. I agree it is perhaps not as clearly defined. We know there are provisions in acts the Ministry of Labour operates under that do cover some cases where there could be an inappropriate dismissal of an employee. The only thing I can say is it will cover the vast percentage of employees directly hired by the initial company.

Mr. Martel: I would like to comment again briefly on something the minister has just said. Even the Minister of Labour has difficulty with this aspect of his own legislation under health and safety. There was a report prepared for the royal commission on asbestos by a man named Doern of Carleton University. He interviewed the Minister of Labour's staff. They felt they had great difficulty protecting those employees who were not protected by a collective agreement.

I can almost paraphrase what Doern said:

"Notwithstanding legislation that exists, a company under some guise can get rid of someone it considers an obstreperous worker who is too vigorous in promoting health and safety."

While I agree with the difficulty this minister has, I think the Minister of Labour is struggling with that problem of protecting those employees in yet another situation who are not protected by a union. In the study conducted among the minister's inspectors they recognized the difficulty of protecting workers, because the employers could always find a reason somewhere down the road, two weeks hence, for dismissing someone for another reason when they really wanted to get back at the employee who made the complaint.

That is an area I know the Ministry of Labour is going to deal with because his staff has probably reported to him the difficulties they were having. I suspect this minister is going to have the same problem. He will find, if there is no union, the employer can get rid of an employee for some other reason. While I commend the minister for what he is attempting to do in protecting employees, I suspect in unorganized plants he will have difficulty getting people to come forward because the employer will be able to get rid of them for some other reason.

Mr. Charlton: Mr. Chairman, briefly on the same issue, I appreciate the amendments and what the minister is trying to do, and I appreciate the difficulties as well. We would appreciate it if he could have his legal staff look at what potential there is to deal with the third-party situation we have raised. The member for Sudbury East mentioned it but I am not sure the minister picked it up.

This section he has set out deals very specifically with employees, but because of the nature of the construction industry we have an unfortunate situation in the construction field where, when the job is done, an employee may very well get laid off for legitimate reasons, for example because there is no more work at that moment. My colleague suggested the possibility of workers then being discriminated against when the time for rehiring comes. Perhaps we could look at some protections on the back side. I do not know if it is possible to work it out in this act, but we would appreciate it if he could have his legal staff look at that side of the question.

Hon. Mr. Brandt: I would be happy to do so. There is general agreement that the legislation being proposed is a very positive step forward. It was recommended and supported by the members opposite as well. Let us see whether it works. We have to acquire some experience in operating with the amendments being proposed here. Certainly the concept is a good one and should be given a trial.

I also agree that there are some conditions and some areas that may not be covered. I am quite prepared to work with the members to see if we can develop a mechanism that will appropriately cover some of those questionable areas.

Motion agreed to.

Section 22, as amended, agreed to.

Sections 23 and 24 agreed to.

On section 25:

The Acting Chairman (Mr. Cousens): Hon. Mr. Brandt moves that the bill be amended by adding thereto the following section:

"25(1) The said act is further amended by adding thereto the following section:

"149. The authority to make an order under this act includes the authority to require the person or body to whom the order is directed to take such intermediate action or such procedural steps or both as are related to the action required or prohibited by the order and as are specified in the order.

"(2) Section 149 of the said act, as enacted by subsection (1), applies in respect of every order made under the said act whether or not the order was made before this section comes into force."

Hon. Mr. Brandt further moves that sections 25 and 26 of the bill, as printed, be renumbered as sections 26 and 27 respectively.

Motion agreed to.

Section 25, as amended, agreed to.

Section 26 and 27, as renumbered, agreed to.

Bill, as amended, ordered to be reported.


Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Chairman, I should indicate that tonight we will proceed to Bill 86 and Bill 87 in committee. As I think there are likely to be votes, it has been agreed that the votes will be stacked until 10:15 p.m. After those bills are finished in committee we will proceed with the adjourned debate on second reading of Bill 90, An Act to amend the Assessment Act. We will not be proceeding tonight with Bills 93, 94 or 92.

The House recessed at 6 p.m.