The House met at 2 p.m.
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
APPOINTMENT OF OMBUDSMAN
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I have great pleasure to announce today, as is the custom, that I shall be placing before the Legislature for the consideration of all members the name of Dr. Daniel G. Hill as the next Ombudsman for Ontario.
Dr. Hill has had a distinguished record of service in the academic community, in government and more recently as a private consultant in the areas of human rights and intergroup relations. While I shall not at this time attempt to outline the detail of Dr. Hill's long and impressive career, I should remind all of us that he has served this province over the years in a number of important capacities, including that of director and then chairman of the Ontario Human Rights Commission.
Most recently, through his own private consulting firm, Dr. Hill has offered counsel and advice to such diverse bodies as the University of Toronto, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, the Bermuda Human Rights Commission and the Ontario Ministry of Correctional Services.
Dr. Hill will require a short period of time to bring his current assignments to a reasonable conclusion. It is hoped, however, that he will be in a position to undertake full-time duty by the latter part of February and can be sworn in officially when the House reconvenes in March of next year.
I feel that in the traditions established initially by Arthur Maloney and more recently by Donald Morand, we have persuaded another Canadian with excellent credentials and an outstanding record of public service to undertake the role of Ombudsman for our province. I am sure Dr. Hill will have the enthusiastic support of all members of this House as he prepares to undertake his new responsibilities.
I would like to point out to the members of the House the presence of Dr. Hill in the gallery, accompanied by his wife, Mrs. Donna Hill, his son, Dan, who is something of a celebrity in his own right -- and I have to say to Dan that I cannot plug commercially any of his undertakings -- and also of course Dan's wife, Beverly Chapin-Hill. It is a great pleasure to introduce the Hill family to the members of the House.
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I had the opportunity this morning of meeting with the Premier (Mr. Davis) and the leader of the New Democratic Party (Mr. Rae), at which point the Premier told me of his choice for the new Ombudsman in Ontario. I immediately took that news to our caucus and I can say there is universal enthusiasm from my caucus for the appointment of Dr. Hill as the new Ombudsman.
I know he will take his responsibilities seriously. I was interested in the Premier's statement on page 2, saying, "I feel that in the traditions established initially by Arthur Maloney and more recently by Donald Morand . . ." Although I share everything else the Premier said in his statement, I am not sure we want to develop this office in exactly the same traditions that were developed by those Ombudsmen.
I think there is a major rebuilding job to do in terms of the public perception of the office and the speed with which it obtains equity in this complicated system, and in rebuilding faith with members on all sides of this Legislature. That being said, I can think of no person in this province who is more qualified or competent to rebuild faith in this institution, an institution which still has, in our view, great promise.
I say to Dr. Hill on behalf of my colleagues in the Ontario Liberal Party that I will be honoured at the appropriate time to second his nomination as Ombudsman. We wish him well. We will be proud to work with him. His appointment is a great addition to this province.
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, it is with a great deal of pleasure that I join with the remarks that have been made by the Premier and the leader of the Liberal Party with respect to the happy news of the appointment of Dr. Dan Hill as Ontario's new Ombudsman.
Dr. Hill is known to me and to the members of our party as somebody who has done an outstanding job as a civil libertarian, as someone who has spoken out with courage against racism in our society, as someone who has made all Canadians and all Ontarians aware of the richness of the black heritage in this province and the richness of the contribution of the black community to this province.
I was reading Dr. Hill's work entitled, The Freedom Seekers, Blacks in Early Canada, which was a history of the black community in Canada and Ontario up to the end of the 19th century. I was struck while reading it of the example of one man whose name is Delos Davis of Amherstburg, who 100 years ago -- and I think honourable members should be aware of this -- wanted to become a lawyer in Ontario and could not find any law firm in the entire province with which he could article. Mr. Davis had to petition the Legislature of Ontario to be able to write his bar examinations, become a lawyer and practise law in Ontario. That was 100 years ago. Mr. Davis went on to become a King's counsel and one of the great courtroom tacticians of the era in this province.
I think it is a tribute to Dr. Hill that he has made us aware of this history. I think it is a tribute to what he has done as a civil libertarian at the University of Toronto, with the Canadian Human Rights Commission, with the Ontario Human Rights Commission, as a consultant to the government of Bermuda and as somebody who has been a consultant to the recent special parliamentary committee on the participation of visible minorities in Canadian society.
I want to pay tribute to Dr. Hill and say to him that he will have our full support in his work as the Ombudsman. As the leader of the third I am anticipating the next election -- as the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Peterson) has stated, it is a job which in our view requires rebuilding.
The one thing I do want to say to Dr. Hill on behalf of the New Democratic Party is that we would be very glad to sit down with him at his earliest opportunity and discuss what we see as the challenges and opportunities in his very important position as a symbol of the protection of the rights of the citizen against the government, which frequently makes mistakes, as big governments often and always do.
I would like to offer him that support and I look forward to working with him. I want to offer our very sincere congratulations to him and his distinguished family on this happy day.
Hon. Mr. Gregory: Today, Mr. Speaker, I have an announcement to make concerning the annual return of assessment rolls across Ontario. As the honourable members may be aware, the assessment rolls are generally returned to municipalities each year in the third week of December. This is done in accordance with the provisions of the Assessment Act.
The members opposite may also be aware that the passing of Bill 90 took somewhat longer than had been anticipated. That delay, however, was not without its positive benefits. The members voiced their concerns about property assessment in general and, in particular, about the new provisions regarding the mailing of assessment notices; namely, that every property owner and tenant will receive an assessment notice only if the circumstances of his assessment have changed during the past year or if the assessment was appealed last year.
In this regard the members were also concerned about the importance of ensuring an adequate period for filing assessment appeals. It has always been my ministry's practice to mail assessment notices in November, thereby providing for much more than the statutory minimum of 14 days between the mailing of the assessment notices and the return of the assessment rolls.
This year, however, the time consumed by debate on Bill 90 both in the House and in committee has delayed the mailing of the notices of assessment. It is still possible to meet the statutory requirement of mailing the notices 14 days before the return of assessment rolls, but I am sure the members agree that the ministry should continue its practice of providing ratepayers with as much time as possible to review their assessments. Moreover, the mailing of assessment notices in the month of December would mean that they would be delivered during the time of the year when the mail volume is at its peak.
In addition, in support of the annual return of assessment rolls my ministry encourages rate- payers to contact regional assessment offices and attend open house sessions which are conducted in municipalities throughout Ontario. These activities afford ratepayers the opportunity to discuss their assessments with property assessment staff.
In previous years these information sessions have been held about two weeks before the return of the assessment rolls to allow for the review of assessments. This has proved very effective. However, the situation this year is such that the time would be severely limited for ratepayers to review and discuss their assessments with assessors.
Therefore, with all these considerations in mind I am delaying the return of assessment rolls for this year from December 20, 1983, to February 15, 1984. Assessment notices will be mailed no later than January 9, 1984. For the clarification of the members opposite, this will provide 37 days from the mailing of assessment notices to the return of assessment rolls. This is well in excess of the 14 days provided for in the act.
Since the final date for filing an assessment appeal is 21 days after the return of the assessment rolls, the appeal deadline will be March 7, 1984, rather than the January 10 date that I had referred to during the second reading debate. This means there will be a total of 58 days from the date of mailing the notices until the final date for appeal.
In connection with the mailing of assessment notices, the open houses to be held in every municipality in Ontario and the final date for filing an appeal, my ministry will conduct its usual information campaign by placing a series of advertisements in all the daily and weekly newspapers, the French press and the 111 ethnic newspapers. Of course, the primary focus of the campaign will be to encourage ratepayers to attend these open house sessions and to remind them of the final date for filing an appeal, March 7, 1984.
I believe that the 58 days between the date of mailing the notices and the final date of appeal, coupled with my ministry's information campaign, will provide ratepayers with ample opportunity to understand their assessments and, if necessary, to appeal to the Assessment Review Board.
I am mindful of the need for municipalities to have the necessary data to issue their interim tax bills. These data have normally been provided in early January. The delay in the return of assessment rolls will not adversely affect the scheduled delivery of those tax tapes by January 11, 1984.
CHRONIC HOME CARE
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, we all hear and read a great deal these days about our rapidly ageing population and the impact this trend is having and will continue to have upon all of us, young and old alike. In Ontario there are now 886,700 people who are 65 years of age or older. By 2002, 1.38 million Ontarians will be senior citizens. It is estimated that some 225,000 people aged 65 or older now live in Metropolitan Toronto.
It is a priority of my ministry to find ways of reducing or preventing institutionalization of the growing number of older people in Ontario, to help them remain active and productive members of the community.
Today I am very pleased to announce an extensive chronic home care program will get under way March 1 in Metropolitan Toronto. It will be introduced in stages. This program will serve about 10,000 Metro residents during its first year, 80 per cent of whom are senior citizens. The introduction of this new program now makes acute and chronic home care services available throughout Ontario.
Services will include nursing care, homemaking, speech and occupational therapy and physiotherapy, all provided on a home visiting basis. This service should go a long way towards making chronically ill people more self-reliant and comfortable because it does not involve any real disruption of their daily lives and is a welcome alternative to long-care treatment and confinement in a hospital or nursing home. It is my conviction, and one that I am sure will be shared by all members of this House, that staying in one's home, being able to interact as usual with family, friends and community is a tremendous benefit to one's overall wellbeing.
Acute home care programs initiated in Metro Toronto in 1958 offer these kinds of services on a short-term basis only. Through 38 such acute care programs and 37 chronic or long-term programs 112,000 patients across Ontario received services in their homes last year at a total cost of about $86 million. In Metro alone, 23,000 residents got this help at a cost of $15 million. Our new Metro program, the 38th chronic care project in Ontario, will cost about $19 million in its first full year of operation.
Not only will our new program in Metro now provide effective long-term health care in the home, it should also reduce the number of chronically ill patients occupying acute care hospital beds in Metro Toronto hospitals. This will free hospital beds for acute care required by other patients.
I would like to explain how a patient applies for home care services. A patient's own doctor makes a referral and the program staff assesses the patient for eligibility and then for identification of the specific services the patient requires. Once admitted to the program, a patient's condition is monitored regularly to ensure that all needs are being met. Experience of our chronic care programs already under way indicates that average length of stay is about four and a half months.
In March, when our new program gets under way in Metro, services will be provided first to chronically ill patients now in acute care beds in Toronto hospitals. At the beginning of May, those who are clients of community service agencies such as the Visiting Homemakers' Association and the St. Elizabeth Visiting Nurses Association will be eligible for consideration for the program, followed in June by patients from chronic, rehabilitation, convalescent and psychiatric hospitals. In September, all Metro residents needing chronic care should be included in the program. This gradual phasing-in is necessary to ensure the best quality of home care for the very large number of people to be served.
I am confident the province-wide expansion of chronic home care not only reflects the ministry's, but also the government's continuing commitment to this valuable community-based program for the citizens of this province.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, members of this House will recall that two weeks ago I announced that Toronto architect Carlos Ott of the firm of Neish Owen Rowland and Roy was selected by French President François Mitterrand as the winner of the international competition to design the new Paris Opera House.
Today it gives me great pleasure to present to the Legislature Mr. Ott, who is in the Speaker's gallery. He is accompanied here by Mme Michèle Audon, the director general of the Paris Opera Mission, and M. Philippe Calavia, the opera mission's secretary general, whom we are also happy to welcome.
These people are taking this opportunity to view at first hand examples of Mr. Ott's architectural designs here in Toronto. Earlier this morning they met with Dr. James Cruise, director of the Royal Ontario Museum, and then toured the recent addition to the museum which we all know was so well designed by Mr. Ott to blend in with the long-established buildings that have stood at the top of Queen's Park Crescent for a number of years.
The party also met today with the Premier (Mr. Davis) and will be meeting with staff from the Ministry of Citizenship and Culture tomorrow. Next week the group will be visiting Boston, New York and Washington to look at other examples of Mr. Ott's work.
President Mitterrand has had a long personal interest in the building of this new Paris Opera House which will mark the 1989 bicentennial of the French Revolution. It is, therefore, all the more remarkable that Carlos Ott from Toronto should have his design chosen by President Mitterrand from more than 700 submissions. As we know, the new 3,000-seat opera house will be located near the Place de la Bastille.
I am sure we are very pleased to have Mr. Ott and our guests from Paris with us today.
BARRIE-VESPRA ANNEXATION BILL
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, this afternoon I will introduce a bill in the House that will bring a resolution to a long-standing boundary dispute between the city of Barrie and the township of Vespra in the county of Simcoe.
For those members of the House unfamiliar with the history of this dispute, it dates back prior to the Simcoe-Georgian task force of 1972. This task force included representatives of municipalities in Simcoe county. It deliberated for several years before completing its report in the mid-1970s which, among other things, delineated a Barrie urban area.
In the spring of 1976, the city of Barrie applied to the Ontario Municipal Board for a significant annexation into three surrounding townships, the townships of Innisfil, Oro and Vespra. The city was attempting with this application to implement the terms of the task force report for the Barrie urban area which proposed Barrie as the urban growth centre for that part of Simcoe county and which had been accepted by the government.
It then fell to the Ontario Municipal Board to determine what lands ought to be annexed. To this end, the board heard evidence and arguments over an 11-month period in 1976-77 which, to put it briefly, resulted in a decision to annex part of Vespra to Barrie. The board at that time did not spell out the precise boundaries of the lands in Vespra which were to be included in the annexation.
After the successful negotiations with Innisfil and unsuccessful attempts to negotiate with Vespra, Barrie asked the Ontario Municipal Board to resume the hearing to delineate the precise boundaries. In order to do this, the board heard two more days of evidence and arguments this past spring.
The end result of all this has been two board decisions overturned by the courts on procedural grounds, with the latest ruling sending the matter back to the board for a brand new hearing on the merits of annexation before a new panel of board members -- in other words, back to square one. It appears to me the history of this issue has been one of interminable delays while one or the other party sought legal opinions on every possible occasion. In the meantime, the people of the area are left in limbo.
In 1983, after a decade of uncertainty during which the province has shown enduring patience in allowing the municipalities to define the course of action, we are no closer to a Barrie-Vespra annexation than we were more than a decade ago when Barrie first requested an annexation. In any event, the Ontario Municipal Board jurisdiction in matters such as these will end on February 1, 1984.
The need for a solution continues and, in my view, has become imperative. Key development plans for the commercial shopping district now in Vespra hinge on resolution of this dispute. If the question of municipal jurisdiction in this area is not resolved by bringing this area into Barrie in short order, the development will be lost to the community.
For all the reasons I have mentioned above, I simply cannot sanction yet another round of Ontario Municipal Board hearings. Further, I take the view that there is no prospect of negotiating a solution. In my view, legislation is the only way to conclude the matter. In the process, there will be time allowed in committee for further input and debate on the location of the new boundary and an opportunity for those citizens who wish to be heard to state their views.
The bill to be presented today provides the basis for a solution, with details to be refined following public debate before committee, as I have already mentioned. The bill includes four component parts: a transfer of land to Barrie on January 1, 1984, which is intended to ensure orderly planning and development of the growth centre; compensation to Vespra township and its residents for any short-term financial hardship arising from the change in jurisdiction; representation for the new residents of Barrie on Barrie city council; and protection for the environmentally sensitive lands around Little Lake.
The annexation area defined by the bill uses the TransCanada pipeline as a boundary, with all township land lying south of the pipeline potentially part of Barrie as of January 1. This line -- and this is underlined -- is not cast in stone. It represents the maximum limit of the annexation area, with the government prepared to listen to any convincing arguments in committee as to why this line should be varied in one location or another before it is confirmed as the new north city limit for Barrie.
As far as the financial component is concerned, the government is committed to ensuring fair and equitable compensation to Vespra township and its residents. The exact dollar amount of compensation will not be known until the annexation area is defined. However, I have today instructed my staff to meet with their colleagues in the municipalities involved to gather the information necessary to a fair and comprehensive settlement package. This package will include payments from the city to the township to help ease the transition to the purely rural municipality. These funds will help phase in any increases in any individual property taxes in the township. As for new residents of Barrie, provision will be found in the bill to phase in their taxes as well.
To ensure a voice on council for the new city residents, the reeve of Vespra township may sit as an ex officio member of Barrie city council for the remainder of the current term. Little Lake will be protected from urban encroachment through the continuation of existing strict controls in this particular area.
In conclusion, I trust that in transferring resolution of this dispute to the political arena, the focus of debate will shift to a more productive level, with public policy no longer being delayed by what has become interminable court action. Moreover, the resolution defined by this process will hear the mark of considerable public input over many years. Resolution of the matter will end a decade of uncertainty and very expensive proceedings in Barrie-Vespra, pave the way for removal of the restrictive zoning order on the township, facilitating key decisions relating to development and expansion of the commercial shopping area, and allow finalization of outstanding official plan approvals.
With this I commend the bill to the attention of this House.
Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, I have a statement I know will be of great interest to all the good people of eastern Ontario. I make it with the support of my friend the Minister of Tourism and Recreation (Mr. Baetz). An $800,000-Board of Industrial Leadership and Development grant to the Upper Canada Village concept, which will greatly improve --
Mr. Speaker: Order. This is statements by the ministry. The Minister of Tourism and Recreation.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Very clever.
Mr. Conway: Just in the nick of time.
Mr. Riddell: Just a taste of your own medicine over there.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, do the want to hear the good news? They don't want good news. They cannot stand good news. That is really something.
Mr. Speaker: Order. The Minister of Tourism and Recreation.
ST. LAWRENCE PARKS COMMISSION
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, I have the honour of announcing today a very important initiative for the tourism industry of Ontario, especially eastern Ontario.
Tourism attractions and historical parks represent an important ingredient of the successful marketing formula of this province's tourism industry. In fact, in the renowned Michelin Travel Guide, Upper Canada Village of Morrisburg is one of the two destinations in eastern Ontario to be given a three-star or "must see" rating.
The St. Lawrence Parks Commission, an agency of the Ministry of Tourism and Recreation, incorporates 15 provincial parks plus Old Fort Henry in Kingston and Upper Canada Village. This area stretches for some 300 kilometres along the Quebec-Ontario border and west to Adolphustown Park, 110 kilometres west of Kingston.
In the last 25 years. the parks and attractions of the St. Lawrence Parks Commission have drawn more than 60 million visitors and in recent times that average has been maintained at three million people annually. It is anticipated that 1984 will be an equally notable year for tourism as the St. Lawrence Seaway celebrates its 25th anniversary.
The Board of Industrial Leadership and Development has approved a capital grant of $800,000 towards the St. Lawrence Parks Commission for the improvement and construction of exhibits, stores, food facilities and other support services.
The members opposite should listen to this. This is what they have been wanting to hear. This grant will result in 800 man-weeks, or 32,000 man-hours, of work for local residents. There is more good news. Direct economic spinoff to the eastern Ontario region is estimated to be $2 million, through local purchases of materials, supplies and services. It is the hope of the Ministry of Tourism and Recreation that this will stimulate employment, particularly in the 18 to 25 age bracket in the region.
Significantly, this grant from BILD represents the intention of this province to remain a desirable tourist destination. Particularly, tourism in eastern Ontario is a strategic element of the local economy and the improvements made possible by this grant will help maintain the image of the parks and attractions of the St. Lawrence Parks Commission as a first-class travel destination.
Mr. Speaker: Just before proceeding, I would ask the --
Mr. Bradley: That by-election is Thursday, is it, Claude?
Mr. Speaker: We are all listening to you. Maybe you could tell us.
Mr. Epp: I have a statement.
Mr. Speaker: Order. This may be very difficult --
Mr. Sargent: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: The Concerned Farm Women of Bruce county are in the gallery today. They could use that $800,000 in Bruce county.
Mr. Epp: There is no election there.
Mr. Speaker: Given the conduct so far, this may be asking a little bit much, but I am going to try it on. The clocks are not working in the House today. We are going to time members manually. I would ask the members' co-operation in doing that.
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, we have no problem with that. Surely there is someone on Mr. Speaker's staff who can tell the time and we have great faith in your capacity to arbitrate this.
EASTERN ONTARIO DEVELOPMENT
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I have a question to the Minister of Industry and Trade.
Given his government's professed policy of supporting regional development, could the minister explain to this House why, by almost any criteria imaginable, whether expressed as a share of total allotments, of real dollar terms, or in relation to the population base, eastern Ontario has suffered a staggering decline over the last eight years in terms of commitments through the Eastern Ontario Development Corp?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I think the Leader of the Opposition would be very wise not to enter into the same tactic that cost him the last election during a by-election.
Mr. Peterson: Let me point out the facts to the minister because he is obviously not aware of them. In 1974-75 the Ontario Development Corp. contributions to eastern Ontario were $22 million. This last year they were $11.5 million, while at the same time contributions in southern Ontario went from $40 million to $70 million. Indeed, in 1974 dollars the commitments to eastern Ontario have fallen by 37.3 per cent while in southern Ontario they have risen by 207.5 per cent.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Peterson: Given the minister's commitment to regional development, how can he possibly justify giving eastern Ontario the short end of the stick for these long years?
Hon. F. S. Miller: A moment ago my colleague the Minister of Tourism and Recreation (Mr. Baetz) made an announcement for eastern Ontario and was hooted at in derision by the member's party for doing so. We make an announcement of something useful, something to create jobs. and he complains about it. Yet the very next minute he is standing up asking questions like that. He is totally inconsistent.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Samis: Mr. Speaker, can the minister assure the tourist operators of eastern Ontario that the priority of his ministry is to help the existing entrepreneurs rather than to use government funds to build another Minaki Lodge in Morrisburg against the wishes of the existing businessmen in Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry and eastern Ontario?
Hon. F. S. Miller: The specifics of the type of facility are best left to my colleague, but let me say this. I am in the tourist business; I happen to be a small operator, as the member knows. I learned one thing long ago. The Board of Industrial Leadership and Development document, which was happy to be a part of, said that there would be in the general Cornwall area a destination facility to attract people there.
I read in my colleague's comments today support for that principle. The private operator, the small one who cannot afford to attract people to an area, is always helped by a large lodge like Minaki and like the ones we talked about.
Mr. Peterson: In spite of the death-bed repentance of the minister's colleague today, coming forward with a miserly amount, he will recognize that over a long period, eastern Ontario has been consistently on the decline. He is aware also of the view of Mr. Andrew Croll, the executive director and chief executive officer of the various development corporations, that the whole raison d'être of those corporations is to favour development in both the north and the east.
Would the minister not agree with me, now that he is apprised of the facts, that this clearly is not the case and that he is doing nothing to cure those regional disparities?
Hon. F. S. Miller: I happened to be in eastern Ontario most of yesterday just by co-incidence, and I went through Stormont, Glengarry and Dundas.
Hon. F. S. Miller: They never needed me before. We had a member there who for years carried it in the glorious tradition of the Conservative Party and we have another one on the hustings right now who is going to sweep the riding a week this Thursday.
Mr. Speaker: Order. And now to the question, please.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Tonight I will be having a short meeting with the boards of the Eastern Ontario Development Corp., the Northern Ontario Development Corp. and the Ontario Development Corp. because they are in the city today. It is the second time I have done that.
The member knows full well that we respond in the development corporations to requests for assistance. There have to be requests from manufacturing companies, tourist operators, the kinds of businesses we help in order to respond. Indeed, there has not been as much demand in eastern Ontario in the last year and a half as we would like for one simple reason. There has not been enough demand in total in this province for new investment, and that part of the province, just like the north, has suffered perhaps more than the central part. That is, as the member stated a second ago, the very reason for having an EODC. In fact. Mr. Siverski, who is the chairman of EODC, spoke to me a while back and said he would be out trying to solicit more.
In addition, the federal government and we co-operated, as I am sure the member knows, in a Department of Regional Economic Expansion related program for eastern Ontario, which, after the parameters were changed, did use up all of its money for industrial assistance very quickly.
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, may I just correct the record? I made an inadvertent mistake. I said contributions to south eastern Ontario went from $40 million to $70 million. In fact, they went from $40 million to $57 million, while at the same time those to eastern Ontario dropped from $22 million to $11.5 million. I apologize for the mistake I made.
PROVINCIAL AUDITOR'S REPORT
Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Revenue in regard to the recently tabled report of the Provincial Auditor. I would like to ask him specifically about a number of deficiencies noted in the report, but particularly the trip to England of some of the senior members of his ministry.
Can the minister explain what action he personally has taken in regard to the problems that are enumerated in the auditor's report, specifically the fact that twice as many recruiters went to England to recruit, they took almost three times as long and spent almost three times as much as the team the year before?
Can the minister tell me what he intends to do about that specific problem and the other deficiencies outlined by the auditor? Is he going to run that ministry or is he going to allow the deputy minister to run him and the ministry?
Hon. Mr. Gregory: Mr. Speaker, had the honourable member been in the House on Friday last when I was dealing with my supplementary estimates, he would know that many of these questions were raised by his House leader and by the member for Oshawa (Mr. Breaugh) on the New Democratic Party side and that we discussed them at length. I think if the member reads Hansard he will get the answers to those questions.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Like all of us, I have many duties around here and I was not able to be in the chamber; I was down in a committee. But that does not solve the problem.
There are problems of this ministry paying for work that was not done until later on; there are problems about work having been paid for out of the wrong year's appropriations; there are the problems related to this trip; there are problems related to contracts let in his ministry that are going to people who are presumably friends of the people who are sending out these contracts.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. T. P. Reid: What is the minister responsible, as opposed to the deputy, doing about the deficiency in his ministry?
Hon. Mr. Gregory: The member has conveniently jumped from one subject to another. I hardly think it is a supplementary, because he begins speaking about the recruiting trip to England and then goes on to discuss other things. In other words, his question is a generalized one regarding the auditor's report.
I will do just as he has done and read the auditor's report. I commend to the member the statements of the deputy minister as an explanation of those matters, which again I did outline in my supplementary estimates on Friday.
Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, in comparing statements made by the Provincial Auditor and by the previous Minister of Revenue, there were some discrepancies, which we discussed at some length. One fact that was not disputed was the statement by the previous minister that it cost roughly
$10,000 to $11,000 for the Ministry of Revenue to offer those people each of the 24 positions as opposed to the $14,0000 it cost them to offer Canadians similar positions.
Does it seem reasonable to the minister to have to spend $14,000 to offer someone this type of job?
Hon. Mr. Gregory: Mr. Speaker, as the honourable member has stated, the figure of $14,000 was discussed with my predecessor, but the net result was much less, as again was discussed on Friday. The net per employee was somewhere in the region of $4,000,
Mr. T. P. Reid: The minister, like almost 90 per cent of the cabinet, does not understand ministerial responsibility. They let their deputies run them. This is the problem in matters like this. But let me go back --
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Who do you think you are?
Mr. T. P. Reid: Listen, yappy. Listen to this; you are part of the problem. I want to know --
Mr. Speaker: Order. The member for Rainy River is asking a final supplementary, and I would ask him to confine his remarks to asking the final question.
Mr. T. P. Reid: If not interrupted, I will do exactly that.
Is the minister aware that for at least two years in a row, he or his predecessors have sent recruiting teams to England to get people to work in his ministry? What are he and the Minister of Colleges and Universities (Miss Stephenson) doing to ensure that people are educated and qualified to take those jobs here in Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Gregory: I thank my colleagues for the applause on rising to answer this question. Again, had the member been in the House on Friday he would heard these things discussed. The fact of the matter is that when these recruiting drives took place --
Mr. Breaugh: Gee, Bette, you're snarky today.
Mr. T. P. Reid: She's always snarky.
Hon. Mr. Gregory: Does he want the answer or not?
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Gregory: I am waiting for the member who asked the question.
Mr. Wrye: We have waited for three questions for an answer.
Hon. Mr. Gregory: If he had not been yapping back and forth he would have heard me explain that both times this took place, investigations were made through the Canada Department of Employment and Immigration, through the citizenship department federally --
Mr. T. P. Reid: We know all that.
Hon. Mr. Gregory: If he knows it, why did he ask?
Mr. T. P. Reid: Because you have 40,000 people you are going to hire offshore again.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Gregory: As I mentioned, this has been investigated. It is true there are graduates in this line of work from our schools. What was desired and what was requested by the Ministry of Revenue was the experienced middle-management types who were not available in Canada. If they were available, they would have had to be trained perhaps 10 years ago; unfortunately, they were not there when we recruited them.
We went over, and the recruiting effort has been quite successful. In the first year, of 11 hired, some six left. Since that time we have recovered all the cost of those. In the second year, there was a net of 16; 18 people were offered contracts and 16 accepted. Since that time, one has left, so we still retain 15 of those people. It has worked out extremely successfully.
DECISION IN MENTAL HEALTH CASE
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, I expected the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) to be here today, but in his absence I would like to address a question to the Minister of Health. It affects the fundamental question of civil liberties and I would like to ask him to address it.
The minister will be aware of the decision yesterday of Madam Justice Van Camp affecting an involuntary patient in a psychiatric hospital in Ontario. This involuntary patient -- and I do not think there is any question at all of her mental competence; there is no question that she is -- she, her husband, her brother and her father together all refused to give consent to the treatment known as electroshock therapy.
As the minister responsible for the health care of the people of Ontario and as someone who knows the importance of civil liberties in this province, how does the minister feel about a medical treatment of such seriousness and of such controversy being performed on a patient, not only against her consent but also against the consent of all the members of her family?
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, I am not sure it is entirely relevant how I subjectively feel about such issues. What is more important is what I rationally think about the particular issue. I do not profess to be intimately familiar with the details of the case. As the honourable member might be aware, much of the matter was dealt with by the courts during the time I was less than fully interested in the day-to-day news and the affairs of the ministry.
However, I do have some knowledge of the matter. I also understand the family is considering the possibility of appealing the decision of the Supreme Court. Therefore, I would want to limit my comments. Obviously, the matter at this point has been dealt with by the court, and the decision of the court deals with the legal status of the law and the individual's rights in that respect.
Here I am doing what I said I ought not to do, but if the member wants to know how I personally feel about it, I am somewhat troubled by the implications of any kind of treatment being administered contrary to the wishes of either the individual, or should he be less than competent to make the decision, his next of kin. I do not believe that is true of other kinds of treatment, generally.
It raises some important issues that we all ought to address our minds to with respect to the right of the state, be it through a profession or otherwise, to do what it believes is in the best interests of the individual, whether or not it is the wish of the individual to subject himself to that. That is a very thorny question and one we cannot dismiss lightly.
Mr. Rae: The minister will be aware that section 7 of the charter sets out the principle that everyone has the right to life, liberty and the security of the person, and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.
The minister will also be aware that in 1978 this House approved amendments to the Mental Health Act which would have given the woman in this instance significant procedural protection with respect to the decision of the regional review board, would have given that woman the right to appeal to a court and would have given the court the right to substitute its opinion for that of the attending physician or of the regional review board upon hearing factual evidence.
The minister will also be aware that Madam Justice Van Camp's decision was a judicial review of a decision, and her decision was limited to the very specific question of the definition of the term "psychosurgery." Her decision did not deal with the merits of the case or the implications of the case for the liberty and security of the subject, which is surely at stake in this instance.
I would ask the minister whether he would consider the merit of proclaiming the sections of the Mental Health Act which would give substantive rights to patients in this position with respect to their security and which would give them procedural protection as well. Since I have heard the minister say he is troubled, and anybody would be troubled by the implications of this decision for the security of the subject and the right to civil liberties of patients as well as the rights of patients who are mentally competent and of their families to refuse their consent to treatment which they regard as an intrusion on their person, I would ask the minister whether he would consider taking those steps.
Hon. Mr. Norton: I am not prepared at this point to indicate which particular steps I might be prepared to take. I would indicate that, as of yesterday, I had requested of my deputy that meetings be set up without delay between myself and senior staff in the ministry who have been involved, to review the sections in question and the ramifications of those, with a view to making a determination as to the appropriate steps relating to those at present.
With regard to the interpretation of the implications of the code, I would be quite willing to do that if the member would guarantee me an appointment to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Mr. Rae: There is one other avenue the minister might consider taking. If there is going to be an appeal of the review -- and it is a very limited right, as the minister knows full well, and I am sure he knows the difference between an application for judicial review and an appeal de novo, which would give far more substantive rights to the patient in this case -- would the minister consider seeking amicus curiae status on behalf of the government in order that the arguments with respect to the charter and the implications of this for the security of the person and civil liberties in this province are clearly placed before the Court of Appeal if the Court of Appeal decides it has jurisdiction to hear this appeal?
Will he at least take that step to ensure those broader arguments with respect to public policy are heard by the court, since this case has real implications not just for this patient who has refused this treatment but for many other patients who are subject to this treatment every day in Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Norton: It is not my intention to foreclose any option that might lead to an appropriate and satisfactory resolution of this issue. I will take up the determination of such a course of action as the member has suggested with my colleague the Attorney General as one option.
EQUAL PAY FOR WORK OF EQUAL VALUE
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, my new question is to the Minister of Labour. It concerns the so-called measures he introduced yesterday with respect to equal pay for work of equal value.
The minister may be aware -- if he is not, I would like to make him aware -- that telephone operators 1, the 95 women who make up 97 per cent of the operators working for the province, make $301.45 a week maximum, and parking lot attendants, of whom there are 10, all men, make $356 a week maximum.
Why has the minister denied the right to these women to seek a remedy for their unequal pay situation? Why has he introduced legislation which does not offer any hope at all to literally thousands and thousands of women in this province who need to be able to make a comparison with other jobs and who are prevented by this legislation from making that kind of a comparison?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, I am certainly not qualified to judge the merits of the work being done by the switchboard operators in this building and the work being done in the outside weather by the parking lot attendants. That brings to mind my reluctance to proceed towards complete equal value legislation at this time because of the complexities of evaluating the differences in jobs. I just do not feel we have the experience or the knowledge to implement equal value legislation yet because of the vagaries and the differences involved in a proper job evaluation system.
Mr. Rae: The minister may also be aware of the case at the level of the federal government which produced the $17 million in back pay to laundry workers in the federal public sector, and that in the provincial public sector, comparable workers, laundry workers 2, in which 92 women are 70 per cent of the category, make $336 maximum, and clerks storeroom 2, in which 265 men are 91 per cent of the category, are making $366.40 maximum, or $30 more per week. If these women were working in the federal public service, they would be getting an extra $30 a week if the minister had the courage to bring in the kind of equal pay legislation worthy of the name.
Why should women who are working in the public sector in this province be second-class citizens in comparison with their sisters who are working in the public sector for the federal government?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: I simply do not agree with that statement by the leader of the third party that women in Ontario are second-class citizens. The opposite is certainly true.
I think the honourable member has to bear in mind that in the legislation that was introduced yesterday, there were four components, three in addition to the composite test, and they all were designed to assist the women in the work place in Ontario. As far as I am concerned, when we take them as a total package, it was an excellent address to the problems related to women.
Mr. Rae: George, go to Ballycliffe Lodge and apologize for people being thrown off the line.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Wrye: Mr. Speaker, in his answer to the first question of the leader of the third party, the minister once again hid behind the oft stated excuse of this government that it does not know how to compare and evaluate dissimilar jobs.
My question to the minister is a simple one. What studies on an ongoing basis is this government undertaking now or preparing to undertake so that this problem the government always holds out, this technical problem of not being able to compare dissimilar jobs, can be overcome? What kind of studies is he prepared to undertake to see what kind of equal value legislation can be brought in if and when this composite test fails?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, that is an ongoing study by the women's bureau of my ministry. Perhaps I should not say my ministry because the women's bureau is now under the direction of the Deputy Premier, the Minister responsible for Women's Issues (Mr. Welch) in this province.
I mean that quite sincerely. It is something we have looked at in a serious way. We have tried to draw, on an ongoing basis for many years, on the experience of the federal government and the government of Quebec which are the only other jurisdictions that have this type of legislation. Quite frankly, we have found the information from those two sources to be lacking. We have not been able to draw on their experience.
Ms. Bryden: Mr. Speaker, has the minister met yet with the members of the Canadian Human Rights Commission and/or its staff to examine the methods it has worked out over five years for evaluating dissimilar jobs to determine whether they are comparable under the criteria of skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions? Is he just using this claim that he does not know how it would work as an excuse for providing the employers of Ontario with cheap female labour?
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, I must take exception to the expression "cheap female labour." I believe that is a degrading comment to the women --
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Ramsay: In response to the question that was asked, no, I have not personally met with officials of the Canadian Human Rights Commission. I am sure my staff has and I am sure there has been consultation between the two bodies.
CONTEMPT OF COURT ISSUE
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Attorney General with respect to the Ottawa rape and his statement the other day to this House. In that 24-page statement the Attorney General said, "She was offered a reasonable level of protection by the police."
The Attorney General will be aware that there is considerable disagreement over what was in his statement. According to Mr. Lawrence Greenspon, the counsel for the victim in this case, there was no concrete offer of protection. In fact, all that happened was that on October 20 at the preliminary hearing of David White, at which point there was a second refusal of the victim to testify, the judge asked that Mr. Greenspon, the crown and the victim retire to discuss protection.
He will be aware no offer of protection was forthcoming. They discussed in general terms a change of identity and address. The last word from the crown counsel was he would need approval from Toronto. There was no material offer forthcoming with respect to protection. Has the Attorney General satisfied himself in talking to all the people involved that the information he was getting was correct and that that offer was not made in order to protect this victim?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I read some of the reports on the weekend in relation to the press conference the young woman gave in Ottawa. My recollection is she conceded that the police, first of all, were involved in monitoring her phone to ascertain whether or not there were any threats being made and to be aware of the nature of the threats in the event that any threats were made. That is a form of police protection.
My recollection of the reports of the young woman's news conference was that she did concede she had been offered a new identity and a new location to live for a period of time. However, she stated that her bottom line was 20 years of round-the-clock police protection and that she was not interested in anything less than that. I cannot give the member the dates or times of any of these conversations, but if the news reports are correct she conceded that anything less than the 20 years of protection would not satisfy her.
With respect to what authority the local crown attorney's office would have to have from Toronto, as far as I am concerned these matters are normally left up to the local police department. It is a police matter and the local police authorities are normally in the best position to judge what the appropriate protection would be. If, as the Leader of the Opposition has said, that appears on the transcript, I am certainly curious and I will attempt to ascertain what authorization the crown attorney thought would be necessary from Toronto.
Mr. Peterson: There is a dramatic difference of opinion on what was offered, if it was offered, and on whether the offer was a formal one or there were just general discussions. The Attorney General in his statement relied very heavily on the fact that it was forthcoming and was indeed a firm offer. Would the Attorney General take it upon himself to satisfy himself that there was a firm offer and that the victim was satisfied as to its bona fides?
In determining the truth in this matter, would the minister undertake to talk not only to the victim but to her counsel Lawrence Greenspon, as well as to Cindy Moriarty of the Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre, so that we do not have this major cloud, this major difference of opinion, that attacks the credibility of the various cases and scenarios that were built around it? Would he satisfy himself personally that he is in possession of the complete truth in this matter?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I do not think there is a major difference of opinion. I will concede the fact that the Leader of the Opposition is trying to create a major smokescreen about the issue. I do not think this is an entirely responsible approach to very difficult issues in the administration of justice.
I will attempt to ascertain any additional information with respect to the details of the security; however, my understanding is, as I have already stated, that the young woman in question was not interested in discussing anything less than 20 years of protection; that she conceded. I will attempt to ascertain if there is any more relevant information with respect to the offer and advise the House accordingly.
I want to make it very clear that in my experience over the years as a crown attorney, defence lawyer, Attorney General and Solicitor General, the police have always been very sensitive about providing protection to anyone who had reasonable apprehension of any threat in relation to a criminal prosecution.
As I have said on other occasions, the police in this province have always given this matter the highest of priorities and I am satisfied that they did in this case. It is important that no message should go throughout the community other than that the police in this province will continue to give very sensitive, difficult and complex issues such as this the highest of priorities.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, if I could bring the minister from the general to the specific, I would like to point out to him that what is at issue is not what was asked for by the young woman but what was offered by the crown on behalf of the government and the justice authorities. Will the minister now concede that, contrary to his statement last week, there was no specific offer of police protection put forward to the young woman in such a way that she could assess whether or not it was a reasonable offer of protection? Will the minister now concede that?
Will he also concede that it is grossly unfair to suggest that the victim should move out of town rather than that the perpetrator of the crime should be punished?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: No, Mr. Speaker, I do not concede that.
ASSISTIVE DEVICES PROGRAM
Mr. Allen: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Health. A constituent of mine who does not wish to be identified in public -- I will refer to her as Mrs. X -- is 78 years of age. She has an income of $570.95 a month from a combination of old age pension, supplements and the guaranteed annual income system. She must pay $200 or more each month for urostomy supplies.
If Mrs. X's condition was the result of a cancer operation she could secure her supplies for free from the cancer society. However, it is not the result of a cancerous condition. If she was 19 years of age or younger, the supplies would be free from the assistive devices program, which probably sells 30 different urostomy supplies. However, she is 50 years too old for that. Incredibly, the social services in our city have told her that her income is too high to secure assistance.
In his opening statement, the minister called our attention to the expanding proportion of senior citizens in our population. Why is there no place in the world of the Ontario health insurance plan and the government's social assistance programs for seniors like Mrs. X where they can go to secure relief from such intolerable costs for urostomy supplies? Why must she pay over a third of her small income on medical aids she absolutely requires?
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, in his question, the honourable member actually did identify the obvious source of assistance. That would be the regional government, through special assistance in which the province of Ontario does participate. We provide funding to the municipality for special assistance.
If the member is saying the local administration is not responding to what he states is the need of the individual, then I would say that is the avenue he ought to pursue with those individuals as opposed to raising it on the floor of the House.
I am sure the member knows that the stated intention of the program the province has in place has been that it would be observed in operation for a period of two years, which is until next July if I am not mistaken, prior to any consideration being given to its further expansion. That is not an unreasonable position when one has instituted a comprehensive program whose operation is tricky. It is important to work out any problems prior to its expansion across larger age groups.
The mechanism that is in place to provide for the situation the member described is special assistance. I would suggest he take it up with the regional municipality.
Mr. Allen: When one does those things and one gets the answers one does and then the minister tells me I should not be bringing it to the House, I wonder where we are at in this Legislature.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Allen: After all, what is reasonable? The unreasonableness in this situation is paying $200 out of an income of $570 for those supplies.
I will be sending the information with regard to this woman and her circumstances across the floor to the minister. I want to ask him if he himself will directly place questions with regard to special assistance and other agencies that might give her support. More than that, will he undertake now, on the floor of this House, to give us a commitment that he will indeed seek some amendment to the assistive devices program to bring seniors under its terms of reference and end their unjust exclusion from the benefits it provides?
Hon. Mr. Norton: I am sure if the member pauses for a moment and reflects, he will realize that an equally compelling argument could he made for any individual who is in need of an assistive device in Ontario.
Hon. Mr. Norton: Nobody denies that. The fact of the matter is that because of the size and the comprehensiveness of this program, a sensible decision was made to implement it in a phased, a staged --
Mr. Foulds: A staged program?
Hon. Mr. Norton: The member is right. The period for the first phase for the observation of the operation of the program was a two-year period which will be up next July.
One may argue on the specifics of the urostomy devices and other kinds of devices for other individuals who are probably equally in need. The fact of the matter is it cannot be expanded at this time across the board and it will be expanded at the appropriate time once we have had experience with the program.
In the interim, I think the responsible thing for each of us to do when we face the kind of situation the member has raised is to pursue existing sources of assistance. If the member wants to send me the information on his constituent, I will certainly pass it along or at least discuss it with my colleague the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Drea) and we will see what solution we can assist in developing for this individual. I see that this avenue of pursuit already has the blessing of the NDP leader. He just indicated so across the House.
Mr. Hennessy: Mr. Speaker, I direct my question to the Minister of Community and Social Services. I have a telegram here from Thunder Bay which reads as follows:
"Please advise why no money has been allocated to the Faye Peterson House under Comsoc plans to rescue transition houses from closure due to lack of funds. Faye Peterson House is desperately in need of financial assistance and we solicit your support."
Can the minister reply as to what he intends to do in this matter?
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The member for Grey-Bruce (Mr. Sargent), dashing as he may be, must be advised that hats are not allowed to be worn in the House.
Mr. Sargent: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker --
Mr. Speaker: There is no point of order.
Mr. Sargent: Yes, there is.
Mr. Speaker: No, no.
Mr. Sargent: Every year Kelso Roberts wore a derby in this House one day in the year to make it legal for guys to wear a hat in the House.
Mr. Speaker: It is no longer legal.
Mr. Bradley: Even for the Premier (Mr. Davis) to wear his Argo hat?
Mr. Speaker: He removed it on request.
Mr. Speaker: He took his hat off when he was asked to.
Hon. Mr. Drea: What does it say?
Mr. Sargent: "Team Peterson."
Hon. Mr. Drea: The member always was a little bit behind.
Mr. Speaker, I am glad the member asked the question he did. First, we have taken care of the money. I see the member for Port Arthur (Mr. Foulds) there, I am talking to him too, and to the member for Fort William (Mr. Hennessy).
I have a problem with this particular house in that it does not conform to the zoning in the community. They are going to be funded until the end of March. I would appreciate if the two local members would sit down with the municipality and the people who operate this house and get the zoning straightened out, because unless the zoning is straightened out I will not fund them after April 1.
This is something that has to be done locally in the community. It is not the fault of the municipality. That house was put there contrary to local zoning and it is going to require some work over the next three months. They are funded while that is being done. Knowing the calibre of the two members, I am sure they can settle the matter up there.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, that particular house happens to be a block away from where I live and I have absolutely no objection to rezoning the area. I also want to say that the zoning in that area happens to have been changed by the city within the last two years.
Can the minister advise us and clarify if he has now said he will supply funding for the Faye Peterson House because, as of 10 days ago, the information was that none of the transition homes in northwestern Ontario, including the Faye Peterson House, the Mayday Group Home on the north shore of the riding of my colleague the member for Lake Nipigon (Mr. Stokes), the Atikokan Crisis Home and Women's Place Kenora, had received any of the emergency funding to save them from closure? Can the minister clarify this?
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, let us get it on the record. I said the Faye Peterson House was taken care of through to the end of March. He knows my problem. I will not fund any type of community endeavour that does not conform to local zoning, and that is one of the strengths we have in the provincial program.
Second, in respect of the other institutions, the Atikokan Crisis Home, to the best of my knowledge, has not asked us for funds. If they ask for funds, we will obviously fulfil our commitment. In regard to the Women's Place Kenora, it was not funded by anybody. It is about to be established. It falls into a different category. In regard to the one that was mentioned in the Lake Nipigon riding, I do not know anything about it, but if the member will talk to me about it, we will --
Mr. Stokes: I have already written to the minister on it.
Hon. Mr. Drea: I have not got the letter. How about mailing it?
Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Speaker, before I put my supplementary, I would like to apologize for my comment to the member for York Mills (Miss Stephenson) earlier on in the day. It is not my practice to make personal comments.
Mr. Speaker: Thank you.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Did I understand the minister to say he had not had a request from the Atikokan transition house? I understood, and is it not the minister's understanding, that he was going to provide them with the funding after the request they had put in to him previously?
Hon. Mr. Drea: The commitment that was made by my colleague when Provincial Secretary for Social Development (Mr. McCaffrey), who was performing as the acting minister, and by the Provincial Secretary for Justice (Mr. Walker) was that any organization in this category that was being funded by the federal government, or whatever, whose funds were going to run out would be financed by the ministry.
To the best of my knowledge -- and I asked about this the other day -- the Atikokan Crisis Home had not asked for funds. If they ask for funds, we have an application. Maybe because of the date their funding is expiring, they may not be doing it in December; they may be doing it at a different time. I do not know. With regard to the question about the Kenora centre, it was not getting funding from anybody. If the group in the riding of the member for Lake Nipigon falls within that commitment, it will be honoured.
If there is a problem in that the Atikokan Crisis Home does not feel it has to apply, that it will come automatically, then I would appreciate it if they were told that they should apply, not to me but to my Thunder Bay regional office, and we will take care of it there.
COMMUNITY CENTRES FUNDING
Mr. Eakins: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Tourism and Recreation. The minister is aware that in addition to the concerns raised by the auditor relating to the awarding of government advertising contracts, the auditor is concerned about what the government is telling municipalities they will receive and what they will actually get.
The auditor says: "We felt there was a strong need to develop a system to monitor commitment levels against available resources so that the program could be managed with the financial resources allocated to it." Specifically, the auditor notes that the ministry has promised Ontario municipalities $16.8 million in community recreation projects, despite the fact that the authorized budget for these projects is only $10.8 million.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Eakins: Is the minister going to keep the promise to the municipalities of Ontario? Will he state clearly for the record just how much money is available for these projects, $16.8 million or $10.8 million?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, I will give the honourable member the answer on the specifics of the amounts involved. In the meantime, I want to make one point very clear. My ministry will certainly live up to every single commitment it has made for the Community Recreation Centres Act projects. Many of the communities are prepared to accept payments over two years as long as they know it is coming in a subsequent year. This is why we are prepared to make commitments over two years.
However, there has not been a case where my ministry has not lived up to any of the commitments made, and it has done so essentially within the time limit first laid out. As far as the actual, specific amounts are concerned, I will be glad to furnish that information to the member for Victoria-Haliburton or table it for the House here.
Mr. Eakins: The minister is also aware that the auditor points out that further applications now on hold at the ministry could bring the total funds required to more than $20 million. Is it his plan to honour these commitments to these municipalities? Will he take steps to ensure that in future his ministry will only make funding allocation promises to municipalities and other groups and associations which he knows can be honoured according to his budget?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I think I replied to that in my first response. This ministry and this government will live up to every single commitment we make to every municipality. I think it is as straightforward as that. That is the commitment I have made and that is the commitment we will carry through and honour.
FARM STABILIZATION PROGRAM
Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, if the Minister of Agriculture and Food would move to his own seat, I would like to put a question to him. I wonder if he remembers that the best he could tell the red meat producers at the Ontario Federation of Agriculture convention after talking about the tripartite program was that "a red meat stabilization program should be in place next year."
Even the minister must be coming to realize that with farm gate prices remaining far below the cost of production, the time for many red meat producers to escape liquidation is fast running out. Will he confirm that a decision has just been made by his Farm Income Stabilization Commission of Ontario to deny any stabilization payments under the sow-weaner program for the period of April to September of this year, even though the weaner price was the lowest it had been in years? It will be the final blow to the pork producers.
Further, will the minister face up to his responsibility as Minister of Agriculture and Food and immediately provide an interim provincial support policy of substance for beef, pork and lamb producers in this province, as all the other major producing provinces have done, and keep it there until any tripartite program is in place?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I want to take a moment to remind the member of the recent progress in establishing the tripartite program. He will recall it was Ontario that took the lead in early 1982 in promoting the development of such a program.
Five weeks ago yesterday the ministers of agriculture of Canada, Ontario, Alberta and Saskatchewan met and agreed on the tripartite plan. Since then the Canadian pork, beef and lamb producers, through their national associations and the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, have been briefed on the details of the plan.
I have been asking Mr. Whelan -- and I have reason to believe he may accede to this request -- to call another meeting of the ministers within the next 10 days to two weeks so we can finalize this in order to have the plan in place as early as possible in 1984. Obviously, my preference would have been to have it in place a long time ago. We have been pressing in every conceivable way to get it in place as soon as possible.
One of the remaining items to be discussed when the ministers do get together is a proposal which has come from the Canadian Cattlemen's Association as well as the Canadian Federation of Agriculture for the federal government, under the existing Agricultural Stabilization Act, to cover slaughter cattle and the cow-calf sector at 95 per cent ASA.
If the federal minister would agree to this, I think that would go a long way to resolving some of the concerns about 1983, particularly if he could find his way clear to do it for the slaughter cattle on a quarterly basis rather than an annual basis.
With regard to the existing provincial sow- weaner stabilization plan, I would remind the member that in three of the first six periods of the plan -- and the plan, by the way, was discussed with and approved by the pork marketing board at the time of its original implementation -- there were payouts and quite substantial payouts.
The stabilization commission, on which the lay representatives are entirely drawn from the farm sector, based on the figures available, concluded that a payout for period seven was not forthcoming. The pork marketing board representatives, including the chairman, met with me a week ago Friday to express their concern about that. I said I would set up a meeting for them with the commission, which was held last week. The commission, which again is predominantly made up of producer representatives, one of whom has a National Farmers Union background, one of whom has an OFA background and so forth, concluded it could not recommend a payment.
An hon. member: Time.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, is that a signal to cut it short? In short, that is what they have done, although they have agreed to waive any premium for period eight which is under way.
Mr. Swart: Excuses, excuses, but never a system. Does the minister not realize the reason they could not give assistance under the sow-weaner program was the inadequacy of his legislation? He must realize -- I hope he is aware --that the delegates at the OFA convention were so angered at the inadequacy of his program for agriculture, particularly the lack of assistance to red meat producers, that a strong movement was building to walk out on the minister when he spoke. It was killed only by the president intervening.
Recognizing the serious situation red meat producers in particular are facing, why does the minister not use the manipulative political tactics at which his government is so adept and make an announcement for an immediate interim provincial support policy of substance to the red meat producers, as all other provinces have done, and make it before the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry by-election to ensure that at least one good thing comes out of that by-election.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: In the case of the existing provincial sow-weaner plan, I would reiterate that we have a plan in place which was discussed with and approved by the pork marketing board at the time it was introduced. It is run by producers. The stabilization commission is controlled by farmers. They have looked at the matter twice and they have recommended no payment for period seven.
I would remind the member that there was substantial payment for three of the previous six periods. We are into the eighth period now. What he is saying is, "Fine, set up a plan and put producers in charge, but if you don't like the answer, destroy the plan." What he is talking about is destroying the plan.
Mr. Sargent: Mr. Speaker, is the minister aware of the program announced yesterday in Quebec, a six-year program allocating $25 million, where farmers purchasing beef cows are eligible for a three-year interest subsidy of up to $750 per head with a limit of 50 heads. A farmer can get a subsidy of $37,500. That is in effect now in Quebec.
The minister is going to meet this afternoon with the Concerned Farm Women. What is he going to tell them about things like this?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I am aware of the program introduced by Quebec, I think six weeks ago, not yesterday. It is one of a series of programs the Quebec government has to promote self-sufficiency in that province in various commodities. At this point we are self-sufficient in a great many commodities, so we are really talking about two different situations.
With respect, I think some of the honourable member's figures are incorrect. I am looking forward to the meeting at 5 p.m. or 5:15 p.m. -- I am not sure of the time -- and I would be happy to discuss some of these programs at that time and also to review a number of the initiatives we have taken in the last year and a half such as the beginning farmer's program, our proposals for tripartite stabilization, and some of the things we are working on with respect to the red meat industry, which I would like to say more about in the weeks to come.
INFLATION RESTRAINT PROGRAM
Mr. McLean: I have some petitions I would like to present on behalf of my colleagues.
"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."
MINISTRY OF COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES AMENDMENT BILL
Mr. Allen: Mr. Speaker, I would like to bring before the Legislature a petition to the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario from 2,022 of the 2,850 students enrolled at Trent University. It reads as follows:
"We, the undersigned, demand the withdrawal of Bill 42 from the provincial Legislature. The threat to university autonomy which this bill presents makes it totally unacceptable. The presence of a supervisor with power to override the decisions of a university's governing body would effectively remove any autonomy our institutions now have. In order to maintain the present standard of education in Ontario universities, this autonomy must not be compromised."
I support this resolution and send it to the table.
STANDING COMMITTEE ON SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
Mr. Robinson from the standing committee on social development presented the committee report and moved its adoption:
The committee begs to report the following bill without amendment:
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.
Motion agreed to.
Bill ordered for committee of the whole House.
WITHDRAWAL OF BILL
Hon. Mr. Wells moved that, at the request of the applicant, the order for second reading of Bill Pr31, An Act respecting the city of Kingston, be discharged and the bill withdrawn.
Motion agreed to.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
BARRIE-VESPRA ANNEXATION ACT
Hon. Mr. Bennett moved, seconded by Hon. G. W. Taylor, first reading of Bill 142, An Act respecting the City of Barrie and the Township of Vespra.
Motion agreed to.
CITY OF OWEN SOUND ACT
Mr. Sargent moved, seconded by Mr. Newman, first reading of Bill Pr53, An Act respecting the City of Owen Sound.
Motion agreed to.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
House in committee of the whole.
PUBLIC SECTOR PRICES AND COMPENSATION REVIEW ACT
Consideration 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.
On section 1:
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Foulds moves that subclause 1(m)(i) and subclause 1(m)(ii) be deleted from the bill.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Chairman, I wish to speak to this amendment as well as to the bill itself in terms of this first section. I do not want to repeat any of the arguments we made on second reading or in committee outside of the Legislature when we were having groups speak before us.
However, it does remind me of the Beatles great hit, Hey Jude. I cannot quite remember the words, but I know that what we are engaged in here is a paraphrase of one of the lines from that song. What we have before us is "a sad song" and in terms of amendment, we are trying to "make it better."
I have some very severe reservations about whether we can make this sad song of Bill 111 any better. However, part of the process we decided to engage in was to try to make amendments to this bill.
I want to reiterate that we in the New Democratic Party caucus voted against this bill on first reading, we voted against it on second reading and we will be voting against it on third reading because this sad song cannot be made palatable.
However, the unpalatable song we have before us, Bill 111, because it has the endorsation of the Conservative-Liberal alliance, will undoubtedly pass this excuse for a Legislature. Therefore, we will do our best to try to make amendments that at least will limit the extraordinary and unusual powers that are being accorded to the government through this bill and to try to limit the extraordinary and, if I may say so, the vicious act of harshness that is being applied to workers in the public sector. It is only public sector employees who were affected by Bill 179 and who are being affected by Bill 111.
I am speaking in particular about the phrase "terms of employment", which is dealt with in the amendment we have before us. I would suggest that the government's action last year, and this year, not only has limited very severely the wage increases of public sector workers but also has very severely limited what one could call their terms of employment, or their fringe benefits. Those fringe benefits include a whole host of working conditions, from health and safety matters, which is a piece of legislation that this government brought in, to equal pay for work of equal value, or whatever wishy-washy stage, progress or amendments this government has brought in. This bill, and this clause in particular, adversely affects all those government initiatives.
Later in consideration of the bill, we will be getting into where this bill supersedes any other piece of legislation in the province, and we will be proposing an amendment on that.
I do not believe that terms of employment should be included in the package that is as harshly and as viciously compounded or compacted as this bill is. Contrary to public opinion -- and I am glad there are at least five Tories in the House -- this bill especially works adversely against those workers in the public sector earning less than $18,000. There are a very large number of workers in the public sector who earn less than $18,000; they are the people in the nursing homes, who not only have had rollbacks by the Inflation Restraint Board last year but also paybacks.
There was a lot of foofaraw in the Legislature about the proposal of members of the Legislature being allowed a $1,000 increase in expenses, which was something like 12 per cent. But none of the members of the Legislature, except for three, was going to take advantage of that. None of them has to endure a payback, which has happened to workers throughout this province in regard to Bill 179. This bill, and in particular this clause that has to do with terms of employment, does not allow for any catch-up for those workers who have had their salaries rolled back and who have paid back.
Second, and speaking to the more specific principle that is enunciated in this clause, it is often those very public sector workers who are not direct employees of the provincial government and who are earning low wages who have, if I may say so, relatively lean contracts when it comes to terms of employment. Because they are so poorly paid, they must often negotiate almost solely with regard to money. That means items having to do with the terms of employment are at a very minimal level. Whether we are talking about the ventilation in the laundry of a nursing home or a hospital, travel allowances in connection with a woman who goes off the midnight shift, or a whole host of items that have to do with the length of the contract or with fringe benefits such as holiday pay and length of vacations, all these are at a very minimal level with this group of people.
This legislation, and this particular clause, harshly and dramatically keep those people in line; they keep those people down. Not only are their wages virtually frozen at five per cent at the very most, but also their terms of employment and the chance of increasing their ability to negotiate decent and humane working conditions are nullified by this clause.
I want to suggest as strongly as I can that the definition of terms of employment and every reference to terms of employment should be struck from the bill. If this government is going to harshly keep workers down in terms of their actual wages, the only decent thing it can do is to allow them to negotiate decent working conditions for their employment. If they could negotiate that, at least the government would have some justification in calling this a transition bill. This is no transition bill, although that is what it is being called. The government continues to hammer -- that is the only word I can use -- these workers so that not only do their wages keep falling behind but also their terms of employment keep falling behind.
I want to put on record a principle that is very important to the people in my party; it is the principle of redistribution of wealth. If the members of the government party are going to start talking about an incomes policy -- and they are the guys who are starting to talk about it; they are the ones who had Paul Weiler start talking about it yesterday before the committee --
Hon. Mr. Grossman: We didn't have him talk about it.
Mr. Foulds: It was the Tory members who asked him to come.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: He raised it in answer to your question.
Mr. Foulds: It was the members of the government party who had him start talking about it. Have I struck a responsive chord there? I will be glad to give the minister the floor if he wants to respond to what I have said so far.
Mr. Foulds: This is committee. I am allowed to yield the floor. He is allowed to respond, and I can respond again.
Mr. Chairman: Would the minister like to respond?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Chairman, I should just remind the honourable member that Mr. Weiler's comments were in response to the question of the member for Port Arthur, much to his embarrassment. We did not tell Mr. Weiler what to say. I was not particularly anxious for him to come, nor did we suggest it.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Chairman, the government does like to talk about an incomes policy, and if it is going to introduce legislation such as this, it has to start thinking honestly about allowing those people who earn very low wages to do some kind of catch-up with the people who are earning decent wages. It is this kind of clause and this kind of section which I say harshly and adversely affect people at the lower end of the scale.
It affects them in two ways. Because they are at the lower end of the scale, economically pressed and because the government is holding down their wages, they find it difficult to negotiate terms of employment or fringe benefits. What this legislation is doing is hitting them on both counts. The government is saying to them: "You cannot get ahead in your wages, and you cannot improve your contract in terms of employment. If you want to improve your terms of employment, you are going to have to take a cut in your wages." I suggest and plead with the government to withdraw this portion of the definition.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Chairman, I understand the member's position that all these kinds of things should be topped up on the top-up. However, if we are going to have a meaningful sort-out among the bargaining units, with all things included and with the total costing of all the items, then we cannot leave out the terms of employment. If terms of employment and all the items that come under that were to be left out, then the public -- many of whom are living with zero per cent and unemployment -- will end up paying five, seven, nine or 11 per cent because of all the top-tips on the basic provision.
We think it is fair and appropriate that this be included in the costing so everyone understands perfectly well what settlement has been arrived at and its cost. This clause allows that to happen. I cannot accept the proposition that someone should not know the cost of these settlements. It seems appropriate to me that all the items that are going to cost the taxpayers should be made quite visible.
When the arbitration occurs and when the arbitrator makes these decisions, then the approach that the member and his party have taken from time to time, which is total visibility and open information to the public so they know all that is going on, is perfectly consistent with this bill. The public and the arbitrator both understand fully that a five per cent wage settlement, and effectively other terms that may add as much as three per cent again to the five per cent settlement, are understood and visible.
An arbitrator will still make his or her own decision. We have specifically allowed that in the legislation, but it does seem to me the arbitrator, the parties and the public ought to know the full costs of any portions of the award. For that reason, we reject the amendment.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Chairman, in his reply the Treasurer has once again drawn out the red herring that a lot of people are living with unemployment, as if people in the public sector are not living with unemployment. In the past few weeks, we have had dramatically brought before us a number of cases where people who were considered to be in the public sector have lost their employment because of contracting out, such as in the nursing homes. There is no security of employment in the public sector. That is a red herring.
None of the groups that represent public sector workers, whether they are nursing home people, whether they are from the teaching profession or whether they are municipal employees, have been spared layoffs. All of those groups have experienced layoffs in some part of the province in the past year under Bill 179.
I suggest the Treasurer cease to wave this argument that "It may be poorly paid, but you have a job," in this debate. It does not carry any weight. It does not carry any water.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Chairman, with 680,000 people in the public sector, widely defined, even the member would have some difficulty in suggesting there is not a great deal more security amongst those 680,000 people than we have seen in the private sector over the past period of time. With respect, he cannot put the proposition that those 680,000 have seen something like 9.1 per cent unemployment, which is the average across our economy now. He cannot put the proposition that those 680,000 people were facing an unemployment rate of 9.1 per cent over the last period of time.
I am not going to quibble as to whether there is no unemployment in the public sector or a very small amount, no job security or total job security. I am not interested in debating that with the member today. However, if he is suggesting there is not a great deal more security and almost no unemployment in the public sector, if he is suggesting that is not the case, then with respect I am going to continue to differ with him on that point and argue that is a fair point to make when one is discussing the equities involved in this legislation.
Mr. Foulds: I would very much appreciate the ministry tabling the statistics it has with regard to unemployment in the private and public sectors. I would sure like to have it also table its definition of unemployment.
I would suggest a great many of the young people in Ontario who are facing unemployment, are seeking employment and have been trained to seek employment in the public sector. I would suggest that the number of foresters who have graduated from our forestry schools and universities and cannot get employment is entirely due to the fact that this government, in spite of its talk about reforestation, has done nothing in that area. It is doing nothing to create jobs for unit foresters to manage the forests and to supervise the forest management agreements the government has brought forward.
I would suggest the young people being trained in the colleges of education of Ontario who cannot find jobs have been trained by this government for work in the public sector. I would suggest that those people who graduate from the teaching colleges or the faculties of education of this province and who are lucky enough to find employment find it for only a year or two.
I challenge the minister and his officials to table any kind of hard statistics they have with regard to unemployment in the public and private sectors to back up their claims.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Let us just try these. They are not our data but those of Statistics Canada. They indicate employment growth in 1981-82 in the public sector was 1.2 per cent and in 1982-83 was 1.6 per cent. I will let the member write those figures down.
The private sector dropped by 3.3 per cent in 1981-82 and did not grow or drop in 1982-83. That might indicate to the member that those graduates who were seeking employment in the public sector had better opportunities and more jobs in the public sector than they had in the private sector. There were fewer of them.
Mr. Foulds: I just want to say finally to the minister that an opportunity of 1.2 per cent is a pretty poor opportunity. Frankly I would suggest that if one actually analysed the data on the people who are being trained by our colleges and universities for work, whether these are in the so-called scientific professions such as forestry or the so-called social work professions such as teaching, social work, etc., one would find a large number of disappointed young people because there are no job opportunities for them.
I want to say also, whether it is in jobs for people in the environment -- who hires environmentalists? Surely they are public agencies. Who hires environmental engineers? Who hires foresters? The private sector does not. It is the public sector that hires them. The minister may be proud there are some job opportunities in the public sector, that there has been an increase of 1.2 per cent and 1.6 per cent. I would like to have the figures of how many of those are short-term jobs, how many are long-term jobs and how many are permanent employees.
What we originally started to talk about was security of employment, and if those are short- term contracts there ain't no security of employment, which the minister used to justify this kind of legislation as it applies to the public sector.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Of course, the member finally got back to the point, which was security of employment, and the figures are quite clear. He may think that 1.6 per cent growth is not enough, but the fact is that there is comparative security of employment in that, quite obviously, the private sector lost 3.3 per cent.
If he wants to talk about creating more jobs in the public sector, which is the classic way that he and his party create jobs, that is terrific; that is a debate for another time and another place. When one gets right to it, if the member will reflect for a moment, had we not brought in last year's bill and this year's bill, we would obviously have been paying a great deal more to those who have security, because their contracts would have been higher.
Mr. Foulds: Can you not negotiate it? Do you not have competent negotiators?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I will finish and then you can try once again to save this point you are trying to make.
We obviously would have been paying a great deal more and there would have been fewer jobs for those people coming out of the universities whom the member professes to be so worried about. He wants to say, "Pay more to the people who are here," and then complains that there is not enough money to provide more jobs for the people who are coming out. He could be consistent. But the point of this exercise is that there is, of course, a great deal more job security. The figures are evident.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Chairman, I think what I heard the minister say was that he thinks it would be a good thing to cut the wages of public servants by half so he could increase public service employment. That is the argument the minister is making.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: He isn't saying that.
Mr. Cassidy: That's exactly the argument he is making.
I want to speak specifically to the amendment proposed by my friend the member for Port Arthur (Mr. Foulds). The bill is a bad bill. I do not need to go into all of the things that have been said about it. But I must say that for a bunch of supposed free-enterprisers to come in with this degree of regulation and intervention certainly raises an awful lot of questions about the bona fides of a government that says it believes in leaving some things to be regulated on a noncoercive basis.
The coercion is particularly strong in relation to this clause, because it does not even apply to all public servants. It effectively applies only to those public servants whose contracts are settled by arbitrators and who do not have the right to strike. They are a rather limited group, but the treatment there, as we have argued in the second reading debate, is exceptionally heavy handed.
I would suggest that if you read this clause literally it could be so wide-ranging that it would touch the question of whether or not new desks or typewriters were being bought for workers who happen to be affected by an arbitration or whether they had to pay 15 per cent more for air fares because Air Canada's fares have gone up by that much. I think one could make the argument -- it has been made before -- that any expense allocation for these employees, regardless of what they have to spend, would have to be limited according to what the phrasing of subclauses 1(m)(i) and 1(m)(ii) actually means.
Maybe that is not what was intended, but the law as the minister has put it is an ass. To impose this extra obligation in terms of reporting with respect to those contracts where an arbitrator is forced to do interest arbitration simply makes it more of an ass. I would suggest very strongly that if the Inflation Restraint Board is going to try to implement this act, it is unworkable in respect of any effective reporting and therefore it is not going to be operated in an effective way. Perhaps we should be thankful for that because it is bad law.
The amount of detail into which the board is meant to go, the amount of time in which it is meant to review whether it is satisfied with the information being made available, the amount of information that is now to be required of arbitrators and just the sheer complexity of the definition of this term, "terms of employment," are enough to boggle the mind.
Over the last few days I have had the chance to meet with some of the people in Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry and other parts of the province; constituents, small businessmen and other people like that. The complaint they have about this government, which has been in power for 40 years, is that they are getting absolutely fed to the teeth with the fact they are constantly being required to give more and more detailed statistics and information which is fed into the maw of government for reasons they cannot understand.
I suggest this is a costly and an unnecessary requirement. It is simply another example of how this government, far from its supposed free enterprise principles, is overregulatory; it is Tory, and this clause should be withdrawn.
The Deputy Chairman: The question to be decided is, shall subclauses 1(m)(i) and 1(m)(ii) be deleted from the bill?
All those in favour will please say "aye."
All those opposed will please say "nay."
In my opinion the nays have it.
The Deputy Chairman: Are there any further amendments to section 1? I did not hear the member for Rainy River (Mr. T. P. Reid). Oh, I was not supposed to hear him.
On section 2:
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Chairman, I think my party will be voting against section 2. That would just gut the whole bill.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Let us let the record show the New Democratic Party is against Her Majesty.
Mr. Foulds: I really did want to move along briskly; however, the Treasurer is so provocative. I have often been accused of being a Marxist and I am not. I have often been accused of not being a monarchist and I am.
If I were not a monarchist, my personal life would be a shambles. My wife, who was born in Yorkshire, is one of the strongest monarchists I know. She is also a socialist. I want to tell the House I am talking about Her Majesty, which is in section 2, part of the bill, and I am speaking directly on the clause.
I started out by quoting one of the great Beatles' songs in the 1960s, Hey Jude, which was about "a sad song" and trying to "make it better." If anybody remembers, one of the great Beatles' albums had a very cheeky song about Her Majesty. What one of them said was they thought Her Majesty was a pretty fine girl and they were going to make her theirs. I thought that was a pretty cheeky thing to say about Her Majesty. I would not have the gall. I have so much respect for Her Majesty. I would not have the cheek the Beatles had. Yet the Beatles had an audience with Her Majesty, which I had as well, believe it or not, some 12 years ago.
Mr. Cassidy: Can the member sing?
Mr. Foulds: No, I cannot sing. I just behaved myself exactly as protocol allowed.
Anyway, just to set the record straight for the Treasurer, I do not think we should sully the reputation of the monarchy or sully the reputation of Her Majesty in right of Ontario by forcing this act upon her, by having her representative in the province sign it. I believe this act should not bind Her Majesty in right of Ontario because if we deleted this section from the bill it would of course gut the whole bill. This party will vote against this section in order to attempt to defeat the principle of the bill.
The Deputy Chairman: I thank the honourable member and I think he has taught the Treasurer a lesson -- not to be provocative.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Chairman, I might remind the member for Port Arthur that Her Majesty will have the opportunity to decide whether or not she wishes to be bound by this some time later next week. Her own representative could speak for her at that time, or nod his head on her behalf.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Chairman, I do not want to be too frivolous, but I have some questions about the language of this section and for that reason I would oppose it, because I always thought this was a family Legislature and we should be able to take these bills home and show them to our children. With that, I will be seated.
The Deputy Chairman: Does any other honourable member wish to speak on this section? Is it the pleasure of the House that section 2 carry?
All those in favour will please say "aye."
All those opposed will please say "nay."
In my opinion the ayes have it.
Motion agreed to.
On section 3:
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Chairman. I move that subsection 3(4) be deleted from the bill and I have, if I may say so, some serious comments to make.
The Deputy Chairman: We will record that Mr. Foulds moves that subsection 3(4) be deleted from the bill.
Mr. Foulds: I want to read that subsection. "This part," and that is the part that has to do with compensation review, "applies notwithstanding any other act or any agreement made before or after the coming into force of this act."
I want to speak for a few moments about the principle that is embedded in that part of the clause. It is this kind of clause that I find increasingly abhorrent when it is introduced into legislation.
What this clause does is nullify all of the other legislation that has been passed by this Legislature as this bill affects it. Particularly, the preamble of the Labour Relations Act is set aside by this clause. The preamble to the Labour Relations Act indicates that the purpose of that act is to encourage the processes and procedures of free and full collective bargaining.
This bill inhibits full and free collective bargaining. This bill inhibits the arbitration process and there is no denial of that by the government. The government's purpose in bringing forward this legislation is to curtail and to contain full and free collective bargaining. Its purpose is to contain and direct what has been up until this point independent arbitration.
What this clause is saying is that the bill we have before us, Bill 111, that has to do with compensation review, nullifies all of the thought, all of the work, all of the legislative drafting that has gone on in this province since Confederation. I happen to think that that is a very serious step.
I happen to think that setting aside the provisions of other acts of this Legislature that have been duly debated, drafted by the government, passed by this Legislature; the setting aside of that in a mere two and a half lines is a very serious act for a Legislature to engage in. It is an especially serious act when an approximate quorum is in the Legislature discussing this bill.
One of the things that has happened in the last 10, 12 or 15 years is that parliaments and legislatures have enjoyed less and less good opinion by the public. The public now has a much worse opinion of legislators and of Parliament than it used to have. I suggest it is because we pass stupid laws such as this one with stupid clauses such as this one.
Without a shadow of a doubt there are very few, if any, people in the Legislature today who have a full knowledge of the collective bargaining process, and I include myself. I suggest there is nobody sitting in the Legislature today, as we are passing this clause, who has a full knowledge or any experience of the arbitration process.
Yet if we pass this clause, we are passing an act which will interfere with collective bargaining under the Labour Relations Act, with the negotiating procedures and arbitration under the Crown Employees Collective Bargaining Act. It will interfere dramatically with the arbitration process as described in the Police Act. We shall pass a clause that has in it the innocent words, "This part applies notwithstanding any other act or any agreement made before or after the coming into force of this act." That is just the sweeping kind of legislation that should be unconstitutional.
The proper way to go about amending, in a legislature or a parliament, is to amend the individual acts and to have them out on the table. I would challenge any member present today in the House, including the minister, to get up and tell us exactly which acts are affected. Perhaps the minister's officials will run and give him a list. I hope so because I want to get that on the record.
That leaves aside that this act applies to any agreement made in the province. An agreement, if one turns to the definition section, is not defined. Or is it? It is certainly not in the definition section. Where is "agreement" defined? I do not find it in the definition section. Where is it defined? Let me ask that question while I am in full flight here.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: It is defined under clause 1(c), "collective agreement."
Mr. Foulds: Clause 1(c) refers to "collective agreement." The ministry is not using the words "collective agreement" here; it is just using the word "agreement." Why? I would say that is sloppy draftsmanship.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: There are many words in legislation that are not defined in the opening sections. "Agreement" is a fairly common word and ordinarily is not defined except for this specific type of agreement, which is a collective agreement.
Mr. Foulds: I would like to know, does it include verbal agreements where there is no collective or written agreement between employers and their employees? Is that why the ministry has used the word "agreement"?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I am not sure what the member is seeking here, but what we want to make clear is that it applies to agreements. Any kind of agreement has to be included. There is no narrowing, it is meant to catch everything.
Mr. Foulds: That is exactly the information I needed because, if it applies to any agreement, does that apply to an agreement between different ministries with regard to salaries for employees? Does it apply to different levels of government from a ministry to an agency that it funds? That is the very point we are raising and the very point I wanted to make as to why this section should be deleted. We do not know the number of agreements or the type of agreements. We do not know the scope this piece of legislation is affecting; yet we are blithely passing it.
I suggest that is an authoritarian view, a dictatorial view of the law. Before we pass a law, before the government proposes a law, we should know what the hell it is affecting. They do not know. The minister says an agreement is an agreement. The term "agreement" is not defined. Clause 1(c) says: "'Collective agreement' means a collective agreement as defined in the Labour Relations Act . . ." and the further wording in clause 1(c). What I want to know is how wide is the net? How can we as responsible legislators pass this clause when we do not know whom and what it affects?
There is either one of two reasons why the government wants to pass it. Either it wants authority concentrated in the hands of the executive council or it does not know. If they do not know, they should not do it because it seems to me one of the fundamental principles is that one should not unnecessarily take away people's freedom. It seems to me this clause does.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Chairman, since I believe the minister has his legal experts in front of him and the legislative draftsman is under the gallery, I wonder if he can indicate if his law officers have given him a legal opinion on the bill as to all the provisions, not just this one, but all of them vis-à-vis the Constitution and the Charter of Rights.
Can he tell us that in their opinion and on their advice this bill is in order with the Charter of Rights and we will not see what we saw last time, where this party in particular and my friends to the left argued parts of the last bill were unconstitutional? Can he assure us his law officers have told him that not only this phrase but all of the bill is constitutional?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Yes, we have such a clear opinion from the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) with regard to Bill 111. I might say the Attorney General's office still believes last year's was constitutional.
Mr. Foulds: I think that is a very good question posed by the member for Rainy River. I would like the Treasurer to table the opinion of the Attorney General that has been offered to him so we can discuss this bill with more background knowledge. I notice it was not included in the compendium of information given to us.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The member might feel free to debate it on the basis there was a phone call from the solicitors at the Attorney General's ministry to his people in my ministry indicating that, yes, in their view it complies with the Charter of Rights. He may want to argue with that, but that is the opinion.
Mr. McClellan: Do you have the telephone slip? Could you table the pink slip from the telephone conversation?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I can give him the phone number. I would be happy to and the member could debate it.
Mr. McClellan: That is a wonderful way to do things.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: If the answer were no, we would have a letter. If they had doubts, if they had qualifications, there would be a long letter perhaps outlining the pros and cons and the strengths and weaknesses of the case. But they believe it is lawful. What else needs to be said?
Mr. Martel: That is what the minister said the last time.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Chairman, I will be pleased to respond if you wish.
The Deputy Chairman: The Treasurer can sit down and further questions will be asked.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Chairman, in the minister's defence, I believe he was attempting to answer the series of questions I raised before.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Yes, I was. The member for Port Arthur suggested we should not have subsection 3(4) because the word "agreement" is too vague, too all encompassing. I want it to be clear that it is not vague but it is all encompassing. It is meant to cover all agreements which affect compensation. It is meant to include all sorts of agreements which may be entered into, between whomever and however they are done, in order to ensure that they do not defeat the purpose of the act. So let us be clear; it has that wide sweep and we know that.
If the member says he wants to see all the possible arrangements that may be caught by it so he can vote on it, I would suggest to him, with respect, it is a little like saying that one cannot pass amendments to the Income Tax Act because one cannot see all the people who may be caught by it, may be affected by it or, for that matter, cannot know all the arrangements that people might enter into in order to avoid the taxation which one is trying to put in place. It is the same principle.
Mr. Charlton: Mr. Chairman, the point the minister makes, and which my colleague the member for Port Arthur raised, is a very good one. It is causing me some very serious difficulty here because this government has not yet straightened out who was covered by last year's bill, let alone who is going to be covered by this year's bill. We have contracts in this province, negotiated 10 months ago, for which the Inflation Restraint Board cannot decide whether or not it is responsible and on which no ministry over there will give a ruling.
My colleague the member for Algoma (Mr. Wildman) has a situation where constables on reservations are paid through the Ontario Provincial Police, but they are hired and employed by the band. Their contract was settled some 10 months ago. The IRB has said that it is not its responsibility to decide whether they are covered. The government does not know whether they are covered and will not rule, so these people are without any increase. Now the government is asking us to pass a bill with this kind of definition, which the minister says is that wide, but he will not define who it covers or who it does not cover.
He is asking us to pass a piece of legislation which is going to put those same people who are having problems with last year's legislation into a similar bind again. It is not acceptable.
Mr. Foulds: I would like the minister to respond if he could, not only to my concern about the word "agreement" in the section, but my very serious reservation as a legislator about passing laws that abrogate other laws.
The minister has not addressed that point at all. He is, after all, a lawyer. He should have some thoughts, both as Treasurer and as a lawyer, about what he feels as to why he has the right and why this government has the right to bring in a piece of legislation that affects a number of other laws.
First, I would like him to tell us in committee -- and that is what committee is about -- which other laws are affected. What are the other acts that are affected in line one and how are they affected?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: With respect, all of us have participated in the passage of legislation with this kind of clause in it. It is done often and it is done simply because either one approves of the principle of what one is doing in this legislation or one does not. I am not asking the member to approve -- well, yes, I am asking him to approve the principle of this bill. He does not. But once one does approve of the principle, then the simple question is what is the best way to implement and legislate those changes? One cannot implement those kinds of changes, which the member disagrees with, without amending or overriding certain portions of certain other pieces of legislation.
The only other way to have done this would have been to bring in one-section amendments to a number of pieces of legislation. It would have had the same effect, except that when the program finished, we would have to go back and reamend them again to bring them back to the status quo. Surely this is the more sensible way to proceed, given that ultimately everything ends on this floor. The members have every right and opportunity, which they are now exercising, to say we should not be proceeding in this way. This is just one way of handling the circumstance of implementing the principle which we on this side endorse in this legislation and some members do not. This is very much a matter of how one implements, not whether one implements.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Chairman, could I speak to that? What the minister is telling me is that this is the convenient way to do it, not the best way to do it. It is the easiest way to do it. I remind the minister that was the very argument that was found wanting in the Supreme Court decision of a few weeks ago with regard to Bill 179. They used the words the Minister of Labour (Mr. Ramsay) used, that it was the "sensible" way to proceed.
What governments think is sensible, easy or convenient is a very bad principle of law. I am not going to let this section go easily. What we are doing is amending a whole host of laws. We have not even had a statement from the government side about what those laws are. The minister refuses to tell us the agreements because he admits he does not know them. As a legislator, the minister with his officials should have done enough research to know which laws they were overriding. I would like that on the record before there is final consideration of this section. That is a principle that a Conservative should endorse. We should know the law we are overriding. We should know the traditions that we are changing before we pass a law or a clause. Damn it, we should have that information in front of us.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I did not use the word "convenient" and I am not going to get into the game of adjectives with the member with regard to the reason for proceeding in this way, except to say that if the member wants to suggest I said it was convenient, not the best way, let me say quite clearly that I think it is the best way. That is why we proceeded --
Mr. Foulds: If you think convenient is the best way, --
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The member has a tough enough time putting words in his own mouth; he should not put them in mine.
I will give the member the list. He will not be surprised at the list because it essentially reflects the statutes which were referred to by those who appeared in front of us at the committee stage. The list includes the Colleges Collective Bargaining Act, the Crown Employees Collective Bargaining Act, Fire Departments Act, Hospital Labour Disputes Arbitration Act, Labour Relations Act, Police Act, Public Service Act and School Boards and Teachers Collective Negotiations Act, all the things we talked about in committee.
Mr. Martel: What about LARAP, the Legislative Assembly retirement allowances plan? He does not know them all.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The member can give us his list if he likes.
Mr. Chairman: Order. The member for Port Arthur has the floor. The member for Sudbury East now.
Mr. Martel: Mr. Chairman, the minister invited me to give an example of what he does not know. There is an amendment before the Legislature now that cannot proceed because it conflicts with the legislation the government has before us. All it does is change from three years to 36 months. The Treasurer does not know the effect of it, and nobody did. The actuaries finally looked at it and they say it is 1.67 per cent out of whack; therefore, the government cannot change the Legislative Assembly retirement allowances plan.
The minister does not know what he is talking about. He has some of the act and he comes around here like -- I will not say it. He has not figured out the effects and all the ramifications of the legislation. When it was discussed yesterday at the Board of Internal Economy, everyone was amazed that it could have an effect in places that no one even thought about, including the minister with all his pomposity. He comes around here and he is so pompous; Nobody knows what he is talking about, except him. He does not know all the ramifications, and that is what is wrong with part of the legislation.
He brought in a piece of junk. Last year when it was great to be out front leading the way, the government followed the Liberals because the polls said it was good. This year when it is not so good, the government brings in something else and tells the people to negotiate their way out of the mess the government created last year.
Who do they think they are? They say: "You can negotiate your way out of the mess we created. We will leave it to collective bargaining now." The Treasurer says, "We didn't put a freeze on." Big star. They will fight with each other, but he will control the purse-strings. It is a pretty sleazy piece of business, if you ask me.
Mr. Stokes: Mention the teachers' superannuation bill.
Mr. Martel: Yes. At the same time he has got this and he has got the teachers' superannuation bill, which has been long promised by the Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson). How they are going to make that retroactive is going to be interesting, since it was promised a year and a half ago.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: That is clearly spelled out.
Mr. Martel: It is clearly spelled out, except the board might just say it is not possible -- as the minister walks away -- to make it retroactive.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Read the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation Bulletin.
Mr. Martel: I can read anything I want. We found out as late as yesterday afternoon that the Legislative Assembly retirement allowances plan bill could not proceed; so there are effects the minister does not know about.
I go back to what I was saying before the Minister of Education intervened. We do not know how she is going to make that retroactive. I am going to be interested to see how she fulfils that promise, and how much she is going to ask the teachers to pay back in income to make it possible for them to change from seven to five years.
Maybe the actuaries have told the Treasurer what it is going to cost, and maybe the Treasurer can tell us what it is going to cost those teachers to get the promise the Minister of Education made 18 months ago.
Mr. Foulds: How many retired on that promise?
Mr. Martel: We do not know how many have retired, and that is why I ask how many of them are going to have to pay things back.
It is interesting. The minister sits there and tells us all the things he has been throwing back at us. He created the mess, and most people will tell him it did not do a thing. Most of the government members are holding their breath hoping the American interest rate does not go up because if the American interest rate goes up, so will the rate of inflation and their program will be shot to hell because it was not a program in the first place. The only reason it flew was that the American interest rate went down; and when it went down so did inflation and the government happened to look good. But as the bank rate slowly nudges its way upward they must be sweating some bullets over there.
I cannot help recalling back in July or August when the Liberals were going to have their birthday party over six and five. I think members know Erik Nielsen, the acting leader in Ottawa. He said the federal program was a farce and they fought unemployment on the backs of the unemployed. That is what he said to the federal Liberals in Ottawa, and here we are with the same bit of junk here.
Mr. Harris: So he's not perfect.
Mr. Martel: No. One guy said one thing; the rest of us opposed it.
We see a clause like the one before us, and the minister says, "It is all-encompassing." I suggest to the minister that he does not know the full ramifications of the legislation before us. I asked him to explain LARAP and I will ask him to explain the teachers' superannuation.
What is going to happen when the legislation concerning teachers' superannuation is brought forth? Will the government be able to make it retroactive? Will people have to pay back to qualify, even though they were promised the amendments to LARAP a year and a half ago? They have not been forthcoming. Has it been looked at actuarially to determine whether they owe money? I ask the Treasurer to tell me that before I continue.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Chairman, I am not going to discuss teachers' superannuation until that bill, if it is introduced, is introduced, That is the point at which we can discuss that bill. If the member is opposed to it, he can say so at that time.
Mr. Martel: That is too easy, Mr. Chairman. The Treasurer is the one who just a few moments ago --
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I am debating Bill 111.
Mr. Martel: We are talking about Bill 111 and what it does to other legislation, and the Treasurer is not prepared to discuss that. He is not prepared to talk about how it affects other people, other pieces of legislation and whether it affects them detrimentally. Is that what he is telling me?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: As I indicated earlier, the intent of this section, whether his party chooses to support it or not, is to catch all other agreements. As we found out on other occasions, just as this bill superseded some other legislation other legislation could, if it were desired, be brought into this House to supersede this. Those decisions might be made at another time, but I can say right now this act says what it says; it says it catches all agreements.
Just to correct the record so the member will not be in error -- because I know he rarely is and always likes to be correct -- as to his suggestion the Legislative Assembly retirement allowances plan is affected by Bill 111 and the concern he expressed, I believe if he checks he will find the problem with LARAP is Bill 179, not Bill 111.
Mr. Martel: That is not quite the understanding my friend the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon) and I received yesterday from the government House leader (Mr. Wells) at a Board of Internal Economy meeting.
We are now told the thing will go its merry way as of April 1. It still raises the same question, though, does it not, if the government does not know the full effects or ramifications of the legislation before it, or that which superseded it, Bill 179? It went ahead with the piece of legislation because the polls looked good. Now the Treasurer is telling people to scramble their way out of it. He came here and blithely said he and the member for Cochrane North (Mr. Piché) had worked out a solution to a problem up there. The minister contradicted himself a number of times thereafter, because there does not seem to be a solution, or there has not been.
He does not know the full effects. That is what we are saying. He wants us to pass a piece of legislation when he does not know the full effects of the various agreements that are before him. He can say that he does not want to talk about that or that he does not want to talk about the teachers' superannuation, but we are not talking about the teachers' superannuation per se in the recommendations or the legislation as it comes in. It is what this does to that legislation or the potential for passing it or making it retroactive.
Is he saying it was Bill 179 that made it impossible for the government to bring in and fulfil the promise the Minister of Education made to the teachers? Is he saying it will be next year and he can make it retroactive to those teachers who took their pensions based on the minister's statement that she was amending the legislation? What does he do with those people to rectify what he has done to them by the legislation he is passing?
Surely that is not beyond the capacity of the minister to respond to. He cannot hide behind it and say, "You are talking about superannuation and I am not prepared to talk about it," when these last two pieces of legislation are what affected the commitment she made to the teachers who took their pension. I ask him to tell me how we are going to get out of it.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: When that is finally resolved, the member will see it on the floor of this assembly and then we can chat about it at length.
Mr. Martel: What the minister is saying to me is that he does not know. He is proposing and wants us to vote on a piece of legislation that could affect the outcome of that legislation. Is that what he is telling me? There is the potential for seeing it not passed even though there has been a commitment and people have taken their pensions based on the government's commitment. Is that what he is telling me this bill could do?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I am telling the member that extensive meetings have been held with the teachers' federation.
Mr. Martel: I understand that.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: If the member understood it, he would not be asking these questions because the answer would then be self-evident. However, when the bill is introduced, if it is introduced, the member can then comment on --
Mr. Martel: That is the issue -- "if." That is what I am asking.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: That is very interesting. If it is, he can comment on it. If it is not, he does not have a concern, because this bill will not apply to it.
Mr. Martel: I am asking whether this bill will prevent it. Surely the minister is in a position to tell me that. He is the Treasurer. He should be able to tell me whether this piece of legislation is going to present that from occurring. That is all I am asking him.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I am saying that when it occurs or when it does not --
Mr. Martel: You do not know.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Of course I know. My deputy minister has been the spokesperson for the government over the last little while.
Mr. Foulds: Your deputy minister was made the spokesperson.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: He has been meeting with the Ontario Teachers' Federation; the member's colleague probably knows that. Therefore, I can assure the member that everything that is being worked out, if it can be successfully worked out --
Mr. Foulds: If; tell us what has to be worked out.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: If the member wants to complain next Friday, or whenever we leave this assembly, that the bill has not been introduced, then he can be my guest. But until that time, it may be a little premature for him to suggest that all these impacts are going to take place on that agreement.
Mr. Foulds: The Treasurer gave us a list, I believe, of seven bills affected by this piece of legislation. Can he assure us these are the only acts affected by this piece of legislation?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Those are the major pieces of legislation. Let us be absolutely clear, and I have made it clear: the intent of this section is not only to cover those bills. We would have listed the bills if that were the intent. In the event there are other agreements or implications flowing from other legislation, then obviously we want them caught by that section.
The member may not agree with that -- he does not agree with it -- but I am not hiding the fact that the object of the word "agreement" is to catch all those other agreements.
Mr. Foulds: I think the Treasurer has made my point, although perhaps less clearly than I would like it to have been made. That is, this piece of legislation in terms of a legal document, in terms of the power it gives to the Treasurer and to the Lieutenant Governor in Council, is just as draconian and just as harsh as Bill 179.
He is saying this bill has the right to override not only the acts he knows about and can name today in front of us but also any other act he may not have known about. Those are bills such as the ones my colleague and friend the member for Sudbury East points out: the Legislative Assembly Retirement Allowances Act and the Teachers' Superannuation Act. Does it affect those acts or does it not? If it does, why does he not say so?
He has a very had principle here. It may be neat, it may be convenient, it may be easy legislative draftsmanship, but it is bad legislation. It is a bad procedure for a Legislature to agree to, because we are passing a law and we do not know the total effects of it.
I suggest with all the help he has available the minister should be able to tell us all the acts this law affects. If he cannot tell us, I am not agreeing, and my party is not agreeing, to this subsection 3(4).
Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Chairman, something bothers me about what the minister said in regard to this whole matter. Let us take the Teachers' Superannuation Act as an example. He indicated there might be some provision in that act to exempt it from this bill. Subsection 3(4) of this bill reads: "This part applies notwithstanding any other act or any agreement made before or after the coming into force of this act."
Frankly, I do not see how the minister can have it both ways. The minister has agreed that this is a catch-all intended to catch each and every agreement and act, whether he is knowledgeable of all of them or whether the government has a list somewhere. However, then he turns around and says, "Despite the wording of this section, we can pass another act saying that, except for this bill, Bill 111 applies."
I do not see how the government can do it both ways. Under the phrases in section 11, which the government usually puts in to give itself all the authority in the world to do whatever it wants under any circumstances, I do not see how the government can have it both ways. The statement about allowing a bill to escape subsection 3(4) exactly contradicts what they have there.
Can the minister tell us what it really is? Or is he contemplating, for every unforeseen incident which he has not obviously thought of, bringing in a separate bill and exempting it from Bill 111?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Chairman, let me read the subsection again and explain which words modify which -- or which are intended to. "This part applies notwithstanding any other act" -- that is existing: "any other act" -- "or any agreement made before or after the coming into force of this act." Therefore, "before" and "after" modify "agreement." They discuss agreements made before or after. It does not bind legislation made after.
Mr. Foulds: Well, that is any agreement.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Yes, the act portion ends at the word "act."
Mr. T. P. Reid: The Minister of Colleges and Universities (Miss Stephenson) will get even with me for my earlier intemperance. However, if the minister reads that -- and I gather his draftsmen and his lawyers have told him -- he will see that it says, "This part applies notwithstanding any other act or any agreement made before or after the coming into force of this act." If we were to leave out the phrase "or any agreement" -- I am not sure where the punctuation goes and how it should fit; however, there is a double subject there -- it would seem to me the following phrase would apply both to the "act" and to the following "agreement."
Hon. Mr. Grossman: As the Minister of Education points out to me, it is a double object and not a double subject. I am disappointed the member did not know that. However, I think it would be read the way the member is suggesting if we had two commas in there. I think commas would make it read the way the member is suggesting it might read.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Punctuation always helps.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Punctuation always helps; that is what I always say. I think the important thing to remember in any reading of this legislation is that if subsection 3(4) is drafted so as to purport to bind the crown in the future -- which I suggest to the House it does not purport to do; but if it is read that way -- it is academic since the crown cannot bind itself in terms of the future.
Mr. Martel: You covered it all with a wide net.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The Legislature, yes.
The Deputy Chairman: The question to be decided is, shall subsection 3(4) be deleted from the bill?
All those in favour will please say "aye."
All those opposed will please say "nay."
In my opinion the nays have it.
On section 4:
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Chairman, I do not have an amendment to section 4. However, my understanding is that, in clause by clause, we can discuss without actually having to move an amendment.
The Deputy Chairman: Absolutely.
Mr. Foulds: I would like to discuss subsection 4(1) with the Treasurer. I am particularly disturbed by the phrasing in lines 2 and 3: "The board shall assess changes in compensation in the public sector to determine their conformity with such criteria as the Treasurer determines and report on its findings to the Treasurer from time to time . . ." What I find worrying once again are the wide-ranging powers granted to the Treasurer in this section; that is, "to determine their conformity with such criteria as the Treasurer determines."
The Treasurer has said in his statement that the criterion is five per cent, period, for the compensation package. As I understand it, the Treasurer has also said he will have those criteria published in the Ontario Gazette. Is that correct? If I am correct so far, what I would like to know is whether we have a commitment from the Treasurer that every time he issues a press release or statement about the criteria he is going to gazette it.
This section once again gives an enormous power; it is not even regulation, which is bad enough, i.e. a passage of an order in council by the cabinet after some discussion, one assumes. Never having been into the secrecy of cabinet I do know how quickly or how superficially or how sleepily orders in council are passed, but in this case, the Treasurer, ex cathedra from wherever, from the Frost Building, from a seat in the Legislature, from Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, or from the Albany Club, can announce the criteria, because he has the total right to determine what the criteria are.
Once again, I am very loath to pass a clause in a bill that gives that much power to one person. Henry VIII would have been happy to have that much power. It is incredible the kind of legislation that we are asked to pass in the latter part of the 20th century; it is incredible that the Treasurer is asking for that authority without reference even to his colleagues.
I suggest that is just not fair. I would like from the Treasurer a statement about what are the criteria, how he is going to arrive at them and whether he plans to change them from time to time during the course and period of this legislation.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Chairman, the minister and I had a brief conversation about this some time ago and I was somewhat shocked to learn that his only criterion was the five per cent at the moment. However, section 4 gives him fairly wide powers to deal with this and I would like to see a commitment, at the very least, for the Treasurer to provide the criteria to the House and perhaps an opportunity for discussion before it is gazetted.
The more I look at this bill the more I am beginning to wonder about some of the items in it. Look at subsection 4(2), "The board shall, through such methods as are considered appropriate, increase awareness of the effects of changes referred to in subsection 1."
There are so many of these very vague, open-ended matters in this bill that I am beginning to wonder just how vague the minister was trying, in reality, to make the bill. It is vague enough as it is, but surely some of these matters can be tightened up by his legislative draftsmen and his advisers.
What the devil does subsection 4(2) mean anyway? Could we please have a commitment from the minister that any changes in the criteria will be announced in this House and some opportunity will be provided, through means other than the question period, to question the minister on this.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Chairman, I am here almost every day during question period so the member can ask me at that time.
Mr. T. P. Reid: I notice you didn't say you would answer the questions we ask and I commend you on that.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I would say to the member for Port Arthur that subsection 4(3) makes it quite clear that all the criteria shall be published in the Ontario Gazette. We do not need an undertaking. It will be included in this legislation, if it is passed.
I would remind members this is simply determining the conformity with the criteria which they then report to me, and therefore discuss with the public, in terms of the appropriateness of what flows from that. I would remind members of the House that no legislative action, no power, flows to me. The Treasurer cannot take any unilateral action that affects anyone's income, anyone's compensation as a result of this, without coming back to the House. This is simply --
Mr. Martel: Whatever it might be.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Read the subsection. Subsection 4(1) simply says, "The board shall assess changes in compensation in the public sector to determine their conformity with such criteria as the Treasurer determines and report on its findings to the Treasurer from time to time." This says I set out a figure. The simply says, "The board shall assess changes in compensation in the public sector to determine their conformity with such criteria as the Treasurer determines and report on its findings to the Treasurer from time to time." This says I set out a figure. The board reports to me from time to time as to whether that figure is generally being followed and adhered to.
Mr. T. P. Reid: There will be no change in the five per cent or any other criteria?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I do not see that at all, but even if that were the case it would be gazetted. All it means is the board would report to me that those new criteria are or are not being followed. That is all that happens. It may recommend to the Treasurer that further appropriate measures be taken, but any of the further measures the Treasurer might wish to take have to come to this House.
If the member will read subsection 4(1) carefully, there is nothing in it that says the Treasurer may take such further actions as might be appropriate. It does not empower me to do that. It simply says they may recommend to me what action should be taken. That would mean in terms of affecting anyone's income but I would have to come here with the legislative amendments to do so.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Would the minister indicate why he even needs this whole section in here? Under what circumstances does he envisage there will be such changes that this makes sense to anybody under any circumstances? As the minister says, it does not give him the power to roll back increases, increase increases or to do anything. What is the purpose of the whole matter in any case?
Second, having said that, we -- I believe the House as a whole -- have been operating under the assumption that the criterion is five per cent as already gazetted. If the minister is going to change that criterion in any dramatic way, to make it seven per cent or two per cent or whatever, then that changes the whole principle of the bill in my mind and I am sure those of my colleagues. Because of the other provisions of the bill relating to arbitration and everything else, it changes the whole tenor and principle of the bill.
I am going to move, and I will do it right now, that section 4 not be reported as part of the bill.
Mr. Chairman: With due respect, I would have to suggest to the member that is not in order. The member can vote against a section but the motion is not in order.
Mr. T. P. Reid: It is my understanding of the standing orders that in committee the bill has to be reported back to the House. Can we not move that a section be deleted in the report?
Mr. Chairman: I would not think so. The member can vote against that section and vote against the whole bill going back but not to a section by itself. Similarly, one cannot withdraw a whole clause. One cannot vote that. One can vote an amendment to it.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Chairman, I just want to say that if the motion had been in order this party would certainly have supported it. There are two things. I want to choose my words carefully, but the Treasurer is being less than frank when he says he must come back to the Legislature for any changes. First of all, he can, as he has admitted, gazette whatever criteria he determines from time to time. That does not take away from the arbitrariness of the power given to himself.
I would like the Treasurer to pay attention to me and have his officials pay attention to me while I am making the subsequent argument rather than having their little conference right now.
If that is taken into consideration with subsection 11(1), the section that deals with the power of the cabinet to make regulations, particularly subclauses 11(1)(a) and 11(1)(b), which can add anything to the schedule that is attached to the bill or can terminate in whole or in part the application of this act to a group, enormous power is given to the Lieutenant Governor in Council in section 11. So the Treasurer is being less than frank when he says he has to come back to the Legislature.
I admit, and I will be speaking on this when we get to section 11, that this government is fond of giving itself enormous powers under sections like section 11, which says the Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations. What these are doing is making regulations that basically can abrogate this bill. That is fine, except that he does not have to come back to the House to do it. He should at least be straightforward and honest about the fact that the power given to him in section 4, coupled with the power given to the Lieutenant Governor in Council -- i.e. the cabinet, i.e. the Treasurer recommending to cabinet -- gives him enormous power without coming to the Legislature. That is why as a legislator I argued and voted against subsection 3(4) and it is one of the reasons I will vote against section 4.
Mr. Mancini: Mr. Chairman, this matter was dealt with somewhat in the committee and it appeared at that time that the minister was sensitive on this particular point and felt -- at least, I thought he felt -- that the idea of having changes debated in the Legislature might merit his concern or maybe his looking at the section again. I guess we have not heard from him sufficiently today to feel whether he has reviewed the matter or whether he shares the same concern he shared the other day in the committee.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Chairman, I disagree with the member for Port Arthur. of course. There is no power in subsection 4(1) to affect anyone's income, earnings or compensation plan. The important thing to remember here is that, while I may as Treasurer publish the criteria in the Gazette, those are criteria for setting out a guideline, but the transfer payments will have been made by that time. They will be based on the five per cent figure. Those moneys will be out there and available to all the transferees to pay the settlements. Therefore, to suggest that I can come back to the House and make any kinds of changes with regard to affecting people's income, of course --
Mr. T. P. Reid: Why do you need it? Can you tell us why?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Yes. The member for Rainy River asks why we need it. The reason we put this section in is to have some clear message out there that these things are going to be monitored and reviewed by the board, that the board would be there to assess all these changes and report on them to the government so that the government could know whether in fact there was compliance with the five per cent guideline.
I think if we had to make judgements with regard to the need for a different program, a stronger program as I have referred to, we should not be doing that by reference to a newspaper story with regard to the latest public sector settlement. We believe those things should be filed with the board and the board should have a clear obligation to report those to the Treasurer and to give advice to the Treasurer, as it says in the legislation, on the pattern of compensation increases.
Mr. T. P. Reid: The minister foresees no changes?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: No, I do not. As the member will see from my prebudget statement which we hope to have shortly, there are no major changes expected by us. There are no trends out there which indicate that a move away from the five per cent would be necessary.
Subsection 2 is appropriate feeding subsection 1 because we think that not only should the government be aware of some of these things but the public, too, should know the implications. That is why the whole section is in there.
Mr. Chairman: Are the members ready?
Mr. McClellan: No, Mr. Chairman. I am still confused about the criteria the Treasurer will be setting. When I read it originally I had not anticipated that the criteria would be defined so narrowly as to mean simply the same thing as current government fiscal policy; that is to say, five per cent.
Having followed the discussion this afternoon, and admittedly I was not in committee, do I take it that the only criteria the Treasurer intends to determine and gazette has to do with percentage figures, presumably the five per cent, or will other criteria he contemplated, such as the need to redress historic injustices between workers in certain obvious sectors?
Is that contemplated as part of the criteria, the kind of catch-up that justice demands take place for certain workers, usually in the human services professions, who have not had the opportunity to bargain from strength at the bargaining table and who have fallen behind relative to other workers in our community? In a nutshell, are the criteria going to be limited to a percentage formula or will other factors he folded into it?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: For purposes of section 4, five per cent is it.
Mr. McClellan: That's it?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: That's it.
Mr. Rae: Mr. Chairman, I would like to ask the minister whether he can tell us something about the membership of the board. Is it the intention of the government to change the membership of the current board in any way, or are we going to see the old inflation board membership continue through next year?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Chairman, we have not finally determined that but I might say, so that I do not mislead the member in any way, we believe they have done a pretty good job. At the present time we would be soliciting their advice as to whether they would be willing to serve longer. We will then make a final decision shortly.
Mr. Rae: Can the minister tell us what kind of staffing arrangements are being made in terms of the size of the personnel now working for the board and what staff he intends to be hired by the board? Has he that information?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The number varies depending on the number of contracts that are being analysed from time to time. I believe the current number is about 27. Sorry; that is the maximum number we have had but I think we are close to the maximum now.
Mr. Rae: Does that include clerical staff?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Yes, that is everyone.
Mr. Martel: Winter works projects.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: More jobs in the public sector.
Mr. McClellan: All of the jobs in the public sector.
Mr. Martel: Inspectors.
Mr. Rae: Exactly; those are the only ones the minister is creating, apart from the inspectors who were hired yesterday.
I would like to ask the minister if he can perhaps take this opportunity to clear up the real and continued mystery with respect to what is transpiring with respect to the Sensenbrenner workers. The minister will also be aware of instances which have been raised by my colleagues with respect to procedural problems with the Van Daele Manor Nursing Home decision, where the board was totally unaware and remained unaware of the facts of the situation. I would like to ask the minister whether he is satisfied that the procedures which have been followed in these two cases really do give protection to employees and whether employees are going to continue to be served in the manner they have been served in the past by the Inflation Restraint Board.
In case the minister does not know it, from amongst a great many people in the trade union field who have had to deal with administrative boards of all kinds, both federal and provincial, ?? I cannot think of one which has received a worse assessment in its sensitivity and understanding of labour relations problems and the realities of the world at work than the Inflation Restraint Board which has been established by this government.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I do not happen to share that view. I understand it may be the members' view and that of the labour representatives that have spoken to him. I respect that but I do not happen to share it. In the Sensenbrenner circumstance, they did allow the first portion of that award, where otherwise it might not have been allowed and could well have been said to have been caught by Bill 179. The Inflation Restraint Board did not include the first portion of that award.
With regard to the Sensenbrenner situation, the preferred route is to have it sorted out by the parties. The parties had one meeting a week or so ago and will have another meeting this week. Given all the circumstances, that would remain the appropriate thing to do. If it does not work out, we will have to contemplate it further. All the parties are back talking and trying to sort out what is appropriate. That is the proper thing to do in the circumstances.
Mr. Rae: Can the minister confirm that the board is going to be making a final decision with respect to the Sensenbrenner matter on Thursday?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: No, I cannot.
Mr. Rae: Can the minister tell us if it is his understanding that the board is going to render a decision or recommendation to the government in this matter? Is that his understanding of how it is ultimately going to be resolved?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The board does agree with us that it should meet with the parties and see if they can work out an arrangement which satisfies everyone. We have not put a date on it or required that they report to us at a particular time in order to meet any deadline we have arbitrarily set. The discussions are going decently to date and they should continue.
Mr. Rae: Let us get back to this. Let us talk dollars and cents. If the minister is talking about an arrangement which is worked out on a contractual basis between the employees and the Sensenbrenner Hospital, he is talking about an arrangement that is going to be taken out of next year's collective bargaining. He has to be talking about something which is going to be assessed against future bargaining. The only way in which it could deal with a situation in the past is if the Inflation Restraint Board were going to make some kind of a recommendation to cabinet under section 17 of Bill 179. The minister knows that perfectly well.
I am asking the minister, is this going to be money that will come out of future settlements or is it money which is going to be awarded in an exceptional way and recognized by the Lieutenant Governor in Council as an exception under section 17?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I cannot tell the member what the Inflation Restraint Board is going to recommend to me. I do not know.
Mr. Rae: Don't tell me they are independent of the government?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: They certainly are.
Mr. Rae: Don't tell me that.
Mr. Foulds: I would like to ask a question of the Treasurer along the lines my colleague the member for York South has raised. I am talking specifically about Pinewood Court, the nurses and administration there, who submitted a plan, I believe, some six weeks ago to the Inflation Restraint Board and the board has not replied. Does that mean the Inflation Restraint Board agrees with the plan put forward and proposed by the administrator and the union in that case?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: No.
Mr. Foulds: Has the minister received a copy of the letter I received yesterday from the nurses' association with regard to the Pinewood Court situation? Does he plan to take any action on that particular matter?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I have not got the letter.
Mr. Foulds: The minister did not receive the letter?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I have not seen the letter.
Mr. Foulds: Does the minister feel any responsibility to intervene in the situations, as he initially indicated in this House he was going to, with regard to the Sensenbrenner General Hospital workers, the Van Daele hospital workers and the workers at Pinewood Court? He clearly has the authority to do that in Bill 179 because, although there is no appeal board on Bill 179, there is a clause similar to section 11 of this bill, that is, section 25 of Bill 179.
The Deputy Chairman: Perhaps the member could deal with that --
Mr. Foulds: Just a minute, Mr. Chairman. I have asked the Treasurer a question arising out of the procedures of the board which has to do with the section we are discussing. The board is continuing. I am calling to the Treasurer's attention the procedures of the board which have existed in the past. I am asking the Treasurer, which is perfectly legitimate, if he is going to avail himself of the legislative authority he has in Bill 179 -- and that he will have under Bill 111 -- to intervene in the situation with the Pinewood Court, Van Daele and Sensenbrenner hospital workers. I want to get the answer to that question on the record because I have another question with regard to the present bill.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Let me be clear in terms of whether this is in order. The member does not know, because the government has not decided, whether the same members of the board are going to be in place.
Second, this board has totally different functions and very few powers. It has nothing whatever like the powers the member is now complaining of in Bill 179. Therefore, it is an extremely long leap to suggest that all these questions flow out of what a previous board did, under previous legislation and with previous powers, regarding a decision handed down last year concerning last year's decisions.
All those questions coming under a new board and a new act seem to be fairly extraordinary reaches in terms of legislation. These are cases that have not yet been heard concerning a board with no power to roll back this year.
The simple answer is that I do not have that letter. I am not going to comment on a letter I have not read.
Mr. Rae: Lest there be any doubt, the minister cannot have it both ways. In this act, the word "board" means the Inflation Restraint Board constituted under the Inflation Restraint Act of 1982. So we are entitled and this is the first opportunity we have had -- to ask the minister questions with respect to the conduct of the Inflation Restraint Board.
The minister has just said -- and the act specifically says -- that the Inflation Restraint Board is the same board as the one expressed and created under the Inflation Restraint Act. The fact that the names of the individuals who are responsible for the board may change is utterly irrelevant. It is the same corporate body we are dealing with.
I cannot believe the minister seriously expects us not to be addressing questions to him with respect to the conduct of that same corporate board since it was created as a creature of the Inflation Restraint Act of 1982. The minister cannot get away with that kind of line.
The minister cannot get away with it for another reason. On repeated occasions in this House, when we have raised the question of Sensenbrenner, Pinewood Court, Van Daele and Pine Grove -- and the minister can hardly say he is unaware of these because we have made a case about them -- he has made a point of saying how the Inflation Restraint Board is going to deal with all these problems and handle them.
That is the answer the minister gave us when the cameras were rolling at two o'clock. Now we are here asking for detailed answers to questions and I think we are entitled to them. My colleague is entitled to answers to the questions with respect to Pinewood Court and we are entitled to answers to these questions with respect to exactly what the board is doing. The minister is responsible for speaking for the board to this House and we are asking him questions and we want some answers.
The minister cannot expect us not to address questions which arise out of the way in which the board behaved in those matters, because it was not entirely a question of the legislation, though that had a great deal to do with it. It was also, in good measure, a question of the discretionary decisions taken by the board. We want to know if these are the same kinds of people we are going to be dealing with in the next piece of legislation. We want to know about it and it will reflect our view as to this legislation in general.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: With respect, the member for York South is mistaken when he suggests this is the first opportunity he has had to discuss the Inflation Restraint Board.
The first opportunity was in clause 1(b). to which he himself has referred, which indicates the Inflation Restraint Board is the board constituted under the Inflation Restraint Act of 1982. If the member thought we should not proceed in that way, an appropriate course of action which he might have followed would have been to amend clause 1(b) to suggest that it should not be that kind of board.
Further, I have indicated that no final decisions have been taken with regard to the composition of the board this coming year, although I have indicated some confidence in the members of that board. With respect, clause 1(b) was the place to discuss the board and how it has behaved in the past year. One may disagree with how it behaved, but that was the place to raise it, not under section 4. In any event, I have indicated our position, notwithstanding the fact we have debated it, with respect, under the wrong section of the bill.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Chairman, I do not think I have had an answer. Do I have the minister's answer on the record? Is he not going to intervene in any of those cases? Is he not going to avail himself of the powers under clause 25(1)(b) of the Inflation Restraint Act? Is he not going to intervene under that section? Is he not going to intervene, as he is allowed to, as a member of the executive council of the Lieutenant Governor in Council, under clause 25(1)(b), which could terminate, in whole or in part, the application of Bill 179 in respect of a compensation plan or plans?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I did not say I would not intervene.
Mr. Foulds: Is he going to intervene under that section?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I have not decided because not all the cases have been finally reviewed by the board, let alone referred or reported back to me.
Mr. Rae: In some instances, the minister has known about the cases for well over a month; in some instances, he has known for six weeks; and in the case of Van Daele Manor Nursing Home, he has known for nearly two months because it was raised by my colleague the member for Algoma.
I would like to ask the minister when is the Inflation Restraint Board going to be making decisions in these matters and when is he going to exercise whatever powers of review he has under Bill 179?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: When the Inflation Restraint Board is able to give us a good sense of the kind of cases, the implications behind those cases, and when we are able to get a better handle on the entire scope of the concerns involved there.
Mr. Rae: Has the minister been in touch with the chairman of the Inflation Restraint Board with respect to the particular questions posed in this House on these issues?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I have discussed the general problem with him.
Mr. Rae: Why has he not discussed any timing with respect to the answer? Does he not understand that these workers might appreciate getting a response? Some of them are in financial difficulty themselves. Does he not think they are entitled to an answer from the government on this matter as they face the Christmas and holiday period?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: If the member is talking about the Sensenbrenner workers, they are not in that circumstance.
Mr. Rae: The minister knows I am not referring only to the Sensenbrenner workers. I am referring to the specific examples we have raised where there has been a rollback or an equivalent to a rollback and where the Inflation Restraint Board has had a role in taking money out of people's pockets. He knows that.
I am asking him if he is prepared to intervene with the Inflation Restraint Board and get an answer to some of these questions. If he does not, he is going to be around here for quite some time.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: In fairness to all those people who might want to have their cases reviewed by the Inflation Restraint Board, we really have to follow an orderly procedure. We are not going to suggest it is appropriate to deal with one of those cases only without getting a handle on how many people are involved and how many contracts are involved. That is the fair and reasonable way to operate.
Mr. Charlton: Does the minister not think he should have had that handle before the bill is passed?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: With respect, the audits are continuing and people are reviewing the experience of the past year. In many of the cases, as the member for York South knows, an agreement has been entered into with regard to a repayment, which I presume is not wreaking hardship on the workers since they have agreed to it. There is mostly compliance with Bill 179, and the only orderly and fair way to everyone to proceed in the circumstance is to get a feel for the length of the concern.
To be fair, we had most of the 680,000 people and most of the 6,000 arrangements complying with Bill 179. Obviously, it is a cause for concern for the government that if we should begin to exempt those who, for one reason or another, advertently or inadvertently, went over five per cent, then it wreaks hardship on those who complied with the legislation.
In order to do this in a reasonable way, we want to have the Inflation Restraint Board look at all the circumstances and decide which scenario is fairest not only to those people who are involved in repayments, but also to those who were totally in compliance with Bill 179 and were held to five per cent.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Chairman, I am afraid that the oil the minister is attempting to pour on the waters is simply not satisfactory.
Mr. Rae: It is not oil; it is grease.
Mr. Foulds: The minister made a commitment in this House that we understood to indicate he would take a look at a couple of particular situations we raised.
He is now saying to us, as my leader and my colleague the member for York South says, "Now that the cameras are rolling, we must somehow be fair and look at all of the situations and at what effect this will have on all of the groups." That is fine, but how long is that going to take us and how long has the minister known about these particular situations and this particular problem?
Since the minister has not, as he says, either read or yet received the letter dated December 2, 1983, addressed to him from the Ontario Nurses' Association, let me read it into the record so that he is aware of it. I assume that the same chap who drove to my office on a bicycle in a helmet also bicycled to the minister's office to deliver it special delivery.
"Dear Mr. Grossman:
"We wish to bring to your attention the situation facing the registered nurses at the District of Thunder Bay Home for the Aged," that is, Pinewood Court in Thunder Bay, "who are faced with a payback situation as the result of a decision by the Inflation Restraint Board.
"The nurses at this home were receiving wage rates well below their peers in other nursing homes, homes for the aged and hospitals. A board of arbitration awarded wage increases which are comparable to the wages of nurses in hospitals and several nursing homes across the province.
"The following table shows the arbitrated wage rates versus the Inflation Restraint Board decision wage rates:
"Old rate: January 1, 1980, to December 31, 1980, $1,264 a month.
"Arbitration award, new rate: January 1, 1981, $1,590 a month; April 1, 1981, $1,650 a month; October 1, 1981, $1,820 a month; April 1, 1982, $1,900 a month; October 1, 1982, $2,014 a month.
"Inflation Restraint Board decision, January 1, 1981, $1,478.88 a month; January 1, 1982, $1,611.98 a month; January 1, 1983, $1,692.58 a month.
"The arbitrated wage rates still leave the nurses' wages behind those of nurses in hospitals and other nursing homes across the province.
"Specifically, as a result of the Inflation Restraint Board's decision, starting registered nurses employed at Pinewood Court are earning almost $4,000 less per year than the going rate for other registered nurses throughout the province. The difference is nearly 20 per cent less than the going rate.
"Arbitration award wage rates at October 1, 1982, $24,168; IRB decision wage rates January 1, 1983, $20,311; difference, $3,857; percentage difference, 19 per cent.
"This case is similar in many respects to the case involving staff at Sensenbrenner Hospital in Kapuskasing. There, the IRB rolled back the wage rates awarded by a board of arbitration and employees were required to pay back the excess amount.
"The decision of the Inflation Restraint Board (attached) required the filing of a plan to recover moneys paid to the registered nurses which exceeded the amount awarded by the IRB in its decision of July 4, 1983.
"The paybacks for individual nurses varied from $33.96 to $2,039.83, as shown in the attached payback plan.
"The decision by the IRB involved the rollback of the wages awarded by the board of arbitration to registered nurses at Pinewood Court. In the November 4, 1983, parliamentary session, Mr. Bob Rae, leader of the New Democratic Party, posed a question about the rollback situation at Sensenbrenner Hospital (Hansard, November 4, 1983, page 2790), asking what you planned to do for these employees. During the session, you stated that you had asked for a full report from the Inflation Restraint Board on the case involving Sensenbrenner Hospital and indicated that you would study the report to see if anything could be done to correct the situation there. You have since stated that the employees at Sensenbrenner Hospital will not have to pay back any moneys.
"There was further debate on this issue on November 8, 9, 21 and 22 sessions of parliament. On November 8, 1983, Mr. Rae asked what you plan to do for others facing the same situation as the employees at Sensenbrenner Hospital and about other employee groups who had fallen behind as a result of Bill 179.
"The matter of Pinewood Court was specifically raised in the House by Mr. Jim Foulds on November 9, 1983, when you stated that if Mr. Foulds and Mr. Hennessy would discuss the matter with you, perhaps a remedy could be found for that case.
"In the session on November 21, 1983, Premier Davis was involved in further debate on this same subject. According to debate that day, he was to have discussed the matter with yourself and was to have further information to Mr. Rae by November 22 or November 24, 1983. The same subject was debated further in the House on November 22, 1983.
"The Ontario Nurses' Association is seeking similar consideration for its registered nurses at Pinewood Court as you are giving to the employees at Sensenbrenner Hospital. You have stated the affected employees at Sensenbrenner will not have to pay back any moneys, and it is this same consideration which we are seeking for the registered nurses at Pinewood Court.
"We wish to receive clarification of the government's position on this issue and are especially concerned that the registered nurses' payback plan at Pinewood Court is continuing without direction. We ask you to reconsider the situation facing the nurses at Pinewood Court through the channels open to you and urge speedy consideration in view of the tight time frame for the payback schedule.
"We thank you for your consideration of this matter."
I suggest to the minister that the tight time schedule with regard to payback is very urgent. One of the employees has an amount of $2,039.83 to be covered, and the plan indicates it is a lump sum in December 1983. There is another employee with $1,292.04 to be recovered, a lump sum payment in December 1983.
If there is going to be consideration of these employees, surely they deserve an answer and they deserve an answer soon. If there is going to be no intervention by the minister under the powers of Bill 179, I can only say that at the least the minister has given these people very false expectations as they read Hansard and the newspaper reports and watched the television reports of the scrums outside. I would like to know where the minister stands with regard to this matter.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The situation we face is well proved by the member for Port Arthur. It is that if we try to deal with the situation at Sensenbrenner, which is a particularly difficult one where we have made clear we want to help and intend to help in that circumstance, then many other circumstances will come up where there was an overpayment and people will be looking for the same relief, arguing that they stand on all fours with Sensenbrenner.
After that is done, if we were to agree, without studying those cases, that as a matter of principle all the payments were to be forgotten, then the next thing the member would be doing would be to stand up, and with some justice on his side, to say, "What about all the other workers who used to be at a par with the Pinewood people in other nursing homes but now are not at par because the people at Pinewood got more than five per cent and the people at all the others did not get more than five per cent?"
That would be creating a large degree of inequity and unfairness with respect to a lot more people than is the circumstance with regard to the people who got the overpayment. I understand, and the member well understands too, that this is a whipsaw exercise.
To be fair to the people at Sensenbrenner, the people at Pinewood and all the other people who complied and got only five per cent, obviously we have to look at the whole scenario and find out what the appropriate course of action is.
To suggest that every time one raises a case, then automatically because there was an overpayment we should exempt that case, creates a massive inequity for all those who did not get more than five per cent. I suggest to the member that many of them will now be left behind their colleagues in the nursing homes and other collective agreement areas where they accidentally got more than five per cent.
He should be equally concerned about those people getting equitable treatment by making sure their colleagues are not rewarded for accidentally or not accidentally having got around that or more than Bill 179 would have allowed. That would be inequitable.
Mr. Foulds: If the minister wanted equitable treatment, he would not have brought in Bill 179 and he would not have brought in this bill. Talk about equity. What kind of hypocrisy is that? Did he or did he not give false expectations to the workers at Sensenbrenner? Is he going to do something about it, or is he going to weasel out of the commitment he made in the Legislature?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I have answered that question. That outburst is really inappropriate given the fact that in my earlier answer I stated -- I stated it in the answer I gave right at the start; go look at Hansard -- we have indicated to the Sensenbrenner workers that we are looking at that circumstance and that we are prepared and are standing behind what we said earlier. It is right on the record.
Mr. Rae: Mr. Chairman, the minister has completely misconstrued the situation. When he uses a word like "whipsaw," he is implying that those groups with a particular case to make, such as the Sensenbrenner Hospital workers and the Pinewood Court workers, are somehow whipsawing in an attempt to gain some kind of unfair advantage. That is clearly the message he is leaving and throwing out on the floor of this Legislature.
If he had any understanding of what impact Bill 179 had on collective bargaining and arbitration, he would be eating those words as soon as he uttered them, because they are such absolute baloney and completely misleading in comparison with what has actually happened.
The Treasurer should know better, and if he does not know better, it is a disgrace that he is bringing in this kind of legislation. He should know perfectly well that the problem with Bill 179 -- the whole disgrace with Bill 179 -- is that it provided no flexibility whatsoever for those people at the lower end of the scale who were finally being recognized by arbitrators in this province as having fallen behind the standard agreements that were being established in the nursing home field right across Ontario. The Treasurer should know that.
If nothing else, his whole connection with the nursing home industry should tell him that, and his associations with the Ontario Nursing Home Association should tell him that. The fact that he does not know it is nothing short of a disgrace. He knows perfectly well that what the Pinewood Court workers and the Sensenbrenner workers are talking about is a situation where they have systematically fallen behind over the years and where an arbitration board has finally said it was time they were put on a par with other people in the public sector who are doing exactly the same job.
The Treasurer should not come in here and talk about whipsawing. He knows that is complete baloney. It is absolutely false. What we are talking about here is an arrangement by which people who have fallen behind are finally going to be allowed to catch up. Instead, what is happening is that we have the Inflation Restraint Board, which is covered by this legislation and which has absolutely no sensitivity to the industrial relations, the labour relations and the equity of the situation, moving in and saying it is going to disallow that increase because it is over the five per cent.
The Treasurer should not come in here and talk about five per cent as if five per cent for somebody who is making $5,000, $8,000 or $12,000 a year is the same as five per cent for somebody who is making $45,000, $50,0000 or $55,000 at a management level in the public sector, because it is not. The Treasurer has to recognize it.
We have been raising this for more than a month, and I and the members of our caucus are fed up. In November, the Treasurer said he was going to deal with this matter. He said the Inflation Restraint Board was going to be dealing with these questions as a matter of some urgency. He went out and proclaimed to all the world that it would be unlikely people would have to pay it back. He did not deny the story in the Toronto Sun headlined "Wage Rebate Order Stalled." He was quite proud of that arrangement. When it comes time to get to the short strokes on this matter as we approach the end of the session, the Treasurer is not prepared to do the things that he left the expectation he was clearly going to do.
The Treasurer should not come in here talking about whipsawing. He is not going to get away with that kind of language any longer. He should talk to his friend the member for York North (Mr. Hodgson) with respect the workers at the Pine Grove Nursing Home in Woodbridge and how much money they are making. He should talk to them about how much money they are going to be taking home this Christmas thanks to the Treasurer and his lousy Inflation Restraint Board. Then he comes in here and talks about whipsawing. He has a nerve.
He should know perfectly well that what has happened with this legislation is that the previous legislation had no sensitivity whatsoever. The Minister of Labour is here and he knows it. He knows perfectly well that as a result of this legislation, there are nursing home workers who are doing exactly the same job who have fallen behind other workers who were not caught by the five per cent, who were not caught by Bill 179.
What we are suggesting is that when the Treasurer has an application that has been made to the Inflation Restraint Board, and there is an opportunity to address inequities which otherwise are going to be frozen for all time in that legislation, he had better wake up and do something about it.
I say to the Treasurer that if he is not prepared to deal with these situations on a basis of fairness and equity and look hard at them as the Treasurer of this province, and if he is not prepared to sit down with the Inflation Restraint Board and look seriously at ways to remedy the situation, we are going to be here for a lot longer than he might think.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Chairman, I want to respond in a moderate way. Let me say first, in so doing, I am not going to entertain any suggestions from that particular member as to what language to use in this assembly. He is not a model for anyone.
If he is as concerned about Bill 179 and its impacts as I and my colleagues are, then he will understand about Bill 111 -- which is the bill we are debating today; we sometimes forget -- that one of the major reasons Bill 111 was introduced was that it does create a circumstance where some of the inequities he is complaining about can be rectified.
The member may stand up and fulminate till he feels better about the evils of Bill 179; but it is partly because of some of the problems inherent when one is obliged to bring in that kind of legislation that we have a quite different bill in here today. There is nothing in Bill 111 that prohibits rectification of the problems the member is addressing. In point of fact, all the arguments he raised, he ought to be raising in support of Bill 111.
If the chair wishes him to continue to discuss Bill 179, so be it. I can only say on Bill 111, the subject for this evening, in discussing the impact -- which, to use the member's words, the Treasurer ought to review in fairness and equity -- that is exactly what is going on. I think we have to be fair and equitable to everyone who is involved in Bill 179 and not just to those who had a payback and a rollback circumstance come up because of an overpayment. That is exactly what we are doing.
If the member is complaining that the review is not proceeding as quickly as he would have liked it, then I regret that. We cannot have all the cases -- which are going to be seen to be standing on all fours -- reviewed quickly enough to satisfy the member for York South. They will be reviewed fairly and equitably, to use his own words, but to review each of them in a vacuum would be the most inequitable thing we could do.
When I used the word "whipsaw," which I would not think for a moment of withdrawing, I was not accusing anyone in the system of whipsawing. I was referring to the fact that the reality of what happens is that one decision leans on the next, which leans on the next. The end of that leaning on the next decision is that we ultimately get to all of those who complied with the legislation who say: "Why not me? You allowed everyone out who did not obey the law. You allowed everyone out who got more than five per cent as provided in Bill 179. As a result of your rewarding people for having accidentally or not accidentally getting more than five per cent and therefore not complying with Bill 179, I" -- as a worker in a complying nursing home, for example -- "now find myself left behind."
Mr. Foulds: That is exactly where you should be.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The member for Port Arthur is making the point that what he is after is everyone coming out of Bill 179 and getting more than Bill 179 provided. That is not the intent of what this government is going to do. The intent of reviewing those overpayment cases under Bill 179 is to treat everyone in the system fairly and equitably. It takes time to review all the cases involved, and the reason time is being taken is to make sure that fairness and equity, which the member wants us to achieve, is achieved.
Mr. Rae: Has the minister specifically raised the questions with respect to Pine Grove, Sensenbrenner, the Van Daele Nursing Home and Pinewood Court? Has he raised these particular cases with the Inflation Restraint Board? Are there other cases which he has also raised with the IRB? Are these issues going to be settled by the IRB prior to our leaving this place?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I have asked the Inflation Restraint Board to review all circumstances of overpayment -- that includes a number of cases, many of which the member has not referred to -- and to review with us the circumstances surrounding them and its recommended course of action. That will take a further period of time, because there are cases that have come to its attention even more recently. In fairness, we want to get a full report of that and a chance to reflect on the appropriate steps to take.
The House recessed at 6 p.m.