The House resumed at 8 p.m.
House in committee of the whole.
PUBLIC SECTOR PRICES AND COMPENSATION REVIEW ACT (CONTINUED)
Resuming 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 4:
The Deputy Chairman: Does any other honourable member wish to speak to this section? Is it the pleasure of the House that section 4 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 5:
The Deputy Chairman: Mr. T. P. Reid moves that section 5 of the bill be amended by adding thereto the following subsection:
"(3) This part does not apply to a change in the wages provided for in a group compensation plan where the change is required to be made in a restraint period by the regulations pursuant to the Employment Standards Act."
Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Chairman, basically and simply what this amendment will do is that for anyone receiving a wage increase under any statutory act, such as the Employment Standards Act, the matters related to benefits and others will not be taken in as part of the five per cent under the bill generally.
This is aimed particularly at those people who are receiving the minimum wage. By legislation, there will be an increase as of January 1 and another increase in October which, if I recall correctly, will increase the minimum wage by approximately 14 per cent.
The intent of this amendment is simply that they should not be constrained or restrained otherwise by this bill in other benefits that might be available because it is an act of this Legislature that is requiring that increase in their wages.
The Deputy Chairman: Does the Treasurer (Mr. Grossman) wish to respond? Or does anyone wish to speak to this?
Mr. T. P. Reid: Perhaps, Mr. Chairman, though we have some concerns with the bill, as we have said, if the minister will look at section 5, subsections 1 and 2, it does not allow us, as I read the bill, to take into account legislative changes.
If the Legislature in its wisdom is saying that we are going to legislate an increase over and above the five per cent guideline or criterion that the Treasurer in this case is providing under Bill 111, then we think those people should not be penalized.
There are two reasons for that. One is that this amendment generally relates to people who are already receiving the minimum wage and they are obviously the people at the lowest end of the economic and wage scale. If the Legislature on the one hand is saying, "We believe that you should have this as a minimum," we do not feel they should be put in a position where the other benefits that might be negotiated, bargained for or agreed to, should have them knocked down on that percentage of their increase.
For instance, we might be talking about a 14 per cent increase in the minimum wage and the government says: "Under Bill 111, you can have only five per cent. You are not entitled to any benefits of any kind, whether it is to have your Ontario health insurance plan premiums completely or partially paid or your pensions or any other kind of fringe benefit or anything the Treasurer might incorporate under that section." It reads:
"(m) 'terms of employment' means,
"(i) obligations or requirements that are part of the employer-employee relationship and that give rise to any expenditure of funds by the employer, and
"(ii) obligations or requirements for the payment or provision of compensation to persons to whom subsection 3(2) or (3) applies."
All we are trying to say is that these people at the bottom end of the scale who are going to have a legislated increase, particularly under the Employment Standards Act, should not be penalized in the other part of the benefits package that may or may not be available.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Chairman, it was and is our belief, as I have heard the reason behind the proposed amendment to subsection 5(3), that those situations are covered under 5(2). However, because I have listened to the argument and want to be sure our understanding is precisely as the member for Rainy River (Mr. T. P. Reid) expressed it, I might request that section 5 be stood down, perhaps until Thursday when we will be back in the House and we could ascertain exactly the circumstances, whether subsection 5(3) in its totality in the application is covered by 5(2). It might be helpful if we stood this portion down.
Mr. T. P. Reid: I appreciate the Treasurer's remarks in regard to this. It may be a misunderstanding. We did not read it quite that way, but we certainly agreed to stand it down for consideration at another time and a clarification.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Chairman, as I have been able to follow the arguments of the member for Rainy River, I believe they tie in with the arguments I made on terms of employment, although he applied it specifically to the regulations under the Employment Standards Act. I would suggest that it may be useful to stand the clause down. I would agree to that and have it brought forward after the weighty and informed opinion of not only the Treasurer's lawyers, but also those of the Attorney General's office.
The Deputy Chairman: Do we postpone further consideration of this amendment and all of section 5 until Thursday? Agreed.
Mr. T. P. Reid: To avoid problems somewhere down the line, I am certainly agreeable to standing down the amendment. We might want to have a general discussion of section 5 at this point. I am not saying there should be, but we do have a time problem and if there are any other questions relevant to section 5 maybe now is the time to discuss them.
The Deputy Chairman: We stand down the amendment. Agreed.
On section 6:
Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Chairman, I have a number of amendments in regard to section 6, but I must preface my comments with some discussion on how they relate to the rest of the bill, particularly sections 8, 9, and 10.
Before putting an amendment to section 6, I would like to explain the rationale behind it.
There have been a number of problems, questions and criticisms raised in terms of the arbitration provisions under the bill, particularly sections 8, 9 and 10. I was of the opinion that the matters contained in the bill in terms of the fiscal policy of the government and particularly the ability of the employer to pay were matters that any rational and reasonable person would have considered to be part of the arbitration situation as it has existed in this province.
However, my colleagues and I were taken by the arguments put over a period of time in the social development committee by Lucy Nicholson of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union and others who seemed to focus on the arbitration procedures as their largest problem with the bill. It is not their only problem, but it is their greatest criticism.
I was taken with the fact that arbitration is based simply on the situation that the Legislature, in its wisdom, has decreed that certain elements of our society or certain services in our society are essential and those people will not have the right to strike. We therefore devised, if that is the correct word, a system of arbitration to ensure that something was provided in place of the right that had been taken away by the Legislature to balance the books, so to speak, or to give them an opportunity to have some other way of arriving at what might be considered a fair and reasonable wage.
The essence of the arbitration system as I understand it, as the tradition has been and as was pointed out during those hearings, was the issue of comparability. That was one of the major characteristics of the whole arbitration system.
When we considered the bill in its entirety and certain aspects of the bill, particularly as they related to arbitration, it seemed to me and to my caucus that this bill was trying to change a long-established tradition, a long-established way of doing business in terms of arbitration and the essential services. If people were not satisfied with the arbitration as it is today, this bill was not the way to deal with that problem. As stated earlier today in our caucus, if there were problems with the present arbitration system, we felt bringing it in the back door under Bill 111 was not the way to deal with these problems or situations.
On this bill, it was left to me to say on behalf of my party that if the Treasurer and the government of the day feel the arbitration system is not working the way they would like it to work, they should do what they usually do. They should have a study done, with all those people who are directly or indirectly affected having an opportunity to put their case. The arbitration system should not be fiddled around with in this respect under Bill 111.
Therefore, we will vote against sections 8, 9 and 10. I cannot move to have them deleted but we intend to vote against those sections, removing those matters dealing with the fiscal policy of the government and the effect on the employer, because that has not been the tradition. That has not been the way arbitration has been handled in the past. Therefore, the amendments I am going to move on section 6 will be complementary to that aspect in the hope that sections 8, 9 and 10 will be removed from the bill.
The Deputy Chairman: Mr. T. P. Reid moves that subsection 6(2) be struck out and the following substituted therefor:
"(2) The documents and information required to be filed under subsection 1 shall in all cases include the estimated costs or savings attributable to such changes."
Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Chairman, I do not think I have to give a lengthy explanation on any of these. As I say, they are complementary to the hope that the Treasurer will see the wisdom of this and agree that sections 8, 9 and 10 be removed.
I would like to move two more amendments to section 6.
The Deputy Chairman: One amendment at a time and we will deal with it.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Chairman, let me just say a few general things because we are getting into the section that begins to deal with arbitration and the subsequent clauses.
First, I take one small issue with the member for Rainy River. This bill is not trying to attack the traditional process of arbitration by the back door. It is a frontal attack on the arbitration process. Certainly our party will be voting against sections 8, 9 and 10, as suggested by the Liberal Party. We will be moving some amendments to those, assuming the government juggernaut, the Liberal Party having voted for the bill on first and second readings, will push through what amendments it wants and not the ones we want.
However, I do not quite understand and I would like the mover to explain in a little more detail the purpose of the amendment. I know it simplifies section 6 of the bill. If I understand it correctly, and perhaps the mover can correct me, this clause would then apply only to those compensation plans that are arrived at through collective agreements or arbitration?
Mr. T. P. Reid: Through arbitration.
Mr. Foulds: This section would then apply only to those agreements that are arrived at through arbitration. One would not have the same information required for those agreements that are arrived at through some form of collective bargaining. Is that correct?
Mr. T. P. Reid: These are consequential amendments to sections 8, 9 and 10 being removed and those matters are the ones that deal specifically with the arbitration procedure. We are talking about the arbitration consequences.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Chairman, this change is consistent and feeds the changes the member for Rainy River wishes to make to take out the arbitration clauses. Perhaps we will discuss arbitration in more depth when we get there.
I simply remind the honourable member that we think that any long-lasting and permanent change in the arbitration procedures should only be the result of a lengthy and careful study. That is why the Minister of Labour (Mr. Ramsay) will be overseeing a review of this with labour and management in the public sector. As announced in my statement of November 8, that is our intention.
In the meantime, we think it is appropriate, as I think one of the witnesses pointed out at the committee stage, that the arbitration process at least consider the ability to pay and the existence of the current fiscal economic circumstances of the government during this restraint period.
This sort of clause, "the ability to pay," as applied to arbitration may not survive Bill 111 and may never be legislated in a permanent sense in our labour legislation. None the less, when so many people in the public sector are required by this legislation in one way or another to be subject to this legislation and the current provincial fiscal economic circumstances and policies of this government, I think it is important that the arbitration process not be totally removed from that and that it should at least be asked to consider those circumstances in the course of the arbitrators' decisions.
We think that is appropriate. I regret the Liberal Party has changed its position from the start here, but I hope it will consider it carefully in light of the fact that it is not a permanent feature introduced into our labour legislation.
Second, to suggest that the arbitration process should not consider the circumstances we are operating under is, I think, a rather large step and one that should only be accepted with a lot of caution and thought. We have rejected going that route.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Of course, I appreciate the Treasurer's position. However, I note in the briefing book on the bill at the bottom of page 4 the Treasurer states, "In the meantime, it is important that this year's restraint program be reflected in arbitration." That, to me, states fairly clearly that it is more than just a suggestion that the arbitrators take into consideration the fiscal stance of the government and the ability to pay.
The message I got through the hearings in the standing committee on social development -- I was not there for all of them, but I tried to read most of the ones I was not there for -- was that the Treasurer was striking at the fundamental basis of one of the fundamental labour situations in the province, i.e., that arbitration is there to compensate people or to provide a venue for those people who have lost the right to strike by fiat of this Legislature, that we are providing arbitration to give them a reasonable chance to reach a favourable wage based primarily on the matter of comparability.
The other thing that came through to me, in listening to the briefs that were presented and looking at the ones I read, was that this whole process is to a large extent based on some kind of mutual trust and feeling of confidence that these arbitrators are neutral and are going to come up with awards based on their knowledge of the industry and the employment strategy of the industry with which they are dealing, the traditions that have existed and, again, comparability with others.
We had chapter and verse about how comparability is the touchstone of that. I say to the Treasurer we are concerned. We know about the study that is going to go on, but some of these things sometimes have a habit of being only for the short term and winding up for the long term. Our concern is that this bill should not deal with those matters in the way it does. I think the trust and confidence those people who have the right to strike taken away from them could have in some kind of arbitration situation are going to be lost if we proceed with arbitration under sections 8, 9 and 10 of this bill. If that is so, we could be running into some very serious problems with illegal strikes, illegal walkouts and all that sort of thing.
I repeat, we feel the element of trust may be seriously eroded. In fact, according to the briefs we heard, it is seriously eroded as far as the labour movement is concerned. We do not feel it is absolutely essential or necessary to this bill. We hope it will be removed.
Mr. Foulds: There are three points I would like to make with regard to this matter. First, I cannot understand the argument the Treasurer is making. He says it is okay to interrupt, attack, demote, curtail and contain the arbitration process. He says he believes in the arbitration process. However, it is okay to have this frontal attack on the arbitration process as long as it is for the short term.
Does the minister know what he is saying? It is like saying it is okay to beat your wife if you do it for only one year. As long as you do not do it for the 40 years you are married, it is okay. This is what he is saying. First, I do not understand the Treasurer's principle that it is okay to do something wrong as long as it is only for the short term.
Second, as I heard the briefs before the committee on social development -- and I sat listening to every single one of them -- one of the arguments put forward by the vast majority of groups representing public and private sector workers in this province was that the government had made a frontal attack on collective bargaining. This year the government is calling it a transitional attack on collective bargaining, but it is still an attack on collective bargaining and they do not like it.
By and large, full and free collective bargaining is being granted to people in this province. As an alternative, a number of groups by legislative means such as the Crown Employees Collective Bargaining Act or voluntarily in the case of the firemen or compulsorily in the case of policemen through the Police Act are subject to arbitration. Arbitration is offered to them as an alternative because they do not have full and free collective bargaining. This bill makes an attack on the independence of the arbitration process. It makes a frontal attack on the independence of the arbitration process.
When they voted for Bill 179, my colleagues on my right were saying it is okay to make a frontal attack on the collective bargaining process; it is okay to make an indirect transitional attack on the collective bargaining process; but it is not okay to make a frontal or transitional attack on the arbitration process.
We in this party say it is absolutely wrong for this bill to make a direct or indirect attack either on the full and free collective bargaining process or on the arbitration process. When we get to the particular sections about arbitration, we will speak about this.
However, Mr. Chairman, I suggest to you, to the members of the Liberal Party and to the members of the Progressive Conservative Party that the vast majority of people affected by this bill said, clearly and loudly, withdraw it. That not being possible because of the pigheadedness of the Tory-Liberal alliance, we will vote to delete every section of this bill we can.
Mr. Wrye: Mr. Chairman, I will be brief. I want to draw to the minister's attention -- and I drew my concern to his attention yesterday as we wound up our hearings in the committee on social development -- that this kind of fundamental change in the arbitration process is being brought in through the back door, as I see it.
I want to reiterate this tonight and I want to do so especially in light of the Treasurer's statement back on November 8, in which he indicated the government would be establishing a joint labour-management public sector pay research agency to develop and maintain a reliable data base for public sector bargaining. He announced that there would be some kind of an arbitration study and that the Minister of Labour would be bearing responsibility for that.
I am rather bothered by that statement inasmuch as until this date, December 6, 1983, some one month later, we still do not have that statement from the Minister of Labour. I do not think that in bringing in proposals on a very difficult issue such as this we ought to worsen the process by introducing through this kind of back-door approach something that deserves calm, rational and some long degree of study.
There may be, for the sake of argument, some justification for changing the arbitration process. I would not be so arrogant as to suggest I know all of the answers today. But that is what we are suggesting we do know by putting this arbitration matter in place in this bill for the first time. As I read sections 8, 9 and 10, it may well be that the bill is not as tough as my friends on the left think it is. It may not be as soft as the leader of my party thinks it is. We simply do not know.
It seems to me, however, that changes such as these ought to be done in the cold light of day and not through some sneaky sidebar kind of introduction in a restraint proposal. This proposal already has a very serious impact on a great number of our public sector workers in Ontario. I do not think we need to add to the burden they have accepted with a great deal of moderation over the last year and three months.
I know I am speaking to issues that may more properly be dealt with in sections 8, 9 and 10 of the bill, but as my colleague the member for Rainy River points out, this is one of the consequential amendments that would flow from that.
I wanted to put that matter on the record and I hope the Treasurer will respond by addressing my concern that we really are, in a sense, more than buying a pig in a poke; we do not know how that arbitration study will proceed. We have not yet heard from the government and I would hope we would hear as this debate continues.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Chairman, the Minister of Labour will be getting that together in the new year.
Mr. Martel: After it has happened.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: In terms of what it is supposed to do, I think we need to assess it in the new year after this legislation is passed. One of the things I have said from day one is that it would be very helpful to that study to see how Bill 111 operates, if this section is passed or the bill is passed in this form, so that we will have an opportunity to see how it works.
Mr. Rae: Mr. Chairman, the difficulty I have with the minister's whole approach to this issue -- and I must say I keep coming back to this question because I think it lies at the very heart of what the government is attempting to do -- is that one cannot have a genuine review of anything when the government has already in a sense indicated very clearly exactly what it intends to do and what its attitude is.
One cannot put the whole process into a straitjacket and then say, "Let's see how the wings flap on this one." That is not how the system is going to work. The system has been consistently undermined for the last two years by this government.
This extension of restrictions and of limitations for another year with respect to the ability of arbitrators to make the comparability judgements they are paid to make and that they are asked by the parties to make is an absurd environment in which to ask people to come around together and talk about creating an effective arbitration system in Ontario.
The fact of the matter is -- and we have argued this all along the way -- the government cannot have it both ways. It cannot take away collective bargaining for literally hundreds of thousands of workers and then turn around and say, "Not only are we going to eliminate collective bargaining, but we are going to eliminate the ability of arbitrators to make independent judgements with respect to what a fair wage would be in the context of what similar workers in the private sector are making and what an overall judgement of fairness in that context would be."
I am very glad to see the members from the Liberal Party have taken a slight detour on their road to wholehearted support for this legislation, which they no doubt will give it when it comes to being considered at third reading. I am delighted to hear the words spoken by the member for Rainy River and by the member for Windsor-Sandwich (Mr. Wrye).
I cannot resist wondering whether they are supporting what their leader has said. It is his considered judgement that this whole question of having to consider the ability to pay is a nonissue, as he put it in his studied and thoughtful way when he made this intervention in the Legislature here. He said it did not matter what George Adams said or what Mr. Teplitsky said or what any arbitrator who has ever considered the question has ever said. The leader of the Liberal Party said it was his considered view that the whole thing was just a debate about nothing and it really did not matter.
I am delighted there are now members of the Liberal Party who have split from their leader and realize it does matter and it is a question of some importance. We are used to these Liberal splits. I have come to enjoy and revel in them as we watch them every day. That appears to be what has happened in the past.
Mr. Wrye: You try so hard to keep off dead centre.
Mr. Rae: I can understand the sensitivity of members about this question, but I am glad to see the member for Windsor-Sandwich and the member for Rainy River are finally understanding that what the government is attempting to do has changed the nature of the arbitration process for a year and then saying this is the context in which there are going to be considerations given to the nature of arbitration in the public sector.
That is some invitation to the table extended to the members of the labour movement by the Minister of Labour. They are going to be talking with the sword of Damocles hanging over them, a sword of Damocles which is in operation thanks to sections 8, 9 and 10 of Bill 111. I will have more to say about sections 8, 9 and 10 when we get to them, but I just want to indicate to the minister that I have not heard anything from him, either from what I have read in the committee and seen in the deliberations of the committee or from anything he has said here today or at any other time, which shows that he even understands what the problem is.
I must say to the minister I am rather surprised because I would have thought that, having studied the question, he would understand the reason there is a very basic concern is that once an arbitrator is asked to consider and put into effect the government's overall fiscal policy and the government's ability to pay, he is taking away utterly from the independence of the entire process. He is saying there is no need for arbitration. He might as well tell the workers of the province, "This is what we are paying you because this is what we can afford."
If that is the nature of the system, then we have moved into a system which I would suggest to the minister is contrary to every international convention Canada has signed in the international labour field in the last 35 years. It is contrary to the basic principles of freedom of association. The minister is going to get into exactly the same problems we warned the Minister of Industry and Trade (Mr. F. S. Miller) about with respect to the impact of this legislation on workers' rights and on Ontario's and Canada's international obligations.
The government cannot create a system of industrial relations by fiat; it cannot be done. It cannot establish a system of people being ordered about and told exactly how much they are going to make without giving them the right to negotiate anything. The principles of international law and of Canadian law are very clear. If the government is going to take away the right to strike, which the government has done for hundreds of thousands of workers, if it is going to take away collective bargaining, which it has done for hundreds of thousands of workers, it has to replace that by a system of arbitration which has integrity and independence.
To put in a condition that requires an arbitrator to put into effect the policy of the government with respect to ability to pay or fiscal policy, or however it is phrased, is taking away from the independence of that process and is making a mockery of that process. The government, in the view of a great many people, is going to be facing exactly the same legal problems this year that it faced last year.
Mr. Wrye: Mr. Chairman, I have a couple of additional remarks on the response to my earlier queries to the Treasurer and perhaps to elicit an additional response, although he may wish to remain silent this time.
I am struck somewhat by the comments of the leader of the third party, who I guess with his party has undergone some changes himself this year in response to this legislation. At about this time last year, I remember that we, for our part, with a large number of amendments, such as we have this year, were simply waiting patiently for the leader of the third party to hand back the Legislature to all of the legislators so we could place our amendments.
Mr. Rae: You were waiting to go home.
Mr. Wrye: The leader of the third party suggests we were waiting to go home. The people who got bailed out most last fall, as I remember the debate, were members of the third party, which was near collapse when the government brought their agony to a merciful end.
I am a little surprised at the statements from the Treasurer in regard to the fact that we could be expecting his colleague the Minister of Labour to come forth with some kind of pronouncement -- in January, after this place has adjourned, of course -- about the kind of study that is going to be undertaken. More important, and I think crucial to this issue, was the statement that the Minister of Labour would come forth with his pronouncement after, presumably, the passage of Bill 111.
I have not been around here as long as the Treasurer or as long as most of my colleagues who are here in the House tonight, but this is really quite unique. We now have a government which says: "We will put in place legislation that has a whole new process, but because we really do not trust the process, we are going to have a study."
I am searching for an explanation as to why we would put in place a process -- albeit the Treasurer argues temporarily, but there have been a lot of temporary things; the Income Tax Act was temporary back some 65 years ago -- a so-called temporary process, and then take a look at whether we ought not to have waited until the end of the transition period.
I listened carefully to the remarks of my friend the leader of the third party, and I must say I was struck by one of the remarks he made. We have our political differences in this place and we may vote different ways, but I do not think there are a lot of members in here who have been terribly happy with what has happened and with the general state of the economy that led to the actions that have been taken in the past couple of years.
But in terms of that segment of the public sector that has the right to go to arbitration, to add to that the fact that they had their contracts extended last year and that this year, while they can go to arbitration, they are going to go under an entirely new set of rules, seems to me to be just a mite unfair. It seems to me that it has been a tough couple of years for them as workers and that we are sending them into this new system admitting that we ourselves do not know what the impact is.
Yesterday, the chairman of the Ontario Labour Relations Board came before our committee, and the Treasurer was there. My friend the member for Port Arthur (Mr. Foulds) attempted to get the chairman to testify. I have some sympathy for the kind of information he was trying to elicit. In balance, I suppose I had a little more sympathy for the very real problem it was going to cause the chairman of the board and, consequently, I voted accordingly. However, I do have some sympathy for the problem that the member for Port Arthur sensed he had.
Given those very real concerns, I would ask the Treasurer why we would be putting this matter in place, even on a pilot project basis -- if that is what he wishes to call this idea -- before we have had any chance to do any study of it whatsoever? Indeed, why should the members of the Legislature vote to put a pilot project in place when the Treasurer's colleague the Minister of Labour has not even seen fit to come before this House and tell us the terms of the study that is going to be undertaken?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Chairman, last year at this time the Liberal Party was suggesting that one of the problems with Bill 179 was that it was for one year only and that what we needed was a two-year Bill 179 regime.
Mr. T. P. Reid: That was for public and private, you will recall.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Exactly.
Mr. Wrye: And it had some price controls as well.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The fact is that the Liberals were suggesting last year that the public sector employees and others should be and should remain under a Bill 179 regime for two years. We decided to have Bill 179 for one year and to have a transitional return --
Mr. T. P. Reid: You also had a Supreme Court ruling in there.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I listened while my friend made his remarks. He will get lots of chances tonight.
We decided not to adopt the Liberal position of keeping everyone under Bill 179 for two years and we went to Bill 111, which is a transitional move totally out of public sector wage restraint legislation.
Let us understand what this is. This is not a bill that intends to make a permanent change in labour legislation in this province. Before any of that is done --
Mr. Martel: Why are you going to study it then?
Mr. Foulds: Before you make a permanent change.
Mr. Martel: You are going to study it.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I have got lots of time tonight, guys.
Mr. Rae: Do some campaigning.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I did that over dinner time.
Before that is done, before any thought is given to any permanent changes in the Labour Relations Act or any of our other labour laws, there is going to be a joint study with labour, as I indicated in my earlier remarks.
What we are talking about here is whether or not in a transitional move out of restraint, out of a circumstance that the Liberal Party thought just a short time ago should be kept on totally for another year, we should remove the arbitration process totally from considering the restraint mechanism that all people are being asked to consider in their negotiations.
Let us just talk about that for a second. If the members opposite vote against this, they are saying that those who retain the right to strike should acknowledge, think about, consider in their negotiations -- because they do negotiate -- the restraint program, the transfers, the existing provincial fiscal and economic policy. They are saying, though, in voting to delete these sections, that in this transitional period, in this one year, as we come out of and reject the tougher restraint program that the Liberal Party wanted, the arbitration process should not take those factors into account at all. That is what they are saying.
Our point of departure is very simple. During this transitional year the arbitration process should not be totally bound by those considerations but that, like the negotiations that will occur outside of our binding arbitration, they should consider the existing circumstances in reaching their decisions.
With respect, this is a transitional piece of legislation. Let me be clear, this clause would be in this bill whether or not the Minister of Labour was considering having this joint review, because this clause is in this bill as part of a transitional piece of legislation.
The question we really must ask ourselves is, given the fact that we made a significant change this year and given the fact that the government is not ready to consider any far-reaching changes such as this to its labour legislation in total, should we therefore say that the arbitration process during this year should not consider what is happening in the rest of the public and private sectors or even the fiscal and economic policies of this government?
Viewed in that light, it is a fairly large leap, particularly for the opposition -- I know many members in the opposition will agree with my statement -- a particularly far leap --
Mr. Foulds: The Liberal opposition.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Yes, the Liberal opposition.
It is a far leap from saying Bill 179 should be renewed and extended to saying in this transition period we should tell the arbitrators, "Do not consider any of those matters." That is a significant leap to take and one which I urge the Liberal Party to give careful second or third thoughts to.
Mr. T. P. Reid: I have only one comment. The Treasurer, as he does very well, sounds reasonable and has stuck the knife in, as he thinks. I want to repeat one thing. Our program was for both private and public, for everybody.
Mr. Foulds: For two years.
Mr. Rae: Don't brag about it.
Mr. T. P. Reid: All right. We believe that everybody should come under it. We also recall the situation at the time when we had 13 per cent interest rates, the highest inflation we have had and all the rest of those things.
I admit we changed our minds on this a little. It may or may not make any difference. Unlike some of my friends across the way, particularly the former Treasurer, I think these public hearings are important both to give people an opportunity to have an input and to convince people in the Legislature that maybe what they are saying and their point of view are worth considering.
We heard these matters. We studied them. It is interesting that I believe the Treasurer knows less about the arbitration proceedings than I do.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: That is impossible.
Mr. T. P. Reid: That is not even hyperbole. That is a statement. I was taken with the historic trend and the fact that the touchstone of the arbitration procedures was the comparability business. This whole business is getting too far away from that.
What the Treasurer has said and what the government is going to do are going to be in the back of the minds of the arbitrators as such. It is like being in court and saying to the witness, "Did you quit beating your wife?" and the judge says, "You cannot ask that question." Of course the jury has already heard the question and seen the look on the man's face. The government has almost achieved what it wants to achieve anyway.
The comparability aspect of the arbitration procedures is fundamental. On the matter of essential services and taking away the right to strike, we believe that essential trust and confidence in the arbitration system could be seriously impaired by these provisions, which we do not think are really important to this bill because the government is going to have almost anything it wants without these provisions. They should be removed.
Mr. Rae: I wonder whether I could have the minister's comment. Mr. Adams was unwilling to appear despite the fact the reason we wanted him to appear was that he was the arbitrator in a recent decision in the nursing home field, of which I am sure the Treasurer is aware. I am sure his friends in the nursing home industry have talked to him about it many times, perhaps at one of those cheque-signing ceremonies that I understand go on from time to time in the Tory party.
With respect to Central Park Lodge's decision on June 25, 1982, Mr. Adams stated very clearly that to base wages on ability to pay would force employees to subsidize these services for the public and render interest arbitration largely irrelevant.
In addition to that comment from Mr. Adams -- which we were not allowed to question him about for reasons that may have been clear to him and members of the Liberal Party but certainly are not clear to members of our party -- the Treasurer has received a letter dated November 28, 1983, from the chairman of the Ontario Police Arbitration Commission. It is written under the letterhead of the Ministry of the Solicitor General, which makes it of more than passing interest.
It starts, "Dear Minister: re Bill 111." I am sure the Treasurer has seen the letter. It says the Ontario Police Arbitration Commission is responsible under the Police Act for the selection of a panel of arbitrators to deal with interest disputes. It goes on to say:
"That being the case, we feel duty-bound to express our apprehension concerning the continued availability and effectiveness of our arbitrators if the proposed legislation is enacted. The Police Act provides for final and binding arbitration as the quid pro quo for the right to strike. Behind that scheme was the notion that municipalities can endure a loss of other services but not the loss of police services" -- an argument with which I think just about all members would agree.
Mr. Egan goes on to write: "In order to render the scheme acceptable to all parties, the legislation set up an independent, expeditious system for the selection of arbitrators and the speedy hearing of disputes and the rendering of decisions. The Ontario Police Arbitration Commission has been able to build a panel of independent arbitrators over the years who have fulfilled the purposes of the act."
Mr. Egan, who is the chairman, goes on to say: "Our concern is that these expert and independent arbitrators may cease to be available since the proposed legislation will impinge upon their independence and experience and render their decisions neither final nor binding or, at least, subject to delay in implementation. They will see the quid pro quo, which they have been appointed to provide, virtually taken out of their hands while the right to strike nevertheless continues to be unavailable.
"In summary, we are fearful that the arbitrators selected by the commission will lose their effectiveness through being perceived as emanations of the review board rather than as independent neutrals.
"Yours very truly, Rory F. Egan, chairman, the Ontario Police Arbitration Commission."
Given the fact that a copy of this letter has been sent to the Solicitor General (Mr. G. W. Taylor), who I see is now in the Legislature, and that it was available at the committee -- it was tabled as an exhibit by my colleague the member for Port Arthur -- I would like to ask the Treasurer how he responds to that very strong expression of concern by Mr. Egan.
As I said, it is a letter that was written on the letterhead of the Ministry of the Solicitor General, from the chairman of the Ontario Police Arbitration Commission himself. If it is coming from the Ontario Police Arbitration Commission, we can bet our boots it is coming from every other body that is concerned with arbitration in this province.
We were not allowed or not able to hear from all these people, but I can tell the minister from my own knowledge that the feeling of revulsion against this aspect of the legislation amongst the arbitration community is profound. There is a feeling that it is slipshod, unnecessary and an insult to their independence and that it is going to take away from the integrity of the process. If the Treasurer is not aware of that fact, he should be aware of it. In particular, I would like him to comment on the comments of Mr. Egan from the Ontario Police Arbitration Commission.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: All I can do is repeat the remarks I made earlier and add that it is the opinion of some people like Professor Weiler and others -- indeed, the leader of the Liberal Party quoted the remarks of Professor Arthurs one day when his party was supporting this section -- that ability to pay was always taken into account. These arbitrators have always found a way to consider those things.
It is by no means unanimous. We heard from two arbitrators at the committee. Professor Weiler, who is an arbitrator at least as well respected and sought after as the others who were there, told us that none of these threats to integrity was real. He told us that arbitration in other jurisdictions was subject to ability to pay all the time, that it was manageable and it did not threaten their independence.
I would hope those arbitrators in the system would reflect upon the variety of views and remember they have not been asked or forced in any way to implement anything. They have been asked to consider those circumstances. They can, and I am sure many will, bring down decisions which do not totally reflect my view of existing and prevalent provincial fiscal policy. So be it.
It is precisely because we understood the need to regain the independence of the arbitrators that all sorts of other options which other jurisdictions have were not put in. There are all sorts of options. Bill 179 obviously was far more serious and draconian and in fact there were no arbitrations.
What we have here is really quite a different circumstance. The kinds of legislation which really would have done all the things warranting the epithets that have been used across the way would have said such things as, "Arbitrators shall be obliged to live within five per cent; arbitrators shall be restricted to five per cent." All of those things are things which would have warranted the kind of epithets that are being used.
Indeed, critics would be on even stronger ground if we did something such as saying, "Arbitrators shall be required in all circumstances to have as a major criterion, as the determining factor," etc. They did not do any of those things. They said, "Arbitrators should take into account the weighting they have put on it," because of course --
Mr. Martel: Don't be silly.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The member can get out his book of insults instead of reading the legislation, Professor Weiler and some of the court decisions that were not included in all the briefs. He could broaden his horizons a bit, get out of his study of epithets and look at some of the broader public sector decisions which do not totally reflect some of those which were read to the committee.
I want to comment a bit further on the letter that has been referred to. At the top of page 2, it says, "Our concern is that these expert and independent arbitrators may cease to be available since the proposed legislation will impinge upon their independence and experience and render their decisions neither final nor binding or at least subject to delay in implementation."
Their decisions are final and binding. The government has no right and no power under this legislation to overrule the arbitrator's decisions. They are final and binding. That should not and cannot be a concern. All that is required is that the administrator file the information with the Inflation Restraint Board. There is no mechanism available to stop the implementation of the arbitrator's award once that information is filed. It is strictly a filing requirement.
There are steps in the legislation which will help to make sure there is no delay. I do not believe they are even necessary because the administrators will not be delaying. Let us be quite clear, in any case their decisions are final and binding. That may not be a concern.
Mr. Rae: Mr. Chairman, I want to pursue this correspondence. I must confess I found it somewhat unusual that somebody who is chairman of a police arbitration commission and responsible for the integrity of the arbitration process for police officers throughout this province would take it upon himself to write the Treasurer a letter such as this.
I do not think the Treasurer can get away with just saying, "He is wrong." In reading that sentence at its very fullest I do not think in fact he is technically wrong when he says," neither final nor binding or at least subject to delay in implementation." Read that whole phrase and you get exactly what Mr. Egan is trying to say and the very clear statement that he is expressing a concern.
This is not somebody from outside; this is somebody who has been appointed by the government of this province as a public servant to hold some responsibility, and he is saying his concern is that "these expert and independent arbitrators may cease to be available since the proposed legislation will impinge upon their independence and experience."
This is the considered judgement of the Ontario Police Arbitration Commission within the Ministry of the Solicitor General after discussions that were held by the commission itself. It was not written at the personal instigation of the chairman; it was written after some discussions had taken place within the police arbitration commission and it reflects a general consensus and not something that is just written off the top of his head.
This kind of letter is not written lightly and the Treasurer knows that. In this province, which politically has so many of the aspects of a closed shop, a senior public servant does not sit down and write the Treasurer of this province a letter that he knows is going to become public knowledge unless it is something that is felt very strongly by the members of the police arbitration commission and unless they have been hearing some very clear things from arbitrators, quite apart from what the committee heard and what we have all heard from people representing literally hundreds of thousands of employees in the public sector.
If the Treasurer looks at the legislation that was passed in Alberta, for example, there is no legislation anywhere that sets up the kind of mock, straw legislation he is suggesting, not even British Columbia. Not even Pat Kinsella in his worst moments could have conceived of or advised Bill Bennett to bring in legislation such as he is talking about. That kind of crudity is not the stuff of which even Tory and reactionary governments are made.
The Treasurer is fully aware that the word "consider" is the language that has been set out in all the arbitration legislation that is part of the law of this province. When it comes to what other things need to be considered, that is the way it is phrased and those are the things the arbitrator does consider and feels obliged to consider; and if the arbitrator chooses not to consider them he can frequently be challenged, as the Treasurer is well aware. If it appears on the face of the award that an arbitrator has not considered something he should have considered, the Treasurer knows perfectly well that, as a matter of law, that decision of the arbitrator can be reviewed in the courts.
The legislation that was passed in Alberta, which I suppose is the model -- the Tory government in Alberta passed Bill 44 on July 15, 1983, which was the beginning of the Alberta government's attack on its own employees -- has exactly the same wording, "Compulsory arbitration boards shall consider any fiscal policies that may be declared from time to time in writing by the provincial Treasurer for the purposes of this act."
So in response to what the Treasurer has had to say about the fact that "consider" does not mean what we think it means, if it does not mean anything, why is it there? If he does not need it, if it does not bind and shackle the arbitrator, why is it there at all?
Then he would say that the arbitrator has to take into account what is going on in the rest of the public sector, the private sector and so on. That is the comparability test; the Treasurer knows that. The whole basic trend of what arbitrators have been doing in the public sector is assessing the question of comparability. They have been asking, "What are the comparable jobs?" So arbitrators have to take into account what is going on in the private sector and they have to take into account what else is going on in the public sector. Why do they have to do that? Because they have to consider comparability. If they do not consider comparability, their awards have no credibility at all.
The way in which they have conceived their task is not an abstract one in which they impose some abstract notion of justice or abstract notion of what a job is worth. What they are attempting to say is: "Look, we are substituting ourselves for collective bargaining. Therefore, the test which we have to apply when we substitute ourselves for collective bargaining is the test of comparability."
The only other point I want to make to the Treasurer is this, and I think it has to be said. When he gets up and says this is for only one year, that is what his predecessor said about restraint. He said that bill was going to be for only one year.
I say to the Treasurer that we do not trust his government; we do not trust what he has to say. I do not think there are very many other people who trust what he has to say when he says: "This is for only one year; this is only transitional. It does not mean anything. It is all going to evaporate at the end of the year." He has no credibility on that score. He does not have any credibility with the people who are involved in the arbitration process on that score. If the Treasurer is not aware of this by now, he should be.
Mr. Wrye: Mr. Chairman, I want to go back to discuss the way this debate has evolved. I am not as much at ease as my friend the leader of the third party is with the fact that these judgements are black and white. I listened as my friend raised the concerns of the chairman of the arbitration commission. We know the concerns of other arbitrators such as Mr. Teplitsky.
Then I listened to the Treasurer mention the remarks my leader made about the comments of Professors Arthurs and Weiler which we heard yesterday in committee. I had an opportunity to try to re-read the pertinent section and the key phraseology considering the employer's ability to pay in the light of existing provincial fiscal policy.
Although I feel it is a little unfair to do so since I do not know the gentleman's name, I will share this with the Legislature. I happened to be flying home to Windsor early last Wednesday morning for a day in my constituency office and a public meeting that night. It turned out I was flying on the plane with a gentleman who obviously is involved in arbitration. As I said, I do not know his name. He was talking with someone in the seat ahead of him. As he got off the plane, the talk turned to this Bill 111.
His comment was: "I do not know. I do not know what the hell we are supposed to do about considering the employer's ability to pay in the light of existing provincial policy. Do you know what that means? I do not have an idea what that means. I do not know whether we are just to take a look at it and write our report as we have been, or whether it is tough. I do not really know. How can we write anything?"
This seems to me to be the point. I listened to the Treasurer's reasonable sounding defence a few minutes ago. It sounded like it was sweet reason until one began to examine it for all it is worth. I will go back to the point; we have some such as Professor Weiler who believe it is a very reasonable policy. The chairman of the Ontario Police Arbitration Commission does not; he thinks it is terrible. Mr. Teplitsky thinks it is not too great. Professor Arthurs does not think it is too terrible,
What that leads me to say is that essentially cautious individuals and essentially cautious individuals in terms of legislation --
Mr. Shymko: Read the workers' compensation report and you will know about Weiler.
Mr. Wrye: We have not seen Professor Weiler around this place for at least four or five months. It would be nice to see him again. It was nice to have him drop in to offer an opinion which was nicely on the side of the government on this issue. I always enjoy hearing Professor Weiler argue his case; I do not think he argued it quite as well as he perhaps argued his case on workers' compensation, but that is another matter.
I say to you, Mr. Chairman, and I say to the Treasurer, we are really moving into uncharted water in a very dangerous way. I do not propose to stand here and say that we should not look at this issue. Very clearly, a lot of groups, including the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, have said we ought to look at this and move firmly in this direction. AMO has said so for some time.
If my friends on the left think members of their party do not agree with that, I would point out that the former mayor of Windsor, Mr. Bert Weeks, who last time I checked was a card-carrying member of the third party, has been most adamant in saying that the employer's ability to pay should be considered.
I am not saying the policy holds no merit, none whatsoever. I am also not saying the policy holds total merit. Rather, I am saying it is time that we sat down and studied the matter and that until we study the matter carefully it is very dangerous for us as legislators to write this into law, even for 10, 11 or 12 months. It is very dangerous for us to start writing into law matters we have not even looked at or have not even begun to look at. The Treasurer has stood in his place tonight and has admitted we do not even know the ground rules for the study.
It seems to me that as legislators we should not blindly buy a pig in a poke. I hope my friends on the Conservative side will consider the fact that their independence as legislators is in a sense at stake, but I doubt they will.
I know what most of the rest of this bill means, but I must tell you, Mr. Chairman, and I must tell my colleagues in the Legislature, that I do not know what this section means. I do not know what the ramifications of this change mean and as a result I think we ought simply to be done with it.
If the government wishes to study the issue and to involve all parties in the study, that is fine with me; that is what we are here to look at. We are here to look at a variety of options, but we simply should not legislate blindly. I hope the member for High Park-Swansea (Mr. Shymko) may want to enter the debate. I am sure he would want to reassert his independence and say he will not stand for a blind pilot project in the arbitration process in this province.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Chairman, I want to make five or six points. First, I think the Treasurer has woefully failed to respond to the questions put to him by the member for York South (Mr. Rae) with regard to the concerns expressed by Mr. Egan, chairman of the Ontario Police Arbitration Commission.
He says very clearly in his letter that the legislation, as he understood it, would have three adverse effects. First, the expert and independent arbitrators may cease to be available. The Treasurer has not addressed that problem. One of the problems we heard in committee time and time again was that the arbitration process is already delayed and if we have fewer and fewer expert arbitrators available, it will be delayed even more.
Second, Mr. Egan says these arbitrators are warned that the proposed legislation "will impinge upon their independence and experience." That concern has not been addressed. I would like the Treasurer seriously to consider the concerns of the chairman of the Ontario Police Arbitration Commission because the concerns of this committee were reinforced by the police officers who appeared before us on behalf of their associations. They certainly gave the very strong impression to the committee that they felt betrayed personally by the Treasurer and they felt betrayed by this legislation. They indicated in the strongest possible way they would boycott the arbitration process if this legislation passes and that they would challenge the legislation in the courts. I suspect those four concerns by the police associations of this province are concerns the Treasurer should and must address.
Once again, if he fails to address them in this committee in clause-by-clause debate, as he failed to address them in the social development committee, I say the Treasurer abdicates his responsibility. He is pushing through a piece of legislation he knows not the impact of and that as legislators we know not the impact of. He has failed to respond and respond fully, adequately and honestly to the concerns raised by people as concerned as the chairman of the Ontario Police Arbitration Commission. That is the first point I wanted to make. I will rest there and let the Treasurer respond.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: First, let me respond to the member for Windsor-Sandwich who is temporarily not with us. I have heard his party waver back and forth. I have a recommendation for the member for Rainy River. His party should vote for arbitration in section 7, against ability to pay in section 8, for it in section 9, and against it in section 10. Perhaps they will have covered all the positions on it, and the members in the second and third row, who probably do not know what happened in caucus this morning, will all be able to write what they want in their newsletters.
Mr. T. P. Reid: They were all in caucus and they all agreed.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I understand the system perfectly.
Mr. Rae: Oh, they did? I am sorry I wasn't there.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: So was the third row.
Mr. T. P. Reid: It does not happen very often.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: With regard to these concerns and with respect, we have addressed them in committee. I do not expect the member for Port Arthur to accept them, but we have discussed them in committee. Let us understand that not all arbitrators have the view that was expressed either in a letter or by two of the arbitrators who appeared at the committee level. They just do not.
Second, there is experience in other jurisdictions which indicates arbitrators do find ways and do find it possible to consider ability to pay in some sense.
Third, let us understand this whole argument about binding and shackling them. One of the members said earlier, "Why did you put it in there if it does not mean anything?" or "What does it mean?" It means exactly what it says, that they are required to consider it.
No court is going to --
Mr. Martel: Don't they do that in all arbitration?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: That is correct. That is the clause the member for Rainy River is voting against.
They are required to consider it. For the purposes of this transition bill in the restraint atmosphere, let us --
Mr. Martel: They do not do that now. They make their decisions willy-nilly.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The member for Sudbury East says they do not consider it now. I will refer him to Professor Kenneth Swan. one of the interest arbitrators in the Ontario public sector, fairly well known. The member for Sudbury East should sit down. He might find this interesting. Professor Swan has concluded that the ability of an employer to pay is one of the seven factors upon which, to use his words, "virtually every arbitration decision in Canada is based."
Mr. Martel: Then why do you need it? You just made a contradictory statement. You want it both ways.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The member for Sudbury East was the one who was strolling out and saying: "Ah, listen, that is ridiculous. They never consider it." Here is one who has done many of them. He says he always considers it. It is one of the seven fundamental factors, he says. I did not make that up.
Mr. Martel: You just want to write that in to make sure it is five per cent.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Let us go on. I will get that for the member for Sudbury East.
Mr. Rae: Where and when? Where did he say it? I want to know.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I said I would get it for him.
Mr. Rae: I have a submission of 1979 where he says exactly the opposite.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Don't get panicky. I will give the member another one to look at.
Mr. Rae: I am not getting panicky. I am just saying I have an example --
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Don't get panicky. Blu-blu-blu-blu-shhh.
Mr. Rae: On a point of order, Mr. Chairman: The Treasurer can make fun of the fact that I occasionally stutter. Perhaps that may be something he finds amusing. I do not mind the fact he does that. People have done that to me since I was a kid in school, but I did ask the Treasurer for the source of a particular quotation. The reason I asked for the citation was that I have a clear quote that I have read into the record from Professor Swan in the Kingston hospital award in 1979 where he goes on at some length about the fact it would be inappropriate to take the ability to pay into account.
Mr. Chairman: I believe I heard the minister mention he was going to provide that.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Let me begin by saying that, in spite of all the epithets that have been hurled from that side of the floor to me and my party during the course of this discussion, I do not know that I have ever heard the leader of the third party stutter. I do not believe he does. If he has or if other people have said that, it certainly was not my intention. Let us just cleanse the record in terms of that. If he took it in that sense, I withdraw it.
Let me be clear that I did not say I would not provide it. I said in the volume of information I have here tonight, I do not have the particular excerpt from the particular source Professor Swan said that in, but I will get it for him.
I also refer him to Justice Dubin of the Ontario Court of Appeal when he was adjudicating the outstanding matters in the 1975 Metro Toronto school teachers dispute, which the member for Port Arthur will remember very well.
Mr. Rae: Appointed by whom?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: That does not make him partial. It does not make him not one of the leading people in the field. It does not make him inadequate as an arbitrator. It does not make him unable to understand arbitration to the depth the member professes to understand it. Forgive him for being appointed by us.
Might I say I suspect we would find that Mr. Teplitsky has been appointed by us from time to time. I presume that makes him not a good arbitrator, does it? Has Mr. Teplitsky been appointed by us from time to time? I think the answer is yes. Let us conclude that maybe Mr. Dubin is at least as knowledgable as Mr. Teplitsky and both of them have been appointed by us. Let us see what Mr. Dubin says:
Mr. Foulds: When?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I told the members. It was in the 1975 Metropolitan Toronto school teachers dispute.
Mr. Foulds: Why has the Treasurer got that date and that judgement when he does not have the one from Ken Swan and yet he is reading from the same paper? Weak research?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I will get the member the other one. Do not get nervous.
Mr. Chairman: Order. That is enough. The minister has the floor.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: "The interest and welfare of the public and the financial ability of those who are called upon to pay the cost of the services rendered" was cited by Mr. Dubin as one of his considerations.
Mr. Foulds: Read the whole sentence.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I just did.
Mr. Foulds: That is not a whole sentence.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Call Mr. Dubin and tell him you do not like his grammar. I have read the sentence out of that decision.
Mr. Foulds: I do not like the Treasurer's grammar. He read us a phrase.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I will read it again. Mr. Dubin was citing his considerations. He might have been listing them. I am not here to apologize for his grammar. He cited as one of his considerations -- and I presume this is one of a list and that may explain why it is not a complete sentence -- "the interests and welfare of the public and financial ability of those who are called upon to pay the cost of the services rendered." That was cited by him as one of his considerations.
He did not feel his independence was threatened when he considered that. He thought it was appropriate to consider that in the circumstances. I must say I think that to suggest the two arbitrators who appeared before us expressing their concerns reflect all of the volume of knowledge on this matter is, with respect, considering Professor Arthurs, Professor Swan, Justice Dubin and others --
Mr. Martel: The Treasurer is comparing apples and oranges.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: If the member for Sudbury East will leave his novel until later, he will get a chance.
Mr. Martel: The Treasurer is comparing apples and oranges and he knows it. He did not have five per cent written down in 1975.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: If the member will leave his novel until later, there is a lot of fiction in here if he will just stay here and listen to his colleagues. The fiction will be as good as in that novel he was heading out to read. He will get his chance to speak.
Mr. Martel: The minister is better fiction than a novel.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Chairman, I have been asked to respond --
Mr. Chairman: Order.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I will wait.
Mr. Chairman: If the minister could avoid bringing the member to his level of excitement and the member could avoid the interjections, please, we will continue with the minister's remarks and the member for Sudbury East will just butt out. As was mentioned, his turn will come.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I can belabour the House with a repetition of the remarks we made earlier. All I can say in response to the specific questions asked by the member for Port Arthur is that I think for arbitrators to suggest that their independence is infringed upon by asking them to consider, not be bound by and not be restricted by, but to consider ability to pay is taking it a rather far step.
There are all sorts of things, as I have indicated earlier, that could have put them in chains and shackled them and required them to do all sorts of things. When we reflect, particularly upon last year -- and let us remember the atmosphere within which we are talking -- there was no choice. Everyone got five per cent. This year we are in a restraint mode. Let us not forget that. We are not talking about labour legislation in a different context. We are talking only about Bill 111.
Mr. Martel: The minister is starting to sound like Bill Wrye.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: In that case, I will conclude my remarks. That was enough to scare me off.
Mr. Martel: Mr. Chairman, I listened to my friend play his little game. He talked about Justice Dubin. He is talking about 1975. He did not have the government suggesting to him as an arbitrator that there was a limit at which he must cut off.
What the minister has done now to arbitrators is to tell them the economic policy of the province at the present time is a guideline of approximately five per cent. Transfer payments are five per cent and that is the end. How one fights over the five per cent does not matter. One can get two for some and eight for others, but the guideline is still five per cent.
What the minister is trying to do is make a comparison of apples and oranges. He is talking of a time when there was no restraint, supposedly. On the other hand, he now has a five per cent guillotine or five per cent sword hanging over the arbitrator's head.
What nonsense. Then he goes on to quote Weiler and other people who say it is no problem. I have read Weiler's last couple of reports on compensation. I found them chock-full of problems. In fact, some of his own colleagues have withdrawn the original white paper that came out that Weiler prepared for the government in conjunction with the Ministry of Labour. It went down the tube a long time ago.
The minister should not come around prattling Weiler. The member for High Park-Swansea comes here and talks about it. Maybe he wants to get up and tell us what happened to the paper that was presented and the draft legislation that was presented in that paper. What happened to it? It was done in by his own government, which then came in with a select committee to look into the affairs of the Workers' Compensation Board.
The minister should not come around prattling how wonderful Paul Weiler has been in all these things because, if he handled this in the same way he did the Workers' Compensation Board, he did it one late night on the plane back to Harvard. That is why he got into so much trouble with the Workers' Compensation Act he was attempting to report on and get legislative change over.
I go back to what the minister has said. On the one hand, he cannot say they have to take these things into consideration and all people say they take them into consideration. I say to the minister, if it is the case that these things are taken into consideration, why is he putting that in? Is it as a reminder, or is it to tell them it will be five per cent and they have to adhere to it? That is what the concern is.
The minister has quoted Mr. Swan as saying that this is one of the factors. He quoted Dubin, and now he is saying, "But I have to write it into the act." Why does he have to if that has been the role of the arbitrators and if they have taken those things into consideration? Is that just a little insurance that the government's five per cent guideline will not be tampered with?
When one looks at the letter the leader of the New Democratic Party read tonight, one has to be amazed. This is the group the government set up to take the place of collective bargaining. Why would that group be so critical? They are the people who have been trying to resolve these problems between the police these many years. This is not a group I suspect one would consider very radical, but they know and they can see that the guideline the government is putting into the legislation is going to hamper the process of arbitration.
As for a study, this government is just a little more clever by half. To start to study it after it has been legislated is a little ridiculous. The only thing that is probably more ludicrous is the way the Wacky Bennetts handle things out in British Columbia.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I understand that if the member for Sudbury East does not like the decision of a particular arbitrator or the place he allegedly wrote the decision, it means the arbitrator has no experience or knowledge to bring to the field. That is his view. It does not happen to be mine, nor is it the view of very many people who still seek Professor Weiler in arbitrations in this province and who recognize him as one of Canada's experts.
The member for Sudbury East said that Justice Dubin does not matter either since that was written in 1975.
Mr. Martel: No. Do not twist it around.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: That is what the member said. I was listening.
Mr. Martel: I did not say that. I said the minister is taking his decision from a time when there was no restraint and he is trying to apply it now. The minister is an expert at twisting words around, but he should not try it here.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: So that the member can not accuse me, I will not even comment. I will leave his own recitation of what he said on the record. I had the opportunity to listen to the briefs and read them all. I notice that a number of the positions taken and authorities cited for reference in terms of the other side of the case predated 1975. Would the member believe they were also in a period when there was not restraint? Maybe those people also want to change their positions. The member and I may want to say that maybe they are not applicable in a time of restraint.
In case the member wants to reflect upon the applicability of some of these in an atmosphere of restraint and suggest that maybe they would not say the same things today as the member said about Dubin, I want to refer them to him. Emmett Hall, Railways and Railway Unions, 1973 --
Mr. Foulds: What did he say?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: These are all out of the submissions to the committee.
Mr. Foulds: What did he say? Read them into the record.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: They are very long, but I know the member has read them and has based his decisions on the reading of these. The only point I am making is that many of the cases the member relied upon in arriving at his position, which he presumed were equally applicable today, were made longer ago than when Justice Dubin made his comments, about which the member for Sudbury East now wants to say they were not made in an atmosphere of restraint, so they do not count.
Mr. Foulds: You are a twister.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Let us be clear. I could read them all into the record. There was the Shime decision which was --
Mr. Martel: The minister twists everything. He is hanging the five per cent sword over them.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I know the member for Sudbury East is enjoying this.
The Shime decision, which the member has often referred to -- I will get the exact date -- was Komoka Nursing Home, 1975. Let us get them all. I want to cite something out of Teplitsky's presentation to the commission. Teplitsky spoke of Professor Johnston's report, which was made in 1974. It was longer ago than Mr. Dubin's remarks, which the member now wants to discount because they were made too long ago. Suffice it to say that a lot of the cases the member relied upon in saying the bill is wrong --
Mr. Martel: What I am saying is that you imposed the five per cent now.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The member may enjoy these. Convalodge Nursing Home, 1973, arbitrator Geddes; The member probably enjoyed that one. There are many of these. All of them go back some time. I have not suggested --
Mr. Martel: I concede you can read.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Not only can I, but I did. That is the difference between us.
A lot of these cases bring a good body of knowledge to this situation. I have not discounted any of them because of the date on which they were rendered, nor should the member discount Dubin's because of the date on which it was rendered. The only thing the member said that I might agree with is that a lot of these things have to be assessed in a different atmosphere, which is the restraint atmosphere. That is exactly what we are talking about. I am using the member's words. That is what we are talking about.
Mr. Martel: You are twisting my words.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: No, I am not. We are talking about how we move out of restraint, which the member did not think we should have in the first place. I would suggest simply that arbitrators should consider all that when they are making their decisions this year.
May I say to the member for Sudbury East that in reciting these arguments to him once again, I am so convinced by the arguments I have presented that I only wish I could have been at the Liberal caucus this morning. I am convinced they would still have been on my side on this. However, such is the case.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Chairman, I just want to make a couple of quick points. The Treasurer is a master at taking things out of context. Professor Weiler's context in his testimony before the committee, as I understand it, was that he found the legislation supportable in the light of a government incomes policy.
When I asked Professor Weiler whether he knew what the provincial government's incomes policy was, he said he could not tell me what the government's incomes policy was. He did mention that he thought perhaps the provincial government could not have an incomes policy, because it was the federal government's responsibility. I do not think I am misquoting him at all.
He said such criteria and such legislation were only acceptable -- maybe he did not use the word "only" -- in the context of an incomes policy. I submit that there is no such incomes policy by this government or the federal government. The Treasurer is taking that out of context.
Second, the Treasurer is certainly taking the argument used by Mr. Teplitsky out of context, particularly the use of the date 1974 as it applies to the Johnston commission. In Mr. Teplitsky's speech, which he submitted as an exhibit, he indicated the government itself established a commission in 1974 in which the recommendations did not have anything to do with ability to pay.
The Treasurer has not acted on the recommendations of that commission. Suddenly, he is legislating terms of arbitration without updating or implementing the Johnston report, which was some nine years ago, and without conducting a review. The Treasurer should not take that out of context.
Similarly, every one of the dates he illustrated, dating back to the decision by Justice Emmett Hall -- I have some sympathy for that, as I indicated to the committee, because that happened to affect my own father; it increased his income from the magnificent rate of 97 cents an hour to $1.17 an hour when he was a foreman in charge of 85 men.
That was the beginning of the argument about ability to pay being irrelevant. The Treasurer does a disservice to Justice Emmett Hall, Mr. Teplitsky, Mr. Shime and every one of the arbitrators he quotes when he quotes them out of context, without using the historical argument that Mr. Teplitsky used very well in his speech. The Treasurer is a twister, if I may say so, when he uses information in that way.
Finally, I simply want to say that the Treasurer has not been able to tell us, either before the committee or before committee of the whole, what other legislation requires arbitrators to take into account certain criteria.
One of the witnesses before the committee -- Mr. Weiler, I believe -- was good enough to say that he vaguely remembered some vague references to what the arbitrator had to take into account in the Crown Employees Collective Bargaining Act. I recommend to the Treasurer that he take a look at the Crown Employees Collective Bargaining Act, section 12, which is under the general rubric of arbitration.
I think the terms as outlined in the Crown Employees Collective Bargaining Act are quite sufficient; there is no need to further burden the arbitrators. I want to read these terms into the record:
"1. The board shall examine into and decide on matters that are in dispute within the scope of collective bargaining under this act.
"2. In the conduct of proceedings before it and in rendering a decision in respect of a matter in dispute, the board shall consider any factor that to it appears to be relevant to the matter in dispute, including:
"(a) the needs of the crown and its agencies for qualified employees;
"(b) the conditions of employment in similar occupations outside the public service, including such geographic, industrial or other variations as the board may consider relevant;
"(c) the desirability to maintain appropriate relationships in the conditions of employment as between classifications of employees; and
"(d) the need to establish terms and conditions of employment that are fair and reasonable in relation to the qualifications required, the work performed, the responsibility assumed and the nature of the services rendered."
I suggest that those criteria are perfectly adequate without laying upon the arbitrators the additional burden embedded in the legislation we have before us. I have checked to see whether there are any directions for boards of arbitration under the Police Act, but I have been unable to find any. Therefore, I would like the Treasurer and his plethora of minions supporting him with notes to tell me exactly what other legislation gives instructions to arbitrators.
He has not answered the fundamental question put by my colleague the member for Sudbury East: if they take it into consideration in any event, if it is part of the consideration, why do we need to legislate?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Is that it?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Two out of 69 is all I can get on a night like this.
Mr. Foulds: That is all you deserve.
The Deputy Chairman: Order. We are speaking to an amendment to section 6.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: It works for some of us --
Mr. Bradley: Phil Gillies is on your side.
The Deputy Chairman: Order.
The Deputy Chairman: Order. There is no order. Would the Treasurer please continue in response?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Chairman, having listened to the member for Port Arthur's analysis of the circumstances, I really cannot add anything more without repeating myself from earlier questions along the same vein. I simply think it is appropriate, in a continuation of restraint policy, that arbitrators consider all this.
I understand all the points he has made. We just dramatically disagree on it. This is not a long-reaching, permanent change to labour legislation. This is a restraint bill that says that in a continuing restraint mode, arbitrators should consider all this. Why do I think it is necessary? Because we are still in restraint. That is the simple answer.
Mr. Bradley: Mr. Chairman, this part of the bill is significant in that the Treasurer has at least indicated a strong desire to have arbitrators in this province recognize the ability to pay. He and I, being former municipal politicians -- one at the board of education level, I believe, and one at the city council level -- will recognize that directors of personnel and certain members of city council always complained about the fact that they thought arbitrators did not take into account an employer's ability to pay.
As my leader indicated early in the questioning on this, he always felt, as I did, that arbitrators did indeed take into account in the back of their minds a municipality's or an employer's ability to pay. That was not the sole issue, however; it was not the paramount issue. It was just one of the considerations of an arbitrator, and therefore there was some free rein for arbitrators to make a reasonable pronouncement at the end of the consideration of both sides' presentations.
It seems to me -- and in some cases it has perhaps been an unfortunate experience for municipalities, but only on some occasions -- that when you take away the right to withdraw one's services as a sanction, which is particularly the case in situations involving fire department and police force employees -- a right that is available to most people in this province -- you have to expect that when you replace it with arbitration you cannot stack the deck against one of the two sides in an arbitration.
It seems to me that if we insert in this bill a sole criterion that deals with the ability of the employer to pay, we start to stack the decks in favour of one side. We also discourage -- I thought some of the people who made presentations to the committee indicated this very well -- employees' associations and unions from wanting to agree to go to arbitration because they feel arbitration is going to be rigged against them; and on the other hand, we encourage employers to go to arbitration because they feel they are going to gain more from it. So what we have is more labour unrest in this province, more disruptiveness of the situation for the public service in this province, and no one really gains.
Somewhere along the line a set of criteria might well be established for arbitrators. That study is going on now. The minister revealed to the House earlier this evening that the Ministry of Labour is undertaking a study of the arbitration process in this province. When that process begins in January, representations can be made from the various groups that are directly and indirectly affected, namely, those representing employees and those representing employers, and at that time a reasonable compromise can perhaps be struck that everyone can agree to. We may even reach a state of consensus between both sides, management and labour, and be able to improve upon our arbitration process.
But to isolate in one particular bill one segment of that arbitration process, as is stated in this bill, is dealing with the arbitration process in this province in the wrong way. As I have indicated on many occasions, and I think we did this in questioning some of the people who appeared before the committee, there is no doubt that arbitrators are not blind to the fact, and have not been blind in the past to the fact, that certain employers perhaps find it difficult to pay very high settlements.
I encourage the Treasurer, the person who has emerged as a statesman on that side of the House, to give serious consideration to the very reasonable representations made by some who appeared before the committee, particularly those who have been involved directly in the arbitration process, and to look with favour upon the amendment presented by the Liberal-Labour member for Rainy River, who has shown -- as they say in the labour movement -- eminent good sense in presenting a moderate and reasonable alternative to what is contained in the legislation.
I would be among the first in this House and among the first around this province -- certainly in the provincial constituency of St. Catharines -- to publicly commend the Treasurer if he were to accept an amendment as enlightened as the one presented by the Liberal critic in the field of finance.
I am certain that in his quest for a consensus in this province -- which I think the minister will have to seek as he moves along the political line and up the political ladder -- in seeking that moderate, middle-of-the-road consensus, he will find appealing the very reasonable amendment put forward by my colleague.
I can only hope good sense will permeate the cabinet meeting tomorrow as the minister presents his proposals for amending his own legislation to make it more progressive than conservative.
Mr. Mancini: Mr. Chairman, I wish to join my colleagues in the debate concerning the arbitration process and the problem this legislation will cause. As we all know, the minister has sat in on the committee hearings and has heard from arbitrators of considerable experience. He has heard at first hand exactly what problems they will face and exactly what some of them will do about these problems.
We have been told that some of the senior arbitrators in Ontario do not understand what the ministry is asking them to do. Therefore, they will not make themselves available --
Mr. Conway: Stephen Lewis will not do any business with the Ontario government.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: He doesn't need the business.
Mr. Mancini: Perhaps I could have the attention of the Treasurer, because the arbitration process is going to be very significant once the bill is passed. We have been told that some senior arbitrators are not going to make themselves available to hear these cases because of the way the legislation is written. They just cannot understand what the Treasurer wants them to do. In good conscience, they cannot appear before groups that want to settle labour disputes when they are not exactly sure of the guidelines they should follow.
This problem caused by the Treasurer seemed to give him some interest in the matter when we were at committee hearings, as did other things. However, it appears the Treasurer just sits at committee hearings and says nice things about the people who come before the hearings so that he may in some way lessen the pain once the presentations are made and the bill is reported to the House. We know the Treasurer actually did listen, but he listened in such a way that he really had his mind made up before the presentations were made.
I am a little disappointed about this. I wanted to raise several points with the arbitrator who was before our committee. His presentation was so good, and it certainly appeared the Treasurer was following what was being said, it seemed that to ask the individual more questions would be just a repetition of what he had put before the committee.
I want to know from the Treasurer what he is going to do when the senior and well-thought-of arbitrators in Ontario refuse to take these cases. Who is he going to use to solve the very difficult disputes which are going to be brought forward? If our best are not going to be available, and I think I recall the Treasurer mentioning to me in a hushed voice that he thought one particular arbitrator who was before us was quite capable and quite well thought of, who is going to solve our disputes if people of the calibre of that gentleman are not going to make themselves available?
That is a problem this Legislature is going to have to address. If we do not address it, arbitrators who are possibly without enough experience in this field, arbitrators who possibly do not have the calibre because of lack of experience in this field are going to be called upon and are going to give settlements that are going to cause considerable disruption within the public service across Ontario.
The bill is being brought forward, if we can believe the Treasurer, as a transition bill in order that the least amount of disruption possible be caused; yet he refuses to address one of the most important areas of the bill at the present time, and that area of how the arbitrators are going to react could disrupt the whole bargaining process throughout our province.
I want to remind the Treasurer that he seemed interested last week at the committee. We hope he is interested tonight and I am very interested to hear what he says about the fact that some of our best arbitrators are not going to make themselves available.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Chairman, might I say to the honourable member that I think when the arbitrators have some time to contemplate the circumstance, perhaps after the bill is passed, they will be able to reflect upon the situation and realize that really the system does need their expertise.
To the extent that there is some problem in sorting out what "ability to pay" means in this context and how it should be interpreted, I might say that I really do know the quality of the arbitrators and I think they are well suited for and capable of making the right judgement as to how they ought to apply that in the circumstances they face, and I hope that over time they will prove to be willing to serve. I am fairly confident that will be the case.
Mr. Mancini: But you are not sure.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Nothing is for sure. You may not be re-elected.
The Deputy Chairman: We have an amendment before the House on section 6.
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: Mr. T. P. Reid moves that subsection 6(4) be struck out and the following substituted therefor:
"(4) Where, in the opinion of the board, the documents and information filed with the board under subsections 1 and 2 do not adequately set out the particulars of the changes to the group compensation plan and the cost or saving attributable to such changes, the board may, within 15 working days from the actual receipt by the board of the documents and information, defer the implementation of:
"(a) such changes proposed in a statement;
"(b) the collective agreement containing such changes;
"(c) the arbitral award containing such statement; or
"(d) such changes determined under clause (1)(d),
"until, in the opinion of the board, this section is complied with, and the board shall forthwith require the party who has not complied with subsections 1 and 2 to file with the board within such time as the board considers reasonable the necessary information."
Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Chairman, this is consequential to the first amendment and to the hope that sections 8, 9 and 10 will be struck from the bill, so I do not think we have to regurgitate it all again.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Chairman, if I understand this amendment correctly, I do not intend to support it and I certainly do not intend to support the clause in the bill. This amendment, as does the original section, applied to the arbitration process allows the deferment of the implementation of an arbitration decision. One of the arguments we heard time and again in the committee was that arbitrations were deferred long enough. I do not intend to vote for this amendment and I do not intend to vote for the clause that is in the legislation.
Mr. Mancini: Mr. Chairman, I want to say quickly that I support my colleague's motion that has been put before the House and I want to remind the Treasurer that when I got elected to the Legislature in 1975 I did not get elected on my father's coat-tails.
Mr. Chairman: I do not know what that was all about.
Mr. T. P. Reid: In this aura of sweetness and light, I would like to move another amendment.
Mr. Chairman: We did not take the vote on this first one here.
All those in favour will please say "aye."
All those opposed will please say "nay."
In my opinion the nays have it.
Mr. Chairman: Mr. T. P. Reid moves that subsection 6(5) be struck out and the following substituted therefor:
"(5) Before any deferral of implementation under subsection 4 takes place, all parties to the collective agreement or arbitral award shall be notified of the intent to defer and
"(a) allowed 10 working days to provide the required information to the board and
"(b) be required to provide to the other parties access to such records and information as may be necessary to complete the calculations required under clause 2(b)."
Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Chairman, this is consequential as well to the other matters. However, it also provides a further amendment or a new situation under clause 5(b) that the employees be allowed to have access to the records and information so they can make their case to the board.
One thing that is lacking in the bill is, in effect, that the employer does not always provide access to the salaries, the wages, the fringe benefits and the total wage package. We are moving in this amendment to ensure that if the bill carries, as it appears it might, those people involved in the process, particularly the employees or their representatives, will have complete access to the information so that they can make a case to the Inflation Restraint Board as well, based on full knowledge of the total picture, which the Treasurer seems to indicate he wants taken into consideration.
That being so, I would suggest that the Treasurer would at the very least be able to accept clause 5(h) as being in the spirit of the bill as he has suggested it should be, and that everyone should have a total knowledge of the total cost so that the arbitrators, the Anti-Inflation Board and the people appearing before it or having access to it will have all the information to go before it.
Mr. Roy: Mr. Chairman, I am a bit disappointed, knowing the Treasurer's sense of equity and justice, that he would not --
Mr. Roy: Pardon me? Is the minister going to respond? I will let him respond. Fine, go ahead.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The only condition is --
Mr. Roy: No, no conditions. He is a statesman now. Let him respond.
Mr. Chairman: Look, fellows, let's get it together.
Mr. Roy: I do not want to prejudge the minister. I just want to encourage him. I want to encourage the minister, considering his new vocation as a statesman and a man who exhibits in this place a sense of balance, equity and perception, to see this amendment as eminently reasonable, even though he may have some concern about the previous amendments. Knowing his sense of justice, and I do not want to be too fatuous about this, and his training in law and equity, he would understand that one of the fundamentals of any decision-making process is to have full disclosure. Why would he not accept the amendment of my colleague to give full disclosure to all parties involved in this process?
I am presuming from my limited court experience that the facial expression of the minister and his officials means there is some sense of understanding of and maybe even acquiescence in this process. I will limit my comments on the basis that the minister will give this amendment full consideration because he fully understands that arbitration, negotiation and agreements are much easier if all parties have full access to all information. Nobody is playing any games and everybody knows what the other party's position is.
I would think such an amendment would appear so equitable that the argument would not require any pleading on my part or on the part of my colleague and that the minister would understand this would make his bill, which has a few hooks and curves and things like that, more equitable and give it that touch of equity necessary in legislation as Machiavellian as this.
Mr. Chairman: Order.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Thank you for that most reasoned and sensible approach. I might say the member for Ottawa East knows the way to get the Treasurer's attention on this kind of matter and I applaud his insight. However, there is one modest problem. While we might all choose to reflect upon the analysis put forward by the member for Rainy River, I have noted at this particular stage of the exercise that the information would come to the attention of the parties after the settlement has been reached, when the information is simply being filed with the board.
The information would come to the attention of the parties too late to use in the course of negotiations. Negotiations would have been completed, the settlement reached and the information supplied to the parties at the point of filing. That being the case, as laudable as the goals may be, many of which may be met in other ways, it would not help the process in the way it has been described. For that reason, we would think it inappropriate to accept this amendment.
Mr. T. P. Reid: I can appreciate what the Treasurer is saying. We tried to fit it in somewhere else and perhaps we have made a slight error in placement. For the sake of compromise and since the Treasurer has indicated it is a good idea, will he bring forth an amendment to the bill to ensure that all parties have access to the information? He can put it wherever he likes in the bill.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I think the kind of argument that has been put forward should be reviewed at a later time, particularly in the light of the public sector pay research agency which is also going to be set up subsequently. It is something that is long overdue. Many of the witnesses before the committee --
Mr. T. P. Reid: By the time that gets going this will probably be over with.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: There is no question about that, but I might say collective bargaining in the public sector has seemed to work fairly well through the years and, in some cases, a term of the agreement --
Mr. T. P. Reid: And this bill screws it all up.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: That is why we are going back to collective bargaining with a transitional bill this year because, as I said in my statement when I introduced it, we do believe in the collective bargaining system and we do believe it has worked very well over the years. Our concern is simply how that process might reflect the importance of a second year of restraint.
Mr. T. P. Reid: I gather from all those nice words the Treasurer said he is not going to bring forth an amendment of his own to guarantee that employees have access to the records, salaries, costs and so on that he seems to be so sure the arbitrators should have. Why should the employees not have access to the employers' records so they can argue the case, whether the government wants it at the first of the bill or at the end or somewhere else? Surely to make the bill equitable, to make everybody have an understanding of what costs are involved, the Treasurer could guarantee them that access to the records.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: In the context of the modest objectives of Bill 111, what we want to do is what has been outlined in the bill. We want to introduce and keep a restraint atmosphere in the collective bargaining system. Any of the fundamental changes to the collective bargaining system, be they long-term ability to pay or sharing of more information than is already shared -- which often is a term of the negotiated agreement itself, that is, how much information shall be available -- are more appropriately left to long-term labour legislative considerations.
Mr. T. P. Reid: That means no?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: That means no.
Mr. Roy: Mr. Chairman, I am very disappointed that the Treasurer, to whom I was so complimentary earlier, would reject this very sensible amendment on the basis of a technicality. I can understand that disclosure is not very useful if it takes place at the end of the process and that disclosure should be made at the first available opportunity. I think that is the spirit in which my colleague proposed the amendment.
I would have thought the Treasurer would have said to us this evening, and I am one who, after 12 years, even though the wear and tear does not show --
Hon. Mr. Grossman: We can vote on that.
Mr. Roy: We will see. There are all sorts of things happening. For instance, he got his QC at the same time as I did, but I deserved mine.
Mr. Conway: I think there was some direct relationship, wasn't there? Not Larry without you?
Mr. Chairman: Order.
Mr. Roy: There was, but it amazes people when I say I have been observing this place now for so many years. I have watched different people come and go. I have watched careers go up and down. I have watched the government House leader turn all white. He is still a very pleasant fellow and we still like him. Even people in the gallery still feel he is great.
Mr. Chairman: Will the member return to the amendment, please?
Mr. Roy: Yes. I notice that you, Mr. Chairman, must be using the same stuff as Ronald Reagan because the grey is coming in very slowly in your crop.
I think it is a good idea that the Chairman should be wearing the proper uniform of the Deputy Speaker. I think it gives the place a certain amount of decorum. I would hope your colleague the member for York Centre (Mr. Cousens) would wear one of those uniforms as well. It may give more decorum when he shouts "Order" around this place.
Mr. Chairman: Back to the bill.
Mr. Roy: In any event, back to the bill, back to the amendment. I was saying to the Treasurer that surely when an amendment has substance of itself, when it smacks of equity and justice and would be totally acceptable to a process requiring compromise and a sense of goodwill on behalf of all the parties involved, he would take the amendment proposed by my colleague and, at the first possible opportunity. insert it in the bill.
Some of us are not knowledgeable enough in the drafting of legislation to know exactly where in the bill it should go, but surely that type of principle, that type of sentiment, should be inserted in the bill at the first possible opportunity so all parties are encouraged to give full disclosure to each other, and by having full disclosure there is a sense that nobody is pulling a fast one on the other party. Everybody will know what the other party's position is.
The bargaining position is relatively restricted with this legislation. I see nothing offensive and nothing which undermines the principle of this bill by inserting this type of amendment. Surely the Treasurer did not expect us, the responsible official opposition of Ontario, to be deterred by his very weak argument that the amendment was proposed at the wrong place.
Would the Treasurer please give us an undertaking, which I am sure he can do since he has very competent people working for him? His colleagues will accept it. Some of them think he has leadership qualities. Prove it. Show some flexibility. He should show he is not afraid to accept ideas no matter what the source. He will know that generally any time an idea originates from this side of the House, the responsible official opposition of Ontario, it deserves some consideration. I am sure he is considering this as being an excellent amendment; It is just where to fit it in.
We are prepared to exhibit some flexibility in where to fit it in. I am sure my colleague the member for Rainy River has already given that undertaking. Surely he does not expect him to say, "It is a great amendment, but we will shove it aside because you have proposed it at the wrong time or place." Put it into the bill. We are supportive of the general principle of this legislation, at least I think we are.
Mr. Foulds: Oh, back on side now.
Mr. Roy: We never hide our position. We take a position and we are consistent, even more than the government is.
Mr. Foulds: You skate as much as the Treasurer does.
Mr. Charlton: Your colleagues are having second thoughts.
Mr. Roy: Did I hear some comments from --
Mr. Chairman: No, I think you should just carry on.
Mr. Charlton: The comment was that your colleagues were having second thoughts before you arrived.
Mr. Roy: Not at all.
Mr. Foulds: Now they have really got second thoughts, now you have arrived.
Mr. Roy: Not at all. It is just that the New Democratic Party sometimes has some difficulty understanding people who are prepared to give every argument a proper theory or prepared to look at both sides of an issue. They are not caught up on principles as some people are, very often outdated principles. We are not caught up on that. This party is with it for 1983.
I would like to prevail on the Treasurer to give us some undertaking that he is prepared to look at the principle of this amendment and give us some undertaking that he is going to insert this type of amendment some place in the legislation where it will be effective and will encourage parties to give full disclosure to each other.
Mr. Chairman: All those in favour of Mr. T. P. Reid's amendment will please say "aye."
All those opposed please say "nay."
In my opinion the nays have it.
Mr. Foulds: On a technical matter, I guess we do not vote on section 6 until we vote on the stacked amendments, is that correct?
Mr. Chairman: That is correct.
Mr. Foulds moves that subsection 7(b) be deleted from the bill.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Chairman, I simply make the arguments with regard to the terms of employment as not being a matter that should be the subject of this bill in section 1. To be consistent, subsection 7(b) should also be deleted. I will not repeat the remarks I made with regard to terms of employment on section 1.
If I could get another member of my caucus in his seat so that when the vote is called five members could stand, I would cease my remarks in due course. However, that is obviously going to take a minute or two.
As I said, I made the arguments when we were talking about terms of employment under subsection 1(m). To be consistent with that amendment, which our party voted for and divided the House on, this amendment requires that 7(b) be deleted from the act.
Mr. Chairman: Is it the pleasure of the committee that this amendment carry?
All those in favour will please say "aye."
All those opposed will please say "nay."
In my opinion the nays have it.
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Foulds moves that clause 7(c)(ii) be deleted from the bill.
Mr. Foulds: Once again, this has to do with the terms of employment. To be consistent with the deletion of section 7(b), which this party is advocating, and the deletion of 1(m), this amendment must pass.
Mr. Chairman: Is it the pleasure of the committee that this amendment carry?
All those in favour will please say "aye."
All those opposed will please say "nay."
In my opinion the nays have it.
Mr. Foulds: Do I conclude that the discussion on section 7 has concluded and we will proceed with section 8?
Mr. Chairman: Yes.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Grossman, the committee of the whole House reported progress.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I might just indicate to you that based on the progress that has been achieved tonight, rather than proceed with the business we had formerly indicated for Thursday evening, we will continue with committee of the whole House on Bill 111.
The House adjourned at 10:30 p.m.