The House met at 2 p.m.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, before you call for ministerial statements, I wonder if I might bring to your attention a paragraph in a recent St. Catharines Standard edition. It is as follows:
"Jim Bradley, MPP St. Catharines, a longtime coach, manager and league executive who also served as chairman for this year's Canadian Junior Men's Softball Championships, was named Mr. Softball by the St. Catharines Softball Association at the St. Catharines Intermediate Fastball League banquet Saturday night at the UAW centre."
Mr. Speaker, I know you would want to join with me and the member's colleagues in congratulating him on receiving the honour and designation Mr. Softball.
Mr. Bradley: Mr. Speaker, needless to say, the House leader of the Liberal Party has changed that designation around a little bit from time to time in reminding me of winning it. But I do want to indicate that when it comes to the next election campaign, it will be hardball we will be playing.
NOTICE OF DISSATISFACTION
Mr. Speaker: Before proceeding, I would like to point out to the House that, pursuant to standing order 28(a), I have been advised of the dissatisfaction with the response of the Minister of Health (Mr. Norton) to a question that was put by the member for Windsor-Sandwich (Mr. Wrye), and we shall hear the debate at 10:30 this evening.
STATEMENT BY THE MINISTRY
CHILD WELFARE SERVICES IN NORTH
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, today I would like to give the House the details of my ministry's plans to bring effective child welfare and associated services to children and their families throughout northern Ontario.
Specifically, these plans have been made for northern Ontario and, more specifically, for the district of Kenora. This huge area stretches from the Manitoba border in the west to James Bay and Quebec in the east and from just south of Kenora and Dryden to Hudson Bay in the north. We know it as a vast area, most of it reached only by boats and small aircraft, where there are many different languages -- English, Cree, Ojibway and some French -- and cultures. It is an area, I submit, that is impossible to administer effectively as a single unit, whether by governments or by agencies.
Before the new plans could be put into effect, an order in council dissolving the Family and Children's Services of the District of Kenora had to be passed. This became effective on October 15, 1984, and was posted.
Members will recall that on January 18, 1984, after monitoring the agency for two years in an attempt to help solve its long-term and serious problems, my ministry was forced by circumstances to take over the operation and management of the Kenora children's aid society. From that date forward, a management team appointed by the ministry ensured that services continued. This team was ably assisted by a local advisory group formed by the ministry to advise and assist the ministry.
Right now, I want to take this opportunity, on behalf of the government of Ontario, to thank the 10 members of the local advisory group for all their hard work. Especially valuable was their advice to my ministry on the operations and future development of child welfare services throughout the far north, especially in the district of Kenora.
The new plans for the north are among the practical results of the historic memorandum of agreement signed on August 22, 1984, by my deputy minister, Robert McDonald, and Dennis Cromarty, grand chief of the Nishnawbe-Aski nation and his six tribal council chiefs, representing 42 Indian bands and communities.
The memorandum of agreement stipulates that the provision of child welfare services for the Indian people in northern Ontario will be gradually transferred to them. The Indian people will provide child and family services in their own communities for their own children.
Let me explain, as briefly as I can, where the services will be, what form they will take, and when they are expected to be in operation.
First, as part of our overall plan, a new corporation, to be known as the Kenora-Patricia Child and Family Services, has been established. The corporation will provide services for children and their families in the towns of Kenora, Dryden, Sioux Lookout, Red Lake and adjacent areas. Services will also be provided for the two tribal council districts with their 14 Indian bands and communities.
A second unity, or grouping if you prefer, will be the Tikinagan Child and Family Services. This agency will serve inhabitants of the four tribal council areas in the Pehtabun, Windigo, Kayahna and the central tribal council area, which are portions of the Nishnawbe-Aski nation area, representing 27 Indian bands and communities in the remote north.
The third grouping comprises the most easterly section of the Nishnawbe-Aski nation area, the part under the direction of the Muskegog Cree tribal council. The agency for this district, with its six Indian bands and communities, will be serviced by the Payukotayno: James and Hudson Bay Family Services, and will include the community of Moosonee.
That gives members an idea of where we stand with this major government of Ontario initiative. It is the firm intention of my ministry and ministry staff to work alongside the Indian people so as to help them achieve their goals and aspirations for their children.
Earlier, I said I would describe what form these three new services would take and when they are expected to start.
Let us look first at the new Kenora-Patricia Child and Family Services agency.
This new corporation will acquire its board of directors over the next several months, while my ministry continues to operate and manage the corporation. There will be no break in child welfare services to the community. Later, my ministry will assist in the role of a trustee until the new corporation is able to fulfil its total mandate without ministry assistance.
New bylaws will allow for the composition of the board of directors, for a new mandate and for the recognition of increased and increasing Indian and native self-management in the north of Ontario.
When fully operational, the board will have 13 members. Four members will be Indian chiefs or their representatives from reserves in the area; two will represent urban natives; the municipal association representing the northwest will be asked to supply four directors, one from each municipality, representing Sioux Lookout, Dryden, Kenora and Red Lake; two will represent the community as a whole. There will also be a chairperson.
Each board member will serve from his or her appointment until December 31, 1986. This time span allows approximately two years for the extensive and beneficial changes in northern Ontario to become a working reality.
With considerable pleasure, I am able to announce today the appointments of four inaugurating directors of the Kenora-Patricia Child and Family Services agency. They are Gloria Alcock, director of nursing for the Northwestern Health Unit in Kenora; Joan Best, a foster parent and president of the Sioux Lookout Foster Children's Association; Rosalyn Copenace, member of the board of directors of the Indian Friendship Centre in Kenora, and director of the Kenora Detoxification Centre; and Laura Johnston, president of the Kenora Native Women's Association and a high school teacher in Kenora.
All four were part of the local advisory committee that assisted the ministry during the past several months.
Of course, we are asking the tribal council chiefs in the Kenora and Dryden districts for their nominations and will be in touch with the four municipalities of the Kenora District Municipal Union to ask for the names of their representatives.
I now want to announce what can only be called an exciting innovation concerning the new Kenora-Patricia agency. The board of directors, with the assistance of my ministry, will be developing a native division within the agency in concert with the Indian community that will eventually be run by trained Indian staff.
It is our hope that they will serve clients in the 14 reserves of the Dryden-Kenora areas. When the new native division is fully operational, there will be Indian child prevention workers on the reserves, as well as Indian staff providing the broader range of child welfare services.
We will be working along with the bands and the band councils to develop residential resources on reserves, whether they be extended family homes or other forms of residential care.
The most important fact in these arrangements is that the Indian people, who form 20 per cent of the population on and off the reserves in the Kenora-Patricia catchment area, will eventually be providing services for their own children. We will be working as quickly and as closely as possible in consultation with the bands and band councils to achieve this.
Staff from among this native population will combine the language and culture of their time-honoured history with additional insight learned through training and modern child welfare practices. Children and their families will benefit.
Trained Indian workers within the new native division of Kenora-Patricia Child and Family Services will also be able to provide special attention for urban natives, who include status and nonstatus Indians and Metis, and to ensure that their cultural needs continue to be recognized and met.
Moving on now to Tikinagan Child and Family Services, the area it will look after is composed almost entirely of Indian reserves and small Indian communities in the far north. Almost 100 per cent of these reserves and communities are served only by small aircraft and boats. It is a particularly difficult area in which to provide services, to monitor and to keep in touch with, when one thinks of the distances, the lack of roads and the weather. The Tikinagan agency will progressively take on responsibility as Indian staff is assembled and trained.
This agency for the far north is already incorporated, with its head office located on the Big Trout Lake reserve. A suboffice is to be established at Sioux Lookout. Directors have already been appointed. They represent the grand chief of the Nishnawbe-Aski nation, Dennis Cromarty, and the tribal council chiefs of Pehtabun, Windigo, Kayahna and the central tribal council area.
The directors are: Eno Anderson, representing the Kingfisher band and the Kayahna tribal council area; Chief Jofias Fiddler, representing the Sandy Lake band in the Pehtabun tribal council area; Violet Machimity, representing the Savant Lake band in the Windigo tribal council area; William Nothing, deputy grand chief of the Nishnawbe-Aski nation and chairman of the board, Tikinagan Child and Family Services; and Chief Harvey Yesno, representing the Fort Hope band in the central tribal council area.
I am pleased to confirm that this group of people will act as an interim board of directors during the startup period of this new corporation. They will be serving the children and their families on reserves and communities in their own areas.
We know that by April 1, 1989, as part of our memorandum of agreement with the Nishnawbe-Aski nation, Tikinagan Child and Family Services corporation will be operating as a fully independent agency. Meanwhile, services will be provided, and I will tell the members what my ministry has arranged in co-operation with the Nishnawbe-Aski nation.
The areas of the Pehtabun tribal council, Windigo tribal council and the Kayahna tribal council will acquire the child welfare services they need initially from the Kenora-Patricia Child and Family Services. They will do so until my ministry, in consultation with the trained Tikinagan Indian people, agrees to the total transfer of responsibilities to the Tikinagan agency after the Indian staff has been acquired and fully trained.
I might say that this transfer of services will be done progressively between now and April 1, 1989, as was set out in the agreement.
We have also arranged, in co-operation with the Nishnawbe-Aski nation, that the central tribal council area will purchase services from the Family and Children's Services of the District of Thunder Bay since the central area is closer to Thunder Bay than to Kenora and its communities are particularly spread out and hard to reach and service.
In our third grouping, the Muskegog Cree council area on the west coast of James Bay formed the new corporation. It is known as the Payukotayno: James and Hudson Bay Family Services and it will be located in the Moosonee area.
On the board of directors of the agency are John Archibald, representing the people of the Cochrane New Post band; Mike Hunter, representing the Winisk band; Alex Metat, representing the Fort Albany band; George Wesley, representing the Kashechewan band; Jean Wesley, representing the Moose Factory band; and Ignace Wheesk, representing the Attawapiskat band. All these representatives are from the Muskegog Cree tribal council area. Also chosen by the Moosonee Development Board to represent the people of Moosonee are Navinka Miljajovick, Helena Ryder and Maude Tyrer.
The Payukotayno: James and Hudson Bay Child and Family Services will look after generic children's services. By that I mean children's mental health, children and youth in conflict with the law under the Young Offenders Act and, of course, child welfare. The new agency will acquire services initially from the North Cochrane District Family Services in Kapuskasing to allow time to train Indian workers and for program organization.
I would like here to mention and to reassure the eight communities and reserves in the Wabun tribal council area. This area will continue to obtain services through arrangements already in effect with the child welfare agencies in North Cochrane, Thunder Bay, Algoma, Timiskaming and that area of Wabun in the Nishnawbe-Aski nation served by the Sudbury agency as covered by the original memorandum of agreement with the Nishnawbe-Aski nation.
Although I have not gone into detail today, my ministry and the Family and Children's Services of the District of Rainy River have been working with the Rainy River tribal council to organize and bring about the delivery of child welfare services by a new Indian corporation. This corporation will service the needs of children and their families on reserves throughout the Rainy River district.
Let me say that I believe my ministry has initiated and achieved a carefully thought out and workable blueprint for a new era in child welfare for Ontario's northern children and their families. That is the story, as I see it, of child welfare services in northern Ontario today and tomorrow.
A great deal of recognition for these initiatives must go to the hard work of the Nishnawbe-Aski nation, chiefs and councils. Together we have worked out what I can only call an exciting new plan for children and their families for the whole of the far north of Ontario.
We will continue to work with northern Ontario tribal councils in the Treaty 3 area so that the Indian and native services can be brought on in an orderly way throughout the north. We hope to have meetings with other Indian and native people during the winter to reinforce our commitment to change.
We have put in place no fewer than five different models, models designed to achieve the best type of service for each part of that enormous area. We have tried to suit as far as possible those inhabitants of a vast and formidable homeland.
My ministry and the Indian people will go forward together from now on and will deliver in a more effective way improved child welfare services to all children and families in the north who need these services.
ONTARIO STATUS OF WOMEN COUNCIL
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Deputy Premier and Minister responsible for Women's Issues concerning the chairman of the Ontario Status of Women Council. As the minister will recall, my colleague the member for Windsor-Sandwich (Mr. Wrye) asked him a question on June 12 about a replacement for the retired chairman, one Sally Barnes.
He responded then that he was going to look at the Touche Ross study of the role of the council and would respond some time later. He has had that report for months now, and still there is no action.
My question to the minister is a simple one. Why has he not moved to appoint a new chairman to the Ontario Status of Women Council? Does he not take it seriously? Is he trying to slowly strangle it? Is he trying to consolidate all the power in his own hands? Or does he not want that independent review of women's issues in this province?
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, the government attaches a great deal of importance to the advisory council and to the appointees to that council. I expect to be making some announcements in connection with the presidency and the vacancies within the next 10 days.
Mr. Peterson: Why has the minister waited so long? There are six vacancies in addition to the chairmanship at the present time. He knows the per capita funding for this council is the lowest of all the provinces in this country. Why has he been so dilatory in responding to the work of that very important council to give an independent review? Why has he been so slack in responding?
Hon. Mr. Welch: With the new structure being put in place following the appointment of the Minister responsible for Women's Issues, I think it is very important to satisfy ourselves in regard to the respective roles of various bodies as the result of change, the establishment of the directorate. This was the reason we had the objective study. But we will be making some announcements with respect to that and certainly attaching a great deal of credibility to the importance we will continue to assign to the work of this particular council.
Ms. Bryden: Mr. Speaker, does the fact that the minister's budget contains only a little over five per cent of the total of $5 million for the advisory council on the status of women indicate the value at which he estimates the council? Does he not think its role of providing the government with advice and recommendations for needed policies on women's issues is a role that requires considerably more resources than that five per cent?
Second, when will he release the Touche Ross report, which pointed out that the members of this advisory council are paid greatly under what other advisory council members are paid?
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, I think it is an unfortunate set of facts to share with the House to try to indicate the importance we attach to the council with respect to its particular operating budget.
If the honourable member, who will be my critic when our estimates come up, has really done her preparation with respect to the estimates, she will see there has been a substantial increase with regard to the council in at least two areas, and we will have an opportunity during estimates to discuss that. The Touche Ross report will be made available, so the honourable member will have the benefit of it in preparation for the estimates as well.
I hope the honourable member will be fair enough to remind members of the House and the public at large that the Minister responsible for Women's Issues has been spending a great deal of time dealing directly with many women's groups in this province. But the advisory council is one of many opportunities the minister has to ascertain in a consultative way the attitudes of individual women and women's groups with respect to a number of issues. I deal directly with it and I think this fact is respected by many groups which know they have direct access to the minister and do not have to go through any intermediaries.
Together we will have a fairly good grasp of public feeling with respect to a wide range of issues. The council will continue to form a very important part of that network.
Mr. Wrye: Mr. Speaker, I can recall that when the minister first took this job he spoke about important symbols. I think the symbol that has been sent out by the vacancies over these many months has been a symbol of neglect from his ministry.
I want to come back to the question my leader asked, which was followed up; the minister has not answered it yet. I want to remind him that I remember the last president of the council, Sally Barnes, saying in an appearance before the standing committee on procedural affairs last year that the council had nowhere near to enough money to do the kind of research it needed: research into day care, research into equal pay for work of equal value and a number of other important actions that are very much needed from this government.
Will the minister stand in his place now and tell us Ontario is going to get off dead centre with respect to funding for research and that we will not be absolutely last of all the provinces in supporting the independent research we need from the Ontario Status of Women Council?
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, it should perhaps be emphasized that one of the strongest signals sent out with respect to the commitment of this government to the high importance of women's issues was the assignment of specific responsibilities in that regard to a member of the executive council, followed by the establishment of a directorate in order to carry out some of this co-ordinating work and to bring a sharper focus to this whole issue.
Another very strong signal has been that there are very few women's organizations that have not had an opportunity to meet directly with the minister and make their views known, and that has got to be a very powerful message. I assure the member that we intend to equip the council with personnel and resources to discharge its responsibilities, but I want to assure him that the other signals to which I have made reference are very positive ones and that we have been commended for the leadership we have taken in that regard.
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Treasurer. The Treasurer will no doubt remember his last budget on May 15, a document that promised action with respect to youth unemployment in this province some five months ago. Since then we have seen an advertising campaign of close to $1 million. We have seen a few programs, not nearly as many as were promised, a number cancelled, a number Un-accepted by some of the various people who had to be participants, a number not introduced and great confusion reigning throughout the ministry with regard to what is happening.
What is the net effect of the Treasurer's programs when we see today there are still 156,000 unemployed young people in this province, just as there were a year ago? How can the Treasurer prevent the impression among our young people that he is only playing politics with this whole question and not addressing it in a substantive way?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, perhaps the Leader of the Opposition would be kind enough to share with us details of programs announced in the budget that have been cancelled. There are none. I do not know where he is getting that information.
Of the 10 or 11 programs that were announced in the budget, eight are under way and three are just about to get under way; in fact, one of those three is also under way and will be confirmed shortly. As projected in May, we have long-term job creation, youth training and employment programs, which I said in May and June would take several months to get up and running because they are important, long-term, different programs. They were not quick fixes. One can get quick fixes up and running right away and then find in September or October one has to do it again. I would remind the member, from the standpoint of accuracy and so he will understand the circumstances of those programs, eight of 11 are under way now.
With regard to the advertising program the member has raised several times, as a result of the advertising campaign, we have received more than 6,000 calls, which would not have come in otherwise.
Mr. Rae: From 6,000 frustrated, angry people.
Mr. O'Neil: How many jobs?
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The majority of those calls, I know the member for Quinte (Mr. O'Neil) and others will be sorry to hear, were from employers offering job opportunities to young people, job opportunities that would not have been made available if it were not for our hotline. This was the first time government had reached out to invite the private sector to participate, and we had over 3,000 --
Mr. O'Neil: How many jobs?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The member for Quinte asked how many jobs resulted. I tell him more than 3,000 private sector jobs have been provided to disadvantaged young people as a result of that program.
Mr. Peterson: Would the Treasurer not agree with me that confusion reigns and that the ninth point of his 10-point program was quietly cancelled, the $1.25 an hour wage subsidy for part-time employment for students?
In addition to that, the Ontario Youth Corps program that was supposed to involve the participation of the municipalities has not lived up to its expectations and has had some 44 per cent participation by the municipalities. The Ontario youth tourism program the Treasurer promised last year was not announced until September 24, and it will still be weeks before it gets under way. Of those 2,500 jobs he promised, only 485 will be produced this year.
Would the Treasurer not agree with me that confusion still reigns in the ministry? The Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Timbrell), his close friend and associate, put out a press release advertising a winter Experience program a few days after it was cancelled by one of the Treasurer's other programs. Would he not agree with me that there is still confusion reigning? He has not lived up to the promise, and he is using it only for political reasoning, announcing things when it suits his own personal political timetable.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I would not agree with the Leader of the Opposition at all. His information is, not for the first time, inaccurate. We have introduced those programs as they are ready. I might remind him, as he continues to convince himself in a fit of paranoia that we are holding these things off to suit our own political convenience, that one of the three programs that has not yet been announced, or rather commenced -- they have all been announced -- is youth enterprise. When the Leader of the Opposition reflects upon it, I know he will agree with me that it would have been foolish to run to venture capital programs for young people at the same time.
We said in May, June and July, that program would be launched when the summer program, the youth venture capital program, 10 or 11 years old, ended for the summer. Instead of waiting until next summer to start it again, we were going to turn it into a year-round venture capital program.
If the member thinks there is something surreptitious in the fact that we waited until October to commence the enterprise program year-round, given the fact that the equivalent program runs essentially from June until the end of September, there is no political timing in that; that is good management. He would not expect us to duplicate it, and if we did, we would have been fooling him and duplicating our own programs.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, seeing that the Treasurer's programs have failed to produce the 100,000 youth jobs he promised this Legislature in June of this year, will he give a commitment that, putting aside his personal political timetable, he will bring in a mini-budget this fall that will create substantial youth jobs over the winter period?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: No. The second part of the answer is that the member wants to continue to say we did not produce 100,000 jobs when, in fact, what he is doing is ignoring the actual unemployment figures and the work force figures. He knows that. He knows the way he is playing with the numbers.
Mr. Foulds: The Treasurer knows the way he is playing with them.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The member knows very well that the work force increases by more than 100,000 people in the summer. He knows very well, since the unemployment rate did not go up during the summer, that means there must have been 100,000 more jobs available for the 100,000 more people that came into the work force or, as even his caucus office could tell him, the youth unemployment rate would have gone up during the summer.
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, the Treasurer does not agree with me, and I would not expect he would. But does he agree with his own youth commissioner, the increasingly frustrated youth commissioner, Ken Dryden, who is reported in the Toronto Star by Martin Cohn as saying, "He had been instructed by the Treasurer's office to keep quiet about forthcoming initiatives until the Treasurer can announce them personally"?
Does he agree with Ken Dryden that he is using this for his own personal agenda by withholding details of the programs and withholding announcements only so he can get maximum political credit rather than really attacking the serious problems in this province?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, I want to be very clear on that. If the Leader of the Opposition thinks civil servants or public employees are going to be announcing the onset of new government programs, how they are to operate, and telling the public about them, he is mistaken. There is no tradition of that. That is not the way any government operates, nor is it the way any government should operate. So long as we are on this side of the House -- and, by the way, if the member ever had a short visit over here, he would operate the same way -- the politicians will answer for those programs, the politicians will announce those programs and, unlike him, the politicians over here will also shoulder the burden of paying for those programs and raising the taxes for them.
NIAGARA RIVER WATER QUALITY
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of the Environment. I have a copy of a letter from the Occidental Chemical Corp., which many of us know as the old Hooker Chemicals company. It is written to the Department of Environmental Conservation of New York state and is dated August 10, 1984.
The letter contains the disturbing information that, as a result of surveys done on the Niagara River gorge, the results indicate, to quote from the letter: "There are chemicals known to be present in the Hyde Park landfill site which are now present in the seeps. This is a substantial change from testing which was done just a couple of years ago."
Is the minister aware of the results of those tests? Is he aware that they show that a great many chemicals from the Hyde Park dump site are seeping into the gorge, including substantial portions of 2,4,5-trichlorophenol, which, as the minister will know, is the chemical frequently associated with a separate test for dioxin, and tests for dioxin have not been completed? Is he aware of this profound and disturbing information? What has the government of Ontario done to remedy this threat to the drinking water in Lake Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Brandt: Mr. Speaker, I know the leader of the third party is aware that we have intervened directly with the courts in the state of New York to bring our very serious concerns to the attention not only of the Environmental Protection Agency, but also of the commissioner of resources and environment in New York state.
We are aware of the limited seepage that is occurring from the Niagara River gorge, directly attributable to the leachate from the Hyde Park site. As I am sure the member is aware, for some three or four years now we have had a study team that works the Niagara River on a continuing basis. Not only do we negotiate with our American friends on a regular basis, but we are sampling and monitoring there to determine exactly to what extent the damage is occurring. We share the same concerns the honourable member has and, along with the federal government, we will continue to make our concerns known not only to New York state, but to Occidental Chemical as well.
Mr. Rae: This is not a question of concern; this is a question of taking action against one of the 20 largest corporations in the western world. The minister mentioned court action. I assume he is talking about the S area intervention, which we all know about. We all know the impact that had on the American court system.
The 1909 Boundary Waters Treaty signed by the United States and Canada says, "It is further agreed that the waters on either side that are designated as boundary waters shall not be polluted on either side to the injury of health or property of the other."
In the light of that, specifically with respect to the Hyde Park site -- not the S area site -- what legal action does the ministry plan to take to protect the water that is such an important source of life and such an important source of health for the people of this province? We are far more affected than the Americans by what is happening. Precisely what legal steps is the minister taking to protect the drinking water of the people of this province?
Hon. Mr. Brandt: With respect to environmental damage, when we discuss those issues in this House, it is interesting to note that we so frequently have to refer to the problems on the American side. Let me suggest that would give some indication of the advances we have made on the Ontario side in protecting our environment here. That is the first thing I think the member should take account of.
Second, we are the only jurisdiction that intervened with the state of New York and Occidental Chemical on the S site. We are quite prepared to move on the Hyde Park site as well and we are reviewing that situation very actively at the moment.
It is interesting to note that the federal government did not intervene directly, although it commented and negotiated with the federal government on this matter in the United States. We have been the only jurisdiction, as the member well knows, that has taken any action whatsoever. We will continue to act in a responsible way, as we have in the past.
Mr. Elston: Mr. Speaker, the minister will realize that the intervention with respect to Hyde Park was led mostly by the people of Operation Clean Niagara and other public interest groups, which he refused at the time to fund and provide with backup information. The minister went ahead and intervened on his own on the S area and completely befuddled the whole process because of his lack of expertise. This letter now indicates that the programs and concerns raised about the Hyde Park area by those public interest groups were right on their mark.
Can the minister tell us that he is now admitting to this Legislature that the public interest groups of this province are far and away ahead of his ministry and far and away more in tune with the concerns of the public of this province?
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. May I have some attention to what is going on in the House? If the members want to carry on private conversations, please do so outside the House.
Hon. Mr. Brandt: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I needed that. I am not going to agree with my colleague with respect to some of the remarks he has made. As a matter of fact, I may well disagree with all of the remarks he has made.
With respect to the Hyde Park site, he mentioned some of the environmental groups in the area. I was delighted to personally review and to visit that site in the company of one Mrs. Margherita Howe, who is the head of Operation Clean Niagara. We are working co-operatively with the environmental groups to take whatever action is deemed to be most effective on behalf of the citizens of Ontario.
In connection with the speculation on that side of the House relative to the court case we recently had in New York state, I want to say the member does not know what the outcome of that case will be. He can speculate as to what the outcome may be, but on this side of the House, we still maintain the position that we engaged an extremely effective law firm. That law firm --
Mr. Elston: They went in there with a gun filled with blanks.
Hon. Mr. Brandt: I am trying to answer the question. That law firm represented the interests of the province in a most effective way. The difficulty is that members on the other side cannot accept the kind of success we are achieving on this side of the House.
Mr. Rae: If the Minister of the Environment is saying the evidence we now have is that there is a very strong potential that dioxin has seeped into the gorge of the Niagara River and that is somehow a symbol of the success of the Tory government in this province, then I say it is the kind of success they can keep. I do not think the people of Ontario want it.
The minister should know, and I am sure he does know, that there is estimated to be a ton of dioxin at the Hyde Park site. The leading expert on dioxin from Environment Canada has said, "If one shovelful, three pounds, were mobilized into the Niagara River, the levels of TTCD would likely be elevated between 10 and 100 times the present level." That is the threat; it is a real and present threat; it is a present danger. The government is going to have to take some extraordinary remedies to deal with this situation.
I would like to ask the minister specifically with regard to the Hyde Park agreement, which has been signed, sealed and delivered and which is not in the best interests of the people of this province or of the people of Canada, what steps he is taking to have that agreement changed, or however he wants to say it -- thrown out or amended -- so we can guarantee that there will be remedies, not simply to contain the Hyde Park dump, but to start to remove the poisons there which threaten the water that is the very lifeblood of this province.
Hon. Mr. Brandt: This will come as a complete surprise to the leader of the third party, but he does not have a monopoly on concern with respect to the problem that exists in New York state. We are equally concerned. We do not deny the fact that approximately a ton of dioxin could well be in place at the Hyde Park site. Ultimately, we recognize as well that contaminant could leak into the Niagara River. I want to assure him that we will take every responsible and appropriate action. We have been doing this consistently with respect to the American sites and we will continue to do it in the future.
If the member has any suggestions as to how to move either arbitrarily or unilaterally on American interests with respect to a problem that exists on their soil, then I ask him please to advise me because I am not about to declare war on the Americans.
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, I have in my hand a spruce seedling. I would like to ask a question of the Minister of Natural Resources who was quoted, in a recent Globe and Mail on September 21, 1984, as saying that the quality of planting "has no relevance at all to the final forest product." Is the minister seriously arguing that it makes no difference whether the seedling is planted right side up or upside down? Which is it: Green side up? Can the minister tell us? What is he seriously arguing about the quality of planting in northern Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Pope: Mr. Speaker, the leader of the New Democratic Party would not know which side is up anyway.
Those were not my words; those were the words of Mr. MacMillan, whose study was quoted by Mr. Marek in his report to me and to the ministry. Mr. MacMillan indicated in his report that there is no relationship between a performance rating of testing and survival rates or performance or yield rates of those crops. The honourable member understands that was the relationship I was describing.
He can split hairs all he wants. He cannot stand the fact that in the northwestern and north-central regions in the past three years we have tripled the number of seedlings we are planting. He cannot stand that we have increased our budget for reforestation by 70 per cent over the past three years. He cannot stand that we have increased the number of seedlings we are planting from 80 million to 155 million. He cannot stand that he has lost a factual argument.
Mr. Rae: What the minister has said is substantially different, if I may say -- I will put it no stronger than that because I do not want to have to withdraw what I say -- from what Mr. MacMillan has said, and the minister should know that.
Mr. MacMillan says: "First, the planting quality, although having a broad range, has tended to 50 per cent, but that a precise relationship between planting quality level to bare root stock performance could not be developed."
That is a very different statement from the minister's casual and rather bizarre statement that the quality of planting has no relevance at all to the final forest product.
The minister has tried to dismiss Mr. George Marek, who others in the field feel is a very highly respected forester. We have two reports from Mr. Marek indicating the question now is not the number of trees being planted but the quality of tree planting, the supervision of tree planting and the tending of trees rather than simply scattering them about and hoping and praying everything will be for the best, which is the policy of the ministry at present.
In the light of Mr. Marek's report and of Mr. MacMillan's report, does the minister not think it is time for an independent audit of the forests in Ontario to determine how serious the situation is and to determine whether the minister is right in all the casual and cavalier statements he has been making across northern Ontario and in this House with respect to reforestation?
Hon. Mr. Pope: The leader of the New Democratic Party is an expert in making cavalier statements about reforestation in Ontario. The NDP task force on forestry spent six months making cavalier statements across northern Ontario on reforestation. That is who the expert is on cavalier statements.
I am glad the member finally admits, for the first time in four years, the question is no longer one of numbers. He admits we are planting more than two trees for every one we cut. He admits we are planting 155 million seedlings. He admits we have rapidly accelerated our financial commitment to reforestation. For the first time, he has admitted numbers are no longer the question. I am thankful he has finally admitted that after so much evidence being thrown at him for so long.
Of course the question is one of quality. We discussed that in the estimates last year. We are looking at better sites for more intensive forest management practices. The member for Lake Nipigon (Mr. Stokes) and I had that discussion during estimates.
Of course the question is one of the quality of planting. That is why two and a half years ago we listened to the statements from foresters including Mr. Marek, who has been saying the same thing for many years. We listened to those statements. We changed our process. We now have field inspections of the planting sites with proposed contractors. We now monitor them more intensively than ever before. We now have foresters there every other day to monitor planting contract performance. We put into place the very improvements Mr. Marek was talking about.
Mr. Rae: I would like to ask the minister simply to answer this question. He can attempt, as he has attempted to do across the north, to carry out a character assassination of people such as Mr. Marek and some foresters at Lakehead University and elsewhere --
Mr. Mackenzie: Right on.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. Rae: That is exactly what the minister has done with respect to Mr. Marek. The minister knows that perfectly well. We now have two separate reports from Mr. Marek calling into question the efficiency of the Ministry of Natural Resources and the quality of its information with respect to the second forest and with respect to what is happening to wood supply and reforestation, and now we have a specific report from Mr. Marek with respect to the quality of the reforestation effort and the quality of planting.
In the light of that information from Mr. Marek, why does the minister not establish an independent audit of the forest rather than continuing to engage in this kind of character assassination of Mr. Marek and any other critic he does not agree with?
Hon. Mr. Pope: The honourable leader of the third party has a point with respect to the fact that professional foresters disagree, and have for many years, on some of these issues. There are different points of view; they have been expressed and they will continue to be expressed.
I did not give the first interview with respect to Mr. Marek's report. It was not me at all. I was asked to respond to it. I released the report four days after I received it.
Talking about character assassination, I heard the leader of the third party in Thunder Bay when he said the real problem of reforestation in this province was the minister and his attitude and his characteristics. He can comment on my character all he wants. The fact is --
Mr. Rae: I have never commented on the minister's character.
Hon. Mr. Pope: Yes, he did. I heard it on the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. when I was on Radio Noon. Five minutes before I was on Radio Noon on an open-line show, I heard a tape of what the leader of the third party said in Thunder Bay; so he cannot shake his head and deny it.
In regard to the two Marek reports, and this is very important, the first report made 37 recommendations. Of those, 26 or 27 were already in place in the forest manual of operation. They were already in place because Mr. Marek had been making those points for a long time in the Ministry of Natural Resources. He was being listened to and changes in the procedures of the ministry were being made.
With respect to the second report on the quality of planting operations, we were listening to Mr. Marek. Two and a half years ago, we made changes for the better in the way we carried on that contract work so as to have better inspection and better-quality performance under the contracts. We have already moved in the areas where Mr. Marek wanted us to move.
Mr. Bradley: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations regarding what is probably the greatest source of complaints among consumers in this province; that is, the automobile repair business. Even the city of North York has taken its own action and encouraged the province to take certain action. I am going to ask the minister in the House this afternoon whether he is prepared to initiate legislation that would have the following effects.
First of all, bring into effect a lemon law that would permit consumers to receive a refund in the event they have been sold what we call an unfixable vehicle. It would require warranties for used cars and the provision of a history of a vehicle's repairs whenever it is sold commercially, and it would compel garages to post all wages and notices where the mechanics or others are paid on commission.
Although this would not require any legislation, would the minister also give an undertaking to vastly expand the ghost car program currently in effect through his ministry?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, as I hope the honourable member will understand, the remarks he has made are based upon the Metro task force. There may be others who have said the same thing, but I think that in essence is what he is repeating.
It is not unfair to say that those are matters we have under review. As the member probably knows, we have been in the process of having in-depth discussions with all automobile manufacturers, including imported motor vehicle manufacturers, about the possibility of some type of arbitration program. It is not finalized yet, but clearly we are working in that direction.
With respect to the other two areas, they are matters we have under review. Our ghost car program has been applauded by many, and there have been many who have suggested it should be increased. That is purely and simply a matter of whether, in these times, more funding can be obtained for it. Certainly it is an effort I will continue to make.
Mr. Bradley: The minister will know that in the absence of immediate action on the part of his ministry, certain municipalities likely will attempt to address this problem by themselves within the narrow areas for which they might be responsible. Looking at the city of North York, for instance, would the minister not rather have his government implement a measure that would require that all work to be done on a car be authorized through a signature, so one does not have what are referred to as five o'clock surprises?
Second, will he also implement a program on a province-wide basis that would require those repairing automobiles to return all the used parts to the owner, if the owner wishes, so we do not have them ending up somewhere else and so there is some proof the work was done?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I applaud the efforts of any municipality that takes those steps. I can only repeat that we have those areas under active review.
I remind the member -- I do not say this because it is going to deter us in our considerations and, I hope, our ultimate recommendations -- that we have to acknowledge the fact that when we talk about used car warranties we are talking about less than 50 per cent of cars being sold through used car lots. We are not trying to deceive the public in general as we pursue our decisions, but the rules will change for every used car that is sold.
We also should not forget that whatever steps we take, and this should not deter us from our consideration if it is correct, they will all add to the cost of the process. However, we still have the issues under review. If I have matters to report to the House, I will do so.
Mr. Philip: Mr. Speaker, the minister will also recall it was more than a year ago that he said he would examine proposals found in my private member's bill and in legislation already introduced and working in other jurisdictions, such as parts of the United States, concerning lemon-aid and other forms of protection for consumers. Why does it take the minister so long to introduce legislation in Ontario to protect Ontario consumers that is already operative in other jurisdictions?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, not to be argumentative about it, I think that if the honourable member has followed the discussions that have taken place about lemon laws and has followed the so-called history of those lemon laws, he will find, as they have found in those states that initiated them -- Connecticut, for example -- that the fundamental flaw in the way they went at it was that there was not an adequate arbitration process in place. We are trying to go at it the right way, and I think that is the approach the member would want us to take.
ALLOCATION OF HOUSING UNITS
Mr. McClellan: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing arising out of an article that appeared in the Ottawa Citizen on October 12. want to ask the minister whether he saw the article, which deals with the situation of a 45-year-old Ottawa woman who was in receipt of the provincial guaranteed annual income system for the disabled pension and who was denied subsidized housing in Ottawa solely by virtue of the fact that she suffers from a mental illness.
May I ask the minister why his ministry continues to discriminate systematically against single recipients of Gains disability pensions and other citizens by refusing them rent-geared-to-income subsidies if they suffer from a mental illness? Is it simply as his regional manager for the Ontario Housing Corp. in Ottawa said, "It is simple economics"? Is that the reason, or if there is some other explanation, what is it?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, the mandate of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, and more specifically the Ontario Housing Corp., clearly covers four specific groups in this province.
We have covered senior citizens, who have the right to make application, and families with lower income and other problems as far as living conditions are concerned. The honourable member will recall that five years ago we broadened the terms to allow for the physically handicapped to be eligible to have entry to publicly assisted units. About three years later, we broadened those terms for the mentally handicapped as well, for them to become eligible for the assisted units we have in this province. Some of those people who are physically and mentally handicapped do qualify under the guaranteed annual income system for the disabled and are eligible for entry into the units provided through the assistance of the taxpayer.
I must admit I do not have the details or the background on the 45-year-old lady. I know of the newspaper story, but beyond that I am not aware of all the statistics relating to that application.
Let me also suggest to the member that the organization the individual referred to, which is the Ottawa Centretown Citizens co-op, already does house within its portfolio people with the mental handicap problem.
Mr. McClellan: Mr. Speaker, has the minister read his own newsletter dated June 2, 1984? Under "Eligibility of Individuals Under 60 Years Old," it states, "All individuals in receipt of Gains-D are not necessarily eligible for rent-geared-to-income housing." It goes on to state that the physically handicapped are eligible, as the minister said, and the developmentally handicapped are eligible, as the minister just said. Then it says, "Persons whose conditions are defined as psychiatric are not included in this definition." In other words, they are ineligible.
Does the minister not understand this is a clear violation of the Human Rights Code of this province, which guarantees that every person has the right to equal treatment with respect to the occupancy of accommodation without discrimination because of, among other things, handicap or the receipt of public assistance? Has it not penetrated his mind that this is blatant discrimination in violation of the Human Rights Code of this province, to say nothing of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms? How long does he intend to permit this miserably mean-spirited policy to prevail?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: As I said in my previous answer, there are already people within the co-op organization the member refers to who fall within the mentally ill, handicapped or psychiatric category. I made that remark at the conclusion of my answer to the first question.
Let me suggest to this House there is an opportunity, and it exists right here in Toronto, whereby organizations that wish to respond specifically to that particular problem have established private nonprofit corporations and, indeed, co-op organizations and are eligible for allocation under those programs by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.; and, provided that certain services are included within that corporation, some of the units are made available. That situation is in practise right here in the community of Toronto.
I indicated clearly yesterday in Ottawa that if the provisions are made, organizations wishing to establish the same type of nonprofit organization in Ottawa would, in my opinion, be eligible for the allocation from CMHC, units to be made available to them on a rent-geared-to-income basis or under the Ontario community housing assistance program, to allow for the mentally ill or those with psychiatric problems to be part of the rent-geared-to-income program. But there is also an adult community mental health program that must be in place. It is here in Toronto and it is working effectively.
Mr. Hennessy: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Attorney General. I recently conducted a survey in my riding on the issue of capital punishment, and 92 per cent of those who responded to this survey call for a return of the death penalty in Canada.
In the light of this strong public sentiment in favour of capital punishment and in view of the recent tragic deaths of six police officers, will the Attorney General recommend to the federal Solicitor General, Elmer MacKay, a thorough review of the federal parole system and the reinstatement of capital punishment?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt that the question reflects a very deep-seated, broad public concern not only about the very tragic deaths of the police officers but also about a number of very terrible crimes. Obviously, the administration of justice has to appear to be responding adequately.
In so far as the death penalty is concerned, I expect it will be a lively topic of debate for some time to come. I just want to add that whether the death penalty is restored or not, unfortunately it is not likely to have a significant impact on the incidence of murder. This is recognized by the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police. The argument that while this may not be shown to reduce the incidence of murder it is nevertheless the only appropriate response to certain terrible crimes, is an argument that undoubtedly will have a considerable amount of weight, not only with the majority of our citizens but also with many parliamentarians.
The point I want to stress is that the member is right that part of the review must be in relation to the parole system. We must have a review in relation not only to the parole system but also the whole system of mandatory supervision. We have to address in a very fundamental fashion the whole issue of dangerous offenders in the community, because whether or not we have the death penalty -- and I am not speaking on this occasion for or against the death penalty -- the resolution of that debate is not going to solve the issue.
The issues are very complex and very broad. As I said, the issues are the review of the parole system, the mandatory supervision system, and the whole issue of sentencing and what we do with dangerous offenders in the community, most of whom will never be candidates for the death penalty, whether or not the death penalty is restored.
Last week, I spoke about some other attitudes in the community related to this incredible interest in mindless violence as entertainment. These are all part of the issues that have to be addressed. I would hope the Minister of Justice for Canada, with provincial Attorneys General and Solicitors General, will deal with these issues at our upcoming meetings this fall. I will be having dinner tonight with the Minister of Justice for Canada and certainly these issues will be very much part of our conversation.
Mr. Hennessy: I again ask the minister if he would consider recommending to the Solicitor General of Canada a referendum or a free vote on capital punishment in the federal House of Commons.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I do not think I can really add anything to what I have already said. I think my views on this issue are quite well known. For a provincial Attorney General to recommend to the federal Parliament how to deal with this very emotional issue is not an appropriate course of action.
Mr. Bradley: Mr. Speaker, I notice that the Attorney General was on television within recent times saying it is time to review -- I believe what he was saying was it is time to reassess -- the whole issue of the death penalty. Would the Attorney General reveal to the House this afternoon whether he is for or against capital punishment?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, that is not what I said on television.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, by way of a supplementary question to the Attorney General and addressing what I believe to be the question put to him by the member for Fort William (Mr. Hennessy), I refer to the article in the Toronto Star on October 10 of this year by Derek Ferguson referring to Daniel Belanger, who was killed in the shootout in Woodstock a week ago Sunday. He was referring to his prior record and particularly to the circumstances under which he was arrested and the account given by Sergeant John Lamont of Metro's holdup division.
In his remarks outlining that, he stated: "Lamont arrested Belanger on January 12, 1983, at his sister's home in Montreal and charged him with the armed robbery of the Swiss Watch and Clock Co. at 350 Yonge Street on January 3, 1983. Belanger was subsequently found guilty and sentenced to four years and three months in jail, including a one-year sentence for possession of an illegal weapon. Belanger was jailed at the Kingston area prison in May 1983 and released on day parole on January 10, 1984, said Jacques Belanger, no relation, spokesman for Canada's Penitentiary Services."
In those circumstances, does the minister not believe -- as the member for Fort William was trying to get him to say -- it is his responsibility to recommend to the Solicitor General in Ottawa and to the Minister of Justice in Ottawa the imperative necessity for an immediate review with respect to the parole system related to the kind of incident to which I have just referred?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I want to reiterate that I have been requesting the federal Solicitor General for many months to review the present parole legislation and regulations. The very heated correspondence between myself and the former Solicitor General, Mr. Kaplan, is now a matter of public record.
This is a matter we have been urging upon the federal government for many months. It was the subject of a meeting of Attorneys General last month. It will continue to be the subject of our discussions, and I am heartened by the fact that the new federal Solicitor General recognizes the need to address this problem.
EASTERN ONTARIO DEVELOPMENT
Mr. O'Neil: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Industry and Trade. The minister will recall that last year we asked a number of questions and produced background documents concerning the continuing decline in support for the Eastern and Northern Ontario Ontario Development Corps. compared with the Ontario Development Corp. in southern Ontario.
A short while ago, the 1983-84 list of ODC loans and guarantees was released and this document shows the trend is continuing. Last year, the ODC in the south accounted for the largest share yet, of the total commitments of the three corporations -- 72.3 per cent. The share of the northern corporation also rose, to almost 19 per cent, but remains well below the 28 per cent level of the first few years and it still receives less than its due.
Is the minister aware that the Eastern Ontario Development Corp. share of total commitments dropped to 8.7 per cent from 14.7 per cent the year before and from more than 35 per cent not so long ago? The gross dollar amount fell to $6.5 million from $11.6 million the previous year and $22.8 million five years ago, even without adjusting for inflation.
The people and the members from eastern Ontario, both myself and members of his own party, are asking the minister what he is going to do to revamp the Eastern Ontario Development Corp. so we can pick up additional funding and some help from the minister's offices in that area.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member is implying that the drop is because we have allocated fewer dollars to the Eastern Ontario Development Corp. That is not the case. I had a chat with the chairman of the EODC five or six months ago, when he expressed the concern that he was not getting as many applications as he would like from that area.
The process is driven by the investor. We have to have people making requests for loans. We do have approximately $3 million a month, as I recall, in total commitments made. This is divided up among the applications, but, in truth, there would be no problem putting more money into the areas where the greatest demand is.
If the member can point out to me -- and I would be glad to get this information if it exists -- that we have been turning down eastern Ontario requests to make room for money in the central region, then I would think he had a very valid point. My argument is simple. Whether I as a person from Muskoka like it or not, whether the member as a person from Quinte likes it or not, the demand for loans of a commercially viable type from our areas has not been as great as it has been from other parts of the province.
Mr. O'Neil: Mr. Speaker, when one sees it drop to about $6 million last year, when we had a high in 1978 and 1979 of more than $22 million, I would say that is a sufficient drop. When he has his own members and a lot of municipal leaders coming to him and saying eastern Ontario is not getting the attention it should be getting, there is something definitely wrong.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade should be helping to locate industry in all parts of eastern Ontario and his offices in both Kingston and Toronto should be more active in steering industry to eastern Ontario --
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. O'Neil: -- and seeing that the leads that come in are looked after. Will the minister look at revamping some of those offices and some of the staff he has there to see that we get our fair share of money and industry in eastern Ontario?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Nothing would make me happier than to have more industry go to eastern or northern Ontario or, indeed, to central Ontario -- Eastern Ontario, by that definition, starts just east of Oshawa -- because it is much easier, for whatever reason, to get industries to locate in the Golden Horseshoe area than in the rest of the province.
This government has never really forced industry into any part of the province. There are some who would say we should. We have used inducements but we have never used force. The first objective we have to insist upon is that a company can be viable in the area where it chooses to locate. That is very important. One of the biggest mistakes one can make is to force an industry into an area where it will grow for a while, wither on the vine and leave the town worse off than if it had never opened.
I saw that happen in my town after the predecessors to the Department of Regional Economic Expansion grants brought people to the north in the mid-1960s. Companies lasted for three or four years. I can think of the Corning glass company in Muskoka which suddenly disappeared. We have a large work force left out of work. Maybe it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all, but it is pretty tough when that happens.
DEATH OF POLICEMAN
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Solicitor General. It arises out of the uncertainty with respect to when the inquest will be held into the death of Constable Jack Ross who was killed in Woodstock a week ago Sunday.
On Friday last my colleague the member for Kitchener (Mr. Breithaupt) asked the Provincial Secretary for Justice (Mr. Walker) about this matter in the Solicitor General's absence. The Provincial Secretary for Justice stated that the inquest, as he understood it, would proceed very quickly and that it was not going to take a significant amount of time to have the report published. He said it would be published and made available to everyone in very short order.
Would the minister confirm to the House that there is no impediment of any kind that would delay the holding of this inquest? Could he tell us when the inquest will commence and whether or not, in any way, there will be any protracted delay of it?
Hon. G. W. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, there is no particular reason for a delay other than putting together the necessary information. As the member may know, the background situation is that currently the police are investigating the situation. There are certain ballistics tests that have to be done and certain autopsy and post-mortem tests that have to be completed. After that is done, the regional coroner will arrange for a date, which will be conditional upon the availability of the necessary witnesses and facilities to carry it out.
At present we have projected a date in late December or early January. However, there is no impediment other than the procedure of getting on with the inquest.
Mr. Kolyn: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the members for Wentworth (Mr. Dean) and Elgin (Mr. McNeil), I wish to present the following petition:
"To the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:
"We, the undersigned, beg leave to appeal to petition the parliament of Ontario as follows:
"As resident electors, many of us send our children to independent schools because we believe parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their child.
"Most independent school supporters are people of modest means. We ask for your help in reducing the unfair burden of what, in effect, is double taxation.
"Our school operates in the public interest. We ask for protection for the rights of our school to its existence and the remission of taxes taken away by the province of Ontario but not used for the education of our children."
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Mr. Nixon: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: How do we get the lights turned out?
Mr. Speaker: I would think that if they do not go off automatically, we make a simple request to the Sergeant at Arms to turn the lights out.
House in committee of the whole.
EMPLOYMENT STANDARDS AMENDMENT ACT (CONTINUED)
Resuming the adjourned consideration of Bill 141, An Act to amend the Employment Standards Act.
On section 1:
The Acting Chairman (Mr. Edighoffer): I understand the last discussion took place on June 13 on an amendment from the member for Hamilton East (Mr. Mackenzie).
Ms. Bryden: Mr. Chairman, it is interesting to have this bill before us again. In effect, what we have before us is not the bill, but the New Democratic Party amendment, which would strike out all of section 1 on equal pay and replace it with a provision that would establish equal pay for work of equal value as part of the Employment Standards Act.
This amendment is a very important piece of legislation because it would affect a great many women in Ontario. It is an essential step to obtaining equality for women in the work place. It may not be the only step to achieve equality for women. We need affirmative action, we need retraining programs and we need other moves to enhance the opportunities for women, but we cannot do without equal pay for work of equal value if we are going to close the wage gap.
I rather regret the Minister of Labour (Mr. Ramsay) has still not deigned to attend any of this debate or to speak in it. If it is in the government's view a real move forward, I would have thought he would be here to defend the legislation and to speak proudly of it, but he has left it to his parliamentary assistant to handle the bill. I am not questioning the competence or the ability of the parliamentary assistant to do it, but I would have liked to have seen the Minister of Labour also participating in the exercise.
I also regret the Deputy Premier and Minister responsible for Women's Issues (Mr. Welch) is not here and has not participated in this debate so far. This rather surprises me because he spoke in the October 20 debate on the motion that the Legislature endorse the principle of equal pay for work of equal value. However, he has not come into the House.
The other day, I was rereading his remarks in that debate. He never once mentioned the words "equal pay for work of equal value." He simply said this was part of his "staged progress" towards obtaining equality for women.
I think my leader once called it, not staged progress, but stage-managed progress because so far we do not seem to have had much progress in this area. For example, there were some figures from Statistics Canada recently that said, of the wage gap between what men and women earn on average, that women's earnings were 64 per cent of men's earnings in 1983. The year before it was only 63 per cent. If one can call that staged progress, it is very slow progress.
I would like to read one or two of the comments made by the Minister responsible for Women's Issues on his concept of how he is going to bring about staged progress. He said his goal is "ensuring the equal participation of women in the work force," and he has a "continuing commitment to the objective of justice, fairness and equity as an ongoing and developing process." He said, "We must continue to move forward until this goal is reached, when we have done everything possible and practical to remove any obstacles that stand in the way."
If this is staged progress, it is hard to see where the progress is. He finally concluded his speech by saying, "...we will move forward by the introduction of additional stages based on sound, workable improvements to be seen, therefore -- if I can put it this way -- as staged progress to a stated goal."
It is not clear that his goal is equal pay for work of equal value, since he never mentioned it, and his so-called "staged progress" has been shown to be at a snail's pace by the latest figures from Statistics Canada.
When my leader asked a question about equal pay in the House recently, I recall the Minister responsible for Women's Issues said he would like to see a specific example from Quebec, since we have been citing Quebec as a place that has an equal pay law, where there was an award based on its law dealing with substantially dissimilar jobs. On June 20 he said: "I invite him to show me a true equal pay for work of equal value decision in Quebec dealing with substantially dissimilar jobs. Let him just produce one; that is all I ask him to do."
I telephoned Quebec and spoke to a woman, Muriel Garon, who is one of the researchers with its human rights commission. I have her report here. This was in June. I asked her what the history of equal pay awards has been under the Quebec law, which uses the word "équivalent," equivalent, for the wages that are to be brought in for men and women. The argument of the minister was that most of the Quebec awards have been on the basis of equal pay for similar jobs, but the word "equivalent" can cover dissimilar jobs.
What Muriel Garon reported to me was that, since this law came into effect in 1976, there have been 37 cases under this law and 20 have gone through the full process. There were 12 withdrawn for lack of jurisdiction and five were withdrawn for other reasons. Of that 20, nine, or almost half, were based on equivalent or dissimilar work. Of the other 11, there was no information on five as to whether they were based on dissimilar or similar work and six were based on similar work. So almost half were based on dissimilar work.
It seems to me that the Minister responsible for Women's Issues was trying to indicate he had information that most of the cases were not based on comparisons of dissimilar work. It seems to show that his information is flawed and that he has not really checked into how this law is working in Quebec.
I could give him the list of the cases. I have here their report that shows the kind of companies that have had awards made under the equivalent section. It includes both public and private sector companies. It includes an armament company where the men put the pieces together for a kind of armament and the women put in the powder, as it were. They each put part of the components together, but it was dissimilar work. It was considered equivalent work even though it was not the same operation.
There was an award in the food and beverage industry. There was an award in a hospital comparing nurses and orderlies and things of that sort. In all cases, these were awards where the women's work, even though dissimilar, was considered equivalent. I think it is time the minister got up to date on what is going on in Quebec.
With regard to the equal pay for work of equal value section in the Canadian Human Rights Act, that has now been in effect since 1978 and there have been a considerable number of awards there. There have been awards providing for several millions of dollars for women who were not being paid the same wages for work of equal value. For example, 3,000 food, laundry and general service workers, two thirds of whom were women, received approximately $17 million in adjustments when their wages were compared with other subgroups in the federal public service.
There have been other awards in the federal service over the years. They are continuing to add to their staff and to add to their guidelines and their knowledge of how this law can be applied. They have now published a considerable number of manuals and guidelines that indicate that it is a workable law and that it can be implemented on a fair and equitable basis. We have had job evaluation schemes in effect throughout industry for a great many years, and the methods have been refined considerably. Equal pay for work of equal value is simply a new kind of job evaluation that takes out the sex bias.
It has been suggested that if one really looked at all job evaluation schemes with this in mind, one might do a great deal towards improving job evaluation schemes, generally, for all workers. All of them have grown up, over the years, some of them with built-in biases that come from the market for different kinds of employees or come with different ratings on educational qualifications that may not all be essential but that have been written into the job evaluation schemes. There are a lot of advantages to working in the field of job evaluation schemes and improving the methods.
I also discovered recently a report done back in 1974 by Lynn McDonald, who was then a professor of sociology and is now a federal member of Parliament. It showed that women lost approximately $3 billion in wage and salary income because they did not receive equal pay for work of equal value. That was 10 years ago and probably the figure would be double that now, taking into account inflationary trends and how wages and salaries have gone up. The gap has probably made that loss double what it was then.
The recent Statistics Canada figures, which I mentioned earlier, showed the wage gap was now 64 cents on the dollar and had been 63 cents. Back in 1967 it was 58 cents on the dollar. This is the figure on which the newspapers put a headline that there was slow progress towards closing the gap.
My colleague the member for Bellwoods (Mr. McClellan) in the House the other day worked out that the progress from a 58-cents gap to a 64-cents gap between 1967 and 1982 amounted to 0.4 cents a year. He figured out, at that rate, the remaining wage gap of 36 cents would close within 90 years. It would be the year 2074 before the wage gap could be closed at that rate of progress. All these figures show we are a long way from achieving any staged progress, or, if it is staged, it is so staged that we will all be dead when it happens.
I would like the parliamentary assistant to comment on whether he and the other members of the government have begun to change their views, so we can achieve the kind of goal at which we are aiming. According to the statement of the Minister responsible for Women's Issues, the goal is to achieve equality for women without bringing in mandatory equal pay for work of equal value. Last spring it may not have been as clear that this was not working, doing it on the present voluntary basis or doing it with a slightly revised set of criteria under the Employment Standards Act, as is proposed in the Bill 141 amendment the government brought in.
I would like to draw to the government's attention, and to the attention of the parliamentary assistant in particular, the fact that there appears to be a form of what might be called false advertising in the bill. Let me read what the explanatory note says section 1 does:
"Under the re-enactment of part IX of the act, the application of the principle of equal pay for work of equal value is extended, under clause 33(1)(b), to work in the same establishment that requires substantially equivalent or greater skill, effort and responsibility under substantially similar working conditions when the skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions are considered as a whole and not individually."
Members will notice that paragraph talks about the principle of equal pay for work of equal value. Then one turns over to section 1 of the bill, and there is no reference to equal pay for work of equal value in the wording there. It simply says that no employer "shall differentiate between his male and female employees." Then it goes on to say they must be doing work that has substantially the same skill, effort and responsibility and be performed under similar working conditions. That is still the old equal pay law with the slight modification that one can now consider a composite of the four criteria, but it still must be substantially the same work.
I rather question the government bringing in a bill with an explanatory note that is misleading and appears to be trying to convince the members of the Legislature that this is a bill for equal pay for work of equal value. By accepting the New Democratic Party amendment, however, the government could make itself an honest body and make the bill actually do what it purports to do in the explanatory notes. We are giving the government the opportunity to do it.
I also wish to draw to the attention of the committee some statements by the federal government about the administration of its equal pay bill. An official from the federal government appeared before the standing committee that held public hearings on this bill last January. He came to explain how the bill was working in Ottawa.
One or two of his statements give a very good concept of what the government in Ottawa is trying to do. He said at the outset, "We are deeply committed to the equal value concept and we believe anything less than that will not effectively close the wage gap between men and women.
He went on to say: "The concept, of course, is not universally accepted. Western society in the past has believed, and unfortunately parts of it still do believe, that women should not be paid comparable wages because for various reasons they would not need or deserve the wages they should be earning. Of course Karl Marx puts it unequivocally for the other side, that workers should be paid each according to his need. I would suggest to you there is no place for a means test in the determination of pay. However, that in effect is what we have been doing for a long time directly or indirectly, individually and as a group, and frequently it has been justified on economic grounds.
"An inescapable fact is that women have been subsidizing the economy of the country for years and are being asked to continue to do so for the good of the state. Some of the arguments we hear that are based on economic grounds are strangely similar to those put forward by the opponents of the abolition of child labour. That was a catastrophe our economy managed to survive and I think it could survive equal value as well."
That is one of the things that is being brought up in this debate as a sort of red herring, that this proposal will cause great damage to the economy or that it will be unworkable.
Members may recall that back in 1978, the Ministry of Labour put on a conference on Equal Pay/Equal Opportunity. One of the speakers there was Mike Skolnick, who at that time was assistant director of administration in the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. His final conclusion was that when you start to look at the costs and consider whether the proposal is workable, "It is unlikely there will be significant progress in the direction of equal pay for work of equal value without strong government action, including provision of adequate resources and possible legislation."
That was the advice the government got back in 1978, and ever since then it has simply been stalling, thinking of reasons for refusing to accept the advice that without strong government action we will not close the wage gap.
Yet I recall what was said by the Minister responsible for Women's Issues in his speech on October 20 when the equal pay motion was being debated, which he and all the government voted for. He stated that he would continue to give leadership in closing the wage gap, but this leadership has still left the public sector with a gap of about 24 points and the private sector with about 36. I hardly call that leadership.
The government now has the opportunity to show real leadership and to make this session memorable for some really ground-breaking legislation, legislation that would deal with a very serious problem in our society, namely, the inequality of women and the fact that they have been expected to subsidize employers for many years.
It is a straight question of justice. Is this government prepared to see that women are paid the same as people doing equivalent work, work of equal value, rather than to see us continue the inequities that have grown up in the labour market and rather than continue to give lipservice to achieving justice and equality for women?
Will this government not change its view on this legislation, and let us get on with the other sections of the act, by adopting our amendment to section 1? It seems to me this is the way we should be going, and this is what I hope this session will bring forth. Perhaps we can get some indication from the parliamentary assistant whether there has been any change in the government's thinking on this question.
I will leave those points with him. I want him to tell me whether he has any indication from the Minister of Labour or the Minister responsible for Women's Issues concerning whether they will be participating in the debate at some stage and telling us why they are not pushing it or whether they have been convinced by the recent statistics that we are not making staged progress; whether he will accept that the legislation is working in Quebec and in Ottawa; whether he has studied any of the awards I have mentioned and has a report on them, because they do show it is possible to compare dissimilar work; and whether he thinks women should continue to lose about $6 billion in wages because of the continuation of this kind of discrimination.
Mr. Gillies: Mr. Chairman, I want to thank the member for Beaches-Woodbine (Ms. Bryden) for her comments on this matter.
As an introductory point, I might say it has been a very lengthy debate. If the members refer back to Hansard, they will find that the last speaker in the debate on June 13 is no longer with us; so the debate on Bill 141 has actually outlasted some members who have moved on to other responsibilities in other places. I am referring to the former member for Prescott-Russell, Mr. Boudria, who spoke on June 13.
Perhaps I can deal with one or two of the latter points made by the honourable member. At the outset, I want to agree with her that this has been a lengthy debate. We started debating the points in this bill in committee of the whole House on May 1 and continued on May 8, May 29, June 5, June 12 and June 13. I believe there has been a total of more than 14 hours of debate.
I want the member to know that I and the government share her concern that we proceed with the other clauses in this bill, the clauses that will improve both the adoption and the pregnancy leave clauses in the existing legislation, and that we proceed with this first section, which we believe does improve the situation of working women in the economy in Ontario.
While I certainly appreciate her thoughts as to how we might proceed with that, I suggest to her that there is a responsibility on all sides of the House to see that this bill proceeds. In the coming hours of debate, I wonder whether I might ask the member for Beaches-Woodbine to indicate to me how we might clear whatever logjam we seem to have developed here and get on with implementing the bill. I believe we are doing the working women of this province something of a disservice by denying them some of the very tangible improvements that could be made through the implementation of Bill 141.
On the matter of principle that she raises, I say as I said a number of times in the spring session while debating this bill, that the position as indicated by the Minister responsible for Women's Issues is the position of the government and of all ministers who share in this responsibility. We, as a government, support phased progress towards the implementation of equal pay for work of equal value. That is our goal and we intend to proceed towards that goal in a very prudent manner, with due regard to the overwhelming responsibility that the Ontario Ministry of Labour has, inasmuch as we set the regulations and the laws for all employers in Ontario, save and except those few that fall under federal jurisdiction because of being public servants or federally chartered organizations.
We have the overwhelming responsibility to all the employers in the province in the private sector so that, as I have indicated before, we will continue in our progress in this area with due regard to the interests of all the parties involved.
The member mentioned that there was, as noted by Statistics Canada, a closing of the wage gap of approximately one per cent in the last year. We take some slight encouragement from that, although I agree with her that we want to do more and we intend to do more. I restate our conviction that the provisions of Bill 141, in bringing about the composite testing of roughly equivalent types of work, would see a further and greater closing of that wage gap in the coming year if we could get this bill on to the books.
I also point out, just by the by, that as an employer the Ontario government has done better than that. In the 1982-83 fiscal year, the wage gap for employees of the government of Ontario was closed by some 2.2 per cent. Again, that is not by any means the end result we are looking for, but it is a fairly significant advancement and well in excess of that in the rest of the economy. As an employer, I feel our government can be very proud of its record in this area.
With regard to the case load in Quebec, mentioned by the member, I will undertake some further research in this area. I want to share some information that we have with her, inasmuch as we have been in touch with the counsel for the Quebec human rights commission, Jocelyn Provost. We discussed with her, a number of the major cases that have been settled. I would like to go over them briefly, if I might, for the member's benefit, although she may have been talking about these same cases when she called Quebec.
Our information is that the cases before the Quebec human rights commission appear to have dealt only with situations where females were paid less than males for jobs determined to be of equal value according to the company's own job evaluation system. In other words, there has not been a particularly difficult test of the principle of equal value in the Quebec jurisdiction. Furthermore -- I am going to highlight a couple of the more major cases -- it would appear overall that the numbers of workers involved and of the settlements achieved in Quebec have been relatively small.
The counsel for the commission referred us to three cases. The first is the Quebec North Shore Paper case that was dealt with in 1978, just a short period of months after the enactment of the bill in Quebec. In that case the company's job evaluation system for male and female jobs, assigned different wages to corresponding levels within the two categories. The company agreed, after the intervention of the human rights commission in that province, to merge the two systems and to assign wage rates accordingly. That resulted in a total retroactive payment of about $26,000, and an annual increase in salary totalling $16,830, for 24 women. I am not suggesting for a minute that $16,000 a year spread over 24 employees is totally insignificant, but in terms of reshaping the economy of a whole province, I suggest it is certainly not what one would call an enormous settlement and it does not affect many workers.
In 1979, we saw the Val Cartier Industries case in which the company's job evaluation system for male and female jobs assigned different wages, but they were assigned to corresponding levels within the two categories of employment. In that case, the company agreed to merge its two systems for male and female employees and to assign a wage rate accordingly. I understand the upshot of that was a retroactive lump sum payment to each of the 203 employees of $150. Again, $150 is not that much of a settlement. While I am sure the women were very pleased to get it, I assume the real advance made was the recategorization of male and female employees, as opposed to the settlement the commission got, which is not going to change anyone's lifestyle or situation to any degree whatsoever.
More recently, we had the Catelli Foods case in Quebec. Here again the company's job evaluation system was fixed on two different pay bases, two different base levels for male and female jobs with the same point evaluation. In that case, the company was fined and damages of $224,000 for 24 female employees were filed through the human rights commission in the Quebec Superior Court. I understand at this time the company's appeal of that case is under way. I should ask my learned friend the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick) to inform me of this, but I assume that an appeal from the Superior Court would go to the Quebec Court of Appeal. That, if it goes through, will be by far the most significant settlement made of the cases we were informed of in Quebec, because we are talking just shy of $10,000 per employee. I grant the member that if that award goes through the appeal, it is indeed significant and we would have no quarrel on that.
Overall, I hope the members would agree with me that some of the settlements have been small. We continue to question how many of them would actually have been adjudicated any differently if a Bill 141 type of law were in place in Quebec as opposed to the law it has. That, I guess, is one of the points we will continue to debate in consideration of this clause.
Very briefly, I want to reiterate that the government is convinced the bill it has introduced is significant.
With regard to the interest of the Minister of Labour and the Minister responsible for Women's Issues in this bill, I want to assure the member that I have met with both ministers on two occasions already this week to discuss the progress of the bill and where we stand on it. They, of course, have many duties outside of the chamber. I would not want the member to misinterpret my responsibility for the bill at this stage in the House to indicate any lack of interest or commitment on their part, because that simply is not the case.
I am very pleased that both ministers have included me in any and all of their discussions in this whole area of legislation and responsibility. I would hope the member would be satisfied with my continuing to shepherd it along as we have through the past number of months.
With those remarks, I would again ask all members in all parties to consider how we might be able to clear up this logjam to get this bill, with all of the advancements it makes for working women in Ontario, on the books, and clear the House for further legislation in other areas. I am sure, having had some six weeks of debate periodically on this bill, there are other areas of great interest to members that they would like to get to in the House.
Mr. Di Santo: Mr. Chairman, I listened very carefully to the member for Brantford (Mr. Gillies). Of course, I agree with him that there has been a lengthy debate on this bill. I agree that perhaps at this stage we should have come to a conclusion.
The conclusion is what an ordinary citizen would expect. After having accepted the principle, and 82 members of this House voted for the principle of equal pay for work of equal value, after having had public hearings last January, we would think the members of the government benches would have accepted the principle and, therefore, would agree with us that the amendment proposed by my colleague the member for Hamilton East (Mr. Mackenzie) responds exactly to that principle.
But what we are hearing is that despite the fact the government agrees with the principle, it is finding all kinds of excuses to make this bill ineffectual, and not to respond to the principle of equal pay for work of equal value. The arguments we are hearing are the arguments that we heard before and that we will be hearing for a long time.
We hear the economic argument, that it is too costly. We do not know how much it will cost. The Minister of Labour said last December that it would cost employers $5 billion a year and the economy cannot afford that. The Deputy Premier, said it would cost $2 billion a year and, of course, the economy could not afford that, especially at this time of recession, this time of economic crisis.
The fact is that the economic argument does not hold. If we look at the federal legislation and at the Quebec legislation, where equal pay for work of equal value has been introduced and is part of federal legislation and of legislation in Quebec, we know that no disaster has happened either federally or in Quebec. If we look at other jurisdictions in which the principle has been implemented and translated into law, we know that no disaster has happened.
If we look at the European Economic Community we know very well that, despite the reluctance of some members of the community, like England, the principle has been accepted, was translated into legislation in 1982 and is operating to the point where the community allows individuals or groups who feel discriminated against to go to court under the law, with the legal fees paid by the community.
If we look at Sweden, where the legislation was introduced in 1981, in three years' time the wage gap between male and female employees has been reduced to 10 per cent. In 1983, women in Sweden received 90 per cent of male wages, and no disaster has happened in Sweden; the economy of Sweden was not turned upside down. Actually, there was no mass layoff of women in Sweden; women's participation increased instead of decreasing, and therefore the economic effects were exactly the opposite of what the critics had been forecasting for quite a while.
If we look at a jurisdiction that is quite similar to ours, Australia, where equal pay legislation was introduced in 1982, we see that the participation of women has increased to 37 per cent in two years from 30 per cent before the legislation and that the wages paid to women are now 76 per cent of men's wages. Nobody in Australia has noticed any major disruption of the economy because of equal pay legislation.
I do not want to be unduly long, because we have debated this bill ad nauseam; but I have to make it quite clear that the economic question is not the real reason the members of the government are opposed to this amendment. The real reason is a political one, and the political reason is that those who have power do not want to give it up. As Al Belak, who is a partner in Hay Associates, a Philadelphia-based consultant job evaluation agency said, "This is the real problem: it is a problem of power."
As my colleague the member for Beaches-Woodbine said, it goes back to every change in our civilization. When we had slave labour, similar arguments were made that abolishing slave labour would upset the economy; but, of course, it did not happen. We know very well that it depends on the point of view from which one looks at the problem. A reactionary employer is interested in cheap labour; but a progressive employer who is concerned with the broader social issues connected with labour will understand that the economic progress of nations does not rest necessarily on backward legislation or on the exploitation of the weak in our society.
I remember the same arguments were made in Europe 25 years ago when the process of the unification of the common market was becoming a reality. All the conservatives and reactionaries in Europe used to say, "We cannot have wage parity among the nations in Europe because if we have wage parity the weaker nations in the south of Europe, such as Italy, Greece and Spain, could not compete with the more industrialized nations; therefore, their economies would collapse."
What happened was quite the opposite. When the common market was formed, the economies of Spain and Italy were forced into very heated competition with the more advanced economies of the north. They had to progress. In fact, they became amalgamated in the European economy. There was no disaster. Quite the opposite, there was very marked progress.
The arguments we are hearing revolve around the fact that some people cannot accept the concept that women must be treated the same as men. If the question is one of equal pay for work of equal value, it simply means we have to make our legislation and our regulations flexible enough to accommodate this changing world. If we want to treat women equally, then we have to adjust our legislation to the new social reality and not force the social reality to follow backward legislation because it is convenient to some groups that are reactionary and not open to the future.
The idea of equal pay for equal work was accepted many years ago in Ontario. I was not here at that time and many of my colleagues were not here; some of my colleagues on my left were not even born. At that time, the same arguments were made. It was said the economy needed wage earners who were in the labour market for reasons other than as primary wage earners in the family. Therefore differential wage treatment was totally justified. Women were not as necessary to the labour market as men because women were in the labour market for a more limited time than men, they were not the sole or major supporters of their families; therefore a wage differential was justified.
Today we have a totally different situation. In Ontario, we have an increasing number of women who are working. As a matter of fact, 56.4 per cent of Ontario women are in the work force. This means there were two million women in the work force in 1983. In today's society we know a very high number of these two million women are primary wage earners and therefore rely on their work to look after themselves and their families. Therefore, that argument does not hold any longer. If the economic argument does not hold, then what is the argument? Is it that some people object that it will be too difficult to adopt the legislation and it would become too complex and the bureaucracy would increase immensely?
We know the federal legislation that was instituted a few years ago produced, from 1979 until the end of 1983, only 63 complaints, which is not a big deal if we look at the large number of people employed by the federal government. We know very well that today we have an agreement mechanism in place in Ontario. What we have to do is make that mechanism adequate to the new reality. I do not think that is totally impossible.
What is necessary is some flexibility. What is necessary is the acceptance of a principle that, despite the opposition, will become the reality of tomorrow in Ontario, as it has become the reality in many parts of the world. No fair-minded person can think that in future women will take second place in our society, that women will be treated differently only because of their sex and, therefore, their work will be remunerated differently from the work men do only because they are women.
In the minds of the members on the government benches, I think they feel this is a new reality that is taking place in our society and they cannot arrest it. If they know that, then why not make an effort and become part of the movement that is happening in the world to give women what is due to them?
I would like to remind government members that during the federal election the women's issue was very prominent in the campaign. I think most of us watched the debate when the New Democratic Party, as it has been doing for many years, proposed to the public of Canada the women's issue as one of the major issues of our times. We remember that the leader of the Liberal Party, who was then Prime Minister, and the leader of the Conservative Party, who is now Prime Minister, both agreed that equal pay for work of equal value was an issue to be addressed and, indeed, to be resolved.
If we think for a moment that perhaps it was the expediency of the electoral campaign that could have forced the leader of the Conservative Party to accept a position that was not a position of which he was very much convinced, I do not think that can be true, because this is an issue that will not go away. This is not a situation that bursts out at some point and then subsides as time goes by. It is a reality that is with us because women constitute a very relevant part of the work force in Ontario and they will not go away. They will fight for equality and, sooner or later, we have to address that issue.
If the government refuses to accept this amendment it is only delaying a process that is inevitable. Government members are only postponing a solution that I know in their minds they are convinced will become the legislation of tomorrow. Sooner or later they will be forced to accept it because more than 50 per cent of our population are women, and 54 per cent of the women are in the labour force. They will not accept being treated as second-class citizens so that they get lower wages just because they are women.
I do not want to prolong the debate, but I want to make it quite clear that we are not, as the member for Brantford said, prepared to set aside this big issue and go on with other business. We do not know what the other business is. In the spring session we sat here day after day and the government did not introduce any major legislation. In fact, it was by all means the dullest session of the Legislature since I was elected.
I do not know what other legislation the government will propose in this session. I suspect there will not be any major legislation because most of the ministers are interested in more personal concerns and have their minds addressed to other personal and party goals. To ask us to set aside this very important issue, which is a political issue but a fundamental issue, for some undefined or not yet defined other business is preposterous.
What we ask of the members of the government is to address this issue now and pass this amendment. If we pass this amendment, we can go on to other business with clear minds and consciences. I hope the government will have second thoughts because this is not a passing issue. History will judge them and, above all, the women of Ontario will judge them.
Mr. Lupusella: On a point of order, Mr. Chairman: May I ask the parliamentary assistant whether he has any questions to raise with the member for Downsview (Mr. Di Santo) or if everything is agreed that must be included within the principle of the law?
The Deputy Chairman: Does the parliamentary assistant want to interject any words of wisdom?
Mr. Gillies: I thank the member for Dovercourt (Mr. Lupusella), who is always so accommodating in making sure I have every opportunity to raise points.
I wonder if I might make a suggestion. I may be a bit out on a limb because I have not talked to the House leaders about this. Is there any thought that if we were to stand this clause down and proceed with the rest of the bill, we might, as we see how the rest of the legislation unfolds, be able to make some progress? I just throw that out.
The Deputy Chairman: The limb is still there.
Mr. Nixon: We agree to that.
The Deputy Chairman: The member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon) would be amenable. What about the members of the third party?
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Chairman, I am always interested in any suggestion the government makes to move along its legislation. We will consult with our House leader about it.
Mr. Gillies: I thank the honourable member for that undertaking.
Briefly, in reply to the member for Downsview, I want to reiterate our genuine concern that this legislation go through.
I reject the suggestion that what we are doing with Bill 141 is in any way reactionary. I feel this is very progressive legislation and I am pleased, as I am sure the members are, that two prominent women members of the Progressive Conservative caucus are here to listen to the debate, the Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson) and the former Provincial Secretary for Social Development, the member for Scarborough East (Mrs. Birch).
I ask the members to consider, in the context of this debate, which party in the --
Mr. Di Santo: Mr. Chairman, on a point of privilege: Just to rectify the record, I did not say that the government is reactionary. I said that rejecting the concept of equal pay for work of equal value is akin to taking a reactionary position similar to that taken in the past by the people who opposed the abolition of slave labour.
Mr. Gillies: Okay, I take the point. As I recall, though, one of the very first pieces of legislation ever introduced in the parliament of Upper Canada, I believe in 1841, was for the abolition of slavery. I think we are well beyond that and I do not quite see the comparison.
I would ask the member to reflect on the fact that I believe our party has been at the forefront in this province in promoting women into positions of great prominence and influence. We have two very good examples right here on our front bench. I would ask the member to reflect as the debate unfolds that if people of the calibre of these two members see the wisdom of supporting the legislation we have proposed, there may indeed be a little more to it than he thinks.
I would ask members to consider that we are talking about staged progress, to which we have made reference on several occasions and to which we are committed in bringing about equal pay for work of equal value. While I can appreciate that we may differ concerning how we achieve this goal -- the New Democratic Party has the approach outlined in its amendment and we have the approach outlined in the bill -- I would ask members to reflect on whether or not the passage of this legislation is a step very much in the right direction, and also that the passage of this legislation then frees up the minister, me and our officials to start laying the groundwork for the next stage. If we are going to keep the ball moving on something we all agree with in principle, then perhaps we should be moving towards it expeditiously.
Mr. Lupusella: Mr. Chairman, you are so indulgent in so many cases that I have great appreciation.
I would like to take the opportunity to respond to the invitation that was made by the parliamentary assistant that he is eager to move on the passage of this particular legislation. I understand the reason and I have no problem with it. The only problem we have is that we got stuck on this particular section because of the importance of the principle of the bill. As well as that, in view of the concept and framework of the principle that is enunciated in this section, there is an eagerness on the part of many members to get involved in the content of the debate.
For example, I am one member who would like to address the issue in that particular clause, and I am particularly concerned that if we move towards passage of the bill without really considering the substance of the bill per se, which is equal pay for work of equal value, maybe we will diffuse the issue, even though I understand the good intentions and the goodwill of the parliamentary assistant.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Chairman, I would like to take a few minutes on this bill. I have participated on other occasions -- on second reading, in the committee of the whole House debate in December last year and again in June this year.
I recognize, as the parliamentary assistant has indicated, that the bill has been debated extensively during that period of time. I do not want to enter into an argument about whether or not the government should have had more and other legislation to proceed with or whether this has simply been used by the government to fill up the gap while it marked time and contemplated the future which will now unfold for it. We have debated it extensively. It is controversial legislation and, for practical purposes, there has been no substantial progress made in connection with the legislation.
I want to try to engage the parliamentary assistant in a summary or a summarization of what I believe to be the arguments that have been made pro and con with respect to the concept of equal pay for work or equal value and also with respect to the specific provisions within the bill.
The argument always takes any number of courses. I think the one which has come through more and more as the principal position of the government is the question of what is referred to as staged progress, but what I refer to as the false process of gradualism in a matter which does not lend itself to the kind of gradual approach the government seems to advocate. I think the reason that it does not lend itself to gradualism, despite what the government may state, has been put on a number of occasions in the House. I would like to try, if I can, to summarize those considerations.
The government has stated that it has a long and honourable tradition of promoting the rights of working women. On many occasions they have gone on to point out the extent to which the number of women in the provincial public service has increased in employment groups where they were formerly underrepresented. As the parliamentary assistant has indicated, the latest report of the women crown employees office reports that the wage gap in that public sector has narrowed by 2.2 per cent in the last year to some 24.2 per cent. This is used as a support for the position of the government that staged progress is occurring and that gradually the inequity of the discrimination against women in the work place will be eliminated.
The next argument the government makes under this question of staged progress is that equal pay for work of equal value is a concept that must evolve and be accepted gradually, and that both the notion and the enforcement of it through legal sanctions must be approached through gradual but steady efforts. A corollary of that argument is that equal value should not be adopted without due consideration of the effects this can have on the economy of the jurisdiction of the province.
I would ask the parliamentary assistant whether I have fairly stated the position of the government with respect to that argument of staged progress and whether the argument can stand in the face of the following contra argument, that if we look closely at the lower levels of the government service, lower levels with respect to the remuneration being received by women in the government service at the lower levels of opportunity, the affirmative action of the government is not working.
The extent to which it is working is because of the attrition of the public service that has taken place under the policy of restraint, which has been an issue which was initiated by the government some half dozen years ago in relation to the duties performed by the public service. I think it is fair to say that if one analyses occupational categories of male and female employees at Queen's Park at those levels, one will find there has been little change, and change in at least one of the categories has been for the worse.
The law we are asking for, the embodiment in legislation of the principle we are asking for, is required because, unless it is in the law, that kind of progress will be minor and stalemated as it attempts to make progress through the government service.
A second contra argument I would like to put to the parliamentary assistant is that the province has significant obligations under convention 100 of the International Labour Organization, which Canada ratified in 1972 and which Ontario and the other jurisdictions in the federal state are required to honour. We in Ontario have not as yet met our responsibilities under that convention, which sets out the goals and objectives for equal remuneration for work of equal value for men and women workers.
In a very real sense we are in default in our participation with the government of Canada of the ratification of an international convention that holds out to the world that we accept the goals and objectives we must pursue urgently and as a matter of immediate concern. Instead of that, the Minister responsible for Women's Issues simply concentrates his attention on what I suppose will be remembered for ever in the concept of this debate, namely, that of staged progress.
We say that if we have to wait, as we have waited for a long time, for legislative enactment to give effect to the principles, it will be well into the next century before we have achieved the goal of equal pay for work of equal value. Gradualism cannot afford the luxury of waiting that long.
Despite the equal pay laws we have had on the Ontario statute books for sometime, according to the accepted figures, the wage gap between men and women currently runs at about 40 per cent and is not changing in any significant way. Most of that statistic is a basic residual statistic from many comparisons. Without effective equal pay for work of equal value legislation, that differential is not going to change to any substantial extent. Indeed, I would venture to say people standing here 100 years from now might very well be looking at a differential not very much different from the 40 per cent differential that has become part of the rhetoric and polemic of this debate.
It does seem to me that one must take into account the Ontario Human Rights Code and section 15 of the charter, which will come into effect on April 1, 1985. By enactment of our own Human Rights Code in Ontario and by our obligation to respect section 15 of the charter, we have created a situation where this assembly has recognized that staged progress is not adequate and that gradualism is not a sufficient answer to the questions that are raised by the principle of equal pay for work of equal value.
I mentioned on another occasion in the course of this debate that we have to break through the concept that women's work, while essential, is subordinate, but that men's work, while essential, is superior. I do not intend to labour that argument, but the parliamentary assistant may recall I did make that argument in favour of urging on the government the need to move immediately to upgrade, across the board, salaries in those areas where the majority of workers are women. This is the so-called ghetto employment in which many women are lost and in which the work is treated as essential to society but for some reason or other, under the test of remuneration, is considered to be subordinate to the kind of work men do.
That is the principal argument, pro and con, the government has put to support its bill. We have had other arguments. We have looked at what other jurisdictions have done. We have talked at considerable length about the federal human rights legislation, the commission and the responsibility of that commission. On our side, we tried to urge the government to move in that direction. On the other side, the government backpedalled and indicated that for practical purposes that kind of legislation is not of any great importance and that very few people have been affected by it. Those arguments, pro and con, are on the record of Hansard.
Then we had the continual corollary argument with respect to gradualism or staged progress, that for practical purposes legislation is not really the answer. The changes the parliamentary assistant is supporting in this bill are simply a minor or gradual extension of what exists at present in the legislation. We have had that debate about the marginal semantic changes that are made.
The parliamentary assistant recognizes, as does everybody, that this may extend the net somewhat to cover perhaps another five per cent or 10 per cent of the differential that exists between men and women in the remuneration they receive. I do not think he or I have the capacity to decide the degree in which this legislation will ameliorate the discrimination that does exist, but he and I are in agreement that under the government's philosophy, it will be only a marginal change, not a significant change.
It will be significant to those who have the benefit of the legislation, of course, but in relation to those who will not benefit by it because the government is too timid to introduce the principle into the bill, a variation of only five per cent to 10 per cent can be expected with respect to the discrimination that does exist.
I want to speak very briefly to the question of what this discrimination is. I have only two points to make about it. The Supreme Court of Canada, in one of the cases that came before it, stated very clearly that if there is discrimination in society in Ontario in areas that are under the jurisdiction of this Legislative Assembly and they are not protected by legislation, they are not protected anywhere. There is not a common law protection of discrimination with respect to wage differentials.
If we are in agreement that there is discrimination in the work place between the remuneration of men and women, we here are the ones who bear the responsibility for passing the legislation to eliminate that discrimination. There is no other recourse except in this assembly. I believe it to be a principle adhered to by every party in this assembly that discrimination is unacceptable in Ontario society, in the society we all talk about in such glowing terms when it suits our individual purposes to do so; and to the extent that discrimination exists, the responsibility for it lies in this assembly.
An argument of gradualism, an argument that legislation is not the answer or an argument that looks to other jurisdictions, and sees that they are having problems too, does not relieve us in this assembly from the obligation to take the steps that are required.
I have tried to get some technical understanding of the term "discrimination" which would be meaningful to me. I do not pretend to be an expert in the areas of the sophistication of statistical research, but in this particular sense of discrimination, I think again the parliamentary assistant and I can agree without pretending that either one of us is an expert in the refined matters of determining the areas of discrimination.
Let me put this on the record. The differential that remains between male and female earnings after all the following variables have been accounted for is the discrimination to which I refer. The variables that have to be accounted for are education, age, occupation, industry, training, marital status and weeks and hours worked.
If one takes all those differentials into account in the most sophisticated way in which one can possibly use them to account for them and to discount them, or as is said in the jargon of the time, to decompose them, the net differential remaining is the discrimination.
So far as I can tell, if one looks at certain of the reports that have been made recently for the federal Department of Labour, they would indicate a widespread range of discrimination which may all be sifted out into what is popularly known as the 40 per cent gap.
If one takes job income by education and by gender, one will find that the differential between women and men, depending on the degree of education, runs somewhat as follows. Where there is no high school education, the mean ratio is about 49 per cent. Where there is some high school education, the mean ratio is about 54 per cent. Where the persons being compared are high school graduates, the mean ratio is about 58 per cent. Where there is technical education involved, it is about 70 per cent. Where there is some university education involved, it is about 73 per cent. Where university degrees are involved, it is about 65 per cent. There are also varying ratios depending upon the number of years of education.
Out of all that, depending upon where one happens to be in the scale of the number of years of education, when we take into account work experience, seniority, hours worked and any number of other factors I have spoken about, then at different ages, at different levels of education and at different levels of work experience, we will find that there is not just 40 per cent, but a substantial range of differentials running from somewhere near 60 per cent to perhaps somewhere near 23 per cent in some of the upper levels. It is of little help to an individual person to use the global figure of about 40 per cent without trying to classify that person within the appropriate comparable scale of earnings.
It seems to me that for us to say that legislation is not the answer, and that this gradual, staged progress of a minor change in existing legislation is sufficient for our purposes, negates the very argument about equality in Ontario to which we all refer.
The other argument that has been made on both sides of the question is the difficulty of implementation. Let us all agree that it will be difficult to implement. The ultimate decisions are going to have to be made either by the Legislature and the processes established by the Legislature, through recourse to the courts, as has been the case in certain of the incidents the parliamentary assistant referred to in Quebec, or through the process of collective bargaining. Everywhere in the free world people are trying, by trial and error, to develop the new skills required to lead to the ability to make a comparison between dissimilar jobs, which is required to assert the proposition of equality between men and women in the work place. I think we can agree on all those things.
However, when it all comes out, I am afraid it means that this party believes the principle must be enshrined in the legislation and that the details of working it out, and the processes by which people can have recourse to resolve the discrimination, must be left to the mechanisms that are available if we place it in legislation and unavailable if it is not in legislation. From our point of view, we can say to the government that we question very much whether it will ever accept that it is possible to compare dissimilar jobs.
I want to say to the parliamentary assistant that if I have to reduce all the arguments to some residual question, that question is: Does he really believe it is the responsibility of government to provide the processes so that over time, through collective bargaining, through whatever tribunals this assembly wishes to establish that have the authority to do it, or through the court system, we accept the proposition that it is possible in a humane society to develop comparisons between dissimilar jobs to establish the wages that are paid as being equal for men and women? I doubt it.
A lot of words have been spoken and much has been said, but I do not think the Conservative Party, the Conservative government or this legislation, reflects an acceptance of that principle. It may have taken me a long time in the extensive course of these debates to ask myself: "Why the argument about gradualism? Why the argument about the problems? Why the vote in the assembly," whenever it took place, "when the members opposite all stood in their places and agreed on something called the principle? Why all the grandstanding about the particular provisions of the bill unless they accept the principle that it is possible to compare dissimilar jobs?"
I suppose this is what I want to ask the parliamentary assistant. From the arguments he has put before us and the arguments the government has used in other places with respect to this bill, I do not for one moment believe it has the courage, the will or the determination to remedy the discrimination that is in society, which cannot be changed by a gradual process in any way, because the parliamentary assistant, representing the government, will not bring in the legislation that will enshrine the principle. It is not difficult to understand that unless he brings in that legislation, no one in this province has any recourse against the discrimination that exists in the work place.
I would go further. Is he really saying to us, behind all the words, that there is no discrimination in the differentials between men and women in the wages they receive in the work place because their jobs are not comparable? Or perhaps he is trying to have it both ways, believing that somewhere there is a gradual process and that perhaps in the year 1990 or 2000 some government will say: "Now is the time to make the further stage in the progress. We will say those magic words, 'Equal pay for work of equal value.' Yes, we have now reached the fine plateau on which dissimilar jobs can be compared."
I do not know what the answer to that question is. I am suspicious of the government and I believe that, for practical purposes, it does not think it is possible to make that comparison.
I could go on at considerably greater length about the problems in the bill. It is sufficient to say that in York region a report was issued quite recently and was reported in the press. York region is not very far from Metropolitan Toronto. The report, by the region's children's services co-ordinating and advisory group, states, "The average income for women in the region was $9,118, less than 50 per cent of the $21,347 average for the region's males." It certainly is less than 50 per cent; on my calculator it is 42.7 per cent.
The discrimination is real, the commitment of the government is suspect and the language that has been used is, in my view, simply to hide from the assembly and from the people of Ontario under a barrage of words the fact that the government does not accept the principle because it does not think it is workable.
We over here accept the principle. We believe it is workable, and we believe it must be made to work by skilled persons directing their attention to that question. We do not need a kind of negative scientific approach to the problem. We need a commitment of will to a positive solution of the problems related to comparisons. We believe it is possible to work out those comparisons and to develop those concepts, but they will never be developed as long as it is possible for the government to put forward minor changes in legislation which has been on the books for many, many years, and broaden the net on equal pay for equal work, which is substantially what it is asking us to do.
We have little patience with the argument that it will disrupt the economy. The disruption to the economy by accepting this principle, and getting on with the job of doing it, will not in any way compare with the immense disruption to the economy of this province that has taken place through the so-called high-technology revolution and the processes of automation.
The disruption in the work place that has taken place in this province in the last half dozen years would make any disruption caused by equal pay for work of equal value simply pale into insignificance; for example, the way in which business has treated its employees in this province and the way in which this government has failed, by any legislative fiat, to protect the people from the results of that dislocation.
A chamber of commerce argument about the disruption this will cause does not find favour here. Many other arguments can be put, but time does not permit us to do so. Perhaps we will be able to discuss this matter on another occasion.
This is not the first time a bill has been brought before us dealing with two or three important matters mixed up with a principle of universal importance, and we are told if we do not give way on the basic, fundamental and broader principle, we will not get the minor ameliorative and important changes contained in other portions of the bill.
We have been through this a number of times. The government should never have mixed up these three matters in the bill. The Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow) never bothers about that. We get half a dozen amendments to the Highway Traffic Act every year in this assembly. Perhaps the government should have introduced a bill dealing only with the principle of equal pay for work of equal value and then introduced a bill containing the other two necessary, beneficial and long overdue amendments. If that is what the minister is talking about, it may well be that the House leader of the New Democratic Party will take that into consideration.
Mr. Haggerty: May I have the attention of the Chairman and the parliamentary assistant?
Mr. Chairman, I want to address myself to An Act to amend the Employment Standards Act and particularly to section 33, equal pay. I, perhaps like other members, have difficulty following the intent of the legislation as I look at the explanatory notes. Section 33 says:
"No employer or person acting on behalf of an employer shall differentiate between his male and female employees by paying a female employee wages that are less than wages paid to a male employee, or vice versa, for substantially the same kind of work performed in the same establishment where the work requires,
"(a) substantially the same skill, effort and responsibility and the work is performed under similar working conditions."
In the explanatory notes, it says: "The application of the principle of equal pay for work of equal value is extended, under clause 33(1)(b), to work in the same establishment that requires substantially equivalent or greater skill, effort and responsibility under substantially similar working conditions when the skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions are considered as a whole and not individually." I think this is where the minister is going to run into some severe difficulties in applying the intent of the act.
If I can interpret between the lines, it means job classes. Perhaps the minister is going to have to develop hypothetical point-system criteria based upon knowledge, skills, mental demands, accountability and working conditions. I am afraid he is going to have difficulty in trying to bring out equal pay for comparable work if he is going to deal with job classes. He is going to spend a lot of time in arbitration in this area.
I am asking the parliamentary assistant for some clarification on the "measurement of earnings by quantity and quality of production" in clause 33(3)(c), which I presume means piecework. That alone is going to cause severe difficulties in understanding the intent of the bill. The minute we bring in quantity and quality of products, it is going to open the door for further disputes in arbitration or in the interpretation of the intent of the legislation.
We should have some concrete definition of the procedures for appeals. We may have the employment standards referees to review the different appeals that will be heard, but the government should have a defined time limit by which the decision of an appeals hearing board should be brought down. It should be two weeks or 21 days. That should be defined in the bill.
There are going to be many difficulties in this area of interpretation of the intent of the bill. It is based on a lot of hypothetical viewpoints that may be considered by the referees or by the minister himself because it is not clear in the equal pay for comparable work legislation. The minister should be taking a hard look in this area.
We in the Liberal Party have supported the bill in principle, but I still think the government is going to need to provide some further clarification under this section of the bill.
As the member for Riverdale has indicated, perhaps we should have had just one piece of legislation dealing with this proposed legislation of equal pay for equal work. I question that we are not dealing with an individual but with job classes that may take a long time to interpret under the act and may require long periods of appeals. If we are going to have equal pay for equal work, it should deal with individuals in comparable jobs.
Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Chairman, I rise once again in the debate on Bill 141 with maybe not the anger I did the last time, but I still cannot understand the government's approach in terms of the necessity of equal pay for work of equal value.
It struck me during the recent federal election campaign that if there was one position the leaders of all three parties were attempting to set out and set the voters straight on, it was their support for equal pay for work of equal value. That is certainly not what we get with the position the government has taken substantially here.
Another thing that bothers me constantly is that it does not seem to matter whether it is pensioners -- we had a debate in the House here that was blocked by the government members just the other night, dealing with early retirement -- or the equality issue for women we are debating here now. It seems to me that justice, equality and necessity -- and I submit that the necessity for this legislation is growing more obvious by the day -- are all denied, usually on the basis of cost. Certainly that is always one of the major arguments we get from this government.
One of the things they tell us is, "We will move." They plan ways to deal with the delays and the problems. That is a bit of a joke. When one looks at what has happened in terms of the equality issue for women or at some of these other debates, the argument over pensions, for example -- I do not know how long the debate in this House has been going on over approval of pensions, but I do know some very simple changes were suggested back in 1979, and a number of times since, and we got absolutely nowhere with them.
I think my colleague referred to the convention of the International Labour Organization. I know that is a point I tried to make in the earlier debate on this. I quoted a former colleague of mine, Ted Bounsall, the former member for Windsor-Sandwich, when he moved Bill 3 in the House in 1979. He said the idea of equal pay for work of equal value is not a new one.
It was first passed, or carried some stature in the world, in 1971 by the International Labour Organization convention 100 and was ratified at that time by 83 countries. This convention was ratified in Canada in 1972 when it received approval in principle from all provinces, including Ontario. Yet, to date, Ontario has done nothing to implement that commitment. There was even an internal ministry report advocating equal pay for work of equal value some years ago. That would have been about 1977. At the time, it was rejected by ministry officials.
I guess when we talk about progress we are talking about one step forward, one step backward progress. I reject the arguments we have that the way to do this is a slow, planned, staged approach, because it is not working at all. It seems to me it is always arguments about such things as equality for women, the need for pensions or the need for workers to keep up with costs, public sector or private, which resulted in the controls legislation in this province, that bring us the arguments that "We cannot afford it" or "We have to slow down."
I wish that same pattern applied when we took a look occasionally at profits, at doctors' salaries, or in 1983 at the 30 per cent increase in salaries for senior management incomes in the province. To me, that says there is a bit of a double standard and some substantial increases and equality are a little more for some people who already have them than for others.
The other thing that bothers me in this legislation is that this government is an expert in the art of whipsawing the opposition in this House. I give them credit for it. I do not know how many times in the nine short years I have been in this House I have seen them bring in a bill -- I find it interesting that it is usually labour legislation this happens with -- that has one or two things they know labour wants or about which they know a campaign has been developed by opposition parties or the trade union movement. They always tie it with something they want or, if you like, a lesser improvement in what we are trying to do. That is exactly what we have with this legislation.
The government is hard put to find one or two supporters of this bill. When we talked to the women's coalition in this province, they said, to a person and to an organization: "Reject this legislation. We have been had too many times." Equal pay for work of equal value is the key to real progress for women. It is not in this bill and the government is playing games with us. Sure, they want the improvements contained in the maternity and adoption leave provisions, and this government knows full that if they brought in a bill with those provisions, which make sense and which everybody wants, they would have it through this House in a matter of days or even hours, if we could do it.
I say the government is being fundamentally dishonest in the way it is dealing with improvements for workers in this province, because it is tying the sugar-coated pills together with the decision that, once again, it is not going to move in any substantive way in terms of equality for women in the work place. I suppose it is good tactics for the Conservative Party not to move too fast, to use this kind of approach in dealing with some individual rights for workers or on labour issues. But I find it a little bit sickening.
When we talked to various coalition members about this bill, we simply asked, "What do you want?" We will make the final decision in our own caucus, but we certainly were listening to them. We asked what they wanted in terms of this legislation, because there are a couple of good things in it. There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that if this legislation does not go through, the government will try to label us with stopping the two little sugar-coated pills from being there.
Personally, I do not care if that is the kind of tactic the government wants to use, but when we put that to the coalition members they told us very clearly the issue on which to make the fight is equal pay for work of equal value. "Do not get sucked into buying the proverbial pig in a poke," they said. That is why we have been as tough as we have on this particular legislation.
I am not sure what my caucus will say to the minister's suggestion that we stand down this clause and go on with the rest of the bill. I have no real difficulty with something like that, but we will have to discuss it in caucus. However, we would solve the problem much faster and more forthrightly if this government brought in a bill dealing with the two things here that are of some value to working people and not try to use them to hide the fact that it is doing absolutely nothing.
Mr. Haggerty: I do not see a quorum.
Mr. Chairman: Order. The member for Erie (Mr. Haggerty) has brought to our attention that he fails to see a quorum.
Mr. Chairman ordered the bells to be rung.
Clerk of the House: There is a quorum present, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman: There being a quorum, I call on the member for Hamilton East (Mr. Mackenzie).
Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Chairman, it is too bad that a quorum call on a bill as important as Bill 141, and the amendment on equal pay for work of equal value, had to interfere with all the campaigning that was going on.
Mr. Havrot: Where were your members? You did not have enough members. It is your responsibility. You have only six with you.
Mr. Laughren: It is your responsibility to keep a quorum, not ours.
Mr. Chairman: Order. The member for Hamilton East will continue with his comments.
Mr. Mackenzie: It sounds to me as though somebody is not willing to accept their responsibility as the government of Ontario.
Mr. Havrot: We are willing to accept our responsibility. Where is yours? You are not accepting any responsibility. How many do you have here now? It makes no difference. You are getting paid the same as we are. What makes you so special that you can leave and expect us to sit here and listen to you?
Mr. Chairman: The member for Hamilton East is proceeding.
Mr. Havrot: East or west?
Mr. Mackenzie: We have them both; it does not matter. We are going to keep them both, too.
An hon member: You want to bet?
Mr. Mackenzie: No problem at all. A little bit of even money there, if you want.
I think it might be useful briefly to go over again the amendment that is before this House dealing with equal pay for work of equal value, simply because, if I recall correctly from some of the previous debate a few months back, at one stage the parliamentary assistant tried to make the argument that the bill is really doing most of what is here in our amendment.
If that is the case, I suggest to him it is long overdue for this Conservative government in Ontario to go all the way and do what I thought their federal leader said they were going to do and what I think almost every women's group in Ontario wants them to do, namely, bring in real equal pay for work of equal value, with all the problems that may be there initially in setting up the procedures.
The amendment we have moved says:
"33(1) No employer or person acting on behalf of an employer shall establish or maintain any difference in wages paid to a male and to a female employee employed in the same establishment who are performing work of equal value unless the difference is based on seniority or quantity of production." What is really wrong with that part of the amendment?
"(2) An employment standards officer may assess the value of work performed for the purposes of subsection (1) and, where the officer finds that an employer has failed to comply with subsection (1), the officer may determine the amount of money owing to an employee because of the noncompliance, including any expenses incurred by the employee in enforcing subsection (1), and the amount shall be deemed to be unpaid wages."
This is not a heck of a lot different from some of the procedures we now have in cases that go to an employment standards officer. What is really wrong with that section of the amendment?
"(3) In assessing the value of work performed by employees employed in the same establishment, the criterion to be applied is the composite of the skill, effort and responsibility required in the performance of the work and the conditions under which the work is performed." It may take a little initiative, but we seem to be doing it under the federal legislation. I ask the parliamentary assistant, what is wrong with that section of the amendment?
"(4) Separate establishments established or maintained by an employer solely or principally for the purpose of establishing or maintaining differences in wages between male and female employees shall be deemed for the purposes of this part to be a single establishment." I cannot understand what one can really argue about on that section of the amendment.
Pay not to be reduced: "(5) No employer shall reduce the rate of pay of an employee in order to comply with subsection (1)." If that was not there, that section would be used to reduce men's wages to women's wages, where we now have the differences we are trying to rectify by this legislation.
Employer not to be requested to contravene: "(6) No organization of employers or employees or its agents shall cause or attempt to cause an employer to agree to or pay to his or her employees wages that are in contravention of subsection (1)." What can the parliamentary assistant and the government of Ontario possibly disagree with in that section of this amendment?
"(7) A complaint that an employer contravenes this section may be made by an employee, a class of employees employed in the same establishment or an employees' organization." We have that right for almost every other complaint that is made. Is there something wrong with this section of the amendment that has been moved in this House?
"(8) An employer, employee or class of employees that is aggrieved by a decision or order made by an employment standards officer under this part or section 47 may, within a period of 15 days after the date of delivery, service or notice of the decision or order, or such longer period as the director may for special reasons allow, apply for a review of the decision or order by way of a hearing before a referee and subsections 50(2) to (7) apply to the review, with necessary modifications, except that the referee has the power to make an order under section 47 in addition to the powers conferred by section 50."
Do we or do we not want to have appeal rights? We seem to allow it in most legislation. I cannot understand why there should be disagreement by the parliamentary assistant and the government with that section.
"(9) The minister shall table a report annually in the Legislature on the progress of compliance with this part and the annual reports shall be referred to a standing or special committee of the Legislature every three years."
I happen to think that is important. It is important for some of the very arguments I was making earlier. The record of the government in its staged approach has not been very good. Whether it is this legislation or other kinds of legislation that fall in the same category -- and I use pensions as the referral -- we have tried to get even modest improvements year after year after year with no success, with no movement at all even in some of the simplest suggestions that have been made.
Even with this section I think it behooves this House to be able to review the progress we are making and see whether it is good enough, whether something else is needed, or maybe even whether we are wrong in the approach. I do not think so. Most of the groups we have talked to do not think so because they are totally cheesed off with the lack of any progress up until now and with the approach we have taken up until now, just as they are cheesed off with the suggestion in Bill 141.
As I said, it was very clear in talking to the various groups that yes, the two points that were of some use were useful, but they were not buying the stall -- and that is what it is, as far as I am concerned -- that the ministry was putting forward. I cannot for the life of me understand why that should be so difficult for this government to accept.
The year 1985 marks the end of the United Nations Decade for Women. In this province, at least after a decade of talking about economic equality, we have yet to see any real results. One has to look hard to give us the few very modest exceptions we get.
In Ontario 56.4 per cent of women work -- that was two million women in the labour force in 1983
-- and they are earning less than 64 cents for each dollar that the average man earns. This is not something to be very proud of.
In 1981 more than 77 per cent of working women earned less than $15,000; only two per cent earned more than $30,000. The evidence is clear that they are trapped in the low-paying job ghettos. That is not new; we have known that for some time. But where is the progress in this area as well?
While 10.3 per cent of all families are classified as low income, 36 per cent of those with a female head are classified as low income. A recent study by the National Anti-Poverty Organization found in 1983 that 50.8 per cent of all Canadian families led by females under 65 were living below the poverty line.
The battle for economic equality simply has to be centred on two issues: equal pay for work of equal value and mandatory affirmative action programs. The government is kidding itself if it thinks it is going to tackle it in any meaningful way with anything less than that.
This government has studied, debated and restudied for a long time. I have quoted a few of the remarks from the 1979 debate by my colleague Ted Bounsall on Bill 3, equal value legislation. Last fall members of all parties in this House even voted on the motion of the former member for Hamilton Centre in favour of the principle of equal pay for work of equal value. But when it comes to putting that principle into effect through an amendment to the Employment Standards Act, this government reverses itself.
Does the parliamentary assistant wonder why we are as cynical as we are with what he is telling us, with what he says he is trying to do in this bill, which we know and the various women's groups know is not going to do it? How many more times do we have to have this kind of debate before we get some action in this House that means something?
In the past summer 12 classified ad solicitors employed by the Toronto Star, all women, were forced, as the parliamentary assistant may or may not know, to file a complaint under the Human Rights Code claiming that their employer violated the code by paying them less than another group of employees, mostly men, who performed work of equal value. The women were paid between $5,400 and $10,400 less per year than classified ad sales persons with the same experience; yet the two job descriptions indicate similar requirements for the two jobs in the areas of skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions.
Why do we have to go to the Human Rights Commission in that kind of an appeal? Once again, how many more times is that going to happen before the Tories start listening to the women of Ontario?
Wages for women still reflect the assumption that women work as second-income earners; their wages certainly reflect that. The reality, and certainly it is true with most people to whom I have talked in my riding, is that women work because they have to. The jobs that traditionally employ women -- and I am not sure where we are going with these jobs in the future, which is something else that worries me -- clerical, sales, service and health care, are amongst the lowest paid jobs there are.
Legislation that would implement equal pay for work of equal value would certainly help to redress some of these inequities. We know, and I always wonder -- forgive my cynicism once again -- that business has traditionally been opposed, whether it is the chamber of trade or various business organizations, to equal pay for work of equal value on the grounds that it is too expensive and that one cannot compare dissimilar jobs.
It is surprising how often their arguments are the same arguments we get from the Conservative members across the floor. Does that mean that members opposite are dancing to their tune or that these groups are in their pocket? I do not know which. We get that thrown at us occasionally when we try to deal with labour issues and support positions that are taken by the trade union movement.
I think it is equally valid to throw it back at the Conservative members because they are almost in lockstep with most of the major business organizations in this province in that kind of an argument. As I can recall from trade union experience, those were the same kinds of groups that have opposed almost every single advance we have made in labour legislation and the rights of workers and the rights to decent contracts. I am not at all surprised that this is where the opposition jells and where the opposition comes from.
But I keep asking myself, when a principle that is so important here and which I think would open up improvements, advancements and even the economy of the province rather than slowing it down, something that brings some additional improvement and effect with respect to the ability of ordinary people to earn a share of the income in this province and as a result have the earning capacity to go out and buy, when something such as equal pay for work value is a basic right, why for once does that not carry as much weight as the arguments in the business community that somehow or other we cannot make this move because it is a little bit expensive or we cannot compare the jobs?
For the life of me, I have never been able to understand how the government can be so single-minded in its approach. I have said many times, and I am convinced it is true, that we may have some specific positions, some ideology that we stand by in this particular party, but I doubt very much that we have got the tunnel vision I often see across the floor.
It seems to me that this issue is so fundamental and so important to any possibility of equality for women in the work place that we cannot have -- I was going to say the half-measure, but it is not a half-measure -- the non-measure the government has proposed in Bill 141. It is no longer good enough to try to offer us a couple of little goodies so that we may let the bill go through.
Even if it does mean some flak in an election campaign, I support the position that was very clearly taken by the coalition, which included people right up to business and professional women in this province, that this government bill is not good enough and does not deal with the substantive and important issue, the fundamental issue, and we should not be conned once again that it is a proper position.
That is why I feel, and feel very strongly, that the government's bill is not good enough, that we should not buy it, that this House should not buy it, and that is why the debate is still going on and has gone on as long as it has. If, I say it once again, the parliamentary assistant can get through to the Minister responsible for Women's Issues or to the Minister of Labour, who have been noticeably absent for most of this debate, with a suggestion that they bring in quickly a bill that deals with the two small but useful improvements in terms of working women in Ontario, we will give it the fastest approval they have ever seen.
That will show the good faith of the parliamentary assistant, but to try with the offer of those two tidbits to tie us into a position that does nothing on the basic issue is a very dishonest approach and not one I am personally willing to buy. I hope he will ask us to stand down not only this particular amendment but also the bill and bring in a new bill that does deal with those two points. As I say, the government will then have our support very rapidly and the bill could be through this House well before the Christmas recess.
Ms. Bryden: Mr. Chairman, I want to make some comments on some of the statements the parliamentary assistant made, particularly in regard to the Quebec situation.
I do not know whether he has seen the remarks of the judge in the Catelli case when it came before the sessions court in Quebec. According to a report of February 29, 1984, in the Globe and Mail, the judge said, "Paying women factory workers less than men doing the same job is absurd." He went on to say, "Paying six women workers less money than their male co-workers for different work of equal value is unfair and absurd."
The judge was well aware that he was dealing with a case of equivalent work, rather than identical work, but he still considered it a violation of the rights of women under the Quebec Charter of Rights; it was a discriminatory action to pay the women less than the men for the kind of work they were both doing, which was somewhat dissimilar.
As far as the other cases go, I think there are still enough cases that have been dealt with by Quebec under the equivalent law to indicate that it is working. Even though there are small sums involved, the principle has been established in the nine cases I mentioned. Dissimilar work should be compared, and it is discrimination if they are paid different rates for work of equivalent value.
The state of Washington had an interesting case. Judge Tanner ruled that it was discrimination to pay the state employees different amounts in a case of work of equal value. Some of the statements Judge Tanner brought forth are worth listening to. He said he found overwhelming evidence that the state of Washington had illegally maintained a compensation system that discriminated on the basis of sex.
Going beyond the notion of equal pay for equal work, which is explicitly required by a 1963 statute, Judge Tanner ordered the state government to pay women at a rate reflecting "the full evaluated work" of their jobs. "The state," he said, "had already conducted its own job evaluation studies measuring the levels of skill, effort and responsibility required for various jobs." He found that there was a 20 per cent disparity in salary between predominantly male and predominantly female jobs having the same intrinsic value, or "comparable work." The judge stressed that he was not making a subjective assessment but was relying on the state's own evaluations.
This judgement provided that nearly 15,000 women working in the state would receive pay increases amounting to several million dollars. The judgement is being appealed, but certainly it was an indication that there is thinking in the United States on the issue of comparable work. It would result in a 31 per cent pay increase overall for the 15,000 women. The estimate is that it would cost $7 million to bring them up to a level equivalent to that paid to male workers.
I also want to draw to the parliamentary assistant's attention several problems where women are being paid considerably less than men and where I do not think the present legislation or the amended legislation under Bill 141 as brought in originally would solve the problem. This is why we must change Bill 141; there are cases of workers being grossly discriminated against, yet the present legislation has not been able to solve their problems.
Let me refer first to the North York nurses who are seeking salaries equivalent to the male public health inspectors in the city's health department. The nurses, all women, are paid between $22,300 and $26,300 a year, while the salaries of public health inspectors range from about $28,000 to more than $31,000. It is true that they are two different jobs, but the educational qualifications for the women are higher than for the men and one can argue that their work is considerably equivalent; they are dealing with the public in enforcing public health standards.
It appears that it is a straight case of sex discrimination and that by accepting a different rate for the public health nurses, North York is in effect discriminating against them in saying the market figure for women reflects the worth of their work. In effect, public health nurses in the city of Toronto make considerably more than the North York nurses, but that has not been accepted by the North York public health department as a reason for increasing the wages in North York.
The nurses require university training in addition to their registered nursing certificate, whereas the inspectors require diploma training, not university training. That is one case where the present legislation will not give fair treatment and equality to women.
Another case involves the Toronto Star employees who sell advertising. There are 25 women employed by the Toronto Star whose job title is "classified ad solicitor." Their pay ranges from $354 to $459 a week. Their work, which involves selling advertising by telephone and using video display terminals, compares favourably in skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions to the work of outside advertising sales people. The outside sales people are paid $458 to $660 a week under the union agreement. Twelve of such employees are men.
There is a pay gap of $200 a week between the two job classes, one traditionally staffed by men and the other by women. It would appear that can only be explained by the fact that the Toronto Star considers one a female job and the other a male job and that it is paying the women less because it is maintaining what could be called a job ghetto.
The women at the Toronto Star, after consulting their lawyers, have decided that the present equal pay law on the statute books of Ontario would not rectify this situation; so they are trying a unique course. They have gone to the Ontario Human Rights Commission and charged discrimination. They may succeed in getting an award under that but it will be a first if they do because the Ontario Human Rights Commission has not handled very many charges of wage discrimination on the grounds that equal pay is not being paid. Presumably people have been channelled through the Employment Standards Act on that question. We will be watching that case.
To have to put women through the hearing and procedures of the Ontario Human Rights Commission is rather cumbersome, and it requires investigations and a lot of work before one actually gets their case heard before a tribunal, if it is accepted. We do not even know whether it has been accepted yet by the Ontario Human Rights Commission.
It seems to me that by a simple amendment to our present equal pay legislation, simply stating that equal pay for work of equal value is the criterion, we could save women a tremendous amount of work, hiring of lawyers and delay in getting justice in cases of this sort.
The third case where our present law would not solve any problem is the case of the Dominion Stores clerks across the province. There are 11,000 clerks at Dominion Stores; half of them are women, half are men. The women are all clerk As and comprise more than 90 per cent of that category; they are cashiers, price change clerks, meat wrappers, bakery counter clerks, finishers in the bakery department and snack bar attendants. All the clerk Bs are men; they are shelf stockers, carry-out clerks, and they receive and pack groceries.
Their union is the Retail Wholesale Union. Local 14, in one store, tried to negotiate equal pay in its contract two years ago, but the employer refused. The men earn $26 a week more than the women. This is a wage gap of more than $1,300 a year.
To correct myself, Mr. Chairman, this was a contract for all the clerks in the Dominion stores across the province. The union negotiates for them jointly.
The salary administrator of Dominion Stores, Mr. Vid Juodgudis, said they justify the wage gaps because the work is dissimilar. He also confirmed that workers are paid the segregated wage rates even when, on occasion, asked to perform each others' work. He also confirmed, when asked, that part-time workers performing both jobs are paid the same amount when working, namely, the top rate of $9.50 an hour. The full-time workers are the ones who are being discriminated against, but the part-time workers are recognized as doing the same work. This seems most illogical.
The government's proposed amendment to Bill 141 will not end this injustice. The employer will simply claim that these are dissimilar jobs; so this large group of employees, more than 5,000 clerks in the Dominion stores, will not be able to obtain justice in their wage rates.
I would like the parliamentary assistant to comment on whether he thinks the people in those three cases are being adequately looked after by the legislation we have.
I wonder whether the government is not ignoring this issue at its peril. Equal pay for work of equal value was accepted by all the political leaders in the last election. It was accepted by all three participants in the debate on women's issues; in fact, they were vying with each other in how far they were prepared to go.
I was at the debate and I made some notes on the positions of the three leaders. Mr. Mulroney said the principle of equal pay for work of equal value had not really been applied by the government even though it was in the law. He would see that contract compliance was introduced into the law whereby anybody doing business with the government would have to adopt equal pay for work of equal value. He said he would put his own house in order -- that is, the public service -- before he really got into contract compliance.
Mr. Turner had come out during the leadership campaign in favour of equal pay for work of equal value. When it came to the debate, he said that he agreed with the principle and that we should change from a passive to active promotion of the principle in the public service, in crown corporations and in all agencies under federal jurisdiction, but contract compliance, he thought, should wait for a federal-provincial conference.
Perhaps it is a good thing Mr. Turner is not the Prime Minister of Canada right now if we are going to have to wait for another federal-provincial conference, especially if Ontario were to sit at the conference table with its refusal to implement the principle even after voting for it in the Legislature.
Mr. Broadbent, of course, was able to say in the debate that the New Democratic Party had been long in favour of this principle. He also said: "You know, it is the law of Canada. Therefore, it is up to the government to get on with implementing it in the private sector as well as in the public sector, because the law applies to both." He also came out in favour of contract compliance.
With those three leaders leading the way, is the government opposing this principle at its peril? I find out that in the American campaign Mr. Mondale came out enthusiastically for the principle; even John Glenn and Gary Hart have done so, so it is also becoming a very popular issue in the United States.
The National Action Committee on the Status of Women, which represents about three million women drawn from 285 groups, sent a telegram to the Minister of Labour recently in which it said that it as a body was supporting the principle and that it was not a small minority, as the Minister responsible for Women's Issues seemed to be suggesting in the House last June when he said to the member for York South (Mr. Rae), "You people in the third party are only delegates. You are only speaking for a small group." I think he was repudiated and asked to withdraw that statement.
On motion by Hon. Miss Stephenson, the committee of the whole House reported progress.
The House recessed at 6 p.m.