33rd Parliament, 2nd Session

L013 - Tue 13 May 1986 / Mar 13 mai 1986














































The House met at 2 p.m.




Mr. McNeil: Since this government came to power through alliance, the privileges of the members of the official opposition appear to be eroding out of existence. At least one other member of this opposition and I have so far found it impossible to get copies of the throne speech for distribution among our constituents.

The day after the throne speech, I made a personal request at the press office of the Premier (Mr. Peterson) for 25 copies of the document. They were promised, as is the wont of this government; but as is the practice of this government, so far there has been no action. My assistant made a similar request a week ago on behalf of another member. He was informed that the government members were still sending out copies. They had priority, and when sufficient other copies were available, we would get ours.

I sincerely hope this practice will not be repeated with today's budget speech. I realize, of course, that the Premier feels that we on this side of the House are quite familiar with the makeup of that throne speech, having written the original. However, for the record, I would like to have some copies of the Liberal efforts at plagiarism.

I trust this matter of privilege will be investigated and corrected. After all, we in this party do represent more constituencies than does either of the two parties it takes to form a government today. If this is the Premier's version of open government, I have to ask to whom the government is open and suggest that he consider a functional alternative.


Ms. Gigantes: I have a message for the government on the question of equal pay for work of equal value. In spite of the fact that I am the only member of my family with no musical talent, I am sure members will not mind if I sing it:

It is April 1986;

We want pennies from heaven.

Liberals up to their old tricks,

No pennies from heaven.

They promised equal pay just one short year ago.

Now, my dears, what do they say?

It is a no show.

Doctors and the business crowd,

They all love merit.

But we are here to shout it loud,

"We want to share it."

So when they trot out excuses,

We'll kick their cabooses and say,

"Enough is enough; we want equal pay."


Mr. D. W. Smith: I know I cannot top that in singing, but I want to announce that I was able yesterday to attend the official opening of the day hospital program in my riding. It is a first for Lambton and we are very proud to have it there. I thank the Minister of Health (Mr. Elston) for seeing fit to provide the Charlotte Eleanor Englehart Hospital with funds of $102,000. This government is doing something for health care and we are very proud to be part of it.


Mr. Jackson: Last October 31 in a statement to this House, the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Fulton) promised the people of Burlington an additional GO train daily, beginning early in the new year. It is now early in May of that new year and there is no additional GO train, not now and possibly not for several years, according to his ministry.

Last October the minister spoke of pressing and extensive needs in Burlington to be addressed immediately. My community sees no reason those needs should not be addressed immediately. Apparently, the government now tells the people of Burlington that a $1.8-million expenditure on track improvements is too expensive to warrant a service which, six months ago, it agreed needed immediate action. It is true $1.8 million is a great deal of money, but the whole GO expansion program was approved at about $284 million.

If $12 million is a reasonable figure for an additional two trains a day to Milton with its population of 30,000, then is $1.8 million so unreasonable for the 116,000 people in Burlington? When this government has picked up over $2 billion this past year in windfall revenue, is $1.8 million so unreasonable?

No doubt we will hear hundreds of millions of dollars of promises in a couple of hours. The government has raised the question of its ability to honour its promises. After more than six months, the people of Burlington would like to know when they can expect the minister to honour his previous promises.


Mr. Martel: For days I have been calling the Ministry of Labour the swamp. Let me give members another example.

The following letters have been addressed to the Minister of Labour (Mr. Wrye), and we have received no answers to date: July 30, 1985; August 2, 1985; August 29, 1985; September 10, 1985; January 7, 1986; January 10, February 5, February 5, February 7, February 17, February 21, March 7, March 7, March 7, March 8, March 11, March 12, March 13 and March 20.

Everything gets fed into the swamp and nothing comes out in the form of answers.

Hon. Mr. Wrye: Some of those may be answered.

Mr. Martel: Let me tell members about the questions I have raised in the House and during the minister's estimates, when he also promised responses. I asked questions regarding Joe Flexer, isocyanate, Inglis, Jaycee Screw, joint health and safety committee investigations, ministry laboratories, policy on confidentiality of medical information, Robert Hunt Corp., Ministry of Transportation and Communications, death of Alan Douglas Brown on September 26, 1985, and there are unanswered questions raised in the House, which have been in Orders and Notices since November 26 and January 20.

What does the minister have staff over there for, since he cannot answer anything?


Mr. McCague: In June 1985, the Ministry of the Solicitor General knew that an appointment to the Orangeville police commission was needed. The citizens understand the politics of filling a vacancy, but they cannot fathom a gestation period of well in excess of nine months.


Mr. Philip: Today I will be reintroducing a bill which will allow the Province of Ontario Savings Office to make loans.

In 1921, the United Farmers of Ontario government started the Ontario savings offices to accept deposits and make loans to farmers. In 1923, the Conservative government removed the right of the savings offices to compete with the banks by making loans.

2:10 p.m.

At present, there are 21 branches of the Province of Ontario Savings Office but none in northern Ontario. In contrast to the $655.2 million on deposit in Ontario, the Alberta Treasury branches have deposits of $4.2 billion. In the year 1984-85, the Province of Ontario Savings Office produced a profit to the taxpayers of $2 million, but this could easily be increased.

On January 13, 1986, the Treasurer (Mr. Nixon) pointed out how his father was a strong supporter of the Province of Ontario Savings Office when he was Provincial Secretary of Ontario. On November 22, the same Treasurer stated that he was committed to an improvement of these offices.

Small business people, home owners in search of reasonable mortgages and farmers would benefit by an extension of POSO. I have made the case to the Treasurer on numerous occasions that he should follow the steps of his much-respected father and reconstitute the savings office in a manner that his father's government originally intended.


Mr. Andrewes: I want to draw to the members' attention the difficult financial circumstances faced by Heidehof Home for the Aged in the city of St. Catharines. During 1985, an arbitration award increased the overall wage level of staff in the home by some 40 per cent. Even through careful scrutiny of its budget and reduced hours of work, coupled with increased per diem rates to the residents, the board of directors of the home has not been able to cope with these financial circumstances.

Thirty-two per cent of the residents of the home are funded under the extended care program, while 51 per cent of the residents qualify. The board of directors of Heidehof is concerned that the funding system for homes for the aged is not equitable, given the expectation of residents and their families to access a continuum of care.

2:14 p.m.


Mr. Andrewes: My question was of the Minister without Portfolio, the member for London North (Mr. Van Horne), but I see he is not yet in attendance in the Legislature. The Minister of Health (Mr. Elston) is not here, nor is the Premier. Can we expect the Minister without Portfolio?

Mr. Speaker: To whom is the member addressing his question?

Mr. Andrewes: Perhaps we can stand down my first question.

Mr. Speaker: Does the House agree to stand down the first question?

Agreed to.


Mr. Timbrell: I would like to draw the attention of the Minister of Housing to today's Orders and Notices on page 2, item 21, which refers to the second reading of Bill 78.

Can the minister advise me whether he has had time, since his exchange with the member for Windsor-Riverside (Mr. D. S. Cooke) yesterday, to consult with the officials of his ministry as well as those people who give him his instructions in the government? Can he tell this House whether he intends to proceed with Bill 78 or whether it is his intention to withdraw the bill? If so, when will we see its successor?

Hon. Mr. Curling: I answered that question yesterday in the House. We intend to proceed with Bill 78 as it stands now.

Mr. Timbrell: Given his statement just now that he intends to proceed with Bill 78 as it stands, if I understand what he is saying, can he tell us whether it is his intention to bring forward, and if so when, amendments to implement the 11 recommendations made to him by his much-vaunted advisory committee?

Hon. Mr. Curling: The advisory committee's submission to me has been looked at in detail. If there are any amendments to be made to Bill 78, they will be made.

I see Bill 78 coming to cabinet committee by next week. I do not know how to answer the question of when it will be ready for second reading in the House. When it goes through the process of the cabinet committee and then goes to cabinet, the leaders will make arrangements to bring it into the House.

Mr. Timbrell: Judging by yesterday's Hansard and the response today, there seems to be an answer here for everybody: for those who want the bill to proceed as is; for those who want the bill to proceed with amendments, and for those who do not want the bill to proceed and to be replaced with something else.

In every corner of the province, the minister has gone out of his way to explain the virtues of open government in consultation with the tenants and the landlords who make up his advisory committee. They have made 11 specific proposals to him to amend Bill 78. Can the minister tell us today whether it is his intention to proceed to amend Bill 78 with all the proposals submitted to him? Or is this consultation process nothing but a sham, nothing but a hollow exercise and he is going to pick and choose a few things out of the agenda they have given him?

Hon. Mr. Curling: The proposal that was submitted to me by the advisory committee was well thought out and we looked at it. There will be amendments to Bill 78. When the bill comes forward, the honourable member will see the amendments and then he will have his time to make his amendments to the bill.


Mr. Speaker: Order. That question has been dealt with.


Mr. Charlton: I have a question for the Minister of Energy. Yesterday, in response to the member for York South (Mr. Rae) on the question of tritium export and sales, the minister emphasized Ontario Hydro workers' safety and the federal government's responsibility about export. He seemed to neglect the fact that Ontario Hydro is an Ontario crown corporation owned by his government. Can he tell us today his policy and the policy of his government in respect to the export of tritium by Ontario Hydro? Clearly, the tritium Ontario Hydro exports will be used either for military purposes or to displace tritium that can be used for military purposes.

Hon. Mr. Kerrio: I pointed out that the tritium issue was initiated for the safety of the workers at our nuclear plants so that it would be removed from the heavy water. That will not begin until next year. About a year from now, they will begin to get tritium in the clarifying of the heavy water.

I also pointed out that there would not be any on the market for another year and that it was being taken out for workers' safety . I now can tell the assembly, and I think it is very important I do so, that I also will give an undertaking that none of that tritium will be sold for other than peaceful purposes. I give members that undertaking; it is unequivocal.

Mr. Charlton: On November 1, 1984, in a question which the minister put to the then Minister of Energy, he said: "Hydro is putting on the hard sell to make money on tritium...Hydro is reckless in this matter and so is the government in not properly controlling the situation." Does the minister not understand that even if the tritium which Ontario Hydro sells is used for peaceful, domestic purposes, it will displace tritium currently being used for those purposes, which will then become available for military purposes?

Hon. Mr. Kerrio: I would add to the comment I have already made, that there will be no tritium supplied to replace any tritium that might be used in the United States for anything other than peaceful purposes. I propose to make that mandatory. I will make certain there will be no displacement of tritium for purposes other than peaceful ones.

Mr. Charlton: The four kilograms which Ontario Hydro will be producing each year exceeds by eight times the total amount of tritium needed for domestic purposes. Therefore, will the minister assure this House here and now that no Ontario Hydro tritium will be sold or exported for other than the very clearly defined domestic market and that the rest of the tritium will remain in storage?

2:20 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Kerrio: I want to be very clear. Yes, I will give the member the undertaking that there will be no tritium sold for anything other than peaceful purposes and that we will make certain it will not displace other tritium. We will give that undertaking to this House, and he can be sure that is the way it will be.


Mr. Martel: I have a question for my friend Russell Ramsay-Armstrong-Wrye, better known as the Minister of Labour, regarding Francis Spurgeon, a member of the Canadian Union of Public Employees who was working on a construction site in Oshawa and was killed by an asphalt truck on November 19, 1985.

Is the minister aware that at the inquest, held on May 7, 1986, evidence was presented that indicated the death was the result of the violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, regulation 130, for construction sites? The truck backed up without a signalman to direct it, and there was no signalman assigned to the work site. Why, when the minister's inspector wrote the report on the order after the death, was that order also ignored?

Hon. Mr. Wrye: The honourable member can say anything he wants to about me, the minister; that is fair ball. However, he should understand that the people who are working at the Ministry of Labour and in the occupational health and safety division are just as dedicated as he is himself, as I am or as are the many dedicated health and safety worker representatives.

I do not have the specifics of the case. Obviously, I will look into them and I will see the details from the inquest, which, according to the honourable member's question, appears to have taken place last week. I will see the transcript, if necessary, and I will look into the case and report back to the member.

Mr. Martel: Since the letter I am quoting from went to the minister on May 9 from CUPE, I talk about the swamp with reason. It got lost too.

Why did the inspectors not follow up on the compliance of this order, and why is it still the practice to spread asphalt without a signalman assigned to direct trucks onsite when we know there can be a repeat? If this man got killed that way and if this is going on province-wide, could we not have another fatality from violating his act?

Hon. Mr. Wrye: Very clearly, the matter the member raises -- and I am not trying to make light of it -- is very serious. I will look into it immediately. There are 49 minutes left in the question period, and if I can have an answer before then, I will give the member an answer.

Mr. Martel: Good. When he is asking his staff, perhaps they could look up the answer to one final supplementary so he can provide that for us as well. Is he going to prosecute Bennet Construction Co., or is he simply going to let it get away with murder as well?

Hon. Mr. Wrye: The honourable member has had a copy of our prosecution policy for some period of time now. I would have thought he would have read it. The matter of prosecution is not a decision that is taken by a minister. It is a decision that is taken ultimately, in our case, in consultation with the deputy minister and the executive director and, indeed, upon legal advice, including advice, if necessary, from the crown law office.

It should be understood, and I would have thought the member would have understood, that very often the evidence that comes out at an inquest is very important in a decision about whether to prosecute. The member is obviously aware that we have a one-year period from the date of the alleged offence in which we can prosecute. That would allow us unti1 November 1986. The inquest was on last week. When the inquest is completed, the legal branch will, as it often does, review the evidence that came out at the inquest and a decision will be made on that basis.


Mr. Andrewes: My question is to the Minister without Portfolio, the member for London North, and it concerns care for the elderly, a matter this minister has been studying for some 10 months.

A recent article in the Hamilton Spectator indicated that fewer than one per cent of the acute care hospital beds were available for elective surgery and emergency treatment in that city, rather than a desired 15 per cent, and that 222 elderly people in the region were waiting in hospital for long-term care.

What has the minister done to convince his colleagues to remedy this very risky and very serious situation?

Hon. Mr. Van Horne: The honourable member and some of his colleagues are, interestingly enough, starting to show some interest in the affairs of seniors in our province. I remind the members opposite this is the 95th day we have been sitting here as a government and only in the past four or five days have they been concerned enough to ask any questions.

I have been working very closely with my colleagues the Minister of Health (Mr. Elston) and the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Sweeney) regarding all aspects of service to seniors. There is no question that in some municipalities there is a crying need. I submit that part of that need comes from the system being mismanaged in the past. When members see the report we will be tabling very soon on services for seniors, they will realize we do have some suggestions for improvement.

Mr. Andrewes: The minister just walked into it. If I were looking for a supercilious and frivolous answer to a very serious question, I could have asked one of the other members of the cabinet who are more active in that capacity.

Dr. Robert Kirby, executive director of the Hamilton District Health Council, indicated that the needs for extended care beds have not changed for one year but that the government has failed to fund these beds. This is one of many accessibility problems we will be bringing to the attention of the government. What is the minister going to do about it?

Hon. Mr. Van Horne: I have already indicated I will be presenting a white paper; the date of that is not too far away. The paper, along with the ongoing consultative process we have established over here -- something that did not exist with the previous government -- will solve many of these problems.

Mr. Andrewes: If the minister is looking for a white paper and a consultative process, here is one put out by our caucus some six weeks ago. We have been waiting 10 months for the minister's white paper and we are still waiting.

Recently, an elderly woman by the name of Mrs. Katrina Zilienski was discharged from St. Mary's General Hospital in Timmins and placed in a nursing home in Haileybury, about 200 kilometres away. She is one of 38 cases in Timmins alone. In the Ottawa Civic Hospital, 102 chronic care patients occupy acute care beds while awaiting placement. In the Niagara region, 487 people are on a waiting list for extended care beds. Why does the minister continue to create this severe accessibility problem and aggravate human suffering by delaying the funding for nursing home beds that were allocated and announced more than a year ago?

Hon. Mr. Van Horne: If the member is referring to the allocation his government made reference to, the task of the actual allocation is now within our domain. The person to whom he might want to address the question in part might be the Minister of Health. However, in his absence, as I indicated earlier, I submit that we are very much aware of the shortcomings within the system the previous government developed over 42 years and will do everything humanly possible to correct them.

2:30 p.m.

Mr. Andrewes: Is that what the minister is going to tell those people lying in those beds and their families?

Hon. Mr. Van Horne: I might tell them who is responsible.

Mr. Speaker: Order. I must remind members again that they are wasting the time of other members who have questions.


Mr. Timbrell: I would like to come back to the Minister of Housing, the minister responsible for rent review. Now that he has cleared up, I hope for the last time, the confusion that has reigned since December, when he announced Bills 78 and 79, and has told us we are going to proceed with Bill 78 with amendments, can he assure this House that those amendments will be introduced in sufficient time to allow for full debate of the bill in this chamber and then full consideration, including public hearings, in committee before the House rises for the summer recess? In this way, almost one million tenant families in Ontario will have ended once and for all the confusion that began the day he became minister and had to refer to some policy book to tell the press and the public what his policy was.

Hon. Mr. Curling: If the honourable member attended the House more often, he would get the sequence of what is going on. It is the responsibility of every elected member to be in attendance, and I have been.

Let me tell the member again that the bill will be introduced in time. We hope his party does not use any delaying tactics. The bill will be there for public input, the member's input and that of the third party.

We will have an open government. There is no confusion. In fact, when I introduced the bill and brought the tenants and the landlords together, some sanity came to this whole thing.

Mr. Timbrell: That reminds me of the old expression about the patients with the keys running the institution, if the minister is talking about sanity.

The fact is that in January, before this House rose, and in February, I communicated to his House leader our willingness to deal with Bill 78 to serve the tenants of this province. It was the minister who asked that the bill be put off, not the opposition parties. He should not try to Slough off his responsibility.

Is the minister going to proceed with all the recommendations made to him by his advisory committee? Is he going to implement every one of the 11 recommendations so we can assure our constituents, 20,000 in my riding alone, that we know what his policy is and can tell them how to deal with rent increases and what is going to happen to them? What will his policy be?

Hon. Mr. Curling: This is the first time I would say the honourable member is right. Yes, we did ask to postpone the bill because we had had good input from landlords and tenants through their proposals. That is the reason we postponed it.

We knew we were going to put a very careful policy in place so that when it came before the members, they would have something substantial to debate. The member has not made any input into this. We hope that between now and the time the House rises, the member will give some input.


Mr. Speaker: Order. Will the member for Cochrane South (Mr. Pope) and the Attorney General (Mr. Scott) control themselves?

On previous occasions I have reminded members of standing order 19(a). Please address your questions and responses to the chair. I see a lot of finger-pointing across the floor. It would be much better if you addressed your questions and pointed at the Speaker.


Mrs. Grier: I have a question for the Minister of the Environment concerning the very serious revelations about the continuing degradation of the Niagara River. The minister has previously assured this House that he would not sign an agreement with respect to cleaning up the Niagara River if it did not contain assurances that there would be a timetable to end the discharges and that the toxic dumps would be removed.

Can the minister confirm that, despite whatever his federal counterpart may have to say about him these days, be will not sign an agreement merely for the sake of having an agreement and providing a photo opportunity for federal officials?

Hon. Mr. Bradley: The negotiations, as the member is likely aware, have been going on for several months, and four parties have been involved in the negotiations at the federal and provincial levels here and at the state and national levels there.

I have indicated consistently that the position of Ontario is based upon the recommendations of the report of the Niagara River Toxics Committee. First, there should be a scheduled reduction of pollution into the Niagara River; second, there should be extensive monitoring, and third, there should be provision for the excavation of those toxic waste sites immediately adjacent to the river.

In all good conscience, I could not sign any agreement on behalf of the people of this province that did not contain those provisions.

Mrs. Grier: The minister has made his position plain. However, since it is obvious the federal government is willing to sign any agreement, no matter how weak, does the minister not think that perhaps the time has come for independent action by Ontario? Will the minister consider launching a legal action against the companies in the United States for damages for the pollution they have caused to our environment?

Hon. Mr. Bradley: Whenever there is an opportunity to enter into the court system, where we can be effective, this ministry is prepared to do so. The member may be aware that we have an intervention at the present time into the Hyde Park cleanup on behalf of the owners of that particular company. We are intervening in that. The member will be aware that we have made a legal intervention in the case of the Niagara Falls, New York, waste water plant. We appealed the S-area case.

In any of these specific instances where Ontario can productively enter into the court system to ensure that we get by legal means what may not be obtainable by political means, we are prepared to do that.

Mrs. Grier: I am not sure the minister understands my question --

Mr. Speaker: I am sorry about that. However, you did have a question and a supplementary. I am sure you will have another opportunity to question the minister further. New question; the member for Brantford.

Mr. Gillies: My question is --

Mr. Speaker: Order. I am sorry; I missed the member for Grey.


Mr. McKessock: I have a question for the Minister of Agriculture and Food. It is my understanding that the tripartite --

Mr. Pope: He is not here.

Ms. Fish: Who's on first?

Hon. Mr. Bradley: I will answer the question.

Mr. O'Connor: He is out getting the answer.

An hon. member: He is out standing in his field.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Mr. Martel: Just answer the question. You have the note.

Mr. Speaker: Order. I must remind the members that according to the recently passed standing orders, and the standing orders that have been on the books for some time, questions must be taken in rotation.

Mr. McKessock: I have a question for the Minister of Agriculture and Food. It is my understanding that the tripartite stabilization program for farmers in Canada and Ontario came into effect as of January 1, 1986. It is also my understanding that applications under this program are being accepted until the end of next month, June 30. Whose responsibility is it to advertise this program? I am not sure all farmers are aware of the procedures for application.

2:40 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Riddell: Application forms were mailed directly from Ottawa last week to the pork producers who received the retroactive payments for 1985 and to all those meat producers who were on the red meat plan. I hope application forms will also be available in the extension branch offices throughout Ontario and in the Farm Credit Corp. offices within the next two weeks. We also have advertised the program since the change of government in a very widely accepted publication put out by this ministry. That publication is OMAF News. We are going to be doing a series in OMAF News about stabilization. There is no reason the producers should not be aware of the stabilization program that is in effect.

Mr. McKessock: Can the minister tell us how many products in Ontario are going to be covered by the tripartite stabilization program? If the farmers miss the June 30 deadline, what will be their next opportunity to make application for the program?

Hon. Mr. Riddell: There is a program in effect for slaughter cattle, for the cow-calf operators, for the pork producers, including the weaners, and for lambs. There have been preliminary discussions for the backgrounder cattle; in other words, the feeder and stocker cattle. I hope we will have a program in place some time this year.

In answer to the second part of the question, yes, I strongly advise the producers to enrol immediately. If they fail to enrol by the end of June, there is a fairly stiff penalty.


Mr. Gillies: That was most enlightening.

My question is for the get-tough Minister of Labour. Last November, when the minister introduced his new "comply or get prosecuted" order, he said he expected to see a good number of additional prosecutions in the area of occupational health and safety. In fact, from the time that announcement was made until April 1, 1986, there were 84 prosecutions; in the same period last year, there were 98.

Will the minister tell us why his rhetoric is so at variance with the facts as to jeopardize his precious credibility?

Hon. Mr. Wrye: The ignorance of the honourable member is astounding. The fact of the matter is, and I thought the member would know this fundamental fact, the prosecutions that come forward in the early days are prosecution requests which are delayed from the days before the new orders policy came into effect. Having had the effect of the new orders policy and the prosecutions that flowed from those orders, such as prosecutions for noncompliance, only now and in the months to come will the member see the true effect of the new orders policy in terms of prosecutions.

I am confident that when the numbers come forward in the estimates of the ministry this year --

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Mr. Gillies: It is apparent that the arrogance of the Premier (Mr. Peterson) is creeping rapidly through this cabinet. I say to the minister, who has been minister since July 1985 and not since November 1985, when he made his announcement, it appears that for six months he did not know he was going to bring in this new policy.

Mr. Speaker: What is the question?

Mr. Gillies: My supplementary question is --

Mr. Speaker: I thought that was the supplementary.

Mr. Gillies: -- in regard to one such case. The minister was in the House yesterday expecting us to pat him on the back for filing notice of prosecution with the Metro Toronto works department for the sewage treatment plant. Then he went out into the hallway and told the media he was going to delay laying charges. The minister has failed to address the question of prosecution of that plant. When is he going to stop the rhetoric and act in regard to that sewage treatment plant?

Hon. Mr. Wrye: Obviously, and unfortunately and regrettably, the member's ability to review policy of this ministry stops in terms of reading the public press. I am aware that the Toronto Sun this morning reported there would be a delay in prosecution while we talked with the company. I want to reiterate very briefly what I said yesterday, that the discussions with the company are about earlier compliance. I share with the member the concern he has about early compliance. It has absolutely nothing to do with possible prosecution, notice of which was given on Saturday.

There is one other change between this government and the previous government. Under the previous government the order would have been simply reissued; this government intends a possible prosecution as the result of noncompliance.


Mr. Philip: I have a question for the Minister of Housing, one which he failed to answer yesterday. I hope I will be able to get an answer today. Yesterday I was able to extract from the minister that a large number of tenants are excluded from the protection of Bill 11, namely, those on whose buildings demolition permits had already been issued. What does he intend to do to protect those tenants from losing the roofs over their heads?

Hon. Mr. Curling: Sometimes members who are looking for an answer do not want to accept the answer I give, which is the correct answer.


Hon. Mr. Curling: I thank members very much. I said those buildings that had been issued demolition permits would not be included under Bill 11.

Mr. Philip: Is the minister saying that nothing will be done for all those tenants and that they will be out on the street? Does the minister not feel somewhat responsible that it has taken him 10 months to introduce demolition controls in Bill 11, the very controls his own leader was able to introduce in a private member's bill two years ago? Will the minister not agree at least to introduce a freeze on all demolitions until such time as his bill can be amended and corrected to include some retroactive component so those people will not lose their homes as a result of his negligence?

Hon. Mr. Curling: I share the honourable member's concern. The new Rental Housing Protection Act was brought in to protect not only those people subject to eviction because of demolition, extensive renovations or conversions to condominiums; it is wider policy legislation than that. I am very concerned about those people. We had hoped to bring in that legislation early enough to protect all, but the bill is not retroactive. I share the member's concern, but I do not think there is very much we can do at this stage.


Mr. Brandt: I have a question for the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology. I have had numerous contacts from firms in my riding that are having a great deal of difficulty with the acquisition of liability insurance. One firm, by the name of Lamsar Mechanical, has had a 1,300 per cent increase in its premiums. Sarnia Tank and Vessel has had an increase in annual premium from $1,500 to $30,000, in spite of the fact that this firm has a 21-year accident-free record. Is the ministry prepared to provide financial assistance to some of these private corporations that are attempting to come to grips with the situation and to provide insurance to the corporations under the circumstances I have identified?

Hon. Mr. O'Neil: The Slater report recognizes many of the same issues the member has just mentioned. We are looking at some of the recommendations and the alternatives to see how this government can possibly assist people such as those the member has mentioned.

Mr. Brandt: I appreciate the mention of the Slater report by the honourable minister. Did he, as the representative of industry in this province, make representation to the Treasurer (Mr. Nixon) to request such financial assistance in the budget we are going to hear within the next couple of hours?

Hon. Mr. O'Neil: The Treasurer is aware of some of the --

Mr. Mancini: What kind of assistance? What a silly question.

Mr. Brandt: What kind of stupid remark is that?

Mr. Andrewes: He has forgotten all about small businesses.

Mr. Speaker: Order. Interjections are out of order.

2:50 p.m.

Hon. Mr. O'Neil: The Treasurer is aware of the many problems some of these businesses have; those have been relayed to him. We are still examining the Slater report to see how we can remedy some of them.


Mr. Grande: My question is for the Minister of Housing. Can the minister inform the House where the tenants at 261 Vaughan Road in my riding stand in regard to Bill 11? These tenants were served eviction notices. The landlord has received approval to renovate from the city of York. They went to court on April 18, but the judge has postponed the decision, waiting to see what the government is going to do. Can the minister tell us where these tenants stand?

Hon. Mr. Curling: If the judge is waiting for the action this government is going to take in regard to demolitions or renovations, he has seen it now. We are going to take a very strong stand in preserving any affordable rental stock which might be lost to demolition or to conversion. I think the judge has enough evidence on where we are going to go to make his decision.

Mr. Grande: As demonstrated by the previous question from the member for Etobicoke (Mr. Philip), it is obvious these tenants also stand out in the street in the dark, according to what the minister is suggesting. Because these tenants were rebuffed by the minister in February, when they came to him with the specific concerns they had about losing their homes, can he inform us where Mrs. Mundy, who is working four hours a day, earning $5 an hour and paying $285 a month -- which means 70 per cent of her money goes for rental accommodation -- is going to find accommodation in a market that demands $600 to $700 a month?

Hon. Mr. Curling: There are a number of people in those situations. I sympathize with that condition. We brought in the new Rental Housing Protection Act so that situations such as these do not continue. This was not happening yesterday, nor the day before, nor five months ago. It has been happening for years and no action was taken on the matter.


Mr. Speaker: Order. It is very difficult to hear the questions and the responses. I thought the member for Ottawa Centre (Ms. Gigantes) got us off on the right key today.


Mr. McFadden: I will direct a question to the Minister of Colleges and Universities. In the speech from the throne, the government set out, as one of its policy goals for our colleges and universities, the avoidance of unnecessary program duplication. In view of the concerns expressed by the universities, will the minister define for this House what the government means by "unnecessary program duplication"?

Hon. Mr. Sorbara: I am glad to see that my friend the member for Eglinton is continuing down the definition trail. He got through a few terms a couple of weeks ago, and I think we had a definition; today's definition is "unnecessary duplication." Let me answer by way of example.

Very recently, on or about March 28, our ministry and this government approved an allocation to the University of Toronto to purchase a supercomputer. The government contribution to that facility is some $10 million. The costs of these kinds of technologies cannot be allocated to every single institution, although many institutions in this province will make use of them.

That is an example of where the government has identified a priority and found a way to involve most of our institutions in relation to that priority so that we will not have unnecessary duplication.

Mr. McFadden: I asked the minister for a definition since he is the minister of a learned portfolio. The October budget called for the transfer of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education to the University of Toronto on the grounds of the elimination of duplication. Since the hearings of the standing committee on general government, day after day throughout this province, have revealed that this stated rationale for the transfer of OISE was ill founded, fallacious and even false, will the minister assure the House that the proposal contained in the speech from the throne will not be implemented in such a misguided and misconceived manner?

Hon. Mr. Sorbara: I enjoyed the definition. I enjoyed the songs today. We could have a spelling bee here today if it were the view of the member for Eglinton that we should do that. I am not sure what proposal in the speech from the throne he is talking about.

He raises the question of OISE and bringing those two very respected institutions together. He raised that very question with me in the standing committee on general government, and he asked a question about duplication. I said at that time, and I say to the member now, that we will be avoiding duplication in that instance but we will be accomplishing far more than the avoidance of duplication; we will be joining the energies of two very respected institutions.

It is our view, and it is a matter of government policy, that those institutions, working together under the terms of a union that are satisfactory to both, will be healthy for the post-secondary system in general and will be of great benefit to the education community in Ontario in general, at the primary, secondary and post-secondary levels. I think my friend the member for Eglinton is slowly being convinced that that view is the appropriate one.


Ms. Gigantes: My question is to the Attorney General and the minister responsible for women's issues. Will the minister explain why his government is proceeding with the persecution by prosecution of doctors who are providing abortion services in clinics instead of fulfilling the personal commitment of the Premier (Mr. Peterson), who promised that each woman would have full and equal access to therapeutic abortions in Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Scott: I thank the honourable member for the topical question. Let me say that my obligation as Attorney General is to enforce the Criminal Code in those cases where it is brought to our attention by the police that there are reasonable and probable grounds to launch a prosecution. I intend to carry forward that duty in the best way I can. Any other questions are for the Minister of Health (Mr. Elston).

Ms. Gigantes: As the minister responsible for women's issues, this minister has more responsibilities than simply the legal questions involved. What measures beyond the task forcing yet again of this issue is this government going to take to provide fairness and equity for women who need abortions in Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Scott: I do not see any conflict between my role as Attorney General and my role as minister responsible for women's issues. In the Ontario women's directorate, we have an elaborate series of programs designed to deal with a wide range of problems affecting women in the province. The member has access to them. If there are any particularities on which she thinks suggestions can be made for improvement, I will be delighted to have them, either first hand here today or in some other way.

Mr. Speaker: New question; the member for Durham-York.

Mr. Stevenson: I have a question for the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Riddell).

Mr. Speaker: I am sorry. The member for York East.

3 p.m.


Ms. Hart: My question is directed to the Minister of Citizenship and Culture.

Some hon. members: Which one?


Mr. Speaker: Order.

Ms. Hart: My question relates to the Don Valley brickworks in the riding of York East. Many of us in that riding are very interested in the future of that development. Can the minister tell us the status of the ministry's involvement in what is for us a most important environmental issue?

Hon. Ms. Munro: Since the fall of 1985, the Ministry of Citizenship and Culture has been involved in trying to look at the heritage aspects of the Don Valley brickyards. Initially in the fall of 1985, we placed a stop order on the construction by Torvalley Associates. Since then we have moved to investigate a designation through the Ontario Heritage Act. We have involved all concerned bodies, including the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Ontario Heritage Foundation, the Metropolitan Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, the Friends of the Valley, the local universities and on and on.

This ministry believes the designation will protect the historical aspect of the brickyards, the north slope specifically.

Ms. Hart: Can the minister tell us why the most unusual step of designating a piece of land for heritage preservation was taken with respect to the Don Valley Brickworks?


Mr. Speaker: Order. I offer this gavel to any member who would like to come up and listen from here.

Hon. Ms. Munro: I think I referred to all the interested parties that had expressed an interest in the historical and archeological significance of the land and to our ministry agency, the Ontario Heritage Foundation, which is charged with the responsibility of protecting our heritage.

We are designating the north slope of the Don Valley brickyard. We have had good advice, not only from the foundation but from the University of Toronto and the International Union for Quaternary Research that there is substantial value to the geological and historical features. Torvalley is appealing the case before the Metropolitan Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. We expect the appeal will be turned down. If it is, we expect the Ontario Heritage Foundation will continue to work at designating the property.


Mr. Speaker: I will wait patiently.


Mr. Stevenson: I have a question for the Minister of Agriculture and Food. Will he explain why some farmer elevator operators have been paid for corn grown on their own farms and lost in the McKinlay bankruptcy while others in the same position have not?

Hon. Mr. Riddell: If a grain elevator operator is also a producer and can prove that the grain that went into his elevator was his own, then he becomes eligible in the same way as any other producer. However, if it is stored grain from another producer, then it is a different story. If he could prove it was his production, he is eligible.

Mr. Stevenson: A number of producers have been treated extremely unfairly. Am I to understand that if the farmers who have not been paid become sleazy businessmen and declare bankruptcy in their own elevator operations, then they will be compensated for the grain they have not been paid for at this date?

Hon. Mr. Riddell: The member would have to send me over the specific case. I do not believe that to be the fact whatsoever. This ministry does not bring in programs that make people become sleazy. I do not accept there are sleazy operators out there.


Mr. Speaker: Order. I could recess for five minutes, but then the clock would stop, so I will not.


Mr. Morin-Strom: I have a question for the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology in regard to some statements made at the Canadian Pacific annual meeting late last week. Chief executive William Stinson singled out Algoma Steel Corp. Ltd. as an early candidate for write-downs. He went on to note that major restructuring is planned at Algoma Steel. He also stated CP intends to reduce its exposure to commodity price cycles and to expand outside Canada.

Has the minister investigated Canadian Pacific's intentions with respect to long-term investment or disinvestment in Algoma Steel and the potential effects on the long-term viability of this steel plant? What action is his ministry taking in regard to the employees and communities of Saint Ste. Marie and Canadian Pacific's stated intentions?

Hon. Mr. O'Neil: As the member knows, I set up a meeting about a week ago for him, for myself and for some of our ministry officials. That was one of the matters brought to our attention by the member and discussed. It is something we are checking into.

Mr. Wildman: In view of the minister's interest, does he agree that a company such as Canadian Pacific, which has gained a great deal of profit through the exploitation of the resources of northern Ontario and the whole province, owes something more to the community than the kind of statement made to the employees of Algoma Ore division in Wawa this morning? The company informed the workers there were only two choices for that operation: either complete shutdown and the layoff of all employees, with devastating effect to the town of Wawa, or cutting of the capacity by one half and laying off 175 workers.

What does the minister believe corporations such as Canadian Pacific and Algoma Steel owe the communities that have provided them with so much wealth over the years? What is this government going to do to prevent this kind of disadvantage in northern Ontario?

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. O'Neil: Just as the member has expressed concern, we also have many concerns in this area. When the member for Sault Ste. Marie (Mr. Morin-Strom) met with us last week, he expressed somewhat those same concerns. The company certainly has an obligation.


Mr. Runciman: My question is for the Minister of Correctional Services. Will the minister inform the House about the status of the secure young offenders facility announced for the Brockville vicinity almost one year ago?

Hon. Mr. Keyes: At present, the status is no different from its status exactly one year ago. We still have not secured funding for the structure. There has been no direction taken with regard to that facility that would give the member any cause for concern about its location.

3:10 p.m.

Mr. Runciman: Yesterday I informed the House that a badly defeated Liberal candidate was announcing government grants in my riding, an unprecedented example of shabby, shoddy, cheap politics.


Mr. Speaker: Order. You may or may not get in your supplementary.

Mr. Runciman: Will the minister confirm that he is engaged in the same kind of cheap political game in respect to this facility and that the only reason for the foot-dragging is the fact that the riding is not held by a Liberal?


Mr. Speaker: Because of the noise, I do not know whether the minister heard the question.

Hon. Mr. Keyes: I have reasonably good hearing, but with so many asses braying, I could not quite make out the question.


Ms. Bryden: I have a question for the Minister of Labour. Recently, we learned from Lois Sweet's column in the Toronto Star of April 30 that an Ontario working couple, ready and willing to adopt an older child, was unable to do so because no adoption leave is provided in Ontario law. When is the minister going to bring in legislation to plug this gap and at least put adopting parents on an equal footing with natural parents, who are entitled to 17 weeks' maternity leave under the Employment Standards Act?

Hon. Mr. Wrye: The honourable member raises an excellent point and a matter that is of concern to the government. We are looking at a series of amendments to the Employment Standards Act. As I am sure the member knows, there are a number of areas that need to be changed and improved, and we would like to bring them forward as a comprehensive package. I can assure the member that we are looking very actively at making adoption leave part of that package.



Mr. Jackson: On the occasion of today's budget announcement, I have petitions from more than 3,000 constituents from Burlington South:

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

"We request the government of Ontario to reduce gasoline tax by 1.1 cents a litre from 8.3 cents a litre to 7.2 cents a litre immediately and to phase in further reductions over three years to 5.4 cents a litre by 1989."

I hope the Treasurer (Mr. Nixon) will take note of that in the next two hours.

Mr. Wildman: In the same vein, I wish to table a petition that reads as follows --


Mr. Speaker: Order. Will the members please allow the member presenting the petition to be heard?

Mr. Wildman: "To the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of the province of Ontario:

"We request the government of Ontario to reduce gasoline tax by 1.1 cents a litre from 8.3 cents a litre to 7.2 cents a litre immediately and to phase in further reductions over three years to 5.4 cents a litre by 1989."

I hope this will fïnally end the differential between northern and southern Ontario.

Mr. Eves: I have before me a petition signed by constituents of Parry Sound riding, which reads as follows:

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

"We request the government of Ontario to reduce gasoline tax by 1.1 cents a litre from 8.3 cents a litre to 7.2 cents a litre immediately and to phase in further reductions over three years to 5.4 cents a litre by 1989."

I am sure the Treasurer (Mr. Nixon) will substantially reduce gasoline taxes in his budget today, especially in the light of his acknowledged $2-billion windfall in revenue.

Mr. J. M. Johnson: I have a number of petitions from the constituency of the good riding of Wellington-Dufferin-Peel, which read as follows:

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

"We request the government of Ontario to reduce gasoline tax by 1.1 cents a litre from 8.3 cents a litre to 7.2 cents a litre immediately and to phase in further reductions over three years to 5.4 cents a litre by 1989."

The budget later today will be a perfect time to take immediate action.


Mr. Ferraro: I wish to table a petition signed by 60 people, mostly from my riding, which reads:

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

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

"Whereas it is our constitutional right to have available and to choose the health care system of our preference;

"And whereas naturopathy has had self-governing status in Ontario for more than 42 years;

"We petition the Ontario Legislature to call on the government to introduce legislation that would guarantee naturopaths the right to practise their art and science to the fullest without prejudice or harassment."

Mr. Shymko: I have a similar petition:

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

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

"Whereas it is our constitutional right to have available and to choose the health care system of our preference;

"And whereas naturopathy has had self-governing status in Ontario for more than 42 years;

"We petition the Ontario Legislature to call on the government to introduce legislation that would guarantee naturopaths the right to practise their art and science to the fullest without prejudice or harassment."

Mr. Ward: I have a petition signed by 110 constituents:

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

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

"Whereas it is our constitutional right to have available and to choose the health care system of our preference;

"And whereas naturopathy has had self-governing status in Ontario for more than 42 years;

"We petition the Ontario Legislature to call on the government to introduce legislation that would guarantee naturopaths the right to practise their art and science to the fullest without prejudice or harassment."



Mr. Philip moved first reading of Bill 17, An Act respecting the Province of Ontario Savings Office.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Philip: I hope this bill will be adopted in the budget by the Treasurer (Mr. Nixon) in the name of his father, who first endorsed the bill in 1921. The bill provides for an expanded Province of Ontario Savings Office with the power to make loans and offer other financial services in competition with the banks in this province.


Mr. Speaker: Pursuant to standing order 30(a), I have been informed that the member for Brantford (Mr. Gillies) is dissatisfied with the response from the Minister of Labour (Mr. Wrye). The matter will be dealt with on Thursday evening at 6:30.

As has been previously arranged, before I call for orders of the day, I do now leave the chair and the House will resume at approximately 4 p.m.

The House recessed at 3:20 p.m.

4 p.m.



Hon. Mr. Nixon moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. Peterson, that this House approves in general the budgetary policy of the government.

Mr. Speaker: As has been the custom, the Treasurer has requested that all members receive a copy of the budget prior to his speech. I ask the indulgence of the House while the pages distribute copies of the budget.


Hon. Mr. Nixon: While the pages are completing the distribution, I thought I might say a word to the House about the assistance I received in preparing the budget.

I want to acknowledge Deputy Minister Brock Smith and Assistant Deputy Minister Peter Sadlier-Brown, the budget chief, who are well known to people in this House, for their assistance to me in the budget consultation process and during the period when the budget was being put together.

I also want to express my appreciation to my own staff, particularly Barbara Sullivan and Brock Armstrong, for their assistance, kindness and friendship during these weeks of consultation and hard work.

I also appreciated the submissions from the many organizations and individuals who came to my office for consultations about the budget and who have spoken to me in many parts of the province.

I want to assure all members of the House that this beautiful podium that has been provided for seat 6 this afternoon was not my idea, but it is an excellent addition to the traditions of the House. Maybe it will be available to any member when he or she wants to make a presentation that has to be supported by what one would call copious notes.

With that, I am pleased to present my second budget to the Legislature. It represents a continuation of the themes I presented to the House last October. It is a statement of the current economic outlook, a commitment to action and an expression of our philosophy on public finance.

Let me open on a positive note by reporting that the outlook for Ontario's economy has improved significantly since my last budget. Part of this improvement is due to various external factors, such as an exchange rate that favours Ontario exports, falling interest rates and lower oil prices. Part of it is due to a growing recognition of Ontario's fundamental strengths, which make it an attractive place in which to invest.

We are close to North America's major markets. We have a highly educated, highly skilled and highly motivated work force. We have access to the latest technologies and the knowhow to adopt those technologies to create local opportunities. We have competitive wage rates and labour legislation that guarantees fair compensation and fair treatment in the work place. Recent major investments by the automotive and other industries are a measure of these strengths.

Unfortunately, I must also report the obvious: Not all regions, industries and groups of people are sharing in the general prosperity. Many Ontario farmers are experiencing the worst conditions since the 1930s; low commodity prices have dramatically reduced farm incomes. The Ontario mining industry is struggling to survive a severe and prolonged downturn in metal prices. Some parts of northern and eastern Ontario, and some single-industry communities, are enduring severe economic hardships. In many parts of the province we are seeing continuing high levels of unemployment.

This budget responds to the individuals, regions and industries that need immediate help. But it offers something more: a series of concrete incentives to innovation and entrepreneurship -- the forces that are propelling Ontario into tomorrow's advanced industrial economy.

Underlying this approach is our conviction that the surest route to continuing prosperity is a combination of good business and businesslike government. The private sector's job is to create a competitive economy. The role of government is to help Ontario business get on with that job and to manage the province's own affairs in an efficient and cost-effective manner. This will be reflected in a move towards pay-as-you-go fiscal management, aimed at balancing operating expenditures with current revenues.

In addition, I will be announcing important changes to the way Ontario manages its capital spending. A central feature of the new management system will be a capital account from which each ministry's capital requirements will be met. Because the money will be allocated according to multi-year spending plans, each ministry will be able to manage with a degree of certainty never before possible.

We believe our new approach will be a fairer, more effective way of managing government expenditures. It is false economy to try to balance budgets by ignoring society's real needs. The restraint programs of the past decade have not reduced the real deficit, because some deficits do not show up on government balance sheets. Instead, they show up in the form of waiting lists for hospital beds, rows of portable classrooms, neglected universities and bumpy roads. We will face these problems directly while retaining our framework of fiscal responsibility.

Our social programs are an integral part of the wealth creation process. They are not add-ons that can be trimmed or scrapped according to the prevailing economic fashion. We need a healthy economy to pay for social programs; but social programs, in turn, help to build a healthy economy, by helping people adapt to the dislocations that economic progress sometimes creates.

4:10 p.m.

This is a budget that combines social concern with common sense. Under the leadership of the Premier (Mr. Peterson), the government's goal is to sustain the upsurge in investment, job creation and economic growth that now characterizes the Ontario economy and to build a more reliable and sensitive spectrum of social programs.

Ontario's economy is expected to grow in real terms this year by 4.2 per cent. Inflation is forecast at 3.8 per cent -- a long way below the double-digit rates of the early part of this decade. We expect to see 175,000 new jobs created in Ontario this year, and the unemployment rate is expected to average 6.9 per cent.

People and businesses are continuing to spend. Retail sales are expected to grow by 8.1 per cent this year, while investment will increase by 10.3 per cent. This vote of confidence by consumers and investors will receive some added stimulus from the recent decline in oil prices. Ontario's total crude oil bill in 1986 will be about $2.5 billion less than it was last year. However, we are aware of the damaging consequences of a sudden drop in oil prices to many regions of the country and some Ontario industries and workers, most notably Sault Ste. Marie.

Lower inflation is leading to lower interest rates. This is obviously good news for Ontario's economy, especially for the housing and construction sectors. This year, 68,000 housing starts in Ontario are forecast; that would make it the best year since 1978 for residential construction.

This strong economic climate gives us the opportunity to build the foundations of continued prosperity. We are determined that Ontario industry remains competitive in world markets. That means investing in the latest technology to produce better products and selling them more aggressively around the world. Many Ontario companies are doing that already. Our industries are investing billions of dollars to equip themselves for tomorrow's competitive challenges.

Despite this encouraging overall investment performance, many sectors of Ontario industry are less productive and efficient than their competitors abroad. In general, Ontario industry has been slow to take advantage of the revolution in technology which encourages flexible manufacturing and just-in-time production techniques. With notable exceptions, such as our automobile, auto parts and steel industries, manufacturing productivity in Ontario is lower than in the United States. Our current competitive advantage in manufactured goods is less a tribute to our efficiency than to the value of the Canadian dollar.

Improving productivity is mainly the responsibility of the private sector, but there is an important supporting role for government to play. That is why the Ontario government can and will promote technological innovation by strengthening the links between the private sector and Ontario's universities; support new and growing companies, which generate most of the new jobs; encourage better training and retraining to build tomorrow's skills in today's work place, and promote excellence in schools, colleges and universities.

Ontario is also participating in preparations for the Canada-US bilateral trade negotiations. We believe that good trade relations with the US are vital. Our objective is to secure and enhance access to American markets; but, in doing so, we continue to be concerned about the price Canadians may be asked to pay to achieve these objectives. We insist that Canada maintain its economic and political sovereignty. This includes the ability to have a flexible exchange-rate policy, to pursue necessary regional and industrial development policies, to preserve our social programs, to protect and nurture our cultural industries, to recognize the unique problems of the agricultural sector and to maintain existing trade arrangements such as the auto pact.

When a company invests in new plant or equipment, it buys the latest, most productive technology. That is why the level of capital investment is an important measure of our ability to compete internationally. By this yardstick, Ontario is doing well. The post-recession increase in capital spending in Ontario is still in full swing, but unless we invest even more in new technology, we will not be able to maintain our current level of competitiveness. We cannot afford to underestimate the skills and sophistication of such new players in the global trading arena as Brazil, Singapore, Hong Kong and Korea. We must also outperform our major competitors among the industrial countries, because we have some catching up to do.

As part of this strategy, the government has already announced the establishment of a council, chaired by the Premier, to direct a $1-billion technology fund for the next decade. The technology fund will support a wide variety of initiatives and joint ventures, some of them involving partnerships with the federal government, universities and the private sector. This budget sets aside $100 million this year as our initial contribution towards these initiatives.

Small business is the most dynamic component of the private sector and creates most of Ontario's new jobs. More than one half of the new jobs created in Ontario over the next five years will come from businesses that do not now exist. The throne speech announced programs to support growing Ontario companies. In addition, the Ontario Development Corp. will be reorganized to improve the delivery of assistance to small business.

The ODC will be expanded to include a new ventures program, which will provide loan guarantees of up to $15,000 to newly established businesses, along with advice and counsel to new entrepreneurs. A new program, Innovation Ontario, will provide pre-venture capital assistance to small businesses in the high-technology field. It will also provide assistance for licensing and joint ventures and for firms developing technology-intensive products purchased by all levels of government.

To carry out its expanded mandate, the ODC budget will be increased by $10 million this year. The Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology (Mr. O'Neil) will be announcing further details.

Most of Ontario's new businesses, and most of the new jobs, are generated in the service sector. To recognize the growing importance of this sector, we are broadening our small business development corporations program so that companies offering certain support services to business will become eligible for SBDC incentives. This will ensure more effective use of the $30 million that has been budgeted for this program in 1986-87.

Last October we began a major study of the service sector and its impact on the Ontario economy. An interim report is included in the budget papers and the final report is expected to recommend further policy initiatives.

Tourism is one of Ontario's most important service industries. The Ministry of Tourism and Recreation is preparing a strategic plan to assess where further development of the tourism industry is needed. In the meantime, the Minister of Tourism and Recreation (Mr. Eakins) has launched a new marketing campaign to attract visitors to the province and is developing a hospitality awareness program to encourage repeat visits to Ontario. I am providing $10 million in new funding for these and other tourism initiatives in addition to $2.8 million in capital assistance for new hospitality training facilities. These amounts are supplementary to the $12 million already budgeted this year for investment in tourism facilities in conjunction with the federal government.

I believe employee share ownership plans can foster a stronger partnership between employers and employees by enabling employees to participate directly in the benefits of business growth. For small and medium-sized businesses, they can provide a new and welcome source of equity capital.

I am proposing measures to make it easier for employees to participate in these plans and to encourage employers to establish them. To encourage employee participation, the province will provide employees of small and medium-sized Ontario businesses with a 15 per cent tax credit on up to $2,000 of annual purchases of newly issued shares of their employers' corporations. To encourage businesses to establish employee share ownership plans, the government will compensate them for one third of the cost of setting up a plan to a maximum of $10,000.

I expect to have Ontario's program in place for 1987. In the meantime, I believe the proposal would benefit from the advice and counsel of concerned organizations and members of the public.

4:20 p.m.

I also believe there are opportunities to make greater use of the income tax provisions for profit-sharing arrangements to support employee share ownership. My staff will be working with federal officials to prepare a proposal.

On-the-job training and skills development is one of the essential building blocks of economic growth. This area is so important, and has been so neglected, that we are doubling the province's allocation for skills training and upgrading programs to $100 million. Our goal is to expand and reshape the system so that training and skills development become a normal and continuing part of the work experience. Our programs will address the special needs of women, minorities, older workers and young people and will place more emphasis on helping smaller companies to set up training programs of their own.

The allocation for training and employment programs for youth will be continued at the 1985-86 level of $175 million. This brings our total funding for skills development, training and employment programs to $275 million. The Minister of Skills Development (Mr. Sorbara) will be announcing details of these programs.

Our economic future cannot be secured without a strong and vital education system. In my last budget, I increased basic operating grants for universities and colleges of applied arts and technology for 1986-87 by four per cent and provided $80 million for colleges and universities excellence funds. Together they raise the overall increase in operating and capital grants to our post-secondary institutions by eight per cent this year. The excellence funds provide for upgrading of library and instructional equipment, research support and a multi-year program of faculty renewal to support 500 new faculty positions in Ontario universities.

Universities will also be major beneficiaries of a technology fund; the fiscal plan for 1986-87 provides $15 million to revitalize and strengthen Ontario's applied research capacity. The criteria for the university research incentive fund will be expanded to encourage co-operative research projects with industry, and matching grants will be improved to a one-for-one basis.

Last year I established an education capital fund for 1986. In addition to regular capital funding of $67.2 million, the fund provides $25 million to reduce the backlog of school board capital requirements. This funding has been fully committed and many of the projects are well under way.

TVOntario will be given special funding for more curriculum-based science programming in co-operation with the private-sector production industry in Ontario.

The measures introduced last year to strengthen the province's partnership with local governments have given municipalities a greater degree of certainty in planning for the provision of local services. As part of our continuing efforts to strengthen our partnership with local governments, the basic funding increases for school boards, municipalities, hospitals, universities and colleges will be announced by November 1. I am also improving the timeliness of payments to municipalities to ease their short-term financing requirements.

The community economic transformation agreements program will be renewed and broadened in scope. The program will be available to communities facing substantial economic dislocation. It will be of special importance to eastern and northern communities, particularly those depending on single industries that are facing severe structural adjustment problems. The city of Sault Ste. Marie, which is facing major layoffs at Algoma Steel, is an obvious example. The focus of the program will be on long-term job creation. Communities that take the initiative to generate and develop ideas for job creation may receive provincial assistance which, together with local and private-sector funding, will help make these ideas a reality. I am budgeting $25 million for this measure over the next two years.

The government will ensure that new initiatives are combined with existing programs in a comprehensive response to the difficult circumstances in northern Ontario. In the meantime, the budget of the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines includes an increase of $10 million in 1986-87 for health care and transportation initiatives. An additional $5 million will be spent on new educational programs for the north. This year, $17 million will be made available from the $100-million northern development fund to promote enduring economic activity in the north.

Ontario Hydro is establishing a northern advisory board to enable it to play a more active role in stimulating northern development.

The mining industry has long been the mainstay of many northern communities. Last fall, to keep pace with the changing competitive conditions facing the mining industry, I presented a number of proposals to simplify the Mining Tax Act and to make Ontario more competitive with other provinces. After extensive consultation, I am transferring responsibility for the administration of the Mining Tax Act to the Ministry of Revenue, and I will introduce a bill to update that act. As already announced, we will maintain the existing maximum processing allowance of 65 per cent.

The forest industry is a major contributor to the provincial economy and accounts for more than $3.5 billion in annual exports. To ensure that our forest resources are properly tended and protected, Ontario will increase its forestry budget by more than 13 per cent to $271 million in 1986-87. Included in this funding is $3.5 million to expand the number of forest management agreements and $35 million under a cost-sharing agreement with the federal government for forest management activities.

Economic conditions in eastern Ontario also warrant special attention. The reorganization of the Ontario Development Corp. , its broader range of programs and its higher allocation should be of particular benefit to eastern Ontario. The CETA program will permit eastern Ontario communities to undertake initiatives to revitalize their local economies. New funds will also be available to boost tourism in the region.

Recently, government assistance encouraged the establishment of auto parts plants in Peterborough and Lindsay, involving a total investment of $68 million and the creation of almost 500 new jobs. These developments clearly point to the rich potential for this area of the province.

As I noted earlier, the agricultural outlook remains bleak. Although interest rates are dropping, too many farmers still have unacceptably high debt burdens. With low commodity prices, the cash flow from farming operations is too often insufficient to service farm debt, and credit is increasingly difficult to obtain. With the threat of continued depressed prices posed by new US agricultural policies, the financial pressures on our farmers are expected to continue.

To respond to the needs of Ontario's farm community, the budget for the Ministry of Agriculture and Food has been increased to $457 million, a 39 per cent increase in funding since we took office. In line with the recommendations of the Task Force on Agricultural Finance, we will extend the Ontario family farm interest rate reduction program, expand the farm operating credit assistance program and expand the beginning farmers assistance program. We will also introduce new research and education initiatives and improve the marketing of Ontario's agricultural products. Full details of these initiatives will be announced by the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Riddell).

In my previous budget, I announced a special fund to assist Ontario farmers who are leaving the agricultural industry. The federal government has now announced a similar program that is national in scope. This provides us with an opportunity to wind down those aspects of our program that the federal program replaces and to reallocate the funding to other agricultural priorities.

4:30 p.m.

I now turn to our plans for improving Ontario's social programs. Most are designed to provide long-term benefits, but there is one urgent problem that requires immediate action. A disturbing number of social assistance recipients often need to use their food money to pay rent. I am therefore providing an additional $25 million to increase shelter subsidies for those recipients with very high shelter costs. About 50,000 families will benefit from this increased support.

The government is committed to a reform of child care policy and recognizes child care as a basic public service. A comprehensive plan for this important service for working parents is now being developed. In the meantime, I wish to demonstrate our commitment to child care in a practical way. In addition to the $26-million increase in funding allocated this year to my October 1985 budget initiatives for child care, I am adding a further $6 million to alleviate a number of pressing problems, including capital expansion.

In other social initiatives, we are placing a fresh emphasis on mobilizing community resources to help people lead more independent lives.

To strengthen services for senior citizens, I am providing $13.5 million for new and existing programs, including the improvement of community support services, the expansion of regional geriatric assessment units, and the establishment of a new department of geriatrics at an Ontario university.

To demonstrate Ontario's commitment to the disabled, and in recognition of the United Nations declaration of the Decade of Disabled Persons, I am allocating $10 million to permit greater participation by the disabled in the mainstream of social and economic activity.

To expand and enhance housing programs to better meet the needs of the disabled, I am providing an additional $5 million to the Ministry of Housing and the office responsible for disabled persons.

To help integrate the developmentally handicapped into our communities, $17 million will be allocated over the next two years. A comprehensive plan for community and residential services for the mentally handicapped is also being developed.

We will provide $850 million for a major, multi-year hospital capital expansion. This program will provide for additional acute and chronic care beds and the most pressing improvements to existing hospital and cancer treatment facilities. All construction will begin within the next five years. The Minister of Health (Mr. Elston) will bring forward a comprehensive plan for future capital requirements.

The Ministry of Health will be presenting a proposal to extend the range of dental services available to children. Local health units will receive special funding to provide necessary treatment to school-aged children with urgent dental care needs.

The government has moved quickly to respond to the environmental concerns facing Ontario. The budget provides continued support for the security fund for waste cleanup and new funding to ensure that we can respond quickly and efficiently when toxic spills occur anywhere in the province. The Ministry of the Environment's $363-million budget includes an additional $5 million to improve the monitoring of water quality and to expand its capacity to perform the necessary sophisticated laboratory tests.

To improve systems for disposal of biomedical waste and to ensure compliance with current waste disposal standards, the Minister of Health will soon announce details of a $15-million biomedical waste treatment plan for hospitals.

We are making progress in meeting our commitment to increase the supply of affordable rental housing. In February, the Minister of Housing (Mr. Curling) signed an agreement with his federal counterpart to build 6,700 units of nonprofit and co-operative housing in 1986. At least 4,700 of these will be subsidized units for low-income families. The province will also share the cost of 600 rent-geared-to-income units in the federal government's new co-operative tenure program.

Through the Renterprise program, announced last December, 5,000 rental units will be built. Other programs will help pay the cost of renovating older apartment buildings. We will spend $500 million on affordable housing programs over the next five years. This year, spending on housing programs will total more than $60 million.

My colleague the Minister of Citizenship and Culture (Ms. Munro) will be announcing a new investing in the arts program. This four-year, $10-million initiative will deliver incentives for fund-raising efforts and improve the financial strength of Ontario's arts organizations.

The people of the province and the nation benefit when the federal government and the provinces work together. An example is last year's national consensus on private-sector pension reform. More recently, after nearly a decade of discussion, the federal and provincial governments have reached agreement on a new financing arrangement for the Canada pension plan and a modest package of needed benefit improvements.

The first annual meeting of ministers under the economic and regional development agreement will take place soon. We will discuss Ontario's priorities for action over the coming year and review progress under the ERDA with the federal Minister of Regional Industrial Expansion.

Mr. Rae: What is his name?

Hon. Mr. Nixon: He remains to be named.

I expect we will be able to agree on a number of new initiatives to further the province's economic and industrial development potential.

Another matter of shared concern for both levels of government is the need for a comprehensive response to the current difficulties in northern Ontario. One of the great strengths of this nation is our capacity to recognize and respond co-operatively and positively to problems in any part of Canada where need exists. Unfortunately, not all recent developments have been positive. The combined impact of the past two federal budgets will be a net reduction in Ontario's revenues of an estimated $39 million this year.

The federal cut in support for health care and post-secondary education will reduce Ontario's revenues by $114 million this year and by close to $2 billion over the next five years.

The capital gains exemption introduced in the 1985 federal budget will reduce Ontario's revenues by $130 million a year. It undermines the fairness of the tax system and adds significantly to its complexity. Since my October budget, I have conveyed Ontario's opposition to this exemption to the federal Minister of Finance. After a thorough review of the available options, I have decided it is not practical to proceed with an Ontario capital gains tax.

I am concerned about the implications for Ontario of a number of items on the federal agenda.

The proposal in the last federal budget for international banking centres fails to recognize the importance of Toronto as the nation's major financial centre, and it sends a confusing signal to the international banking community.

The social program cuts proposed by the Nielsen task force could adversely affect our revenues for those programs or result in the shift of expenditures to the province.

The federal finance minister indicated that he will introduce measures in his next budget to change the federal system of social expenditures and the related tax measures, but he has not indicated how or when he will consult the provinces about these matters of fundamental concern.

The federal government is expected to change its sales tax to a business transfer tax. This could have major economic and fiscal implications for Ontario.

Finally, we are concerned about what is not on the federal-provincial agenda. A thorough review of the entire tax system is needed. Taxpayers are increasingly concerned about its complexity, questioning its fairness and sceptical about the way the tax system is used to create incentives.

It is also time to begin a federal-provincial discussion of the issues related to the financing of child care and to consider a far-reaching reform of social programs. Ontario has initiated its own study of social assistance which I believe will contribute to the national review of the financing and delivery of income support programs.

I intend to raise all these matters at the next federal-provincial meeting of finance ministers and treasurers.

An important aspect of fiscal responsibility is to pay today for things consumed today and to borrow only for projects of enduring benefit and when economic stimulus is required. This is the foundation of our approach to fiscal management.

As part of this pay-as-you-go policy, we are making major changes in the way the province's financial affairs are managed. These changes will make possible a more businesslike approach to government spending.

In past years, each ministry developed separate capital spending plans and received allocations on a year-by-year basis. There was little co-ordination among ministries, and long-term planning was inadequate.

We will implement a more comprehensive approach to capital expenditure planning. The Management Board of Cabinet will co-ordinate Ontario's capital and other investment plans. Each ministry will submit a multi-year capital plan, which will identify future needs and report the impact of new capital spending on operating costs. These plans will be updated annually and reviewed to ensure that they are consistent with overall government objectives.

4:40 p.m.

Other changes are planned:

As announced in my October 1985 budget, my colleague the Chairman of Management Board (Ms. Caplan) will be making regular reports to the House on the results of her review of the effectiveness and efficiency of government activities.

I have asked Treasury staff for a review of the financing issues related to the indexing of Ontario's two major public-sector pension plans.

We are continuing to review our financing strategies to take advantage of new opportunities in capital markets and modern debt management techniques. We have declined Canada pension plan funds available to Ontario in May of this year, because these funds were surplus to our needs and were more expensive than alternative sources.

Lottery revenues will no longer be designated for specific programs. They will now be used for such priorities as cancer treatment, community hospitals and university research as well as for community recreation and cultural activities.

I now come to this budget's revenue measures. In reviewing my options, I concluded that increases in the rates of personal income tax, retail sales tax and corporate income tax are unwarranted. Instead, I am proposing measures to improve the fairness of the system, specifically: an increase in the tobacco tax of 0.13 cents per cigarette, which will add approximately four cents to the price of a package of 25; ceilings on retail sales tax support for the purchase of alternative-fuel vehicles, effective 30 days following royal assent; removal of the sales tax exemption for heavy trucks and trailers; continuation of the three per cent surtax on Ontario personal income tax in excess of $5,000, which will affect only taxpayers earning more than $50,000; paralleling of the federal treatment of reserves in the corporate income tax, and --

Mr. Grossman: Five thousand dollars?

Hon. Mr. Nixon: Yes. If I may read that for the benefit of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Grossman), it is continuation of the three per cent surtax on Ontario personal income tax in excess of $5,000. This will affect only taxpayers earning more than $50,000. We also want to parallel the federal treatment of reserves in the corporate income tax, and we will tighten and simplify the current rules for the calculation of the capital tax base.

Except as indicated, these measures will take effect on January 1, 1987. I estimate that these measures will increase Ontario revenues by $17 million this year.

To benefit low-income people, I propose to further broaden Ontario's income tax reduction program. For 1987, taxpayers with taxable incomes of less than $2,275 will have their taxes reduced, and those with taxable incomes of less than $2,075 will pay no Ontario personal income tax at all. This will save low-income Ontarians an additional $15 million next year and will bring to 550,000 the number of Ontarians whose provincial tax is reduced or eliminated by this program.

We will continue to phase down our reliance on Ontario health insurance plan premiums to help fund health care. In addition, we will eliminate premium payments for an estimated 35,000 low-income Ontarians in 1987, at a cost of $20 million.

Finally, I propose that the sales tax relief for low-priced meals introduced earlier this year be improved by raising the $1 exemption level to $2.


Hon. Mr. Nixon: I am glad the members like that.

This measure will take effect 30 days following royal assent. I expect this change to cost an additional $20 million this fiscal year.

The fiscal plan reduces net cash requirements to $1.5 billion this year. This amounts to an $85-million decrease from the level of last year's net cash requirements before taking into account extraordinary adjustments such as paying off the Suncor note. Including those adjustments, net cash requirements are reduced by $590 million from $2.1 billion last year. The fiscal plan continues the downward trend in net cash requirements as a percentage of total government spending, from 6.5 per cent last year to 4.9 per cent this year.

Revenues are projected to increase by 8.2 per cent this fiscal year, reflecting Ontario's continued strong economic performance. Expenditures are expected to grow by 7.4 per cent.

The operating position reflects the progress the government has made in paying for its day-today operating needs from its current revenues. This budget further reduces the operating deficit by $263 million this year to $317 million.

Accompanying my last budget was a discussion paper entitled Reforming the Budget Process. I have received a great deal of positive comment from individuals and associations that have participated in budget consultations. The legislative committee on finance and economic affairs has been appointed. I am pleased to confirm that the consultations for the 1987 budget will begin this autumn, and I will present a paper to assist in focusing the debate. These are important reforms which will assist future budgets to be fully responsive to the needs of Ontarians.

The legislative committee will also be asked to deal with other issues of significance to the province and the nation. For example, there is a growing public concern about corporate concentration and ownership. In many cases this concentration is being fed by mergers and takeovers. I question the merit of these mergers as well as the dangers the resulting concentrations pose to our community. I am asking the new legislative committee to examine this issue and to bring to the Legislature its recommendations for an appropriate Ontario response.

In conclusion, the budget provides for the government's program outlined in the speech from the throne.

It adopts a longer-term approach to the management of government.

It introduces programs to maintain our economic prosperity and create jobs.

It describes the government's programs to assist business in meeting the competitive challenges of the 1990s and the rationalization and simplification of the delivery of those programs.

It responds to the crisis in the Ontario farm community.

It funds programs essential to maintaining and improving the quality of life in Ontario.

It establishes new standards for fiscal management.

And finally, it proposes no general tax increases.

On motion by Mr. Harris, the debate was adjourned.

Hon. Mr. Nixon: I request the permission of the House to revert to introduction of bills so I may place the budget bills before the House without delay.

Mr. Speaker: Is there agreement by all members of the House?

Agreed to.

4:50 p.m.



Hon. Mr. Nixon moved first reading of Bill 24, An Act to amend the Small Business Development Corporations Act.

Motion agreed to.


Hon. Mr. Nixon moved first reading of Bill 26, An Act to amend the Retail Sales Tax Act.

Motion agreed to.


Hon. Mr. Nixon moved first reading of Bill 27, An Act to amend the Corporations Tax Act.

Motion agreed to.


Hon. Mr. Nixon moved first reading of Bill 28, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act.

Motion agreed to.


Hon. Mr. Nixon moved first reading of Bill 32, An Act to amend the Tobacco Tax Act.

Motion agreed to.


Hon. Mr. Nixon moved first reading of Bill 38, An Act to amend the Ontario Lottery Corporation Act.

Motion agreed to.


Hon. Mr. Nixon moved first reading of Bill 40, An Act to authorize the raising of Money on the Credit of the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

Motion agreed to.

The House adjourned at 4:53 p.m.