L001 - Tue 28 Apr 1987 / Mar 28 avr 1987
The Third Session of the 33rd Parliament of the province of Ontario opened at 3:03 p.m. for the dispatch of business pursuant to a proclamation of the Honourable Lincoln Alexander, Lieutenant Governor of the province.
The Honourable the Lieutenant Governor, having entered the chamber and being seated upon the throne, was pleased to open the session with the following gracious speech.
SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Hon. Mr. Alexander: Pray be seated.
Mr. Speaker and members of the Legislative Assembly, I have the honour of welcoming you to the opening of the Third Session of the 33rd Parliament of Ontario.
The previous throne speech set forward an agenda for the next decade. It put Ontario on a clear course to mastering our most fundamental challenges: building an internationally competitive economy to preserve and create jobs; attaining new standards of excellence and relevance in education and training; and strengthening our ability to meet rapidly changing social needs.
My government will operate within that framework to ensure that our province takes its place as a world-class society of the 21st century.
Ontario is currently enjoying a period of sustained economic growth. During the last two years, real gross provincial product has grown by 9.4 per cent. This year it will exceed the $200-billion level.
During the past two years, more than 300,000 new jobs have been created in Ontario, an unprecedented level for any two-year period in our history.
Ontario's unemployment rate has fallen to 6.9 per cent, the lowest in Canada.
Increased consumer confidence is reflected in the growth of retail sales, which in 1986 were up by nine per cent over the previous year. At the same time, price increases have been moderate and the inflation rate stands at 4.2 per cent.
Our overall level of economic buoyancy has allowed us to address many of the chronic underfunding problems that have diminished the capacities of our education and training systems, hospitals and social services.
Our goal is to revitalize our institutions and programs to serve the people of Ontario, make them more accessible to everyone in all parts of the province and equip them to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
Si nous voulons que l'Ontario continue à faire face à ses obligations sociales, il nous faudra maintenir une économie forte et vibrante.
While our overall economic outlook is favourable, we must convert short-term economic strengths into long-term economic stability.
Regardless of the outcome of bilateral trade talks with the United States, we must fortify our capacity to compete in the international marketplace.
We must compete by putting the most advanced technology in the hands of the best educated and best trained work force.
We must compete by becoming more aggressive and skilful at marketing our goods and services to the world.
We must compete by strengthening our transportation network.
We must compete by attracting new investment and more visitors.
We must compete by bringing together the best minds of industry, labour, universities and government in the development of creative solutions.
We must compete by involving the people of this province in all of the decisions that affect their economic and social future.
The people of Ontario are expressing a renewed sense of self-reliance. There is a rekindling of the entrepreneurial spirit. More and more small business ventures are being launched.
People across the province are assuming more responsibility for the quality of life in their communities. They are setting high standards of performance for themselves and their children. They are striving to reach their full potential.
My government will support them.
We will extend the hand of opportunity and social justice to all Ontarians and assist those who are unable to grasp it on their own.
We will develop a system of flexible, community-based programs and services that respond to changing social and economic needs. We recognize that individuals, neighbourhoods and communities best know their own needs, and we will involve them in planning and choosing the services they require.
Programs and services will be made available on a decentralized basis; close at hand and easy to find. They will respect the dignity, independence and unique needs of each individual. They will reflect cultural and regional diversity.
At the same time, my government is committed to guaranteeing equal economic opportunity for all, including northern and eastern Ontarians, women, visible minorities and natives.
My government will direct priority attention to the following areas:
Establishing high standards in education and training and expanding opportunities for lifelong learning;
Improving Ontario's competitive position in order to preserve and create jobs;
Creating full and equal economic opportunity for women;
Providing more affordable housing;
Increasing independent living opportunities for seniors and the disabled;
Strengthening environmental protection;
Enhancing health and safety protection for workers;
Increasing the emphasis in health care on the prevention of illness and the adoption of healthy living habits, while enhancing our world-class medical treatment and research facilities;
Promoting multicultural diversity in our political, social, cultural and economic institutions.
We will seek to attain these goals in a fiscally responsible manner, because the people of Ontario wish to leave their children with the flexibility they will need to meet the challenges of tomorrow.
In these and all matters, my government is mindful of the fact that it is the servant of the people. We will continue to provide government that is as open and fair, as caring and compassionate as the people of Ontario. We will provide the sensitive, responsive leadership required to keep pace with complex and rapidly changing social and economic conditions.
We will be guided by the principle that the government which governs best is the government that reaches out to the greatest number of people.
In an increasingly knowledge-intensive world economy, a relevant and purposeful education is critical to personal growth and economic development.
My government's goal is to create an education system that sets high standards in helping students to reach their full potential.
Our schools must provide a curriculum and an experience that are relevant and meaningful to students. They must graduate students who are well prepared in the fundamentals of literacy and basic math skills, as well as in the new fundamentals of science and technology.
They must produce graduates with finely tuned intellectual and problem-solving skills, graduates with the flexibility and knowledge to carry out sophisticated and rapidly changing tasks.
They must provide young people with the skills needed for a lifetime of learning. In an information society, knowing how to learn may be as important as knowing what to learn.
In recent years, shifting population patterns have strained the ability of our schools to perform effectively. At the same time, changing social needs demand that we look to new and creative ways of using our school facilities.
Schools are an invaluable community resource. They are education and recreation facilities, child care and community centres.
An investment in our schools is an investment in the future of our communities.
We will soon announce details of a major new capital funding program to alleviate overcrowded classrooms and modernize our education facilities. This initiative will support more than 300 projects for over 100 school boards. It will help ensure that people in all parts of the province have equal access to quality education, while improving our ability to meet community needs.
My government will pay particular attention to the learning needs of younger children. Excellence must begin early.
As a first step, we will undertake learning skills projects based at selected elementary schools. These projects will bring together school boards, faculties of education and members of the community to develop teaching strategies for literacy, numeracy and other basic learning skills. These demonstration projects will become an important source of information, ideas and resource materials for teachers across the province.
My government will work in partnership with the teachers of Ontario to implement a number of other initiatives aimed at renewing an emphasis on literacy in the early grades, including improving the literacy focus in training and qualification courses for teachers, principals and curriculum planners and developing resources to help school boards assess literacy skills.
Our goal is to ensure that Ontario's young people master the traditional literacy, language and mathematics, and the new literacy, computer skills and science.
In recognition of the importance of familiarizing our children with new technologies, we will increase the use of computers throughout our school system and promote the development of appropriate software.
This renewed commitment to basic learning skills in the early school years will ensure that all students are equipped with the fundamental tools needed to succeed. Further action will be taken to reinforce their overall education and life skills at the secondary school level.
My government will introduce measures to reduce the unacceptably high drop-out rate at the secondary school level.
The most recent research indicates that one third of all students leave school without receiving a grade 12 diploma. This statistic represents a double loss: a loss of opportunity for the individual and a loss of talent to society.
About 25 per cent of teenagers without a high school diploma are unemployed, as are one in five men and women in their early 20s who have not completed high school.
My government will take steps to reduce the drop-out rate in Ontario by one third within the next five years. Further substantial reductions will be achieved in subsequent years.
Earlier this year, my government announced that it would undertake a study of the school drop-out problem. To complement and support this initiative, we will identify and publish innovative responses to the drop-out situation, develop pilot projects and co-ordinate existing government initiatives.
We will tailor the curriculum for students enrolled in general and basic level courses to foster a desire to stay in school, and help students identify and pursue career interests.
Building on last year's efforts, more opportunities will be provided for students to participate in co-operative education. The co-operative education approach has demonstrated considerable success in improving the relevance of the school experience and building strong links to the world of work. Programs will be shaped to meet the specific needs of individual regions.
Recognizing the gaps in educational support services for students in northern Ontario, my government will initiate efforts to increase the level of service provided to that region by teacher diagnosticians and other required specialists. Priority will be given to the particular needs of francophone students.
My government will expand distance education opportunities in the French language. Increased support will be provided to TVOntario for curriculum programming in French.
Ontario has one of the best teaching forces in the world, but there are continuing pressures on the profession and on individual teachers to respond to new demands and to maintain professional expertise.
My government has undertaken a major review of the training and professional requirements for teachers in the years ahead. A research paper has been issued and public response has been invited. Based upon this dialogue, my government will enhance the provisions for teacher training and professional development.
My government will provide ongoing support to our post-secondary institutions in their development as centres of excellence.
Throughout the past two years, we have taken steps to revitalize our colleges and universities so that they can better prepare Ontarians for the 21st century. Operating funds have been substantially enriched. Special funding has been targeted to promote excellence through faculty renewal, improved research support and enhanced equipment and library resources.
We have increased accessibility through an improved Ontario student assistance program and a network of distance education sites throughout the north.
My government will soon announce a substantial increase in capital funds so Ontario colleges and universities can renew their infrastructure and strengthen their ability to deliver quality education.
At the same time, we will continue to implement initiatives to encourage areas of specialization and co-operation and to discourage unnecessary areas of duplication.
No individual can achieve his or her potential or contribute fully to family and society when a need as basic as shelter is beyond reach. A caring and compassionate society such as ours must mobilize its resources in an effort to ensure that affordable, quality housing is available to all.
My government will accelerate its effort to resolve the chronic housing problems in Ontario. We will provide new opportunities for shelter for those with low and moderate incomes.
Throughout the past year, we have taken steps towards this end, based on a philosophy of openness and consultation.
Under the assured housing policy, we inaugurated a program to create affordable quality housing across the province.
We established a climate of fairness and security for tenants.
We improved the human and physical environment for our public housing tenants.
We launched a strategy for the building industry to ensure that it can compete successfully in an advanced technological era.
My government will continue to build on this foundation in order to deal with the serious problems that confront those who are unable to find affordable, quality shelter.
More funds will be provided to expand the annual supply of assisted housing.
A "housing first" policy will be applied to all available provincial lands to create more housing for low- and moderate-income earners. Where lands are deemed inappropriate for such use they will be sold and the proceeds applied to an assured housing development initiative.
We invite the federal government and all municipal governments to join with us in committing their leadership and resources for this effort.
An innovative program will be introduced in partnership with the private sector to create new units within the reach of moderate-income families. It will offer affordable leases that can lead to an option to purchase.
Home owners and municipalities will be encouraged to explore creative low-cost approaches to increasing housing supply.
A strengthened initiative in supportive community living will provide housing and integrated support services for the homeless, the disabled, discharged psychiatric patients, victims of family violence, the frail elderly and others with special needs. Our commitment is to ensure that these individuals can live with maximum independence, dignity and stability.
My government will introduce measures this session to improve conditions for roomers, boarders and lodgers. New initiatives will also be undertaken to increase the supply of affordable housing for these people and to improve the quality of existing dwellings.
In addition to these initiatives to increase the supply of housing, we will aggressively pursue methods of reducing the cost of construction itself.
Through improved productivity, new training initiatives, streamlined regulations and the adoption of new technology, we can lower the cost of housing while maintaining the vitality of this important industry.
My government is committed to the principle that all people in Ontario should be able to live independently for as long as possible.
We will produce a broad range of accessible community supports to encourage, foster and expand opportunities for independent living for seniors, the physically disabled, the developmentally handicapped and discharged psychiatric patients.
We will continue to fulfil our commitment to improve the quality of life for Ontario's senior citizens.
My government will build on a series of initiatives announced last June to further the development of a more accessible and effective system of community care alternatives.
The integrated homemaker program, which was introduced in 16 sites, will be expanded in the next year to include an additional 12 sites. Funds will be provided to subsidize training courses for homemakers and to selectively improve their rate of pay.
Annual provincial expenditures for home support services, which have doubled in the past two years, will be further enriched. Existing services will be expanded and new ones established. They will be targeted to meet the needs of francophones, native persons and the people of northern and eastern Ontario.
A pilot project will provide seniors in selected areas with single-source access to a variety of services.
Financial assistance will be provided to increase the mobility of the elderly and the disabled in rural areas.
More funds will be provided for the development of Alzheimer community support services. A special capital fund will be established to provide improved access to community facilities for the elderly and disabled persons.
The ceiling on provincial operating funds for social and recreational centres will be increased. Funding will be provided for an additional 25 centres, with priority given to those emphasizing health maintenance.
A program will be established to help individuals who are approaching retirement adjust to changes in finance, health and leisure activities.
Funds will be provided to increase geriatric-gerontological training across the province. This will complement the recently announced funding for the establishment of a multidisciplinary department of geriatrics at McMaster University.
We will explore with the elderly community and private industry the possibility of working in partnership to establish the first centre in Canada for testing and promoting design improvements in consumer products for seniors.
While increasing community services in support of independent living, my government will continue to ensure that high-quality institutional care is provided to those who are unable to live on their own.
We look forward to the passage this session of major amendments to the Nursing Homes Act. This legislation will protect residents' rights and provide for greater public accountability.
My government will provide additional funding to ensure the necessary staff and facilities to improve the quality of life of nursing home residents.
We will invite proposals to establish nursing homes specifically tailored to meet the needs of Ontario's diverse ethnic communities.
We will strive to ensure that seniors receiving institutional care are able to enjoy the same level of dignity as those living independently in the community.
We will continue to create and enhance opportunities for physically disabled individuals to live as independently as possible with or near their families and in the their own communities.
My government will improve the availability and criteria for existing support services such as attendant care, home support and respite care; provide physically handicapped children with special services at home; encourage new employment opportunities for people with disabilities; introduce improved services for individuals with acquired brain injuries; increase the availability of specialized transit service and widen the eligibility criteria; expand the assistive devices program over a period of five years. A greater range of devices will be covered and assistance will be provided to more people, including adults. Funds will be provided to support research and development related to new assistive devices.
We will also introduce a special fund to make tourism and recreation programs and facilities more accessible to disabled individuals.
As part of a long-term commitment to community living for people with developmental handicaps, my government will ensure that comprehensive community services are available to them in their own communities.
We will advance to this long-term goal through a series of initiatives that will serve as a road map to increased participation for the developmentally handicapped residents of Ontario.
In the short term, we will assist people to care for their developmentally handicapped family members at home; provide community living opportunities for many people currently living in institutions and nursing homes; and reform the sheltered workshop system to increase employment opportunities for the developmentally handicapped.
Special emphasis will be placed on the province-wide delivery of mental health services and other support programs for children. The community-based network of children's mental health services will be expanded to provide children with support in their own home and community.
We will implement a comprehensive plan for mental health services in northeastern Ontario. Based on the model used in the service area of the Whitby Psychiatric Hospital, the plan will increase the role of public hospital psychiatric units and local community-based services.
Ontario currently spends more than $1.5 billion a year on social assistance programs. Last year, my government appointed a social assistance review committee to determine whether these programs, as constituted, meet the most pressing social needs as effectively as possible. We look forward to receiving the committee's report and to the guidance it will provide us in improving our social assistance system.
We will review with particular interest disincentives and penalties that currently limit the earning capabilities of social service recipients.
The people of Ontario are demonstrating a heightened awareness of the importance of leading a healthy and active lifestyle. My government will introduce measures to help achieve this goal.
We will work towards the creation of a widely accessible, community-based health care system that emphasizes the maintenance of good health and the adoption of healthy living habits.
In addition to improving the quality of health of Ontarians today, these measures will strengthen our capacity to deliver high-quality health care services into the 21st century.
The denticare program, which is being implemented for children from low-income families, emphasizes the importance of prevention, and underscores the need to develop healthy lifestyle patterns at an early age.
My government will inaugurate a major campaign to promote healthy lifestyles among all Ontario citizens.
We will establish community-based addiction services for young people. Priority will be given to the promotion of a drug-free lifestyle.
We will act to encourage moderation in alcohol consumption.
We support the federal government's efforts to promote the adoption of a tobacco-free lifestyle. My government will introduce complementary initiatives to ensure a smoke-free work environment. An expanded assistance program will further encourage farmers to seek viable alternatives to growing tobacco.
We will open new community health care centres and provide additional funding to existing centres to expand the range of services offered. Community health programs play a vital role in the promotion of a healthy lifestyle.
We will introduce additional measures to encourage increased participation in fitness and recreational activities and promote safety in amateur sports. These measures will include grants to upgrade facilities, install safety equipment and train recreation staff and volunteers.
While stressing the promotion of healthy living habits and the prevention of disease, my government has provided ongoing support to maintain Ontario's world-class treatment and research facilities.
We established a multi-year program to provide $850 million for the construction of additional hospital beds, including more than $200 million for the expansion of cancer treatment facilities.
Support has been provided for the construction of special research facilities, such as a new world-class heart research centre at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute.
Funding will be provided to support a range of new women's health services and to expand existing health programs.
The Ontario Public Education Panel on AIDS will be advising my government on initiatives to combat the spread of acquired immune deficiency syndrome. This will build on earlier actions, including the provision of funds to: the AIDS Committee of Toronto, for counselling and support programs; the Ministry of Health central laboratory, to set up and operate diagnostic specimen testing of suspected AIDS cases; the University of Toronto, to support a comprehensive epidemiological study; and a Toronto hospital to set up a hospice for people in the advanced stages of AIDS.
We will continue to pay special attention to meeting the health care needs of northern Ontarians. In particular, we will address ways of alleviating chronic shortages of health manpower.
A northern regional office will be established and provided with sufficient resources to identify thoroughly more effective ways of meeting the health care needs of northern Ontarians.
The program to provide physiotherapists in underserviced areas will be expanded to include other rehabilitation therapists. The bursary program to subsidize their education costs will be improved.
A feasibility study will be undertaken to determine ways of linking health science centres in southern Ontario with educational centres and health facilities in the north.
Depuis longtemps, l'Ontario jouit d'une réputation internationale en matière de soins de santé. Maintenir cette excellence requiert un effort de révision et de réflexion sur nos besoins futurs.
Last year my government appointed the Ontario Health Review Panel, chaired by Dr. John Evans. The panel is seeking public participation to help identify priorities in meeting the long-term health care needs of the people of Ontario. We look forward to the panel's report, and we will encourage broad public discussion about how to ensure quality health care for all Ontarians into the 21st century.
Safe drinking water and clean air are major and essential components of public health protection. My government will ensure that Ontario continues to be a world leader in environmental protection.
Ontario's sewage and water distribution systems represent an investment of $30 billion. We will provide enriched support to help municipalities maintain and rehabilitate sewage and water distribution systems and protect our beaches, lakes, rivers and water supplies. Funds will be provided for projects such as sewage systems improvements, sewer separation, beach cleanup, pollution control plans and agricultural erosion control.
My government will seek federal participation in this effort, which will help solve problems that have an impact on international waterways.
Additional assistance will also be given to larger municipalities to finance water and sewage projects of major environmental significance.
We will introduce a new comprehensive waste management funding program with a strong long-term emphasis on recycling. The program will support municipal initiatives to upgrade existing landfill sites, and develop alternatives and establish state-of-the-art waste management facilities. The program will also stimulate efforts by Ontario industries to develop effective means of reducing, recycling, reusing and recovering waste products.
My government will encourage co-operative efforts by industry, university and government researchers to ensure the rapid development, diffusion and application of new technologies for pollution control.
We will also act to encourage sustained and continuing investment in pollution abatement and control, in accordance with the municipal industrial strategy for abatement.
In keeping with the acid precipitation agreement that was recently concluded with the government of Canada, Ontario reiterates its strong commitment to achieving the 60 per cent emission reduction required by the Countdown Acid Rain program.
Our efforts alone, however, cannot fully protect our resources from acid rain. We need a similar abatement program from the United States. Ontario will continue to be a strong voice for national and international action in this area.
My government will protect Ontarians from unfair and arbitrary practices in the marketplace. In doing so, we will take steps to promote increased consumer awareness.
We recently announced a comprehensive package of new auto insurance legislation. Among other provisions, the program will cap auto insurance premiums and establish a public review process under which insurance rates must be justified.
This initiative was one part of an overall approach to the cost of automobile insurance. My government looks forward to receiving the results of Mr. Justice Coulter Osborne's examination of the potential benefits of a no-fault insurance system.
My government recently announced a comprehensive car repair protection package. This new initiative will require repair outlets to provide reasonable guarantees for their work. It will also ensure consumers access to all information necessary to make informed decisions regarding the maintenance and repair of their vehicles.
We will introduce legislation to regulate health and fitness clubs.
To further promote consumer protection and awareness, my government will provide funds to support the establishment of a nonprofit institute for consumer research and education. The institute will have strong links to consumer associations, industry and post-secondary institutions.
Further steps will be taken to improve public access to consumer information.
My government will also respond to consumer needs by ensuring that our laws reflect contemporary social attitudes. We will update the regulations governing the distribution and consumption of alcoholic beverages.
Ontarians are proud of the richness of the many traditions and cultures that are part of our province. My government will introduce a comprehensive strategy to encourage multicultural diversity in our political, social, cultural and economic institutions.
This strategy will be accompanied by a wide-ranging set of initiatives to ensure that government and its programs reflect Ontario's multicultural reality.
The Ontario Human Rights Commission has made a major contribution to equality and harmony in our province. As we commemorate the 25th anniversary of the founding of the commission, my government will dedicate additional resources and strengthen its mandate.
We will also establish a race relations directorate to promote racial harmony and help address the needs of racial minorities.
These commitments will strengthen our ability to combat systemic discrimination and help ensure that all residents of Ontario enjoy equal opportunity to employment and fair treatment in the work place.
Ontario is performing a leadership role in promoting and preserving Canadian culture.
A loan subsidy program is strengthening the book publishing industry. The Ontario Film Development Corp. has helped to create an investment climate that has doubled film production in Ontario. The expansion of the small business development corporation program will benefit film, sound recording, publishing and commercial theatre.
We will build on these efforts to foster the development of a viable and dynamic cultural industry.
Funds will be provided to strengthen, revitalize and modernize the Archives of Ontario. As part of that effort, my government will support a project to preserve on microfilm our province's community newspapers--a valuable record of the past. Top priority will be given to collection and preservation of multicultural material.
If Ontario is to create the wealth necessary to meet its present and future needs, we must improve our ability to compete in a rapidly changing global economy.
A time of economic growth is the best time to build for the future.
Ontario's continuing prosperity rests on our ability to develop and adapt new technologies. New technologies can maintain and strengthen critical industries, improve the quality and marketability of our products and services and create new jobs.
Last year, the government established a Premier's Council to steer Ontario into the forefront of economic leadership and technological innovation.
The council brings together leaders of business, labour, post-secondary education and government. Collectively, these sectors are exploring new and creative solutions that exceed their individual grasp.
Before the end of this year, the council will release the results of a thorough and wide-ranging research study focused on the international competitive position of 15 key Ontario industry sectors, the capabilities of our educational, science and technology infrastructure and a sweeping review of government policy in Canada and abroad.
Through this study, which will be released to the public, and other activities of this council, my government will encourage widespread public discussion concerning ways of improving our overall competitive position.
In the next few months the council will recommend the designation and funding of six centres of excellence in strategic fields. My government is encouraged by the overwhelming response to this initiative, which will stimulate the production of advanced research, train world-class researchers and encourage the transfer and diffusion of technology.
To complement the work of the council, my government will expand the Ontario Development Corp. to include a strategic modernization program. The initiative will selectively assist Ontario firms to develop significant new products and to position themselves as world-scale competitors.
A technology diffusion initiative will be introduced to ensure that government expertise is shared with the private sector. Special emphasis will be placed on staff exchanges and contracting out to private firms to build and strengthen industries with export potential.
Changes in technology and the global marketplace can present tremendous opportunities for Canadian industry. At the same time, industrial restructuring can have negative side-effects on individual sectors, firms and workers.
While reinforcing the strengths of leading sectors, such as automotive and steel, my government will continue to assist major industries that are facing serious economic pressures.
In order to provide a single mechanism for dealing with critical situations, my government will appoint an industrial restructuring commissioner. The commissioner will assist workers and industries facing major layoffs and plant closures to help explore creative solutions to save jobs.
The commissioner will also be given the long-term task of identifying the restructuring and modernization requirements of industry.
My government appreciates the critically important role that roads and highways play in supporting tourism and all other Ontario industries. The best-made products and the talents of the best-trained work force will improve our competitive position only if we can bring our products to market on time.
My government will improve and protect Ontario's substantial investment in its transportation network.
Major new transportation links will be created to serve high-growth areas.
Funds will be provided for the rehabilitation of provincial highways and roads.
Steps will be taken to integrate services and fares between GO Transit and the Toronto Transit Commission. We will carry out a review of long-term transit requirements in the greater Toronto area to help set priorities for future investment.
The livelihood of one in every three Ontarians depends on our ability to market goods and services outside our province. Ontario will accelerate its export strategy to aggressively pursue new markets while preserving and enhancing its strength in traditional areas.
My government will continue to play a forceful and constructive role in addressing all of the issues involved in the US-Canada trade negotiations and voice its strong concerns about the potential impact an unfavourable agreement could have on all Canadians.
Regardless of the outcome of the bilateral trade negotiations and the Uruguay round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, Ontario exporters will face greater competitive pressures in the global marketplace.
In view of the increasing importance of these trade issues, we will continue to develop ways of more effectively monitoring new developments in the United States and in other major trading nations.
As a first step, my government will establish a program to co-ordinate specialist support to Ontario businesses facing restrictive US trade practices or unfair imports. This program will also improve our ability to increase the flow of timely information regarding bilateral and multilateral trade relations.
We will continue to strengthen our strategy to help Ontario industry sell more goods and services to the world.
The previous speech from the throne announced a package of initiatives to strengthen our links with the nations of the Pacific Rim. My government will augment that effort with targeted activity in other parts of the world.
The Indian subcontinent offers unique opportunities as both a market and a source of investment for this province. Ontario will establish a new trade and investment office in India to better represent our interests.
Special trade development assistance will be provided to Ontario forest product exporters. We will help them develop overseas markets by undertaking a study of market opportunities and upgrading technical skills.
We will put increased emphasis on marketing environmental technology and expertise. As part of that effort, we will strengthen our research program to develop methods of detecting and controlling toxic pollutants.
Funding will be provided to establish a centre of international business at an Ontario university. The centre will offer a program of study in trade, marketing, languages and culture.
Tourism is a key source of employment and revenue for the Ontario economy. It is estimated that tourism accounts directly and indirectly for at least nine per cent of total employment in the province and six per cent of gross provincial product.
During the past year, my government has consulted widely with the tourism industry through a series of 16 roundtable discussions held throughout the province.
This dialogue will lead to the development of strategic directions for this important industry. We will also reinforce the major steps taken during the last year to assist our tourism industry, particularly in northern and eastern Ontario. More funds will be provided to the Destinations North and East program.
A heritage inns program will be introduced to preserve the architectural flavour of small Ontario communities, enhance their many heritage festivals and provide a unique tourism experience. The program will complement our efforts to help small communities revitalize their downtown areas.
Increased funding will be provided to improve provincial parks.
Ontario's future economic growth depends largely on the entrepreneurial spirit of its people. At the heart of that spirit is the small business community, which has accounted for the majority of new jobs created over the past decade.
The importance my government attaches to the growth of entrepreneurship can be seen in the priority it has been given by the Premier's Council. The council will soon announce details concerning the establishment of a program of chairs of entrepreneurship for post-secondary institutions.
We will undertake additional measures to promote an atmosphere that is conducive to the dynamic growth of small business, including: promoting entrepreneurial values and awareness in elementary and secondary schools; expanding the small business development corporation program to include firms in business services; reviewing ways to reduce the paperwork burden on small business. The review will be undertaken by the small business advocate.
A competitive economy requires highly skilled workers who are able to adjust to rapidly changing technological demands. Industrial skills are a catalyst for international competitiveness and vital to durable economic growth.
My government will continue to implement a training strategy that: eases the transition of young people into the work force; meets our province's needs for long-term training in the skilled trades; and provides workers with opportunities to upgrade skills and adjust to changing requirements throughout their working lives.
Our goal is to work in partnership with industry, educational institutions and the federal government to create a system of opportunities for lifelong learning.
To support that approach, my government is pleased to announce that a government-wide effort to improve and expand adult literacy programs across Ontario is now in place.
As part of our effort to alleviate shortages in critical skilled trades, my government will renew our apprenticeship system. We will make apprenticeship more attractive to young people through pre-apprenticeship programs and greater use of co-op models. Employers will be encouraged to take on trainees in a range of new occupations requiring one or two years of training. Steps will be taken to improve participation by women. A loan fund will assist trainees to purchase expensive tools.
Changing technologies have reduced the lifespan of many skills to less than five years. My government will expand its support for the skills upgrading program for journeymen and launch an initiative to provide flexible and rapid upgrading for technologists and technicians in key sectors.
Further steps will be taken to ensure a modern, accessible and responsive training system.
The Futures program, which has provided training for more than 50,000 young people, will be improved to: emphasize training opportunities during work placement; provide access to more employment-disadvantaged youth, and create an enriched back-to-school option.
A "world of work" project will be introduced to provide equal opportunity for francophone students to develop links to industry through apprenticeship positions, co-operative education employment programs and existing work programs.
Funds will be provided to TVOntario to produce programming devoted to basic skills training and upgrading.
Training support will be provided for laid-off older workers.
The dynamic process of responding to new technologies and changing patterns of trade is creating both opportunities and challenges. My government will continue to respond to these challenges in a way that recognizes the needs of the work force.
A caring society must seek to protect the health and safety of its workers. My government will introduce comprehensive health and safety legislation to broaden workers' legal rights . In the interim, significant new resources are being provided to strengthen the enforcement of the existing law.
Legislation to enshrine the right of workers and communities to know about hazardous substances will be reintroduced. This legislation forms part of the national "work place hazardous material information system" agreed to last fall by Canada and the provinces.
Amendments will be introduced to the Employment Standards Act, including the extension of coverage to domestic workers.
My government is committed to protecting workers' pensions against the effects of inflation. We look forward to receiving the report of the working group on inflation protection for pension plans and to the introduction of timely measures.
Economic conditions throughout this decade have severely tried the financial, physical and human resources of the primary agricultural sector. Changes in market conditions, primary production technologies, demographics and lifestyles have all presented challenges to the industry.
My government will act to meet these challenges and sustain a globally competitive agriculture and food industry.
The city of Guelph will be reinforced as a world-class centre of excellence in agriculture and food, linking the best talent from private industry, government and the university sector. As part of this thrust, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food will be transferred to Guelph.
Improvements will be made in the farm tax reduction program.
A land stewardship program will be introduced to encourage crop rotation and farm investment in soil and water environmental projects.
Continued assistance will be provided through such programs as the family farm interest rate reduction program and the beginning farmers assistance program.
My government awaits with interest the introduction of tax reform measures by the federal government.
We will ensure that federal and provincial tax systems work in harmony to strengthen our competitive position.
We will continue to strengthen the city of Toronto's status as an international financial centre.
The absence of an adequate supply of quality, affordable child care may be the single greatest obstacle preventing many families from realizing their full economic potential.
Child care is a national need, and my government welcomes a national partnership. We look forward to federal financial leadership and cost-sharing arrangements that will allow the provinces to assume their role in ensuring that quality child care is provided to all who need it.
We recognize the importance of a national framework, and we are awaiting the resolution of a number of outstanding issues that are important to the nature and funding of child-care services.
At the same time, my government is aware of the need for immediate action at the provincial level. Following the tabling of the budget, we will introduce a comprehensive policy that recognizes child care as a basic public service, not a welfare service.
We will adopt a simple income test to replace the current needs test in determining eligibility for government assistance.
As a top priority, we will significantly increase the supply and range of service, while ensuring that appropriate standards are maintained.
The forthcoming budget will stimulate the development of the nonprofit child care sector by providing direct operating funds for new and existing nonprofit agencies.
We will also provide various incentives to encourage private agencies to convert to nonprofit centres.
Existing private sector agencies will continue to receive support.
My government will promote the development of innovative approaches to child care delivery. Employers will be encouraged to play a greater role in providing child care services.
We will require the provision of child care spaces in all new schools. We will work with municipalities and encourage them to require the provision of child care facilities in new commercial buildings.
The Day Nurseries Act will be reviewed to ensure that child care can be accommodated in a variety of facilities while maintaining high standards of care.
My government will provide funds for the establishment of Canada's first policy research institute on child, youth and family. This multidisciplinary, community-based facility will carry out applied research in areas of public policy. The institute will involve members of the community, social agencies, corporations and government.
If we are to meet our commitment to equal opportunity for all Ontarians, women must be assured of their place as full partners in the economy. My government will intensify its efforts to reach that goal. We will provide greater incentives to encourage public sector institutions to increase opportunities for women.
The pay equity legislation introduced last session will make a historic contribution towards improving the quality of life of working women. With the goodwill of all parties, my government looks forward to the passage this session of this important legislation.
My government is committed to improving the economic development and competitiveness of northern Ontario.
Throughout the past year, a variety of initiatives has been introduced to foster long-term growth, including support for primary industries and encouragement of economic diversification. As part of a long-term effort, we are in the process of transferring more than 1,200 full-time public service positions to northern Ontario.
Central to our approach is a recognition that the best solutions are home-grown solutions. Nine northern development councils have been created to provide local input and economic leadership.
To further promote local initiatives and self-reliance, my government will establish a northern Ontario heritage fund. The fund will be administered in close consultation with the northern development councils.
Recognizing the vital role that transportation plays in the economic and social life of northern Ontario, increased funding will be directed towards strengthening both the northern Ontario transportation system and linkages with the rest of the province.
We will also support the establishment of research consortia focusing on the application of new technologies to the special needs of northern industries. As a first step, the province will provide one third of the funds to support a consortium that will bring together the Canadian aerospace industry and firms active in the northern resource sector. This initiative will facilitate the adaptation of aerospace technologies to meet the needs of the northern resource sector.
We will promote the use of crown lands for economic development. Pilot projects in selected areas will be the focus of intensified investment for such uses as peat, aquaculture, hydroelectric development, water-based recreation, tourism and cottage development.
Eastern Ontario is also suffering uneven economic growth. My government is consulting widely with eastern Ontario residents to develop a strategy that will take advantage of the region's strengths.
Like all parts of our province, eastern Ontario's greatest strength is its people. To build on that strength, my government will implement several initiatives focused on encouraging entrepreneurship.
An office for eastern Ontario economic development will be established to co-ordinate government assistance to business in the region and improve access to government services and programs.
An eastern Ontario small business network will be created to offer extensive services to local entrepreneurs, including access to professional advice and assistance in training workers. The network will direct special programs to encourage women and young people to establish their own businesses.
In co-operation with municipal governments, up to 10 self-help offices will be established in eastern Ontario. The centres will provide advice to small businesses in the pre-startup stage.
A new Eastern Ontario Development Corp. office will be opened in Pembroke to improve access to services for businesses in the region's smaller communities.
Funds will be provided for the renewal of municipal roads and provincial highways in eastern Ontario.
To increase the amount of economic activity associated with growing and harvesting wood, my government will extend an existing cost-shared forest management program in eastern Ontario.
My government has taken significant steps to increase public confidence in the integrity and fairness of the democratic process.
We look forward to passage of freedom-of-information-and-privacy legislation this session. We will continue to proceed swiftly with the implementation of the French Language Services Act, which strengthens rights and opportunities for francophones in this province.
My government will also pursue the passage of legislation that sets out a clear, comprehensive and objective definition of conflict of interest, thereby providing a concise code of conduct for all members of this assembly.
We will continue to ensure that appointees to agencies, boards and commissions reflect all backgrounds and walks of life.
Access to government goes hand in hand with access to justice. My government is committed to the fundamental principle that all citizens, regardless of their wealth or status, should have equal access to the justice system. Legal rights have meaning only if they can be exercised in a timely fashion.
My government's commitment to equality was reflected in the establishment of the Zuber inquiry to recommend reforms to make the court system more accessible and responsive to the public. We will give timely consideration to his recommendations. In addition, the Attorney General (Mr. Scott) will convene a national forum this fall on access to the justice system. This process will produce a concrete and practical blueprint for reform.
Ontario will continue to play a constructive leadership role in building a stronger Canada. We will actively work to welcome the province of Quebec into the Constitution.
Last month, at the first ministers' conference on aboriginal constitutional matters, my government took part in an effort to achieve self-government for aboriginal people. While that effort did not meet with success, we will work towards self-government agreements within Ontario.
Ontarians, like all Canadians, took tremendous pride in the great display of national unity and purpose that accompanied Expo 86 in Vancouver. It is in that same spirit that we look forward to the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary.
Ontarians also look forward to a visit this summer by their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of York. This occasion will provide us with the opportunity to express the pride we feel in our close and continuing ties to the royal family.
Next month, we will be honoured by the presence of the President of France, François Mitterand.
Ontarians will also take pleasure in hosting a visit by their Imperial Highnesses of Japan, the Prince and Princess Takamado.
Through the leadership and efforts of my ministers, the work of the Legislature and the involvement of the people of Ontario, we will continue to build a better future.
We will revitalize our social, economic and political institutions and make them more accessible to all.
We will modernize and strengthen this province's physical infrastructure--including our schools, hospitals and roads--to make it serve the long-term interests of the people of Ontario.
We will continue to help the people of this province prepare for the 21st century.
May Divine Providence attend your deliberations.
In our sovereign's name I thank you. God bless the Queen and Canada.
The Honourable the Lieutenant Governor was pleased to retire from the chamber.
Mr. Speaker: I beg to inform the House that to prevent mistakes, I have obtained a copy of His Honour's speech, which I will now read. [Reading dispensed with.]
INTRODUCTION OF BILL
EXECUTION AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Scott moved first reading of Bill 1, An Act to amend the Execution Act.
Motion agreed to.
THRONE SPEECH DEBATE
Hon. Mr. Nixon moved that the speech of the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor to this House be taken into consideration on Wednesday, April 29, 1987.
Motion agreed to.
The House adjourned at 4:18 p.m.