L003 - Thu 30 Apr 1987 / Jeu 30 avr 1987
The House met at 11 a.m.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BUSINESS
Mr. Cousens moved resolution 2:
That in the opinion of this House, considering the dramatic increase in the number of terminal diseases such as acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), cancer and related illnesses; the present government is committed to an increased emphasis on community-based care versus institutionalized care for our frail and elderly population; the costs per day per patient in an institutional chronic or acute care setting greatly exceeds the cost per day of home-based community care; that approximately 95 per cent of all palliative care is administered in hospitals; and only 40 of our 220 hospitals currently offer some form of palliative care, the government of Ontario, in particular the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Community and Social Services, should develop a comprehensive community-based system of palliative care services that would provide for (1) responsible and effective use of government resources, (2) a wider range of services that allows for choice on the part of the terminally ill and his or her family and (3) a system that is accessible to all regions of our province.
The Deputy Speaker: The member for York Centre has moved notice of motion 2. The honourable member has up to 20 minutes for his presentation and may reserve any portion of it for the windup.
Mr. Cousens: I thank the honourable members of the House for having this private members' hour in which a member can bring forward a bill that he or she feels is especially important.
During the past year, I have served as chairman of the Grossman task force on human and social services. During that time I circulated a paper across the province, visited some 15 different communities in my capacity as chairman and received in excess of 500 responses to our paper.
I also speak as a clergyman, one who has been an ordained Presbyterian minister for quite a number of years, who has been at the bedside of the dying and who understands something of the nature of that very important process.
I also speak as one who, in his own family, has gone through some of the tough times of dealing with a dying person.
Therefore, in bringing forward this motion this morning, I hope members of this House will appreciate it as a very important human issue and that we will be able to address the subject with some compassion and care.
Maybe some people do not know what palliative care is all about. Palliative care is an active and compassionate caring for the terminally ill. So much can and should be done for the dying person.
Palliative care is a system of care based on a philosophy of life, rather than a process or system for dying; as Dr. Cicely Saunders calls it, ELC-efficient loving care. Palliative care is for people with a limited time to live; sometimes it will be two years, one year, six months or less.
Palliative care deals with children and seniors alike; it deals with symptoms and pain; it deals with the whole person; it deals with the emotional and spiritual wellbeing of patients and families. It is this theme that we are addressing today.
I have a copy here of the paper we circulated across the province. It is Palliative Care: Developing a Comprehensive System in Ontario, and I will circulate copies to all members of the House in case they have not seen it.
In the response to that paper, a number of conclusions were raised by those who read it and understood something of the issue. They have said, first of all, that there is a definite need for increased funding to community-based palliative care units or teams for an enhanced co-ordination of home care, home support and hospices. There has to be more funding to support these kinds of local, community-based service units and more training provided for volunteers who are involved in providing this important service.
Another major point that came through is that people should not consider palliative care to be for the seniors alone, to be just an adjunct to geriatric services. It is often seen by people to be a service for seniors. Far from it: it is a service for younger people; it is a service for families with young children. Many people in our society are ill equipped to face the fact of dying. It is not just a seniors issue. That was the second point that came through the considerations of people responding to our discussion paper.
The third point was that palliative care services are not provided in all regions of this province. Where they do exist, these services are often unable to accommodate the local demand.
The fourth point that came through was that there is a need for a continuum of services for palliative care, not only in the hospitals but also in the home or in the community so that a range of services can be provided in hospice care, respite programs, day programs and outpatient services.
Many people who responded to our discussion paper feel that the best model for delivery of palliative care is the community palliative care unit, which can provide a more homelike atmosphere for the patient and family members.
Another conclusion that came through was that more information needs to be available in the community describing palliative care, what it can do and what services are available in that particular community.
Finally, there is now a great need in the province for guidelines, standards and an overall policy for the delivery of palliative care services.
I was impressed by the response of so many people to our paper. It made me, along with members of our party, realize that there has to be a greater response by all of our society in meeting the needs of those who are facing death, along with their families and all those professional service agencies that are doing the job now.
I also challenge all of us to consider the AIDS crisis that is evolving in our society as a civilization. It will probably take 10 years before the virus is checked and stopped. In the meantime, the statistics show that literally hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, of people will be affected by AIDS before the end of this century. In addressing that concern, we have to realize that we do not even yet know totally all there is to know about it.
In a conversation the other day, a doctor was telling me: "Is it possible for a mosquito to become a carrier of AIDS? If that is the case, what does that do to the future predictions of the number of people who could be affected? When a mosquito goes from one person with the disease and then punctures another, can that carry it?" There is still far more to be done, especially in addressing the needs of those people who are suffering with this disease.
The present total case load in Canada since 1982 is 1,000, and indeed 502 people have died since 1982. It is estimated that up to 50,000 Canadians may be infected by this virus. In Ontario, where 122 cases were diagnosed in 1986 alone, 32 people have died. Since 1982, 311 cases have been found in Ontario, and 158 have died.
We have to face up to the fact that we have a number of problems in our society, and as we deal with this issue of dying, how many hospital beds could be filled with victims of AIDS? That becomes a concern to all of us. Is there not another solution, one that can be community based rather than hospital-based?
At present, palliative care is in the early stages of showing signs of success in meeting the needs of those people in those communities where there has been a team established to address those needs, but there is an extremely unco-ordinated program across the province. What we are seeing is those communities that are fortunate enough to have community-based groups dealing with the problem.
Hospitals have a concept of dealing with the sick and trying to get them better. It is sometimes very difficult for those who work in a hospital to deal with the fact that certain people are diagnosed as going to die. That is somehow inconsistent with the principle of a health care system based on preventing death and sustaining life. As we begin to bring the service of palliation to others, there needs to be an educational program so that people will begin to know what can be done by facing positively and realistically the reality of what is impending for an individual.
I have been impressed by what I have seen throughout Ontario in such cities as Peterborough and Brockville and King City in York region. These are just a few of a large number of communities that are beginning to establish their own palliative care units. They are doing it by themselves. They are doing it in co-operation with the health care providers and the professionals within the community. Those are the ones that work best, but others within our province should begin to see the benefits that come from that.
If we as a province want to provide services where they can really do something, services that are indeed going to relieve some of the costs of acute care beds but allow them to go back into the home or the community; and where the community is saying, "We do not expect the government to do everything; we as citizens are anxious to contribute to our families, our neighbours and others to make their lives meaningful and whole," that in itself can be part of society helping itself.
In my final recommendations, which came through our palliative care document and through the responses we have had, there are a number of recommendations that are highlighted. The first thing is that we would like to see the health care system provide a wider range of palliative care options to meet different lifestyle needs. Some will be in the hospital, some will be in the home and some may be in a special place, but let us at least face up to the reality of death and the reality of the needs of those people who are dying or about to die.
Let us also reorient and co-ordinate existing health care services so they can support the growth of palliative care services in every community. I would like to see every community that wants to be served in this way have that option open to it, and if it is possible to provide financial assistance to those communities, then through government assistance and government support, through mechanisms that are available to this government, there can be the establishment of that kind of co-ordinated health care service to assist palliative care in every community across this province, not just those few that have it now but in the thousands of other communities.
Third, we must finance additional community-based palliative care services to allow more people the choice of dying at home. That becomes an option that some people really want but are not able to have right now, and it has to do with the relationship that they and their doctor would have at hospital if they have to be readmitted quickly in order to receive service without being delayed. There could be some way in which a bed is reserved for them so they can float between their home and the hospital and thus receive the service they need. There have to be policies and guidelines for the health care professional service that help make that happen.
We believe as well that there should be provincial standards of practice and evaluation for palliative care. I would be pleased to see the government establish a study group that could begin to work more closely with the Palliative Care Foundation to establish those standards and to set up an evaluation system, a system that brings added respectability to a movement that is already trying hard to do an important job. To have government support, government sanction, government assistance, government support in the development of those standards and that relationship that comes from them becomes an important ingredient to the success of a fully rounded and developed palliative care system.
Indeed, we must establish palliative care education and training programs for health care professionals and the public. I say health care professionals because most of them have an understanding for the dying, but most of them realize there is much more to be learned about it. Through the establishment of more educational programs at all levels, through the universities, nursing schools and any other source that is working with our total health care system, this kind of education at the beginning can make a big difference.
We also need to conduct more research into the needs of people in pain and the needs of terminal care patients in a home environment. Pain management has become one of those success stories that few people understand, but as you talk with health professionals and doctors, you discover that they now know there are ways in which pain can be addressed and that, through proper management of it, there is no reason for those who are in the final stages of cancer or some other form of disease to suffer unduly. May that kind of pain management also be available to people in their homes.
I suggest this whole subject is one that surrounds all of our society and all of us with a compassion for people and those who have these problems. As a society, we have shown great concern about the needs of so many different kinds of problems and peoples. I think one of the subjects we tend to shy away from is the needs of the dying.
May I suggest that the presentation of this motion this morning may be an opportunity for this Legislature, in its beginning of a new session, in its beginning of fresh thinking on many subjects, to bring some support through the passage of this motion that can lead to a further development of true and genuine caring. I am impressed by the work that has gone on in different churches and in different religions where there is this coming forward. I think it is also time for government and politicians to share in that important empathy, in that caring for the dying.
In presenting this, I trust that members of this House will consider it seriously and that, with proper consideration, action can develop following the passage of this motion this morning. I will retain the final four minutes for windup. Thank you.
The Deputy Speaker: Thank you, three minutes and 50 seconds is reserved for his windup. The member for Scarborough-Ellesmere.
Mr. Laughren: Hear, hear.
Mr. Warner: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate the support, even from the member for Nickel Belt (Mr. Laughren).
I am pleased to participate in the debate on this resolution and to indicate to the member who has proposed it, the member for York Centre (Mr. Cousens) that I will be supporting his resolution. In supporting it, I must admit some slight amusement, although I am very appreciative of this new-found interest in health care in the province on behalf of the Tory party. It was not all that long ago that we had a Premier who attempted to close hospitals in the province and, of course, we all recall that for an entire decade it was almost impossible to get the funding required to start up community-based delivery of health care services. The new-found interest is certainly appreciated here and I am just pleased to see that developing.
The member has brought forward a number of extremely important items, each of which demands some serious attention. For anyone who has taken a close look at our health care system, the services, the health care needs which we have and how best to deliver those services, it becomes quite evident that currently, for the most part, we are engaged in the most expensive and sometimes not the most efficient way of delivering services to the people who need them.
We know from studies -- and I certainly encountered a lot of very valuable information when I did a lot of research for background on my Bill 3, the Seniors' Independence Act -- that an institutional form of care is the most expensive form of care you can come up with and that the least expensive form of care is that which is delivered in the home. So as we develop a community base for delivering health care services, it not only saves money and is more efficient but it also happens to be a better way to assist people who need help.
In my case, I was directing my attention specifically to senior citizens, but naturally, the model that I adopted there would be applicable to anyone else. If you can provide for the person who has difficulty getting out of his or her home for health reasons or simply because of being extremely elderly, then you are not only doing the person a favour but you are also helping to create a better world for him or her.
There is no question that, in the case of someone who is dying from cancer, regardless of age, the person would feel more comfortable in his or her own familiar surroundings. It is better to be in your house than in a hospital bed. It is better to have the opportunity to meet friends and neighbours on a more casual basis than to have to be in that more formal setting of a hospital.
The community-based delivery, while I think it is a challenge in terms of trying to come up with more volunteers than we now have, is an interesting challenge. On the positive side, it also means there will be an opportunity for more people to be involved in volunteering their services to friends and neighbours, people in their own communities. In the long run, that helps us to build a better society.
In the past we have relied on institutions, there is no question about that, partly because it is the simplest thing to do. It is the easiest thing in the world to build a building, to put in the equipment you require and to operate it. That is an easy thing to do. What is far more difficult is to come up with a very efficient, well-organized system that delivers services to people in their homes. We have always relied on institutions. It is kind of the path of least resistance.
While our hospitals are extremely valuable and serve an important role in each of our communities, they should not be the exclusive places where we receive health care services. In fact, in today's world we are learning that we can share, provide a balance.
I will put in a little pitch here for what I am increasingly finding a very frustrating experience, that of trying to establish at Scarborough General Hospital a renal dialysis unit which would operate both in the hospital and in the home; the person receives training at the hospital on how to use the equipment and is able to use that equipment at home.
Unfortunately, the Liberal government really is not functioning any differently than the Conservatives before it, in that it is not only dragging its feet on the decisions but is also using the district health council in the way in which the Tories had originally used it and set it up, and that is to be a political buffer zone. In this case, that is what it is. It has been four years since the justification was provided for the renal dialysis unit, and the district health council has served its political purpose of being a buffer zone so that the minister does not have to take a leadership role.
I personally find that very frustrating because, in the spirit of the resolution which the member has before us, that renal dialysis program would fulfil that kind of balance between the hospital and the community. However, as I fought the previous Tory government, I will continue to fight this government, this new lot, Tories with red ties, so that we get the necessary services in our community.
The reliance on institutions is really highlighted by the deplorable state of the nursing homes in Ontario. I cannot think of a worse way to provide the kinds of service or facilities that seniors require than the nursing home system which we have in this province. It is, in a word, deplorable. As members know, I spent several years trying to work at that problem. There are some good nursing homes in the province, but they are few in number. Quite frankly, I do not think there is a member in this House who would want to have a relative in a number of the private nursing homes in this province.
It seems to me that because we have a mentality about relying on institutions, we have carried it so far as to have it reflected in how we treat the people who work there. In other words, to be more specific, we see a distinction somehow between public health nurses and hospital nurses. They are paid differently, public health nurses receiving far less than the hospital nurses, and yet the public health nurses are the ones who are working in the community and doing the kind of thing the member for York Centre is properly promoting; that is, developing a greater community base for the delivery of our health care needs.
Finally, as he has mentioned, I too would agree that acquired immune deficiency syndrome is one of the most serious diseases we have encountered. As a society we are struggling with it. We are not sure how to handle it, we do not know the solution and at this point we are not offering a lot of hope to the victims. We are not offering the kind of sensitive approach that is needed, and I think the member for York Centre is absolutely right in the kind of approach that is required.
Unfortunately, governments, including the present one, have not taken the issue very seriously. Whether they have been afraid to speak up on it because initially it was thought to be a homosexual issue -- now, as we are learning, it is not exclusively a problem for the homosexual community; it goes beyond that to the heterosexual community -- whether or not governments were afraid to speak up because of that connotation, I do not know. But the result is that very little has been done: not enough money, not enough attention, not enough seriousness about the issue. The member is right when he says a better approach has to be taken, especially in the community.
With those few remarks, I am pleased to support the resolution.
Ms. Hart: I am pleased today to address the concerns the member for York Centre has brought to the attention of this Legislature. In my position as parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Health (Mr. Elston), I am aware of the many and various needs of the people of Ontario in the way of health care. I am also sensitive to the increased demands that are being made on our health care system and the necessity for careful consideration of every option in health care delivery.
The considerations behind the resolution of the member for York Centre are indeed valid. It is true that today's society is seeing an increase in the number of diseases such as AIDS and cancer. It is also quite true that this government is committed to providing increased community-based services for our population as we attempt to provide alternatives allowing people to stay in their own homes as long as possible.
I also cannot argue with the point that the cost per day per patient in an institutional facility exceeds the cost of home-based community care. I recognize that the highest proportion of palliative care is administered in the hospitals of this province. While palliative care is not available in all our hospitals, there are many other models of palliative care service in Ontario.
I would like to take this opportunity to outline for members of the Legislature the existing palliative care services that are currently offered by the Ministry of Health in Ontario. All 38 local home care programs now provide some form of care. Current Ministry of Health guidelines for terminally ill patients provide a maximum of four professional visits a day. As well, it is possible for local programs to extend support services for those patients beyond the usual limits to meet exceptional limits and to provide flexibility in service delivery.
Some local home care programs have developed a more individualized approach to palliative care patients through specialized case management services. I point to the Wellington-Dufferin home care program and to the Ottawa-Carleton region home care program as examples of services that provide this specialized approach.
Community services without beds have also been established through the Pine Ridge Hospice Program, Wellington Hospice Care and the Hospice of Windsor. These services consist of a nurse co-ordinator and volunteers to provide palliative care services.
I would also like to remind members of the government announcement on March 27, 1987, when the Minister of Health announced funding for Casey House, a residential setting for individuals in the final stages of the AIDS illness. Casey House is scheduled to open in September of this year in downtown Toronto and will be affiliated with St. Michael's Hospital.
The Ministry of Health also funds hospital-based models of palliative care service delivery. Palliative care units with dedicated beds and staff in chronic care hospitals providing a palliative care program, including health services and other services such as bereavement counselling, are currently ongoing at the Salvation Army Scarborough Grace General Hospital and Elisabeth Bruyère Health Centre in Ottawa.
Palliative care units with dedicated beds in chronic care hospitals also exist in the Baycrest Hospital and the Riverdale Hospital in Toronto. There are also palliative care units with dedicated beds and staff in acute care hospitals such as the Campbellford Memorial Hospital. These palliative care programs in acute care hospitals typically consist of interdisciplinary palliative care teams to provide services, such as consultation, counselling, co-ordinating, pain-and-symptom management, education and bereavement follow-up for patients wherever located in hospitals. Examples of programs such as these are currently in operation at the Kingston General Hospital, Henderson General Hospital in Hamilton and the Guelph General Hospital.
Many hospitals also provide palliative care units and programs that are financed from hospital global budgets, donations and fundraising. These examples illustrate the government's current commitment to providing palliative care services to the people of Ontario in many flexible ways.
The member for York Centre is asking us to consider supporting three statements today. He is asking that the government provide responsible and effective use of our resources. I can find no difficulty with this statement, and I do not think there is a member of this Legislature who would have any difficulty supporting such a premise. But I must remind the members of the Legislature that this government is committed to careful consideration of all options available before committing itself to ongoing programs.
The government is currently considering many options in the provision of palliative care services for the people of Ontario. The Ministry of Health is currently faced with ever-increasing demands for services and programs that it must meet with finite resources. Before embarking on a comprehensive program of any sort, we must look at what is available in terms of financial resources and what will best serve the needs of the people in terms of programs and services. We must ensure that any policies we adopt are appropriate to the needs that exist and flexible enough to meet the changing needs of palliative care patients. Any proposals that we consider must be flexible enough to encourage the development of individualized treatment packages to meet specific needs while also providing the cost-effective use of limited resources.
The programs I have outlined to the members of the Legislature illustrate that in providing palliative care services the Ministry of Health has been mindful of the need for flexibility and choice in the provision of these services. The government will continue to be sensitive to the varied needs of these patients as we consider future options for the provision of palliative care.
The member for York Centre has also asked us to support a system that is accessible to all regions of this province. It has been the commitment of this government to bring in a health care system for the people of the province that is accessible to everyone in all regions. I would like to indicate that we will always consider the needs of all regions as we introduce and develop health care policy and programs.
In conclusion, the government does recognize the needs of the terminally ill in the province, but I would like to reiterate the point that before simply indicating tacit approval to the motion, we must increase services to those in need of palliative care services, examine carefully the options that are available to us with an eye towards careful management of our health care resources and ensure that the people of Ontario gain the most advantage from programs paid for with their tax dollars.
With that caveat, I would like to indicate to the member for York Centre that I will be supporting his motion.
Mrs. Marland: In rising this morning to speak to this very serious resolution, first, I wish to congratulate my colleague the member for York Centre. I think the resolution that he brings before this House this morning is one of the most significant private member's bills that I have had the privilege and the opportunity of speaking in support of.
I must say at the outset that the previous speaker for the government, the member for York East (Ms. Hart), who just completed her comments, seemed to be leading towards reasons not to support the resolution, and I was certainly relieved when I heard her comment at the completion of her read speech that she is going to support it, because I can hardly imagine that any member of this Legislature would not wish and appreciate the opportunity to support such a resolution.
Fortunately for a great majority of the people of this Legislature, and indeed the people of this province, they may never have to face the subject of palliative care. It is rather ironic that in 1987 we are here having to discuss this kind of resolution. It is ironic because it was not very many decades ago that the subject of terminal illness was one where there was a community-based provision.
Originally, when we were smaller communities, we obviously were also more caring communities, and at that time the social services were rendered by the churches and the community within and without the church. In our sophisticated society, the responsibility for social services, and indeed, unfortunately, the moral responsibility for even caring for our fellow human beings have been taken out of the community to some degree and become part of the bureaucracy. Therefore, we hear the kind of comments that we heard this morning from the member for York East about the need for the government to carefully consider and fully examine all options. While I respect what was being said, I do not think it takes very long to recognize the need for palliative care and why that need exists.
I am actually very proud to be able to tell the Legislature that the two hospitals in the city I have the privilege of sharing the responsibility of representing, namely, the Credit Valley Hospital and the Mississauga Hospital, both have palliative care services. However, they manage to have those services because they choose to do the funding from their global budgets. They do not have special support from the provincial government, and because the service is becoming more well known, they are receiving more and more referrals, so the funding is becoming a very real problem. I do commend the boards and the staff of both Credit Valley and Mississauga hospitals for their recognition of the need of palliative care.
In Mississauga, we also have a new organization called Hospice of Peel. Hospice of Peel is experiencing a great amount of frustration with government in trying to deal with the needs of the people who require palliative care. I wish to read a letter which I have received from Hospice of Peel, because I feel it summarizes totally why anyone in Ontario would welcome the opportunity to see their representatives support the resolution in the private member's bill that is before us this morning.
Having heard the comments by one of the earlier speakers that palliative care is certainly not something only for the aged, for our senior citizens, I may also add that as the member of the shadow cabinet, the critic for senior citizens' affairs, I recognize that it can well be focused in that age group of our population; but as a parent who experienced the death of a child, I also know that at any age the services of palliative care are always much appreciated.
This letter is over the signature of the director of fund-raising for Hospice of Peel. She writes: "Hospice of Peel is a newly established community service dedicated to meeting the needs of terminally ill patients and their families. The primary objective is to assist patients to remain at home for as long as possible and to die there, if that is their choice. Our care focuses on `quality of life' and `preservation of human dignity.'
"The service we provide fills a need that is not covered by the health care system. It complements existing systems and assists in giving emotional, social and counselling and volunteer time and support for patients and family. Hospice works very closely with home care, Victorian Order of Nurses and the St. Elizabeth Visiting Nurses, and representatives of those organizations serve on our advisory committee.
"All persons living in the region of Peel, with a life-threatening or terminal illness, regardless of age, diagnosis or religious denomination, are eligible for hospice care. There is no fee for service..."
"Hospice services are recognized in England, the United States and in other parts of Canada. I have visited the Victoria Hospice in Victoria, BC, and have been told they receive a great deal of financial support from the provincial government" -- of British Columbia. "At a time when the senior population is increasing yearly, when hospital facilities are taxed to the limit, when terminal patients are expressing a desire to remain at home, I see a real necessity for the government of Ontario to become involved.
"The problem Hospice is experiencing at the present time is as follows. If you approach the Ministry of Community and Social Services, you are told that this is not in their jurisdiction and to apply to the Ministry of Health. If you approach the Ministry of Health, they suggest you talk to the Ministry of Community and Social Services. When you apply to the region of Peel, we are told that the region will not support the core program until there is full endorsement from the province of Ontario."
It is a sad commentary that a volunteer organization such as Hospice of Peel has to be bumped around through the government bureaucracies of Ontario when there is no question as to the need for the service it offers. I hope sincerely that in supporting this resolution this morning, every member of this Legislature will say very loudly and very clearly to the provincial government that it does not take any more time to recognize the need for the care of people who are terminally ill.
As is recommended in the discussion paper of the Progressive Conservative caucus entitled Palliative Care: Developing A Comprehensive System in Ontario, we must give a choice to the terminally ill person and his or her family. It is that choice of where and how they receive their care that is the responsibility of all of us to address this morning. We have that opportunity.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: I rise in support of the resolution that is before us today, moved by the member for York Centre. It would be very difficult for members of this House not to support this particular motion.
I would have preferred that the member had a different ordering to his parts of it. Given the deficit in services in palliative care that is out there, I am not sure fiscal responsibility would have been the thing I would have put first. It would have been the second item, which is a wider range of services that allow for choice. Then I would have talked about fiscal responsibility and accessibility after that.
It should seem strange to us all that here we are in 1987 dealing with a question as basic as how we care for the dying in our society and the fact there is a major deficit in the kinds of services that are available to people who are dying. As former speakers have said, it is a matter of the change in our society. Several decades ago, it would have been unthinkable for the majority of people to die in institutions, which is definitely the case now, and a small minority of people tend to die at home.
In the past, there was the matter that you were able to be supported in your home by your family and your community. It was expected that your death would take place there. We have gone through a very strange distancing of the whole process of death and in institutionalizing a separation of death from the natural course of things in our lives, in our society, in such a way that people have very little involvement in the actual preparation for death and that kind of thing, let alone the assistance to people in their last days of life.
I think we would all expect that it should be considered a basic right for all people to be able to die with dignity and to die with support from their families and their communities and with spiritual support appropriate to their values. That is not always the case, depending upon where you live in Ontario and the kind of institution you may be in and the kind of support services that are available to that institution.
It seems to me that the options we have developed are based primarily around hospitals. As the member for York Centre says, there is a minority of hospitals, only about 40 in the province, that actually have these programs; and some of them have done it, as the last speaker said, on a voluntary basis, without any real support from the government in terms of funding for it. I really question whether hospitals are the place where we should be putting our major emphasis in terms of palliative care.
My own experience of hospitals, which has been too frequent in the last number of years, has led me to believe that they do acute care very well but that the two areas of failure in our hospitals, in terms of humanizing the institutions, are at the beginning of life in maternity wards and at the end of life for people who are dying and chronically ill. The institutions make attempts to humanize; they allow babies to come into the room, but they are very institutionalized rooms; or they allow families in some cases to come in in the last days of a person's life; but they find it very awkward to make the kinds of accommodations which are much more easily made in the community.
I think of just a very small thing, of an older person I know who died not too long ago who wanted to have her pet with her in the last few days she was alive. That was just an impossibility in the hospital she was in; it was not something that could be accommodated, for all sorts of sanitary notions and that kind of thing. If a community-based option had been there for her, I think that kind of accommodation might have been made. Given that she had very little family, that was a matter that was very important to her. I suggest the reason we have never dealt with this, particularly in a strong, politically directed way with a coherent policy in the province, is that we are so separated from the notion of death, and it is not a politically savoury kind of thing to spend a lot of time doting on. I think that has been a major problem for us. Perhaps it is with a kind of irony that the AIDS crisis and the development of specialized hospices in that area, and the potential horror that is in front of us in terms of the number of people who may die from AIDS have brought us around to focusing on this issue which should have been dealt with more in the past.
Other societies have done it, and there are things that can be learned from England and other jurisdictions where they have actually spent an awful lot of time dealing with the question of dying and how to make it more comfortable and more dignified for people.
I do think that all of us in this House should perhaps be saying that at this time we as a body need to think much more seriously about how we are going to go about this in this province; how we are going to humanize it. Are we going to keep it in the institutions? Is that where we think it is best done? Are we going to allow people to die in their own homes, in their own communities, surrounded by their friends and their family, such as it is at that time; or are we again going to maintain this strange distancing?
It is a good thing this has been introduced today. It is a shame, in some ways, that it has to be as generalized a resolution as it is, and that we do not have a specific, strong government response in terms of the programmatic direction the government wishes to take in this. But perhaps this initiative will allow us all to focus on it more and we will come to grips with this, as we should, in the next number of months. Of course, we will be supporting the motion, as I said at the outset.
Mr. Cousens: I would like to thank the honourable members in the House for their response to this motion. I truly appreciate the emphasis of the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere (Mr. Warner) on the community-based aspect of getting things into the community, away from hospitals, and the co-operative aspect, on which he was able to give an excellent review.
I am pleased that after the speech of the member for York East, the Liberal Party will be supporting this motion. I think there is a sensitivity to the issue and I appreciate that. We all have to understand that the politics can go out of some issues and we can deal with the needs of people. There can be priorities that are set that will allow us as politicians to put people's needs at the very highest level, with the fiscal responsibility as part of it. I do not think anyone would want to take that away from any one of us as politicians.
I am genuinely grateful for the remarks of the member for Mississauga South (Mrs. Marland). Her leadership in work for the elderly, not only in her riding but also in this House, is recognized by all of us. Her remarks in drawing out the illustration in Peel and the problems that people are having with the government in serving people with palliative care problems is a very genuine one. I appreciate the way in which she did it and I thank her.
Having been a critic with the member for Scarborough West (Mr. R. F. Johnston) on the Ministry of Community and Social Services for so long, I guess we are beginning to become far more in tune with some of the same issues. I again thank the member for his excellent remarks and his support. I liked the way he talked about humanizing the system; it is something we all have to think about.
Dealing with the dying is a part of life; it is a part of what we are all about. We all genuinely hope that we ourselves will not have to face that specific need. People shut it out of their minds. We cannot. Fortunately, through this kind of involvement with the subject and with the issues, we in Queen's Park are able to give leadership.
The leadership is coming from people within our community. In my own community in Thornhill, there is a group now starting Hospice Thornhill. You have different religions and different people from different backgrounds sharing and working together to make this happen so that our community can serve people within the community.
There is a failure now, in starting up Hospice Thornhill, very much in the fact that the government is not able to assist or support beyond the professional business that is provided in the local hospitals. I am trying to move, through this motion, back into the community so that there can be a movement from hospital to community and from community to hospital, professionals and laymen working together in a common desire to help those who need our help.
This has been a good opportunity to debate an important subject. I am grateful that I am able to bring it forward and receive the kind of support I believe will be forthcoming as this is voted on. I am genuinely grateful that we can begin to do something more about it. I hope, as well, that the member for York East will take back some of the suggestions from this House to the minister and to other cabinet ministers so that they can begin to respond, I hope, in the spirit in which we are all trying to address the subject.
Motion agreed to.
The House recessed at 11:59 p.m.
The House resumed at 1:30 p.m.
Mr. Speaker: Before we commence the routine proceedings: yesterday, the member for Nipissing (Mr. Harris) asked that I review the remarks of the government House leader during the arguments for and against the motion for an emergency debate to determine if the minister had used words which imputed false or unavowed motives to another member.
I have reviewed carefully the transcript of the remarks and am of the opinion that the minister's remarks did not offend the provisions of standing order 19(d). However, I would remind all members that "good temper and moderation are the characteristics of parliamentary language" and that members should take care not to use language that may offend other members or otherwise create disorder.
Also following yesterday's emergency debate, I had an opportunity to review standing order 37. I would like to point out to all members that standing order 37(b)(i) provides that "the member proposing the motion" to set aside the ordinary business of the House to discuss a matter of urgent public importance "shall give written notice of the motion to the Speaker at least two hours before the afternoon sitting of the House." If the motion is otherwise in order, standing order 37(c) provides that "the member proposing the motion may state his arguments in favour of his motion in not more than five minutes."
I believe the standing orders are clear in requiring the member who, by giving notice to me, proposes the motion to be the same member who states the initial arguments in favour of the motion.
Yesterday, the member for Bellwoods (Mr. McClellan) gave notice of his intention to move a motion to set aside the ordinary business to discuss a matter of urgent public importance. However, the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel) moved the motion and stated the arguments in favour of the debate proceeding. After reviewing the standing orders, it is clear to me that the procedure followed yesterday was incorrect.
In the future, I would ask that members adhere to the very clear provisions of the standing orders; that is, the member who gives notice of a motion for an emergency debate must also be the person who moves the motion and presents the initial arguments in favour of the motion. If the member who gives notice of the motion for an emergency debate is not able to be present to move the motion, it will be necessary to have the consent of the House for another member to move the motion. In this regard, there is a history of co-operation on the part of all members in the House to waive the rules in special circumstances .
Mr. McClellan: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I would simply like to apologize to the House for my procedural error yesterday and to indicate that the next time I propose an emergency debate I will follow the correct procedure; that is to say, in about an hour.
Mr. Cousens: I rise with anger in my voice, fire in my veins, ready for war. The fact is that in the speech from the throne this government has failed to respond to the needs of the people of York region and north Metro for the new Highway 407. It has been universally agreed for over four years that it was needed. It was announced in the last speech from the throne by the government of the member for Muskoka (Mr. F. S. Miller).
Unless we get this road, we will not have development continue north of Toronto. We cannot continue to provide for the needs of the commuters and the people coming into that community without a response by this government. All we have in the speech from the throne is that there will be major new transportation links created to serve high-growth areas. We are the high-growth area. We want that link and we want it announced immediately.
Our mayors are becoming distraught. Industry is starting to halt. Business is starting to slow down. Unless we make that investment, we will not continue to see the growth in York region the way our government wants to do it. The taxpayers are paying their money. They are getting nothing back for it. There is only one good east-west link and that is Highway 7, and it is becoming a slow-moving parking lot.
I challenge this government to get off its seat and do something for the people of York region.
Mr. D. S. Cooke: For the second time in the last couple of months, the separate schools are closed down in the city of Windsor due to a labour dispute. The first strike lasted three weeks, with the teachers out on strike because they could not achieve a satisfactory or fair settlement with their board.
If one looks at the history of this, one can understand that the final settlement the board offered could have been offered in the first instance and that there was never a need for a strike. That strike was clearly created by the separate school board in the city of Windsor. In fact, what happened was that, through months and months of negotiations, there was not one financial offer to the Catholic teachers at that board until the very last minute, when by law under Bill 100, they had to have their vote on the last offer. That was when the board finally came forward with an offer.
Now we are in the position where our caretakers and the other support staff are out on strike, again because the Catholic school board is not prepared to offer a fair settlement. There are all sorts of inequities because some of the school board used to be under the private board and now the rest of the employees are under the auspices of the overall public board.
I call on both sides to get back to the bargaining table. There has to be a solution to this; there has to be an agreement that is signed by both sides. It does not matter whether one side or the other wants to delay; there has to be a settlement and that can only be achieved at the bargaining table.
WILLIAM GRENVILLE DAVIS
Mr. Callahan: Recognizing that, normally, statements from the opposite side are negative at most times, I would like to rise on a very positive comment to express publicly my respect for my predecessor in the Legislature, the former Premier of this province, Mr. Davis, who is being awarded the Order of Ontario. I am glad to see a few members on the opposite side applauding, because normally they treat him with a bit of disdain.
I want to thank the former member for the numbers of years that he served his province, served it well, served the people and citizens of Brampton, and I hope I will be able to follow in that noble tradition.
Mr. Stevenson: Yesterday the Liberal publicity machine went into passing gear in making announcements on capital funding for schools.
Today, as the red smoke clears, the complete inadequacy of this funding becomes evident. The $226 million will be favourably received, but it leaves a shortfall between funding and the need for new schools that has the greatest gap in the history of Ontario. The school boards of York and Durham regions have requested $152 million for this year alone, which accounts for 68 per cent of yesterday's allocations. What about the needs of the rest of the province?
The total request for school boards for capital funding and maintenance for this year is $1.07 billion, leaving a province-wide shortfall two and a half times that of the 1984-85 period. In Durham-York there are 29,300 students in portables. The boards have requested 23 new schools now and require 16 new schools per year over the next five years. The funding allocation yesterday will not begin to address the needs of these schools.
The Premier (Mr. Peterson) is spraying money around the province as if it were Agent Orange. He is not hitting the important targets and he is killing the taxpayer in doing so. The education of our youth is too important to allow these unprecedented shortfalls to continue at a time of unprecedented government revenue.
Ms. Bryden: This is a sad day for democracy in Ontario. The Supreme Court of Ontario has ruled today that the Ontario Racing Commission's mandate to regulate race tracks in Ontario does not require it to listen to the public or to take its concerns into consideration. What is more, it has awarded costs against the five residents who took the issue of the residents' rights to the court, so these residents will be paying out of their own pockets for lawyers hired by a government-appointed board to defend its own rulings.
The ruling puts the ball squarely back in the court of the Ontario Legislature. It is now up to the government to bring redress to the 50,000 east-end residents who are severely disadvantaged by the racing commission's approval of Sunday racing on 52 Sundays of the year at Greenwood Race Track. The Ontario government can do this by adopting my private member's bill, introduced last December, to ban Sunday racing; it can introduce its own bill or it can give the city of Toronto the power it has requested to regulate racing hours and days at Greenwood.
Will the government announce immediately what it is going to do to solve this problem?
Mr. McGuigan: Wednesday, April 22, was a very happy day for southwestern Ontario, when the member for Chatham-Kent (Mr. Bossy) and myself had the pleasure of welcoming the Premier (Mr. Peterson) and his cabinet to Kent county for their regular cabinet meeting. By reaching out in this manner, the cabinet dispels the feeling that we sometimes get in southwestern Ontario that we are a long way from the action here in Toronto.
Many individuals, organizations, municipal leaders, businessmen and businesswomen took advantage of the opportunity to come in, visit and talk with the ministers.
I want to take this opportunity to thank the Premier and the cabinet. I wish to express appreciation on behalf of myself, the member for Chatham-Kent and the warden of Kent county, Rex Crawford, for the openness and accessibility they displayed on this occasion.
TEACHERS' LABOUR DISPUTE
Mr. Bernier: This statement is further to my question of the Minister of Education (Mr. Conway) yesterday with respect to the ongoing strike of the secondary school teachers in Dryden, which is now in its 25th day.
I have received additional phone calls, not only from the concerned parents and the students themselves but also from the native leaders, who have pointed out to me that one third of the enrolment of the Queen Elizabeth District High School in Sioux Lookout, who are native students, have now been deregistered and have returned to their remote native communities.
I want to point out to the House that there is a great deal of anxiety, anger and frustration at the minister's refusal to intercede in any way whatsoever. There is the fear that students will lose their year and there are indications that many may even drop out of the school system.
We are pleading again to the Minister of Education to get involved, to pick up the phone in the interests of the 1,600 students of that district and ask the board and the teachers to get back to the bargaining table to settle and resolve this dispute.
DENTAL HYGIENE PROGRAM
Mr. Breaugh: I rise today to ask the government to intervene in the problems at Durham College in Oshawa, particularly in the dental hygiene program. There was widespread support across all of eastern Ontario for that program. It has been particularly successful. It would be a shame to see that closed because of financial problems.
I would like the Minister of Colleges and Universities (Mr. Sorbara) to take advantage of this situation to expand that particular program to fill a need, as suggested by a dentist from Trenton who said, "Rather than close the dental hygiene program at Durham College, it would be my suggestion to expand upon the number of graduates at Durham to serve eastern Ontario."
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
Hon. Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, as you and colleagues in the assembly know, one of the key commitments of this government's legislative program, as announced in this week's speech from the throne, is its commitment to excellence in education. Critical to that commitment is the assurance that we have a system that ensures accountability to the public and promotes children's learning skills to their fullest potential.
Therefore, I would like to announce the Ministry of Education's plans to assess student performance at both the elementary and secondary levels. Beginning with a pilot project this May, the Ontario Ministry of Education will conduct two assessments per year of student achievement in the areas of mathematics, English-français and science.
These assessments, called provincial reviews, will collect information from students, teachers and other educators on the nature of the instructional program as well as on the achievement of students. The results will be used to improve the programs delivered to students and to report to the public on student achievement on a province-wide basis.
In 1988 we will review chemistry and physics at the grades 11 and 12 level. We anticipate that in 1989 we will review mathematics at the grades 4 to 6 level and English-français at the grades 7 to 10 level. The following year we plan to review language arts at the grades 4 to 6 level and science in the grades 7 to 10 level. By 1992 it is intended that additional provincial reviews will be carried out in mathematics at the grades 11 and 12 level, English-français at the grades 11 and 12 level, science at the grades 4 to 6 level and mathematics at the grades 7 to 10 level.
This cycle will be repeated every five years to enable us to establish trends over time and to determine whether standards are being maintained. It is projected that the annual cost to do two reviews in both English and French will be $500,000.
It should be stressed that this is not a return to standardized province-wide testing of every pupil. Rather, we will be collecting student performance statistics using a representative sample of students drawn from across Ontario. This information will be analysed and reported on at the province-wide level.
In addition to the provincial sample, we will offer individual school boards the opportunity to take advantage of the materials and procedures developed for provincial review and to use this process to meet their own priorities for program review and accountability at the local school board level. This initiative will provide provincial information on the strengths and weaknesses of programs which can then be compared by participating school boards and schools with their own results. Changes can then be made in curriculum, instruction and resources where weaknesses are identified.
While we will monitor the standards of achievements in our schools, we must also look to the international scene to ensure that our students in Ontario receive an education that ranks among the best in the world. To this end Ontario has recently participated in two international studies, in mathematics in grades 8 and 13, and science in grades 5, 9 and 13. In 1988, with seven other jurisdictions including the United Kingdom, the United States and Japan, we will take part in an international study of achievement in mathematics and science among 13-year-old students.
With this initiative we feel we are supporting positive development within our Ontario schools and will be ensuring that we have a valid system by which we can assess how our student population is learning and performing.
GUARANTEED LINES OF CREDIT PROGRAM
Hon. Ms. Munro: Since its inception last year, the Ontario Film Development Corp. has played an integral role in the cultivation of Ontario's film industry. Currently, film and television production in Ontario is enjoying unprecedented growth and success. To date, the OFDC has participated in 170 projects and has committed $5.2 million in production and development financing.
I would like to compliment the OFDC and its chairman and chief executive officer, Wayne Clarkson, who is with us in the House today. Congratulations on their outstanding contributions to the vitality and accomplishments of the film industry in Ontario.
To help ensure that the domestic film industry continues to enjoy this level of productivity, it gives me great pleasure to rise in the House today to announce the introduction of a new program by the Ontario Film Development Corp. It will greatly assist film and television producers in obtaining financing from commercial lending institutions.
The guaranteed lines of credit program will help alleviate the unique problems faced by the film and television industry in securing financing from commercial lending institutions. With the support of the Treasurer (Mr. Nixon), on the recommendation of the OFDC and its board of directors guaranteed lines of credit will be established to Canadian film and television production companies.
This program will serve three functions: first, to increase the ability of the film and television industries to meet daily operating expenses; second, to improve the industry's business management practices; and third, to increase the banking community's understanding and acceptance of the industry.
Eligible film and television production companies must be Canadian-owned and controlled, with 75 per cent of their shareholders and employees resident in Ontario. The companies must have a minimum of two years' activity in the film industry and an existing line of credit of at least $50,000 and no more than $750,000. The additional guaranteed line of credit available will be to a maximum of $250,000.
The guaranteed lines of credit program will augment the portfolio of other OFDC financial assistance programs as well as other incentives which my ministry helped to establish, such as the inclusion of film production and distribution companies in the small business development corporations administered by the Ministry of Revenue.
The new guaranteed lines of credit program will help ensure the continued success of the film industry in Ontario and represents another initiative by this government in adding to the cultural vitality of this province.
Mr. Grossman: We were looking forward to the remarks and what we thought might be, and so far are, daily statements by the Minister of Education (Mr. Conway) to try to back up the rather hollow and general rhetoric contained in the throne speech, and more important, as a result of all his hard work, the advance information that got the headlines that so far have not been backed up, even in the throne speech and certainly not in the statements we have heard so far.
Yesterday, we were treated to a grand announcement which, one will discover tomorrow, would hardly look after all the needs of Durham and York regions and the separate school boards across this province, without beginning to mention any of the other schools or any of the other needs across this province.
In addition, yesterday we were treated to the advice that the government, in this year of an extra $919 million, could not even mount the capital projects this year but had to wait for yet another 12 months to begin the capital construction program. They did not even have the courage to stand -- or perhaps the Minister of Education did not have the clout to convince his colleagues that the capital crunch in education is so important that it ought to have been a 1987 priority and not, let us be clear, an April 1988 priority. That means some of this construction will not begin until 1989.
Then today we get this response to the bold speeches of the minister and the Premier (Mr. Peterson) about the need for standardized testing and the need to reinforce basic education in our schools. Now that he has finished delivering it, let us actually read the words. It says, "In 1988, we will review chemistry and physics at the grades 11 and 12 level." In 1992, they will get to mathematics at the grades 11 and 12 level and science at the grades 4 to 6 level.
Remember the speech of the Premier at the Empire Club telling us how important science and mathematics were? They are so important that they are going to get around to science and mathematics in grades 11 and 12 and 4 and 6 by 1992. Lest one thinks this is going to be a major breakthrough even in itself by 1992, the minister was constrained to point out that this is "not a return to standardized province-wide testing." No, no. "Rather, we will be collecting student performance statistics using a representative sample of students drawn from across the province."
Mr. Pope: It has already been done.
Mr. Grossman: That is exactly right. My colleague is exactly right. What the minister says here is that this process is an information collecting thing. Let me read his words again, at the top of page 2. "These assessments, called provincial reviews, will collect information from students, teachers and other educators on the nature of the instructional program as well as on the achievement of students."
With this bold statement, the minister really went out on a limb this afternoon, standing in the forefront of science, technology and mathematics training, to announce that by 1992 in grades 11 and 12 the ministry will have received information from students and teachers on the nature of the instructional program and the achievement of students. That is terrific.
Some of us would have thought, having read the Premier's statements and the minister's statements to the media, that maybe in 1987 the ministry was already collecting information from students and teachers; that maybe after 23 boring months in office, he would have had a moment to have his staff collect this information from students, teachers and educators and would be prepared in the speech from the throne, or maybe even today, to announce not that he was going to look at information collecting in 1992, but that he was ready to proceed today to implement the changes in mathematics, science and technology that are so badly needed in our education system that the minister has neglected for 23 months.
Mr. Allen: If I might, I would like to respond to the remarks of the Minister of Education with regard to his proposals for assessing the education system of this province.
Unlike the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Grossman), I did not await the speech from the throne with any great expectations that there would be some brand-new vision of education in this province. Therefore, I am perhaps not nearly as disappointed as he is that I find so little in the speech from the throne that is new, exciting and adventuresome.
It does, of course, follow on some of the agenda that was laid down in the last years of the previous government and it picks up some proposals that were made by this party at various times in estimates and what have you. We had our say yesterday about what we thought about the space question in the system and the allocation of moneys therefor.
I presume that what the minister is announcing today is something in addition to the school leaving exams he has proposed, which would utilize local teachers and staff to set a portion of a compulsory exam that would be required across the system to measure that part of the school system. But what I do find incredible about this statement is partly the remark that the Leader of the Opposition did make: the timetable. It is really astonishingly slow as a method of moving in on a system when I know that ministry has been looking at assessment procedures and techniques for many years. For example, I do not understand why the minister is assessing so few subjects over such a long period.
Second, I do not understand, although I hear his commitment to the traditional literacy and the new literacy, why he is exempting such important subjects as history and geography, the technical subjects, as well as the business side of the curriculum which I thought he himself had tried to strengthen in some respects. Why are those not being assessed and considered to be important in the same sense?
For example, why is he not using the Ontario assessment instrument pool, not as a voluntary thing to let boards buy into assessment on their own sampling basis but making it compulsory and requiring that as a regular thing of boards, so they may review the findings and see where they stand, board by board across this province, in terms of the delivery of excellence and so the schools may see, school by school, how they are performing?
There is no need to get down to the individual students and there is no need to get down to individual teacher's judgements in that process. It can be done perfectly well in the sampling system that the minister proposes, but why not make it compulsory? Why not go after it? Why not let our people in this province really know where their boards and where their schools stand in terms of delivering excellence to our kids in this province?
I applaud the small step, but I wish I could stand here and really give a big ovation about the movement on this question of assessment.
Mr. Grossman: In the absence of the Premier (Mr. Peterson), the expert on automobile insurance, I have a question for the Minister of Financial Institutions.
He said yesterday, the day before and on the infamous last Thursday, April 23, that he was capping rates. He also said, and the insurance companies have said, that they are losing money in the auto business. Can the minister explain to us how the auto insurance companies are going to be allowed by him to move from a loss position to a break-even position without having insurance rates increase?
Hon. Mr. Kwinter: Yesterday the Leader of the Opposition made a statement and I thought it was just a flash in the pan. I am delighted to see he has decided to get off the bench and get into the game. For three or four months now we have been talking about auto insurance and he has been sitting there watching. But let me just tell him, in my statement --
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Kwinter: I seem to have struck a chord.
An hon. member: A chord or accord?
Mr. Rowe: No, no; your accord is over there.
Mr. Speaker: Order. Perhaps we could have a response now.
Hon. Mr. Kwinter: In my statement I in no way implied that rates would necessarily go down. The position we have taken on the issue is one of equity and fairness. There is a great number of motorists in Ontario whose rates have been arbitrarily set and who have been upgraded in their ratings for no apparent reason. We will bring some equity to that system.
Again, and I have said this before, we will provide a fair, equitable system that will protect the insured in Ontario, but that does not mean the rates will necessarily go down. They could go down, but we are not guaranteeing it.
Mr. Grossman: Might I first remind the minister that this question was raised by me on November 25, 1985. It was my first question in the House as Leader of the Opposition. Let me remind him that he stole no fewer than four parts of his alleged big move on automobile insurance from the speech I gave 10 days before he stood up last Thursday.
Let me also remind him that --
Mr. Martel: It sounds like the Bobbsey Twins.
An hon. member: It is the only good idea they have had.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Grossman: I will not accuse the minister of having sat on the bench on this one because we all know that as recently as two months ago he was sitting on the insurance companies' bench on this one, explaining how much money they were losing and why their rates were so justifiable. That is where he has been on automobile insurance.
The minister said in the Legislature -- it is on page 4838 -- that "in Ontario in automobile insurance alone, when it comes to underwriting profit, the insurance companies still pay out more in claims than they take in as premiums." That is his statement. Given that statement, how is it possible that the insurance companies are going to be able to move from a loss situation, which the minister acknowledges, to a break-even position without having automobile insurance rates go up with his cap, so to speak, on them?
Hon. Mr. Kwinter: To correct the revisionist impression the Leader of the Opposition gives, his speech of 10 days ago followed my announcement in the Toronto Star three weeks prior to that that one of the things we were looking at was these various aspects. In his usual manner, the Leader of the Opposition is trying to be on both sides of the issue.
We are facing a situation where the Leader of the Opposition has stated that he is absolutely, unalterably opposed to government insurance and that he is absolutely in favour of rate review, and here he is standing up and arguing against it. What we have is a situation where in his usual manner he is trying to be on both sides of the issue.
To get to the question the member asked, I am suggesting that if the insurance industry is losing money at the present time, and I am not denying that it may be losing money, it is still in the business. There was nothing to prevent them from raising their premiums to any level they needed to make a profit, other than the marketplace. The marketplace is working and it will continue to work. We will see that there are no inequities. This does not mean we are going to subsidize insurance. It does not mean we are going to compel people to provide insurance if they do not want to. What we are going to do is deal with the inequities. That is the concern; that is the problem.
Mr. Brandt: How?
Hon. Mr. Kwinter: Ask me the next question and I will tell you how.
Mr. Grossman: I will ask Rosemary later. I want to apologize to the minister for having presumed that his announcement in the Star was perhaps just a leak and not an announcement of government policy. We usually tend not to make that mistake, but now we understand that when we read it in the Star it is in fact an announcement.
A moment ago the minister said, and I wrote this down, that if the companies were losing money there was nothing to prevent them from raising their rates other than the marketplace. That defines the question very simply. If the companies are losing money, as the minister acknowledges they are, is there anything in his cap system that prevents them from raising their rates to move to a break-even position?
Hon. Mr. Kwinter: At the present time, the rates are capped as of April 23.
Mr. Grossman: Not if you find out they are losing money.
Hon. Mr. Kwinter: They are going to have to go to the rate review board, which the member is in favour of.
Mr. Grossman: Yes.
Hon. Mr. Kwinter: If he is in favour of it, he must have some idea of how it would work.
Mr. Grossman: You are the minister.
Hon. Mr. Kwinter: The rate review board will determine whether or not there is any justification for a rate increase, and it will then make that determination. Having done that, and it has worked in other jurisdictions, that is the maximum. The marketplace will still work. That is the maximum they can go to, but the marketplace will dictate what rate they do go to, as it does now.
Mr. Grossman: Let the consumers not be confused: under the minister's new system, the rates are going to go up.
Mr. Grossman: I have a question for the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology. The minister will recall the infamous $100-million high-tech fund, the cornerstone of last year's speech from the throne -- and budget, for that matter. Recent questions from us have finally pried from the Treasurer (Mr. Nixon) the information that last year the minister and his colleagues managed to spend $3 million out of that $100-million allocation. Further, the minister will recall that the $100 million per year was financed by the Treasurer to the tune of $50 million new money and $50 million old money.
How can the minister explain, therefore, the fact that he apparently spent $47 million less on high technology than was being spent when he took office?
Hon. Mr. O'Neil: I would say to the Leader of the Opposition that a commitment was made by this government that $1 billion would be spent over 10 years. That commitment stands, and the $1 billion will be spent over the 10 years. We have been very careful in putting together the technology fund through the Premier's Council. We went into this thing very carefully, so that we did not waste money the way the member's government did on such things as Wyda, Graham Software and everything else.
Mr. Grossman: He is the dean of wasting money. It was the minister's government that did Graham Software, Exploracom, Wyda -- what others have we got? We could go on, but in the interests of time my simple question to the minister is this: as he will surely understand, the speed at which technology is being applied and developed is breathstaking these days. He came to office when the government, by his Treasurer's own admission, was spending $50 million a year on high technology, and he pledged to leave in the $50 million and add another $50 million.
We want to know why it is that two years into his term he has chosen to reduce his commitment to high technology -- indeed, the previous government's commitment -- from $50 million a year, from his own figures, down to $3 million a year. Why did he do that?
Hon. Mr. O'Neil: As I stated, and I will state again for the member, we have committed that we will be spending $1 billion over 10 years, and that will be the amount spent.
I should mention to him that besides the $3 million that was spent under the university research incentive fund, currently, under the technology fund, the industrial component, six projects are being seriously considered, for a total of $35 million. In addition, 30 projects are being developed, with a possible $80 million in requests, and announcements on these are expected some time before the end of June.
I would also like to tell him we are also dealing with the centres of excellence. There will be at least six of those approved. We had 28 applications, but at least six of those will be approved some time between now and July.
Mr. Grossman: Let me remind the minister that the university research incentive fund was created in the 1984 budget, and what he has done is simply to shift a couple of million dollars from the education budget over to the high-tech budget because he could not even spend those $2 million on high technology. He just did a simple budget shift.
Let us talk about another branch of his ministry under the same budget.
Mr. Speaker: By way of question.
Mr. Grossman: My question is this: in last year's speech from the throne, there was an undertaking that the government would double its food exports to the Far East. We have discovered that in the one year in which the minister and his colleagues have been responsible for implementing that, the total increase is 0.1 per cent. On that basis, it would not be $100 million or $1 billion over 10 years; on that basis, he will have met that throne speech commitment in 1,000 years. Could he tell us today how much money he plans to spend?
Mr. Fontaine: We will not be here.
Mr. Gillies: Even you will be forgotten then, René.
Mr. Grossman: No, I do not think he will be. How much does the minister intend to ask of the Treasurer for the Premier's Council this year? Will it be $200 million, to make up for last year's and this year's $100 million, or will it be another $3 million?
Hon. Mr. O'Neil: As I have stated, besides the $3 million we have approximately $35 million that is being looked at, plus the 30 projects at $80 million. I can assure the member that in a matter of two years this government has likely done more for technology in this province than his government did in 42 years.
Mr. Rae: My question is of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations and Minister of Financial Institutions. He has talked a lot about the marketplace. I would like to ask him a very basic question. What kind of free marketplace can we have when buyers have to buy? Can he explain that? What kind of marketplace is that?
Hon. Mr. Kwinter: That is a rather rhetorical question. There are lots of things in life that buyers have to buy. We have to buy food and we have a marketplace. What kind of question is that?
Mr. Rae: I will tell the minister what kind of question it is. If you want to drive a car in Ontario you have to buy insurance; so to talk about a free marketplace with respect to insurance is absolute nonsense and the minister knows it. It is fatuous for him to come into the House and continue to spout the rhetoric about the market when sellers collectively have an extraordinary power over buyers with respect to insurance. That is precisely what has happened.
Given that it is a compulsory marketplace and given that you have no choice but to purchase if you want to drive a car in Ontario, I would like to ask the minister a basic question. Can he tell us whether the rate review board is, in fact, going to guarantee a return on investment and a guaranteed profit? Is that going to be part of the service?
Can he not confirm that means that drivers will, of necessity, be paying more than they would be paying for a not-for-profit plan in which any interest benefits would be returned to the plan and not to shareholders or anybody else; in which there would be no duplication of service; in which there would be a reduction of legal costs? Can he not simply tell us in this House that driver-owned, not-for-profit insurance is, in fact, cheaper and more efficient than the service he is giving to the insurance companies in Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Kwinter: The leader of the third party says we have, in effect, what he calls a monopoly. He is advocating a government-run system which would be the only game in town. We have a situation where we have over 200 companies competing in the marketplace, and that is considered a monopoly; then we have a system where we have a government monopoly that is not considered a monopoly.
When he talks about efficiency in the marketplace and profit, I should show him -- and I am sure all members with eyesight can see this -- that in Manitoba the headline says, "Fired MPIC Head Charges Minister Coverup." It shows, "Firms Sue MPIC Over Mishandling...Ex-MPIC Boss Cites Coverup Over Big Losses." The loss potential is $53 million in Manitoba, and this is supposed to be the efficient, profit-sharing system.
What I am suggesting to him is that we are looking at a system that will bring fairness; it will bring equity. It will be run by the private sector, which has made Ontario the province it is.
Mr. Rae: First I want to thank the minister for what he is doing for our party. No one has provided greater service than what the minister has been saying in the House today, and I want to thank him for that.
If I am not mistaken -- and I watched with great interest the press conference on our television -- last week, in answer to a question, he indicated that the government had not ruled out the possibility. I hear a very different answer today and I am delighted that for once the minister has indicated exactly where he is going and where he is coming from.
If you have 200 companies, many of which are duplicating services, legal disputes going on with respect to settlements costing people a lot of money, people having to sue their insurance companies to get over $140 a week, duplication of service rife and a guaranteed profit which the minister and his rate review board are building in, is that what the minister calls an efficient system for the people of Ontario compared to a plan owned and operated by the drivers of Ontario on a public, not-for-profit basis in which all the premiums are there for drivers -- not for shareholders in the United States or England, not for people who have the big money, but for the ordinary drivers of Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Kwinter: We have a whole range of reforms that we are bringing to the auto insurance scene. We have Justice Coulter Osborne looking at no-fault insurance. We are looking at tort reform, curbing the abuses in the auto repair industry and a rate review board that will look at rates. Even if they do -- and that is up to them -- set a maximum profit, that does not mean you must go to that.
The other thing we are doing is we are going to set up an insurance advocate to deal with abuses that are there. One of the things the leader of the third party has not in any way seen fit to mention, when he talks about his euphemism of driver-owned plans, when he suggests government insurance -- I admit we still have that option and we could look at it; it is not my preference -- is that the only reason we would go to government insurance is if we decided we had to subsidize the drivers of Ontario in their auto insurance. That is the only reason for government insurance.
Mr. Rae: I have a question to the Minister of Community and Social Services about day care. The minister will know there has been a long discussion in the select committee on health with respect to the question of commercialization and the problem of the low standards in commercial day care centres, admitted even by members of his own party.
I would like to ask the minister if he can tell us whether it is the intention of the government to provide capital subsidies and direct grants to commercial day care centres now operating in Ontario.
Hon. Mr. Sweeney: It is not the intention of the government to provide capital grants to commercial day care operators.
Mr. Rae: Can the minister then tell us the meaning of the phrase in the throne speech which says, "Existing private sector agencies will continue to receive support"? Can he tell us what the nature of that support is?
Hon. Mr. Sweeney: At present, municipalities can acquire subsidized spaces from commercial centres, and that will continue.
Mr. Rae: Can he then tell us -- if he is not talking about capital grants, but about subsidized spaces with respect to municipalities -- about the question of direct operating grants? Will there be any form of direct operating grants given to the for-profit day care centres in the province?
Hon. Mr. Sweeney: The statement in the throne speech indicated there would be direct operating grants given to nonprofit centres but there would be a delay in that application to commercial centres until the current negotiations between the federal and provincial governments were concluded.
Mr. Pope: My question is to the Solicitor General, who I hope will turn his guns away from the people in northern Ontario and start taking care of business.
We would like to know from the Solicitor General the status of the LSI Applications investigation by the Ontario Provincial Police, the Wyda Systems investigation by the OPP and the Vaughan land sale investigation by the OPP, all of which were commenced last fall and about which we can obtain no information.
Will the minister report right now to the House on the status of these investigations and will he table the reports right now in the House, in the same way the Attorney General (Mr. Scott) released immediately the OPP report on the minister's own problems?
Hon. Mr. Keyes: I think the honourable member knows, first of all, that such reports are not available at the present time since they have not all been completed. I think there were three I heard referred to by the member and, in some instances, the reports are still ongoing. The results of the reports will be referred to the appropriate people at the time they are completed.
Mr. Pope: That is a carefully calculated nonanswer. Some of the reports are not completed. Which reports are completed? Why is the minister covering it up and when is he going to table the reports in the House so that people can see what has been going on with the Liberal Party of Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Keyes: Again, the member knows that when those reports are all completed, they will be forwarded back to the Attorney General and they will then be dealt with appropriately through his office.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: I have a question to the Minister of Community and Social Services. We are now getting a new story from the minister on day care, and I think we had better get it clear today just exactly what the minister is talking about. When is the minister considering direct grants for the commercial sector? At the same time as the nonprofits and only after the federal government changes the Canada assistance plan? Is that what the minister is saying now? Is that his new line?
Hon. Mr. Sweeney: No. Again, if I may make reference to the throne speech, there is a clear indication in there that action will begin after the budget with respect to the nonprofits, but it also says clearly that no action will begin with respect to the commercial until the negotiations between the federal and provincial governments are complete. That is expected to be done in June. I cannot make it any clearer than that.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: if I might be clear, I do not know whether we should take the credit or whether Dianne Poole should take the credit for changing the minister's position, but why was this not acceptable in December when we asked him to fund the nonprofits with direct grants? The minister said then it was not possible because it would not be fair to the commercial sector. Why is it fair now?
Hon. Mr. Sweeney: I am not saying that direct grants to the commercial centres are not going to occur, but the honourable member knows that the degree to which we can allocate those grants, the amount of those grants, is a factor of the final decision that is made between the federal and provincial governments. That is why that sector of the allocation is being delayed until that decision is made. There is no difference.
Mr. Stevenson: I have a question to the Minister of Agriculture and Food. Farmers today rely as much on the decisions of politicians as they do on the weather and the crops they grow for their incomes. The farmers in the United States and Europe know what their support programs are going to be before the crops go in the ground, but the farmers of Ontario do not. Why did the minister not take some leadership in the throne speech and indicate the support he intends to give to Ontario's farmers during this crop year?
Hon. Mr. Riddell: The throne speech reaffirmed this government's commitment to the agricultural industry. We indicated in the throne speech that the existing programs would continue: the Ontario family farm interest rate reduction program, the beginning farmer assistance program, the operating loan assistance program, the Ontario pork industry improvement program, the red meat incentive program, the stabilization programs, and I could go on and on.
These programs will be ongoing, but I have to say also that the federal government has asserted its authority on free trade, and I certainly hope it recognizes its inherent responsibility in supporting Canada's farmers in the face of the international trade conflicts which lower domestic commodity prices. I will certainly be urging my federal counterpart that he continue to meet the needs of the agricultural industry in this country in view of the fact that they are the ones who are asserting themselves on this free trade issue.
Mr. Stevenson: The farm economy is the worst since the 1930s. In the throne speech, the minister's number one priority is to move the ministry to Guelph. Why has he decided to do more for the movers of Ontario than for the farmers in Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Riddell: Since I became minister two years ago we have increased the agricultural budget by 58 per cent, which is the highest percentage increase of any ministry in this province. That should show the honourable member our commitment to the agricultural industry. The honourable member knows that no matter where he travels in this province, he has farmers coming up to him, as they come up to me and say, "Mr. Riddell, the OFFIR program has been the most meaningful and the best program that any government has ever devised."
Mr. Stevenson: Why did Rita Burak go to the OFA last week and ask for their help to get people to apply for the program?
Mr. Speaker: Order. I remind the member for Durham-York (Mr. Stevenson) that he has asked his question. Please allow other members to ask questions.
Mr. Speaker: Order. There are a lot of members disturbed that the time is being wasted, I am sure.
UNIVERSITY PARK PLACE
Mr. D. S. Cooke: I have a question to the Minister of Health. On Good Friday, in the morning, along with a reporter from the Windsor Star, I visited a facility in Windsor called the University Park Place, which is an unregulated rest home -- unregulated because this government has not acted to protect the thousands of people in rest homes across this province.
This rest home has a fourth floor with 40 residents, the makeup of which is developmentally handicapped, discharged psychiatric patients and many older people with Alzheimer's disease. You require a key to get on the elevator, and each of the exit doors has the regular handle plus an additional handle and lock in the right-hand corner.
Does the minister think it is appropriate for 40 citizens of Ontario to be locked up on the fourth floor of a rest home in the province? If he does not agree that is appropriate, what is he going to do to stop it and will he perhaps look at laying charges against this home for running an illegal nursing home?
Hon. Mr. Elston: I cannot comment on whether charges will be laid. The honourable member is probably quite correct in saying he visited that place with a reporter. In fact, I was met by a reporter who had received a letter, which was bound for me but which I had not received, and actually was able to give me the information before the letter was given to me. I appreciate the timely delivery of information, whichever way it comes to my attention.
I told the reporter, as I will tell the member and the public now, that my staff, through the nursing homes branch, is looking into that matter. I am looking at the allegations contained there. I do not dispute them at this point at all; they are probably quite accurate. I do not like the idea of having people in this province locked up any more than the member does. I can tell the honourable gentleman that when I receive a full report from our people, I will look at what opportunities there are there for us.
The member knows, and he has said already, that rest homes are not regulated. My colleague the Minister without Portfolio responsible for senior citizens' affairs (Mr. Van Horne) is looking at the issue of rest homes, among other things, which he is examining in terms of care for the people of this province. I take the allegations that the member has made very seriously. As I told the reporter who showed me his letter, I am asking and have asked for a full report so I can see what options may be available.
Mr. D. S. Cooke: I might point out to the minister that before the letter was made public it was hand-delivered to his office, two days ahead of that. If he cannot get it through his office, that is his own problem.
Is the minister saying he intends to send personnel from the nursing homes branch to that facility to determine whether they are running it as an illegal nursing home? Second, since this letter has been in his hands for almost two weeks and this complaint was first filed with the Minister of Health in November 1980, is he going to take this matter as an emergency, where 40 people are being locked up, and close that facility now to make sure those 40 people are properly placed in the community? I point out to the minister that only one out of 40 residents is on any waiting list.
Hon. Mr. Elston: I have the people in the ministry looking at the allegations contained in the letter. If I am not mistaken, the date of that letter was April 21. I could be wrong, but I did not have it on April 21, as he contends. I have to say to the honourable gentleman that despite all that, I have asked the people in my ministry to look very seriously into those allegations because I do not think it is appropriate that people be locked in facilities. I am looking at what possibilities there are for us to look at further. I thank the gentleman for bringing this serious situation to my attention, no matter how it came to my attention.
Mr. Rowe: I have a question for the Minister of Agriculture and Food. On Tuesday, his government told the members of this House that it would act to "sustain a globally competitive agriculture and food industry" in this province. How does he plan to achieve this task in view of his complete failure to convince the Treasurer (Mr. Nixon) and the Premier (Mr. Peterson) to provide him with the necessary funds to help Ontario's struggling farm community today?
Hon. Mr. Riddell: I have already replied to that question. We have not failed in our commitment to the farmers. Since I became minister we have introduced 60 programs, many of which are direct financial assistance programs to farmers. That is the ongoing process of this ministry.
The part that was announced in the throne speech was the relocation of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food to Guelph to make it, without question, a global agricultural centre of excellence, meaning we are going to have a world-class food lab in Guelph and an expanded pesticides lab. We are going to link the best talents of the private sector, the university and the federal government, which has chosen to relocate its offices to Guelph. In other words , this will be without doubt a centre of excellence for agriculture throughout the world.
Mr. Rowe: That sounds very good. I think the minister is trying to pull another rabbit out of a fortune-cookie box like this one he sent to the media by Priority Post during the four months since the House recessed. It says, "Nice little green box inside a big brown box." Inside this for all the Ontario farmers who are suffering hard times we find a fortune cookie. The fortune cookie reads, "Person who watches mailbox in Year of the Rabbit receives many good things from Foodland Ontario."
Mr. Speaker: Order. Can you pull a question out of your hat?
Mr. Rowe: It may be the Year of the Rabbit in the Orient, but it is obviously the Year of the Donkey at the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. Clearly the minister has failed to live up to his responsibilities.
Mr. Speaker: Order. Do you have a question?
Mr. Rowe: I want to know why the minister is wasting taxpayers' money on media gimmicks manufactured in Washington, DC, when he should be using the small amount of money he got from the Treasurer to help farmers in Ontario today, not Washington, DC.
Hon. Mr. Riddell: This was a part of our Foodland Ontario advertising program. We contracted out the business to a Toronto firm. Little did we know the Toronto firm does business, in part, with Washington. That is the reason the word "Washington" appeared on the boxes.
The fortune cookie was made in Ontario. The total cost of the project was $780 for fortune cookies made in Ontario and a box that the firm contracted out to Washington. But as late as this morning, the secretary manager and the executive members of the Ontario Apple Marketing Commission were in to see me in my office, and they commended us for this program. They know how important the Foodland Ontario advertising program is to them, and this reminded all the news media that we were starting our new Foodland Ontario program. I have to tell the member that he is not on side with the commodity boards in this province.
Mr. Speaker: The member for Essex North is waiting to be heard with his question, if you will allow it.
Mr. Hayes: My question is to the Minister of Agriculture and Food. I know he is aware that the federal Tories have decided to lift the moratorium on farm foreclosures at a time when farmers are really in dire need of government support. This insensitive action not only will affect those with Farm Credit Corp. mortgages but will also encourage other lending institutions to speed up their farm foreclosures. Can the minister tell us -- of course, besides all the other 60 programs he is talking about -- what he is going to do for the farmers in Ontario? Who will be forced off the land because of this insensitive action by the federal Tories?
Hon. Mr. Riddell: In essence, the question is, "What can Riddell do to protect the farmers from the federal government?" For the member's edification, farmers find they have to cope not only with the weather, low commodity prices and international markets at highly subsidized prices but also with the federal government. That is unfortunate. The timing of this announcement was most unfortunate, particularly at a time when the farmers are going to the fields to plant their crops.
I have sent a telex to Mr. Wise and asked him to reconsider. I have also asked him to consider the recommendations I made when we were talking about a changing role for the Farm Credit Corp. I was disappointed that he did not announce what the changing role in the FCC will be, along with this announcement of lifting the moratorium on the FCC loans.
Mr. Stevenson: What did George McLaughlin say was the biggest single problem in adjusting debt in Ontario? The Ministry of Agriculture and Food and its inaction.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: It is quiet enough. Let's go. It will never get quieter than this, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: Maybe.
Mr. Hayes: I am very pleased to hear that the minister has sent a telex, but I hope that is not the total sum of what he is going to do.
The minister is no doubt aware of what Manitoba has done. They have taken the initiative on behalf of the farmers in their province, and they have passed legislation which they call the Family Farm Protection Act. Part of that act would afford protection to farmers against unwarranted loss of their farming operations during periods of difficult economic circumstances, which we are in right now.
Will the minister follow the example of the Manitoba government and implement a family farm protection act in Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Riddell: I am not too sure we always accept what Manitoba does as a good example of what should be done. Maybe the member has learned with automobile insurance and what not what I am talking about. If the member is suggesting that a third party intervene with negotiations that have taken place between farmers and banks and actually insist on writedowns or write-set-asides, and if he wants to scare banks away from further credit to farmers, that is how to do it.
We will continue to meet with the banks to ask for their co-operation. I will continue to pressure my federal counterpart to make sure the process is followed whereby the farmers will have an opportunity to take their case before the Farm Debt Review Board. Just because the moratorium has been lifted does not mean the farmer still does not have the option of going before the debt review board, which gives him a 120-day stay of proceedings. I would have to say that the chairman of the debt review board is working very hard to try to keep these farmers on their land.
Mr. Gillies: I have a question for the Minister of the Environment. I would like to ask the minister about the very serious deterioration we face in the province's sewer system. I hope the minister's answer is not to send everyone little brown boxes.
An hon. member: American-made brown boxes; by Priority Post.
Mr. Gillies: I wonder if the minister could tell us, in view --
Mr. Breaugh: You are off to a really good start.
Mr. Gillies: I have to learn not to throw myself off like that.
In view of the fact that both the municipalities and the sewer and watermain contractors have approached the minister about this very serious problem, in view of the fact that his own ministry estimates it will cost some $1.5 billion to bring the municipal sewage systems up to some sort of acceptable level and in view of the fact that this is an imminent threat to our water quality, to our beaches and to our lakefronts, could the minister tell me what he is substantively going to do -- apart from going after federal money, which is alluded to in the throne speech -- to alleviate this very serious and pressing problem?
Hon. Mr. Bradley: I would like to thank the member for directing his first question to me in his new capacity today. I wish him very well, of course. I should indicate to the member that when the speech from the throne was being read by His Honour the Lieutenant Governor, I saw the member was listening with a good deal of care to the words contained in the speech from the throne.
Part of the speech from the throne, the section dealing with the environment, dealt with the need for infrastructure renewal. I have met on a number of occasions with the municipalities and other groups and have indicated very clearly the position of Ontario that we are prepared to advance new and additional funds to assist not only with the regular programs they have in terms of meeting their requirements but also the situation the member appropriately refers to, which is the need for infrastructure renewal.
We will be devoting a substantial sum of money to that. I simply invited the federal government to participate, as it did through various programs in years gone by. I still invite it to do so, but I can assure the member, as I know he wants to be assured, that our money will be on the table regardless of what the feds do.
Mr. Gillies: One of the most serious situations is right in the minister's own backyard in Fort Erie where an average of three times a month now, every time there is a major rainfall, raw sewage is being dumped into the lake system. His ministry's only response thus far has been to ask the municipality to put a moratorium on new construction and to tell them that they can continue to dump raw sewage into the lake system on a need-only basis.
In view of the fact that these seeming emergencies are coming up three or four times a month, every time it rains, I would like to ask the minister when he is going to put forward some thought and a meaningful program that will allow that municipality and other municipalities in the same position to rectify the situation rather than strangling the development and growth of that community by putting a moratorium on their building?
Hon. Mr. Bradley: The Leader of the Opposition, who was part of a government that cut spending in the field of the environment, applauds.
Mr. Grossman: That is not so. That is factually inaccurate.
Hon. Mr. Bradley: I struck a nerve over there. It is not misstating at all and he knows it.
I want to answer the legitimate question of my friend the member for Brantford to indicate that is simply one example of many and he appropriately identifies those that exist around Ontario, which require a massive program for which I have indicated support on many occasions. The municipalities have indicated their support for it. In particular cases around the province there has been an acceleration in the flow of the funding and, in addition to that, a new grant formula.
For instance, for regional municipalities to which he makes reference, originally it was a 15 per cent grant regardless of what kind of work was being undertaken. I changed that formula in the regional municipality of Niagara, for instance, to meet those special obligations. It is now 33 per cent for sewage treatment plants and things of that nature.
Mr. Andrewes: The letter says 23 per cent.
Hon. Mr. Bradley: If the member listened carefully, I said on those components that are related to the environment, instead of simply for expansion and growth, it has been 33 per cent. For growth, it is 15 per cent, as the member points out appropriately.
In addition to that of course, I provided for a $3-million pipeline to Smithville in order that the people of Smithville could have water, because the previous government allowed a transfer station, which had the largest concentration of polychlorinated biphenyls in the province in Smithville. The Leader of the Opposition was part of that.
I want to assure the member --
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Pouliot: In the absence of the Minister of Labour (Mr. Wrye) who is taking a break, I have a question for the Minister of Natural Resources. The minister will no doubt be aware that the Workers' Compensation Board is out by about $2 million by virtue and reason of failure of payments by five companies owned by Ken Buchanan. Let me bring to members' attention a few examples of the systematic and deliberate scheme employed by Ken Buchanan to bypass and, yes, cheat the system.
Wolverine Forest Products has 40 vice-presidents: vice-president cut supervisor 3, remuneration $4,000 per annum; vice-president, assistant cut supervisor 9, $9,400 -- more vice-presidents than Henry VIII had wives. Vice-president, assistant cut supervisor 15, remuneration $2,862. This kind of deliberate exploitation of the workers for the mere sake of a buck has been tolerated for the past four years. Finally, by way of a question, what is the minister intending to do to make sure the workers are protected?
Mr. Speaker: Minister, do you want to try to answer that now?
Hon. Mr. Kerrio: I should really take that question as notice, because I would feel somewhat remiss if I were to respond out of turn. But I think that one of the important things you have raised is something that, in fact, had been discussed in this Legislature some time back. I do not have time to look up Hansard, but one of your former highly regarded members, Jim Renwick, was talking about this particular issue and I added a dimension at that time that I felt was responsible, insofar as those companies that could leave our jurisdiction and leave that kind of funding outstanding.
At that time I made the comment that I thought there should be some method of bonding that would not allow those people to escape without meeting those obligations. Now, having said that, it is some of the feeling I have that there may be something that can be done to guarantee, as other contracts have guarantees, that in the event that someone were to leave, there is a method of paying those kind of moneys to workers' compensation.
Mr. Pouliot: By way of a supplementary, we are talking here about 2,400 workers. The minister's job, his mandate, his terms of reference, say that any stick of wood that is cut on crown land is somewhat under his jurisdiction.
This is not a mercantile mine. This is deliberate. This is an attempt at leaving workers without protection.
We do not have any quarrel if he gets into business or makes a profit, or makes a political contribution. What we are saying is fair game should prevail.
Is the minister ready now to give us a commitment that, unless he shapes up, he will not be able to cut one more stick of wood in northwestern Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Kerrio: Of course, as I said, I addressed myself to the question as I had recalled some discussion about a guarantee. I am prepared to talk with the Minister of Labour (Mr. Wrye) to see if, in fact, we can give some guarantee, in response to the member's question.
On that aspect of it, I will talk to the minister and either he or I shall get back to the member.
Mr. Rowe: I have a question for the Minister of Housing. On January 22, I asked the minister if he could confirm or deny media reports indicating that 48 of the 120 housing units allocated under the government's Renterprise program in the city of Barrie were being taken off the market.
As I have not yet received a response to this legitimate inquiry I posed on behalf of my constituents more than three months ago, I wonder if the minister might give us the answer today?
Hon. Mr. Curling: I will take that under notice and get back to the member in detail on that.
Mr. Rowe: Notice is not going to help my constituents who are going to be on the street shortly. In addition to the 48 units I mentioned a few moments ago, I am told that the city will probably lose another 15 or 20 units currently being subsidized by the Ontario Housing Corp. under his rent supplement program. The record of the minister is absolutely disgraceful. With 279 families already on the OHC waiting list, plus those who will lose their homes this year, I want to ask the minister what he plans to do now to overcome a 25 per cent loss in affordable rental housing units in the city of Barrie?
Hon. Mr. Curling: The honourable member knows of the concern that this government has about low income people who are having a hard time getting any affordable housing. The honourable member stands in his place and intends, I would say, to insult a very ambitious program, a program about which he himself, when he was in government, did nothing.
As a matter of fact, I will just take a minute of time to say the Renterprise program was to encourage the private sector to build affordable housing. It is an option to them if they want to do so or not. But for a moment, without entering into any great comparison, and I would never even attempt to say how much social housing that government did when it was in power, in 19 months we have committed 26,000 units of social housing. Then he says how disgraceful our record is. I would never have regard to his disgraceful way -- that the backlog we have to catch up, 26,000 social housing units so far.
Mrs. Grier: I have a question for the Minister of the Environment. One of the many clichés in the throne speech was a statement that safe drinking water is an essential component of public health protection. In 1985, when I introduced a safe drinking water act for this province, the minister indicated that he was working on a drinking water strategy.
Can the minister explain to the House why, even though he has been in office for almost two years, we are still working in this province with outdated guidelines for drinking water and we have no standards that are legally enforceable and that can assure the people of Ontario their drinking water is safe?
Hon. Mr. Bradley: As the member would know from her extensive research and study, the province conducts probably the most comprehensive drinking water testing you will find, certainly anywhere in North America. California has an interesting program, but I do not think it has as many parameters to test for as we do. I cannot speak for Europe, but I think that is safe to say probably in Europe as well, in terms of testing that takes place.
In addition to this --
Mr. Grossman: Thanks to the previous government.
Hon. Mr. Bradley: I have obviously hit a nerve with the Leader of the Opposition, who now wants to claim credit for everything good that has happened. But I will get back to the member's question.
We have undertaken a number of activities the member is aware of that are designed to improve the water quality in this province on an ongoing basis. I think she will find that, while we always have to try to improve even more -- we should always be striving to do so -- on a comparative basis, the quality of our water is quite good. We will be working even harder to ensure that the sources of the problem are cleaned up and that the processes we use are as efficient as possible in delivering for the people of this province a quality of water that is absolutely essential and that I think they deserve.
Mr. Warner: Yet again, another series of petitions.
"To the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:
"We, the undersigned, beg leave to petition the parliament of Ontario as follows:
"That the Ministry of Health respond to the need for a renal dialysis unit at Scarborough General Hospital, since no such unit exists between the city of Toronto and the city of Kingston."
There are 109 signatures, bringing today's total to 786. There are more to come.
Mr. Andrewes: This petition comes from a number of members of an organization called the John Deere Retirees Association.
"The situation in the Welland County General Hospital, because of the lack of beds, has reached a crisis point. Recent local reports have mentioned the numbers of surgical procedures being delayed or cancelled and the fact that patients are being accommodated in hallways of emergency areas. We, the undersigned, therefore humbly petition the Legislature of Ontario to fund major increases in both chronic care and active care spaces in the Welland County General Hospital."
There are some 95 names on the petition.
Mr. Wildman: I have a petition related to the low-level B-52 and F-111 jet flights across northern Ontario.
"To the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, and in particular the Honourable James Bradley, Minister of the Environment:
"We, the undersigned, beg leave to petition the parliament of Ontario as follows:
"We are against the low-level flights of B-52 jet bombers and F-111 jet fighters. We petition the Ontario government to stop these flights at once."
It is signed by 20 residents of Algoma and Sault Ste. Marie.
Hon. Mr. Nixon moves that, notwithstanding standing order 2(a), the House will meet at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, May 6, 1987.
Hon. Mr. Nixon: The honourable members would know that we are meeting at three o'clock so that the presentations to the first recipients of the Order of Ontario may be undertaken before the opening of the House.
Motion agreed to.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
EMPLOYEE SHARE OWNERSHIP PLAN ACT
Hon. Mr. Nixon moved first reading of Bill 11, An Act to provide an Incentive to Ontario Employees of Small and Medium-Sized Corporations to purchase Newly Issued Shares of their Employer Corporation. Motion agreed to.
MUNICIPAL STATUTE LAW AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Grandmaître moved first reading of Bill 12, An Act to amend the Municipal Act and the Education Act.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Grandmaître: That bill was originally introduced for first reading.
PLANNING AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Grandmaître moved first reading of Bill 13, An Act to amend the Planning Act.
Motion agreed to.
ADONA PROPERTIES LIMITED ACT
Ms. Fish moved first reading of Bill Pr2, An Act to revive Adona Properties Limited.
Motion agreed to.
GREAT LAKES BIBLE COLLEGE ACT
Mr. Andrewes moved first reading of Bill Pr5, An Act respecting Great Lakes Bible College.
Motion agreed to.
PLANNING AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. R. F. Johnston moved first reading of Bill 14, An Act to amend the Planning Act.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: This act, which I introduced last session, would change the Planning Act in such a way as to prohibit the development of manufacturing of nuclear weapons in Ontario by changing the official plans of Ontario's municipalities.
NUCLEAR WEAPONS ECONOMIC CONVERSION ACT
Mr. R. F. Johnston moved first reading of Bill 15, An Act to provide for the Conversion of the Technologies and Skills used in the Nuclear Weapons Industry to Civilian Uses.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: If I may make a brief comment, this is a companion bill that would deal with companies such as Litton Systems and perhaps General Motors, which in the city of London has recently undertaken a nuclear weapons contract, to assist those corporations to convert their operations to civilian uses. It establishes a committee of workers, management and the community to develop a plan and to put aside a certain percentage of the profits of that corporation's military contract for the provision of benefits to those workers who may be laid off, for their retraining or for the adjustment of the various lines that they may be on.
Hon. Mr. Nixon: Before the orders of the day, I would like to table a demographic profile of Ontario's provincial electoral districts based on the new boundaries and based on the 1981 census data. I think the members will find this interesting and perhaps useful.
Order 7, please, unless somebody has something else he would rather do today.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
THRONE SPEECH DEBATE
Consideration of the speech of the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor at the opening of the session.
Ms. Hart moved, seconded by Mr. McGuigan, that an humble address be presented to the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor as follows:
To the Honourable Lincoln M. Alexander, a member of Her Majesty's Privy Council for Canada, Knight of Grace of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem, one of Her Majesty's counsel learned in the law, bachelor of arts, doctor of laws, colonel in Her Majesty's armed forces supplementary reserve, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario:
We, Her Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Legislative Assembly of the province of Ontario, now assembled, beg leave to thank Your Honour for the gracious speech Your Honour has addressed to us.
Ms. Hart: Mr. Speaker, it is an honour for me to stand before you, before my colleagues on this side of the House and my colleagues opposite to move the adoption of the speech from the throne.
As I begin, may I compliment His Honour the Lieutenant Governor on his most excellent delivery of what must be one of the longer throne speeches in recent memory. His office symbolizes for all the people of this province the cardinal virtues of stability, civility and dignity. Personally, he brings to that office his compassion, his openness and his genuine affection for all of us whose lives he touches. For these and his many other sterling qualities, I honour him today.
I am reminded that the first time I met His Honour was exactly one year ago, just after I had been sworn in as a member of this Legislature.
The occasion was the festival of multiculturalism that is held in York East at this time every year. Both His Honour and I were enjoying the Greek, Filipino, Korean and Scottish dancing and the singing by children of many nations in the Thorncliffe Park School choir. It was an exuberant celebration of the fact that the face of Ontario comes in many colours and from many backgrounds and that we all benefit from that diversity.
I take pride in noting that His Honour's address also acknowledges and celebrates the differences in our many heritages. It flags this government's commitment to providing the same opportunities for all the citizens of Ontario to fulfil their potential in our education system and in our economy.
At the same time, we recognize the importance of retaining the language and heritage of birth. My personal hope is that our children may grow up, be educated and live their lives in a province that not only tolerates but also actively encourages many languages and cultures living together peacefully and productively in this rich mosaic we call Ontario. For that reason, I strongly endorse the initiatives in His Honour's address that call for the introduction of a comprehensive strategy to encourage multicultural diversity.
When I took my place in this august chamber a short year ago, I quickly discovered the special challenges of governing without a majority. The broad outlines of the legislative program had been set by agreement, but those all-important specifics were matters of great contention. I need only mention pay equity to make my point. However, at the commencement of this third session of the 33rd Parliament, my government has seized the opportunity to set forth boldly its vision of Ontario's future. It has not hung back, waiting and hoping for the comparative safety of a majority in this House. Instead, the speech from the throne proclaims the new Liberal agenda, one that I proudly and enthusiastically support.
This speech from the throne is the most proactive in recent years and contains many more specifics than is usual in a document of this kind.
Par exemple, nous poursuivrons activement avec la mise en application de la loi de 1986 sur les services en français. Cette loi renforce les droits des francophones de cette province et leur offre des possibilités nouvelles. Entre autres, mon gouvernement accroîtra la prestation à distance de programmes d'enseignement en français. De plus, un soutien accru sera fourni à TVOntario pour lui permettre d'offrir des programmes d'études dans cette langue.
Such initiatives can all be related back to the three main directions that we believe are fundamentally important to our future. Our primary focus is on, first, restoring excellence in education, second, ensuring an internationally competitive economy, and third, acknowledging and implementing changes spawned by our changing demographics in a compassionate yet fiscally responsible way. It is my view and the view of my government that it is only by making large strides towards these three goals that Ontario and Ontarians will be able to achieve their best.
Teachers are the front line troops in achieving excellence in education. We must work together with them to shore up the old literacies -- the three Rs, reading, writing and arithmetic -- and to find innovative ways to instil the new literacies of computers and other technologies. My government has shown its commitment to this partnership in the throne speech. There will be capital funding to modernize and alleviate overcrowding. More support will be given to resource development for teachers. Also, there will be a major focus on reducing the high school drop-out rate by implementing initiatives suggested both by teachers and by students.
There are obviously children who are falling through the cracks of our educational system. It is the intent and the challenge of my government to stop up those cracks and to ensure that each and every child develops as much of his or her potential as possible. It is only by maximizing our educational opportunities that we can be truly independent citizens. I believe that my government's throne speech charts a progressive, proactive administration of our educational system, and in so doing, takes a leading role in Canada in showing the way to the next century and beyond.
Just last week, I had an opportunity to see at first hand what a successful training strategy looks like. My riding of York East contains Canada's only training institute for crane operating engineers. It is a testament to the way in which government, labour and management can work together to achieve the goal of a highly skilled work force that can be readily placed in good jobs.
It is this type of initiative that is targeted and encouraged in the speech from the throne as a means of positioning Ontario's work force to be able to compete in the international marketplace.
My government acknowledges that with the rapidly changing technologies, jobs will not remain static as they once did. We have provided for support, training and retraining for workers throughout their lifetimes. We will also establish an industrial restructuring commissioner to assist workers and industries facing layoffs or shutdowns to explore creative alternatives. This is in step with our acknowledgement that change is the norm and that what we need is help with managing the change with the least possible dislocation.
Because I once practised transportation law, I am particularly pleased that my government has recognized that to be internationally competitive Ontario's transportation infrastructure must be renewed and expanded. In York East, we have already reaped the benefit of increased infrastructure funding for sewers and roads because they were for too long neglected by the municipality. Those needs are mirrored across the province and will be addressed. Hand in hand with our ability to move goods quickly and efficiently to markets is our ability to move people to and from their work places. That too is set forward as a priority by the government in the throne speech.
The third key direction set out in the new agenda had to do with Ontario's changing demographics. Nowhere are those changes more obvious than in my riding of York East. I represent proportionately more senior citizens than any other member of this House, and of those more are women than men.
Those very facts mean that the needs of my senior constituents are very different from what they would have been 20 years ago. Many are facing changes in their health and are placing different demands on our health care system. They hope to stay in their homes for as long as possible but need some physical assistance to do so. When they can no longer stay in their homes, they need affordable alternatives and a continuum of health care for the rest of their lives.
I am very pleased that my government has responded to those needs with a plethora of new initiatives having an overall objective of keeping our seniors as independent and healthy for as long as possible.
The integrated homemaker program will be expanded and enriched, and pilot projects will be developed in which one phone call will result in access to a full range of health and social services for seniors. May I be permitted to say that I believe York East would be an ideal laboratory to test and perfect these concepts for Metro, given our demographics and my highly motivated senior constituents.
My government is taking a leadership role in providing funding and facilities to ensure that we are on the cutting edge of knowledge about ageing. To complement the recently announced multidisciplinary department of geriatrics at McMaster University, funds will be provided to increase geriatric-gerontological training across the province. A centre for promoting design improvements in consumer products for seniors is also proposed. Further funding is being extended for cancer research and for Alzheimer community support services.
Recognizing that retirement brings with it many changes, my government will establish a program to help ease those adjustments. It will also provide better access to community facilities and more social and recreational centres. Our goal is to encourage and assist the maintenance of active minds and healthy bodies. To do otherwise is to squander one of our most precious resources.
There is one particular initiative in the speech from the throne in which I hope I can be forgiven for taking great pride. That is the substantial amendment to the Nursing Homes Act. As parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Health (Mr. Elston), I played a role in steering that bill through committee. The result is, I believe, a large step forward in improving the quality of life for residents of our nursing homes. It sets out their rights and it provides public accountability for their management. I join enthusiastically with my government in urging its speedy passage into law. I also applaud loudly the commitments in the speech from the throne for additional government funding to improve the quality of life in nursing homes and to encourage the establishment of nursing homes tailored specifically to the needs of ethnic communities.
My government's direction in health care is towards health promotion and community-based health care. I am an ardent supporter of the change in emphasis away from institutional care and am very encouraged by my government's focus on community solutions. As a militant nonsmoker, I am also delighted that the Ministry of Health's smoke-free working environment will be extended to work places generally. Maybe one day soon it will cover even legislative committee rooms.
I have touched only lightly upon the three themes that form the backbone of the speech from the throne: excellence in education, Ontario's competitive position in the world economy and changing needs spawned by the new demographics.
I have not even mentioned other laudable initiatives: those in child care, opportunities for women and accessibility to our system of justice. It is enough to say to my constituents and to this House that this document sets forth a blueprint for a caring, compassionate society, one that actively ensures that every Ontarian from the earliest age has the tools he or she needs to become an independent and productive citizen. This is the key to economic opportunity and cultural fulfilment.
This government can point with considerable pride to an Ontario economy that is both strong and getting stronger by the day. I say "with considerable pride" because this government does its business well. We have buried, finally and without regret, the oppressive myth that only one party could manage well the business of this province.
But satisfaction in the strength of our economy is only a starting point. It is our obligation to ensure that the prosperity we enjoy continues, that the benefits of that prosperity are enjoyed by all our citizens in all parts of our province and that we lay down deep and strong roots to ensure that that prosperity continues.
Our challenge is to ensure that our young people are not only literate and cultured citizens, but that they have the skills necessary to enable them to lead this province into the next century. This government, in this throne speech, is committing itself, committing its energy and its moral imagination to the creation of a generation of creative, self-reliant, confident students able to lead this province into a more closely integrated and competitive world economy.
At the same time, this government, in its throne speech, is demonstrating its profound commitment to ensuring that this province continues to be a model to the world of a caring and compassionate society. We believe we are doing so in a creative way, a way that both protects the disadvantaged and ensures that all our citizens are able to use their skills and their talents throughout the course of long and productive lives.
I hope you will permit me to end my remarks on a personal note. It is now almost exactly a year since I entered this House. I did so as the representative of a riding whose residents show an extraordinary richness, diversity and depth. It is those residents whose interests and concerns have continued to energize me.
I have been particularly excited by the extraordinary creative energy of the senior citizens in my riding. I am proud of the fact that in my role both as a member of this House and as a parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Health, I have been able to contribute to the creation of an institutional framework that will permit those senior citizens to use that creative energy for many years to come.
I am proud to move, on behalf of my constituents and on behalf of my government, the adoption of the speech from the throne.
Mr. McGuigan: It is an honour and a privilege for me to second the motion to adopt the speech from the throne. Today, I have the opportunity to second the motion of my colleague the dynamic and thoughtful member for York East (Ms. Hart). I believe she represents the openness of opportunity for women in this province facilitated by this government in the past two years; a recognition of the contribution and the important role that women have played and must continue to take in the shaping of this great province and this great nation.
This government has laid out the welcome mat and sent out the invitations. The challenge has always been there for women, but this government encourages them instead of daring them to participate. My colleague met this challenge, and she conquered. Now, as a member of this Legislature, she is taking on all the challenges we face and she is winning. I am proud to be associated with the member for York East and proud to be her colleague.
Like the member for York East, this government has met and conquered many challenges, the greatest of which are the barriers, long entrenched, which deserve no place in today's Ontario. Pay equity in the work force is only one of the barriers to equality for women.
Barriers of prejudice towards immigrants and ethnics in employment, housing or other areas of society are breaking down. They are breaking down because this government has made a commitment to multiculturalism. Recognizing Ontario as a sum of its parts, the ministers of citizenship and multiculturalism have promoted the appreciation of ethnic origin and encouraged those of ethnic origin to promote themselves.
My riding of Kent-Elgin is made up of people of a great many ethnic backgrounds. You will find social clubs representing several cultures of Europe in Kent-Elgin and other southwestern Ontario counties. The clubs serve as social centres, as a means of preserving their cultures, and through their social activities they act as a bridge between cultures.
These people have brought their special knowledge of growing specialty crops and their special knowledge and experience in draining farm lands. They have brought their special skills as artisans and professional people, and they are represented on our marketing boards, our cooperative boards and our municipal boards. In fact, they are represented in every sector of society, and they have brought a special vitality to add to those of the two founding cultures.
I am proud also to be a member of the government that saw seniors as important enough to be represented by a minister of the crown. The minister has spoken often about the needs of seniors and the contributions they have made to the province in many ways. He has attempted to break down the barriers that face them in their attempts to maintain active, fulfilling lives as the elders of society. The minister has taken it upon himself to ensure that seniors will live their lives with dignity today and tomorrow. I am proud to be a member of a government that is determined to grant seniors laughter, fun and appreciation instead of pain, sorrow and shame.
I am proud when I read about programs such as the one in Emeryville, a community in Essex county where young adults, students, are adopting senior residents of La Chaumiere Rest Home. As one of the Belle River students in the program, Roger Zverina, says: "You see a kind of loneliness in them, so you want to help out. We need each other." Roger calls his adoptee, Jim Copeman, his best buddy. We do need each other, and I am proud of Roger Zverina and his friends, members of the Columbian Squires, for realizing this need, just as I applaud the minister for promoting the importance of seniors in our society.
We need each other. We need to help those who are suffering. Our hospitals, treatment centres and nursing homes need to be equipped to handle the growing complexity of our medical and psychiatric needs. Demands which grow hourly and change daily need a system designed to keep pace. This government has budgeted $9.8 billion annually to keep pace. It has allocated hundreds of millions more to catch up, as a result of previously lagging budget requirements and better-than-expected revenues currently.
Health concerns regarding eye care, dental care, cancer treatment, mental health and alcohol and drug abuse are all recipients of much-needed funds from this government; and still they require more. As we attempt to meet these demands, we must continue to improve their delivery and availability to our citizens. We must continue to strive for the best medical system possible, available to all our citizens equally, with no extra charges at the door for those who can afford them and a waiting line for those who cannot. This government and the Minister of Health are assuring us this access. The minister's persistence and perseverance paid off for the citizens of Ontario when Bill 94 became law.
The Minister of Municipal Affairs (Mr. Grandmaître), who is minister without portfolio responsible for francophone affairs, has taken a giant step towards guaranteeing access as well. As of November 18, 1986, francophones in Ontario were granted the right to have services available to them in French. A legal guarantee of full provision of services comes into effect three years after this date.
It gives me great pleasure to note that Bill 8 was delivered with all-party support and in close consultation with Franco-Ontarians. With the French Language Services Act, the minister has ensured that everyone has the right to communicate in French with provincial government ministries and to receive government services in French in 22 designated areas of the province.
In Kent county, the town of Tilbury and the township of Tilbury East are included, while in Essex county, the town of Belle River and the townships of Maidstone, Sandwich South, Tilbury North, Tilbury West and Rochester are among the designated areas. In speaking with the people of Kent and Essex counties, I have become fully aware of the degree of their appreciation for the extension of French services by this government.
This historic bill will also formally recognize bilingual status for the Ontario government by affirming the right to use French or English in the Legislature, by translating all the statutes of Ontario into French, and from 1991 onward introducing and enacting all public bills in both French and English.
The Minister of Skills Development (Mr. Sorbara) and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology (Mr. O'Neil) are responsible for increasing access to the business and employment sectors. Many untrained workers have been able to gain extra skills training through Ontario's Training Strategy. Small and medium-sized businesses have been able to upgrade their workers' skills and thus remain viable in today's competitive economic climate. We have seen a decline in youth unemployment over the last two years in Ontario, and the minister's successful Futures program, which served 50,000 youths, is to a great extent responsible.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology, with assistance from his committee of parliamentary assistants for small business, has encouraged entrepreneurship through the new ventures program, which is seeing many young, intelligent and ingenious Ontarians become self-employed, making use of their particular talents and drive to venture forth, thus creating their own future.
The Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Sweeney), whose dedication to his portfolio is well known and appreciated, has continued his efforts to give victims of wife abuse, child abuse and parent abuse access to a better life and a safer environment.
Personally, I look forward to these efforts alleviating a problem I have addressed, that of missing children. Perhaps, through his initiatives, along with those of the Solicitor General (Mr. Keyes), the Attorney General (Mr. Scott) and this House, we can greatly reduce problems causing the abduction, abandonment or running away of our children. The standing committee on social development has accepted the task of reporting on private and public efforts to alleviate the problem of many missing children.
The Minister of Labour (Mr. Wrye) has provided tough leadership in an effort to ensure our work force a safe and healthy working environment, and we are committed to protecting workers' pensions against the effects of inflation. Workers will not only feel safer on the job but also more secure in the job.
The Minister of Tourism and Recreation (Mr. Eakins) has continued to invest in facilities and programs that will provide municipalities and industry with a world-class tourism climate, improving their economic position and, at the same time, providing Ontario citizens with facilities for participation. Ontario is truly ours to discover. We must experience its beauty and natural wonders as well as the man-made heritage and tourist attractions such as Canada's Wonderland or Uncle Tom's Cabin and Museum, near Dresden in Kent county.
Just yesterday, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology and I announced a $100,000 tourist term loan for Greenview Aviaries and Game Farm of Morpeth, in my riding. We have a tremendous potential for tourism in Ontario and we must fulfil this. In southwestern Ontario, we could develop a greater industry around the Great Lakes, Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair. Rondeau Bay fishing is among the greatest anywhere, and the natural setting of Rondeau Provincial Park and Wheatley Provincial Park lures visitors from all around.
I am convinced we can and must harbour the opportunities that nature provided us, of course without detracting from its natural beauty. I am proud to have come from such a rich agricultural area with such tourist potential and I am very happy that the minister is working to develop tourism into a major provincial industry.
The Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Fulton) has spent nearly $2 billion maintaining one of the best road networks of any country or province in the world, a network that gives Ontarians access to each other and our producers access to our trading partner to the south.
The Minister of Natural Resources and the Minister of Energy (Mr. Kerrio) has made great headway in preserving and restoring our natural resources for generations to come. One area in which I am closely involved with him is the issue of high lake levels, flooding and erosion of our shorelines. Residents of our shorelines are in a difficult battle with Mother Nature, and the minister and this government have begun to establish a long-term approach to protecting the shoreline as a natural resource and alleviating the devastation that storms have caused recently to communities at the mercy of the lakes.
An hon. member: You have not done anything, Jim.
Mr. McGuigan: I hate to take credit for a natural drop in the water. The water has gone down approximately a foot. I really do not claim credit for that. It is Mother Nature.
An hon. member: We are going to give you credit for doing nothing.
The Deputy Speaker: Order. The member for Windsor-Riverside (Mr. D. S. Cooke) is not in his seat.
Mr. McGuigan: We have recognized our responsibility and are committed to doing our part to guarantee that the public has better access to the shoreline and, at the same time, that those who reside there continue to enjoy the beauty of the lakes and be more at peace when the beauty turns to a beast.
As well, we have addressed the short-term emergency requirements of these communities with $4.5 million injected into the Shoreline Property Assistance Act and another $700,000 for the provision of sandbags and free technical assistance.
The government has provided funding for the conservation authorities to implement its programs when mapping and management plans are completed. We have just recently received word from the federal Minister of the Environment that Ottawa is not interested in carrying a share of the responsibility for damages, yet the members of the Ontario government remain determined to be proactive, responsible leaders and not just reactive politicians. I am proud to be associated with a government that does not play politics with the homes and properties of people.
This government sees both the forest and the trees, and the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Bradley) wants to make sure that generations to come will have trees to see, fish to catch and water to drink. He is the protector of the long-term health of our economy. This government believes in the "polluter pays" principle; that complying with environmental laws must be cheaper than violating them. We believe that environmental decisions should reflect the true cost of pollution to society and that today's society must deal with today's pollution. We believe we must tackle pollution at its source and not merely transport it from one medium to another.
The minister has not hesitated to tackle pollution at its source and, in fact, he has not hesitated to tackle the sources, including the US federal government on acid rain emissions which are poisoning our waterways, killing our trees and injuring our crops, as well as endangering our health. He has recently initiated a court action against the city of Detroit in an effort to force that city to incorporate proper pollution control devices on its proposed garbage incinerator. Without these environmental protection devices, harmful emissions from that incinerator will spill over Essex and Kent counties, Lake St. Clair and western Lake Erie.
The potentially toxic pollution could have very detrimental effects, and the minister and I want to ensure that all steps are taken to prevent this from happening. We feel we cannot stop because diplomatic attempts have failed.
This government has striven to be a world leader in environmental protection and the speech from the throne reiterates this commitment. The municipal-industrial strategy for abatement program, the spills bill, Countdown Acid Rain and recycling programs will help us to achieve a cleaner, safer environment. Enriched funding and shared programs with municipalities, and hopefully with the federal government, will help us to maintain and rehabilitate our municipal sewage and water infrastructure at a time when this $30-billion investment is in need of maintenance, repair and renewal. This direction is welcomed by all Ontarians.
It is evident from the speech from the throne that my government is striving for excellence in every sphere, including agriculture. It is for this reason that we have decided to move the Ministry of Agriculture and Food to Guelph where we have a world-class university. The ministry has already built a first-class, state-of-the-art, food-testing laboratory in Guelph, where we have also improved and upgraded our pesticides testing laboratory. By moving the ministry to Guelph, we will be linking the best talents from private industry, government and the university. Basically, we are reinforcing Guelph University as a world-class centre of excellence.
Although the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Riddell) has introduced some 60 programs since we took office, we are constantly looking for improvements to existing ones. Therefore, after many discussions with farm groups and other ministries, we have improved the farm tax reduction program and this will be announced shortly.
On our agenda, too, is the land stewardship program, which will encourage crop rotation and soil and water conservation. My colleague the Minister of Agriculture and Food has said on many occasions that this is an area where we can save a good part of the $90 million in lost production caused by soil erosion. Farmers in the Rondeau Bay watershed in my riding have also recognized the complexity of this problem. A few weeks ago, I delivered a proposal from them to the minister. I know they will share my appreciation that this government is addressing the issue, and I can assure them that suggestions such as theirs are given the utmost consideration by the minister and this party's rural caucus.
We reaffirm our commitment to agriculture. Since we took office, we have increased the agriculture budget by 58 per cent. This is a recognition by our government that there are serious problems in the agriculture sector and it represents a commitment to helping our farmers through these difficult times.
The speech from the throne speaks of increased fairness in the marketplace. I am proud to be a member of a government that chooses to monitor the marketplace, give warnings when it strays and grant it the freedom to correct itself. Too often we have governments respond in panic to outcries of unfairness, only to create far worse situations.
This government has adopted a thoughtful approach to marketplace problems. The increasing premium issue is an example. Recently, this government announced a program for capping insurance premiums while establishing a review process to justify insurance rates. We are awaiting Mr. Justice Osborne's report on no-fault and the optimum delivery of such a system. In the meantime, we are serving the industry notice that if it is to stay in the delivery business without more government intervention, it must deliver more equitable rates. This approach will serve the drivers of Ontario far better than one that is copied or designed without thorough review.
Government-run, no-fault auto insurance is not our preference, but should some altering of the delivery and type of insurance be required, Ontarians can be sure it will be best suited to the needs of Ontario drivers.
The Minister of Education (Mr. Conway) and the Minister of Colleges and Universities are injecting much-needed funding and direction into our educational systems, preparing our young people for the challenge we face today and that we must meet tomorrow. We are adding to the excellence in our educational program. Ontario student assistance program funding has increased over 25 per cent in the last two years, and colleges have had an increase in funding of over seven per cent, representing a substantial commitment to excellence in post-secondary education that was lacking in the previous 10 years.
The Minister of Education has stood in a classroom of young preschoolers and said, "I want you to have the opportunity I have had, and more," and I know he is sincere. Just yesterday, he announced $230 million in much-needed capital for school boards across the province.
We are taking steps to reduce the drop-out rate in our secondary schools and improve access to education in the north. We are fully aware that if Ontario is to have as fine an education system and as highly an educated public as it deserves, we must improve literacy programs for our newcomers and we must guarantee access to all Ontarians.
Our new Ontario of the future is evolving right now. The province is in the process of an economic and social revolution.
The shift to a 21st century economy is a particularly important process for Ontario. That is because it is a shift away from an economy dominated by exploitation of resources and the production of manufactured goods. Instead, the future economy will be one in which knowledge and information will increasingly predominate. There will be an economy based more and more on the provision of services. Eight out of 10 jobs created in the next decade will be in the service sector of the economy.
Today, more than 162,000 Ontarians work in hospitals, while the auto manufacturing and auto parts industries combined employ only a little more than 92,500 people. Today, there are 38,000 people employed in iron and steel in Ontario, but that is not near the numbers employed by colleges and universities, with a task force of 64,000. Right now the service sector accounts for 73 per cent of the employment in Ontario and over 70 per cent of our gross provincial product.
The growth is in real estate, health care, education, management consultants, computer services, business and finance.
In short, the growth is in areas requiring specialized knowledge. That is why excellence in education is a priority in Ontario. It has to be. Right now, 34 per cent of all Canadians have some kind of post-secondary education. By the year 2000, that figure will be up to 50 per cent. Even today, someone without special skills or talents or with only a secondary school education can be at a crippling disadvantage in the search for employment.
The speech from the throne indicates that this government has set the plan so that our children will receive a complete and proper education and our workers will be trained with the skills needed to meet the demands they will face in the year 2000 and beyond.
The commitments made by this government and read by the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor will be costly. Over $35 billion in expenditures is no easy sum to handle. Over the past two years, the Treasurer (Mr. Nixon), along with the cabinet ministers, has worked within a system of restraint -- not restraint on what must be delivered, but on what can be delivered in the best manner and at the least cost. Essential programs have been enriched and new programs funded.
Ontario's needs have been met and our future needs recognized; a long-term plan is in place. We are spending money now for today. However, the throne speech indicates that the Treasurer has also begun to spend for tomorrow; all this, I might add, while making up for the shortfalls in yesterday's spending.
Responsible management of fiscal capabilities, along with a buoyant economy, has generated better-than-expected revenues. The Treasurer has used this money in areas where it will benefit all of Ontario today and tomorrow. The plan for the 21st century is not a cliché. It is a necessity. The Treasurer is giving us the direction to meet this necessity.
This throne speech, as moved by the member for York East (Ms. Hart), is consistent with that of last April 22, which outlined the direction this government has taken in the last year. Last year's speech from the throne introduced many of the initiatives to which I have already referred, an indication that we are sticking to the commitments we are making. Yesterday's speech from the throne expands on many of these initiatives and introduces new ones. The people of Ontario can rest assured that this government will be fulfilling these commitments.
I am proud and happy today -- proud that this government has recognized the need for excellence in education, recognized the need for training the work force with the skills to keep us competitive; proud, too, that we are moving forcefully to preserve and improve our water and air.
I am proud to be on this side of the Legislature with a party that recognizes the importance of our seniors, our women, our children, our agricultural industry and our ethnocultural community. I am proud to have a government that is compassionate, a government that is proactive, a government that is caring. This government has guaranteed access for all Ontarians to all services in French and in English. This government is committed to breaking down all barriers and to being open and honest.
We are guaranteeing all Ontarians access to good government with responsible programs. The throne speech indicates this very clearly, and I consider it an extreme honour to second the motion of the member for York East to thank the Lieutenant Governor and adopt the speech from the throne as read.
On motion by Mr. Andrewes, the debate was adjourned.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Hon. Mr. Nixon: I would like to indicate the business of the House for the coming week. On Monday, May 4, we will continue the throne speech debate with a response from the official opposition.
On Tuesday, May 5, we will have the third-party response, followed by private members' contributions to the debate, if time permits.
On Wednesday, May 6, we will have throne debate. The House sitting will not commence until 3 p.m. on Wednesday, due to the Order of Ontario ceremony taking place in the chamber from 1:30 to 2:30.
On Thursday, May 7, in the morning, we will consider private members' ballot items standing in the names of the member for Lakeshore (Mrs. Grier) and the member for Burlington South (Mr. Jackson). In the afternoon, we will continue the debate on the speech from the throne.
The House adjourned at 3:56 p.m.