L024 - Tue 9 Jun 1987 / Jeu 9 jun 1987
The House met at 1:30 p.m.
REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY OF OTTAWA-CARLETON
Mr. Mitchell: I regret the fact that, when I should really be speaking on positive notes, I must use this time today to condemn the Liberal government and in fact two ministers of the crown for their lack of concern in Ottawa-Carleton, either their interference in things that are out of their realm of responsibility or their noninvolvement.
I refer particularly to the Minister of Education (Mr. Conway), who blatantly interfered in due process when he involved himself in an Ontario Municipal Board decision as it respected Nepean and Goulbourn in their education apportionment. He was asked for one simple thing -- to provide a list of all the municipalities which are suffering the same financial burden as Nepean and Goulbourn -- but to this point he has refused to do the same.
Then we have the Minister of Energy (Mr. Kerrio) who, although he has been given alternative proposals for the Bridlewood Hydro corridor, refuses even to look at them. He is seriously ignoring the fact that the Ministry of Education is supporting the building of an elementary school quite adjacent to this hydro corridor, where the people are concerned about the effect of health by the radiation from those lines. The minister is aware that there are alternative proposals which appear to be able to meet the demands of all, and he refuses to get himself involved and address those issues.
This is the sort of approach that is shown by ministers of the crown in their attitudes towards eastern Ontario.
Mr. Allen: Under paragraph 10(1)9 of the Education Act, the minister has the power to prescribe accommodation and equipment of buildings and the arrangement of premises, and throughout parts of the act the obligation of the boards, under the act administered by the minister, is clearly to provide adequate accommodation for pedagogical purposes.
Between 1967 and 1973, 29 so-called SEF schools -- study of educational facilities schools -- were constructed in the Metro Toronto area on an open plan, generally with no windows, wholly artificial light and so-called controlled atmosphere. Over the years, a huge list of complaints has accompanied the experience of these schools, leading to very serious questions as to their suitability as a learning environment.
A combination of poor artificial lighting balance, ventilation problems, noise levels, colour schemes, etc., combines to produce headaches, nausea, lethargy, irritability and a general psychological malaise among students and teachers. This is made worse by problems of lack of storage of a personal kind for pupils and staff and inadequate conditions such as carpeting that harbours infestations of various kinds.
These problems have been recognized at one or two of these schools. I suggest that the minister undertake, as he never has, a survey of them to examine their suitability as learning environments and to support both the boards and schools in question in attempts to renovate and improve the situation.
Mr. McGuigan: I wish to step out of character and do a little bit of bragging. I am speaking in this instance about my endeavour to have established a better system for preventing, identifying, tracing and finding missing children.
The members will recall my research and report of the spring of 1985, Missing Children, and my subsequent resolution, which presently sits with the standing committee on social development and which I hope will soon be addressed. In both, I expressed my belief that a comprehensive, national missing-children registry should be established using the Canadian Police Information Centre.
A year ago, I was very pleased to participate with Ontario's Solicitor General (Mr. Keyes) as Perrin Beatty announced the federal government's initiative to reduce this serious social problem. Paramount among these was the commencing of a missing-children registry using the CPIC system, exactly as I had recommended.
Just recently, the first national statistics were released by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The benefits of this registry are becoming even more apparent. Drawing on these statistics, the government and private sector now are developing in tandem a better understanding of the nature and extent of this problem as it exists in Canada. The policies, policing, reporting and community responses now can be tailored to specifics and trends identified using comprehensive and accurate data.
Mr. Andrewes: On May 27, during statements, I called on the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Riddell) to release the report of the Crop Insurance Review Committee and to demonstrate some commitment to implement the recommendations of that report.
In response to my statement, the minister tabled the report on June 1, a report that contains a number of thoughtful and substantive recommendations. These recommendations deserve serious consideration by the government, but the budget of the Treasurer (Mr. Nixon) failed even to verbally acknowledge the existence of the report, let alone an allocation of funds for implementation.
Last Friday, we witnessed another major event in the life of the Minister of Agriculture and Food when he hosted agricultural leaders at a luncheon in Lincoln riding to announce that he had appointed Gordon Hill to chair the Crop Insurance Commission of Ontario, an appointment we would applaud. Although my invitation to this bunfest likely got lost in the mail, the taxpayers should know that they will foot the bill for this occasion, which incidentally provided an opportunity for the Liberal candidate in Lincoln to meet with his would-be electors at the taxpayers' expense.
Mr. Philip: Over the past 12 years, I have asked the Minister of Government Services to look into the exploitation of part-time and temporary workers by the Ontario government. While various Ministers of Labour have given lipservice to the problems faced by the uncertainty of part-time and temporary employees in the private sector, none the less the public sector commits exactly the same sin.
I would like to read a section of a letter from a constituent of mine:
"Over the past nine years, I have been working for the government of Ontario in various ministries shown in the attached letter, continuously without a break in my services, but I have not yet been made a permanent, classified employee. At the moment, I am not eligible for any of the pension or other benefits the government gives to its employees even though I have worked for nine years for the Ontario government.
"I will be 53 years old this July and would like to prepare for my retirement. I am a married man and have two sons, but I cannot prepare for my retirement with this uncertainty."
This gentleman started to work on February 1, 1978, and has worked for four ministries, including the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, the Ministry of Colleges and Universities, the Metro Toronto Housing Authority and the Ministry of the Solicitor General.
If these employees are qualified to work for this long a time, they are qualified to be permanent full-time employees.
INTERNATIONAL PLOWING MATCH AND FARM MACHINERY SHOW
Mr. McKessock: I have a very important invitation to give to all the members in the Legislature. It will appear in their mailboxes tomorrow.
As the MPP representing Grey riding, it gives me great pleasure to invite members to the 1987 International Plowing Match and Farm Machinery Show, which will be held from September 15 to September 19 near Meaford. The match will be held on the farm of John and Velma Lowe in St. Vincent township, Grey county.
MPPs and MPs are invited to participate in the opening day luncheon at 11:45 a.m., the parade and the ploughing competition, which takes place immediately following the official opening on September 15.
Whether members have participated in the international ploughing match before or whether this is the first time, I know they will enjoy it. They do not have to be experienced ploughmen or ploughwomen. I might give a special invitation to the women to attend this year, since some of us know that women are very important in agriculture as they are our agricultural managers at home.
I would like members to respond immediately to John Fennel, who is the general manager of the International Plowing Match and Farm Machinery Show. I look forward to seeing all members at the match this fall.
Mr. Partington: On April 10, the Minister of Tourism and Recreation (Mr. Eakins) sent out a press release announcing more than 1,800 recipients of last year's Achievement Awards for amateur athletes in Ontario. In this announcement the minister praised these athletes. I could not agree with him more for his praise.
Each member of the House will have received a package including the names of the recipients and the sport in which they excelled. The media also received this information. The minister has notified everyone, it seems, except the athletes. To date, no letter or announcement has been sent to these fine athletes to inform them that their hard work and accomplishments have been recognized and that they are the chosen recipients of the Achievement Awards. Almost two months have passed since the media were informed. When can the athletes expect to be notified?
Mr. Speaker: If members would allow, I would like to draw their attention to a guest in the members' gallery, Paul Blundy, a former member of this Legislature for Sarnia. Welcome.
Hon. Mr. Van Horne: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the unanimous consent of the House to make a very brief statement related to your recognition of Mr. Blundy.
Mr. Speaker: Is there unanimous agreement?
Hon. Mr. Van Horne: I thank the members for allowing this.
On June 9, 1977, the electorate of Ontario chose its 31st Parliament. Fifteen of the members elected at that point in time as new members or returned members are still here. In addition to that, we have Mr. Blundy.
I would like to recognize the members who are still here in the persons of the member for Durham West (Mr. Ashe), the member for Ottawa West (Mr. Baetz), the member for St. Catharines (Mr. Bradley), the member for Hamilton Mountain (Mr. Charlton), the member for Windsor-Riverside (Mr. D. S. Cooke), the member for Durham East (Mr. Cureatz), the member for Waterloo North (Mr. Epp), the member for Fort William (Mr. Hennessy), the member for Wellington-Dufferin-Peel (Mr. J. M. Johnson), the member for Armourdale (Mr. McCaffrey), the member for Kent-Elgin (Mr. McGuigan), the member for Cochrane South (Mr. Pope), the member for Carleton-Grenville (Mr. Sterling), the member for Peterborough (Mr. Turner), who was first elected in 1971 and then missed out in 1975 but returned in 1977, and finally, yours truly, the member for London North.
As you can see, Mr. Speaker, the class of 1977 was a vintage year.
Mr. Harris: On behalf of our party, I too want to congratulate the members. I am not sure it is necessary for me to read them all into the record again, as I was prepared to do.
Hon. Mr. Nixon: What are you going to do for a speech if you don't?
Mr. Harris: That may be true. As the member for London -- is it London South?
Hon. Mr. Van Horne: London North.
Mr. Harris: London North. South, north -- I understand there are all kinds of problems in London these days.
As one who has been here slightly over six years, and many days it feels like 16 or 26 years, I can appreciate how long 10 years is in the life of an elected member of this great Legislative Assembly. In my opinion, it is worth 20 or 30 years of average work when one properly represents his or her constituency and the people of Ontario in the capacities that he or she must do in this Legislative Assembly and I congratulate all of them.
I might add that June 9, 1955, was also a very famous date in the history of this province and certainly as part of the history, heritage and legacy of my party. That was also the day 32 years ago when Allan Grossman was first elected to the great riding of St. Andrew-St. Patrick, which I understand is now being done away with through redistribution. It may be the last opportunity to mention that great riding. I mention that as well in my congratulations. He was a member who served this Legislature well for 20 years. I am sure those members who have been here for 10 years will appreciate what 20 years must be like. We offer our congratulations.
As I was listening to the list being read, I do not think there is one name from any of the parties I could suggest who has not worked long and hard and very diligently on behalf of his constituents. Other than those whom we know have felt 10 years is long enough, I am sure they will all be back representing their constituents after the great event that we expect will take place in 1989 or so.
Mr. McClellan: On behalf of the New Democratic Party, I also want to offer our congratulations to the 15 surviving members of the class of 1977. I think that was my favourite election of all four of the elections l have been in. Members will recall the issue in the election was the difference in the rent control guideline, I believe, of less than two per cent. The Premier felt that was a matter that required a decision of the people as to whether the rent review guideline would be eight per cent or six per cent. As usual, the Liberals could not make up their minds between eight per cent and six per cent, so they came down on the side of seven per cent.
June is my favourite month for an election. I regret that the Premier (Mr. Peterson) did not have the courage to have an election in June, which we were all expecting. Premier Davis was a man of conviction and was not afraid to consult the people, unlike the current Premier.
The 1977 election not only gave us the 15 illustrious survivors we are honouring today but also, I believe, saw the birth of the Brampton charter. Whatever happened to the Brampton charter?
Hon. Mr. Nixon: That was two trees for one.
Mr. McClellan: Two trees for one and the wonderful slogan "Keep the promise," which still applies, I may say. Finally, I must note that the winner of that election was Stuart Smith. I want to congratulate in particular the member for Windsor-Riverside and the member for Hamilton Mountain, who have both made an outstanding contribution in our caucus. To all the other members of the class of 1977, our congratulations and best wishes.
Mr. Speaker: The member for Wellington-Dufferin-Peel on a point of what?
Mr. J. M. Johnson: Personal privilege.
Mr. Speaker: Personal privilege? I will try it.
Mr. J. M. Johnson: My very good friend the member for London North read into the record that I was elected with the class of 1977. It was really the class of 1975. I would not bring it to your attention, sir, except the information was provided by the Clerk at the table and I wonder if my pension is slated in the same category.
Mr. Rae: Why is that man thinking about his pension? He is running again.
Mr. Rowe: And he'll be in cabinet next time.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
Hon. Mr. Wrye: I wish to announce today that on October 1, 1987, new regulations under the Employment Standards Act providing enhanced working conditions for domestics and nannies will take effect.
The new regulations place these employees on the same legal footing as other wage earners in two key respects: overtime pay and the minimum wage. The measures also seek to clarify and regularize working relationships between employers and domestics. They set new requirements for record-keeping and written particulars of employment.
It is estimated that almost 20,000 people are employed as live-in domestics in Ontario. Virtually all are women, and virtually all are involved in the care of children. Many are newcomers to Canada and a great number are employed in domestic situations as a condition of federal immigration visas. Many also belong to the province's visible minority groups.
We are dealing here with a sizeable segment of the working population which is, for various reasons, economically vulnerable. Added to this is the fact that prior to 1981, domestics had been excluded from substantive protection under the Employment Standards Act.
In 1981, for the first time, full-time domestics and nannies were brought under the protection of minimum wage provisions and were granted protection for vacations, holidays and weekly free periods. More recently, full-time domestics living outside the household were also included in provisions for overtime payment, although live-in domestics were not.
These changes were welcome, but they left some very large gaps. Domestic workers were still not enjoying some of the fundamental protections enjoyed by other wage earners in Ontario, and I am sorry to say that reports of substandard working conditions continued. With these new regulations being filed today, many of those gaps will be filled.
The new standards will apply for the most part only to those regarded as full-time domestics; that is, to those employed more than 24 hours a week and to nannies qualified by special training in child care.
One of the key changes has to do with overtime payments. Under the present regulation, domestic employees living outside the household must be paid a minimum of $6.53 for each hour worked beyond 44 hours a week. On the other hand, live-in domestics and nannies are exempt from overtime protection of any kind.
Starting in October, all full-time live-in domestics, full-time live-out domestics and nannies will be subject to the same overtime provision. This calls for overtime pay at the rate of one and one half times the regular hourly rate for each hour worked in excess of 44 hours a week.
Alternatively, the employer and employee may agree to compensation in the form of time off at the rate of one and one half hours off for each overtime hour worked.
This provision is intended to give recognition to overtime worked by domestic employees and at the same time to discourage the scheduling of excessively long hours.
I would like to point out that full-time live-in sitters have been specifically included in these overtime provisions. Previously, they were not included and this left room for abuse. It was found, for example, that the appellation of "sitter" has sometimes been applied to general domestic employees as a means of evading basic employment obligations.
This loophole has now been closed. Live-in sitters perform a valuable child care function in the home, and the government believes that they should be placed on the same footing as other domestics with regard to overtime pay and the other new provisions I am outlining today. Sitters will also be entitled to the weekly free periods which currently apply to other live-in domestics.
Other key changes in the regulations relate to the minimum wage.
Under the existing standards, the minimum rate for domestics can be hourly, daily, weekly or monthly. This discriminates against employees working longer hours. An employee might find herself working 10 hours in a day, for example, and still receive only the daily minimum based on eight hours.
Under the new regulation, only the general hourly minimum wage will apply to domestics. We are also including live-out domestics who work 24 hours or less in a week. For the first time, these part-timers will be entitled to the minimum wage.
A minimum wage based exclusively on an hourly rate ensures that domestics are compensated for each and every hour worked.
To enforce these provisions, the new regulations will require that employers keep daily and weekly records showing the number of hours worked by employees. In this, they are not being asked to do more than is required of other employers.
As a further measure, employers will be required to furnish such employees with written job particulars. These must specify regular hours of work, including starting and finishing times, as well as the hourly rate of pay. Since there may be some difficulty in distinguishing between working and nonworking time, especially for live-in employees, the new regulations will set out a clarification of nonworking time.
On one issue, maximum hours of work for domestics, we have decided to defer action for the moment. A resolution of this question will await the findings of the Task Force on Hours of Work and Overtime. The second phase of the task force report will deal with domestic employment and is expected this fall.
In the meantime, the new overtime provisions will decrease the possibility that employers will make excessive demands on domestic employees with regard to hours of work.
A factor we have had to contend with in making these changes is that live-in domestics are in a very special position. They are not like factory workers who can punch in and then punch out at the end of the day. Their work does not easily lend itself to precise schedules and quitting times, especially where the care of children is involved.
At the same time, domestic employees have as much right as anyone else to adequate wages, to extra compensation for extra effort and to free time. It is our intention in framing these regulations to ensure that they be afforded these rights to the fullest possible extent and, within the limits imposed upon us by the very special nature of the case, I submit that we have succeeded.
ACQUIRED IMMUNE DEFICIENCY SYNDROME
Hon. Mr. Elston: Members will be aware that Monday, June 8, marked the beginning of an AIDS Awareness Week in Toronto.
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome is a serious world health problem. From a provincial perspective, Ontario accounts for almost 38 per cent of all reported AIDS cases in Canada. The disease represents a genuine threat to every community in Ontario, and this government has responded on every front.
We have provided over $7 million in support of various research, education and counselling initiatives, most notably the following: the establishment of a human immunodeficiency virus isolation lab, the provision of azidothymidine free of charge to AIDS patients participating in ongoing treatment trials; and the establishment of Casey House, a residence for people in the advanced stages of the disease.
Over the last few years, the emphasis of our AIDS public education efforts has been to provide accurate and timely information to the people of Ontario about the basic characteristics of the disease.
Since then, our information and education requirements have changed. While we must still reinforce the message that AIDS is not spread by casual contact, we must also place increased emphasis on ensuring that people are aware of the real risks and what they can do to protect themselves. Finally, we must satisfy the increased requirement for counselling and support services for people who have been exposed to the virus or developed the disease.
The Ontario Public Education Panel on AIDS, OPEPA, has recommended that the ministry now encourage the development of community-based organizations to provide a broad range of education, counselling and support programs.
In the spirit of AIDS Awareness Week, and to update the members of this House on my ministry's support of AIDS-related initiatives, I am pleased to announce that the Ministry of Health has set aside $420,000 in funding for community-based AIDS education programs and counselling and support initiatives.
Community-based efforts are among the most effective ways to rally the energies and dedication of volunteers and to get the AIDS message across to the public at large, including those not being reached in schools, by fact sheets, newspaper articles or other more traditional sources of health information and education. The AIDS Committee of Toronto, ACT, which the ministry already funds, is a good example of this.
My ministry is requesting program proposals from local AIDS organizations, health agencies, citizens' groups and other organizations around the province wishing to offer such services in the communities they serve.
Program proposal forms are being provided to groups which have already advised the ministry or OPEPA of their interest in providing such AIDS-related services at the local level. Forms may also be obtained, in either English or French, by contacting the Ontario Public Education Panel on AIDS, local health units and district health councils. Program proposals must be received by August 1, 1987.
OPEPA will review the submissions and make funding recommendations. District health councils will also have an opportunity to review the proposals and make comments and recommendations.
The government views this funding initiative as an important new component in its overall strategy against AIDS. By developing knowledge, expertise and leadership at the grass-roots level and by providing people the opportunity to discuss AIDS-related issues in familiar settings, we are creating opportunities for education that will have a positive impact upon attitudes, behaviour and the health status of the people of Ontario.
Hon. Mr. Conway: I would like to join my colleague the Minister of Health in making an additional announcement with respect to the whole AIDS question.
The acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or AIDS, as it is more commonly known, is a serious medical and social concern in Canada and around the world. To date, there is no known cure.
The challenge facing Ontario, which we are particularly mindful of during AIDS Awareness Week, is to educate ourselves and our children about the risks of AIDS. It is up to us, as parents, educators and community leaders, to give young people the information required to make responsible decisions about health matters and to help them avoid the AIDS virus.
To meet that challenge, I stated in this chamber in January that AIDS education would be mandatory in Ontario schools beginning in the 1987-88 school year. I would like to announce that the Ontario Ministry of Education is meeting that commitment and is today releasing a draft curriculum document that will form the basis of AIDS education in our Ontario schools.
This means that AIDS education will be a mandatory unit of study in the health education program for students in grades 7 and 8 and for those students in the secondary school health education program.
The draft document is divided into four main parts: some facts about AIDS; general teaching strategies; teaching strategies for grades 7 and 8; and teaching strategies for the secondary school grades. The suggested strategies in this draft document give teachers the flexibility to design instructional programs, dealing with AIDS, that are suitable for various grade levels and that respond to local community needs.
This document will be circulated within the next few days to teachers and to school administrators for validation and response. Their comments and suggestions will be incorporated into a final document, which will be distributed to our Ontario schools by this fall. The AIDS education programs will be introduced as part of the curriculum early in the new school year.
By making this document available, it is our aim to help teachers develop teaching strategies to better inform students about the disease and to make students aware of ways in which it is transmitted and how it can be prevented.
The draft AIDS education document also, and we feel this is important, stresses that parents must be made aware of the general content and purpose of this program, and it suggests that school administrators consider involving parents in a course covering the same subject matter as the one given to their children.
I should also point out that parents or guardians of a student, or a student who is 18 years of age or older, who believe that any component of a physical or health education program is in conflict with their beliefs may apply for an exemption from such a component.
I believe this document will be an important part of our co-operative efforts to combat this deadly disease. If we act now, we can save lives. If we teach our children to make responsible decisions, we will save lives.
Mr. Gordon: I would like to respond to the statement made by the Minister of Labour (Mr. Wrye) on the matter of overtime wages. I must commend the minister, but I must also say that we on this side of the House are disappointed that he chose to ignore the plight of perhaps 20,000 people who are domestics who live in in this province, who are immigrants and who, perhaps because of language barriers or fear because they have just come to this country, are not always able to speak out for their rights.
It was our hope the minister would speak out for their rights and would see that a limit would be put on the maximum number of hours these people would be working in homes. Surely, the minister is aware of the pressures that are being placed on these people. Most of them are women and most of them do not have the kind of background and experience that allows them to protest. I hope the minister will not take much more time to make a decision in their favour.
ACQUIRED IMMUNE DEFICIENCY SYNDROME
Mr. Andrewes: The Minister of Health (Mr. Elston), in his statement regarding acquired immune deficiency syndrome and AIDS support, failed to mention that it was badgering by the opposition in this House and in the estimates that certainly brought about the kind of funding he is speaking of, particularly to the AIDS Committee of Toronto.
It was this opposition, and particularly the member for St. George (Ms. Fish), who brought to the minister's attention the desperate needs of a group working to fund Casey House. It was only through the efforts of the opposition that at the 11th hour the Minister of Health saw fit to provide the funding necessary to make Casey House a reality.
The Minister of Education (Mr. Conway), in his add-on to the Minister of Health's statement, failed to mention that it was a question by the official opposition that prompted him to leave this House, and in spite of a lack of consultation and in spite of a lack of preparedness, spontaneously announce that AIDS education would be taught in the classrooms of the province.
This disease and the public concern, the public fear around this disease, far outweigh public knowledge. Until a cure for AIDS can be found, prevention is the most important component in a health policy that will beat this dreaded disease. I trust that this announcement and the announcement of the Minister of Health herald a new attitude of this government towards what many describe as the greatest health threat of this decade.
Ms. Fish: I rise to respond to the announcement by the Minister of Education respecting the AIDS education curriculum. I hope it is indeed a curriculum, not simply a support document but a clear direction on the AIDS education that will be given in our schools. The minister's statement indicated that AIDS education would be mandatory and went on to speak of it as a component within health or physical education subjects.
Within that frame, none the less, the minister provides the option for students to be withdrawn from that program. This is not a discussion about sexuality. This is not a discussion about issues that should confront or make difficult personal beliefs or values. This is a discussion and an instruction about the health of our people, dealing with a deadly disease that is at epidemic proportions within our province and across North America. It must be dealt with in a clear and direct fashion by reaching our students.
It is my sincere hope, and our hope on this side, that in reviewing the responses to this document, the minister will reconsider the designation of "support document" and, as he indicated early today, make clear that this is curriculum; and similarly will re-examine the loophole provided for the withdrawal of students from education on this matter, so critical to their health and physical wellbeing.
Mr. Rae: AIDS is, without question, the public health challenge of our time. When the history of this period is written, I think it will clearly show that the political system has fallen well behind the extent of the problem and has also fallen behind public readiness not only to discuss the problem and to be aware of it but also to deal with it.
I would say to the Minister of Education that perhaps the following words, taken from page 14 of the draft curriculum, should become part of a general public education campaign which needs to spread very much beyond our school system. The draft curriculum says: "AIDS is not spread by casual contact. A person cannot get AIDS from a playground, a public washroom, swimming pool, a public telephone, food, drinking fountains, hugs and so on."
It is extremely important that much of the public misconception about what this horrendous virus is and how it is transmitted needs to be dealt with and tackled head on by government.
We also need to recognize, as the curriculum does, that if we look at the history of AIDS, a relatively recent history, particularly if we look at the experience now in Africa and some other countries, AIDS is not in any sense a disease that is confined to the homosexual population. It is not the gay plague, as it has been so wrongly described. It is in fact a virus which is spread by sexual contact and it is a virus which can spread by means of heterosexual contact between men and women as easily and as readily as it can spread between men and men. That is worth pointing out and worth our talking about in a very frank way.
When it comes to how AIDS can be prevented, the curriculum document states on page 69: "Sexual abstinence is the most effective means of prevention of the spread of AIDS....If abstinence is not practiced, the use of a latex condom with spermicide containing nonoxynol-9 can provide some protection against the human immunodeficiency virus.''
This may not be the time or the opportunity for us to discuss this at length. I just think it is unwise if abstinence and the preaching of abstinence becomes the substance or the core of the government's approach and the public education approach with respect to AIDS.
If one looks back at the 19th-century experience with syphilis and other venereal diseases and the tremendous public health campaign that was necessary in order to begin to stop the spread of those publicly transmitted diseases, one will find that the beginning of the campaign was the preaching of morality and of abstinence; it was only when the experiences of the First and Second World Wars finally came into play and people realized the extent of the problem that the films and the work of public health no longer focused on the question of abstinence but focused on the effective means of prevention. Because, if I may say so, preaching morality is not going to work. It is not going to solve the problem. It is teaching effective prevention that is going to solve the problem. It seems to me that is something the government is going to have to face up to head on.
Not enough is being done. There is still too much reliance on volunteers. There is an AIDS Committee of Toronto, but there are other committees outside Toronto which are not being publicly supported at the present time. We have a long way to go to face up to the extent and the severity of this problem. It is time we all started talking about it and expressed a willingness to talk about it and a willingness to deal with this very serious disease which affects far too many people and is spreading far too quickly.
Mr. Mackenzie: We welcome the new protection for domestics that is involved in the change in regulations we have before us today. We have fought long and hard for these changes for domestics, working closely with the International Coalition to End Domestics' Exploitation.
We do have difficulty with the option of time and a half in lieu of overtime if agreed between the parties, because we know that the bargaining power is not going to be with the domestic workers. We also have concern with the lack of maximum hours in this legislation and the referral to the Task Force on Hours of Work and Overtime. I sometimes wonder whether that task force is ever going to report, whether this House is going to see its report or whether it will report only to the minister. That is a serious concern to us.
We want to see the regulations before we make any further comments on this, because if there is not a change in legislation and there is not the coverage under the Labour Relations Act we want that as well.
Mr. Pope: My question is to the Premier. Could the Premier indicate to this House and to the people of Ontario what his belief is with respect to the overcapacity of the automotive industry in Canada and in this province in terms of the number of cars, jobs and plants, and whether he thinks it is an immediate economic challenge for Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: The question of the management of the automotive industry is a major concern of this government and has been for preceding governments as well. There are a number of analysts looking at the industry in North America now and, indeed, at the world-wide ramifications. They are looking ahead and wondering what the correct and appropriate response will be.
I should tell the honourable member that one of the advantages we enjoy in Ontario is that our unit cost of production is substantially below that of the United States, and we expect that competitive position to be maintained for a long period of time. That being said, we have seen a major down-sizing of some of the productive capacities. General Motors has closed down 11 factories in the United States, but at the same time, interestingly enough, it has put into place in Oshawa the largest part of its sector investment ever in Canada, some $2 billion, to keep it competitive and keep it growing.
We have a number of concerns which relate to our national automotive policy, particularly with regard to imports from the Pacific Rim countries. The minister has shared those views with M. Côté; I have shared them with the Prime Minister. We are hoping that the federal government will be coming forward very quickly with a comprehensive automotive strategy with respect to imports from the Asian countries.
I should tell my honourable friend that I have met extensively with all people concerned in this matter, be it the Canadian Auto Workers leadership, the leadership of the assemblers or the automotive parts manufacturers. I think we have created a clear position to take to the federal government and I hope it will respond in the not-too-distant future.
Mr. Pope: The Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology (Mr. O'Neil) indicated in the House on June 3 that the government had undertaken a study. Could the Premier indicate to the House now whether that study indicates what others have shown, that is that there is a clear indication of an overcapacity in two and a half years of five million cars, putting 285,000 jobs at risk in the province? Do the internal studies of the government verify that number?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: I am not in a position to verify that, but I can go back to my previous answer and say that there are concerns with the competitiveness in the long term. We think structurally we are in a very good position. Obviously, we are concerned about any changes in the auto pact. As the member will know, there are some that are bringing pressures to bear on that.
We are being vigilant. We are trying to extend the national policy into an international policy in that regard. I can assure my honourable friend that if he asked people in the automotive industry, be it on the labour side, the CAW or the various manufacturers, they would tell him that the Ontario government not only has been very understanding and very co-operative but also has advanced their cause with great determination.
Mr. Pope: I do not understand how the Premier can say on the one hand that this is an important industry, an important issue confronting Ontario now and, on the other hand, have no idea what his internal studies show in terms of overcapacity. How many jobs are at risk?
His Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology said on June 4 that he and his government were working closely with labour and the federal government to make sure there was not an overcapacity in this province. Can he explain what that means? Is he closing plants? Is he laying people off? What is he planning now? His minister said it.
Hon. Mr. Peterson: The member always comes up with these strange questions that are very tough to interpret. But no, the answer is we are not closing any plants. We on this side of the House do not close plants; we open plants.
Mr. Andrewes: My question is to the Premier. Will he tell the House the position, responsibilities and employer of Heather Peterson?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: She is paid by the party so as not to give rise to any kind of suspicion the member might have -- and I have some understanding of his kind of mind -- and she works in my office under the direct responsibility of Mr. Ashworth.
Mr. Andrewes: Last week, on May 31, we read in the Toronto Star that Heather Peterson is "the loyal lieutenant who gets to hand out the plum jobs at Queen's Park." Does the Premier consider it appropriate that the person directly responsible for the appointment of hundreds of people to agencies, boards and commissions across this province is accountable not to the Premier, not to his cabinet, but to the president of the Liberal Party of Ontario? Does he think that is appropriate?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: She is accountable to Mr. Ashworth and directly to me in that regard. She is paid by the Liberal Party so that members will not stand up in this House and say there is some kind of nepotism at work. My friend cannot have it both ways.
Mr. Gillies: Where is her accountability to Management Board? Where does she appear in the estimates? How can you have a partisan handing out government jobs?
Hon. Mr. Kerrio: You have to be kidding.
Mr. Callahan: Your tongue should burn out, Phil.
Mr. Speaker: Order. I would remind all members that some of the members would like to ask questions.
Mr. Speaker: Order, the member for Middlesex (Mr. Reycraft).
Mr. Andrewes: We are not questioning the quality of the individual. We are not questioning her performance. We are not questioning her capability. We are not questioning the quality of her recommendations. What we are questioning is the propriety of an employee of the Liberal Party of Ontario, responsible and accountable to the executive of the Liberal Party of Ontario, playing a direct role in the appointment of individuals holding very responsible positions on agencies, boards and commissions in the province.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Andrewes: Will the Premier table all the information surrounding the employment of Heather Peterson so that the standing committee on the Legislative Assembly --
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Andrewes: I will wait, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: Question.
Mr. Andrewes: I want to ask the Premier if he will table all the information surrounding the employment of Heather Peterson so that the Legislative Assembly committee might investigate the propriety of this employment.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Peterson: She does not make any appointments. The executive council makes the appointments. Maybe the member will want to tell a number of his honourable colleagues who come calling on her regularly looking for appointments to stop doing so.
Mr. Gillies: We would probably just replace the whole civil service with Liberal hacks if we followed your logic.
Mr. Speaker: Order. There have been two questions. Now it is time for the third question.
CONVERSION OF RENTAL ACCOMMODATION
Mr. Rae: I have a question for the Minister of Housing. I would like to ask him some questions about the Renterprise program. The minister will recall he announced it in December 1985. It was originally announced as a $75-million program to produce rental housing in the province.
I wonder if the minister can answer two questions. Can he tell us how many units have been built or are planned to be built under the Renterprise program? Can he tell us if any of these units have been converted to condominiums, or has the Ministry of Housing been made aware of any plans to convert to condominiums?
Hon. Mr. Curling: The Renterprise program, as the member indicates, had a target of 5,000 units. As I explained to the honourable member yesterday, we advertised those. Requests for applications came in and so far we have had 3,643. The response was very good.
Some of the people who have applied have indicated they would rather not go through the Renterprise program; they would rather go on their own. This is a good indication, because these are the same private people who have said they would not build rental units at all. Here is the private sector saying it will go on its own without any government assistance.
When we saw that the 5,000 units were not achieved because of those people who went on their own, we sent out another notice for people to apply again. We had a second call on that. That was done and it was also successful.
In the second part of the question, the member asked if there were any conversions. The applications specifically stated that was quite possible. They may first start in the rental program and then convert later to condominiums. Those were considered.
Mr. Rae: I am glad the minister has told us that of 5,000 units expected to be built, some 3,600 are in the works. Already he is short there. Is the minister aware that his own ministry has told us that of those 3,600 units, the developers of 2,353 units have indicated to the Ministry of Housing that they intend to register their units as condominiums?
I wonder if the minister can explain why the taxpayers of Ontario are subsidizing builders who are not producing rental housing; they are producing condominiums in Ontario. They are not producing geared-to-income housing; they are producing condominiums for the rich and famous.
Why are the taxpayers of Ontario getting ripped off in this way when there are people who are living in basements in Ontario because the Liberal government has not had the courage to introduce an affordable housing program since it was elected two years ago?
Hon. Mr. Curling: That is not the case at all. The agreement was that the Renterprise program agreed that they can be registered as condominiums and converted to condominiums at some time down the road. They are being rented, to be affordable, under that condition.
We indicated we would put 6,700 government-assisted, nonprofit units on the market and we have exceeded that. To say that we are not honouring our commitment is not showing the facts properly at all.
Mr. Rae: As I said in the House yesterday, even according to the minister's own estimates, the shortfall is as much as 13,000 units compared to what he said was required. What he has ended up doing is giving money to developers to build condominiums. That is what Liberal money has gone for, that is what taxpayers' money has gone for, and it is unconscionable when we consider the needs of people who are living in basements.
I wonder if the minister can comment on the one case I would like to bring to his attention. It is a case in my own constituency, and I have several others for the minister if he is not satisfied.
Catherine Young has two children, who are 14 years and nine months. She receives family benefits of $803 a month. She lives in the basement of her mother's house. Her children sleep next to the water tank. She has been on the Ontario Housing waiting list for nine months. She has medical reports showing that her living conditions have resulted in anxiety and depression. She is joining over 7,000 other families on the waiting list in Ontario, in Toronto, and she has been told she cannot expect to get housing soon because she does not have sufficient points.
There are literally thousands of cases like Mrs. Young's. Just how does the minister intend to deal with this instead of giving money to people who are putting up condominiums in Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Curling: For years there was a backlog of neglect, but the honourable leader expects me to have solved this problem over 18 months. The honourable leader of the third party also expects that as soon as we announce and we have committed and put funds in the direction of solving these problems, these units will be built overnight. With all the statistics he has tried to show in the House each day, he must understand that we are committed to this cause. In 1987, we have shown that it is not only rental units that have been built but also condominiums that are for rental; over 23,000 units have been completed in that year.
Mr. Rae: The Minister of Housing will be known not as the friend of people who are living in difficult conditions. He will be known as Condo Curling. That is how he will be known in Ontario, the person who used taxpayers' dollars to put up condominiums instead of housing for people who need it.
Mr. Rae: I have a question for the Minister of Labour. Last week, the minister and I had an exchange about the question of conditions in the mining industry and the practices in the mining industry. He indicated to the House that a study would be completed soon and that he would be making a statement soon with respect to the practice in the mining industry; in particular, the question of people working above other workers.
Can the minister confirm that this study was completed as of Friday? Can he also confirm that the study will not be made public because of concerns with respect to the impact it could have on the criminal trial that is now under way?
Hon. Mr. Wrye: I am not certain whether the study was completed on Friday. In making my statement, I wanted to combine the statement on the overall study that was done in the mines with any comments that might emerge from our own investigation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act into the Levack tragedy. I am waiting until I am advised that both of those matters are complete before I make that one statement. I would not want to be pinned down to an exact date, but the end of this week or the very early part of next week is my latest understanding, from our investigation people and from the legal branch, of when we should have this matter all pulled together.
Mr. Rae: In pulling it all together, as the minister says, while Mr. Kuhle awaits his trial, can the minister tell us whether any orders have been issued to any companies in Ontario with respect to a practice that he has said is not taking place as a matter of policy in Ontario? Can he tell us whether any orders have been issued to any mining companies, including Inco, with respect to this so-called nonexistent practice?
Hon. Mr. Wrye: I remind the honourable member that we made a commitment; following the release of muck from the storage or the holding area, which was the cause of that terrible tragedy at Levack, we said we would check and see whether the situation that led to that tragedy was being pursued or whether that situation existed in other mines in Ontario. A very thorough investigation of those situations was undertaken and my understanding is there have been some orders written. I am not certain in what direction and I will not until I have had a chance to talk to the director of the mining health and safety branch.
Going back to the honourable leader of the third party's first question, any limitation on what we might say --
Mr. Speaker: Order. This was in response to the supplementary. Final supplementary.
Mr. Rae: Perhaps the minister can explain the view of the Ministry of Labour in this matter. A worker has been charged with four counts of criminal negligence causing death, not after an investigation by the Ministry of Labour but after investigation by the police, which was taking place either before or parallel to some kind of an investigation by various inspectors of the Ministry of Labour.
As a result of the minister's own intervention, although the minister says he does not know, it is our information that there have been several orders issued around the province with respect to a practice which the minister said was nonexistent and for which an individual worker is now being charged with criminal negligence causing death.
I would like to ask the minister: just what is going on in Ontario? He is issuing orders because companies are doing something, and he is leaving a worker out to dry because he was doing something which was going on in his own company. Why should workers have to carry the can when the minister did not issue the orders before and did not know what the policy was before it was taken --
Mr. Speaker: Order. Minister?
Hon. Mr. Wrye: I think the honourable member is mixing some apples with oranges and I think he is also asking me to comment on a very serious -- and I agreed it is very serious -- charge which has been laid under the Criminal Code.
I will ignore the question and simply say that some of the preamble to the question indeed suggested a question that might have been better put to the Attorney General (Mr. Scott) because it surrounds the laying of a criminal charge in this matter.
Mr. Andrewes: I wonder if the Premier could tell the House the responsibilities of the director of appointments.
Hon. Mr. Peterson: The director of appointments, accountable to Mr. Ashworth, who is the executive director of the Office of the Premier, gathers up recommendations, talks with members of the executive council and organizes the books.
As the member knows, all the books are public now on appointments, something those guys never would do. We have brought greater changes, opened up the system and allowed all people in Ontario to participate.
Mr. Andrewes: On May 31, the Toronto Star said the following, "Heather Peterson is a woman of influence at Queen's Park, the province's top headhunter, the Premier's sister-in-law and responsible for a vast range of special appointments."
Is it appropriate that the director of appointments be accountable to the executive of the Liberal Party of Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: If the member wants to flog this old horse, go ahead; it is fine.
Mr. Rae: That's no way to talk about your sister-in-law.
Mr. Pope: What a terrible thing to say.
Hon. Mr. Peterson: I will repeat what I have said. It is the executive council that makes the appointments, not Heather Peterson, not the member or anybody else. The executive council makes them. If the member has any complaints with that, please bring them to me.
Mr. Gillies: He called her an old horse.
Mr. Stevenson: If your sister-in-law is from the horse family, is your wife from the dog family?
Mr. Epp: Withdraw that.
Mr. Speaker: Order. The member for Brantford (Mr. Gillies) may have a turn later. The member for Durham-York (Mr. Stevenson) does not have the floor.
Mr. Pouliot: I have a question for the Minister of Transportation and Communications. The minister will be aware that for months, on several occasions I have asked that his ministry conduct a feasibility study to determine the necessity of providing a four-lane highway between Nipigon and Shabaqua in northwestern Ontario, which is the present Trans-Canada Highway 17.
He has had several months to conduct the study. We fully acquiesce and understand that it is a federal-provincial undertaking. When will the minister release the study undertaken by his ministry?
Hon. Mr. Fulton: I thank the member for his question and I hope he is correct in stating that it is a federal-provincial undertaking. We would welcome federal participation. As he knows --
Mr. Pouliot: That is what the minister's letter says.
Hon. Mr. Fulton: --we have approached the federal government to participate, as it did many years ago in the original construction of Highway 17, the Trans-Canada, and as it is doing in the western provinces. We have asked them to join us in rehabilitating Highway 17.
The member will also appreciate that, given the length and the magnitude of that particular highway, and being the Trans-Canada, it is of particular importance to all of us as Canadians. There is a great deal of work to be done on that road and we acknowledge it. We are in fact doing work on that road this year, not necessarily in that particular location but in those areas of need as we are financially able to address them.
Mr. Wildman: In the light of the minister's comments in answer to my colleague, can he indicate if this government has applied to the federal government for the beginning of negotiations for an economic regional development agreement between this province and the government of Canada for federal funding for the Trans-Canada Highway through northern Ontario? If it has, can he indicate when this government will be able to commit funds for a phased-in timetable for the reconstruction of the Trans-Canada Highway across northern Ontario? Do not give us the kind of announcement that came from the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines that it is going to four-lane Highway 11 and Highway 69 in 10 years.
Hon. Mr. Fulton: The member will know that we have attempted to enter into some kind of arrangement with the federal government. We acknowledged that and stated that publicly on a number of occasions.
The member will also know that we are attempting at great speed to resolve the issues in his riding in dealing with Highway 17. We have assigned that as a high priority to our northern staff and we are attempting to resolve that. We are spending money. I can never understand that these members decry what is not being done, and yet my colleague the member for Timiskaming (Mr. Ramsay) announced 10 new highway initiatives and two more in the planning stages in northern Ontario only last week.
Mr. Wildman: Planning stages -- 10 years have gone by.
Mr. Pouliot: Which side of the road is the member for Timiskaming on?
Mr. Speaker: Order. The member for Nipissing would like to ask a new question.
Mr. Harris: My question is to the Premier. Is the Premier aware that at least six of his parliamentary assistants have not disclosed their holdings, as was required over four months ago under his conflict-of-interest guidelines?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: I am not aware of any irregularities. Perhaps the honourable member can assist me in that.
Mr. Harris: It is a sad day when somebody has to assist the Premier with his responsibilities, but I will do my best.
One of at least six, incredibly, is the parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Tourism and Recreation, the member for Cochrane North (Mr. Fontaine), the man whose conflict violations resulted in his resignation from cabinet a year ago this month. Maybe the Premier could explain to this House why we have spent month after month debating new conflict-of-interest guidelines when it is blatantly obvious that as Premier he has no intention to enforce any guidelines that come up?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: As I said to my honourable friend, I am not aware of any irregularities. If he has any suggestions of that, then I will certainly look into them.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: My question is for the Premier. I am presuming that the Premier has accepted the notion that Ontario should comply with the federal Charter of Rights; otherwise, we would see notwithstanding clauses being brought in by this province, which we have not seen at this time.
Can he therefore explain to me why government policy in Ontario at this time allows discrimination on age, on disability and on the whole question of equality of service to people in our long-term institutions in Ontario, according to the amount of comfort allowance that people on fixed incomes in those institutions can receive?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: I am not sure if my honourable friend is alleging that there is some violation of the Charter of Rights here, whether he brought a legal case forward or what exactly he is telling me is a source of discrimination. As he knows, some of his members opposite have encouraged us to increase the discrimination, for example, between the two classes of the disabled and that kind of thing. We are trying very hard to end any of that kind of discrimination.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: The Premier will know that our position on the disabled is that they should be brought to the same level as the elderly and that the discrimination that is there currently should not continue.
What I am raising with the Premier is the fact that a disabled person in a nursing home in Ontario gets $77 a month for comfort allowance; an older person in a home for the aged or a nursing home gets $112 a month; but a psycho-geriatric patient, 65 and over, in a psychiatric institution, does not get a penny of comfort allowance. A physically handicapped person who is also developmentally handicapped in one of our long-term institutions for the developmentally handicapped, also does not get a cent.
In my view, this does offend the charter and I am surprised the Premier has not moved on it.
Mr. Speaker: And the question?
Mr. R. F. Johnston: Will he please adjust this so there is equality in our institutions for those people in long-term care in Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: The entire question of comfort allowances is one we have been looking at with some determination in the last little while. We have spent a lot of time on it. I expect that in the not-too-distant future we will be able to share our views and the results of that examination.
Mr. Harris: I wonder whether the Premier considers it proper that invitations to the $200-a-head fund-raiser for the Minister of Health (Mr. Elston) were sent to the executive of the Ontario Medical Association at a very sensitive time while that association is in the middle of negotiations with the government.
Hon. Mr. Peterson: I do not know who the member is referring to. I am not aware of any massive support for this particular party by the members of the OMA or whoever he is talking about. I do not know what timing he is talking about or who he is talking about.
Mr. Harris: I am tempted to comment on the answer but the reply was hardly worth comment from anybody in this Legislature.
Mr. Speaker: It is now time for a supplementary.
Mr. Harris: It is clear that government mailing lists were improperly used for this venture. The Premier will know by now that the Canadian Acupuncture Association received a letter as well and was offended by the letter. They have been trying to meet with the Minister of Health since he was sworn in and have not been given an appointment, but now they have received what they consider a dunning letter for this sleazy fund-raiser.
Given all the irregularities, the use of government lists, the use of the provincial crest, the Ontario Medical Association in sensitive negotiations right now with his government, will the Premier now agree that this fund-raiser should be cancelled pending the report of the standing committee on public accounts that will be investigating these irregularities?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: As I understand it, a number of these questions were asked of the honourable minister. If the member wants to ask him any questions about it, he should please feel free to ask him about it. I tell the member very clearly that his characterization of it as a "dunning letter" is completely and absolutely incorrect. People who want freely to support this party, the member's party or any other party are entitled to do that. I do not know about the member but we do not offer any favours in this party; maybe he does.
Mr. Speaker: Order. The member for Windsor-Riverside is waiting.
Mr. D. S. Cooke: I have a question to the Minister of Labour. It is in regard to the occupation of Sheller-Globe that occurred a few weeks ago. Workers were forced to occupy a plant to get basic information, to get a decent severance package, to get information on their pensions and some basic reasons why that company was closing its plant and throwing 200 people out of work. Another group of employees at Lamb corporation in our community are currently having to participate in an information picket line to try to get some basic information about their pension plan and the layoffs that are taking place at their company.
When will the minister bring in legislation to force companies to justify publicly mass layoffs, both to the community in which they made profits and to the workers who have provided those profits for the companies over the years?
Hon. Mr. Wrye: I hope to be in a position to introduce legislation to amend the Employment Standards Act within a week.
Mr. D. S. Cooke: I believe the legislation the minister is going to introduce is going to deal with severance but it is not going to deal with plant closure justification. Is it not a fact that with the minister's refusal to introduce longer notice periods and public justification, he is responsible for the occupation that took place at Sheller-Globe and is encouraging more occupations of plants so workers can achieve basic justification for the plant closures and the loss of their jobs.
Hon. Mr. Wrye: The answer is no, I will not accept, nor would I suggest the member accepts, responsibility for that very unfortunate incident. A series of issues led to that. I believe our legislation will be a very positive response to the need for more sensitive labour adjustment policies across this province, and I would suggest to my honourable friend from Windsor-Riverside that he think a little more carefully before he makes statements like that and asks questions like that which, it seems to me, do nothing but serve to inflame the sometimes difficult situations.
Mr. Callahan: I have a question for the Minister of Transportation and Communications. Back on March 25, Via Rail cancelled certain service to Brampton and thereby deprived my residents of additional service. I would like to ask the minister what steps he is taking, in the light of the Via Rail cancellation, in terms of increasing the service to the residents of my community?
Hon. Mr. Fulton: I would like to thank the member for his question and his continued interest in providing transportation service to the great city of Brampton. As he is aware, Via Rail was cancelled and that is a federal jurisdiction. We certainly did not welcome that kind of announcement, either in Brampton or anywhere else across this province.
The member may be aware we are undergoing a transit study throughout Metro and the surrounding regions, and I hope to have the response of the committee back to me by the end of the year or so. We are certainly looking at a number of areas of expanding GO Transit service. We were looking at areas as recently as yesterday morning. It is very active and it is something we understand has to be proceeded with in a number of directions, including the northwest of Metropolitan Toronto and the surrounding area.
ONTARIO HOUSING CORP.
Mr. Jackson: I have a question for the Minister of Housing. In August 1985, two months into the minister's tenure, changes were made to the Ontario Housing Corp. point rating system, eliminating the provision that gave points to applicants who had costs for medical care, transportation and special equipment not included in medical plans.
Why did the minister change the plan to make it more difficult for people with special medical needs and for the disabled?
Hon. Mr. Curling: I will have to take that question and look at it in detail to see what the changes were that were involved there and to have a comparison. The member says I have made it more difficult; it is quite unlikely. With the kind of compassionate approach to what we have done to our housing and our clients, we would not have made it more difficult. I would ask the member to give me the details and I will look at them and compare them. I will assure the member that we are much more compassionate in our approach to our policy.
Mr. Jackson: I find it hard to believe that the minister refers to his compassionate decision. He made a political decision in August 1985.
Cosmas Gioris lives in Don Mills. He currently pays 78 per cent of his income for rent, and in fact has the maximum points for income and shelter costs. Mr. Gioris, however, has a 10-year-old son with diabetes. The cost of medication for his son means that 92 per cent of Mr. Gioris's income is committed to a roof over his head and keeping his son alive, yet these additional costs are not taken into consideration for his OHC application.
Is the minister prepared to make the necessary adjustments to ensure that families like that of Cosmas Gioris are not penalized because of health problems or disabilities in Ontario today? Why did he change it?
Hon. Mr. Curling: If there is anyone looking for political points, it is the honourable member over there. If he were so concerned about that individual, what he should have done is brought the case to me and let me look at it in its perspective. But, no, he stands in the House today and then asks me a general question, having the specifics there. He is the one who is playing politics. The member should give me the case and I will address that directly.
Mr. Jackson: Point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: I have been in conversation with his ministry for two weeks on this specific point.
Mr. Speaker: That is excellent. You may continue being in conversation with his ministry any other time.
Mr. Cousens: He does nothing.
Mr. Speaker: Order. Order.
Mr. Jackson: Mr. Speaker, I believe --
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Jackson: The point being raised by the minister --
Mr. Speaker: Order. Would the honourable member take his seat.
Mrs. Grier: I have a question for the Minister of the Environment if he could be persuaded to sit in his seat long enough for me to address it to him.
Mr. Davis: He likes it over here. He is coming back.
Mrs. Grier: The environment is having to wait, so I suppose we can too.
Last week I asked the minister how he intended to deal with liquid industrial waste in this province. As usual, in his reply the minister referred to his municipal-industrial strategy for abatement program. The minister well knows that MISA does not cover 12,000 industries which discharge into municipal sewer systems. Can the minister tell us whether he intends to set pre-treatment standards for the 11,700 industries which do not discharge their waste directly into the province's waterways?
Hon. Mr. Bradley: The member for Lakeshore, who is often accurate in the information she provides to the House, is perpetuating a myth that 11,700 -- I have heard other figures, but somewhere in that neighbourhood of the discharges that take place in the municipal sewers are not addressed by the MISA program. She will recall that when I put out the MISA white paper it invited a response that looked not only at the direct discharges but also at the indirect discharges, those that would go into sewers.
There were two ways of looking at it. One was the sewage treatment plants and the upgrading of those. I think everyone would agree with the assessment that the sewage treatment plants alone, even with modifications and upgradings, would not deal as effectively with the discharges as if they were dealt with at source. Therefore, as she is aware, I have asked the MISA Advisory Committee, certainly with a large contingent of environmentalists on it, to report back to me on the appropriate manner in which to deal with these discharges. I expect the report this month.
They have not been forgotten. I understand they must be addressed. In many of my speeches I have mentioned that pre-treatment is one method and a uniform sewer bylaw across Ontario is another. Obviously, those are very significant sources and I have already said on many occasions that we are addressing those.
Mrs. Grier: Can the minister assure us that the manner in which he addresses this problem will ensure that the 50 per cent of the volume of waste now discharged by those 11,700 loopholes is in fact treated? Otherwise, does the minister not agree that he is creating an incentive for industries, which now discharge directly into waterways and which will be required to treat their waste, to change their method of discharge into the sanitary sewer system and therefore avoid having to do pre-treatment. How can he overcome that particular problem?
Hon. Mr. Bradley: This is precisely, of course, why we made comment on that in the white paper; why in the response to the white paper -- and we received over 100 responses -- why in our response to the responses, we indicated very clearly that we would be dealing with this issue. I am getting support from my friend the member for Brantford (Mr. Gillies) who, himself having anticipated the activity that will be taking place, has put a resolution forward which in fact supports us. I welcome the support of the member for Brantford for this initiative.
I want to indicate to the member that we recognized the potential of what she is talking about, that is people saying, "If it is going to be too tough to discharge directly, let us discharge into sewers." That is precisely why we have the MISA Advisory Committee, headed by Dr. Douglas Hallett, a renowned toxicologist and environmentalist in Ontario, formerly with Environment Canada, and others on the committee who are certainly noted for their concern for the environment. They will be reporting to me on this.
I think the member has raised an important issue. I want to express my appreciation for her support of the efforts that we are taking, and those of the member for Brantford.
Mr. Sterling: I have a question of the Premier. He knows that last month the Minister of National Health and Welfare, Jake Epp, made an attack on the problem of smoking in the work place in the federal civil service and in commissions and corporations controlled by the federal civil service. He also knows that I have Bill 71, which has been sitting in Orders and Notices since January 1, dealing with the whole issue of controlling smoking in the work place and the public place. Can he indicate to me his objections to Bill 71 or what his government intends to do about this very serious problem that is causing 35 people in Ontario to die prematurely today because no action is being taken?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: I appreciate the honourable member bringing this question up with me again, as he has done during our estimates and with a variety of different ministries and portfolios I hold. He now asks me the same question again. I can tell the honourable member that we have looked at his suggestions. In some regards they are constructive, but we are looking at all of its broad public policy ramifications. I can tell him that a great deal of attention is being spent on the issue by a variety of ministers on an interministerial basis. When we have reviewed every single detail of it, we will be happy to report back to the member about our plan for action.
Mr. Sterling: Unfortunately, the Premier never answers the question as to whether or not he has any objection to Bill 71. What does he say to Donna Bush of Markham, Ontario, who writes about secondhand smoke: "I was on medical leave of absence from November 1985 to mid-January 1986 because of the work place secondhand smoke problem I now, once again, find myself in the same situation. I have been off work for over a week now as I write this letter. I have no idea how long I will be off this time. I have also made numerous trips to the doctor and hospital. My fate lies in the hands of the government at this point. Presently, smokers have a right to smoke and, because of this, I do not have the right to breathe"? How does the Premier answer Donna Bush?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: I do not know any more of the circumstances of that particular case than what the member tells me. As he knows, a number of employers are taking initiatives with their employees on a voluntary basis. He is aware of those instances. Obviously, one of the things she can do is to talk to her employer and her fellow employees who may have the same concerns as well. I can tell the honourable member, as I have said before, that we are working on this situation and all of its broad implications and we will share that with the honourable member and Ms. Bush at the appropriate time.
Mr. Grande: My question is for the Minister of Education once again. It is in regard to the heritage languages program and the proposal the minister tabled yesterday in the Legislature. On page 4 of the minister's statement to the House, he said he was going to make sure that school boards were going to provide the heritage language if parents of 25 pupils made a request for it; in other words, no school board was going to be forced. The reason he will do this is that he has a deep commitment to educational equity; in other words, the old, equal educational opportunity we have been speaking of for many years.
Given this deep commitment he has, can he explain to us why in the full knowledge that Quebec, Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan are teaching heritage languages during school hours, he has opted to deny children in Ontario that right and that equal educational opportunity?
Hon. Mr. Conway: Let me say to the honourable member that the situations among the provinces are not as the honourable member describes. We have 90,000 students enrolled in some 4,000 classes with some 58 heritage languages being taught in some 72 school jurisdictions. When one compares the size of our program with, for example, some of the western provinces and when one looks at the diverse range of the offering in Ontario, one quickly understands that there are distinguishing characteristics that set the situations apart.
We as a government have said that we are going to move forward in terms of enriching and expanding the programs in so far as heritage languages are concerned. We are going to provide the mandate. We are going to enrich teacher support and curriculum development. We think we have struck a good balance between meeting the multicultural reality of a modern Ontario and ensuring that the important educational objectives this government has set for everyone in the Ontario school system are going to be met.
Mr. Grande: The minister, I think, is speaking without the facts and he is closing the door to thousands of kids in the province of Ontario learning their heritage languages and receiving a better education than they receive today through the medium of their heritage languages.
Mr. Speaker: And the supplementary?
Mr. Grande: The minister of course knows that 13,473 children in Manitoba are receiving heritage languages during the school day. When one talks about 90,000 children in Ontario and compares that to the population of Manitoba, 13,000 sounds about right; there are one million in Manitoba. The point is --
Mr. Speaker: What is the question?
Mr. Grande: Since the educational ministry in Manitoba was able to come to grips with those concerns and those problems in order to implement this program, why is it that the province of Ontario cannot? That is the question.
Hon. Mr. Conway: When one looks at some of the western provinces, for example, one notes the number of heritage languages being offered is substantially fewer than those offered by some of our boards in Ontario which offer scores of heritage languages programs within their jurisdictions. What we have said is that we are going to maintain the option for boards to provide the heritage language programming in one of three areas, in the extended school day, after school, or on weekends.
We think that represents a very fair balance between the concerns of the multicultural community on one hand and all those who are charged with operating a very significant and diverse school system, who have also the responsibility of meeting the financial requirements and the logistical concerns that the member for Oakwood merrily breezes past without having any real understanding of them.
Mr. Gordon: Can the Minister of Labour confirm with regard to the new regulations he has brought in for domestics that the 20,000 live-in domestics in Ontario can expect to receive either time off or overtime pay when they work overtime?
Hon. Mr. Wrye: Yes, I can confirm that, and I said that in my statement. At the consent of both parties, the time and a half may be paid in an hour and a half off for each hour of overtime worked; in other words, time and a half off in lieu of overtime pay.
Mr. Gordon: I would like to inform the minister that Judith Ramirez of the International Coalition to End Domestics' Exploitation is very disappointed with this initiative on the part of the minister. As far as she is concerned, the minister is just putting domestic workers into a ghetto. He is not treating them the same as other workers in Ontario, and he is taking those immigrant women, those 20,000 live-in domestics --
Mr. Speaker: And the supplementary is?
Mr. Gordon: --and he is leaving them out in the cold. This is completely wrong. Is he not really putting these people in a ghetto?
Hon. Mr. Wrye: As matters proceed during the rest of the month and other reports come forward, one will see there are proposals to move in this direction. I just want to say to my honourable friend that all of these problems we have dealt with today were problems which faced the member's government during its first term. The difference between this government and his government is we acted.
Mr. Charlton: I have a question for the Minister of Energy. Last week, in his response to my question to him on Ontario Hydro's use of low-sulphur western coal, the minister responded by informing the House that Hydro was already buying three million tons a year, a fact most of us have known for several years now, but he mentioned in that response the fact that Hydro was paying a $70 million premium for that western coal. I would like to ask the Minister of Energy whether in consultation with his colleague the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Kerrio), he has discovered the costs of burning one ton of high-sulphur coal in terms of environmental damage to our lakes, forests, fish stocks, wildlife, buildings and agricultural crops in Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Kerrio: No, I certainly did not examine that aspect of it. What I shared with the honourable member when he asked the question was the fact that Ontario Hydro is paying $70 million extra to burn western coal, and that in addition to that, Ontario Hydro had to make substantial investments in new coal cars to carry the coal from the west. We have had substantial involvement in mixing facilities at Atikokan and other places. We have had investments in ships. I was trying to prove to the honourable member that Ontario is indeed a province that is willing to co-operate with other provinces across Canada to see where we can be helpful to each other.
The aspect the member talks about certainly is addressed by the new initiatives of the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Bradley). We have concerns about the acid gas emissions and we are definitely doing things about them to cut back on the acid emissions. I just feel very badly that with all the initiatives being taken by this government, we are not getting the same kind of response from our American friends.
Mr. Charlton: That is precisely part of the problem. The minister said in his response last week, "Yes, we are considering the environmental aspects and what we can do to help the western provinces, but we also have to consider Ontario consumers." Does the minister not think that perhaps it is time those two ministries co-operated with each other to discover what would really help Ontario consumers? It is the consumers of this province who pay the shot for the environmental damage as well as for Hydro rates. Does the minister not think it is time he found out the real cost per ton of environmental damage so the people of this province can make some real and honest decisions?
Mr. Speaker: The question has been asked twice.
Hon. Mr. Kerrio: I do not think there are two ministers in the cabinet who co-operate more than the Minister of Energy and the Minister of Natural Resources.
Having said that, I cannot believe my response was one the member would not accept. In fact, we are trying to examine what the costs are. We are doing something about it. This is the problem we have with our American friends. They are saying: "Wait; we do not know what the problems are. We are not sure acid rain is having the impact Mr. Bradley is talking about." But the Minister of the Environment knows the impact and I know the impact and the member knows the impact. This government is doing more about this than any other government on the continent of North America.
Mr. Jackson: I have a question for the Minister of Transportation and Communications. Given the fact that there are millions of GO Transit commuters in Ontario who are already paying as much as $2,500 each annually just to get to work and home again, will the minister assure these commuters that a proposed additional charge for parking at GO train stations, estimated to cost between $1 million and $2 million, will not be instituted by his government?
Hon. Mr. Fulton: I will undertake to the member to attempt to check out his sources. I am not aware that the board is attempting to put in place a parking fee but I will certainly undertake to find out for the member and report back to him.
Mr. Jackson: I am surprised the minister seems that ill-informed, given that his own ministry is out, even at public hearings, discussing the fact that this proposal is under active consideration. The minister himself has been privy to meetings where the matter has been discussed. I am merely asking the minister to state today in this Legislature for the record for all those millions of commuters in Ontario that he and his government will not consider such a recommendation for those commuters.
Hon. Mr. Fulton: If the matter is under review as the member alleges, we will certainly review it. I will be more than happy to get back to the member.
Mr. Wildman: I have a question of the Solicitor General, if he can return to his seat. In the light of the letter dated May 29 to me from the Solicitor General, in which he says, "I am convinced of the need to provide small municipalities with financial assistance to acquire expensive firefighting equipment," and in the light of the letters the ministry has sent to the very many municipalities in reply to past resolutions requesting the implementation of the resolution that was passed unanimously by this House, can the minister tell us when he expects the government will implement a program of providing financial assistance for expensive firefighting equipment for small municipalities in Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Keyes: The honourable member knows that budget time has gone by at the moment, as announced, but we are always looking to see how we can augment those services for smaller municipalities. Perhaps we can obtain some assistance from the member opposite during the estimates process.
USE OF TIME IN QUESTION PERIOD
Mr. Speaker: The time for oral questions has expired. The members may be happy to know that we have reached a new objective today during question period. There were 19 questions and 22 supplementaries today.
Mr. McLean: I have a petition.
"To the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:
"We, the undersigned, beg leave to petition the parliament of Ontario as follows:
"That the government of Ontario provide the funding for a haemo-dialysis unit at one of the hospitals in Peterborough."
It is signed by residents of the Norwood, Asphodel area.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
House in committee of the whole.
PAY EQUITY ACT / LOI DE 1987 SUR L'ÉQUITÉ SALARIALE
Consideration of Bill 154, An Act to provide for Pay Equity.
Etude du projet de loi 154, Loi portant établissement de l'équité salariale.
Mr. Chairman: We have in front of us Bill 154. Are there any comments, questions or amendments that any honourable member wants to make, and if so, to what section?
Hon. Mr. Nixon: I wonder whether I might suggest to the committee that in the unlikely event there are any differences of opinion on any amendments, we might stack the votes until 5:45 p.m., at which time we could deal with them by an aye or nay or by some other method.
Mr. Chairman: Is there unanimous consent to stack votes until 5:45 this afternoon?
Mr. Chairman: Do the members have any comments, questions or amendments; and if so, to what section?
Mr. Baetz: How are we planning to proceed? Are we going section to section to section --
Hon. Mr. Nixon: Yes.
Mr. Baetz: --or are going to go back and forth?
Hon. Mr. Nixon: We would never do that.
Mr. Baetz: Starting with definitions and moving methodically forward, ever forward?
Hon. Mr. Nixon: Yes.
Mr. Chairman: This is committee of the whole House and not estimates.
Mr. Baetz: I just wanted to have that confirmed.
Ms. Gigantes: Mr. Chairman, we have a series of amendments and I believe you have copies of them. We have not received any notice of amendments from the Conservative Party. We, on behalf of the New Democratic Party, will be placing motions to the bill. We have not received any indication whether the Conservative Party intends to place motions. We have received no copies of such motions.
Mr. Baetz: Mr. Chairman, I can assure you and the member from the New Democratic Party that we will indeed be introducing amendments. They are now being run off and we will be circulating them within the next few minutes. They are hot off the press. It shows how very carefully we have considered these amendments. They are just about to come. We will have about six or seven, unlike the cartload we are expecting from the party to my left.
Mr. Chairman: Does the member for Ottawa Centre wish me now to go through her list of amendments?
Ms. Gigantes: When the Conservatives have not provided other people in this Legislature with copies of the amendments they intend to put I wonder how we can follow your guidance, which is that we start at the beginning of the bill and move through it.
Mr. Chairman: The process we are in right now is only one of finding out on which sections there are any amendments, questions or comments, not the merits and not moving the motions at this time.
Ms. Gigantes: I will list the amendments we intend to put. We have an amendment to subsection 1(1), a second amendment to subsection 1(1) and a third amendment to subsection 1(1). These affect definitions within the bill. We have an amendment to subsection 3(1). We have an amendment to subsection 7(3) and an amendment to subsection 7(4).
Mr. Chairman: Sorry. Subsection 3(1)?
Ms. Gigantes: Subsection 3(1).
Mr. Chairman: Subsection 3(2)?
Ms. Gigantes: We will recommend people vote against subsection 3(2) if our amendment to subsection 3(1) carries.
Mr. Chairman: Thank you. Subsection 7(3) --
Ms. Gigantes: Subsections 7(3) and 7(4). We would recommend voting against subsections 8(2), 8(3) and 8(4). We have an amendment to subsection 9(1). We have an amendment to clauses 10(b), (c) and (d). We have an amendment to subsection 11(1). We have an amendment to subclauses 13(2)(e)(ii) to (v), to subsection 13(7), to section 18, a recommendation to vote against section 21 and a recommendation to amend clauses 34(2a), (2b) and (2c).
Mr. Chairman: That is according to the copies I have. There are also certain government motions.
Mr. Baetz: And motions from the official opposition.
Mr. Chairman: Perhaps the parliamentary assistant will indicate the government motions.
Mr. Ward: The government has an amendment to section 2, and a recommendation that members vote against section 32 as it is redundant.
Mr. Baetz: We will be introducing amendments.
Mr. Chairman: Do you have copies of them?
Mr. Baetz: They now are being distributed. I should say that we had anticipated Bill 54 was going to go first this afternoon. Had that happened, we would have been ready and would have had our amendments circulated. I apologize but the fault is not entirely with us.
Mr. Chairman: That is Bill 34.
Mr. Baetz: Bill 34; whatever. There is another bill.
Mr. Chairman: Yes, thank you. We now have copies of amendments that I think the member is going to go through and confirm. Section 1 -- is that subsection 1(6)?
Mr. Baetz: It is section 1. We will be introducing an amendment, section 1a. Again under section 1, we will be calling for substitution of subsection 1(6).
Under section 6, we will be proposing that we add a new subsection 6(1a). Again under section 6, we will be moving that subsection 6(4) of the bill be amended by adding a new clause (c).
Under clause 8(1)(f), we will be moving that the bill be amended by adding thereto the following clause, and that is (f).
Under section 14, we will moving that section 14 of the bill be amended. Under section 16, we will be moving that section 16 of the bill be amended. Under section 22, we will be moving that section 22 of the bill be amended.
We will be moving that section 35 be struck out and a substitution made therefor. That is it for now.
Mr. Chairman: Yes, I have all of those. Are there any other comments, questions or amendments that members wish to put to any sections? There appear to be none. Nothing can be carried until the first amendment. The first amendment appears to be that of Ms. Gigantes to subsection 1(1).
On section 1:
Mr. Chairman: Ms. Gigantes moves that the definition of "employee" in subsection 1(1) of the bill be struck out and the following substituted therefor:
"`Employee' includes an employee of a contractor or a subcontractor performing work or services for the employer, but does not include a student employed for his or her vacation period."
Ms. Gigantes: The purpose of this amendment is to make sure that employers take responsibility under this legislation for employees who are at arm's length. This bill has its flaws in terms of its lack of coverage for women who are at work in Ontario, which we will address by other amendments. While we can say that the bill is ineffective in some ways, there are also some ways in which the bill is downright dangerous as far as women are concerned in Ontario. I will just elaborate a bit on my fears on this point.
The bill says that employers, given certain formulas, strictures and mechanisms provided by the legislation, shall have to take account of positions and whether they are being paid equitably. They shall have to make comparisons or allow comparisons to be made in a complaint to the Pay Equity Commission of Ontario, which will be adjudicated by the pay equity tribunal, but only if those employees are regular employees in one way or another.
We know there has been a tendency for employers in Ontario, for a number of reasons and in a number of ways, to get rid of responsibilities for employees by contracting out services. This happens in many areas of work in Ontario where even very large firms have turned to the option of contracting out services so they do not have to pay the kinds of wages they have been paying, the kinds of benefits they have been paying, and so on, for such services as cleaning, kitchen help, the provision of food, etc. Every day of every month in Ontario we see an increasing tendency on the part of employers to use the contracting-out method of getting rid of what responsibilities they held previously in their relationship with dozens, hundreds, of employees.
If this legislation goes ahead in its present form, there will be an added incentive for employers to contract out services. If an employer can avoid responsibility for providing pay equity and for working within the mechanisms of this legislation by getting rid of those responsibilities through the process of contracting out, the employer will have an incentive to do so. It is a temptation this legislation puts before employers. It is a new level of temptation.
There has been enough temptation in the past so that we have had problems right across Ontario, both in the public sector and in the private sector. For us now to close our eyes to that pattern and to say it does not make any difference if we say contracted-out positions are not covered by this legislation, is to wilfully deny the realities of work life in Ontario. If we leave this loophole open and invite employers to take advantage of it, we are undermining the work situation for hundreds and thousands of women in this province.
I think every legislator who knows what has been happening in the work force in his or her area and right across this province will want to look at this provision very closely to make sure that once this legislation has been passed by the Legislature there will not be an added inducement to employers to contract out.
It is the purpose of our amendment to say that where contracting out takes place, the employer who contracts out for a service will still have to take responsibility under the tenets of this legislation for providing pay equity for employees who are employed at arm's length.
Mr. Ward: I believe this issue was discussed, perhaps not in the specific context of the amendment that is before us today, but the whole issue of the employees of contractors and contracting out was discussed during the course of the committee hearings and the subsequent clause-by-clause debate.
I merely want to state that we do not support this amendment. The employees of contractors are covered by the pay equity legislation as employees of the contractor as the employer. The amendment put before us has the impact of making those employees, for the purposes of comparison, in effect the employees of the person who contracts for these services.
Ms. Gigantes: The parliamentary assistant is looking at an amendment which was brought to the standing committee on administration of justice. He should be familiar with it; it is word for word the amendment we considered in the justice committee. I had hoped that in the passage of time since he would have thought a bit more on this subject, and I still hope to be able to convince him on this subject.
He points out quite rightly that under the legislation the contract employer -- the person who is providing contracted services -- would have a responsibility to provide pay equity if the firm were of a certain size, and if there were job comparisons as laid out in the formulas of the bill would have a responsibility to provide pay equity under this legislation for the employees engaged in the contracted services.
However, let me ask the parliamentary assistant whether he is familiar with what happens in contracted-out services. I know that in the area I come from in Ottawa, when a hospital, for example, has contracted out cleaning services, what happens is that longtime employees lose about $3 an hour. They are put in a situation where they are not unionized any more. They have to become unionized again under a new employer who is the contractor, and they lose benefits they had previously. They lose a lot, not just in terms of pay but in terms of the security of their work situation and all the benefits that have maybe been associated for years with that work situation.
Furthermore, if the person who is providing contracted services -- the new employer of these people -- is to provide pay equity, with whom are they to be compared? With other people doing contracted services at the lower rate. That means the person who has been cleaning in a hospital for 10 or 15 years at a certain level of pay, in a certain kind of stable position in terms of employment and with certain benefits now, suddenly becomes the employee -- if he or she is lucky -- of the person who is providing contracted services at a rate where, if those people are to be compared with each other under their new employer, there will not be any kind of comparison with the situation in which they have always worked.
That is precisely why the hospital or the major employer will choose, under this legislation, to find a new reason -- yet a new reason -- for contracting out services. What we are adding to the work situation of women in Ontario if we pass the bill without this amendment is a new incentive for employers to get rid of employees who may have long standing in the work place, to get rid of them for yet another reason, which is that they would have to take responsibility for them in terms of pay equity.
Is the parliamentary assistant aware of cases like this? Does he think it is fair that we should be leaving this kind of incentive for employers to increase the level of contracting out? Does he not agree that it provides an incentive?
Mr. Ward: I do not necessarily agree it provides an incentive. The whole point of the pay equity legislation is that female employees within an establishment have the ability to draw on comparisons within that establishment for the purpose of achieving wage adjustments that achieve pay equity. I will not deny the concern the member for Ottawa Centre may have in general terms regarding the whole issue of contracting out, but I do not believe this bill is the appropriate forum or format to address those concerns.
This bill is designed to provide for wage adjustments within an establishment on the basis of job comparisons within that establishment. I really do believe that the issue the member for Ottawa Centre draws to our attention is a valid issue, but I will not concede it is an issue that solely relates to pay equity and occupational segregation.
Ms. Gigantes: Let me try one more time. The parliamentary assistant is quite correct in saying that the problem of contracting out, which is a widespread one and which disrupts the lives and the work situations of hundreds and thousands of employees right across Ontario, men and women included, is not one that is going to be solved through this bill. Can he deny that if we leave the definition that currently sits in the bill, there will be yet another reason for employers to choose the method of contracting out in order to avoid obligations to employees?
Mr. Ward: Quite simply, no, I do not believe so. I believe that if there is an incentive that exists within the establishment to contract out, that incentive exists regardless of Bill 154.
Ms. Gigantes: I draw to his attention that there are now professional firms engaged in telling employers exactly the opposite. In fact, there is one legal firm which has come to my attention recently, Weir and Foulds, which put out a client news bulletin dated April 1986 in which it draws to the attention of employers the following: "Employment practices such as contracting out, hiring, promotion, termination will have a significant impact on the number of employees within a job class." Obviously, people who are giving advice to employers in this province are well aware of this loophole.
I think the parliamentary assistant is being disingenuous if he is suggesting to us this does not add to the employer incentive to contract out and disrupt further the work situations of a significant number of women in this province.
Mr. Baetz: I have heard this argument to and fro, both in the justice committee and again here today. I must say I cannot help but support the views of the parliamentary assistant on this, to the extent that contracting out is a problem, and nobody will deny there may be some problems there, but to the extent it is, this is definitely the wrong piece of legislation to deal with that particular issue. Therefore I must say I cannot support the views of the New Democrats on this one.
Mr. Chairman: Are there any further comments on this proposed amendment by the member for Ottawa Centre? There being none, shall the amendment to subsection 1(1), the change in the definition of "employee," carry?
All those in favour will please say "aye."
All those opposed will please say "nay."
Mr. Wildman: That is an anticipatory demand for a vote.
Mr. Chairman: May I point out to the committee, so that we do not have the troubles we had yesterday, that even today, after yesterday, there was hardly a nay squeaked out when I asked about it being carried.
Mr. Wildman: That just means people want it to carry.
Mr. Chairman: Thank you. Obviously I was not speaking to members of the third party. The next one I have is an amendment by Ms. Gigantes to subsection 1(1), the definition of "female job class."
Ms. Gigantes moves that the definition of "female job class" in subsection 1(1) of the bill be amended by striking out "60 per cent or more" in clause (a) and inserting in lieu thereof "a majority."
Ms. Gigantes: As members are aware, this legislation sets up a preliminary test for the beginning of job comparisons, either within a plan in the first phase of the bill or in a complaint in the second phase of the bill. That test is set out by saying that women may ask for a job comparison with their male colleagues or to have their job class compared with another job class in the work place if the female job class has at least 60 per cent female incumbents.
This is a way of screening out job comparisons in the mechanisms of the bill. It is one which will limit, inhibit and restrict the number of job comparisons that women in the work place can ask for within their own work place. We do not know how many women will be screened out by that process, women who should have their jobs compared.
I would like to ask the parliamentary assistant, as he considers this matter once again, whether at this stage the government has managed to come up with any estimates of how many women who might otherwise have their jobs compared with other jobs within their own work place will be screened out of that process and screened out of the effective provision of pay equity under this legislation by the imposition of the test of 60 per cent female occupancy of a female job class.
Mr. Ward: I do not believe that the threshold numbers or percentages that are established for arriving at a definition of female or male job class eliminate any female employee from comparison under this legislation. I know this is an area where the member for Ottawa Centre and I have disagreed in the past. I will once again refer the member to subsection 1(5), which is the historical incumbency clause.
Simply put, that section states, "In deciding or agreeing whether a job class is a female job class or a male job class, regard shall be had to the historical incumbency of the job class." In other words, if a job is a traditionally female job and it happens not to be occupied by the percentages that are indicated in the definition for the purposes of the proactive model, then I do not believe the coverage is denied because of the fallback from subsection 1(5).
Ms. Gigantes: If the parliamentary assistant truly believes that nobody is going to be screened out by that percentage, then why have we got it in the bill?
Mr. Ward: The reason that the 60-70 per cent limits are in the bill, as I thought I had stated previously, is because this legislation is, I understand, one of the few -- if not the only -- proactive pieces of legislation for the private sector in the western world. The reason for establishing the 60-70 per cent threshold limits was so that those employers would be able to easily identify male and female job classes for the purposes of making their comparisons. In fact, it sets out a hard-and-fast objective test to do that.
Again, subsection 1(5) is a catch-all that does provide access for female employees who may not find themselves caught by those threshold limits; therefore, they will still be able to access coverage under that.
Mr. Barlow: If it is the case, as the parliamentary assistant just said, that it is there for clarifying the 60-70 per cent, which I am sure we will hear an amendment on, why cloud it with subsection 1(5) then? Why cloud it by saying that, on the one hand, you have to have 60 per cent but, on the other hand, historical incumbency is an answer? It is another invitation for this whole bill to go before the courts.
Mr. Ward: Frankly, I do not think that subsection 1(5) clouds the issue at all. The whole point is that in a small establishment, for instance, if it were just left at the 60 and 70 per cent without subsection 1(5), I suppose an employer could go out and hire a couple of males to perform jobs that are traditionally associated on the basis of historical incumbency with being a female job and try to get around coverage under the bill. Frankly, subsection 1(5) is there to prevent that.
Ms. Gigantes: The parliamentary assistant has stated the problem, and that is that employers can manipulate their hiring so that the definition of a female job class and the further definition of a male job class, which we will come to in a moment, can easily be manipulated.
We had presentations before the standing committee on administration of justice by representatives of workers at a university, for example, who pointed out that the most reasonable job comparisons within the staff at the university could easily become a question of contention under subsection 5 by the manipulations in terms of hirings or job definition of two employees.
The parliamentary assistant shrugs, "Oh, of course that would not happen." Of course it will happen. It is exactly what will happen. We had people quite experienced in labour legislation before us, who make their living precisely out of those fine little distinctions that employers can play around with in terms of labour rights, who told us: "You can expect it. That is what is going to happen."
What the parliamentary assistant says to us is: "We define it as 60 per cent females in a female job class and 70 per cent males in a male job class. Then if there are any problems around that, we can refer the employees to section 5, which says if the historical incumbency of a job class has been female or male, then you have a complaint to make to the commission, which will have to make a determination about whether the historical incumbency really makes this a female job class or a male job class."
Perhaps that is all very well and good for the people who came before us and talked about their real work situation at the university. They at least have a staff association. But let me point out that for 1.6 million women in this province, there ain't no labour union to go to out there and help them put together the numbers, get familiar with subsection 5 and how they can argue historical incumbency, offer them a little legal advice on the side and tell them how to make a complaint to the commission.
What we are saying is that 1.6 million women out there in the work force are going to have to figure all this out for themselves. If their employers drop three males from one job class and add three females to another job class and manage to avoid the 60-70 per cent test that has been set up in this legislation for a job comparison, they are going to be stuck on their own trying to wade through this legislation and make an argument that there is a historical incumbency to the job class in which they work.
It is another invitation for employers to have fun and games with this legislation, to manoeuvre their way around this legislation and to screen women out of the effectiveness of this legislation.
What we are proposing is a very simple amendment which says that if there is a majority of women in a job class, it should be called a female job class. We will further propose that if there is a majority of men in a job class, it should be called a male job class. At least there you are getting down to numbers you can talk about.
Women make up close to 50 per cent of the work force in Ontario. This 60-70 per cent test is totally arbitrary. It may have had some kind of justification in other jurisdictions. The parliamentary assistant will be saying to us, I am sure, that it has been used in other jurisdictions. There is no reason for us to use it here. There is absolutely no indication he can give us of why it is suitable to the work force in Ontario. He tells us it will not screen people out. I think he is being naive; he is either being naive or he is blinding himself to reality.
Mr. Ward: I cannot resist one more attempt at trying to convince the member for Ottawa Centre that with this amendment and her consistent position -- a position, I might add, that probably could achieve some consensus -- frankly, I think her amendment serves neither private sector employers who have to make the determination nor female workers.
She points out that any threshold limit is subject to manipulation and then attempts to substitute one threshold limit for another, that being 50 per cent instead of 60 per cent or 70 per cent. She points out that it is a much lower test and she talks about the 1.6 million working women not represented by unions.
I would point out that during the course of our committee's consideration of this, the member's solution to this perceived problem was to leave the whole issue of determination of female or male job class to some sort of battleground between the employer and the employee, solely on the basis of historical encumbency.
I really wonder, in response to the member for Ottawa Centre, how she can honestly say she believes that those unrepresented working women are going to have any easier task in establishing the historical encumbency definition of a female or male job class than they are with fixed threshold limits. Frankly, I have a great deal of difficulty in seeing any logic whatsoever in the member's argument.
Ms. Gigantes: One final word on this. Although we may have further contributions by the parliamentary assistant, I will try to limit what I have to say. Obviously, he is unconvinced.
If I can jump four feet and somebody says to me, "Jump four feet, five inches," then he has set up a threshold, a test, that I am not going to be able to pass. I suggest that if we move the threshold back, as we have done here in what seems to me to be a reasonable proposal, it is going to be easier for people to get over that test, that screening-out process.
Furthermore, the parliamentary assistant clearly has not understood the process, which was a much more complex one, that we proposed during consideration by the standing committee on administration of justice. We have made every attempt here today to put our amendments in the clearest, simplest fashion, assuming that for the major part this legislation would stand as it is. We have looked to try to remedy the largest defects we see in the legislation. This clearly is one of them.
It is such a large defect that, as is widely known, the former spokesperson on women's issues for the Conservative caucus felt forced to leave that position when she could not get support from her caucus to get rid of this test. She felt this screening process set up in the bill was one which was inexcusable and which she on principle had to oppose. She could not get support from the rest of her caucus on that, or at least a majority of her caucus, and she went so far as to resign as the women's issues critic, for which I have to express my admiration.
It is certainly a significant matter and the parliamentary assistant should not treat it as if it were not.
Mr. Ward: First, I just want to reiterate that I do not believe the amendment as put forward does anything to enhance the coverage of female employees. Second, I think the amendment as proposed makes it even more difficult for those private sector employers to make the determinations as to the job class comparisons they must make.
Mr. Chairman: Shall Ms. Gigantes's amendment regarding the definition of "female job class" carry?
All those in favour will please say "aye."
All those opposed will please say "nay."
In my opinion, the nays have it.
Mr. Chairman: Ms. Gigantes moves that the definition of "male job class" in subsection 1(1) of the bill be amended by striking out "70 per cent or more" in clause (a) and inserting in lieu thereof "a majority."
Ms. Gigantes: The reason for this amendment has been addressed in the previous discussion surrounding the definition of "female job class." I would just like to ask the parliamentary assistant why it is a female job class if it has 60 per cent females, but in order to be a male job class it has to be 70 per cent males.
Mr. Ward: Threshold limits were arrived at on the basis of the breakdown and representation within the work force of male and female employees, 45 per cent full-time employees being female and 55 per cent male. Threshold limits reflect that sort of breakdown.
Ms. Gigantes: I would be quite willing to have a subamendment come forward that said 55 per cent instead of 70 per cent males. Is he proposing that to us?
Mr. Ward: No.
Ms. Gigantes: Why not?
Mr. Ward: Because. I think I have already given the argument.
Frankly, I do not think this whole exercise of trying to barter a different threshold limit is particularly appropriate at this stage. We had a good discussion on this in committee. We have had a good discussion on this with regard to the last amendment relating to the definition of "female job class."
I think I have explained the government's position as clearly as I can to the member for Ottawa Centre. I do not believe her amendment achieves what she hopes it will achieve. I have been unable to convince her and, quite frankly, she is unable to convince me otherwise. I suggest that nothing is served by prolonging the debate on this one when we have already just discussed the very same item.
Ms. Gigantes: I am sorry the parliamentary assistant is feeling impatient on this, but in truth, I have never heard the government say the reason for a 60-70 per cent comparison test was that the makeup of the work force was 45 per cent female and 55 per cent male. That is an entirely new proposition from the government.
If that is the basis on which these comparison tests were set up, I really do not understand why they were not set up on the basis of 45 per cent female occupancy for a female job class and 55 per cent male occupancy for a male job class. I do not think we have had an explanation of that.
What we are suggesting in this amendment, and the parliamentary assistant can accept this amendment without having had to accept the previous amendment dealing with the female job class, is the lowering by 20 per cent of the male occupancy required before a female job can be compared to a male job class. What we are asking for is a lowering of the threshold.
The parliamentary assistant has said it will make life easier for employers. In fact, it may complicate their lives, because they may be tempted to try to weasel around these threshold limits. It will be easier to weasel around them at a 70 per cent level than at a 50 per cent level, let me point out to the parliamentary assistant. But he can accept this amendment, even though he has not accepted the previous one, and it would make a great deal of difference to the number of women who will have this legislation work for them in terms of having job comparisons available under this legislation.
Mr. Ward: I do not believe an employer can manipulate or weasel around the threshold limits that are established in this bill because of subsection 1(5), and I would point out to my colleague the member for Ottawa Centre that how the threshold limits were arrived at certainly has been no secret. I believe this matter was discussed during the consideration of Bill 105; in fact, I believe it is part and parcel of the information that has been put out in some of the pay equity fact sheets that have been produced by the Ontario women's directorate during the course of this.
Mr. Chairman: All those in favour of Ms. Gigantes's amendment will please say "aye."
All those opposed will please say "nay."
In my opinion the nays have it.
Mr. Chairman: There is an amendment to subsection 1(6) by the member for Ottawa West.
Mr. Baetz: Yes. I move that section 1 of the bill be amended by adding thereto the following subsection:
"(1a) For the purposes of this act, the employees of an employer in the construction industry" --
Mr. Chairman: Excuse me. Really, we should be moving subsection 1(6) before subsection 1(1a), because it will come before it in the bill. You are trying to substitute something for subsection 1(6); that would come before subsection 1(1a).
Mr. Baetz moves that subsection 1(6) of the bill be struck out and the following be substituted therefor:
"1(6) A job class shall consist of not fewer than five positions."
Mr. Baetz: I would simply like to make one final plea on this particular amendment that a job class should consist of not fewer than five positions. As the bill now stands, it is reduced to a minimum of one position. I have pointed out on a number of occasions in committee that this is one of the sections that the private sector employers simply do not understand. They find it ridiculous to speak in terms of groups of a minimum of one.
As I have noted earlier, to be acceptable, any good legislation has to be, first of all, understood and, second, respected. It is our view that if the
employers of this province are going to deal with legislation that speaks of a minimum group of one
-- a group of one, if we can try to conceptualize that -- they will not understand it and they will not respect it. For this reason, we propose a minimum of five.
I believe in Manitoba the minimum incumbency is 10. Why we have reduced it ad absurdum to one is something we simply cannot understand. Because of this, particularly on behalf of the employers of Ontario who are going to be very important players in this legislation, we would again consider reducing the minimum number in the group to five and not speak in that ridiculous manner of a group of one.
Ms. Gigantes: I may have missed something but I believe this is the first time I have ever heard a member of the Conservative Party stand in this Legislature and say that because something was done in Manitoba, particularly by the New Democratic government of Manitoba, it ought to be done here. I point out to the member for Ottawa West (Mr. Baetz) that the legislation in Manitoba was set up after a study of the public service, which it addresses. It does not address the private sector. Legislation addressing the private sector and pay equity in the private sector is due to be tabled within weeks or months in Manitoba; it was promised in the last speech from the throne. There are lots of other items on which we would like to take leadership from Manitoba, but this is not one.
The question of minimum incumbency for a job class is really a pernicious one. I would like to ask the member for Ottawa West how many women would be screened out with this additional test he put up, which would be another barrier to the job comparisons that would be available to working women in Ontario under this legislation. How many would it screen out?
Mr. Baetz: To reply to the member for Ottawa Centre's comment that she has never heard our party speak in a complimentary fashion about the current government in Manitoba, this of course indicates that when that government does the occasional good thing, we are prepared to listen to it, to follow suit and to adapt it here.
The other point she makes is that the minimum incumbency of 10 applies only to the public sector in Manitoba. If the minimum incumbency of 10 applies to the public sector, which is more readily manageable and which can implement this kind of legislation more readily, then surely it makes far more sense to have a similar minimum incumbency applied to the private sector, which is far more fragmented, making it, as everybody has recognized, far more difficult to implement this kind of legislation there. I think there is a strong case to be made here, not perhaps to keep it at the level of 10 but at least to reduce it to the level of five.
The other question of how many women might possibly find themselves screened out through various devious ways and so forth is of course a point of concern here. If we start to fool around with these minimum incumbency levels, we can very easily find that companies in future will not hire women for the job where they may have traditionally hired women, simply to avoid this kind of comparison.
Mr. Wildman: Do you think employers are that devious?
Mr. Baetz: The member asked me whether employers are that devious. I must say that in the many weeks we sat and heard presentations from employers, I never in my life saw any group of people so spooked by what they thought were devious employers, bad-apple employers, employers who were going to hire the best lawyers they possibly could to avoid in one way or another what this legislation is intended to do.
Mr. Barlow: I would like to speak in support of the amendment, which may not come as a great surprise. I totally agree with what my colleague the member for Ottawa West has suggested. To shave this down to an incumbency of one person, with one person being able to form a group, is totally out of touch with reality in my opinion and in the opinion of many of the employer groups with which we have had the opportunity to speak and which have had the opportunity to come before the committee. The members will recall that many of the employer groups before the committee were asking that it be an incumbency level of 10 employees. In discussing --
Mr. Wildman: How about 40?
Mr. Barlow: No, 10 would be a realistic number. However, in discussing it further with the employer groups, we did come to the conclusion that, realistically, five could be acceptable. After all, the whole piece of legislation -- I do not think it comes as any surprise -- is a bad piece of legislation and we are trying to improve it. In any amendments we are putting forward, we are trying to improve this for the parliamentary assistant.
This is one I feel can certainly help to improve the act so it that it will be understandable for the employers of the province, and certainly for the workers, those who supposedly are to be helped by this act, the female work force. To put a roadblock or a position of a minimum incumbency of one is just going to create problems and create work for the employment standards branch, and this is something we will talk about a little bit later on. If it happens to go with what the socialist coalition has formulated in bringing in a brand-new level of bureaucracy, then that new level of bureaucracy is going to have to deal with this matter on many different occasions. I am simply saying I am opposed to the printed bill and I certainly support the amendment that has been put forward by my colleague.
Mr. Ward: Some reference was made to the legislation in Manitoba. I point out that in the situation of Manitoba, with an incumbency rule of 10, the circumstance arose that a hospital of 5,000 employees was unable to make a single job comparison with a minimum incumbency rule of 10, because it could not find a male job class that was occupied by more than 10 employees. I really think the effect of this amendment is to exclude literally hundreds of thousands of women from coverage under this legislation and therefore we do not support it. I think it does point out how much stronger this legislation is than that which is in place in Manitoba, not just on this particular issue but also on many others.
Mr. Chairman: Shall Mr. Baetz's amendment to subsection 1(6) of the bill carry?
All those in favour will please say "aye."
All those opposed will please say "nay."
In my opinion the nays have it.
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Baetz moves that section 1 of the bill be amended by adding thereto the following subsection:
"(1a) For the purposes of this act, the employees of an employer in the construction industry, as defined in the Labour Relations Act, who work at construction sites in a geographic division and the employees of the employer in the same geographic division who do not work at construction sites shall be deemed to be in two separate establishments."
Mr. Baetz: As we pointed out in the justice committee deliberations, and again a few days ago here, this is one of the very major points of contention that not only the construction industry, which is a very big and important industry in this province, has about this legislation, but it is also a point of view that is supported by many others in the private sector, including the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, the Canadian Manufacturers' Association and many others.
It is simply that as the Sibson and Company study, which took a detailed look at this whole question of comparing onsite construction employees in the construction field with those who are working in the offices, clearly showed, office workers' and site tradesmen's employment are based on entirely different relationships with the employer. As we know, the construction tradesmen, who are both unionized and nonunionized, are paid very well in Ontario, but that is a reflection of the temporary nature of the job, the seasonal nature of the industry, exposure to the elements, the high safety risk and the strength of the provincially based trade negotiations.
Furthermore, the unionized contractor, and this is very important, has no say over the rates he pays his unionized tradesmen. They are determined by the --
Mr. Wildman: They negotiate.
Mr. Baetz: No, they are determined by the province-wide negotiations on a regular basis and that, as we all know, is in sharp contrast to the employment of the office staff, both male and female. Office staff, of course, as we also know, are more likely to be employed on an ongoing basis than on a seasonal basis, which is the case with most of the onsite construction employees.
So really, the result of this amendment is not to exempt the entire construction industry at all. That is not the intent of this, but it would incorporate a more functional definition of "establishment" that recognizes the substantial differences between the construction site and the office. Even though they happen to be within the construction industry, these really are, for purposes of this legislation, not really comparable.
Of course, the pay equity comparisons would still be made within the construction offices and the employees there. The benefits of the construction employees onsite are negotiated at a province-wide level and the construction industry as a whole would be included in this legislation, so we make this final plea on behalf of the construction associations that we recognize that it is simply not valid and not fair and that it makes no sense to compare the jobs of construction onsite workers with those offsite and mainly in the offices.
Ms. Gigantes: We will not be supporting this amendment. The arguments have been made before by the construction association and construction industry representatives. The member for Ottawa West says the purpose of the amendment is not to exempt the construction industry but that would be the effect of the amendment, whether that is his purpose or not. If that is not his purpose, I do not know what he is doing putting it forward. I can see no reason in principle why under this legislation we should not be comparing the work done by people in the head office or the office of a construction company with those who are working on a construction site.
There will be some of the complexities of argument that we have had suggested by the member for Ottawa West, but in principle, when you compare skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions of jobs in an office with jobs -- whether they are outside on the grounds of a university or people who are providing offsite services to a hospital -- I do not see any reason why we should be making an exemption for the construction industry as he has proposed here.
The comparisons will be limited by the very nature of the difference in jobs. However, there is no reason in principle to set up a barrier to those comparisons. He says there is a different relationship between the employer and those employees who work in the office and the employer and those employees who work on the job site in construction firms. You bet there is. In one case we are dealing mainly with female workers and in the other case we are dealing mainly with male workers. That is precisely what this legislation is supposed to address.
Whenever we hear the phrase "functional definition" of a job, we have to be alert to the fact that what is being suggested is that when there is a functional definition there is noncomparability somehow. This word "functional" is newspeak or a euphemism that is meant to cover: "No, we will not compare those jobs because those jobs are done by women in one setting and men in another and functionally they are different. Vive la différence."
Function, function, for ever function. The function of this legislation is to get over those historical and damaging elements of job definition, job description, that have put women in some jobs, men in others and paid men more. That is the purpose of this legislation. If the member for Ottawa West does not accept the purpose of the legislation, let him vote against the bill. Let him not try to take what content there is out of the legislation.
Mr. Barlow: Perhaps the member for Ottawa Centre (Ms. Gigantes) does not understand totally how the construction industry operates. I am sure that the member for London South (Ms. E. J. Smith) could help us explain this and I am sure she will be supporting us on this amendment.
Mr. Breaugh: Why do you not sit down and let her do that?
Mr. Barlow: I will give her an opportunity; let me finish first. The industry operates on province-wide bargaining based on the fact that the employees, male or female, who work outside are not normally there 12 months of the year. They work only in the good weather. They have much time off because of weather conditions. Their rates have been negotiated on that basis. Those who work inside, whether they are male or female, whether the estimator, the payroll clerk is male or female, are there on a 12-month basis. They are working year round, the same as in most other industries.
In formulating this amendment, we are isolating only the construction industry although there was representation before the committee of many other types of industries, the food service industry and others that felt they should be included in this functional-nonfunctional. We are isolating only the construction industry. It is something that should be able to help the construction industry adapt to the realities of this bill. We are trying on this particular item to make it a more acceptable, understandable and operational bill, to make it a more workable bill.
Mr. Baetz: Might I add one more comment? I was impressed and temporarily encouraged by the comments made by the parliamentary assistant during the committee hearings when he admitted, and I think Hansard will show that he did admit, that the construction industry maybe did have a point here and that maybe this would create problems for them later down the line.
But he said: "We will be setting up a commission of bureaucrats. If it does create problems, then they can look into it and, in their great judicious way they can finally decide, after years of aggravation, after years of expense, fighting this by the construction industry, to then change the legislation or change the regulations."
When I heard that I assumed that when we got to this stage in the development of this bill the parliamentary assistant, aided by the wisdom and the experience which the member for, which is it, London North, --
Ms. E. J. Smith: London South.
Mr. Baetz: --London South, of course, yes; that the member for London South has about the construction industry that surely she would have persuaded the parliamentary assistant and the governing party that, yes, the construction industry has a point of view and, yes indeed, we can include this amendment in here. It is not going to exempt the construction industry from this legislation, that is very clear. It is not going to exempt it.
The member for Ottawa Centre would like us to believe that is a sly way for the construction industry to be exempted. It does not do it.
Anyway, I am looking forward to the parliamentary assistant now telling us that, yes, he has been to the mountain of the construction industry, and he has now been persuaded by them and by some of the great citizens that are operating in that field.
Mr. Ward: The government will not be supporting this amendment. I would only point out that the amendment, as put forward, relates to an employment sector whose total female work force represents three per cent of its total employees, if you want to put into context the impact that pay equity legislation would have on this particular sector. That is the first point I would make.
The second point I would make is that it should be noted that the construction industry is not the only industry that has province-wide bargaining. In fact, many hospital employees also have province-wide bargaining. Notwithstanding that fact, it should be remembered that unionized employers neither exercise direct control over the rates of pay provided to workers, nor do they determine individual hiring.
Frankly, I think we had a good debate on this particular subject in committee and, again, here. We will not be supporting this amendment.
Mr. Chairman: Shall the amendment of Mr. Baetz adding a new subsection (1a) carry?
All those in favour will please say "aye."
All those opposed will please say "nay."
In my opinion the nays have it.
NOTICE OF DISSATISFACTION
Mr. Chairman: Since we will not be going back into the House until six o'clock I would like to advise the members that pursuant to standing order 30, the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere (Mr. Warner) has given notice of his dissatisfaction with the answer to his question given last week by the Minister of Colleges and Universities (Mr. Sorbara). This matter will be debated at six o'clock today.
PAY EQUITY ACT / LOI DE 1987 SUR L'ÉQUITÉ SALARIALE (CONTINUED / CONTINUÉE)
On section 2:
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Ward moves that section 2 of the bill be amended by striking out "equal pay" wherever it occurs and inserting in lieu thereof "pay equity."
Any comments, parliamentary assistant?
Mr. Ward: No, I do not think so. I think it makes it consistent with the amendments we put in committee.
Ms. Gigantes: We will not oppose this amendment. It is certainly consistent with the approach of the legislation. This legislation does not provide equal pay for work of equal value and it should not pretend to. It provides a formula called "pay equity," and that is what it should be called whenever it is addressed in the bill.
Mr. Baetz: We too will be supporting this amendment.
Mr. Chairman: Shall the motion by Mr. Ward amending section 2 carry?
Motion agreed to.
Section 2, as amended, agreed to.
On section 3:
Mr. Chairman: Ms. Gigantes moves that subsection 3(1) of the bill be amended by striking out "who employ 10 or more employees" in the second line.
Ms. Gigantes: This bill has a long list of exclusions and exemptions which amount to noncoverage for women. As we have gone through discussion of the bill in the standing committee on administration of justice, we have been able to try to make estimates of how many women out of the two million who are at work in Ontario may be excluded from the provisions and the potential benefits of this legislation.
This group referred to in subsection 3(1) is the group of women who work for employers who have fewer than 10 employees. What we know about this group of women in Ontario is that, as of 1985, there were 238,800 of them working in Ontario. They are women employed by what we call small employers, employers of fewer than 10 people, and they have none of the benefits provided, or supposed to be provided, to other women under this legislation.
They cannot even go to the Pay Equity Commission under this legislation and make a complaint. It is not just that they do not have available to them the proactive provisions of this legislation, which in some work places would create plans which would be either employer-developed or developed jointly by employers and unions, where there are unions. These will be women for whom none of the provisions, not even the complaint mechanism, would be available.
These women are probably representative of a large number of minority-group women. By that I mean women in the visible minorities of Ontario or women who are immigrants. From both groups, we have had representation that indicates how important it is for the women involved to have access to this legislation. From both groups, we have had a very strong indication that coverage, and the coverage of small employers, employers who have fewer than 10 employees, is absolutely critical so that women from these minority groups can receive benefits.
I will just read a couple of statements that have been presented to us. One is from the Chinese Canadian National Council and it says: "It would be highly unfair that workers who work for small companies would not be able to enjoy the full benefits of Ontario law. To apply size restrictions on the application of pay equity would be analogous to limiting the coverage of minimum wage regulations to companies of a certain size."
In a brief that has been developed by the Coalition of Visible Minority Women, the indication is similarly strong. They say: "The government is considering excluding small businesses from the legislation. However, 40 per cent of women in Ontario work in establishments with less than 20 employees." They go on to say, "We call for the legislation to include all employers." They indicate a very strong need on the part of such groups of women to have legislation that will provide them with access to the benefits, however limited those benefits may be, of this legislation.
I would also like to point out to members of the Legislature that if we say that employers who have fewer than 10 employees do not have to worry about this legislation because it does not affect their work places, we are saying that 85 per cent of the firms in Ontario are not covered by this legislation. It seems quite an astonishing fact, but it is true that 85 per cent of the firms operating in Ontario have fewer than 10 employees.
The parliamentary assistant has told the justice committee that many of those firms are one-person or two-person firms, which indeed is true.
An hon. member: Or no person.
Ms. Gigantes: They may be no-person firms, says the member for Oriole (Ms. Caplan). That too is true. However, we know there are 238,800 women as of 1985 who work in such firms. We would like to assure them of at least equal access to this legislation for whatever it is worth in terms of what it could do for them. At least they should have the right to make a complaint to the Pay Equity Commission. That is the purpose of this amendment. It would say that the legislation applies to all employers in Ontario.
Mr. Baetz: I can agree that, philosophically, one could argue that by not including in this bill employees in companies with fewer than 10 employees, they are being discriminated against. But I think we should look upon this piece of legislation in its proper perspective and in a historical perspective. We have agreed, during this first leap forward, to include not only the public sector but also a very large proportion of the private sector. As some people here will know only too well, there was a lot of questioning and a lot of concern as to whether the private sector should be included at all in this piece of legislation at this stage in time.
I think for the time being the very small employers, people who really have no huge personnel offices, no employee benefits counsel and people to advise them in all this, no resources such as that, should be excluded. What we are really saying is that half a loaf is better than none or that we learn to walk before we run.
While I have no philosophical difference of opinion on this one, I think in a very pragmatic, practical way it would be very unfortunate if at this first stroke of legislation we were to include some 253,000 very small employers in Ontario. It would create a horrendous nightmare, a headache and what not. I will certainly not be supporting the amendment for that very simple reason. It is simply practically impossible, unpractical, and we shall be opposing the amendment.
Mr. Mackenzie: I have been provoked into rising in this debate by the remarks we have just heard. It is not a question of walking before we can run or even crawling before we can walk. What we are doing with this amendment is practicing some real discrimination. We have 238,000 women, better than 10 per cent of the working women in Ontario, automatically excluded by this one amendment alone.
What the member has done, regardless of all the arguments he may want, is said that they are second-class workers, in terms of their rights to pay. I do not think that is right at all. In fact, this bill only covers about 15 per cent of the companies and firms in Ontario. It seems to me we cannot make the argument that we have to look out only for the employers. That is obviously a concern in a situation like this, but I would ask the member for Ottawa West: What about the employees when we practice discrimination and we automatically exclude this many women workers in Ontario? Are we saying it is all right that they are second-class employees? It seems to me we may very well have a charter case here.
Mr. Baetz: I do not want to prolong this particular argument, but when the member for Hamilton East talks about discriminating against all these women who happen to be employed by very small employers, he forgets that in the great socialist province of Manitoba they have discriminated against all of the women in the private sector the first time around, and for understandable reasons.
I think we have to go at this legislation in a very straightforward, practical, pragmatic manner. We are pioneering new ground, new frontiers. Let us do it methodically. That would be the position of our party.
An hon. member: If you supported pay equity, which you don't.
Mr. Chairman: Order. If the member for Oriole wishes to debate, she must stand in her place.
An hon. member: That would be the position of your party if you supported pay equity.
Mr. Chairman: Order. I must remind the members that I can neither see nor hear those who are not in their seats.
Shall the amendment of Ms. Gigantes to subsection 3(1) of the act carry?
All those in favour will please say "aye."
All those opposed will please say "nay."
In my opinion, the nays have it.
Mr. Chairman: The next amendment I have is really a note. What do you want to do about that?
Ms. Gigantes: Disregard it.
Mr. Chairman: We simply disregard that. Thank you.
The next one is an amendment to section 6 by Mr. Baetz.
Ms. Gigantes: Do not worry about it. It is just a reminder to us.
Mr. Chairman: Yes, I guess. It is a little unusual to me, these notes about if this happens, then that happens. Ms. Gigantes's note, which was tabled, is a note re subsection 3(2), and it says, "If the motion to amend subsection 3(1) passes, subsection 3(2) becomes redundant," etc., but we do not --
Mr. McClellan: We will have to return to the section if the amendment carries.
Mr. Chairman: Yes, but at this point we do not know.
Ms. Gigantes: It is just a reminder to us.
Mr. Chairman: To whom?
Mr. McClellan: If the amendment carries when we get to division, we can come back to it tomorrow. I am sure it will carry.
Mr. Chairman: All right.
Sections 4 and 5 agreed to.
On section 6:
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Baetz moves that section 6 of the bill be amended by adding the following new subsection thereto:
"6(1a) For the purposes of this act, comparisons cannot be made between job classes within an establishment within the same geographical division or divisions if such job classes within such establishments are engaged in the provision of dissimilar products or services."
Mr. Baetz: This again is an appeal from the private sector that, to the fullest extent possible, this bill make common sense and that it can be understood and respected.
In this particular case, we are making an appeal for such employers as Canteen of Canada Ltd., Cara Operations, Eastwood Food Services and VS Services Ltd. A distinguishing feature of the operations of employers like these is that they carry on several distinct lines of business in which their employees are working in a large number of separate work places scattered across the province. There would be relatively few employees in each of these work places.
With Bill 154 as it now defines the terms "establishment" and "geographic division," it will require this type of enterprise to treat all its employees within a given municipality or county as one unit for the purposes of implementing pay equity, notwithstanding that these employees may be engaged in different types of businesses subject to different competitive pressures, with the employees being represented by different trade unions.
We have gone through this before. Once again, as far as the committee is concerned, with the accord between the government and the third party, the committee has decided not to listen to this sector of private enterprise. We are appealing in this last minute, in the 11th hour, that we listen to them and agree that maybe they have a sensible and reasonable point of view to offer.
With this last appeal here, I have to plead particularly to the parliamentary assistant, because I do not expect I will be getting any support whatever from the socialist party here -- not one speck of it. I appeal, really, to the government to support us and to say to the private sector, "Yes, we know what you are talking about; you have a point of view, and we are going to listen and support it," by supporting this amendment and disregarding the socialist party over there.
Ms. Gigantes: As proud spokesperson on this matter for "the socialist party over there," I would like to point out that the member for Ottawa West does not seem to have any support from his front bench for the kind of havoc he is trying to wreak with what is after all a pretty weak-kneed bill.
We had all these characters from the food service industry come before the justice committee, and members should have heard the weeping and wailing and scrimping of pennies they have to go through to make their operations profitable. They simply could not afford to have one outlet within Metro Toronto compared with another outlet doing a slightly different kind of service. No, no, no.
It all breaks one's heart until one looks at their revenue sheets, where they have net revenues of millions and millions of dollars per year. How do members think these operations got so big? Part of the way they got so big was making extra profits by discriminating in pay levels to women employees.
This bill is a very limited bill in terms of what it would force such companies to go through. It would force them to compare each other within Metro Toronto, for example, as a geographic division. It would not force them to compare their operations in Hamilton with their operations in Metro. Oh, no.
Let me tell members, given what is in the bill -- this is what the Weir and Foulds client news bulletin addressed to business people has to offer in April 1987:
"The term `establishment' does not relate to a single location but rather to a geographic division, such as the municipality of Metropolitan Toronto. The term `geographic division' is defined to mean a county, territory, district or regional municipality described in the Territorial Division Act."
Members can tell how easy this is going to be for women, to make work for them.
"For example, a corporation with a warehouse in Guelph and an office headquarters in another location in the Guelph area would be considered one establishment. However, if the same employer had a warehouse in Oakville, it would not be necessary for the jobs in Oakville to be compared with the jobs in Guelph."
Now the member for Ottawa West is telling us they should not even have to compare one part of their operation within Metro Toronto to another. Good grief.
Mr. Ward: We will not be supporting this amendment. I believe the intent of the amendment is to establish a functional definition which would only serve to eliminate thousands of job comparisons and would openly encourage employers to structure their corporations in such a manner as to escape coverage under this bill.
I now think I understand the Tory position of supporting the bill in principle, because had we adopted all their amendments, the Ontario women's directorate advises me that this bill would apply to 126 women in Ontario.
Mr. Barlow: Oh, come on. Let's not be childish.
Mr. Mackenzie: That is about it.
Mr. Chairman: Order.
Ms. Gigantes: This kind of amendment is so bad it makes the Liberal bill look half decent.
Mr. Breaugh: Careful now.
Mr. Chairman: With that praise, the member for Ottawa West.
Mr. Baetz: The comments that have been coming from over here on this particular amendment and earlier amendments --
Mr. Breaugh: Oh, come on, Reuben. Sit down.
Mr. Baetz: --and a few comments that maybe are not on the record but that I heard, I say to the member for Oshawa (Mr. Breaugh); maybe he and I will have a little talk later.
Mr. Breaugh: Any time, Reuben, any time. You get your wheelchair and we will go at it.
Mr. Baetz: Does the member want to have it recorded here?
Mr. Breaugh: Sure.
Mr. Baetz: The very fact that we are simply saying that perhaps the business community, the private employer who will be playing a major role in this, may have something sensible to say here is ridiculed and treated with the greatest of disdain by the third party and, unfortunately, to a very great degree also by the governing party. Having made that point, we will let the case rest. We know the amendment will be defeated.
Mr. Ward: I do want to withdraw my facetious remark about the 126 women as being an accurate reflection of the statistics. The point I was trying to make through exaggeration was that I believe the amendments being put forward broaden the exemptions so significantly as to virtually make the bill totally ineffective.
Mr. Chairman: Shall the amendment of Mr. Baetz to section 6 carry?
All those in favour will please say "aye."
All those opposed will please say "nay."
In my opinion the nays have it.
Mr. Baetz: Mr. Chairman, I look for some technical guidance from you. In view of the fact that we have not voted, we do not know whether or not the earlier amendment is defeated. If it is defeated, obviously this subsection would be redundant. What do we do with it? Do we stand it down or what?
Mr. Chairman: I believe you would move it. The third party is in the same position with regard to a previously stacked amendment.
Ms. Gigantes: If the member is undecided, I am ready to move to section 7.
Mr. Chairman: I think you should put it in and then it can be withdrawn later on, as the vote on the first one goes.
Mr. Baetz moves that subsection 6(4) of the bill be amended by adding the following new clause:
"(c) for job classes on construction projects falling within the definitions of the construction industry contained in subsection 1(e) of the Labour Relations Act, shall be made between job classes within the same geographic division or divisions as the case may be."
I again remind all members to say nothing unless they are in their seats and then only when it is in order.
Mr. Chairman: The member for Bellwoods (Mr. McClellan) is out of order.
Mr. Ward: But he is in his seat.
Mr. Chairman: He is still out of order.
Mr. Baetz: I do not think it requires any further comment. It simply deals with the construction industry and the fact that the onsite construction employees are to be treated in a different way from those in the head office. We will just have to see how the initial amendment is treated.
Ms. Gigantes: I wonder if the member for Ottawa West is addressing the right amendment. What this amendment says is:
"(c) for job classes on construction projects falling within the definitions of the construction industry contained in subsection 1(e) of the Labour Relations Act, shall be made between job classes within the same geographic division or divisions as the case may be."
Clearly, what the written word and the way he presented it suggest is that he is going to insist the comparisons be made only within a geographic division. This is for the purposes of a construction industry which he has talked about as operating on a provincial level in a previous amendment.
Further, I do not understand what this amendment is purporting to do, because the bill already calls for job classes within the same geographic division to be the limiting factor in terms of comparison. Perhaps he could elucidate for us.
Mr. Breaugh: I think he just did.
Mr. Chairman: Order. Shall the amendment of Mr. Baetz to subsection 6(4) carry?
All those in favour will please say "aye."
All those opposed will please say "nay."
In my opinion, the nays have it.
On section 7:
Mr. Chairman: Ms. Gigantes moves that section 7 of the bill be amended by adding thereto the following subsection:
"(3) No employer shall enter into any agreement or arrangement or do any thing that defeats or is intended to defeat the purpose of this act."
Ms. Gigantes: Section 7 is one in which the obligations of employers and bargaining agents are laid out.
Subsection 7(1) calls upon every employer to "establish and maintain compensation practices that provide for pay equity in every establishment of the employer." That is up until the achievement of pay equity, which we will address in a further motion.
Subsection 7(2) says, "No employer or bar-gaining agent shall bargain for or agree to compensation practices that, if adopted, would cause a contravention of subsection (1)." That is fair and good.
However, there are going to be some employers who will use the loopholes we have discussed in earlier parts of this bill to attempt to subvert the purposes of the bill; they will manipulate job classes and they will take one enterprise and split it into two so they do not have to do job comparisons that would make them responsible for pay equity adjustments to female employees.
There are a number of ways which we have provided in this legislation, and which the government refuses to close as loopholes, whereby employers can undertake initiatives -- which I am sure some will be capable of doing -- that will undermine the very purpose of this legislation.
There is ample precedent in our legislation in such matters as taxation legislation and employment standards to provide a kind of bad-apple provision. That means that when somebody can clearly be found to be using various iniquitous means of trying to defeat the application of the legislation, that person can be called to account for attempting to subvert the purposes of the legislation. That is what this amendment would provide.
Because so many women in Ontario do not have representation by labour unions, when the commission or the tribunal discovers a case where an employer has attempted time after time to manipulate the legislation and to work his or her way around the legislation, it is terribly important that the tribunal and the commission, alerted to that problem, should have a general wording in this legislation which can allow them to provide discipline for an employer who is attempting to undermine the legislation. That is why we have put forward this amendment.
Mr. Chairman: Shall Ms. Gigantes's amendment to subsection 7(3) of the bill carry?
All those in favour will please say "aye."
All those opposed will please say "nay."
In my opinion, the nays have it.
Mr. Chairman: Ms. Gigantes moves that section 7 of the bill be amended by adding thereto the following subsection:
"(4) Every employer shall make available to the employer's employees all the information necessary to allow them to exercise their rights and responsibilities under this act, including information on job classifications, job descriptions and rates of compensation."
Ms. Gigantes: For many hundreds of thousands of women in Ontario there will not be access to an equal pay plan. Look, I made a mistake, I called it equal pay. It is not equal pay; it is pay equity, it is the formula called pay equity that we have set out in this legislation.
Regardless of that, many thousands of women employees in the province will not have the benefit of a plan which they can consider. They will work for firms with fewer than 100 employees. Of the two million women who are at work in Ontario, over 500,000 or over one quarter of them work for firms which have fewer than 100 employees and therefore they work for employers who will not be called upon to provide pay equity plans.
For those women and indeed for women who are working in firms which will have pay equity plans, it is terribly important that they have information available from the employer which allows them to assess whether the legislation is working for them. There is no way that a woman in an ordinary work place can tell whether her job is comparable to another job unless she has information about the job description of another job and unless she has information about the job rates of other job classes.
A large measure of the success of this legislation will come from the enforcement by women employees of their own rights under the legislation. If we are expecting them to be able to take advantage of those rights, we are going to have to provide that they have the very basic kinds of information about their work place that only their employers can provide.
We feel it incumbent on the government to make this very elemental provision in the legislation so women will be able to use the legislation and make sure they get some benefit from the legislation. They cannot do that without information on their work place.
Mr. Chairman: Shall Ms. Gigantes's motion to amend subsection 7(4) of the bill carry?
I would remind members that those nos are coming awfully late.
Ms. Gigantes: It is carried.
Mr. Chairman: No, I heard a no; two of them.
All those in favour of the motion will please say "aye."
All those opposed will please say "nay."
In my opinion the nays have it.
Mr. Chairman: The next one I have is clause 8(1)(f).
Mr. Baetz moves that subsection 8(1) of the bill be amended by adding thereto the following clause:
"(f) A provincial agreement as defined in section 137 of the Labour Relations Act."
Mr. Baetz: As I indicated on the previous amendment, this refers again to the onsite construction workers who come under the Labour Relations Act. Simply, if the previous amendment carries then there is some relevance to this. If it does not, and I think we expect it will not, this amendment would be redundant. I am caught in the same situation here, but I do not think there is anything much more to be said about this at this point in time.
Mr. Barlow: I hate to disagree with my colleague the member for Ottawa West, but I am not so sure that these amendments will not carry. After all, there are members of the government who are free-enterprise, free-thinking members who are not in the House at the present time. I am sure my colleague will realize that when these people come in, they might have some influence on some of the other members of the government party.
Mr. Chairman: Shall Mr. Baetz's amendment to subsection 8(1) of the bill carry?
All those in favour will please say "aye."
All those opposed will please say "nay."
In my opinion the nays have it.
Mr. Chairman: Next is subsection 9(1).
Ms. Gigantes: Mr. Chairman, I think you have a note that we wish to have a division on subsection 8(2).
Mr. Chairman: Is this one of these notes or recommendations?
Ms. Gigantes: We are prepared to move up through the bill to subsection 8(2). I would like to speak to subsection 8(2).
Mr. Chairman: The member wishes to make comments on subsection 8(2)?
Ms. Gigantes: I do indeed.
Without going through all the details of this bill, let me simply say that what it says is that once you have defined what a work place is and what an establishment is, once you have defined whether an employer has to pay attention to this legislation at all, once you have defined when he or she has to pay attention to it and once you have provided that there is a 60 per cent female work class that can be compared to a 70 per cent male work class or job class; once you do all that and you lay out the job comparability, the rate of pay differential that can be defined as requiring a pay equity adjustment under this legislation, and then you wait for the many years of the unfolding of one per cent of payroll payments by the employer to address that pay inequity, once you have done all that and you have finally got to the point where women, having run through all these tests and having waited all this time, finally end up with the same rate of pay as men who are doing comparable jobs -- that can take over a decade under this legislation without any trouble -- once you have done all that, what the bill says is, "After pay equity has been achieved in an establishment, this act does not apply so as to prevent differences in compensation between a female job class and a male job class if the employer is able to show that the difference is the result of differences in bargaining strength."
That is subsection 8(2). What this means is that all this mechanism we are setting up will come to a conclusion at a flash in time, at a moment in time, when suddenly, years later, something is achieved called pay equity within the particular establishment. The woman who had been underpaid and does a job of the same value as the man's will finally get her wage rate up to the same level, and after that, nothing, because the employer can turn around and say: "There is a wage gap growing there again year by year. What had been inequitable and then became equitable is becoming inequitable again. But no problem. The reason for it, according to subsection 8(2), is that there is a difference that is the result of a difference in bargaining strength."
How did we get to this problem? I ask the parliamentary assistant, if it was not a difference in bargaining strength and so-called market forces that we all know are downright discrimination in a very large portion of the wage gap, then why are we facing inequity? Why are we facing this discrimination? Employers have always called it a difference in bargaining strength. They have always called it labour market forces. We know perfectly well that if you compare the value of jobs to the employer, to one employer in one work place, there is discrimination going on.
This legislation says that once we have gone through all this enormous ritual and the Liberals have beaten their breasts and said, "How wonderful we are, how wonderful we are; we have achieved pay equity," then it can all be undone by something called a difference in bargaining strength. I do not know how anyone can defend that.
Do we then have to bring in new legislation and start the whole process all over again? It does not make sense. If it is to be done, let it be done, however inadequately done, but do not undo it after.
We recommend that members vote against subsection 8(2).
Mr. Chairman: Now you want to discuss subsections 8(3) and 8(4)?
Ms. Gigantes: I will be glad to discuss 8(3) and 8(4).
As I mentioned earlier, there are enormous loopholes, exemptions, areas of noncoverage and so on in this legislation, and this is one that bothers me most. This and the contracting-out section are the ones that I think are not only neutral in terms of the effect of this legislation -- in other words, they may not be of much benefit to women -- but also, combined with the contracting-out provision which exists in the legislation unless we change the definition we moved the first amendment on, this section can actually help undermine the situation of women in the work place.
Subsections 8(3) and 8(4) provide definitions of part-time work and casual work for the purpose of saying that part-time work which is regular shall be included within the provisions of this legislation, but casual work which is on-call or is irregular or is less than one third of regular working hours will not be included under the provisions of this legislation.
That presents an enormous problem for hundreds of thousands of women. About 500,000 of the two million women who work in Ontario are part-time workers, a lot of them not because they want to work part-time but because that is the only employment they can get. We are talking about one quarter, 500,000, of the women who work.
If we are going to define "part-time worker" and "casual worker" in different ways and say that a regular part-time worker is included in the employer's responsibility under this legislation but a casual, irregular, on-call worker is not included under this legislation, we are setting up an inducement for employers to shift work which has been part-time, regular and more than one third of regular hours, to casual, on-call, irregular work.
Members will note that this is the only section in this bill in which, instead of discussing positions and job classes, we are discussing employees. We are discussing the way employees work, the way they provide their services. We are discussing whether they work full-time, or normal hours, or whether they are working less than one third of normal hours. What we are doing is setting up one big temptation for employers to start reducing the hours of work of people who have been providing part-time work on a regular basis so that the employer does not have to bear any responsibility for those people under this legislation.
If, as I fear, there are going to be hundreds of thousands of women who will move from the insecure position of being part-time employees to the less secure position, the more vulnerable position of being casual, on-call employees, then this bill, by making that exemption provision for employers, will actually have undermined the work situation for large numbers of the female work force. I cannot believe that any government in this day and age would really want to do that.
Mr. Chairman: Ms. Gigantes moves that subsections 8(2), 8(3) and 8(4) be deleted from the bill.
All those in favour will please say "aye."
All those opposed will please say "nay."
In my opinion, the nays have it.
On section 9:
Mr. Chairman: Ms. Gigantes moves that subsection 9(1) of the bill be amended by inserting, after "reduce" in the first line and in the second line, "or restrain."
Ms. Gigantes: I will read subsection 9(1) as it is now printed in the bill: "An employer shall not reduce the compensation payable to any employee or reduce the rate of compensation for any position in order to achieve pay equity."
Essentially, what that means is that if the jobs of women are being compared to the jobs of men an employer shall not be determined to have provided pay equity if he reduces the pay of men. That is fair and good, absolutely vital, but unless we have a recognition of the fact that the employer may restrain wages in this section, what we will have is a situation where employers will call upon men and women in the work place to pay for pay equity adjustments.
Let me go back a few months in time. Mr. Chairman, you will recollect that the Attorney General (Mr. Scott), the minister responsible for women's issues, spoke to a group of employers here in the city of Toronto several months back. He put to them the following proposition: they should not be worried about the cost of pay equity adjustments they would be required to make under this legislation because those costs he described to them as one per cent of total payroll per year. That is accurate. But he said to them:
"For example, if you were proposing or if you thought you might give your employees a wage increase this coming year of say three per cent, then if you were called upon to make a contribution of one per cent of total payroll to the payment of pay equity adjustments to your female employees in the coming year, what you could do is offer all your employees a two per cent increase instead of three per cent and then use the other one per cent to provide pay equity adjustments. "
The Attorney General, when he came back into the Legislature the next day, was asked by me whether he had actually said that. I could hardly believe he would suggest that. I said to people, "I do not believe he suggested that." In fact, he said he had not said it. He told us no, he had been misunderstood. This was the Attorney General, the minister responsible for women's issues, the well-known member for St. David.
He said he had been misunderstood and that really what he meant to say to the employers, what people should have understood and what the Globe and Mail reporter in this case should have understood was that he was saying to employers that one per cent of payroll contribution to pay equity adjustments was not very much to ask and that one per cent a year was probably much less than they thought.
In fact, when we heard the tape of his remarks it was quite clear what he had said. He had said to the employers, "If you are thinking of giving your employees in total a three per cent total payroll wage increase for the coming year, reduce it to two per cent and allocate the other one per cent of total payroll to your pay equity adjustments." That is precisely how he encouraged employers to think of how to apply this legislation, and it is this section of the legislation that will allow them to do it.
All we have to do is to make sure employees would at least have the opportunity to say: "We do not feel we should be bearing the cost of pay equity adjustments when it is the employer who has benefited from pay discrimination for year after year up until now. We feel the employer should be paying the cost of pay equity adjustments."
All we have to do to provide at least the opening for employees to go to the Pay Equity Commission to try to present a case, which would not be an easy case to present, to make what arguments they could before the Pay Equity Hearings Tribunal, is to amend it so that it reads, "An employer shall not reduce or restrain the compensation payable to any employee or reduce or restrain the rate of compensation for any position in order to achieve pay equity."
It seems to me the very elemental question that faces us here is who is going to pay for pay equity? I ask why a woman who has suffered pay discrimination for years should have to contribute to the cost of her own pay equity adjustment. I ask why she should have to take a lower annual wage increase so that the employer can turn to her and say, "Here is a little package that is called a pay equity adjustment."
How does that benefit her? Will her male colleagues not be glad to help to contribute to her pay equity adjustment? Will her female colleagues who may not be eligible for pay equity adjustments not be grateful to give up some of their annual wage increase to pay for her pay equity adjustment when it is the employer who should be paying those adjustments? It is the employer who has had the benefit of discrimination for years.
If ever there was a case where we should change legislation to at least provide an avenue for a woman, a group of women or a union representing women to go before a tribunal and argue that there is wage restraint going on here that presents real unfairness in the work place, this is it.
Mr. McClellan: I think we are entitled to a response from the parliamentary assistant. This is an important section of the bill and it is an important issue. I think we can have some debate.
Mr. Ward: I would be pleased to respond to the member for Ottawa Centre. I will just mention to the member for Bellwoods (Mr. McClellan) that, again, this amendment was put in the justice committee and was debated at length. No doubt the member would like to see passage of this legislation as protracted as possible, but I would say to my colleague from --
Mr. McClellan: I beg you pardon. What did the parliamentary assistant say?
Ms. Gigantes: He said we would like to delay passage.
Mr. Ward: I did not say anything of the sort, quite frankly. In response to the member for Ottawa Centre --
Mr. Chairman: Order.
Mr. McClellan: He has imputed motives while you sat there, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman: No. Order. What I heard the parliamentary assistant say was that members would not want to prolong or protract.
Mr. McClellan: That is not what he said at all.
Mr. Chairman: I heard it in the opposite to the way you appeared to. I did not see it that he was imputing motives.
Mr. McClellan: You misheard.
Mr. Warner: He accused us of trying to delay the bill.
Mr. Chairman: No, I heard quite the opposite. Would you clarify what you did say?
Mr. Ward: Frankly, I understood the member for Bellwoods to indicate, in fact, that the government was not willing to debate this legislation. I was reminding the member that we had a lengthy discussion in committee on this very point and on this very same amendment and I thought that the member for Bellwoods wanted this debate protracted and wanted further debate.
If I misunderstood the member, then I withdraw, but I understood that he was accusing us of not wanting to debate this legislation when, in fact, he was attempting to provoke me to enter into the debate. I am not quite sure what it is the member for Bellwoods is looking for.
Mr. McClellan: Just for the record, I would like the member to do the member for Ottawa Centre the courtesy, if it is not too much trouble, of responding to the very important points that she just made.
Mr. Ward: As I indicated to the member for Ottawa Centre and the member for Bellwoods, we debated this at length in committee, and I responded at length to the member in committee. She is well aware of that. I would be happy to provide members of the third party with copies of Hansard on the committee debate if they are interested in that.
Ms. Gigantes: I believe the parliamentary assistant is ashamed to stand in his place and say what he said in committee in a House where there are more members and in a House where, fortunately, people in the public who are at home and have the interest can see what he is saying. He should stand up, take three minutes and just tell us why he thinks employers should be allowed to put the cost for pay equity on employees.
Mr. Ward: The member for Ottawa Centre knows that the bill clearly indicates that wages cannot be reduced in an effort to achieve pay equity. It seems to me that just a few moments ago she was up on her feet talking about bargaining strength and indicating, on the basis of some argument that she now seems to be presenting, that it is okay to find an excuse for discriminatory wage practices.
That is on the basis, I suppose, that male employees, when faced with the prospect of a higher rate of increase or compensation on the part of female employees within the same establishment -- I assume the member for Ottawa Centre feels that it would be appropriate to object to those kinds of wage adjustments on the basis that it could be argued that any increase to a female employee at a rate above and beyond that of a male employee, in fact, represents a restraint of wages. I do not accept that argument.
Ms. Gigantes: Does the parliamentary assistant think that women who have suffered pay discrimination should, through restraint of their wages, be called upon to pay for their own pay equity adjustments? Does he think that the men they work alongside should suffer restraint of their wages in order to provide those pay equity adjustments?
Does he think that women who will not be eligible for pay equity adjustments under this legislation, perhaps because they are being fairly paid or perhaps because they are excluded under the provisions of this legislation, should pay the cost, through wage restraint, of pay equity adjustments made to women who have suffered pay discrimination in the past?
Mr. Ward: No, I do not think any of those things and I believe the member for Ottawa Centre knows full well that I do not agree with any of those premises. Again, when we discussed this item in committee, I think on more than one occasion we talked about this great difficulty relating to the wage gap in its broadest terms.
It may well be that, in the perfect world of the member for Ottawa Centre, she can clearly identify some villain out there to whom we can assign all the responsibility for the great economic injustice that has been perpetrated upon the working women in this province. I for one do not believe there is one villain out there.
I believe we all have a responsibility, employers, employees and government, to play a role in the redress of wage discrimination within this province. If the member for Ottawa Centre finds it totally inappropriate that wage adjustments may go at an accelerated level to working women in order to achieve pay equity within this province at an accelerated rate -- maybe she has a problem with that, but I do not.
Mr. Mackenzie: I would remind the member for Wentworth North (Mr. Ward) that he is in a committee of the whole House. It does not necessarily mean that because there has been debate in a committee of the House that there is not the right to have debate and to have it heard here in the House on a piece of legislation as important as I think this particular piece of legislation is.
I would also suggest to my friend that by not taking at least a look at the suggestions my colleague has made, reduce or restrain and some of the other arguments she made, what he is inviting is the biggest extension of red-circling of rates in jobs across this province that this province has ever seen. If he does not think that is going to cause him some problems, he does not know what he is talking about.
Mr. Ward: For the last time, I would just like to indicate to my colleague the member for Hamilton East (Mr. Mackenzie) that I have listened at length to the positions put forward by the member for Ottawa Centre. I believe I have in fact heard them; on some we have agreed, on some we have disagreed. I will stand by my last response with regard to what I believe to be the fundamental crux of the problem we are trying to address. I for one do not believe there is a single individual in this province or a single group in this province that is exempt from some responsibility to participate in redressing the wage gap.
Ms. Gigantes: Can the parliamentary assistant please indicate to this House why it is that a woman who has suffered pay discrimination, and it is determined under the meagre provisions of this legislation that she has suffered pay discrimination, should then have her wages restrained in order to contribute to the pay equity adjustment she is going to get from the employer? Can he explain why that is fair?
Mr. Ward: The member knows there is no provision in the bill that requires anybody to have her wages restrained.
Ms. Gigantes: The point is that the minister responsible for women's issues, the Attorney General -- and this parliamentary assistant is supporting him by silence -- has gone out and told employers to do precisely that. Among the people the parliamentary assistant wants to rope into this contribution to the advancement of women in the work place are the employees of the employer. Among those employees are the women who, presumably, will get some benefit under this legislation.
The member is refusing to put in a measure that would allow an appeal. The very women who are eligible for measures to address the pay discrimination they have suffered are being called upon by the employer to contribute, by wage restraint, to their pay equity adjustments. That is the essence of the matter, and if he does not see this it is wilful blindness.
Mr. Swart: I have not taken part in this debate but if I hear the parliamentary assistant correctly, what he is saying in effect is that his government is quite prepared to see the steps towards pay equity borne entirely by other employees. They do not have to --
Mr. Chairman: Order. It being 5:45 p.m., we will call in the members. I remind the members it is a 10-minute bell.
The committee divided on Ms. Gigantes's amendment to subsection 1(1) dealing with "employee," which was negatived on the following vote:
Ayes 18; nays 65.
Mr. Chairman: Order. The member for Cambridge (Mr. Barlow) is making so much noise his fellow members in front of him cannot hear. Thank you.
The committee divided on Ms. Gigantes's motion to amend subsection 1(1) of the act dealing with "female job class," which was negatived on the same vote.
The committee divided on Ms. Gigantes's amendment to subsection 1(1) of the act dealing with "male job class," which was negatived on the same vote.
The committee divided on Mr. Baetz's amendment to subsection 1(6), which was negatived on the following vote:
Ayes 25; nays 58.
The committee divided on Mr. Baetz's motion on subsection 1(1a), which was negatived on the same vote.
Section 1 agreed to.
The committee divided on Ms. Gigantes's amendment to subsection 3(1) dealing with 10 or more employees, which was negatived on the following vote:
Ayes 18; nays 65.
Section 3 agreed to.
The committee divided on Mr. Baetz's amendment on subsection 6(1a), which was negatived on the following vote:
Ayes 25; nays 58.
The committee divided on Mr. Baetz's amendment to subsection 6(4), which was negatived on the same vote.
Section 6 agreed to.
The committee divided on Ms. Gigantes's amendment to subsection 7(3), which was negatived on the following vote:
Ayes 18; nays 65.
The committee divided on Ms. Gigantes's amendment to subsection 7(4), which was negatived on the same vote.
Section 7 agreed to.
The committee divided on Mr. Baetz's amendment on clause 8(1)(f), which was negatived on the following vote:
Ayes 25; nays 58.
Mr. Chairman: The last motion is by Ms. Gigantes on section 8, deleting those three subsections.
Ms. Gigantes: On a point of order, Mr. Chairman: The debate on those motions has not been completed.
Mr. Chairman: I am sorry. The debate was completed and we were on section --
Mr. Ward: On a point of order, Mr. Chairman: When we rose we were dealing with an amendment to subsection 9(1).
Mr. Chairman: Yes, that is correct.
The committee divided on Ms. Gigantes's amendment to section 8, deleting subsections 8(2), (3) and (4), which was negatived on the same vote.
Section 8 agreed to.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Nixon, the committee of the whole House reported progress.
CENTRE FOR LABOUR STUDIES
Mr. Speaker: Pursuant to standing order 30(b), I deem that a motion to adjourn the House has been made. The member for Scarborough-Ellesmere (Mr. Warner) showed dissatisfaction with the answer to a question previously given.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
I will listen to the member for up to five minutes.
Mr. Warner: I will deal first with the answer given in which the minister stated four reasons the board of governors, so he claims, was concerned about having the labour studies program.
Financial costs: the cost statement indicates that in 1986-87 the cost to the college was $53,293. In the previous year it was $63,806.75; in the year before that it was $59,815.01. The average cost is somewhere in the neighbourhood of $50,000 to $60,000 which is not exorbitant.
Lack of control over operations: no one I have spoken to seems to understand what he is talking about.
Lack of control over program quality: the minister should be reminded this issue has never been raised by the college with the Labour Council of Metropolitan Toronto. Every course receives approval by the college in the same way as every other course offered by the college. The council and the college had a revised agreement which was signed earlier this year, and at that time no problems were raised by the college with respect to the agreement, the agreement having been in place since December 1983.
The agreement, I remind the minister, sets out the structure, the location, the role of the advisory committee and the role and responsibility of the labour council.
The status of the centre, which he raises as a problem, is specified in the negotiated agreement which was signed between the two parties. The agreement that was signed is no different in style or format from any other agreement the college signs with a private company. The college, I remind him, has never raised any problems in its negotiations over the time from 1983 to 1987.
It is important for the centre to be associated with the college. The college pays for three staff people, but the labour council participates in the hiring. The advisory committee of the labour council is able to determine the needs of the labour movement, involve labour educators and start up the appropriate courses. If the centre disappears, so will English in the work place, a course which is funded at present through Ontario basic skills, a program of this government. The program is able to be sold to private companies because it is under the auspices of the college, and once the auspices disappear so does the program.
The concept of allowing labour courses to be offered simply as other courses among the wide variety of continuing education courses has never worked anywhere that it has been tried.
The minister should be reminded of the determination made under a grievance award. This comes from the college affairs branch of the Ministry of Colleges and Universities in April 1987, in which it is stated as the arbitrator's decision:
"There is no dispute that the centre needs the endorsement and participation of the council" -- meaning the Metro labour council -- "in order to carry out its objectives of providing a vehicle for the organization and administration of labour education courses with and through the trade union movement in Metropolitan Toronto. Without the council, the college and the centre would have no entrée into the trade union movement."
This is the arbitration decision, reached through the Ministry of Colleges and Universities, which the minister is now deciding to refute.
The minister states he should not be interfering, autonomy does not come without responsibility. This minister found it appropriate to interfere with Durham College of Applied Arts and Technology when it threatened to remove the dental hygienist program. Within a couple of days he had contacted Durham College and told it that it must not remove the program, and of course it complied.
The minister has managed to upset a long list of people including the Canadian Auto Workers, the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of Canada, the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians, the Canadian Union of Educational Workers, the Ontario Federation of Labour, the Ontario Nurses' Association, the Public Service Alliance of Canada, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, the Canadian Labour Congress.
Mr. Speaker: The member's time has expired.
Mr. Warner: I need more time, Mr. Speaker. Thank you very much.
Mr. Speaker: The Minister of Colleges and Universities has up to five minutes to respond.
Hon. Mr. Sorbara: I have up to five minutes to respond. My very short answer would be that my friend the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere has simply abused standing order 30. He is dissatisfied with the answer in the sense that he disagrees with the policy of the ministry and the decisions being taken, but I fail to see why the answer I gave him on this question a few days ago was not satisfactory.
He has gone through the points and I would just like to respond to them one by one. By the way, this is the late show, not with David Letterman but with David Warner.
I am glad my friend the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere is taking advantage of bringing to this forum and this House more information on the Centre for Labour Studies.
I repeat to him and I reiterate once again that the decision as to whether the centre will be funded is not a decision taken by the Minister of Colleges and Universities or the Ministry of Colleges and Universities but the board of governors of Humber College.
My friend the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere suggests I took a different tack when it came to the dental hygiene program at Durham College. He is wrong. He is not misleading us; he is not putting inaccurate information before this House; he is simply wrong. I did not interfere with the decision at Durham College. I made inquiries and was told there was a consideration of the termination of the dental hygiene program. Then, having examined it, they decided not to do it.
On the very case my funny friend the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere raises, he says I am taking a different tack with the Centre for Labour Studies. The fact is, as a result of his question in this House, I have agreed to meet with Michael Lyons, the chairman or whatever of the Metropolitan Toronto Labour Council, to hear his views on it. I am not prepared, unless I am in receipt after that meeting of information startlingly different from the information I have now, to try to use the moral suasion of my office to have the decision rescinded.
It simply cannot be the case that every time a member of this House is dissatisfied with a decision of the board of governors of one of our community colleges that he can raise the issue in the House and the minister is prevailed upon to have the decision changed. Our community college system will not run if that is the way in which we choose to do business.
My friend the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere raises the issue of English in the work place. He is not misleading the House; he is just wrong. Those programs will continue because those programs are not funded through Humber College. They are funded through a program of my Ministry of Skills Development as part of the Ontario basic skills in the work place program, which is funded through Ontario's training strategy. They will continue. They have been approved by my ministry and they will continue.
If my friend is suggesting the withdrawal of the programmatic funding that is currently provided to the centre will mean that all of that work and all of the initiatives of labour in Metropolitan Toronto will go down the drain, he is simply wrong, and he knows it, notwithstanding the fact that for some reason or another he chooses to have the matter debated on a late show. I am glad to be here at his late show, but he is simply wrong.
There are substantial questions that the board of governors of Humber College raised in conjunction with the funding of the centre. It is a very good question indeed to ask whether or not it is appropriate for a college to be a funding agency for an arm's-length centre. They have raised the question; they have considered it. They have the responsibility under the authority of the act and the legislation that governs community colleges to make those decisions.
I am going to listen to Michael Lyons, as I have listened to my friend, but the fact is it would be inappropriate -- it would undermine the college system -- to simply say that the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere is concerned and therefore the decision should be reversed.
The most important point, and I close on this point, is that the very programs he is concerned about losing will be continued within the continuing education department of Humber College. Therefore, the community itself will be appropriately served.
Mr. Speaker: The member's time has now expired. There being no further matter to debate --
Mr. Philip: You don't know what has happened in adult education. You have no right to be the Minister of Colleges and Universities.
Mr. Speaker: Order. I deem the motion to adjourn to be carried.
The House adjourned at 6:16 p.m.