L031 - Mon 22 Jun 1987 / Lun 22 jun 1997
The House met at 1:30 p.m.
SOUTH CARLETON HIGH SCHOOL BAND
Mr. Sterling: I am very pleased to inform the Legislature of the excellent accomplishments of the South Carleton High School band in Richmond, Ontario, located in the great riding of Carleton-Grenville.
This band consists of 52 tremendously talented students ranging from grades 9 to 13. Recently, it won the title of Most Outstanding Band in Canada. For the South Carleton senior high school band, it was the crowning of a very successful year.
They went through three different competitions this year. The first one was a regional stage band festival competition of Musicfest Canada. They competed at the very highest level and received the gold medal for their efforts. Next, they competed in the Ottawa Music Festival and again won their category with a mark of 92 per cent.
As a result of this continued success, they were invited to participate in the national finals in the Congress Centre in Ottawa on May 17. The national finals consisted of 8,000 musicians from across Canada, and by day's end the South Carleton band had been awarded the honour of the gold medal and the title of the most outstanding band in all of Canada.
School bands at South Carleton are a well-respected tradition. They have achieved their success under the direction of Dave Yensen, and I add my congratulations to him and his students.
NUCLEAR ARMS FREE ZONE
Mr. R. F. Johnston: I wish to rise to condemn this government's outright abdication of the responsibilities of this Legislature in its passage of a resolution to make Ontario nuclear weapons free. Ever since we have done that, this government has either not done anything to promote a nuclear weapons free Ontario or has actively assisted in our increased involvement. We are now, through Ontario Hydro, going to be exporting tritium, known to be used in the development of nuclear weapons. We are now going to be supporting, without saying anything to the contrary, Varity Corp.'s development of the engines for new missiles that will be launched in the coming years.
We have heard from the Premier (Mr. Peterson) that he thinks my solution of changes to the Planning Act is unworkable according to a legal opinion he has received. Yet we have had not one proposal from him, even though my two bills have been before this House now for several months, not one suggestion about how they could be amended to make them work.
We have the preposterous hypocrisy of the Attorney General (Mr. Scott) of the province of Ontario acting as chairman of a panel at the Canadian Conference on Nuclear Weapons and the Law last week, two days before the Premier told me he had legal advice that we could do nothing in Ontario to change the Planning Act. The people of the province have a right to know why this government is moving back from this Legislature's decision to make Ontario nuclear weapons free, and they need to know before we rise from this House.
VILLAGE OF ARKONA
Mr. D. W. Smith: Yesterday, June 21, I was pleased to welcome His Honour the Lieutenant Governor, Lincoln Alexander, to the village of Arkona.
Arkona is a small, thriving community in my riding of Lambton. His Honour began his visit by taking part in the 80th anniversary service of St. Stephen's Anglican Church in the village. Following the service, we went over to mark the official opening of the Arkona Lions nonprofit housing project, the Orchard View apartments.
These apartments were developed under a federal-provincial nonprofit housing program and sponsored by the Arkona Lions Club. This project was really a dream of its chairman, Peter Thuss, as well as the Lions and Lionesses. It started about seven years ago. I have to say they were turned down in March, 1985, but I was very pleased and proud to have the Minister of Housing (Mr. Curling) approve the project in April, 1986. This project went forward and now the seniors of Arkona and community have a very excellent place to live for many years to come.
POLIO PLUS PROGRAM
Mr. Barlow: There is a 66-year-old gentleman from the great riding of Cambridge sitting in the gallery this afternoon. He got here by a rather special mode of transportation known as walking. Louis Sponder walked 100 kilometres from Cambridge to Queen's Park in support of Rotary International's Polio Plus program, a campaign in conjunction with the World Health Organization to totally rid the world of polio plus five other childhood diseases.
If the members are not yet impressed with the ambition, initiative and enthusiasm of this senior citizen, they should consider this: after having a bit of a rest here, he is going to walk back to Cambridge, starting today. He was joined on his walk by the member for Essex North (Mr. Hayes) and myself -- partway along the route, I might say -- along with three students. Two are exchange students from Cambridge, one going out in the next month to Brazil, one to Italy; and also we have a student here from the Philippines who is finishing up her term. These people have joined Mr. Sponder.
I would like all members to recognize Mr. Sponder for the great effort he has put forward for this program.
Mr. Morin-Strom: On behalf of workers in my community and across the province, I would like to express serious concerns about Bill 170, the Pension Benefits Amendment Act, which is expected to reach final vote later this week. There has been much debate about the need to protect pension benefits through mandatory indexing, and surely the final amendments will be passed to provide such protection against inflation.
Today I would like to focus on the issue of pension portability. This is the number one concern for up to 4,000 laid-off steelworkers in Sault Ste. Marie. These workers generally have between six and 18 years of service at a company with an excellent pension plan. Many are awaiting guarantees of pension portability before they can consider jobs elsewhere in the province.
Unfortunately, the new Pension Benefits Act is woefully inadequate in this area. Because most of these workers are under age 45, their pensions are not vested. The new two-year vesting requirement covers only pension benefits acquired since January 1, 1987, so a steelworker with 15 years loses a pension benefit worth $270 per month.
As well, under the current wording, a worker has no guarantee that his new employer will accept pension credits for transfer. The employee may get only a relatively small dollar amount put into a locked-in registered retirement savings plan. I want to appeal to the Minister of Financial Institutions (Mr. Kwinter) and the Liberal government this week to accept the New Democratic Party amendment that would guarantee true pension portability.
WORKERS' COMPENSATION BOARD
Mr. O'Connor: In March of this year I surveyed over 2,400 employers and injured workers in my Oakville riding, soliciting their views on the Workers' Compensation Board. I would like to share with my colleagues, and in particular the Minister of Labour (Mr. Wrye), the findings from Oakville.
In surveying the employers, only two per cent replied that they felt the WCB had improved its service, 57 per cent felt it had got worse, 14 per cent said it stayed the same and 27 per cent did not know. When asked if they supported a royal commission with a mandate to create a new and relevant Workers' Compensation Act, 86 per cent of employers were in favour.
With the injured workers' survey, when asked if they felt that their claims had been handled fairly, only nine per cent said yes, 73 per cent said no and 18 per cent could not answer. When asked if they were satisfied with the service provided by the WCB staff, only 18 per cent were satisfied and 64 per cent were unsatisfied. Asked the same question as the employers regarding a royal commission for a new Workers' Compensation Act, 91 per cent of injured workers said yes, not a single one said no, and nine per cent had no response.
The most interesting consensus that emerged from this albeit unscientific study is that 86 per cent of employers and 91 per cent of injured workers support the suggestion of a new Workers' Compensation Act, relevant to the 1980s and beyond. I am sponsoring two forums in my riding on Wednesday, June 24, to address this issue. I anticipate forwarding to the Minister of Labour some very positive and constructive suggestions from my constituents in Oakville as they relate to the Workers' Compensation Board.
ONTARIO LOTTERY CORP.
Mr. Laughren: In view of the fact that the government decided not to call for third reading of the Ontario Lottery Corporation Act, on behalf of the government and the official opposition I would like to invite every other jurisdiction to flood the Ontario market with lottery tickets and eat into the $500-million profit that now funds a lot of programs much desired by Ontario citizens.
I would also like, on behalf of the government, to invite every entrepreneur from anywhere in the world to come into Ontario, buy Ontario lottery tickets, sell them at whatever price they want and sell them in whatever jurisdiction they want, regardless of the laws of that jurisdiction.
STATEMENT BY THE MINISTRY
FEDERAL TAX REFORM PROPOSALS
Hon. Mr. Nixon: My colleagues heard that I was making a statement today and it is a preliminary response to the House on the federal government's white paper on tax reform.
It is a complex document that will require a great deal of thorough analysis by all interested Canadians. At this stage, the overall impact of the white paper proposals on individuals and families cannot be determined because of the uncertainties surrounding the sales tax proposals in a later stage of the program.
It is important to recognize at this time that this is a white paper. There will be a period of consultation during which the federal government will have to consider suggestions for amendment and improvement. It is our understanding that no substantive legislation will be brought down until the late fall.
Mr. Wilson has provided us with an extensive set of proposals covering the three major federal revenue sources, with implications for individual taxpayers, businesses, regions, provincial governments and possibly municipalities and other public organizations. Careful scrutiny of these proposals with respect to their impact on this government's fiscal, economic and social objectives is obviously required.
We intend to participate fully in a consultation process with the federal government and the other provinces, which begins with a meeting of officials on July 10 and will include, I expect, a meeting of ministers in the fall.
As we begin this process, I emphasize that we will want to listen to the views expressed by interested citizens, groups and businesses in our province. Also, I intend to refer the white paper to the standing committee on finance and economic affairs with the expectation that it will hold public hearings beginning in September and report to the Legislature. To facilitate the process of the committee, Treasury staff will provide a series of technical reports on various aspects of the white paper after they have consulted with federal officials.
There are some aspects of the white paper that I would like to comment on now. Members will already be familiar with the main elements of its proposals.
With respect to personal income tax, the main thrust of the proposals is to reduce the number of brackets from 10 to three, convert a number of exemptions and deductions into nonrefundable tax credits and generally effect a reduction in the total amount of income taxes paid to the federal government. We estimate, based on the information we now have, that the personal income tax proposals would reduce the Ontario portion of this tax by $411 million in 1988 and an amount slightly larger than that in the years up to 1992. There will be an automatic increase in established programs financing payments to Ontario of about $100 million per year, bringing the net impact to a loss of about $300 million per year in these revenues.
On the corporate side, the proposals aim to broaden the base of the tax by reducing or eliminating certain write-offs and deductions and to lower the overall tax rate. Generally, federal corporate tax revenues would increase. If the base-broadening proposals were fully implemented in the Ontario corporation income tax, our revenues would rise by about $165 million in 1988 and by an amount substantially more than that in each of the following four years. By 1992, Ontario's revenues would be $612 million greater from corporations under these assumptions.
It must be borne in mind, however, that Ontario's comparative position with US federal and state corporation tax rates is of prime importance in order to maintain and strengthen our ability to compete. A careful review of provincial rates in the light of the federal proposal must be undertaken.
As I indicated in my budget statement last month, this government welcomes tax reform initiatives that will deal with the unfairness of the current tax structure, ensure that our economy continues to create jobs and be competitive, make the system simpler and improve national tax harmony. I am encouraged to see the emphasis placed on reducing the tax burden of lower income people, since the federal government has been adding to that burden in its previous budgets. Also, the shift to a tax credit rather than an exemption system takes a step towards a guaranteed income system, an area that will receive particular attention in our analysis of the white paper.
In examining the overall impact of the tax proposals, one of my major concerns will be to assess their effects on middle-income families. In my budget statement I encouraged Mr. Wilson to take back his $500,000 capital gains exemption. His proposal to leave it in force for small businesses and farmers, while reducing the general exemption to $100,000, is in line with our recommendations.
One implication of the personal income tax package that will have to be looked at is the reduced incentive for making charitable donations. Hospital boards and many other charitable organizations will want to assess the impact of this measure on their future fund-raising abilities. Careful assessment of the impact of the white paper on the education system is also needed. The proposed treatment of charitable donations and the changes to tax relief in respect of educational expenses will affect students, their parents and our educational institutions.
I intend to examine fully the impact of the tax measures on job creation and investment and, in particular, what their effect would be in the context of a Canada-US trade agreement. Important sectors of the Canadian economy could have their taxpaying circumstances altered significantly under the corporation income tax proposals.
The white paper itself documents that mining, manufacturing and financial institutions, insurance and real estate -- industries that are heavily concentrated in Ontario -- will all pay more. Our analysis of the proposals and the reaction of these industries, which provide about 30 per cent of the jobs in our province and have generated about 45 per cent of its real growth over the last several years, will be an important part of our review.
The implications for housing construction and the economy of northern Ontario will also have to be studied very carefully. Another area of concern will be the impact of the proposals on Canadian film development and other cultural industries.
For the second phase of the tax change process, the white paper proposes three options to replace the federal sales tax, including a federal goods and services tax, a federal value added tax and a national sales tax.
The proposals for a multistage federal sales tax are one of the most difficult, complex and controversial parts of the package. The federal government has invited the provinces to consider participating in a new national sales tax.
In Ontario we have a mature, well-understood sales tax system, which is productive and up front. As I indicated on Thursday night, I am not anxious to eliminate the provincial sales tax. It is up to the federal government to persuade provincial treasurers of the advantages of a new national sales tax.
Through the public hearings of the standing committee on finance and economic affairs, I expect we will hear the view of Ontario's citizens, businesses, municipal governments and other affected groups and agencies which will help us evaluate the final implications of the federal proposals, some of which may impose considerable new costs on their operations.
My final point in this statement concerns the overall impact of the proposals on the provincial fiscal situation. I have already referred to the white paper estimates of the impact of its personal and corporate income tax proposals on provincial revenues on a calendar year basis. This estimate does not take into account any potential impact of a new sales tax on provincial expenditures. It also assumes that the province parallels all base changes and makes no adjustment in its own tax rates.
Under these assumptions, our revenues would fall by $136 million in the first year. However, the white paper also includes a provision for a one-time personal income tax payment acceleration in 1988. Taking this impact into account, our revenues would rise by $77 million in 1988. After a slight decline in 1989, Ontario revenues rise somewhat through 1992. These figures are presented in an appendix to this statement.
In conclusion, I would like to say that I look forward to extensive consultation on all aspects of tax reform. At the appropriate time, I expect to report more formally to members on the status of our deliberations with respect to the federal white paper.
FEDERAL TAX REFORM PROPOSALS
Mr. Grossman: Responding to the response of the Treasurer (Mr. Nixon) on the federal white paper, I would like to begin by pointing out just how hypocritical some of the comments contained in his statement are.
The Treasurer begins by suggesting that this matter will be referred to the standing committee on finance and economic affairs. That is the same committee which recommended that the Treasurer do something dramatic about the deficit this year, and that his budget accommodate increases of a dramatic nature as well in the education areas; two of the most critical recommendations, and he ignored both of these.
Second, the Treasurer had -- what shall we call it? -- the temerity to suggest over the weekend that this may offer him another excuse for having to increase provincial taxes once again; this from a Treasurer who in two budgets increased 19 taxes in Ontario: personal income tax, corporate income tax, gasoline tax, land transfer tax, even fishing licences, automobile licences, liquor licence fees, and on and on to a total of 19 tax increases.
For this Treasurer now to try to find an excuse for another tax increase, as opposed to an excuse for a tax decrease, is appalling and will undo all or any good the federal government reform measures intend to do. We can hardly talk about tax reform in this province when this Treasurer has 60 per cent more money coming in in personal income tax, has increased 19 taxes and, in total, has about 50 per cent more revenue to spend and does not care a twit about reducing the tax burden on people in Ontario.
I thought too that it was an opportunity for the Treasurer to lay out in some proper perspective on pages 3 and 4, not his concern about losing personal income tax points but rather to highlight the appendix which he chose, just in essence, to leave in the appendix. The appendix shows that the revenue implications begin at plus $77 million for Ontario in 1988 and, with the exception of 1989, then skyrocket to plus $227 million by 1992.
With this extra revenue coming in, a responsible Treasurer in this environment should have been talking about piggybacking on the federal proposals by perhaps revoking his gasoline tax increase, by perhaps giving back some of the personal income tax increase he put in, by perhaps revoking or narrowing down some of the corporate income taxes he increased, particularly since he refers so eloquently to the concerns he has about our competitive environment in the tax area.
I might say that on page 4 he has the nerve to say, "I am encouraged to see the emphasis placed on reducing the tax burden of lower-income people, since the federal government has been adding to that burden in its previous budgets." The Treasurer holds the Canadian national record for increasing the tax burden on lower-income people. He should be thanking the federal government for trying to alleviate the burden he put on lower-income people in this province.
I might also say that on page 5 the Treasurer wrings his hands over two items: first, funding for education and the impact the tax changes might have, this from the Treasurer who has reduced funding for elementary and secondary school education by $61 million this year and has reduced dramatically the proportion of the provincial budget spent on education, in this case by about one per cent of the total overall spending.
The Treasurer then goes on to express his great concern about the impact of all this in the context of a Canada-US trade agreement. If the Treasurer has this concern, may I invite him to invite his leader to get off the fence and get involved in the Canada-US trade negotiations so the Treasurer will not have to stand on the sidelines wringing his hands worrying about those negotiations, whereby he may find a launching pad for more tax increases.
All in all, in this amount of time after the federal white paper has come forward, it might have been appropriate for the Treasurer and his staff to have been straightforward in terms of the revenue impact and say he would hope these tax reforms will give him an opportunity to make Ontario more competitive and to take back some of the 19 tax increases he personally has brought in during the last two years.
Mr. Harris: I just want to comment on page 1, the section that says: "It is important to recognize at this time that this is a white paper. There will be a period of consultation.... It is our understanding that no substantive legislation will be brought down until the late fall." We concur. I wonder if the Treasurer may want to relay that position to his federal colleague.
Mr. Laughren: A couple of months ago, before the Treasurer's budget and before, of course, the federal white paper on tax reform, this party had asked the Treasurer to introduce an element of fairness to this tax system in Ontario, at which point he replied, "Well, we do not want to do anything dramatic while the federal white paper is pending."
The Treasurer has no more excuses. The white paper has been presented, and in the Treasurer's statement, he states on page 4, "As I indicated in my budget statement last month, this government welcomes tax reform initiatives that will deal with the unfairness of the current tax structure."
The Treasurer keeps saying those kind of words but does nothing at all to implement them. The Treasurer had an opportunity in his own budget to introduce some fairness to the Ontario tax structure and did virtually nothing at all. It is still an outrage in Ontario that a family of four living at the poverty level pays provincial income taxes in the neighbourhood of $400. Totally, they pay more than $1,000 in income taxes to the federal and provincial levels. The Ontario Treasurer has not introduced a minimum corporate tax, which he could have done. We still have no succession duties, and we still have a capital gains exemption.
Finally, I think it should be clearly understood by people in Ontario just what the federal government intends to do with its national sales tax. Unquestionably, that will mean a sales tax on virtually everything consumers buy, and I suspect that will include food as well. It makes me very nervous to see the Treasurer flirting with the federal government in terms of co-operating on a national sales tax program that will undoubtedly include higher sales taxes, which everyone knows are a form of regressive tax. I would urge the Treasurer to dig in and not give in to the implementation of a national sales tax, which I believe will include a tax on food as well.
Mr. Rae: In following up the comments of my colleague the member for Nickel Belt (Mr. Laughren), I just want to indicate that what we see here is the emergence of a Nixon-Wilson axis, a collaboration between the Liberal Party of Ontario and the Conservative Party of Canada to take money out of the pockets of working people and to raise taxes across the country. Ontario will be into it up to its eyeballs.
Nowhere in this statement do we see from the Treasurer of Ontario the kind of attack on the program announced on Thursday by the federal Minister of Finance that the people of this province would expect to see from a Treasurer who was really fighting for them, their interests and their families. What was announced by Mr. Wilson on Thursday was a fraud on the Canadian public. He was simply announcing that he was going to be giving with one hand and then taking with the other in an enormous tax grab, post-election.
Do we see the Treasurer of Ontario standing up and fighting against that? No. What we see him saying is: "It might not be so bad. It is going to give me an extra $500 million until 1992. Why should I rock the boat? Why should I complain when this money is coming forward and falling into my hands like so much manna from heaven?"
In the last two years, we have seen a transformation of the Treasurer, the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk, formerly somebody who spoke up against the sales tax, formerly some-body who when he was in opposition made fun of the reliance of the Tory party on the sales tax. Now he praises the sales tax in Ontario and says, "At least it is up front." So was Jesse James; he was up front too, and the Treasurer is no better than Jesse James.
Mr. Grossman: My question is for the Premier. In the Meech Lake accord, the right is given to provinces to opt out of national shared-cost programs, with compensation. I am sure that before he signed that agreement, he would have been aware of the number of federal-provincial agreements -- at least the major ones -- that come up for renewal in the next period of time and thus would be caught by this clause. I wonder if he might share with the House, say, the two or three major federal-provincial programs that will be up for renewal, say, in the next two years.
Hon. Mr. Peterson: I guess implicit in what my honourable friend is suggesting is that there will be some major fragmentation of the programs. Let me give my honourable friend an indication of what is transpiring at the present time. For the last several months, there have been intensive discussions with the federal government with respect to a national child care program. This kind of program would come into effect under that provision.
What it says is that the federal government can set the national objectives, but in areas of exclusive provincial jurisdiction. So it is not as if there are any new powers conferred one way or the other. As the member knows, with the national assistance act and others there are various different types of programs across the country at the present time. That kind of thing will be ongoing. There will be consultation with respect to the national objectives and the federal government will have the final authority.
Mr. Grossman: Before the Premier has to go to Hansard and correct it again, I presume he meant the Canada assistance plan, not the national assistance plan. I will save him the problem of contacting Hansard.
Might I repeat the question he still has not answered? I am sure he is aware of the number of federal-provincial programs, shared-cost programs, that will expire in the next two years and thus be quite impacted by the accord he signed. Could he -- l repeat the question once again -- share with us which major cost-sharing programs will expire in the next 24 months?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: I cannot give the precise number. There is vocational rehabilitation and a variety of others. There is nothing new or dramatic about this. It is on an ongoing basis. They are regularly being renegotiated and discussed.
Mr. Grossman: That is of course --
Hon. Mr. Nixon: Give us a list, Larry.
Mr. Grossman: I might say to the Treasurer that I would have thought his Premier might have had a list before he was so eager to sign the accord, that he might have known how many people he was putting at risk in this province to having totally new programs; but of course, just as he did not understand the immigration clause, he did not even know which federal-provincial programs were up for grabs.
Could the Premier outline for us one major federal-provincial program that will expire in the next two years and thus be subject to the possibility of the federal-provincial differing arrangements coming into force. Tell us just one of the major cost-sharing programs the Premier put subject to this particular new clause.
Hon. Mr. Peterson: The answer to the honourable member's question is it will not come into effect until it is passed by all the Legislatures; and it takes three years to do that, so the answer to the question is none. The Leader of the Opposition does not know the question. That is the problem.
Mr. Grossman: The Premier does not know what he signed. He does not know what is in the accord. He does not know the impact of the accord. He does not know the questions and he does not know the answers. The Premier has embarrassed this province in signing that accord.
URBAN TRANSPORTATION DEVELOPMENT CORP.
Mr. Grossman: My question is to the Minister of Transportation and Communications. Can the minister today simply confirm that the maximum liability he and his government have placed the taxpayers in, in terms of the Urban Transportation Development Corp. sale to Lavalin, is $190 million payable by the province to Lavalin on October 15, 1987?
Hon. Mr. Fulton: No, I cannot confirm that to the Leader of the Opposition.
Mr. Grossman: I am not surprised the minister does not know. We are used to that. Would the minister not agree --
Mr. Barlow: He doesn't know.
Mr. Grossman: It is probably the first time he has seen it. How is he going to answer it?
Would the minister not agree that the cancellation of the Via order will impact the deal by $190 million and that by the terms of the Via Rail side letter, which we finally got from the minister, the minister must compensate Lavalin on October 15, 1987 or go to arbitration for that amount? Would the minister not confirm that is precisely the arrangement? What alternative arrangements has he made to compensate Lavalin to date?
Hon. Mr. Fulton: That is the same side letter the leader had some time ago. It has not changed anything since he asked the questions previously. I remind the leader that it was his friends in Ottawa who cancelled the Via order which was anticipated by the consortium that was established between UTDC and Bombardier, but I cannot confirm the figure he is using. He is using a figure that does not relate in any way to the side letter or the arrangement that was made between this government and with Lavalin.
Mr. Grossman: Let us be clear. The minister may not have anticipated the cancellation of the order, but certainly Lavalin anticipated the cancellation of the order. That is why they refused to close the deal without having the minister's signature and that of his government and Kirk Foley on behalf of UTDC to this undertaking prior to closing the deal. They were prudent enough to anticipate the possibility of that order not going through. I presume the minister was so careless that he and and his government would agree to sign anything, which has now resulted in a possible liability to the Ontario taxpayers of $190 million.
Just to clarify what liability the minister put the taxpayers under in this province, I shall ask a question which will give the minister the opportunity to clarify it. Would the minister agree that this document makes the government liable to Lavalin for a certain amount due to the cancellation of that order? Second, can he give us his estimate at this time -- and I am sure he has one -- hat that liability might be?
Hon. Mr. Fulton: I am not sure which question the Leader of the Opposition wanted answered first. Like so many of the figures he has used related to this transaction, I do not know where the leader gets the figure of $190 million. Any liability this government would incur relates only to the unused capacity in a couple of years time, and this government has managed to keep UTDC and Lavalin busy, both with the orders in Kingston and Thunder Bay now and for the next couple of years, and we have all kinds of prospects across North America. I do not think that clause is ever going to be utilized to the disbenefit --
Mr. Grossman: Of course it will, on October 15.
Hon. Mr. Fulton: No. That is only when it triggers in to even start to negotiate. Perhaps the member should read it further.
Mr. Rae: I have a question of the Premier about the auto pact and the free trade discussions between Canada and the United States.
Many people who have watched the Premier over the last two years feel there is a kind of double game being played. On the one hand, the Premier is indicating to the federal government all kinds of general concerns with respect to the negotiations. In particular, apparently, he has most recently raised the question of the inclusion of the auto pact in those discussions, yet the Premier knows full well that the auto pact in effect has been on the table since those negotiations began. He is fully aware of that. He knows it. He knows that is the cost of doing this kind of business in terms of these discussions.
Now we have the staff briefing memorandum of the US Congress, of which I have a copy, with respect to a conversation with Bill Merkin, the deputy chief US negotiator, in which he states categorically: "Auto tariffs will also be dropped. The administration is also trying to address the issue of offshore production and plant closings."
I wonder if the Premier can tell us when he is finally going to get off the fence and simply indicate to the federal government that not only is it his desire that something special be done with respect to the auto pact but simply state categorically that any agreement which includes the auto pact is not acceptable to the people of Ontario.
Hon. Mr. Peterson: May I say to the honourable member, I am delighted to have his support, because that was done probably a year and a half ago, I think, and many times along the way. I think my position is very clear. If my honourable friend cannot see it clearly, that speaks to his deficiencies. I am glad he brought the question up, because it has been raised on many occasions.
As the member knows, he has had assurances from the Prime Minister on this particular matter. I hope we can take those at face value. But it is a position on which this government is clear and unequivocal. I am very happy to say that it has had the support of this House as well. I am surprised the leader of Her Majesty's loyal opposition did not bring that question up today, because it is important, and it is important that the message goes clearly forward from this House with respect to the integrity of the auto pact and its importance for all of Canada.
Mr. Rae: Before the Premier rewrites history entirely, let me remind him it was over a year and a half ago that I told him in this place that he was the last person in Canada to believe Prime Minister Mulroney when it came to any assurances of what was or what was not on the table.
What I want to ask the Premier is, what is it going to take to get him to stop the talks in their tracks and simply to start standing up for the working people of this province when it comes to an agreement that he has been involved in, that he is implicated in, that he has condoned, that his officials have participated in, on which they have been in briefings up to their eyeballs; they have participated and been in on them?
I say to the Premier, what is it going to take for him to change that tactic of simply going along in order to get along, and do something concrete and specific in order to stop the talks in their tracks when it comes to the auto pact and other problems which are going to take jobs away from the people of Ontario and not provide employment to Ontarians?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: In spite of my honourable friend's rhetorical flourish today I can say, and any close observer of the talks would say, that Ontario has occupied that position for a long period of time. I do not have to come to the leader of the third party and apologize for the forcefulness of our position. Indeed, he may want to observe a little more closely what is going on there. Our position is clear. It is on the record. It has been on the record many times. My honourable friend may not see it, but I can assure him that everyone else sees it.
Mr. Rae: I want to indicate to the Premier that when history is written what it will show is this: the Premier of Ontario had an opportunity two years ago to stop the talk in its tracks. He chose not to do so. He chose to get along, to saunter along, to raise academic, theoretical questions but never to be there when the tough questions had to be dealt with. When there was a question as to whether the talks would proceed or not, Ontario said, "Proceed."
I would like to ask the Premier, what is it going to take for him to understand that Canada's interests and Ontario's interests are being sold out? He has been there, supposedly helping; he has not been helping, and he has not been dealing with that issue. What is it going to finally take for him to deal with that issue? What is it going to take?
Non. Mr. Peterson: I do not want my honourable friend to have a stroke on this particular issue. What is it going to take for him to take a breath of air in between those accusations?
I say to my honourable friend, he is absolutely wrong. He is a victim of his ideological straitjacket, intellectually so; he has been that way for a long period of time. I can tell him that any observer of this scene knows that Ontario has been constructive, it has been forceful, it has been direct and it has put forward its positions in very clear and unequivocal terms.
My honourable friend will know the federal government has the right to talk with the United States whether we like it or not, but we have the right to protect Ontario in the areas of our jurisdiction, to protect all of Canada, and I can tell my honourable friend we are prepared to exercise those prerogatives and those powers any time it is necessary.
Mr. Speaker: New question.
Mr. Rae: By the time the Premier makes up his mind, the agreement will have been signed, sealed and delivered five years before. That is the truth of the matter.
Mr. Speaker: The new question is to which minister?
Mr. Rae: My question is to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. The general insurance companies in Canada writing auto insurance and other forms of casualty and property insurance have just issued their profit figures for the first quarter of 1987. They show that in the first quarter of 1987, the period ending March 31, the insurance companies had their best first quarter ever on record, record-breaking profits, nearly $378 million, a yearly net income figure ending March 31 of $1.17 billion.
Can the minister explain why, when faced with those figures, he chose to take as his period of the cap the period after the biggest profit increases in the history of the insurance industry of Canada? Does he not realize that his proposals are going to build in the most inflationary increases that have ever been seen in the history of Canada?
Hon. Mr. Kwinter: The leader of the third party, as he usually does, indicates he does not understand what that legislation is. The whole essence behind Bill 56 is to be an interim stage so that when the rate review board comes in, and until it does, the industry cannot raise rates in anticipation. It has nothing to do with what has gone on in the past. It was meant to be an interim step to keep the companies from trying to anticipate a rate increase in anticipation of the rate review board.
Mr. Rae: The minister may be right. I may not understand much but I think I understand the minister and I understand exactly whose interests he is protecting when it comes to car insurance in the province. That much I understand.
I just go back to my question. Can the minister tell us why he chose to entrench the most inflationary increases of all time as the basic standard by which he would allegedly be "protecting" the drivers of Ontario in this so-called interim legislation, which is the only legislation, I might point out, we have been privileged to see introduced by this government?
Can the minister explain why he chose those extraordinarily exorbitant profit figures as his base? Is he perhaps relying on the rather porcine presence of the insurance industry, as it is presented in its ads recently?
Hon. Mr. Kwinter: Again, I repeat that the reason we chose April 23 is that April 23 is the date I made the announcement. We were saying we were going to be implementing a rate review board that would take effect and it would take a look at all the rate categories in Ontario. It would make determinations based on its investigation, but in anticipation of that I wanted to prevent the insurance companies from raising their rates before the rate review board came in. That is the only purpose of Bill 56.
Mr. Swart: I am really amazed that the minister has expressed no concern over an 80 per cent increase in profits over and above the previous highest profits in history. It is almost unbelievable.
Given that the minister is a willing participant in letting, even assisting, the insurance companies to sucker the motorists of this province, will he now do something real for the motorists? Given these horrendous profits, will he replace his useless rate-schedule-capping bill with a real freeze, retroactive to January 1, so that no driver, unless his or her record has worsened, will pay a cent more for insurance in 1987 than he or she did in 1986; and will he require the insurance companies to refund everything that has been paid this year above the 1986 rate?
Hon. Mr. Kwinter: For some time now, the member for Welland-Thorold has been getting on his soapbox and reiterating the terrible horrors that are going on in Ontario.
If I could have the indulgence of the members of the third party, I would like to quote from a letter sent by Barbara Powell of Coquitlam, British Columbia, that appeared in the London Free Press. It says: "Upon obtaining a residence here in BC, we contacted the provincially run Insurance Corp. of British Columbia for coverage equalling that of our Ontario policy. The full price given was $927. With our current two-year safe driving record, that amount is discounted 20 per cent to $742, still over $200 more than our annual payments in Ontario. Not only this, but IBC requires that the amount be paid in full by cash or cheque within 30 days of obtaining a BC residence.
"In comparing the systems, it seems apparent that provincial control means a decrease in personal service and the loss of the competitive market and the consumer freedom to shop and compare -- a substantial loss of flexibility in the system."
Mr. Speaker: Order. New question.
Mr. Grossman: I hate to interrupt the policy research of the minister.
URBAN TRANSPORTATION DEVELOPMENT CORP.
Mr. Grossman: I want to come back to the Minister of Transportation and Communications, who a moment ago denied the liability and the extent of the liability to Lavalin.
On May 19 of this year, just over a month ago, we raised this issue in the minister's absence with the Treasurer (Mr. Nixon), who was well seized of the knowledge. In the lengthy answer he offered us, he said, "We have a potential liability of $190 million."
Was the Treasurer wrong, totally wrong or somewhat wrong when he gave that information to the House? If he was wrong, how wrong was he?
Hon. Mr. Fulton: I can say without equivocation that the Treasurer of this province is never wrong However, the figure of $190 million refers to 50 per cent of the Via Rail order, the 50 per cent that Lavalin may have gotten. That is where the $190 million comes from.
Mr. Grossman: We are talking about almost a $200-million liability to the Ontario taxpayers; enough of the minister's flippancy and cuteness here. The Treasurer has not said the total liability to be shared among others, but he has said the potential liability, which the Treasurer has to pay for out of provincial revenues -- and I presume he would have known the amount -- is quite clearly $190 million.
Every reading of the documentation would also indicate that the total amount of the Via Rail deal has to be compensated by the provincial government.
I will read from the undertaking. "The parties acknowledge and agree that the work expected to be available to the new company from the Via project was fundamental to the decision to enter into this agreement." It goes on to say, "If it is not available to the new company by September 15, 1987, an appropriate compensation shall be negotiated. In the event you are unable to reach agreement on the compensation by October 15, 1987, arbitration begins."
Mr. Speaker: The question?
Mr. Grossman: In view of that clear documentation, would the minister please be kind enough to admit that the information he offered a moment ago was perhaps inaccurate and that by September 15 -- and the latest, October 15 of this year -- he has to come up with compensation for the $190-million liability which the Treasurer has confirmed he has?
Hon. Mr. Fulton: I have to repeat that the $190 million is the total value of Lavalin's share of the order, not the exposure to Ontario. We do not have to come up with $1.90 in September or October of this year. The side letter that the Leader of the Opposition refers to -- and I have a copy of it as well -- only triggers arbitration that would not take effect for two or three years, depending on levels of production within Lavalin.
Mr. Foulds: I have a question for the Minister of Northern Development and Mines. The minister will be aware of the desperate shortage of speech pathologists in northern Ontario. For example, the Elliot Lake hospital, St. Joseph's General Hospital, has been trying without success to get a speech pathologist for five years. He will know that children in Thunder Bay have to wait nine months to a year for assessment. He will know that stroke victims throughout the north do not recover their speech because of a lack of speech pathologists.
Does the minister recall making a commitment to me on February 10, in the estimates of his ministry, and in this House on February 11, that something would be done within a week or two? If he does, can the minister tell me why, as of Friday of last week, nothing had been done?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: May I turn this over to the Minister of Community and Social Services, who is right on top of the situation?
Hon. Mr. Sweeney: As the honourable member well knows, we -- the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Community and Social Services -- have a bursary program to train northern students in the very areas he has described. Part of the difficulty, as he also knows, is the shortage of spaces in Ontario universities in which those students can be trained.
I have consulted with the Minister of Colleges and Universities (Mr. Sorbara). He, in turn, has consulted with universities across the province which offer these programs, suggesting it might be in their best interest to expand them. If that is not forthcoming, we are prepared to have those students trained outside Ontario. The only condition we would attach is that their credentials would be recognized once they come back to Ontario.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Foulds: I would like to ask a supplementary question, and ask the minister to redirect it to the Premier.
As it is a matter in which the Premier must knot together the bureaucratic obfuscation that has taken place among the Ministry of Skills Development, the Ministry of Community and Social Services and the Ministry of Health, so that this problem has not and will not be solved, will the minister ask the Premier to stand in his place and answer the question so that students will get more bursaries, those bursaries will be available if they go to schools outside Ontario and the Premier will double the number of spaces available in Ontario before September of this year?
Hon. Mr. Sweeney: As I am sure the honourable member is also aware, the money for the bursaries for both the Ministry of Health and for my ministry comes from the Premier's Ministry of Northern Development and Mines. Therefore, he is very much involved in the process. He has made it very clear to the three ministers that he does want a resolution to this.
The difficulty my colleague the Minister of Colleges and Universities has is that he is not able to dictate to the universities that they must expand certain programs or that they must create programs. He is prepared to attempt to get that expansion. If it does not happen, then we will deal with the problem in the way in which I described to the member.
Mr. O'Connor: I have a question for the Attorney General.
The minister will be aware of the barring of 11-year-old Sandra Bernier from serving as an altar girl at Sacre-Coeur church in Toronto solely and only because of her gender. In the light of the minister's publicly espoused commitment to equality rights, particularly his support of the Justine Blainey case and his quest for fairness, could the minister advise the House what steps he intends to take to rectify this discrimination against this young girl?
Hon. Mr. Scott: I had not, frankly, turned my mind to the question of whether the provisions of the Human Rights Code applied to this particular case, but the honourable member can be sure I will do so. I thank him for his question.
Mr. O'Connor: To add to the weight of the argument, the minister will understand the parallel that does exist between the two cases. We are dealing here with two significant provincial institutions, one being the Ontario Hockey Association and one being the Roman Catholic Church, both of which are subject to the general laws of the province and one of which has been brought to its knees, so to speak, in allowing a young girl to play hockey on boys' teams.
Can the minister see the parallel and would he take that into account when determining whether it is subject to the Human Rights Code?
Hon. Mr. Scott: Only my honourable friend, like myself a Roman Catholic, could make the comparison of Mother Church and its outpost in Toronto to a hockey league, but I understand the point he has made and I undertake to look into the question of whether the provisions of the Human Rights Code apply to this particular case.
Ms. Bryden: I have a question for the Solicitor General. Almost every day the press reports another high-speed police chase in Ontario. We have the worst record in Canada for fatalities and injuries from this dangerous practice. When is the minister going to end this carnage by issuing a clear-cut statement to all police commissions and police forces in Ontario that high-speed police chases are not an acceptable method of law enforcement in this province?
Hon. Mr. Keyes: I can say to the honourable member that at no time during my tenure of office will I be declaring a policy that totally alleviates and rids us of all high-speed chases. It is not my intention. In the very intensive review we have done, we intend to see how it can be restricted, so that there is an opportunity to weigh carefully all the voices that are heard on this issue. There is a very large constituency on both sides of the question. We are currently in the process of going through our cabinet committee on justice and then on to cabinet very shortly.
Ms. Bryden: The minister has been giving this answer and similar promises of impending action for almost two years, but nothing ever happens. In the meantime, innocent people are being killed or injured or suffer serious property damage. Public outcry is growing. When will the minister stop stalling and demand that police commissions and forces immediately start instituting alternatives to police chases and bring out guidelines which will assist them in the kind of alternatives he would recommend?
Hon. Mr. Keyes: We have a set of guidelines at the moment that have been widely circulated. We are going to take new guidelines on which the work has just about been completed and will probably be passed as regulations which make them mandatory across the province.
At the moment, there are a set of guidelines in accordance with the number of police commissions, as each has chosen to develop its own, which are quite consistent with those of the government but not totally in line. Our new policy, which I know will be before the respective committees very, very shortly, will give additional guidance and alternative measures to police officers before they initiate a pursuit, and also when they consider the abandonment of same.
PIT BULL TERRIERS
Mr. Brandt: I too have a question for the Solicitor General on a different topic, if I can get the Solicitor General's attention. As he is well aware, there have been a number of reported incidents throughout Canada and the United States with respect to the problem that was raised, I believe, by one of his colleagues as well, relating to the control of pit bull terriers. Recently in Alberta there was another incident written up in the media with respect to another attack by this particular breed of animal.
As the minister is aware, these animals are not bred as pets; they are bred as fighting animals. I would like to ask the Solicitor General if he intends to bring forward any kind of additional regulatory control or legislation, which I think is badly needed in this province to control this type of vicious animal.
Hon. Mr. Keyes: Prior to bringing forth any legislation, it is always appropriate to find out the extent of the problem as it exists or the amount of concern that exists in the province. I note in today's media a number of incidents that have occurred with regard to the pit bull terriers and it is my intention to ask our officials to try to determine how widespread the use and abuse of such animals really is in this province. That will give us some guidance as to whether we should bring forward some regulations to limit the keeping, the breeding, etc., of these animals.
Mr. Brandt: I have a supplementary, because I do not think the minister indicates the kind of urgency I would like to see from his government with respect to this problem.
I urge the minister to move on this as expeditiously as possible, before another attack occurs. These animals are simply not controllable by their owners. There has been incident after incident which indicated that once the animal charges and attacks, the owners cannot break the animal loose from whomever the victim might happen to be. Before someone else is attacked, I urge the minister to do something to control this particular blight in our province. It is a horrendous problem that is going to cause harm to some individual in the not-too-distant future if he does not take action.
Hon. Mr. Keyes: I am not sure whether there was a question. I did not hear one, but I might suggest that there is a particular act at the moment and it perhaps requires additional enforcement. The Dog Owners' Liability Act is one that would allow the police to take action against such dogs if they are shown to be unmanageable.
Mr. McClellan: I have a question of the Minister of Labour with respect to a practice that was brought to my attention by the United Brewers Warehousing Workers' Provincial Board. The minister will know that Brewers' Warehousing is a private consortium of Labatt's, Carling and Molson breweries, and it has engaged the services, if we may refer to them as services, of a certain Robert Cronish, QC, who has been put on retainer to initiate appeals and to challenge the entitlement of the pension of every single employee of Brewers' Warehousing who is in receipt of a Workers' Compensation Board pension or benefit. Each and every employee of Brewers' Warehousing who receives WCB benefits is having those benefits challenged.
Mr. Speaker: The question is?
Mr. McClellan: Would the minister undertake an investigation of this situation and report back to the House on the propriety of the three largest breweries in this province abusing their employees in this way, abusing the Workers' Compensation Act and violating the rights of employees to workers' compensation?
Hon. Mr. Wrye: I do not think it is necessarily a matter of Brewers' Warehousing, Brewers' Retail or the three largest brewing companies. That is a matter that the honourable raises, which, if true, would be of concern to me no matter who the employer would be.
I share the honourable member's concern over the obvious spinoff effects of this. While we would not want in any way to impede the right of employers to challenge a claim for entitlement where they feel there is a good and sound case, or indeed to challenge the level of a pension -- that right, and I am sure the honourable member agrees with me, has always been given and is given fairly, just as the right is given on the other side -- I would be greatly concerned if that right is to be used in any and all cases in which an employer is involved, and I indicate to the honourable member and to the House that I will raise this matter with Dr. Elgie, make inquiries and get back to the House as soon as I have further answers.
Mr. McClellan: I understand the difficulty of the situation, but I think it would be helpful if the Minister of Labour investigated and made a statement, at least about the propriety of Molson, Carling and Labatt's treating their employees or anybody in this way.
By way of supplementary, it is my information as well that the three brewers, through their consortium, are using the medical reports, which their friend Cronish obtains through these blanket challenges, to question the right of injured employees to work at Brewers' Warehousing and to use these medical reports as the basis for harassment and even dismissal of injured workers, as I say based on the medical reports that Mr. Cronish is able to obtain from the Workers' Compensation Board in the course of these spurious appeals.
May I ask the minister, therefore, to investigate that matter as well and to comment on when he will bring in an amendment to the Workers' Compensation Board that will provide mandatory reinstatement of injured workers with the accident employer as a matter of legal right?
Hon. Mr. Wrye: I certainly will take up the additional issue that the honourable member has raised because there is an important principle at stake. I agree with the difficulty of the issue, but nevertheless I think it is one that needs to be addressed.
In terms of mandatory reinstatement, we are currently awaiting final comments from a number of parties on all sides of the issue of permanent partial disabilities. We have asked for these comments by the end of this month, and once we have received them we will begin to put together our package of amendments, which I hope to present to the House in the fall.
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY
Mr. Gillies: I have a question for the Minister of Labour. The minister will be aware that on May 25, a 160-ton crane overturned at the construction site of the domed stadium. His ministry's report on this incident has now been made available to us. This could have been a much more serious accident with potential loss of life, and his ministry's report indicates that the operation of moving the crane could have been carried out in a safe manner had the manufacturer's instructions been carried out, which they were not. Given this negligence on the part of Ellis-Don Construction, will his ministry be laying charges in this matter?
Hon. Mr. Wrye: I am glad my honourable friend has already reached a conclusion. The honourable member knows that these matters, where appropriate, are referred to the legal branch for consideration. Should it be deemed advisable that charges be laid, the appropriate charges against the employer will be laid.
Mr. Harris: Early fall?
Mr. Gillies: Now that the minister has the report from his own officials, we would have expected a somewhat more definitive answer. In view of the fact that this is one of the largest construction projects going on in the city of Toronto right now, probably in the province -- the number of workers and the amount of activity is considerable -- will the minister give this House an undertaking to make special efforts to have inspection services on site so that the many workers working at a feverish pace on the domed stadium are guaranteed the kind of protection they deserve?
Hon. Mr. Wrye: I can tell the honourable member that the frequency of inspections obviously g_s up with the complexity and size of these construction projects and it is no different in terms of the SkyDome project. As the honourable member points out, the inspection report into this crane incident, which we are very thankful did not lead to injuries or death, is now complete. Matters will go on to the legal branch. I know the honourable member knows the procedures that are followed. I am very surprised and really quite amazed that his colleague the member for Nipissing (Mr. Harris) does not understand that these matters go forward in the regular way and are handled by the legal services branch of the ministry, so that politics is kept out of these very serious matters.
Mr. Grande: My question is for the Minister of Housing. The minister is more than likely aware that on June 11, in his absence, I asked the Treasurer (Mr. Nixon) to pass on certain documents to him that indicated clearly that a landlord demanded $1,600 key money from tenants. I assume the Treasurer passed on that information. Can the minister report on the investigation his ministry carried out on The Eglinton Terrace Inc.?
Hon. Mr. Curling: I have not yet seen that case and I am not aware of any cases where there was key money being handed to a landlord. If there are such, there are processes within the ministry that can handle that situation.
Mr. Grande: I am appalled that the Minister of Housing is standing in his place, 11 days after a question has been brought to this House where $1,600 key money had been paid by tenants to a landlord -- illegal money, according to his law, Bill 54 -- and the minister says he has done nothing up to now. I will pass the documents on to the minister if the Treasurer has not given them to him yet.
Mr. Speaker: And the question?
Mr. Grande: Would the minister get on with investigating this situation and lay charges with this landlord before other landlords get the idea that the Minister of Housing is not going to investigate illegal key money questions in this province?
Hon. Mr. Curling: Lest the member go away feeling that the matter has not been investigated, I just said that I personally have not seen it. I understand from the Treasurer that he did pass it on to my staff. Please do not give the impression that we do not have a process in place to look after key money and a proper investigation take place.
Many times members rise in this House and feel we conduct investigations inside this House. The staff of the ministry is handling the matter, and I will personally get back to the member and give him an update of where the case is.
Mr. McFadden: I would like to direct a question to the Minister of Housing about a matter of great concern to many tenants in Metropolitan Toronto. Numerous rental units in Metropolitan Toronto are being leased and then rented out as short-term residences to out-of-town visitors at inflated rates. As the minister is aware, it is illegal for landlords and tenants to rent out residential rental units if the rent charged is above the legal rent provided for under rent review.
My staff has discovered, for example, that Manfred Schon, president of Executive Suites Ltd., has possession of numerous apartment units in north Toronto for this purpose. My staff has raised this problem with the officials of the Ministry of Housing. Is this particular practice contrary to Bill 51, and if it is, when can we expect provincial housing legislation to be enforced to deal with this kind of practice?
Hon. Mr. Curling: Yes, the act is contrary to Bill 51; and as the honourable member stated or implied, a landlord cannot increase the rent more than once in any calendar year of that lease. If that is done, that makes it illegal. There is a process with which to deal with that.
Mr. McFadden: Besides the issue of the enforcement of the law, we have here a very serious situation where many tenants are tremendously anxious when they find strangers coming and going weekly out of neighbouring apartment units. Will the minister undertake to investigate thoroughly the instances of this kind of practice, which we understand is happening at 33 and 111 Davisville, 200 Balliol, 33 Orchard View Boulevard and 100 Wellesley Street East?
Hon. Mr. Curling: Definitely; if they are cases of impropriety, we will investigate and deal with the matter accordingly.
Mr. Hayes: My question is to the Minister of Transportation and Communications. The people who have been travelling Highway 401 in my riding have been putting up with the deplorable condition of that particular part of the highway between Tilbury and Belle River for a long time. I understand there are no funds allocated for this fiscal year to do the work that is required to repair that stretch of the highway.
Can the minister tell us how much longer the people in that area have to put up with this deplorable condition of Highway 401 before he can get the the proper funds down there in the southern of this province to fix that highway?
Hon. Mr. Fulton: The member will know I was down there and visited that section of the highway personally just a couple of weeks ago.
Hon. Mr. Fulton: Does the member want an answer or not? The member was just as bad this morning on our competition.
I was down on that section of the 401 a couple of weeks ago and gave the member the commitment, as I did to the other people, that I would consider that a very high priority and address it as quickly as I could.
Mr. Hayes: I do not know how the minister can say it is a high priority; maybe he could give us a date. What has happened is they have done a 22-kilometre stretch, and there is at least four or five times that much more to go. I would just like the minister at this time to give us a date when he is going to proceed with the work on the 401 and let the people down in that part of the province know that Ontario does not stop in London, Ontario.
Hon. Mr. Fulton: With the amount of attention Essex county has had from this government over the last two years, I think the people down in that area know full well that this government pays equal attention to them. The member for Essex South (Mr. Mancini) has been extremely successful in getting the attention of this government.
As I said in the first response, it was only, I think, two weeks ago last Friday that the matter of the westbound lanes of the 401 was brought to our attention. We are addressing that as a top priority. I cannot give the member an answer today because of the planning and technical reviews that are required, but I will at the earliest possible date, as I promised him and the people.
Mr. Cousens: I have a question for the Minister of Transportation and Communications. Would the minister please advise this House on what plans the ministry has to upgrade or expand and improve GO Transit service on the Stouffville, Markham-Unionville-Milliken and Richmond Hill-Langstaff lines?
Hon. Mr. Fulton: The member for York Centre will well know that on May 7 I made a statement in this House that outlined the transit forum advisory group that we were establishing. It is now functioning within the greater Toronto area, including the entire region of York. They are participating. Certainly, we are looking to those expansions of the GO service as well as other interregional transit systems and transportation services.
Mr. Cousens: York region has doubled in size in the last five years. We still have only one train going down from Markham-Unionville-Milliken to Union Station. We still have the same service of 10 years ago on the Richmond Hill-Langstaff line. We have no peak-time service. We have no service on Saturdays or Sundays. There is no doubt that the east-west lines are served far better than the north-south lines. How much of the $100 million that has been allocated in the budget is going to be spent in south York region?
Hon. Mr. Fulton: Perhaps the member's colleague the member for Burlington South (Mr. Jackson) would offer the Lakeshore extension funding to the Stouffville line. I do not expect that to happen. We made the financial commitment, in October 1985, to expand the Lakeshore line into Burlington and other places, which we are doing, and now we are looking at addressing the other needs on any other lines that are available to us, as the member well knows.
Mr. Wildman: I have a question for the Solicitor General. Could he explain when this government will be able to respond to the resolution passed by the annual conference of the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs in Niagara Falls in early May, in which it said, because of the high price of fire protection equipment and the requests that have been made by small municipalities for provincial assistance, that the provincial government should respond to the unanimous decision of the Legislative Assembly that such assistance be provided to small municipalities?
Hon. Mr. Keyes: One of the things we would look at in that regard is some of the other things we were doing to assist those same municipalities. Last year at approximately the same time there was a great demand from a number of members in both parties opposite for additional opportunities for the training of the volunteer sector of our firefighting department. We have increased that, as they know, very substantially this year to many more classes and additional staff at the Ontario Fire College, so that trained firefighters will be the emphasis we are placing this year in our firefighting program.
Mr. Wildman: Perhaps the minister can make clear to us what he intends to train these firefighters to use if they do not have the hoses and nozzles, the protective equipment, the pumps and the vehicles they need in order to fight fires? There is no question they need more training, but surely they need the equipment on which to be trained.
Hon. Mr. Keyes: Yes, we all need equipment, but I think a survey of these northern units would find there has been considerable equipment provided for them through the northern development fund that has been established. They have had a great deal of it; they can always use more, as can every municipality everywhere.
HAZARDOUS WASTE TREATMENT FACILITY
Mr. Andrewes: I was inclined to ask a question of the minister without portfolio, but I see he is probably very busy with his plaques.
I want to put a question to the Minister of the Environment. The minister will be aware of something called a memorandum of understanding, which normally exists between ministers and the heads of crown agencies, which allows the minister to give certain policy direction to those crown agencies.
Can the Minister of the Environment tell me what direction he has given to the Ontario Waste Management Corp. regarding the researching and development of alternative technologies to the absolutely monstrous proposal it has proposed for my riding?
Hon. Mr. Bradley: It is interesting that in the last few years it has changed from a proposal to a monstrous proposal in the member's riding, but I certainly understand the member's concern at this time to ensure that there is an appropriate process followed.
In regard to the Ontario Waste Management Corp., which Premier Davis set up a number of years ago to deal with the problem of waste management in the province, particularly that of a hazardous nature, there is indeed a memorandum of understanding between the ministry and the OWMC.
I can tell the member that on many public occasions -- and I think he may be aware of this if I try to stir his memory in this regard -- I have indicated a desire to see a number of options looked at in terms of dealing with hazardous wastes in the province.
The member may recall that even last week I was discussing this at a waste management conference where I indicated that our ministry is involved in the business of encouraging industries to deal with many of their wastes at the site itself, either by the changing of process or by simply not utilizing materials in the first place that would produce this kind of material.
On a number of public occasions I have indicated to our ministry and to the OWMC that all possibilities should be explored in this regard.
Mr. Andrewes: I do not want to let the minister get away with scattering the pebbles on everything. Let us be specific. What policy direction, which it is the minister's prerogative to give through the memorandum of understanding, has the minister given to the Ontario Waste Management Corp. with regard to alternative technologies?
Hon. Mr. Bradley: The mandate that Premier Davis established for the OWMC is a mandate that the OWMC is supposed to follow. I have indicated that I believe the OWMC should be following that particular mandate that was set out by the former Premier of this province when he established that corporation. When the member was a member of the cabinet, he will perhaps recall some of the discussions that took place at that time before there was a siting of the proposed facility in the constituency he represents. That is understandable.
I want to indicate, as the member would know, that in terms of process it is highly inopportune and inappropriate for the Minister of the Environment to interfere politically in the environmental assessment process as it relates to the OWMC. As the member will recall, before the site was selected, at a time when the member himself was somewhat neutral to the project, I indicated at that time that I would not give a political decision on the siting of the facility or the kind of facility that would be located there.
Mr. Allen: A question to the Minister of Citizenship and Culture: As she knows, her ministry has responsibility for a program, the Ontario Film Development Corp. With respect to the development of film in this province, I think she would be happy, as I am happy, that there have been so many foreign film crews in the province, in Toronto and neighbouring cities doing film development.
Is the minister aware that the foreign film developers in this province, rather than availing themselves regularly of our own film technicians, accountants and other personnel who are necessary for mounting these film operations fly in outside personnel on a spot basis, such as director technicians or what have you, of whom we have very competent members in this province? What is she doing to protect the positions of those specialized people in film development in our province who so badly need that work and whom we need to give the work to in order to develop their crafts?
Hon. Ms. Munro: The ministry has been working with that particular cultural industry for a period of over two years. It is also pursuing the questions that the member has raised through the Ontario Film Development Corp. In terms of public issues that I have been stating, I have been recommending to various film endeavours to continue to use technicians and creative people living and residing in Ontario. I will continue to take forward the issue the member has raised. I wish to assure him, however, that it is an issue I am familiar with.
NOTICE OF DISSATISFACTION
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, I would like to give you orally, under standing order 30(a), notice of my dissatisfaction with the answer of the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Sweeney) on behalf of the Premier (Mr. Peterson) to my question about speech pathology. I will be filing the appropriate notice.
Mr. Speaker: Perhaps I can have the attention of the members. We have now come to petitions. Do any members have any petitions? Reports by committees?
REPORTS BY COMMITTEES
STANDING COMMITTEE ON RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT
Mr. Laughren from the standing committee on resources development presented the committee's report and moved the adoption of its recommendations.
Mr. Laughren: I will make a very brief statement. There are a number of things I would like to have said about the committee's work. The committee worked very hard in coming up with a report on which there was consensus and then attached two minority reports to it; but I must say the whole process became redundant when the minister introduced legislation.
As committee chairman, I am getting increasingly concerned about committees going down one track and the ministers of the crown going down another track, meaning that the committees are very often spinning their wheels and doing work that really has no relevance when the ministers of the crown decide to go their own ways. I think of a couple of examples.
One was this one where the committee was working very hard on the whole question of termination and severance pay, employee adjustment, justification for shutdowns and specific references to northern Ontario, and just as the committee completed its work, the Minister of Labour (Mr. Wrye) introduced his legislation. I think the government has to understand that if the committees are going to do good work, they have to feel they are doing relevant work.
The other example was when the same committee was holding public hearings on Bill 115, the Ontario Lottery Corporation Amendment Act. When the government moved it to third reading, it was referred back here to third reading and then the government decided not to call it for third reading.
If members of the assembly, particularly of the government and the cabinet, want committees to continue to do the important work of this assembly, they are going to have to treat the work those committees do in a more serious way and not regard them as simply something to take the heat off the government.
I, as just one committee chairman -- I am not trying to attach any more importance to that position than it deserves -- find it offensive to chair a committee, see members of all three parties working extremely hard on the reports, and then have all the work undone because of some kind of self-serving decision on the part of the cabinet.
On motion by Mr. Laughren, the debate was adjourned.
STANDING COMMITTEE ON FINANCE AND ECONOMIC AFFAIRS
Mr. D. R. Cooke from the standing committee on finance and economic affairs presented the committee's report.
Mr. D. R. Cooke: This report is a unanimous report, but I have to emphasize it is a report of observation as opposed to recommendations that the committee made during its visit to Washington in April this year during which time we concentrated our efforts on discussions with members of the Congress concerning trade relations between the United States and Ontario. The committee was fortunate enough to meet in a very short period of time with, I believe, something in the neighbourhood of 17 congressmen and senators.
The observations indicate the importance of continued discussions with members of the Legislature in that country and how important it is that we continue to talk to them, because in fact there were several instances in which we found that their use of the same language, the English language, is somewhat different from our own.
I would suggest that the one theme in these observations is that these discussions for the reasons of our very much intertwined trade situation should continue as often and as thoroughly as possible.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
ELECTION AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Cousens moved first reading of Bill 89, An Act to amend the Election Act, 1984.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Cousens: This is a bill whereby, when it is passed, members of the armed forces, their spouses and their children who are of voting age will be allowed to vote in Ontario elections without having to fulfil the six months' residency status required under present legislation. This means that we show a special understanding of those who serve our country, who are moving not only within Canada but also across the world in the service of their land, when they come back to Ontario. Knowing they have kept in touch with what is going on in the province, they will then have an immediate --
Mr. Speaker: Is there any other principle in the bill? You have explained the principle. You are now debating it.
Mr. Cousens: Therefore, I hope the House will appreciate the service of our armed forces and will quickly expedite the passage of this bill.
MINISTRY OF COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Warner moved first reading of Bill 90, An Act to amend the Ministry of Colleges and Universities Act.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Warner: Before we move to second reading, the purpose of the bill is to provide a vote on both the board of governors and the college council for students and staff members. The representatives are to be democratically elected by their peers with equal numbers of males and females from each group.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Wrye moved second reading of Bill 79, An Act to amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
Hon. Mr. Wrye: I am pleased to lead off the debate on this legislation, Bill 79, the successor legislation to Bill 101, which will provide for worker and community right to know.
I think it is fair to suggest that the measure before the House today, for which we are asking approval in principle at this time, is central to the effort to prevent work place injury and illness. I know that all members are keenly aware of and interested in that matter and I look forward to contributions from all sides of the House.
In the last two years in which I have served as the Minister of Labour, it has become clear that optimal work place health and safety in Ontario requires, first, the vigilant and vigorous exercise of mutual responsibility by both labour and management in our work places; and second, the right mixture of prevention and protection with the accent on prevention.
The government proposal we are debating today, Bill 79, seeks to enhance both, for it seeks to provide the work place parties with information that they need to operate with the greater awareness that will produce prevention. It provides for full disclosure to employees of hazardous materials in the work place. It provides for participation by this province in the national work place hazardous materials information system, or WHMIS, which will ensure that information is presented to employees in a clear and understandable way, and most important, in a practical way. It provides that workers will receive the kind of training they need to make effective use of the information they have received, something that has not happened in the past, and if we are to talk about prevention something that will have to happen in the future.
Bill 79, which we are debating today, is designed to make sure that workers do know what is in the work place, what the potential hazards are and how to obviate those potential hazards.
Before I outline the clauses in this legislation, let me take members back to how the national right-to-know scheme will work, the WHMIS scheme. Through an amended Hazardous Products Act, Parliament intends to place duties on persons who supply hazardous materials for use in the work place. These duties will be to evaluate the material pursuant to criteria set out in the regulations.
Where the material is deemed to be hazardous, labels on each container of the product will be required. As well, material safety data sheets will be required with the first consignment of the product to the work place. Details for the content of the labels and the MSDSs will be set out again in the federal regulations. The federal legislation will also provide exemptions from the disclosure of specific information for companies that fear their trade secrets will be breached. An agency to assess exemption requests, along with an appeals mechanism, will be created.
All that will come forward later this month. As I understand it, the federal government right now is either having or shortly will be having discussions at the committee stage, even while the final wording is being put on the amendments to the Hazardous Products Act. Those amendments will be presented later this month and it is expected they will pass before Parliament adjourns for the spring.
At the same time, our bill in Ontario, in concert with WHMIS, will require the employer to ensure that the labels and the MSDSs are present in the work place and that they are used by the people working with the substances. Employers would also have duties, where the product is produced in-house, to evaluate and provide labels. In both cases, the employer would require material safety data sheets to provide worker training.
It is specifically because this province is participating in the national scheme that much of the detail for our right-to-know system will be set out in the regulations. This approach will ensure that we have the flexibility, and we do need it, to be consistent with the federal legislation and indeed with the legislation that will be coming forward from our sister provinces.
In parallel with WHMIS, the main themes of Bill 79 involve ensuring, first, that clear information on hazardous materials and agents is disclosed at the work place; and second, that workers are trained to use that information in an effective manner. Bill 79, however, goes beyond the national base established by WHMIS in three important respects. It provides for inventories of hazardous materials and agents to be created and disclosed. It provides for information on physical hazards as well as chemical and biological ones, and uniquely it creates a community right to know about hazards in local work places.
In the area of disclosure, the proposed section 22b places a duty on employers to ensure that hazardous substances present in the work place are labelled and that MSDSs are obtained or prepared by the employer. Further, an employer must ensure that a material is not used at all unless the requirements concerning labels, material safety data sheets and worker training have been met. All would have to be met before the material could be used in the work place.
Section 22e provides for an exemption from disclosure requirements for confidential business information validated by a board. In addition, confidential business information is exempt from disclosure from the time a claim is filed until the claim is finally determined. Our government would have the power to accept an agency established by the federal government to validate confidential business information. Of important note, however, is the fact that the bill also provides for disclosure of confidential business information so that patients can be treated in medical emergencies.
The proposed section 22g provides that an employer shall ensure that a worker exposed, or likely to be exposed, to a hazardous physical agent, receives instruction and training. The instruction and training are to be developed in consultation with the joint health and safety committee and they are to be reviewed at least once a year.
Section 22f that is now proposed in Bill 79 provides that information is to be available to workers who are likely to be exposed to a hazardous physical agent such as lasers or noise. It requires that this information be furnished to the joint health and safety committee or to the worker representative, as the case may be. In addition, a notice must be posted identifying and warning of the hazardous physical agent in that part of the work place in which the thing is used or operated.
The proposed clause 22a(2)(b) requires an inventory of hazardous materials to be prepared in consultation with the workers, to be maintained in the work place and to be made available to all workers in the work place.
I have been having some discussions with my colleagues in the other two parties and I want to indicate, in anticipation of some of the comments they will make, and to the House in general, that we intend to move amendments to section 22c to strengthen the community right-to-know provisions. Employers will be required to furnish inventories automatically to medical officers of health and fire departments in their localities when prescribed by the regulations. This will allow and ought to allow for an orderly phase-in of these provisions.
These amendments that we will come forward with will be in addition to the provisions in the existing section 22c of the bill. These existing provisions provide that the inventory and the material safety data sheets are to be made available to the local MOHs and to the local fire departments upon request. This means that members of the public may request a copy of the inventory and of the material safety data sheets through the local medical officer of health, whether the inventory has been automatically filed or not.
In addition, the amendments I will be introducing will protect the confidentiality of those requesting information from medical officers of health. The bill also empowers the government to phase in the mandatory reporting of inventories to the Ministry of Labour. This constitutes a change from the original bill, and I want to indicate that very clearly. I know my friends the critics for the other two parties understand this, but I want the House to understand it is a change from the original bill, which required the immediate filing with the provincial government of all inventories.
Quite frankly, we have made the modification because we have concluded that phased-in reporting to the province itself will make for a more orderly flow of information and therefore a more practical and workable system, one in which the government will have the flexibility to set priorities and address the high-risk areas first.
Finally, the bill provides for its measures to come into force on a date to be proclaimed by the Lieutenant Governor. This will ensure that the legislation to implement the national right-to-know scheme, the work place hazardous materials information system scheme, comes into force on the same day all across this country.
As I indicated at the outset of the debate, the right to know about hazardous materials in the work place in clear and contemporary ways is basic to prevention of work place illness and injury. I believe the measure that is now before the House for second reading provides for such a right in a most progressive and constructive way and I hope this assembly will permit its speedy passage.
Mr. Martel: I might indicate that the member for Lambton (Mr. D. W. Smith) and I have agreed to reverse positions and I am going to lead off.
It would have been really decent for the Minister of Labour to have indicated as we debated this, and he had his opportunity -- but then he is gracious, as ever -- that as late as last Thursday, until he received copies of my amendments, his bill was not going to make it compulsory for people to report. He is now prepared to move some amendments. We are still discussing those amendments as to precisely what they will say, but as late as last Thursday and on the weekend when I spoke to some of his staff and for two hours this morning when we went over amendments that we could work out, he had no intention of having that mandatory aspect in the bill.
I am glad he has come on side at this late moment but it is interesting that he would not indicate what prompted him -- let us put it that way -- to change his own bill, which was introduced only last week, because it certainly was not their intention to do so.
I have to indicate that it is my intention to dwell on this legislation at some length because of some serious problems. The WHMIS bill of course, as the minister knows, is going to provide for chemical, biological and hazardous physical agents in the work place and that is a step forward. However, that has not come about because people are really concerned about workers' rights; it really has not. It has come about because of cost.
The fact that people die in the work place every day, one every working day of the year in this province, and that it is estimated that 6,000 people are losing their lives annually in Ontario alone due to stress or carcinogens according to Dr. Yassi, or that 3,600 die in Canada annually from cancer, is not what has prompted this particular piece of legislation.
Let us see what is happening in Canada. "In Canada, more working days are lost through accidents and illnesses than through industrial disputes." Can the members imagine that? "Findings of a federal socioeconomic impact analysis completed in 1985 on the use of hazardous materials in the work place estimated the social costs due to exposure as a result of their use in 1984 to be about $600 million." That kind of jolts people into wanting to do something. "These costs represent approximately 31 per cent of all payments made by the workmen's compensation boards in Canada, although only a small portion of the $600 million was actually compensated by the boards. These costs include injuries, illnesses, fatalities, cancer-related diseases and fires." It is interesting, though, that the majority of cancer cases are not compensated yet, because we cannot prove -- that is the theory -- that they are caused by exposure to industrial toxins.
Last week in this Legislature, we had the whole matter of the gold miners. We are in this dilemma that 600 or 700 people have died. We know they have died because of something in the work place, something that may be called dustiness, but in fact we have not been able to attribute the actual cause. We know the general population is not dying from those causes; therefore, it must be something in the work place. How are we going to compensate? We have now brought it down to the fact that we might compensate 90. Is that not wonderful? I am not sure how you pick the 90. That is for lung disease. Radon daughters in Elliot Lake are what they are compensating for, but in the gold mines radon daughters are not given much credibility as one of the factors. It seems illogical.
Gold miners have a much higher incidence of stomach cancer. We do not know why and we have to try to prove what is causing this. The point I am trying to make, though, is that these people are not compensated. They are not in these statistics.
As Weiler said, I guess in his second report, the costs for industrial diseases will in fact eventually exceed compensable accidents. That is worrisome, because we have known many of the causes of industrial diseases for years. For example, we knew that cancer would be caused from exposure to uranium. The first case was brought to light in 1919 in Czechoslovakia. We went our merry way for the next number of years, until right now in Elliot Lake there are approximately three miners dying from cancer per month.
It is overwhelming but we really have not done much with this. Really, the work place hazardous materials information system is a labelling process. We are going to label things and we are going to know they are a danger. That is some advance because I recall questioning this minister about Falconbridge and the fact that it brought in uranium that was involved with nickel. The workers were not warned that they were working with uranium. Falconbridge wanted to make its money on extracting the nickel from that particular material.
"The United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration has indicated that approximately 25 million workers -- about one in four in the American labour force -- are exposed to one or more chemical hazards. The same situation likely exists in the Canadian context. In 1985, there were an estimated 575,000 existing chemical products in the US and hundreds of new ones being introduced annually. This poses a very severe problem for workers."
I have always taken the position that what in fact you have to do is to pre-market-test anything that comes on to the market, but you cannot convince governments to protect people. Industry goes crazy when you say to pre-market-test stuff. They go absolutely bananas. Look at Thalidomide, and what we have done to so many youngsters. We are not prepared to say that if you want to put something on the market, it has to be safe and the onus is on the producer to make it safe. We will not do that. We do not have the courage. You hear all the excuses. "It is going to hurt our industry." So what? Do we hurt people or do we make them pre-market-test it if they want to sell it? Of course, I take the latter view. My free enterprise friends say: "It is okay. Poison them. When you kill enough of them, we will do something to regulate it."
One only has to look at asbestos. One only has to look at uranium. We knew uranium was going to kill people. One only has to look at the old sintering plant. One only has to look at Bendix in the minister's own riding. But to talk about pre-market-testing drives the free enterprisers absolutely crazy. I do not know why. You have to drive safely in this country. Theoretically, you are not allowed to go out and kill someone. But you can put something on the market and if it kills someone, so what? Too bad for those who got killed or died from it.
There is something seriously wrong with that whole concept, to my way of thinking at least. I am told that I am not very progressive, that we cannot do that to industry. I say to industry: "So what? If you want to sell it, make sure it is safe."
Let me continue: "Exposure to hazardous materials may cause or contribute to many serious health effects, such as heart ailments, kidney and lung damage, sterility, cancer, burns, rashes. Some hazardous materials may also be safety hazards and have the potential to cause fires and explosions and other serious accidents. "
That is the background against which we bring in a WHMIS bill, a bill that will label material so workers know or will get data sheets that will tell us of the possible dangers. I am going to come back to this theme in a few moments because even that is a farce. We do not test anything. Nothing we have on the market has been adequately tested to this time; there are 58,000 or 60,000 we are looking at.
I want to tell members the reason I have some difficulty with this. We bring in an act. Of course, I read the minister's statement last week or the week before when he introduced the bill. You would think he had invented WHMIS. Today, he talks about amendments that he did not intend to move. He does not say who was pushing him. He does not say that he was going to let the bill go without making it mandatory and so on. He has changed. Is that not strange? He shakes his head. He will have his opportunity. I listened carefully to him.
I want to tell members what is wrong. I want to quote a document I got. When we raised this document in the House, the minister chose to ignore responding to it. It is his own advisory council, a group appointed by him to give him advice as to what he should be doing with respect to occupational health and safety. His own advisory council said, "The promise of an improvement in the future wellbeing of workers implied in the royal commission has, for the most part, gone unfulfilled."
I can be accused of being biased, and I am, I have never shrugged away from that; but if I were told by my own advisory council, made up of people from industry, the university community and labour, that Bill 79 has not worked and is not doing what it is supposed to do unless we change the way Bill 79 works, then these amendments will not be worth a row of beans.
That is one of the reasons I moved the eight amendments that I did; I gave them to the minister last Thursday as prescribed under the rules, and today he comes back and is making a change. He does not say why. It is the age of enlightenment, I guess. Somebody on his staff said to him, I am sure, "Bill, I think you should move these." It has nothing to do with the amendments I presented to him. I am sure the minister was going to do it all on his own, and if you believe that then I have a bridge I want to sell you after.
The advisory council went on to say the following: "Ministry of Labour inspectors write thousands of orders every year to correct violations of the act and regulations. This apparent lack of measurable progress at the shop floor is evident also in the result of council surveys of joint health and safety committees." I want the members to keep tab of that, because I am going to tell members why the minister has to change the act.
At this point I will just refer to the fact that when the survey was done for this advisory council, of 3,000 companies surveyed the Ministry of Labour did not know that fully 1,500 had toxic substances in the work place. The Ministry of Labour did not know that one half of the places were using toxic substances.
His bill did not read clearly. He says: "I did not understand it. Certainly, my staff did not understand it." I want to tell the members that the Metropolitan Toronto people examining this bill did not understand it. I am going to quote from the bill and maybe the members will be able to understand my dilemma; perhaps they can tell me what this means.
"22c(1) A copy of the most recent version of the inventory and of every unexpired material safety data sheet required by this part in respect of hazardous materials in a work place shall be. . . (c) furnished by the employer to the medical officer of health of the health unit in which the work place is located upon the request of the medical officer of health."
What does that mean? Does that mean it is compulsory to report? I see my friend shaking his head. Certainly it does not, and I agree with him and he agrees with me, and my amendments address that. It says you have to report. It has to be compulsory to report; otherwise you will never know you have a survey that says of 3,000 companies surveyed, the Ministry of Labour did not even know that in 1,500 of them there were toxic substances.
It goes on to say the same for the fire department; and finally, shall be "filed with a director." I simply say that the survey indicated these places were not reporting and the Minister of Labour did not know. I read that section of the act and it certainly does not read to me as though it is compulsory to report. If that is what the minister meant, I will accept his word, but that is not what it reads, and I think there is some agreement on that.
The Minister of Labour gets up today and attempts to create the illusion that the whiz kid from Windsor, himself, none other, saw the problem and he is going to fix it up by his statement today. He would not say, "Look, somebody else discovered it." He does not have to name me; I could not care less. On reflection, he could have said, "Concern has been raised by other people about what was not clear and we want to clarify it;" but not the minister.
I have some difficulty, and I quote this particular document because the minister's own advisory council is really upset. Listen to what else it says:
"The apparent lack of measurable progress at the shop floor has been a growing source of frustration to workers and their representatives. Considerable frustration has been experienced by both labour and management in trying to obtain, from the Ministry of Labour, information and interpretation. Concern has been expressed at the general lack of training of work place parties. Frustration with the ministry has now escalated to a point where a polarized atmosphere pervades the occupational health and safety scene just as it did in the period leading up to the formulation of the Ham royal commission."
The council goes on to say:
"One obvious manifestation of this polarization has been the withdrawal of organized labour from the formal standard-setting process and the apparent lack of any progress on the part of the ministry to resolving this impasse. Other illustrations of discontent and dissatisfaction include the allegations contained in the Ontario Public Service Employees Union brief on behalf of the ministry inspectors concerned, expressed about the lack of meaningful consultation with all the stakeholders and the support given to the private member's bill, Bill 149, in the Legislature." That happens to be my bill.
There is a problem. The minister can make these amendments to Bill 79 if he wants, but if he does not clear up the other problems with respect to Bill 79, then he can add amendments till hell freezes over and he is not going to protect another worker one little more. He really is not.
A friend of mine once said the right to know about hazardous chemicals, biological agents and hazardous physical agents is essential for workers to act to protect themselves, and that is a true statement. Knowledge, however, in and of itself, does not provide protection. Think about that. You can have the knowledge that that is a hazardous substance, but if you do not have the power to protect yourself, what good is it? That is what Bill 79 does not do for the workers. Knowledge in and of itself does not provide protection.
As Bob Sass, the former Deputy Minister of Labour in Saskatchewan, has said: "Knowledge is not power. Power is power." We know in this province who has power, and it is not workers. It is interesting that it is workers who die. I do not know how many owners got killed last year in the work place. I know a worker a day died in the province. I do not know how many owners died. I know there were 442,000 accidents. I wonder how many of them were owners How many of them were on the board of directors? How many were the managers and how many were the workers? Interestingly enough, who has all the power? Not the workers; they have none.
My friend puts his eyes up in the air. I want to tell him he does not understand Bill 79. He does not, because the final power in Bill 79 rests totally and completely with management. If he does not believe me, I will give him a lesson in the bill.
Mr. Fontaine: They don't work in the mill.
Mr. Martel: Well the mill; who gets hurt in the mill? I must say to my friend I also worked in the mines. I worked on the railroad. I know what it is like there. I know what protection I had.
Mr. Fontaine: Go back. It has changed
Mr. Martel: It has not changed. Tell me why there were 442,000 accidents last year.
Mr. Fontaine: It is not all the fault of the companies, either.
Mr. Martel: I do not suggest that for a moment. What I am suggesting is that they share power in the work place equitably. I hope my friend would agree with that much, because we have to get accidents and illnesses down. We have to get rid of some of these ideas that it is managerial right only. We have to work to reduce accidents. It is the only solution. I agree with him. It is too bad the government would not, because the Minister of Labour's amendments leave all the power with management. His proposed amendments in his white paper change nothing of the power structure, absolutely nothing. That is what is wrong.
I say to my friend that I agree with him. We have to get those on; we have to stop those accidents. We do not need to be killing people. There are going to be accidents that are accidental, but there are many we could avoid and we have to work to that. If that means taking a little power away and sharing it equally, my friend and I are on the same track. We are on the same track, but we do not have it yet.
We can have this new information coming into the work place, but if workers have no power -- equal power, shared power -- then it does not matter, if they cannot protect themselves. This step has taken five years. Now we have labelling and now we have data sheets, but we still do not have power. The act has been in power for 10 years. It is time it was changed. The proposed amendments will not do it.
It is interesting to note that this was an agreement too among labour, management and government. It was tough slugging. It involved the provincial, federal and territorial governments. Do members know who was not involved in the bill presented to the House last week? Labour. The Minister of Labour introduced the bill, and after the bill was introduced a copy was sent to labour.
We had all the negotiations between management, labour, the federal government, the provincial government and the territories, and we got a WHMIS agreement. We got a bill drafted -- the second copy, by the way. Labour was not involved at all. I do not know whether management was involved. I would have hoped labour would have been involved, and I would have hoped that management would have been involved, but they were not.
That is consultation? Do members see why the minister's advisory council has put this tough memorandum, three pages, to the minister? He ignores them. They are so frustrated that they have written what is the toughest document I have ever seen against the minister, by his own advisory council. Its members are just there filling space. The minister calls on them when he feels like it for 30 seconds or 30 minutes and then summarily dismisses them. That is why they wrote that report, by the way.
Now we have the WHMIS agreement and we have the legislation in the Legislature. Labour was not involved. I do not know whether management was involved; I suspect it was not. If it had been, the hassle we are going to go through this afternoon because we do not understand the bill -- labour did not understand the bill and the Metropolitan Toronto council did not understand the bill -- would have been worked out before we brought it in here. But no, this minister and his ministry, which has been in trouble over occupational health for years, continues to persist.
Let me tell members another interesting thing. I introduced Bill 99 on January 14, 1986. In that bill, I put in the right to know for the community for a very definite reason. Lead or toxic substances carried in air do not understand the fence that is in their way. Those materials go beyond the boundaries of a plant.
My friend from Hearst, the member for Cochrane North (Mr. Fontaine), knows that in a mill community it is the smell that goes a long distance. Nothing stops it. There is no barrier there. That is why the community should have a right to know: so people who live adjacent to a plant, like the lead plant in Toronto that has caused such hardship, can go to the medical officer of health and ask.
The Minister of Labour did not want that in his bill originally. The day I introduced my legislation, the press raised with the minister the right to know in the community. Members of the press might not be telling the truth, but they came back to me and said: "Bill Wrye does not want it. We got it straight from Bill Wrye, not one of his officials, that he does not intend to include in his bill the community right to know."
I will never know whether that is factual or not. All I know is what the press told me was the minister's response the day my bill was introduced. He might have been tired from the night before, or something like that, or his eye might have been bothering him and he did not understand what they were asking him, but I know what they told me after they spoke to him. He said he was not going to include the community right to know.
Like the amendments today that he has so generously indicated to this House he was going to move on his own, without any prompting, without any help, he chose to indicate that he was not going to do it. That is what the Toronto Star and a number of other newspapers told me. People get into trouble out in the scrum. They say things out there, and darned if those reporters do not put them on tape or something like that and run back and talk to us about it and say, "Do you want to comment on what the minister said?" In fact, that is what transpired.
Anyway, the minister, with his usual insight and perspicacity, included it. I am glad it is there. Whether you had to struggle or rassle him to the ground to do it, it is there, and that is a move forward. However, I worry about this minister, because he then introduced Bill 101. His first bill was much tougher than his second one. The minister shakes his head. Then it was much clearer. All people beyond the ministry must be mixed up on Bill 79 --
Hon. Mr. Wrye: Just you.
Mr. Martel: Just me? It must have included Metropolitan Toronto. It must have included Linda Jolley, the representative of the Ontario Federation of Labour. The minister might want to trade comments with her some time because she is the most knowledgeable person in this province on occupational health. She must have misunderstood it as well. I spent part of yesterday afternoon with her, and she misunderstood it. Everybody misunderstood except the Minister of Labour.
That is like McKenzie and Laskin. Everybody said there is something wrong with the Ministry of Labour and what is going on there, except the little band of hooligans the minister hired and paid $483,000 to do a report, a report which exonerated management. If you pay somebody $483,000 you are going to get the type of report you want, particularly if it is done in camera and you cannot talk to anybody or cross-examine anybody. You have to take his word for it.
In fact, it is interesting: McKenzie and Laskin kicked the hell out of the staff of the Ministry of Labour, particularly those darned inspectors and me and my friends in the trade union movement. It is an insidious plot; that is what it is. "This is a plot for workers to get control of the means of production in the province of Ontario." One Mr. McKenzie said that. "It is a bit of subversion on their part to gain control of the means of production in the province using occupational health and safety."
McKenzie must get up in the middle of the night and look under his bed to see whether there is a worker there trying to subvert the system. I bet that fellow has nightmares every night and has to get up. He sets the alarm clock, I am told, just to make sure he gets up every morning at 3 a.m. to look under the bed to see there is somebody there who is fomenting a plot against industry in this province.
Mr. Philip: The Frank Drea of labour.
Mr. Martel: Yes. The guy is mad. McKenzie and Laskin and the Minister of Labour are the only ones who believe there is nothing wrong or amiss out in the province with respect to Bill 79. Of course, none of us understood Bill 79 -- we have just heard him say it -- so he introduces this thing last week.
When he introduced Bill 79, like our friend who was the Minister of Community and Social Services for a couple of months, the member for Prince Edward-Lennox (Mr. Taylor) after Bill 101, the only thing I am convinced of, I say to the minister with the greatest of respect, is that he must have been mugged in the halls of power when he brought Bill 79 back, because it is not as strong or as clear --
Mr. Martel: The minister says it is, but he is already going to move three or four amendments himself one week later. Spare me.
Let us go on. I say to the minister, what use is a right to know if there is nothing to know? While the Ministry of Labour had to agree that WHMIS did not involve testing in any way, it is clear that testing of the work place materials is essential to giving any meaning to the right to know. In the United States, in a study entitled Toxicity Testing: Strategies to Determine Needs and Priorities, almost 80 per cent of 48,000 chemicals found in our work places had no toxicological information available. In other words, they had never been tested. For the other 20 per cent, the information was judged to be partial or minimal at best.
Not one work place chemical was judged to have been completely and properly tested. The minister can tell me about labelling all this stuff and putting on a danger sign, but we have not tested and we do not test what we are putting into the work place, and we are exposing people to it. Can anyone tell me how stupid that really is?
Think back to thalidomide, just as one drug, and what it did to scores of children. Imagine the same thing occurring with the chemicals we put in the work place. We put them in and we do not even know the effects. We have no idea what they are going to do, but we put them in.
When we stack up the bodies -- and by the way, in this business, of course, for those of you who do not follow it very carefully, it takes many of these substances 20 or 30 years to show themselves. My friend the member for Erie (Mr. Haggerty) knows that in the old sintering plants there were many people he knows in his community who died from cancer, I guess of the nasal passage.
Mr. Haggerty: The first one.
Mr. Martel: The first one was there, yes, because they did not know.
We can test all these things or we can say you can put a label on it, but if you do not test it before you introduce it, what can you expect? A body count somewhere, a body count as in Elliot Lake. When we beat our breasts about this, without testing I wonder how much change it is really going to cause in the work place.
I want to tell you, the day will come when we have governments that have enough courage, and maybe they will screw up enough courage some day to say, "We will pre-market-test anything, we will have mandatory testing of all those substances that are currently in the work place and we will establish safe limits of exposure." It is going to take a government with some guts. I do not see many of those around yet.
I can recall raising this during estimates three four, five years ago. The hostility when I said we had to pre-market-test something was quite unbelievable. They think I am out of my tree or I am up in a tree, I am not sure which. They think I am wrong when I say, "You have to test stuff before you allow it to be used on people." Surely we are smart enough to say: "In this day and age, we are no longer guinea pigs. We have a right to know that what we work with is not going to kill us."
I was at a conference in Windsor about a year ago where they had this great button. All you could see was the soles of two feet, and the badge said, "I came here to work, not to die."
Until we establish limits and test those products, we are going to continue to count the bodies, despite the work place hazardous materials information system.
As I say, we have that problem. Of course, what concerns me about the amendments is the failure of the Ministry of Labour in the past 10 years -- I do not blame it all on this minister -- to make Bill 79 work effectively. There is no such thing as self-compliance in Bill 79. The self-compliance is by those companies that have the foresight and integrity to want it.
As Inco said at the hearings I held, it is only if upper management wants to make it work that Bill 79 can work. Otherwise, it will never work. That is Inco; pretty positive. They have reduced their accident rate in 10 years, by the way, from 13.6 per hundred to 1.6 per hundred. That is because upper management said, "It is going to work." It is only if upper management says it is going to work. I am tired of waiting. I am tired of waiting for all of those other birds in the province to develop a bit of sense. The enforcing of Bill 79 is a joke. The lack of worker power is a bigger joke.
I talked to an inspector within the last couple of weeks. He had 1,400 work places to investigate. Can you imagine? If he did one every working day of the year, it would take him five years to get around and to do it properly, if he spent only one day in each plant. The Minister of Labour will not change it. His willy-nilly little bill is going to leave the existing system in place. Self-compliance -- they are going to change. I do not know why in hell he thinks they are going to change or what is going to make them change. He says, "We are going to increase the fines to $250,000." They are $25,000 in the old bill and the average fine last year was $2,000. The minister shakes his head.
Let us argue over a few bucks -- up to what, $3,000? Whoop-de-do. I look at five deaths. The total fines were $17,500 in those five deaths where there were convictions. That is an average of something like $3,400 per death. Life is pretty cheap at $3,400. Some of the lawyers call this a piece of social legislation. They do not even see it in its proper perspective. They call it social legislation.
These amendments, even today, will not succeed unless we make Bill 79 more effective. I want to tell the members, as I said earlier, the only people who believe it is working are the Minister of Labour and McKenzie-Laskin. Of course, they were paid to believe it was working. It is interesting, McKenzie-Laskin, in 750 pages, were critical of management in one sentence. I think I found one sentence in 750 pages. The rest said trade unionists were at fault, the Ontario Public Service Employees Union and those of us, like myself, who are just radical. Management got off scot-free, except for one comment; yet management has total power under the act. What a wonderful document. You can hitch your star to it -- and ride on -- and have more self-compliance.
I do not know what the advisory council is talking about. They must be crazy. There is a choice. Either he should fire all of them or resign. One must be wrong. It is either the advisory council that is all wrong or it is McKenzie-Laskin and the minister. I want to tell the members, the Provincial Auditor has been very critical. The minister shakes his head and says, "No." Shall I send someone to go upstairs to get my copy so I can read the members the auditor's comments? He was very critical. OPSEU was critical. The trade union movement was critical. The Ontario Law Reform Commission was critical. The minister's own advisory council has been extremely critical.
Until we recognize there is a problem and are prepared to admit it -- and as I said, I do not blame this minister entirely. He inherited a mess. However, if he is going to say the same situation should prevail as is requested by McKenzie-Laskin, that self-compliance is the solution, we are dead. I know the minister does not like Bill 149. I know he has been all over the province -- people tell me, I get phone calls: "The minister was here. He does not want your bill. He thinks it is terrible. It is going to give the workers power and we do not want the workers to have power." Heaven forbid that they should be able to protect themselves. Hell's bells. Oh, yes, they can have a group refusal. The fact that they might get fired for their group refusal -- so what? What is a job? Except if you are with a union -- and it is interesting: the trade union movement will not break on this one; they are not going to crack on this one, I tell my friend the minister.
Some of the problems, as I have said, are the joint health and safety committee and the internal responsibility system. It is a mess. What did the survey say about the joint health and safety committee? Thirty-five per cent of the companies appointed - appointed -- the worker representatives. He tells me we want more of the same. The survey done for the advisory council said 35 per cent of the companies in fact appointed the worker representatives.
Is that not wonderful? Ten years after the act, they appointed. It was contrary to the law, but 35 per cent did the appointing. The whole thing is a mess. There is a whole series, 35 or 40 per cent, in which the company provides all the people who are going to take notes and the person in charge of the meeting is management.
Are we ever going to get protection for the workers with these amendments today? All of that is contrary to the law and we have a minister who says: "We have got to have more of the same, and my amendments will ensure we have more of the same. We will increase the fine to $250,000."
But when you have one tenth of one per cent of a chance of going to court -- that is where it is in this province; one tenth of one per cent of those people in violation have ended up in court; and you get 50, 60 or 70 convictions-would you tale a chance of paying $2,000 and maybe a fine or, let us say, $100,000 to put in a new ventilation system? It is pretty simple: take a chance. Take a chance: they are just dumb workers.
On unionized, and more particularly nonunionized plants, it is interesting. Nonunionized plants are the ones that have the biggest number of problems, but the inspectors go to -- guess which ones? -- the unionized. The nonunionized people have no protection at all. I think some of them should smarten up and get a union, quite frankly; it would do them a lot of good; but they do not in some cases.
Designated substances: my oh my, I am going to come to that right now. I can hardly contain myself. I will come back to designated substances.
But failure of the Ministry of Labour to act, all of these and the tens of thousands of orders are what make Bill 79 ineffective. If you have no union you have no health and safety.
I addressed the Canadian Union of Public Employees last week. That is a pretty powerful union, and its biggest problem is the committee system and the interference management runs in the committee system, that is pretty clear; but unless the minister is going to do something on that, we have problems.
I want to get to something the minister is going to appreciate. This act says we are going to educate -- whoop-de-do, we are going to educate the workers. Can members imagine how we are going to educate the workers when in fact there are all kinds of companies which do not even have a copy of the act on the floor? Who is going to make sure the workers are being educated? Who is going to make sure companies are complying? I do not know. Will those 241 inspectors?
Do members realize there are more conservation officers in this province than there are health and safety inspectors? Do they realize there are at least 20,000 police patrolling the highways, and there are fewer accidents on the highways than there are in the work place? There are probably 20,000 police in this province doing their job -- and doing it well; I am not being critical -- but there are 241 inspectors for the whole province.
There are more conservation officers than there are health and safety inspectors and we wonder why one worker is killed every working day in the year and we wonder why there were 442,000 accidents last year. I want to tell members, it is crazy. So we have this right to workers by ensuring they are educated, because we have not even been able to ensure there were committees in the work place.
Let me go on. The right to know must be combined with regulations that protect all workers who may be exposed and not just some workers. That is what is going to happen under this act: only some workers will be protected. Others are not quite as susceptible: maybe their stamina is greater, maybe their resilience or their resistance is greater, but some will be protected and some will not be protected.
That is like Bill 79, is it not? Some workers have a right to have a committee. If you number less than 20, why, you can die and nobody is going to worry about it. You cannot have a committee in every work place. Some are going to get protection and others are not. There is something wrong with that. Surely everybody is entitled to protection. Not in this province.
As well, we need enforcement of those regulations. The ministry record, as exposed in the joint committee survey, indicates little real commitment to such enforcement. Approximately 34 per cent of work places with designated substances had not carried out an assessment or implemented a control program. Only 10 or 11 substances are designated. By the act, if you have a designated substance, and some of those regulations have been in effect for seven or eight years, you are supposed to have an assessment of the designated substance, whether it is asbestos, isocyanates or so on.
As of this date, 34 per cent have not had an assessment and do not have a control program in effect for the nine or 10 designated substances. Do members wonder why I worry about education? If, with nine or 10 substances, 34 per cent of the companies have not done an assessment yet, what are we going to do when all of a sudden we introduce a regulation into the work place that says we are going to label everything? What is it going to mean to them unless we have an assurance they are going to be educated? That is a real worry.
We are going to do it with a staff of 241. If the minister had the money to hire another 1,000, it would not make that much difference. I am not questioning their integrity. I am just saying it would not do it. It could not. There are not enough. There is not enough money. That is why you have to give workers some say. Educate them and they can go in and protect themselves, provided they are protected by law. I have never understood the resistance to surrendering this power.
Workers make profit for companies; all kinds of it. They do not need somebody standing over them night and day. They make all kinds of profit for companies. They are reliable to make profits but they are not reliable to protect themselves. Somehow, they are going to become scurrilous, you name it, when it comes to protecting their health and safety. I say to the minister that it does not add up.
Let me tell the members some other things. Let me quote the regulations. I am using the isocyanate one. "Every employer to whom this regulation applies shall cause an assessment to be made in writing of the exposure or likelihood of exposure in the work place of a worker to the inhalation of isocyanates or contact with isocyanates." What is it, two or three inspectors who have been sensitized to isocyanates because the ministry could not protect even them?
It also says, "In causing the assessment to be made, the employer shall consult thereon with the joint health and safety committee and the committee may make recommendations with respect to the assessment," and eventually to the program. That is not happening. I know it and the minister knows it. If at all possible, unions are not involved in the assessment or in developing the control program. I cannot believe we think some simplistic solution, a few more additions to the act, is going to provide the ministry with the wherewithal to do what we all hope it is going to do.
I am going to give the members a few examples, if I might, about the toxic substances. We got involved in Perley Hospital two years ago. We were there and we said, "This company is installing new telephones and the ceiling is full of asbestos while the patients are lying in bed." The inspector would not write a regulation because the regulations were in order. The regulation was coming in only 13 days later. He had a section of the act he could have used, knowing it was hazardous. There is a section of the act that calls for that. He did nothing, so the patients continued to lie in their beds. By the way, they knew asbestos was there. I think Morin was the inspector. He could have written an order, but he did not.
Asbestos at the London courthouse: I want to tell members that for six years they knew that was there. In fact, I am told the minister has now laid charges, except that, as with our friend who worked for the Ministry of Transportation and Communications and drowned and the case was thrown out of court, I also am told with respect to asbestos at the courthouse that the statute of limitations, the time limit, has passed so that when it goes to the court the judge will throw it out. It took us months of agitating in this House on asbestos when everybody knew -- the minister shakes his head. It is interesting.
We have some more. I have some new ones. The minister should just stay around and hang on to his hat.
De Havilland -- what a mess. There were orders coming out his ears. Where was the minister? You would think the minister and his staff were nonexistent.
"In the summer of 1986, because of the publicity, there was a major government cleanup at de Havilland." It did not occur before the bad publicity. "Workers reported unusual cancers, temporary blindness, severe swelling of the eyes, memory loss, dizziness, skin rash, open sores, loss of skin pigmentation, airway constriction and asthma." The Ministry of Labour failed to enforce isocyanate regulations. Finally, it took a work stoppage by the workers.
You have to understand there is a regulation for isocyanates. They are supposed to have assessments and control programs, devised jointly between the workers and the company. Why did it not happen? If somebody could tell me that --
Let us go on. Ceilcot of Canada: The company uses silica and styrene. It was an unregistered company that had inadequate ventilation. A complaint was made by the business rep of the sheet metal workers to the Ministry of Labour, asking for an inspection, which occurred in July 1986. The ministry ordered ventilation and the drawings had to be sent to the ministry by August 10, 1986. This company complied with that order but the ministry did not bother to look at the drawings until pressed by the union. The ministry did not issue orders for the interim protection of respirators until the ventilation was in place. That did not happen until August 1986 and then management just put out a memo, with no instructions or enforcement. This illustrates how inadequate the system is in protecting workers.
Robert Hunt Corp.: The problems here were carbon monoxide, diesel fumes, fumes from the wood treatment, poor ventilation, and finally, fumes from the floor sealant. These workers tried for years to have proper testing done, proper ventilation provided and data sheets provided. This only came through strong union support, while all along the workers took abuse from management. We reported that two years ago. If it had not been for one individual, nothing would have happened. They have harassed that man. They have done everything. They have relocated his work. The ministry stood idly by, with its finger in its ear and its brain in neutral.
Lake Ontario Steel Co. Ltd., Oshawa: This company uses silica and lead. They were ordered by the ministry to do an assessment in May 1986 with a compliance date of June 13, 1986. By January 16, 1987, the order was reissued. This is the minister who says we do not reissue orders, but it was reissued. I raised this matter in the Legislature in February 1987. By March 1987, only a preliminary assessment had been done.
All that time, the workers were exposed to these substances. So much for designated substances and assessments and control programs worked out between the workers and management. Management does not want to work with the workers, and someday, somebody in the Ministry of Labour is going to realize it. As I have said, it is strange that workers can go out and make all kinds of profit by the sweat of their brow for employers, but when it comes time to protect their own health, no, they become irresponsible citizens.
I am talking about designated substances. My friend is getting a little antsy over there, I can see, but these are all problems --
Hon. Mr. Wrye: What about Bill 79?
Mr. Martel: Might I just say that Bill 79 is really some amendments to what? It is going to fit into what? They are going to fit into what piece of legislation? Is the minister prepared to tell me where it is going to fit in the scheme of things? Is it going to fit into the occupational health bill somewhere?
Hon. Mr. Wrye: Speak to the amendments.
Mr. Martel: We are talking about designated substances. We are talking about what happens. The minister is required to enforce only those nine or 10 designated substances and he is not doing it. According to the survey done for the advisory council, 34 per cent of the companies have not carried out an assessment or implemented a control program. Are they lying?
Hon. Mr. Wrye: We are enforcing the act.
Mr. Martel: Then why do 34 per cent of the companies not have an assessment and why do they not have a control program in place? The minister might tell me that some time.
I could go on with Waferboard. I could go on with Brampton Brick. It just came to us on June 8. This company of approximately 80 workers operates a pit and screening plant that falls under the mining health and safety branch and a brick plant that falls under the industrial health and safety branch of the Ministry of Labour. This dual responsibility of MOL causes confusion and has added to the problems of dealing with this company. The plant has been in operation for a number of years and it has an exhaust system with a baghouse to control silica dust, a designated substance, I believe. Apparently, maintaining this exhaust system was too troublesome, so it was abandoned by the company, which means the workers were and are exposed to silica dust.
Silica was designated as a hazardous substance in 1983 and we do not have anything there yet. The Ministry of Labour was aware of the silica exposure for a number of years and ordered an air sampling in 1985. Air samples showed no exposure above acceptable levels in 1985. Engineering controls were recommended. The company built a booth for grinding only, because the company had planned to build a new plant. In 1987, a new air sampling was ordered by MOL and results showed 11 of 12 workers were exposed to silica levels above the standard.
I just heard the minister say, "We are enforcing it."
Hon. Mr. Wrye: Who wrote the orders?
Mr. Martel: Who had to complain? Who had to bring the workers in? Who had to go to the Ministry of Labour?
Let me continue. After MOL air sampling, workers were instructed by memo to wear respirators. They were not trained or given proper instruction. That is what I talk about. How is the minister going to educate them? With 48,000 substances, the minister tells me he is going to educate them under the act. He cannot even enforce the regulations with only 10 or 11 and somehow, without giving workers any power, this is going to protect them. Whoop-de-do. If you believe that, you still believe in the tooth fairy. You should put a tooth under your pillow tonight and if you cannot get one, then go down to some corner store where I am sure they sell them in some amusement store. You get your hanky, wrap it all up and put it under the pillow. Maybe somebody will leave you a quarter. The whole thing going on is obscene.
The minister's study --
Hon. Mr. Wrye: Don't be silly.
Mr. Martel: I am glad. I really have the minister where he is going to have to listen because there are other things going on.
There was a study done for the advisory committee. The workers of 3,000 companies were sampled -- get that number -- and the Minister of Labour did not know there were toxic substances in 1,500 of them; 50 per cent. The survey was done by an independent group. It was not done by me. Somebody would have said I cooked the books. I had nothing to do with it. Yet in one half of the companies, the Ministry of Labour did not know they had toxic substances. That is one half of 3,000.
The minister wants me to have faith. He says: "Just keep the faith and things will change. Things will get better." I have some difficulty.
Hon. Mr. Wrye: What is your conclusion?
Mr. Martel: I am coming to my conclusion. If I were given the authority to make one change under the act, it would be that workers have power to force change in the work place. We would see the accidents and the fatalities go down. Until that occurs, nothing is going to change. We will keep stacking up the bodies and the corpses as we have been doing.
The minister shakes his head. There have been 10 miners killed in northern Ontario this year already; since 1965, 273 miners. Imagine the uproar in this country if that were policemen. That is not for Canada, my friends; that is for Ontario. Since 1965, 273 miners; it looks as though they are in season all the time.
The key flaw in the bill -- I wrote this the other day, then I gave my amendments to the minister and he has now changed it -- the central inventory was one of the four principles in the bill I presented, Bill 79, and it was also in the minister's. "Each work place will be required to establish and maintain a central inventory of all the potentially hazardous substances or agents that may be or generated on the premises. These inventories will be provided to the Ministry of Labour and" -- l have stated - "to the appropriate fire departments and medical officers of health."
The inventories will be available for the information of the workers. They will also assist the government in its various designation activities. The Ministry of Labour needs to have this so it knows where the designated substances are.
That was not compulsory, at least to some of us who interpreted the act.
Hon. Mr. Wrye: Ah, come on.
Mr. Martel: The minister says, "Ah." I do not know why he is introducing amendments then. If it was compulsory, why is he moving amendments today after I pointed out that it did not read well or that nobody could understand it? The minister can say, "Ah," all he wants. Why is he moving amendments? Was it not clear enough?
Mr. Martel: He is, Vince I can send you a copy.
The reason I said it had to be clear and enunciated clearly? If, out of 3,000 companies, 1,500 did not supply that information -- why should the minister or the health unit or the fire department have to phone somebody and say "Hey Joe, tell me what you have over there." We have 3,000 companies and with 1,500 we do not know that they have anything in them. That is the Ministry of Labour. I just tried to give him some power so he would not have to ask them --
Hon. Mr. Wrye: Wrong.
Mr. Martel: -- to be kind and submit the material, so that it became mandatory that you submit the material in triplicate: one to the Ministry of Labour, one to the health unit and one to the fire department. The minister is saying no over there again, that it was not the case. I do not know why he is moving amendments, then. I really do not know why he is prepared to move amendments, then.
Hon. Mr. Wrye: I am just trying to make you happy in your swan song.
Mr. Martel: I would rather be doing a swan song than living in the swamp.
Hon. Mr. Wrye: It has been drained.
Mr. Martel: Has he drained it? He must have got a tile drainage grant because to clear that place out is going to take some doing.
If there is a central registry -- as I say, 1,500 places the minister did not know. That must be an embarrassment.
Hon. Mr. Wrye: That's wrong.
Mr. Martel: I am not wrong. Wait a minute; I just happen to have the report with me. I will tell the minister another one about designated substances. He has read this bill, I presume.
Advisory Council on Occupational Health and Safety, Eighth Annual Report, volume 2, says: "In addition to lack of committees in some seven per cent of work places with 20 or more workers, our study found JHSCs do not exist in about 33 per cent of work places with less than 20 workers" that were using designated substances.
But the minister is protecting the workers. I heard him tell me that not 20 minutes ago, not 10 minutes ago. How did this happen? Maybe he wants to tell me. If he wants to tell me how this happens, I am prepared to sit down and he can tell me how he is protecting them. He would never have known. If the committee had not done this survey and paid for it, he would never have known. That is why it has to be mandatory that people report to him. The only way he is ever going to know what is there is if somebody has to submit all the material to him. Obviously, he is prepared to do it because he wants to move some amendments today.
Hon. Mr. Wrye: Read the bill.
Mr. Martel: I read the bill. The minister will have a chance to respond. He might want to tell me why it is he is going to move amendments.
Hon. Mr. Wrye: To help you out in your swan song.
Mr. Martel: Oh, to help me out. He means he wants to help himself because his bill is inadequate.
Let us continue. There are some people who really need protection. I said to my friend the minister the other day that, for example, one of the things that must be in is to protect firefighters. I have talked to firemen over and over again. Their biggest concern is that when they go to fight a fire, they do not know what is where, in what volume and how it is situated. I said to the minister that I was going to move an amendment that says you have to have a floor plan on the outer wall that indicates the amount of the substance and the volume so that workers and fïrefighters can look at the wall. They can say: "There is so much of this here and so much of that here. It is separated; the combustible stuff." The Minister says he is prepared to put that in regulation.
Mr. Haggerty: Some never get that close to the wall.
Hon. Mr. Wrye: That is right. Listen to him.
Mr. Martel: No, but I want to say that many of them will. If you do not, then you take a chance of being killed. The firemen like this idea. You might have the odd explosion, but I ask, is it not better to know that than work in a vacuum?
Mr. Haggerty: Should have it on the entrance coming in.
Mr. Martel: It could be anywhere. I am not hung up on where we do it. I am saying it has to be somewhere where firefighters can look at it so they know how best to attack the problem of fighting that fire. That is their fear. It is the fear they have presented to the Minister of Labour for years. Nobody wants to do anything about it. The right to refuse has been taken away from them. We take away the right to refuse, but at the same time, we are not prepared to put adequate regulations in effect that say to companies, "You have to show where that material is, the volume and whether it is flammable or combustible so that you can take the best precautions necessary to protect your staff."
I am going to move it. If the minister wants to put it in regulations fine, and if he wants to defeat it, it can rest on his head.
Mr. Gillies: He does not have the votes to defeat it.
Mr. Martel: That is good. A central registry must be compulsory so we know what is there and we know what to look for.
I contacted the health units. I contacted some of them last week and I said, "Tell me, can you cope with this?" They said, "No." I said, "Why not?" They said, "We do not have the staff." As the bill now reads, and I want to remind the members of what it says -- I do not want to upset the minister because he is going to have a bird over there in a minute. It says, "A copy of the most recent version of the inventory and every unexpired material safety data sheet required by this part in respect of hazardous materials in a work place shall be...furnished by the employer to the medical officer of health of the health unit in which the work place is located upon the request of the medical officer of health."
Does that sound as though it were compulsory or mandatory? You do not understand it either. You see, Billy just over there is telling us that we do not understand it.
Hon. Mr. Wrye: Compulsory if requested.
The Deputy Speaker: Order.
Mr. Martel: It is not mandatory. That is the difference between compulsory or not.
The Deputy Speaker: Order.
Mr. Martel: What is the problem with you?
The Deputy Speaker: The member should refer to people by their ridings, and certainly not by nicknames.
Mr. Martel: Anyway, does that ring a bell with the minister that it is mandatory? I phoned the health units. I talked to my friend in Sudbury and I said, "Are you going to be able to make all the phone calls necessary if somebody comes in and says. `We want to know what company X is using'"? This thing very clearly says "upon the request of the medical officer of health." The medical officer of health is going to have to go out and phone the company in question. The minister, the member for Windsor --
Hon. Mr. Wrye: Sandwich.
Mr. Martel: Sandwich; I want to get it right, I do not want to offend the Speaker this afternoon.
Mr. Gillies: You mean Billy.
Mr. Martel: No, not Billy; I mean the minister, the member for Windsor-Sandwich.
I said to him, "Can you envisage yourself or do your staff have the capacity to make phone calls to companies to get that material?" He said, "No, we do not have enough staff to do what is ordered of us now, but if we have to start phoning companies to get that material, we are in serious trouble." I thought that was strange. I then phoned Dr. Harold Robinson, the president of the Association of Medical Officers of Health, and I said, "Have you got this worked out?" Dr. Robinson said the Minister of Labour has not formally approached their group to work out details of how health units in each community would deal with the right to know.
Obviously, Billy -- I mean the member for Sandwich-Riverside or Riverside-Sandwich or whatever it is -- did not talk to the labour people. He has not talked to industry. Obviously, there has not been much dialogue with the health units. The minister shakes his head. My staff talked to Dr. Harold Robinson, president of the Association of Medical Officers of Health. Who am I to believe? Dr. Robinson said they have not worked out the details; they have not formally been approached to work out the details. The minister shakes his head, vehemently. He has worked it out with no one. I do not think he knows what is in this act, quite frankly. That is why I think it is such a mess.
Mr. Breaugh: We can hear the rattles over here.
Mr. Martel: I think it is such a mess. Hazardous physical agents -- l want to go on but I want to get this bill through. The employer is required to produce an inventory of all hazardous materials present in the work place. This includes hazardous chemicals and biological agents as required by the work place hazardous materials information system criteria that will be put in the regulation, but it does not include hazardous physical agents. I think they are prepared to move that.
The inventory should be required to be updated. That is another little thing they left out. They are going to make an inventory, originally, but they do not ever have to update it. Is that not good? They make a list; I wonder what people were high on when they drafted this piece of legislation, some of the toxic chemicals they were being exposed to or something, that they would not require the list be updated. Now the minister is going to accept another amendment from me on that.
Mr. Haggerty: You are making headway, Elie. You are doing well.
Mr. Martel: I know, but it is so hard.
The inventory should be required to be updated as soon as a new hazardous material is introduced into the work place and the act should be appropriately amended in section 8 to enable the joint health and safety committee, or in section 7, the health and safety representative, to approve all new materials or equipment before they enter the work place.
I want to tell members a tragic story about a young man, 33 or 34 years of age, named Robin Comba. Falconbridge had a silo break and this stuff spewed out on the floor. A contractor was brought in to clean it up and Robin Comba was given a dust bag. I say to my friend, he knows what a dust bag is, having worked for Inco. He put the dust bag on his face and proceeded to clean up, except the particles were so fine, they went through the dust bag. When you inhale the stuff and it comes in contact with fluid, it cooks you. It cooked his lungs and after four days of suffering, he died.
Mr. Haggerty: Is that nickel carbonyl in the air?
Mr. Martel: I do not know. It was a light substance. Nobody knew and nobody told him the equipment was proper. He inhaled it through the dust bag. They had an inquest. The man is dead. Had he had the proper equipment, he would be alive. Was he irresponsible? Has anybody been charged? Not on your sweet life. Robin Comba should be walking today and he should be healthy. Had he only had the power to say, "Before I clean that up, I want to make sure the equipment I am wearing protects me."
When I raised it, the company was very irritated and it wrote to the Minister of Labour. So I wrote to a friend of mine who is one of the leading experts on fine particles, Dr. Brian Kaye, and he said: "It is a tragedy. It should never have happened."
What I have in my Bill 149, which should be in this bill, is that workers have a right to make sure the equipment they are assigned to wear is actually going to protect them. It did not protect Robin Comba from a toxic substance. He did not know what he was working with. He is dead and there are no charges. It is interesting, is it not? You can have a WHMIS bill, but if you do not give the workers any power, they are dead.
Construction sites: I talked to people in the construction industry last week. It blew their minds.
The Minister of Labour walks back in. He was gone. He had to go to the powder room, I think. He is back.
As I say, construction sites are left out. He waves his hand. "Ahhh," he says. Maybe he should go and work on a construction site for a while. In fact, he might go to work for a while. I do not think he has been working much in the past two or three years. I do not know his problems, but I know one thing. I know that at a number of construction sites where I have had friends fired -- I tried to get the Minister of Labour to help one of them because he took pictures because all the floor places where they have holes did not have barriers. The company fired him. He was not supposed to take pictures.
Mr. Philip: For taking pictures?
Mr. Martel: That is right.
I have just written to the minister in the last day, asking him -- a lawyer had to take the company to arbitration; not the Ministry of Labour under section 24 of the act, never. Now the lawyer, a good Liberal lawyer, is writing to me seven months after the hearing to see if we can get a hearing before the Ontario Labour Relations Board. I think that is what it went before. Seven months. The Minister of Labour should have protected him, but that is asking for too much.
I know what the minister's response is going to be, but there are all kinds of substances in the work place. What about the courthouse in London? The then Minister of Government Services knew for six years that the roof was full of asbestos. They started to reconstruct it and none of the workers were told there was asbestos. That is a construction site, is it not? Would that not be considered a construction site? They had no protection and they are not going to be protected under this act or under these amendments because they are excluded. Maybe somebody can justify it for them.
As I wind down -- the minister will be pleased to hear that -- I have a couple of other concerns. " ... if the employer has made every effort reasonable in the circumstances to identify or obtain the identity of the ingredients for the inventory." What does that mean? What does "every reasonable effort in the circumstances" mean?
Hon. Mr. Wrye: They have to try hard.
Mr. Martel: They have to try hard. What happens if they do not succeed? Are they allowed to use the stuff? Hopefully, the minister can point that out to me because I do not think that is what it says. I have that section of the act here. I put them both side by side, the question I raised. The part of the act is subsection 22a(5). "An employer shall advise a director in writing if, after making reasonable efforts, the employer is unable to identify or obtain the identity of the ingredients of a hazardous material as required by the regulations." That does not tell me what is going to happen. That stops short and it worries me. I suggest we have to have some indication of what transpires after that.
Subsection 29(4a) enables an inspector to issue an order that an employer's material or equipment cannot be used if the prescribed label or data sheet or information is not available, but the section is discriminatory. It says "may" in the WHMIS agreement. "No supplier can offer to sell a hazardous material without a label or material safety data sheet, and such compulsion shall be indicated in direction to the inspector."
Now, that is not compulsory. That is not "shall." When the minister and I talked about "shall" or "may" the other day -- I have gone through this argument for 20 years, what "shall" and "may" mean. Somebody tries to soft-pedal me all the time and says, "They really mean the same." I know the Speaker, in his infinite wisdom, knows full well, as the lawyer he is, that there is a difference between "may" and "shall." There is a difference. I know the Speaker agrees with me. He nods his head, I think. We want the minister to look at that.
Finally, one group that wants to appear or have some say is concerned about the right of a community to pass a bylaw that entitles it to the right to do inspections. The minister does not want that, I know. I am not sure they have the capacity to do it. I understand the minister is going to meet with the mayor of the city tomorrow to discuss this. I want to be fair to the minister, as always. I know he is going to meet with the mayor tomorrow. I do not see any harm. I do not know if they have the capacity. I suspect that in my part of the world or in other communities, smaller health units, they might not have the capacity to go in and investigate. I am not sure we should deny them the right, though. He might want to do it by regulation or that they meet certain criteria, but I am not sure we should simply say no. I think something is workable.
In conclusion, let me indicate that I intend to move -- I am not sure, but I hope there have been some negotiations going on as I rap here so that maybe we can come to some conclusion. I have a simple way of doing it. The minister has a convoluted way. I sometimes think that civil servants, I say to my friend the minister, cloud or make the situation much more complex than it needs to be to achieve what is wanted.
I think the keystone to this has to be that you report. When a company makes a list, an inventory, automatically a copy goes to the Minister of Labour, the health unit and the fire department. If the minister needs time -- he does: I concede he could not receive the 50,000, 60,000, or 70,000 companies in one slug tomorrow. I understand that. I am prepared to see that "if." But it has to be mandatory and he has to have a schedule.
What legal counsel told me this afternoon was that if he does not have a schedule, as we would lay out in the act for him by saying, "You have the regulatory power," it becomes automatic. They must provide it right away. There is no way out. That is what legal counsel told me. I do not know what they have told the minister, but I spent half an hour with legal counsel during question period. He says that the amendments I have proposed would make it mandatory for them to report. We are prepared to move a section that gives the minister time to lay the schedule out, but if he does not, then it would be compulsory for them to report immediately what it is they have. That is the guts of it.
I have attempted to show where the ministry, by its own studies, does not know what is going on and has not been able to control the nine or 10 designated substances. There are no committees in place for many of them. Thirty-four per cent of them do not have an inventory, an assessment or a control program yet. Thirty-three per cent of those that have designated substances still do not have a committee. Committees were required when the regulations came in individually. The act said 20 but the regulations on designated substances in fact said even under 20 if you have a designated substance. A full 33 per cent of the companies with designated substances with less than 20 employees still do not have them.
We do not even know who has designated substances, quite frankly, because we did not know or the Minister of Labour did not know that there were toxic substances in one half of the 3,000 surveyed. How do we know that they know all the companies that are using designated substances? In particular, asbestos: What about all the garages that grind brakes? The minister shakes his head, but what about all the garages that grind brakes? We do not know whether they have booths to control the workers. In fact, we do not know how many garages in this province grind down brakes; there would be no assessment, no program and no committee.
To try to get me to accept this stuff on blind faith is really too much to expect and, I would hope, too much for this House to expect. When we move on the bill, we are going to toughen it up. We are not going to make it for the minister, or the health unit or the fire department, to have to go and ask; we are going to make it compulsory for people to report so that we know and then we act to reduce injuries and death by toxic substances.
Mr. Haggerty: I stand to support Bill 79, An Act to amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act. I perhaps have some reservations about some of the particular sections. I was just pondering whether I should follow the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel) or not. Who is the chap who looks after the Canadian Federation of Independent Business? Is he Bulloch? Anyway, I supported the member's Bill 149, and I received a very interesting letter from the federation. It is very critical of the stand I have taken on the matter of occupational health. It indicated to me that if we are to move into this area of more preventive measures, it would be too costly to the industries and the business people in Ontario.
I look at occupational health as an area to provide preventive measures more so than anything. If you do not have a healthy work force, you are going to pay for it later on. Industry pays for it through the Workers' Compensation Board assessments. You pay for it through workers' compensation claims and you pay for it through fatalities in the work place, particularly in the area of occupational health.
I support any measure that will help take the initiative to provide some preventive measures. I have some reservations about the involvement with the federal government in compatible or parallel legislation. The area about the volunteer or paid firemen or the fire departments in local municipalities has been mentioned by the previous speaker. I think of an incident that happened in the city of Port Colborne not long ago in the transportation of materials from the American side going through the canal. I guess the ship left the American side and came into the harbour at Port Colborne. It radioed ahead that it had two injured workers on board. The fire department was called out and they went down. They had Scott airpacks and went down and removed the men from the cargo hold. It was carrying scrap metal.
Who would ever have thought there would be anything in there that would be considered dangerous material? When you work in these industries, particularly in the metal industries, in machine shops, they use special cutting oils. It was the cutting oil in with the steel in the closed quarters of the cargo hold that created a situation that generated heat. The fumes came up from this cutting oil and two sailors lost their lives.
In that event, two firemen almost lost their lives too because when you go in with a Scott airpack, it may be good for 15, 20 or 25 minutes; it depends on how hard the person is working. If you are climbing up and down cargo holds, perhaps you are at some time going to say it might be safe and take that mask off.
One of the firemen was removed to hospital for future observation. My brother was the deputy fire chief in Port Colborne and he kept me well informed on matters of this nature. When I got wind of it or heard of it, I said to make sure there was a record at the hospital that the fireman had been there and had been treated for such an event because maybe 10 or 15 years down the road he would end up with an occupational health problem, perhaps a respiratory problem.
These things can happen all over the place. I happened to be a member of a volunteer fire company in Port Colborne. In fact, I had five brothers and a brother-in-law who belonged to the company so we served our terms as volunteer firemen. I lost my brother last September and it was because of a liver problem. I will tell members this much, that it was not caused from drinking, but I looked at it and I said perhaps it was related to his occupation. If anybody is a firefighter and has dealt in some of these oil fires or whatever it may be -- and industrial fires -- they have no idea what is in that building, what it contains, what kind of fumes and gases may be generated. Nobody had any idea.
In fact, I think that in the Port Colborne region the fire department had a catalogue of what it thought were hazardous materials within the community and it used to keep a card on that particular thing. When they went out to a fire and they thought this was the problem area, they had to be careful. Again the question was, did they have the right equipment or the right working gear? There has been some question about that whether it is safe or not.
If one were to walk into a hardware store or go into a Canadian Tire store -- in many cases there may be a fire in some of these hardware stores. Again, one says, "Well, it is just an ordinary store." The members should go into those stores and look in the alleyways or in the floor. On the shelves they will find herbicides and pesticides. They will find other chemicals there all contained in one area. There are no barriers between them in case of an event to contain a spill or even a fire in that area. I will tell members, it is a risk to the community if that event does happen there.
I can recall once being called to a fire in a hardware store, and the first thing we knew, we thought there were firecrackers in the store, for example. Do the members know what it was? Shotgun shells and .22 shells, and they were going off all over the place. People just do not realize what lies out in the community. When I first came in here -- and I am sure the member for Sudbury East will agree with me -- I think there were two of us here who were pushing forward the right-to-know legislation, so anybody in the work place should know what hazards are there.
I do a lot of work with the Workers' Compensation Board. The member mentioned the matter of sinus cancer; I think I worked on that particular case -- the first sinus cancer case in Ontario -- but the person was deceased. I won that appeal. I remember going to the board at that time. The chairman of the board was Mr. Legge, a well-known lawyer in Toronto, and one of the comments that came up when there was shown a diagram of the industry was, "Well, he did not work in a designated area that was maybe subject to cancer later on." I said he did work in that area, but they had it on his work sheet that he was not in that area. He worked around what they call a cobalt furnace.
All I said was that was the same process that was used in the bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima. That chairman said, "That is enough." He allowed the case. When I think about the former chairman of the board, if other chairmen had followed his practice or procedure there, perhaps they would have a better understanding of occupational health diseases in Ontario. We do not see that now with the current chairman, the past chairman or the other two chairmen there. I think Mr. Legge should be given credit and I commend him in that particular area. He showed some consideration of the industrial diseases that employees are faced with almost every day.
I look at the bill and find it does not say it is mandatory. The health unit can come into the picture, but it says, "upon request." The same thing applies to the fire department: "upon request." If we want to have a healthy work place in Ontario, we are going to have to use the word "mandatory" in the act, because it will not come about.
In the act, it says that where there is not an occupational health committee, you can appoint some person within that industry, regardless of how big or small it is, to be the representative. That does not go far enough. If we want to take preventive measures, we are going to have to put some teeth in it, and it is going to have to come through the word "mandatory" or "shall," because it is a serious problem with all the chemicals that are out there. I just look at that and say, "It is great to say it is a step in the right direction, but does it go far enough?"
Volunteer firemen, for example, can exempt themselves, or under the act they are exempt from going into a fire, but a paid fireman, because of the position he is in, has to go into the heat of the situation or the event. He has no choice. The law says he must be there, regardless of what he may encounter and what effect it will have upon his health. Every precaution should be taken in this area when you say he has to carry out his responsibilities.
Governments in the past and today have come out with an emergency plan for municipalities, to say they must have emergency plans there. In that emergency plan, they should have matters related to the occupational health and the problems in that particular area -- the right-to-know legislation. In fact, even the Ministry of the Environment should be included in some of the amendments here to make sure you are going to cover all phases of the right-to-know legislation.
The intent of the bill is good, but sometimes I would have to question, does it go far enough? Preventive measures are less costly than having an event take place where you are going to have the work force crippled by an event, an accident, an occupational health disease, whatever it may be. In the long run, it costs us more money. As the old saying goes on television, if you are looking to service your automobile -- I think it was Fram that said it - "Either pay now or pay later."
I responded to that letter and the comments from the association. I wrote back to them and said: "You tell me how we can reduce the number of accidents and the number of fatal accidents in Ontario, the number of persons who have come down with an industrial disease. You tell me how to prevent them. I can tell you then we will reduce the cost of assessment, the cost of operating the workers' compensation programs in Ontario. Until you move in that direction, that cost is going to go up higher than what it is now."
Workers' compensation is almost bankrupt today, and we have problems today in the areas of industrial diseases and so on because they are not designated as such, yet the person's health-related problem is related to his occupation. Until we make some drastic changes in this area, we can go along with steps of this nature in Bill 79 to move forward in that direction, but I think we are going to have to move more forcefully in the area of preventive measures. If we move in that area, I am sure that the cost in the long run would be of benefit to all of Ontario -- to the industry, to the families and to the person who may be injured.
I suggest that I support the principle. It is a step in the right direction, and I look forward to the minister's amendments, which will perhaps add some more teeth to it.
I look at the area of confidential business information, particularly section 22e. To me, that is an escape clause for the industry, because it says:
"Where ... an employer would be required under this part to disclose information that the employer considers to be confidential business information in an inventory, label or material safety data sheet, the employer may, in accordance with the regulations, file a claim with the claims board for an exemption from the requirements."
I suggest I would be looking at that in a very cautious manner. This may provide an escape clause here so that we would have them say, "Under this section, we do not have to tell anybody what is out there." I do not have to tell the members to look at the situation that happened in the Niagara region. I think it was the Chipman chemical plant around Stoney Creek. Two or three events happened there. They still do not know what effect it will have on the community, what effect it will have if you came in contact with the fumes from that plant during that event at that time. Normally, you do not find out about that until five or 10 years down the road. Then perhaps by good cataloguing of events and the number of persons who were in contact with the gases or whatever it may be, we will draw some conclusions to say we can relate it to that event at that time.
This is the problem I find with many industries today. I have a number of chemical plants in my area, small though they may be, and I have had cases brought to my attention where people have died of liver or kidney disease. If you look at the chemical industries, particularly the paint industries, you know there may be some cause related to the chemicals they were breathing in every day in the mixing of materials. I suggest that in the bill itself, regardless of the size of the industry, as long as they are working with designated hazardous materials, it should be mandatory that there be a safety committee or for the ministry to make inspections, as one would expect it to do, to ensure that preventive measures are there.
With those few comments, I support the bill in principle. It is moving in the right direction and perhaps amendments will cover some of my concerns.
Mr. Gillies: In the absence of the Labour critic for the official opposition, my colleague the member for Sudbury (Mr. Gordon), I am pleased to offer some comments on Bill 79 this afternoon. I am very glad that this bill has come up for debate, that the minister has put it forward. I will refrain from referring to the minister as Billy, Mr. Speaker. I know that upsets you. It was allowed for most of the afternoon, but I will not refer to the minister as Billy again. No more Billys at all. That is three right there.
I do not propose to speak at great length. It was my hope and certainly the hope of the House that this bill might go into committee of the whole this afternoon and even be reported back and carried by the end of the day. I hope that is still a realistic expectation, although there are certain details regarding the amendments that the minister, my colleague the critic for the New Democratic Party and myself are talking about at this very moment. I will speak for a few minutes about the principle of this bill, the initiative and some of the background pertaining to it.
I should point out, as the member for Sudbury East did, that the minister would have it that this legislation appeared almost in a vacuum and that he should somehow have an exclusive call on the credit for bringing forward this type of legislation within our province. But we all know a national initiative has been launched by the government of Canada in an attempt to reach a national work place hazardous materials information system. I remind members of the House that there was a bit of a rocky period in the development of that national program because of this government in Ontario bringing forward Bill 101 in January 1986.
I will temper my criticism. I said the day the minister introduced this bill into the House that I understood the input from the government of Ontario on the question of the national WHMIS program was, for the most part, positive and constructive. I gave the minister credit for that at the time. I am glad, in terms of our participation in the national program, that the situation seems to be back on the rails.
I am sure the minister would not want, perhaps even inadvertently, not to point out the very overriding, positive contributions made towards the development of the program by such groups as the Canadian Labour Congress, the Canadian Chemical Producers' Association and the Canadian Manufacturers' Association, which I would say in fairness had as much, if not more, to do with the progress that has been made in this area as the government of Ontario.
I am sure that in a moment of fairness and candour the Minister of Labour, Billy, would agree with me on this matter. I feel I am going to be called to order, Mr. Speaker. I will not taunt you any further in this regard.
The bill we have before us goes beyond WHMIS in a couple of important ways. We have to ask ourselves whether it is enough.
I listened to the comments made by the member for Sudbury East today, made at some length, and I have to say I do not begrudge the time taken by my friend from Sudbury East to talk about this because of the length of time and the expertise that he has devoted in the whole area of occupational health and safety for many, many years. So I do not begrudge it at all. I have said before I could sit and listen to the member for Sudbury East all day on these matters and, in fact, on more than one occasion, I have.
As individual members I think we all get very hot and bothered, and justifiably so, about these occupational health and safety questions, particularly with regard to the question of designated substances. I had an incident in my constituency in recent weeks which I think most members of the House are aware of, with a company that was taken to task by the ministry for its handling of isocyanates, a rather dangerous chemical used in the production of plastic foam for insulation. The minister and I, on that particular occasion, with regard to that particular company, were in complete agreement on the situation and in complete agreement on the very tough stance that had to be taken with regard to that company.
During the period of some year and three or four months that I was Labour critic for our party, I was accused from time to time by a couple of representatives of business groups of being too pro-labour and implicitly anti-business on some of these matters of health and safety. But when I saw the situation at that Koolatron plant in Brantford, it convinced me more than ever that I do not think being tough in these health and safety matters is anti-business at all, because any responsible employer in our province wants to be on the right side of these issues and any responsible employer operating in our province does not want to be tarred with the same brush as those who would put any number of priorities ahead of the health and safety of our workers.
I toured that plant. The minister and I met with the company officials. We met with the ministry officials. I went down on the weekend after the matter was brought to my attention and toured the plant with some of the company officials. I was extremely disappointed in what I saw. I saw crews of workers who had been brought in especially for the weekend to clean up the situation, a situation that was less than satisfactory not only with regard to the use of hazardous chemicals, but also in terms of general cleanliness, the state of the plant. There were workers clearing away garbage and brush from the fire exits.
It convinced me more than ever that the kinds of employers that would flaunt the regulations with regard to hazardous substances are probably in many instances not that meticulous about other health and safety questions surrounding their plants. I made it clear to these people in this particular matter that I wanted them to remain as an employer in my constituency and I wanted them also to comply with the law. I hope and think they have taken steps towards doing that.
When we talk about designated substances and regulations and the right of workers to know the properties of chemicals with which they are dealing, I am putting that in the context of going into the room in which the Styrofoam, the insulation foam, was made in this factory in my own constituency, where I saw that the guns, the injection mode used for the manufacturing of this foam, used this isocyanate chemical and that the workers had been taught to test that the chemical was coming through the gun by spraying it on the walls in the area in which they were working.
The employers told me that the ministry staff drew it to their attention that when you are dealing with a hazardous chemical, why the heck would you test it on surfaces around which the workers are working eight hours a day. They did not seem to think there was anything wrong with this until it was brought to their attention that there was something very wrong with it.
I used this example because I want to put a very specific example before the House, a specific example of what happens when employers and, indeed, workers, do not know what they are supposed to do. They do not know enough about the properties of the chemicals with which they are working. They do not know enough and they are given insufficient instruction on the way these chemicals are to be dealt with and the steps that are to be taken to make sure that they are used safely.
They simply do not know enough. So when the ministry officials go in for an inspection, in this case prompted by an anonymous complaint, presumably by a former employee, that then is dealt with. But how many instances of a similar nature are not dealt with because they are simply not brought to the attention of the appropriate officials?
I would take it as a compliment if I were ever accused of being overly concerned about bringing these matters into focus and into line and being hard on business. In this regard I see it as a compliment, because most employers do not want to be tarred with this kind of brush at all.
Does this legislation go far enough in protecting the workers in the province? I guess we can say, from a political point of view, that we could all stand in the House and say that whatever is brought forward does not do enough. But perhaps that kind of comment is not that constructive at the moment because we have an opportunity, in the next number of minutes, to deal with some of the specifics of the bill and, perhaps, deal with some amendments.
I do want to make the point to the minister, and I know he shares this point of view with me, that no matter what we do with the legislation today, the guts of this whole area is the regulations. The regulations have to be strictly enforced if workers are going to be truly protected and, unfortunately, the ministry does not have a consistently good track record on the question of enforcement.
We do know that one third of the Ontario work places with hazardous materials on the premises have not carried out an assessment or implemented a control program for these materials as required by the current law. A second fundamental flaw in the legislation, or shortcoming, is that there is no provision within the legislation for specific testing mechanisms for work place materials.
There was a study which I believe my friend the member for Sudbury East alluded to earlier. It was a United States study entitled Toxicity Testing: Strategies to Determine Needs and Priorities. That test found that almost 80 per cent of over 48,000 chemicals common to US work places had absolutely no toxicological information available regarding those substances. The chemicals had simply not been tested, and the effect on the health of the people working with them was simply not known. For the remaining 20 per cent about which anything is known, the information is thought to be simply inadequate.
I would have to agree with the earlier speaker that it is probably safe to say that not one single chemical in use in the work places in our own province, not one, has been completely tested. Not one of them leaves no unknowns behind it in terms of the effects on human health. There are chemicals and agents within this province that are better tested, but there are those which are simply not tested adequately at all. So this bill does very little to address a problem which no doubt exists in Ontario just as it exists in Ohio, Michigan and other industrial states where the American study to which I have alluded was made.
The real substance of this bill is, as I said earlier, the regulations. The regulations will incorporate the WHMIS agreement, and it is here that the criteria which will determine what a hazardous material is will be set out -- what a trade secret is, what the cutoff level for toxin shall be, and so on. It must be guaranteed by the minister, not only through this legislation but also through the regulations that will follow, that both labour and industry will have an opportunity to study the regulations and approve them before they are gazetted.
I will very briefly allude to the question of amendments. As far as I am concerned, the real guts of the bill is in section 22c, and that is with regard to exactly what information should be furnished to the medical officer of health, the fire department and other vitally interested parties and under what conditions this information will be brought forward to those agencies.
All I can tell you at the moment, Mr. Speaker, is that the minister, my counterpart and myself are talking right now even as the debate continues. I know you may doubt my ability to do two things at once -- sometimes I doubt my ability to do one thing at once -- but we are talking about it. Whether it is the amendment proposed by the government, the amendment I am prepared to put forward or the one to be offered by the New Democratic Party, I think there is agreement among my colleagues and myself that some amendment is needed with regard to section 22c and we will get to that.
I will also be offering an amendment which I hope the minister will consider with regard to subsection 22d(1) where there is the provision that an employer will "assess all biological and chemical agents produced in the work place for use...to determine" whether they are hazardous or not. I am going to propose an amendment that is a little more specific about how that will be done. My colleague in the NDP agrees with me; it is pretty general. We are going to propose that an independent laboratory approved by the joint health and safety committee be the vehicle for such testing.
Further, there would be another amendment I would be proposing, to add a subsection 22d(3) with regard to the use of independent laboratory testing once the joint health and safety committee has run into a question regarding air quality, and I would like to deal with that too.
There is so much more that could be said, but I am going to stop right now because we have about 40 minutes, I hope, to deal with the amendments in committee of the whole. That is the extent of my comments at the present time.
Mr. J. M. Johnson: I do not intend to be very long; I have just one specific point about clause 22c(1)(d) and my concern for the firefighters of this province. I think it is very unfortunate that we do not give our fire departments a little better co-operation and assurance of safety. I remember a few months ago sitting in the standing committee on regulations and private bills and we were dealing with the Windsor bill pertaining to this same topic, the fact that materials should be marked so that the firefighters know what is in a building before they have to go in to fight a fire.
I support many of the comments made by the member for Sudbury East, the member for Erie and the member for Brantford (Mr. Gillies). But in this one instance, the mistake the minister is making at the present time is in saying there is a possibility they can inquire as to what is there. The onus should be on the employer or the owner of the building or the manufacturer to advise not only the firefighters but also the medical officer of health so that the fire department, the medical people and the police departments have some idea of what is in the building in the event of an emergency.
The onus should be on the owner of the material to advise the people I mentioned, rather than the reverse, that they can inquire, because they do not know when to inquire. I will leave it with that. I support the other members and their observations.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Morin): Do any other members wish to participate in this debate?
The member for Carleton.
Mr. Sterling: That is what I hope to be after the next election. With the help of all the Liberals in the area, I think I am going to make it too, Mr. Speaker. I am the member for Carleton-Grenville.
Mr. Breaugh: They would have to be Liberals to do it.
Mr. Sterling: The local Liberals, yes.
An Act to amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act is an act I am very much concerned about in that this government has failed to make amendments to this act to protect workers from one of the most significant health hazards that is faced in the work place today. I am talking about secondhand smoke. This government has failed to answer many, many questions that I have put to it about the particular problem of secondhand smoke in the work place.
This bill deals with the right of a worker to know of hazardous substances in his work place. While this bill deals primarily with chemical and physical substances that are less known as a hazard than secondhand tobacco smoke, I think this bill should be enlarged or widened to include provisions relating to secondhand smoke.
Therefore, during the committee of the whole House, I will be putting forward an amendment that will ensure that an employee will not only know what hazardous chemical substances he is working with, a right to know in this particular bill, but he will also have the right to know what levels of tobacco smoke he is being exposed to and the hazards of that secondhand smoke.
I find it somewhat ironic that the governments of Canada and Ontario would bring forward an act like this while ignoring perhaps the most significant health hazard of all in the work place, and that is secondhand smoke. We now have significant proof that secondhand smoke is causing up to 500 premature deaths a year in Canada. If we weighed all the problems caused by other hazardous substances in the country, I doubt we would reach the magnitude of the problem of secondhand smoke in the work place.
I hope I can count on the support of my colleagues from the New Democratic Party to widen the scope of this bill to include an amendment to section 22d. While not controlling smoking in the work place, which is what I would like to see this government do by adopting Bill 71, the Nonsmokers Protection Act, it will at least give the worker the right to know how bad the problem really is.
Hon. Mr. Wrye: I thank all honourable members for their comments.
I understand my friend the member for Carleton-Grenville (Mr. Sterling) will be proposing an amendment and I will offer some comments at that time.
The member for Wellington-Dufferin-Peel (Mr. J. M. Johnson) made some comments regarding the onus that appears to be on fire departments to request information under section 22c of the bill. He makes a good point. I hope we will be able to address that in amendments which we have been working on even as this debate has gone forward.
The member for Erie had some concerns, particularly regarding section 22e and confidential information. I am quite confident and comfortable with the bill as section 22e now stands in that we are entirely within the range and the realm of what is provided under WHMIS. I believe the confidentiality issue is very properly dealt with under section 22e and gives the parties proper protection in terms of confidentiality where it is necessary.
The mechanism of appeal is a very important one and indeed both sides are protected where, on final appeal, a substance has been labelled as confidential. An appeal from that decision may be made by workers or their representatives; so the appeals mechanism can be put into place by both.
My friend the member for Brantford made some comments regarding Koolatron as being an example of some of his concerns. I certainly share them, having visited that company as well. The member for Brantford talked a lot about a lack of knowledge of chemicals, and I suggest to him that is exactly what this right-to-know legislation is all about. We really are entering a new era, which we have not seen before. I agree with him that our lack of knowledge today is quite appalling. Under the right-to-know legislation, in a period of time, that knowledge will increase.
Right now, too often in work places, there is a lack of knowledge, not only by workers but also by supervisors and the senior levels of management. It is proposed under this legislation that this whole world will change, as indeed it must. Too often workers are exposed to injury or to illness simply through ignorance which they have and which ought not to be so; they should have been educated and trained properly in the safe handling of those substances. That is a management responsibility, and that responsibility has not always been met.
I am glad to hear that the member for Brantford intends to continue to walk with the workers, figuratively. In that, I guess he agrees with my friend from Sudbury who, just after he stood up and said some generally positive things about another piece of legislation this House may be debating, was taken out to the woodshed by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Grossman) and told, "We cannot support this legislation because it is anti-business." I am glad to see that my friend from Brantford is hanging tough and that there are at least a few members over on that side of the House who have some support for workers, which is considered in this bill.
To my friend the member for Sudbury East, who carried on for an hour and a half, I say quite frankly that I think I have heard this refrain before. Many of my friend's examples were examples I have heard not once, not twice, not three times, but four or five times. Some things never change.
There are a number of things I could say about the speech of my friend the member for Sudbury East. Let me deal with a little bit of his view of life and his view of information. He talked about 1,500 of 3,000 companies in the health and safety survey having toxic substances we did not know about. Let me give the facts. I think they are just a little different from what the member for Sudbury East gave. In so many areas these little shadings do become different.
First of all, there were not 3,000 companies; there were 5,000. The number has gone down from 50 per cent to 30 per cent, very quickly, in one quick step. Second, the information is that the workers -- members of the health and safety committees -- reported that these 1,500 companies had designated substances; in point of fact, in a large number of cases, they did not. Now, if my friend is asking me to agree with him that in a number of cases they did have designated substances and had not gone through the proper assessments and controls, I agree with him -- just as I agree with him that there are some health and safety committees not in place. I just wanted to put that small matter on the record.
Finally, in the interest of time, let me observe that a lot of the debate has turned on section 22c. My friend the member for Sudbury East speaks of the fact that we have weakened the bill from the previous bill, Bill 101. I acknowledge very openly that clauses (c) and (d) of subsection 22c(1) represent a change; they represent a situation where medical officers of health and fire departments shall request the information rather than have it all delivered on day one.
I do not want to leave the impression that matter was brought forward without proper consultation, because I know that, regrettably, my friend left that impression. That change was brought forward after we had discussions with Dr. Korn, who I am advised was the previous head of the Ontario medical officers of health, and he had a concern over the provisions of Bill 101.
I know we have been working diligently with my friend the member for Sudbury East and my friend the member for Brantford. I am trying to get some legislative wording I hope will satisfy all of us which will not put us into any straitjacket; which will allow for an orderly flow of this information to the ministry and to both fire departments and medical officers of health but at the same time will not, from my perspective, cut off the flow which may go the other way, which may be requested from an individual in this province; which will not tie the hands of that individual or of those two bodies in getting that request adhered to very quickly.
I hope we have some wording. If not, I guess we are going to be putting a series of amendments during committee of the whole House.
I thank the members for their comments. With that, I move second reading of the bill.
Motion agreed to.
Bill ordered for committee of the whole House.
House in committee of the whole.
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY AMENDMENT ACT
Consideration of Bill 79, An Act to amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
Mr. Chairman: We have in front of us Bill 79. Do we have any comments, questions or amendments, and if so, to what sections?
Mr. Martel: Section 2, Mr. Chairman. I move that --
Mr. Chairman: Excuse me, we are just taking a list at this point.
Mr. Martel: Oh, you want a list of all of them?
Mr. Chairman: That is correct.
Mr. Martel: Oh, good. l have amendments to sections 2 and section 3 of the bill. These will amend subsection 14(2) of the act in section 2 of the bill. In subsection 3 of the bill, I have amendments to subsections 22a(1), 22a(2), 22a(3), 22a(3), 22c(2), plus a new subsection 22c(4) and section 22h; and section 5.
Mr. Chairman: There does not seem to be a complete joining between the list that I have and the list you have mentioned. I have no amendment to section 2, so perhaps the table could have a copy.
Mr. Martel: I have just received a copy, because it has just been Xeroxed, of the amendment to section 3 of the bill, subsection 22c(4). Has anyone given the chair a copy of that?
Hon. Mr. Wrye: Mr. Chairman, if I can be helpful, I do not think you have any amendments to section 2. May I suggest we go through the bill? I think most of the amendments will be very straightforward with the exception of section 22c. I think we are close to working something out and if we can stand down section 22c when we get there, I think we may be able to get this done today.
Mr. Chairman: Yes, I have subsection 22c(4). If I may go back, the member has provided me with a copy of section 2. I have section 3: subsections 22a(1), 22a(2) and 22a(3). Then I have -- okay, this is different, Mr. Gordon's. Then I have clauses 22c(1)(c) to 22c(1)(e).
Mr. Martel: That is right, and a new subsection 22c(4) that has just been handed to you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman: Then I have a section 3: clause 22c(1)(e). I am sorry; that is government. Then subsection 2. I have one from each of the members. Thank you. Subsection 22c(4); no, that is the minister's. I have one from the minister: section 3 -- subsection 22c(4).
Mr. Gillies: Perhaps I can suggest this: The minister, my colleague and I have talked about section 22c and I think we are all agreed on one amendment. A lot of what you have in front of you, Mr. Chairman, will probably go out the window. I actually agree with the minister. I think you will find that if we go section by section, this would actually move along pretty quickly and that section 22c will be resolved.
Mr. Martel: Section 22c is partially typed, the members will notice, because we were negotiating even as the debate went on. That is also my motion. This had the material put in in long-hand to accommodate the minister in what he wanted so the first portion of that was what I had drafted with legal counsel, that section being "the Lieutenant Governor in Council" down to the word "clauses." We subsequently altered it slightly and I think we have reached some consensus. We will know in a little while.
Hon. Mr. Wrye: If we can begin, I think ultimately we may have a package, as my friend the member for Brantford (Mr. Gillies) points out, on section 22c. Basically, we were all trying to get at the same thing. We want to make sure that everything is consequential. I think my friend the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel) may end up moving all of them. I think we have a package that all three of us will agree to.
Mr. Chairman: You three have spoken to that same section. Do we have other members who wish to make amendments or comments to various sections?
Mr. Sterling: I have an amendment to section 22d of the act in section 3 of the bill.
Mr. Chairman: Yes, that is where you are adding another subsection. Are there any further sections, amendments, comments or questions?
Mr. Gillies: I think you have two amendments I will be proposing to subsections 22d(1) and 22d(3).
Mr. Chairman: I have a subsection 22c(1) for Mr. Gordon.
Mr. Gillies: I believe I also gave the Clerk one for subsections 22d(1) and 22d(3).
Mr. Chairman: The one that is designated as Mr. Gordon, subsections 22d(1) and 22d(3), yes.
What about the one that is designated Mr. Gordon, subsection 22c(1)?
Mr. Gillies: I believe there is consensus among the three parties on an amendment to section 22c, so in all likelihood I will not move the one proposed by the member for Sudbury (Mr. Gordon).
Mr. Chairman: Do the members wish to refer to any sections? There being none, shall section 1 stand as part of the bill?
Section 1 agreed to.
On section 2:
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Martel moves that section 2 of the bill be amended by striking out "clause" in the second line and by inserting in lieu thereof "clauses" and by adding thereto the following clause:
"(ab) if there are hazardous materials in the work place, post on the exterior of the work place, near the main entrance, a floor plan of the work place showing the names of all hazardous materials and their locations."
Mr. Martel: If I can speak briefly to that, I do this to try to ensure that firemen know, when they go to fight a fire, the location of the various substances on the floor, where they are, in order that they can fight the fire without fighting the unknown. In other words, an employer is going to have to post a notice to indicate where the designated substances are, and that would really alleviate many of the fears that firefighters tell me they have. I hope the government will accept it.
Mr. Gillies: Our party will be supporting the amendment.
Hon. Mr. Wrye: The government will not be supporting this amendment. I would urge all members not to support it. It is our view that while this matter is important, it ought to be covered by regulation and not in the statute.
I do not have a copy of the amendment in front of me, but I am aware of its substance. The problem within the statute that my friend has not pointed out is that the amendment speaks to providing, presumably, this material each and every time the volumes change. Quite frankly, it is really quite an unworkable situation, which the government believes it can handle by regulation.
I would not want to downplay the matter at all. My friend is quite right in having raised the principle of this issue, but I just ask the House to consider doing this by regulation. We want to do everything we can to help fire departments, but this is, in our judgement, not the right way to go.
Mr. Martel: Could I ask the minister what assurance he is prepared to give me and the time frame he is going to have in drafting that part of the regulation? We could win the vote. I am not worried about that. I want assurance that the workers are going to get a regulation in a big hurry to cover that, and I want to know how long we are talking about. I need to know that. Otherwise, I would have to vote on it.
We have enough firemen who have died. They have to be in a position to know what it is they are going to be dealing with and where it is. Having listened to the member for Erie (Mr. Haggerty) just a few minutes ago, I think I could even get some of the minister's colleagues to vote against the minister on this one.
Hon. Mr. Wrye: I cannot give my friend absolute -- I do not know if he wants something in writing, in blood. We intend to review this matter with the various fire departments and see what can be put in the bill, but it is unworkable, and I just urge my friend to understand what it is he wishes to put in the bill. We will work with the fire departments and the various organizations which represent firemen to put together something which is workable. But my friend, in his second-reading speech, was talking about putting something on the outside of a building. That just does not make sense. I think he would want to give us an opportunity to put something in the regulations which will go every bit as far as we can, but I cannot give him guarantees as to exactly what we will do today. We will make efforts in this regard.
Mr. Martel: Might I suggest to the government House leader that we would be prepared to stack all of these rather than have bells ringing, if that is agreeable to my friends and the government House leader. If we decide to divide on this, we are prepared to stack the votes until the end. I do not think we want to start calling in people at this late date.
Mr. Chairman: Is there a unanimous decision to stack all divisions until the end of the bill? Agreed.
Mr. Chairman: Shall Mr. Martel's amendment to section 2 carry?
On section 3:
Mr. Chairman: Mr Martel moves that subsection 22a(1)of the act as set out in section 3 of the bill be amended by inserting after "materials" in the second line "and all hazardous physical agents."
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Martel moves that subsection 22a(2) of the act, as set out in section 3 of the bill, be amended by striking out "and" at the end of clause (a) and by adding thereto the following clause:
"(ab) shall set out the quantity of each ingredient in the hazardous material;"
Mr. Martel: What we are attempting to do is make sure that people know the quantities. I know there is some problem with this, I understand that difficulty. But if people do not know what it is they are working with, and the bill has a certain level below which they do not even have to report it -- as inventories go up and down maybe the difficulty is insurmountable, I do not know, in terms of continuing to report that -- but surely on the inventory in the work place, management must continue to indicate to the workers, as part of the educational process, just what those quantities are. I want to hear some strong argument why that should not be posted.
Hon. Mr. Wrye: I ask my friends opposite to consider this amendment. I understand where my friend is coming from, but in many work places the quantity of each ingredient changes, sometimes by the hour. While I understand what my friend is getting at, I do not think this amendment is in any way practical.
Mr. Martel: My friend from Carleton-Grenville makes a suggestion. Could we indicate a range? We have to know or have some idea of what is there. I realize the difficulty with trying to get the exact number of pounds on any given day, year after year, but between now and tomorrow -- because obviously we are going to get much of it done -- could the minister have his staff look at the possibility of some sort of limit within which they might have to change? In other words, whether they carry two tonnes or 2,000 tonnes, if they decide to go well beyond that, it should be in their capacity to do it. Surely there might be some flexibility that could be looked at over the evening and tomorrow morning.
Mr. Sterling: The only suggestion I would have on this is to have a maximum. In other words, if the amendment read "shall set out the maximum quantity of each ingredient in the hazardous material," that might meet the needs of the proposer of this motion.
Mr. Martel: I wonder if the minister would at least have someone look at it over the evening and we could stand it down until tomorrow. The minister agrees. Thank you.
Mr. Chairman: Do we have unanimous consent to stand this down?
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Martel moves that subsection 22a(3) of the act, as set out in section 3 of the bill, be struck out and the following substituted therefor:
"(3) Where an inventory required by subsection 1 is amended during a year, the employer, not later than the first day of February in the following year, shall prepare a revised version of the inventory incorporating all changes made during the preceding year.''
Mr. Martel: The minister has indicated he is prepared to accept that, so there is no sense debating it if he is going to accept it.
Hon. Mr. Wrye: It had been our intention to carry this matter through in regulation but I have no objection to accepting the amendment from my friend the member for Sudbury East. We will accept it.
Mr. Gillies: We are in agreement.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Martel: I would like to ask the House's indulgence, if we could introduce both amendments at this time. The reason I do that is to meet the concern of the minister so that he will know that what we are trying to do is move as a package, actually, clauses 22(1)(c) to 22(1)(e) and subsection 22c(4), because I am sure if one carries the other one will. If he wants to separate them, we are prepared to do that, too. But we might discuss them in tandem, rather than individually, so as to indicate what in fact we are proposing.
Hon. Mr. Wrye: Perhaps if I can talk long enough we might be able to see the clock because we are close; we may be able to work something through. As matters stand now and without putting anything on the floor, I say to my friend the member for Sudbury East, as I understand it, we have some difficulty with clause (e) of my friend's proposed amendment; not much and I think that one can be overcome. We still have some difficulty, there and if we can overcome that difficulty he could move his amendment and we then might be able to put together a package. I think we are pretty close.
Mr. Gillies: I have read the proposed amendments we were all working on. We are getting close, and to help things along, tomorrow I will withdraw the amendment proposed by the member for Sudbury to subsection 22c(1).
On motion by Hon. Mr. Nixon, the committee of the whole House reported progress.
The House adjourned at 6 p.m.