L032 - Tue 23 Jun 1987 / Mar 23 jun 1987
The House met at 1:30 p.m.
COMMISSION ON ELECTION FINANCES
Mr. Speaker: I beg to inform the House that today I have laid upon the table the 10th report of the Commission on Election Finances respecting the indemnities and allowances of the members of the Legislative Assembly. That report will be found in your mailboxes.
Mr. Shymko: Today marks the tragic anniversary of the crash of Air-India flight 182 off the coast of Ireland. On this day in 1985, 329 lives were lost, 80 per cent of them Canadians; namely, 280 passengers who were Canadians, 62 of them children.
I rise, therefore, on behalf of all members of this Legislature, to commemorate and to honour the memory of the victims of this disaster and extend condolences to the families and friends of those who lost their lives in the disaster.
I would like to extend my deepest sympathy to all members of the Hindu community as well as Muslims, Sikhs and Christians who on this day will light candles in memory of those who perished in this senseless tragedy. We feel the grief and share the loss that has affected so many families in Toronto, Ontario and the rest of Canada.
We have come to realize that terrorism is not something that was somebody else's problem. We realize that Canadians were not isolated from this terrible action on the part of those who, for ideological or whatever reasons, perpetrate these terrible crimes with so many innocent victims.
We have made some progress in combating terrorism. There is still a great deal to be done and I hope our government, along with the federal government, will pursue that route.
ONTARIO LOTTERY CORP.
Mr. Laughren: I rise yet again to issue an offer on behalf of the government, because the Minister of Tourism and Recreation (Mr. Eakins) is too shy to extend an offer to all entrepreneurs anywhere in Ontario, Canada or any other jurisdiction, to come to Ontario and invade the Ontario market with their lottery tickets.
It seems not to matter to the government that this province makes $500 million a year on lottery profits; it is willing to put that in jeopardy by allowing entrepreneurs in this province to sell lottery tickets to other jurisdictions even though other jurisdictions have laws forbidding that. This government is quite happy to put in jeopardy that $500 million.
The Minister of Tourism and Recreation brought the bill back and wants the bill to go to third reading. For two months the government has sat and allowed Bill 115 to languish in third reading. It has been subjected to some kind of lobbying, some kind of high-powered pressuring, and the House leader and the Premier (Mr. Peterson) have submarine-torpedoed the Minister of Tourism and Recreation and will not call the bill for third reading.
The state of Florida has asked for three separate injunctions forbidding the sale of Ontario lottery tickets in Florida, yet this government looks the other way and winks at the people who are engaging in that unlawful practice.
GREATER KINGSTON CHEESE FESTIVAL
Mr. South: I take this opportunity to tell the House about the Greater Kingston Cheese Festival. We want to tell you, Mr. Speaker, and this House, that the best cheddar cheese in the world is made in eastern Ontario.
Mr. Gillies: All right.
Mr. South: That is right, Phil.
This will be a week-long event beginning on Monday, September 28, and running until Sunday, October 4. The first part of the week will be an opportunity to tell the children of the province about the magic and the history of cheese-making. The latter part of the week will be like an old-country-type fair, emulating the pioneer times when cheese was such an important commodity in Ontario.
I would also like to take the opportunity at this time to thank the Ministry of Tourism and Recreation for providing a $50,000 Destinations East grant to make this festival possible.
All of you, come on down to eastern Ontario and eat the best cheddar cheese in the world.
Mr. Stevenson: Last week, I met with a committee of citizen representatives to discuss the report by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications regarding the reconstruction of Highway 48 from the hamlet of Virginia to the Morning Glory School in the town of Georgina.
The local citizens and all elected representatives feel reconstruction is necessary because of the increased traffic on Highway 48. Rapidly increasing truck traffic, particularly related to the aggregate industry, extra recreational and commercial traffic related to the gradual completion of Highway 404, and the growth in local traffic are contributing to a potentially dangerous situation.
The government killed the construction of an alternative highway to ease the burden on Highway 48 in the future. It is now time for the minister to commit funding for the extension of the four-lane section east of Virginia or to put in a continuous left-turn lane and to construct a left-turn lane at the Morning Glory School.
The committee will be submitting a brief to the minister and I urge the minister to act quickly on this issue.
Mr. Reville: My statement today is entitled Books, Yes, Housing, No; or How the Minister Wrote While the Folks Camped Out.
One might have expected a Minister of Housing to be busy creating new housing, protecting existing housing and ensuring tenant protection; but no, this minister has been writing books. As books go, they are quite nice, though not particularly relevant for people who have no housing. Take this one, Understanding Your House. Is the big problem in Ontario really misunderstood houses? Do you not need to have a house before you can understand a house? Mind you, Mr. Speaker, psychotherapy for housing is trendy.
Two other titles seem to have been written for a smaller readership, a readership of one, in fact. This one, The Water Resistant House, is autobiographical. It is a somewhat wistful dream that somehow in the Legislature the minister can avoid being all wet. The companion volume is clearly the minister's diary. It contains the usual recipes for self-improvement and is appropriately called Get Your House in Shape.
Dare we hope, Minister?
CENTRES OF EXCELLENCE
Mr. Epp: I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the University of Waterloo, a truly world-class institution, for its successful bid at being designated to participate in the centres of excellence program announced last Thursday by our Premier (Mr. Peterson). The announcement solely designated the University of Waterloo, among other institutions, as a Centre for Groundwater Research, as well as a participant in four other centres.
I would also like to salute the very highly qualified members of the Premier's Council, a group whose efforts should not be overlooked, at making their selection through an exhaustive process involving a formidable list of very qualified proposals. I know that the university community is equally elated at the prospect of bringing together large corporations, small businesses, labour and academics to place Ontario on the leading edge in international research and product marketing.
The selection process itself has been unprecedented in that it has involved co-operation and collaboration among these groups and indeed has relied on external expertise from around the world to review and evaluate the technical and scientific merit of all participants. By this very exercise, I am truly proud that the University of Waterloo, in being designated to participate in five of the seven centres of excellence, will continue to be at the forefront of international competitive activity, a distinction which allows it to remain second to none.
ACQUIRED IMMUNE DEFICIENCY SYNDROME
Mr. Brandt: I rise today to congratulate a company in my riding on an act of good corporate citizenship. Polysar included in the latest edition of its corporate newsletter a comprehensive booklet entitled, AIDS: Myths and Facts. This booklet, prepared by the Polysar medical department, outlines some of the myths about this serious disease, while at the same time educating about how the disease spreads and how it can be prevented.
This is the type of clear thinking and commonsense approach to this disease that we should all applaud and encourage. Acquired immune deficiency syndrome is a serious health problem and it should be treated as such. Education and dispelling the myths surrounding AIDS are two of the best weapons that we have to fight this illness. I applaud the action taken by Polysar and I urge other employers and institutions to take similar action with respect to their own internal publications.
RECORD OF DEBATES
Mr. Speaker: Last Thursday, the member for St. George (Ms. Fish) raised a point of order bringing to the attention of the House that the printed Hansard for Monday, June 8, contained a correction that went beyond the normal editing practices followed by the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.
It was pointed out that the Premier (Mr. Peterson) on that date had used the word "country" instead of the word "province" when speaking about Quebec as reflected in that day's Instant Hansard, but that the printed version had been altered in favour of the word "province."
I undertook to check into the matter and can report to the House that the correction was undertaken solely upon the responsibility of our Hansard branch. The editing practices of our Hansard branch are derived from Westminster practice and call upon editors to correct "errors of fact mentally corrected by those listening."
There is no question that the word used was "country," but Quebec is a province and the editor's decision was to substitute that description of the jurisdiction. I thank the honourable member for St. George for bringing this matter to the attention of the House and the chair. After looking into this matter, I am satisfied that Hansard has acted within the bounds of our practice and that we continue to be very well served.
Mr. Harris: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: The whole matter of the Hansard reporting is one that --
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Harris: It is a new point of order, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: You are challenging my ruling?
Mr. Harris: No, I am not. I have a new point of order, I said. Thank you.
The whole question of Hansard reporting is one that ought to be of a very high concern to all members of this Legislature. I am not referring exclusively to the example that was brought to you, Mr. Speaker. You asked me, do I challenge your ruling: I do not think you made a ruling. I think you reported the facts as we asked you to do and we thank you for that.
However, I would suggest to you that this is a matter this Legislature ought to look into. One vehicle for doing that would be to refer this matter to the standing committee on the Legislative Assembly as to what latitude do our practices allow, by taking a look at some of the examples that are there. Is this, in fact, the latitude that we want to give to others to put into the printed record, in fact what is supposed to be a transcript or the minutes, if you like, of the procedures and the statements that are made in this Legislature?
Now there is a vehicle when somebody inadvertently makes a mistake or says something he did not mean to say; there is a vehicle in Hansard for the actual statement to be printed and to rise to correct the record. That vehicle being there, we have had other examples and this one particularly concerns us.
In the light of that, I would ask you, Mr. Speaker, whether you would refer this matter to the Legislative Assembly committee. In this particular example that was brought to your attention, we are dealing with a Premier (Mr. Peterson) who welcomed Premier Bourassa into Canada; we are talking about a Premier who has demonstrated repeatedly a mindset on his vision of Canada, contrary to the one that the interpretation by Hansard has placed on his remarks.
I would ask you to refer this matter in general to the Legislative Assembly committee.
Mr. Speaker: I listened very, very carefully, and it is certainly up to this House or to the Speaker to make any suggestion or give anything to the standing committee on the Legislative Assembly to review and consider. I am certain that the chairman was listening very carefully and I am sure that it may be taken under consideration.
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
COMPUTERS IN EDUCATION
Hon. Mr. Conway: The recent speech from the throne committed Ontario schools to provide a curriculum and a learning experience that are relevant and meaningful to all students. As part of that mandate, Ontario schools were challenged to explore the important areas of science and technology.
To help schools meet that challenge, I would like to announce the Ontario Ministry of Education's plans to take advantage of developing computer technology in order to provide Ontario students with wider access to educational software and to a variety of microcomputer systems.
These plans focus on the importance of a software portability environment. A software portability environment is a technological advance that will make it possible for the educational software we have developed to be used on both of Ontario's grant-eligible microcomputer systems, the Icon and the IBM Ednet. As well, a software portability environment anticipates that other microcomputer systems will meet the requirements necessary to become eligible to receive Ontario Ministry of Education grant assistance.
This will ensure that computer systems used in our schools keep pace with new developments in technology and will stimulate the development of educational software that responds to the emerging needs of our students and our teachers. By providing this mechanism whereby all approved educational software packages can be used by computer systems of many potential vendors, the Ontario Ministry of Education is also opening the door to new participation from a wider range of computer developers and vendors.
The technology that supports these computers is dynamic and there have been dramatic changes in technology since the Ontario Ministry of Education --
Mr. Speaker: Order. It is very difficult to hear. There are many private conversations taking place. Rather than having further interjections, it might be -- order.
Hon. Mr. Conway: The technology that supports these computers is dynamic and there have been dramatic changes in technology since the Ontario Ministry of Education released its first set of educational microcomputer functional requirements in 1983. Improved technology now allows software developers to create sophisticated educational programs, using such things as high-resolution colour displays, a standardized keyboard for English and French, and enhanced voice and sound production capabilities. The educational software that is incorporating such innovations has proven very successful with very young learners and also with those students who have learning exceptionalities.
It is with this in mind that the Ontario Ministry of Education is today releasing its proposed phase II computer requirements to the educational community, software developers and micro-computer vendors. These groups will have until the end of September to suggest ways in which the proposed requirements might be modified to reflect changing trends in technology and the new challenges of the classroom. These suggestions will be carefully considered in the development of a revised document which I expect to make available to the public by December of this year.
By making a commitment to keep pace with the computer industry, we are ensuring that our students will continue to enjoy a stimulating and relevant educational system that is sensitive and attuned to the changing needs of today's modern society.
Hon. Mr. Kwinter: I wish to inform the members that I will be introducing motions to amend Bill 170, the Pension Benefits Act, during clause-by-clause review by this House. The majority of the amendments are minor drafting changes to improve the clarity of the bill and to ensure that Ontario has the best possible pension legislation. Many changes are the result of suggestions made during this April's public hearings on the bill before the standing committee on general government.
Among major changes to Bill 170 are the following:
A new section will be added to the bill to reinforce the government's commitment to inflation protection for pensions. The section will mandate that pensions be adjusted to provide inflation-related increases. Through this action, we wish to give assurance of the government's firm resolve to introduce mandatory inflation protection. Specifics of the implementation procedures will be recommended by the Task Force on Inflation Protection for Employment Pension Plans, which is due to report by the end of the year.
Section 54, requiring pensions of equal value regardless of marital status, will be deleted. This action is taken due to the almost unanimous opposition of all interest groups, who indicated concerns about the section's practical effect on pension benefits currently being offered to surviving spouses.
Section 32 will be revised to expand pension plan membership criteria for part-time workers. Currently the section states that part-time employees will be eligible to join a pension plan after two years of service if they have earned at least 35 per cent of the Canada pension plan's year's maximum pensionable earnings, or YMPE, for two consecutive years. This amounts to approximately $9,065 in 1987. The section will be revised to permit eligibility for part-time workers who either earn 35 per cent of the YMPE or work at least 700 hours per year.
Section 75, dealing with employees' rights when a plan is wound up, will be revised so that it will apply to all plan terminations as of April 1, 1987. It will also provide that, where an employer's consent is required for the purposes of receiving an ancillary benefit on a windup, such consent is deemed to be given. This amendment, which will apply to the Goodyear plant closure in May 1987 and similar circumstances, was previously announced in this House on May 11, 1987.
Subsection 25(1) will be revised and subsection 25(2a) added to permit former members of the plan -- that is, retirees -- to be represented on an advisory committee. Many retiree groups have asked for this change and the government agrees that retirees should have a voice on an advisory committee.
I am pleased that after so much work we have reached the stage of clause-by-clause review of Bill 170. I hope, with the co-operation of the members, we will have speedy passage of the bill so that pension plan members can realize the many important and welcome reforms in this legislation.
COMPUTERS IN EDUCATION
Ms. Fish: I rise to respond to the extraordinary statement made by the Minister of Education (Mr. Conway) today about computers in education. Advancing computers in education brings to mind the award-winning program I was pleased to see broadcast and developed on TVOntario called Bits and Bytes.
Hon. Mr. Scott: I am glad she is off women's issues, Sean.
Ms. Fish: I think the only bite the Minister of Education will be providing in the school system is a bite from the local taxpayer, particularly with the consistent reduction in priority that this government has given to education expenditure as a percentage of full provincial expenditures and as a percentage of support for local expenditures on public education. In 1986 that level of expenditure hit its lowest level in some 16 years and it has continued to plummet notwithstanding the Treasurer's (Mr. Nixon) trumpeting of a few short weeks ago of his intention to reverse the trend and to expand education expenditure.
This proposal for computers in education might indeed be better received if the minister had taken more seriously the issues of basic skills for the students of this province rather than his proposal about some vague sort of testing, maybe in five, six or seven years, kind of.
Finally, of course, one is put in mind of the fact that computers and tendering are not something the minister has held dear to his heart. Indeed, in excess of 50 per cent of the computer contracts in the Ministry of Government Services are untendered --
Hon. Mr. Scott: Who is your women's issues critic now?
Mr. Gillies: We all do it.
Ms. Fish: -- something that does not seem to bother the minister very much; and, indeed, some excess of 30 per cent of the computer contracts in the Ministry of Education are untendered. In addition to not disturbing the minister in the least, it apparently does not disturb the Premier (Mr. Peterson), apparently does not disturb the Treasurer, apparently does not disturb anybody that massive numbers of untendered contracts in computers are going out.
Mr. Gillies: Ian is disturbed.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. McClellan: Stop the clock.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Ms. Fish: The issue before us today is, in part, the question of the standards and the requirements to be met by the various computer companies before they can make proposals to the education system -- evidently make proposals as distinct from tendering, because of course the minister for at least in excess of 30 per cent of his contracts is not very concerned about the tendering side of it.
But even in making proposals one puts the question to the minister: in the light of the recent decision of at least one of the companies previously specified as acceptable for computers in school projects to close its Ontario production plant and to move its operations and production to Korea, will the change in guidelines recognize that kind of move, permit it to occur in tendering, or will the minister in at least this small and modest way require that any proposals that come forward for the educational system, to be reimbursed by the public education dollar, be produced here in Ontario?
Mr. Ashe: I rise to respond to the statement by the Minister of Financial Institutions (Mr. Kwinter) regarding Bill 170. Frankly, I am surprised that he would take up the time of the Legislature to make a statement relative to something we will dealing with in committee before the day is out.
In any event, this is, as the minister has identified, a very significant piece of legislation that, frankly, implements many years of negotiation and consensus across Canada that was, frankly, started and finalized by the previous administration. It is funny I did not hear in the minister's statement that really that is what Bill 170 does. I just want to put on the record, Mr. Speaker, that as you notice in here, the minister indicates recognition of inflation protection and is making an amendment accordingly.
I can assure you, Mr. Speaker, that again that particular recognition did not just come out of the blue. We are not satisfied to give the right to the government through regulations to implement whatever final consensus and direction there is to implement some form of inflation protection. We will be making an amendment to indicate to the minister and to the government that they will be obligated to bring an amendment to Bill 170, as it is finally structured, back to this Legislature to be dealt with in the democratic fashion.
Mr. McClellan: I want to respond as well to the statement by the Minister of Financial Institutions on his pension legislation and to note that there are, I think, three changes of heart in the minister's bill that should be acknowledged.
First, the minister has placed mandatory inflation protection into the bill. That is a change of heart from the position he took in the committee when he said it was going to be possible for the Friedland task force to come in with a verdict that inflation protection was, in fact, impossible. I think there has been a major change of heart on the part of the minister and a commitment will be enshrined in Bill 170 stating that pension benefits shall be adjusted to provide inflation-related increases. That is an important gain for ordinary working people.
Second, the minister has indicated that the Family Law Act will prevail over the Pension Benefits Act and that couples will be able to use pension benefits as part of the general assets pool in order to reach amicable negotiated settlements. Again, this is a change of heart on the part of the government. I want to pay tribute to the member for Ottawa Centre (Ms. Gigantes) who has raised this issue in the Legislature and who was planning to move an amendment to do precisely that. I congratulate the minister for taking that initiative in restoring the primacy of the Family Law Act.
Third, the minister has mentioned again that this bill will benefit the Goodyear workers. I want to pay tribute to the member for Lakeshore (Mrs. Grier) for raising that issue repeatedly in the House and to congratulate the government for having the wisdom to incorporate a special provision in the bill that will ensure the Goodyear workers will receive full pension credits upon the passage of this bill.
There are still a number of issues that need to be dealt with. We will be moving our amendments in this House to try to persuade the government to enshrine the principle of full inflation protection to the level of 100 per cent of the consumer price index in the bill, and we will have an opportunity to debate that later today. We have amendments as well to put an end once and for all to the theft of surplus pension funds by corporations. Again, we hope the government will come to its senses and stop the legalized theft of property that belongs to ordinary working people. The government has a chance to do the right thing. We will see later this afternoon if it is going to take the opportunity or not.
COMPUTERS IN EDUCATION
Mr. Allen: I rise to respond to the Minister of Education's statement with respect to computers in education. I am reminded that today we have had two major events in education in these precincts: first by a new network of public education groups concerned about the inability of the government to live up to its own throne speech objectives; and second, one respecting developments in literacy. They provide a kind of context in which one wants to look at computers in education.
The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, specialists in this field, was very sceptical of the move of the ministry and the past government into this field. Field operations have raised a lot of questions, as indeed have some recent events. For example, the Icon, which was supposed to be a new specialty in the economy of Ontario when it was introduced, is now produced in Taiwan. One wonders about some of the rest of the program.
For example, I had discussions with a hands-on, very informed principal in my own school system in Hamilton, who had developed for his own school, prior to and during the Icon program, a very impressive delivery program which cost about $6,000. When the Icons were awarded to him, the cost was $35,000 for basically the same operation. One wonders how much is needlessly being spent across the province on the computers in education program.
If I read this proposal by the minister correctly, it is to open up the accessibility of the computer program to all sorts of hardware and software deliverers. In that sense, it will undoubtedly economize the system, and I am grateful for that. But I remind the minister that persons as eminent in science and technology as David Suzuki have recently written very sceptical things about the presence and place of computers in education.
Mr. Pope: My question is to the Premier. There have been some public musings lately about whether the auto pact should be or is on the bargaining table at the free trade talks. I think every party in this Legislature agrees -- certainly, on January 29 every party supported the resolution of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Grossman) that the auto pact should not and would not be part of the free trade talks.
The auto pact has existed since 1965. It has worked well prior to these talks and we want it to continue after these talks.
Mr. Speaker: Order. I find it very difficult; I cannot hear the question. Would the member place the question please.
Mr. Pope: Given the fact that in spite of the public musings, all three parties in this Legislature supported the Leader of the Opposition's resolution last January 29 that the auto pact should not and would not be part of the free trade talks from Ontario's point of view, given the fact that this issue is already decided in this Legislature, that the auto pact has existed since 1965, that it has worked for Canadian interests prior to these trade negotiations and that we want it to continue to work in our interests after these talks, putting aside the issue of the free trade talks, can the Premier confirm that under article 7 of the auto pact the Americans can terminate the auto pact at any time by giving 12 months' notice?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: Yes.
Mr. Pope: Good. Now that the Premier has at last acknowledged that, the Premier knows --
An hon. member: First point.
Mr. Pope: That is the first point. Now that he has acknowledged that -- and he did not over the past three weeks -- in the face of the comments emanating from the Governor of Michigan since last September that the auto pact in its present form is unacceptable, in the face of the United Auto Workers' comments -- l guess thanks to Bob White -- that it wants the auto pact renegotiated or cancelled, in the face of the those challenges, what is he doing in the United States to protect Ontario's jobs and Ontario's interests?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: I want to correct my honourable friend in his misapprehension that people in this House were not aware of the fact that the auto pact, under its terms and conditions, could be cancelled on one year's notice. That has existed since the inception of the contract some years ago. I could have told the honourable member that if he had asked a year or two ago. As a matter of fact, it was discussed in this House a matter of a year or two ago. I guess my honourable friend was practicing law in Timmins that particular day. But I assume everybody knows that, and I assume that if my honourable friend knows it, everybody else knows it. The lowest common denominator understands that basic fact about the auto pact.
Let me say to my honourable friend that this has been a matter of some considerable discussion here, in Washington and in a variety of other places. I am aware of the musings by Mr. Merkin, Senator Levin, Congressman Levin, Mr. Blanchard, Congressman Dingell and others with respect to the auto pact.
I understand, as the member does, that there is some discomfiture with it in some quarters in the United States at the present time because, as he knows and I know, Canada is running a surplus at the present time. I do not hesitate to point out to them that over the life of that agreement, over the last 20 or 25 years, it has come out about net, net.
The member will recall there was a time when we were running a deficit under the auto pact and his leader suggested then that we renegotiate the auto pact, he will recall, so I am glad he has clearly stated his view on the matter.
I have discussed this with senior officials in the automotive industry here as well as in the US. Even though there is some disgruntlement by gentlemen he has mentioned and I have mentioned, I would hope that together we could impress upon everyone concerned the seriousness and importance of that document, not just for Canada but for all of North America.
Mr. Pope: We do not need to be told by the Premier that there is some concern by the Americans over the auto pact. This has been going on for a year and he has not done anything about it. That is the concern we have. He has not done anything about it. He can make all the personal observations he wants. There are 285,000 jobs at stake on this issue. We want to know what he has done to protect those jobs. So far he has told us nothing and I presume that is what he has done: nothing.
This is the same government that sold out 1,000 softwood lumber workers in northern Ontario in a written document that he refused to make public last September and it came out only six months later.
Mr. Speaker: Final supplementary?
Mr. Pope: What is he doing to protect those jobs in Ontario? Never mind the diatribe -- what is he doing to help those workers?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: With respect, to my honourable friend, I think he continues to misinterpret the softwood lumber discussion and he may want to direct some of his venom and his strong remarks to his kissing cousins in Ottawa, who are the ones who made the decision. Whether or not they take his views seriously on this matter is something for them to determine.
As I said, we have discussed this with a great variety of interests in the US. I believe the federal government, hopefully, is on side that it should not be changed in this matter. I have also discussed this with my colleagues. Roger Smith, the chairman of General Motors, has called the auto pact the greatest instrument of trade policy in the history of the world. In other words, there is a substantial element that does support it. Our job is to gather those up, and I believe there is no risk at the present time of a unilateral cancellation.
My worry is that the federal negotiators, perhaps under pressure from the Americans, may want to alter it or subtly gut the auto pact, and we cannot stand situations that either directly or indirectly change that auto pact. We need the tariff protection that surrounds it and I hope I can take the view to the federal negotiators that this House stands united that no one should try to get around that pact directly or indirectly.
Ms. Fish: The Premier knows that the leader of the official opposition opposed the inclusion of the auto pact in any free trade talks and represented so right from the start. Is that another correction of Hansard we are going to see?
Mr. Speaker: Order. To the Minister of Education?
Ms. Fish: Yes, through you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: Order. The Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Riddell) and the member for Brantford (Mr. Gillies) could continue their conversation somewhere else if they wish, but the member for St. George has a question to the Minister of Education.
Ms. Fish: On March 28, 1985, in Sudbury, the Premier (Mr. Peterson) made a commitment that should he form a government in this province he would restore a 60 per cent level of provincial support to local education expenditures. In view of the fact that in 1986 the level of provincial support fell to its lowest point in 16 years, to 44.9 per cent, and in 1987, notwithstanding the many promises by the Treasurer (Mr. Nixon), appears to have fallen again to 42.7 per cent, can he tell this House when he, as Minister of Education, intends to implement the Premier's promise to restore the level to 60 per cent?
Hon. Mr. Conway: The lady from St. George, the newly appointed critic for Education, began her question by observing that we know where the leader of the Tory party stands. I do not know that we can say that, because I was reading the other day a statement by former Premier William Davis, who told the Tory fund-raiser last week, and I quote -- he was speaking of the Tory leader's "willingness to simply accept the status quo being good enough."
That is what Bill Davis of Brampton says of the Tory leader. Who am I to quarrel with the former Tory Premier of Ontario?
Mr. Speaker: Order. The member for Sarnia.
Mr. Brandt: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: The member knows full well that is a misprint in a magazine. I think it is detestable that he brings it up. He knows full well that is the case.
Mr. Speaker: Order. We will just wait, if you want to waste the time this way. We will just wait.
Mr. Harris: This is the sleazy government that changes Hansard, that changes the rules.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Conway: The members opposite are obviously very sensitive. They stand up every day and correct the record on everyone else's account. I just drew attention to that because I think it is very important for the member.
I want to say to the member for Nipissing (Mr. Harris) that this government, under the leadership of the Premier (Mr. Peterson) and the Treasurer (Mr. Nixon), has over the last two years substantially improved the funding to education in Ontario. We have tripled the capital allocations for next year over the last year of the Tory administration.
Miss Stephenson: Oh no, you have not.
Hon. Mr. Conway: For the visitor from York Mills, we have substantially improved the cash flow to school boards, something about which they long complained. Our grants are well above inflation, and we have given education not only the kind of financial support but also the kind of priority that we believe it deserves in our modern society. We are very proud of our record and we are quite prepared to stand our record against the record of the previous regime.
Mr. Speaker: Order. We will just wait, if you do not want any questions. We will just wait.
Ms. Fish: I guess, Minister, it is an issue of credibility, an issue of whether the Premier's word is any good. Apparently, it is not good with respect to Hansard choosing to correct "country" to "province" on a direct question surrounding immigration and constitutional reform, but this is a question about his word respecting the specific increase in restoration to 60 per cent support by the province to local educational expenditures.
The support that has occurred from the minister's government, under that same Premier, has declined steadily in two years. Indeed, as a proportion of government expenditure it has reduced again to its lowest point, to 10.6 per cent in 1987-88 down from 15.3 per cent.
In an attempt to get past the minister's blunderbuss, my question is a simple one. When will he live up to his Premier's word, if indeed it is good, and restore to 60 per cent the provincial level of funding for education?
Hon. Mr. Conway: Methinks the honourable lady doth protest too much, particularly about blunderbuss. I have to say to my friend from St. George that when one looks at 1987, one sees the Ontario government's share of approved educational expenditures at about 55 per cent; not bad at all. Yes, we have a distance yet to go. We are not going to be able to correct the damage done by the lady from York Mills overnight.
I went to say that when one looks at not just the 55 per cent of approved expenditures but also at the capital account -- there have been members across the way come to me and say, "Minister, will you please build that school that our government did not find its way to build?" I will not be any more specific than that. They have found much more success in recent months than they ever found with their own colleagues. To be sure, more remains to be done, and as a government that has a strong commitment to public education we intend to do more. I invite the support of the honourable member in that very important responsibility.
Ms. Fish: The minister's patronizing response does disservice to the ratepayers, the parents and the children within the educational system of this province.
Mr. Speaker: And the question?
Ms. Fish: The minister now chooses to obfuscate the issue by referring to approved educational expenditures. The minister knows that virtually every board in this province, from the richest to the poorest, has expenditures in excess of the approved ceilings, responding to the direct and immediate need of expenditure to educate our young people. The minister also knows that as a consistent percentage of that expenditure, the provincial share has declined and has continued to decline under this minister and this Premier to its lowest level now in 1987.
Mr. Speaker: And the question is?
Ms. Fish: The question is, is the minister, instead of restoring the 60 per cent, the provincial level of support to education, thereby giving the lie to his Premier's word, intending now to hide behind the skirts of the artificially low ceiling of approved educational expenditures?
Hon. Mr. Conway: I warn the honourable lady she might offend the parliamentary sensibilities of the House leader of the official opposition with the vernacular she is indulging in this afternoon. We do not want to upset the opposition House leader with that kind of language, do we?
I just want to say that we are this year, in fiscal 1987-88, spending something like $9 billion a year, $47 million a day. The honourable lady seems to be suggesting that we as a government commit ourselves to 60 per cent of the clear blue Ontario sky. Is that her suggestion? Is that her party's view? Certainly that does not seem to me to make very much fiscally responsible sense.
We are saying as a government that today we are funding 55 per cent of approved expenditures, and we are looking at a major report on educational finance that indicates a variety of creative ways and possibilities to address a number of the structural difficulties about which there is some concern, and I have to tell the honourable lady from St. George that we have a strong commitment --
Mr. Speaker: Order. New question, the member for York South.
Mr. Rae: My question to the Premier is about the auto pact. He will know that the question of tariff reduction across the board as it affects the auto pact is really the central problem. He will know full well that if tariffs are reduced overall and eliminated overall, as now appears to be the objective of the talks of both governments, that will effectively "reduce the auto pact to a shell," to quote the words of the memorandum.
The Premier stated on June 3 that as far as he was concerned the auto pact was not on the table: this is 1986, over a year ago. He said the same thing in November 1986. He said the same thing again this week. Yet the fact remains that it is clear the auto pact has been on the table all that time, as has the question of tariff reduction.
The question I have is simply this: just what is it going to take for the Premier to have some impact on these discussions, and has his position throughout been that tariff reduction should not apply specifically to the auto pact?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: The member is absolutely right in his analysis. I express to him a concern that a reduction of tariffs surrounding the auto pact would render that, as the member and others have said, a shell, so we cannot have anyone adopt a sneaky or devious way around the situation. The tariffs with respect to the auto industry must remain intact to protect that document. Without them, it is virtually worthless, as my honourable friend says.
That is clearly the position of this government and, I assume, the position of this Legislature, that has been forcefully put to the federal government and anyone else who would listen.
Mr. Rae: The Premier says that has been forcefully put. Let me just say to the Premier that what he has said today is not in fact what he has said on other occasions with respect to the auto pact. He is shaking his head. I have been through Hansard trying to figure out where he stands on these things and I have not found that clear statement from him or from a member of his cabinet.
It is perfectly clear that no one has been listening for the entire time. The Premier says this is Ontario's position as of last June, Ontario's position as of November and Ontario's position today. Surely he must understand that in fact what has been on the table since the very beginning has been an overall reduction in the level of tariffs across the board. That is what these discussions have been all about.
Since that has been the sum total of these discussions since they were established by the Prime Minister, I would like to ask the Premier why he has been so silent and why he has continued to condone ongoing discussions when it is perfectly obvious that that is precisely what has been going on right behind his back.
Hon. Mr. Peterson: My honourable friend has more experience with people who do not listen than I do.
I do not agree with my honourable friend's analysis in this particular situation. We have been clear and consistent throughout. There are no changes in that.
The member is responding today and asking questions; as he has every right to do, based on Mr. Merkin's document from the United States. That does not concern me nearly as much as the clear position of the Canadian administration concerns me. When I read that memo, I had equal concerns with my colleague opposite.
I chatted with the Prime Minister yesterday and I told him that as far as I am concerned, and I have told him many other times before, it requires a clear and unequivocal statement from the federal government that the auto pact as it exists will not be touched -- it is that clear and simple and that includes the tariff protection that surrounds it and gives it meaning.
Mr. Rae: I guess the question I have for the Premier is: just where has he been? Surely he understands that the whole thrust of the Mulroney initiative from the very beginning has been about the overall reduction of tariffs and the elimination of tariffs between Canada and the United States. That has been the given of the discussions from day one.
I wonder if the Premier can explain why Ontario has sat back basically with its hands in its pockets throughout these discussions. Occasionally it has voiced a general concern about what is happening to the auto pact, but it has let this basically go on. The Premier stated over a year ago exactly what he is stating today, yet as he says it today, as he discusses it today, everybody in Canada except the Premier knows that what Simon Reisman and Peter Murphy are discussing is the elimination of tariffs across the board.
What is it going to take for the Premier to understand that Ontario's position has to be to stop these talks in their tracks because they are going to destroy the auto pact in this province?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: I say with great respect to my friend opposite that his analysis is not correct of where Ontario has been in the stating of our position in very specific terms on these matters.
Now I understand my honourable friend opposite would like to throw a bomb in the middle of the talks. He would have done it a year ago. He does not believe any discussions should have taken place. Ontario could have walked away, but they would have gone on anyway, as my honourable friend knows.
I understand the member's ideological position on this matter, but he has to understand in very clear terms where Ontario stands. Ontario has been a very forceful and well-informed advocate, not just for Ontario's interest but for the national interest in these discussions and will continue to play that role.
Mr. Rae: I have a question for the Premier on another major issue of national importance, and that is the question of the Meech Lake accord. The Premier will know that Prime Minister Mulroney gave an interview to the Canadian Press -- it was quoted in the Globe and Mail this morning -- in which the Prime Minister states categorically it is his view that the Premiers agreed to sell the Meech Lake accord as it was specifically worded and as they specifically signed it -- that is precisely what all the parties to the agreement agreed to -- and that as far as he was concerned, there were not going to be changes with respect to multiculturalism, native rights and the admission of new provinces into Confederation.
I wonder if the Premier can tell us whether that is also his understanding of what was agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Peterson: l read that article. It is interesting to read the article as compared to the headline; I think they differ a little bit in terms of the nuance; but I am not here to justify what he said or did not say. Let me tell the member my very clear understanding of the matter.
As the process entered the formal stage -- i.e., the formal discussions in the Legislature with a formal resolution to discuss -- obviously something had to be committed to paper, and we did that at Langevin. But I think the Prime Minister said then, and I assume it is the case today, that if there are some egregious errors or if we find some major flaw, then it has the capacity to be changed. Hence, the public hearings, both federally, which we pushed for, as you know, and in this province.
As I read it, it is not as if they are looking for change in some other area of constitutional reform -- that will be kept for a later day -- but, with respect to the items we discussed, if there are improvements that can be made, it is still possible to do; not easy to do, as you know, because it would require the approval of all 10 Legislatures and one Parliament, but it is possible to do.
Mr. Rae: The Premier refers to headlines. I am going to refer directly to the body of the article: "He said" -- that is referring to Mr. Mulroney -- "the provincial Premiers pledged in the early hours of June 3 to defend the wording of the agreement and that he fully expects them to do so." Is that what the Premier pledged? Is that what the Premier is intending to do?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: I am very comfortable with the wording, obviously, or I would not have signed it. If the member has some better ideas on wording that can get national agreement, then we will have a discussion about that I am comfortable with the wording, and I think we have achieved a substantial number of things thereby
Mr. Rae: I say with the greatest respect to the Premier that he is speaking out of both sides of his mouth at the same time, for which I want to offer him some physical congratulations with respect to the physiology of his feat. However, I say to him that in terms of the substance of what is at stake here, he really is giving off two totally different messages.
He is saying that he is personally, and that his government is personally, committed to every jot, every word, every expression in the Meech Lake accord, and then he is saying that the government is also committed to a hearings process. This is a minority parliament. The Premier understands that. The Legislature is supposed to be having hearings in the fall. He may not like it, but it is true. The Legislature is supposed to be having hearings, and may well come up with suggestions, mandated by the Legislature itself, for a change in wording to include native rights, to include expression of support for multiculturalism, to perhaps change the question of the admission of new provinces into Confederation.
My question to the Premier is this: precisely what is the Premier committed to? Is the Premier committed to a process that says we are ongoing in the process of constitutional reform, or is he saying that he personally is committed to the precise wording which he agreed to on June 3? Which is it? It cannot be both.
Hon. Mr. Peterson: I do not see the difficulty. However, I guess my honourable friend would like me to come here with some fuzzy ideas, and say: "Here are a bunch of ideas, ladies and gentlemen. Fool around with them, and we will go back." Does the member not understand that we have to have something specific? As I told my honourable friend opposite, I am comfortable with that.
The member is quite right. We are in a minority House. This will come in front of hearings of all members of the Legislature. If it does not have the support of at least the majority of this Legislature, I would have to take those ideas that did have the support of the majority back to the other parliaments, back to the other provinces and the federal government and say, "Look, this is Ontario's position." They would have to put it through.
As the member knows, any province has a right to block this situation, so we have committed ourselves to hearings. But if I had come in with a bunch of half-baked ideas, a few ill-formed thoughts, as sometimes one hears in this Legislature, and the member said, "Let us all figure it out, boys," imagine what this minority House would do with that.
I say to the member, if it can be improved, we are interested in the ideas. The member may have some ideas. Others may have some ideas. I intend to have a fun and meaningful hearing here. It must have the support of the House. If it does not, then obviously it will not go back to Ottawa.
Mr. Pope: Once again, on federal-provincial matters, the Premier says one thing privately and quite another thing publicly to the people of this province. He has been caught again, just like he was on softwood lumber. He has been caught again.
Mr. Speaker: The question?
Mr. Pope: The Premier, in answer to the first question today, indicated that he was "holding discussions" -- those are his words -- with the auto companies and the unions with respect to the auto pact.
What is the Premier discussing? What concessions is he making? What deals is he making? What guarantees is he giving them? What is he discussing? He just said he was discussing the auto pact privately with the companies and the unions. What concessions is he giving?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: I am not sure who is writing my honourable friend's questions, but let me try to respond to that. He is quite right; we are in very close contact with the Canadian Auto Workers, the auto parts industry and the major assemblers, and by and large, we have been able to speak with one voice.
We had a meeting, I guess three weeks to a month ago, where we put forward a position, unanimously held by all the members, to put this to the federal government with respect to overall federal automotive policy, particularly as it relates to off-North American imports; because as members know, that is in the federal domain, it needs their blessing, and indeed it needs their leadership in that particular matter.
We have tried to impress that point upon M. Côté and the Prime Minister, the significance of this industry to the country as a whole. I believe it is the most important document we have in this country and the most important industry, and it must be protected. But with respect to negotiating on the free trade discussions or any concessions, that is nonsense. I do not know where my honourable friend picked up that idea.
Mr. Pope: If the Premier would listen to the question, he might have less difficulty answering it. I was talking about the auto pact, not free trade. He said he was having discussions with the auto industry and the unions with respect to the auto pact. He still has not told us.
Is the Premier telling me that the only subject matter of his meeting was to reinforce the importance of the industry, something that everyone in this country knows about, with 285,000 jobs? All he has discussed is the importance of the industry? Is that it from the Premier of Ontario, who is supposed to be protecting jobs and the industry in Ontario? What is he doing with his time?
Was he apprised in the course of those meetings of the impending Magna decision not to go ahead with the plant in Pickering? Was he advised as to the layoffs in Windsor? Did he accede to them? Is that part of his concession? Was that part of his deal, to cut down on employment in Ontario in the context of pressure on the auto pact? What is he doing to the workers of Ontario?
Mr. Speaker: Order. There are quite a number of questions there.
Hon. Mr. Peterson: It is the strangest set of questions I have ever had in this House and, believe me, I have had many strange questions from the honourable member opposite. But again, he is barking up the wrong tree.
We discussed and, obviously, reasserted the importance of the auto pact, how the integrity must be kept inherent in that matter and that we have to impress upon the federal government the need for an overall, national automotive policy. That is what we discussed and all agreed upon.
My honourable friend has difficulty comprehending that, but I can tell him that is what transpired, and I invite him to talk to Mr. White or any of the automotive assemblers or any of the parts people. We all speak with one voice. My honourable friend is the only person who is perhaps speaking with a different voice.
Mr. Speaker: Order. The member for Nickel Belt would like to ask a question.
FEDERAL TAX REFORM PROPOSALS
Mr. Laughren: I have a question for the Treasurer. The Treasurer will know that with Mr. Wilson's white paper on tax reform, Ontario's revenues will be increased about $500 million over the next five years through taxation sharing and established programs financing.
Would the Treasurer agree that, after those proposals and in view of his statements that he wants a fairer tax system, having single persons at the poverty level in Ontario still paying over $400 a year in provincial income tax and a family of four at the poverty level paying over $300 in provincial income tax is plainly and simply unfair? Will he make a commitment now to remove people at the poverty level from the burden of paying provincial income tax?
Hon. Mr. Nixon: I think the honourable gentleman is counting his chickens before they are hatched. The numbers he is talking about are correct, but they are substantially in the future. He will know that this year the changes that are proposed by the Minister of Finance for Canada are essentially neutral, only because the government of Canada is speeding up the payment of income tax by an additional substantial period of time that will net us a one-time-only $213 million extra.
As a matter of fact, in the second year, when there is no additional speed-up -- it counts only for one year -- we go behind by $13 million and then the net effects of changes in the corporation tax start paying off for the province.
I think he is also aware of the necessity of our having corporate tax rates that are competitive with the American states, and that he is as interested as anyone in attracting industry into this jurisdiction. We hope it is Canadian-owned and controlled. We also hope that foreign investment is going to continue to come in here, at least in some degree. We are very competitive right now, and I hope we can maintain that competitive stance vis-à-vis our corporation income tax in the future.
I perhaps will let that go.
Mr. Laughren: The Treasurer is on the cutting edge of state-of-the-art rhetoric, I must say. The Treasurer will know that Finance Minister Wilson indicated that he was going to cap the capital gains exemptions at $100,000. The Treasurer indicated yesterday that this was in keeping with his recommendations or the recommendations of his government at least.
That will cost the Ontario Treasury, by our calculations, about $200 million a year. Given the fact that it is costing this Treasury that kind of money, will the Treasurer make a commitment to make that kind of commitment to Ontario's low-income people and working poor by enriching the tax credits by that amount and by eliminating Ontario health insurance plan premiums for Ontario's working poor?
Hon. Mr. Nixon: I think the honourable member will know that, in the budget just read to the House three or four weeks ago, we reduced the requirements from low-income people and seniors by about a quarter of a million dollars, more than the money that he is talking about. We paid that bill really before the situation that he describes came about, and we do not think that is enough.
I admire the honourable member for urging us to do more, and we hope that we can in the future; but as far as we are concerned, we think we have done all we can for this fiscal year. We are trying to do one budget at a time with as much forward planning having to do with improving our grants to education, post-secondary education, municipalities and hospitals as is practical under these circumstances.
Mr. Speaker: The Attorney General has a response to a question previously asked by the member for Oakville (Mr. O'Connor).
Hon. Mr. Scott: Yesterday the member for Oakville asked me if the little girl who is an altar girl at Sacré-Coeur Church had the right to make application under the Human Rights Code for relief. I said I would inquire into that. I have now done so and have ascertained that the little girl, like any other person in Ontario, is entitled to allege to the Ontario Human Rights Commission that she has been discriminated against.
Her allegation would be made under section 4 of the Human Rights Code. If the respondent, who might be the church, or an officer of the church, cared to respond, its response would be made under section 17 or 23. The tribunal created by the Human Rights Code would then determine the facts and make a determination as to whether discrimination, justifiable or unjustifiable, had occurred. The matter could then be reviewed by a court in the normal way.
Mr. O'Connor: Perhaps the minister did not say it yesterday because that was not the question. I did not ask him the question as to whether the Human Rights Code applied or not. I, in fact, do not think it does.
My question yesterday was, and I will repeat it again today: given the blatant discrimination that exists in this situation, which I would suggest would be admitted even by the church, which would probably then justify it on the basis of canon law, does he feel it is appropriate in modem-day Ontario that a young girl or women should be discriminated against in this fashion by an institution of the magnitude and importance of the Catholic Church?
Does he not feel that he should at least use his moral suasion or the power of his office to suggest to them, not in a legal fashion -- l do not think the Human Rights Code does apply, nor should it apply -- but does he not feel that he should at least exert some influence, some moral suasion on the situation to have the church see that there is this discrimination and that something might be done by it voluntarily in the circumstances?
Hon. Mr. Scott: Just so we have it clear, the question was whether I would determine whether the complaint was subject to the Human Rights Code, and I think I have answered that question.
My friend apparently wants to know now if I care to express any view which might affect the Ontario Human Rights Commission. He knows perfectly well I would not do that and neither would he. If he is asking me to attend with him on the Cardinal, if he will be good enough to make the appointment I will be delighted to go with him.
Mr. Gillies: I have a question for the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Gillies: I caution the Attorney General, it might be difficult to get the last word on this one.
TRADE WITH UNITED STATES
Mr. Gillies: I have a question to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology. Again, the question is about the very muddled signals that we are getting from this government on the question of Canada-US trade.
Last week, the minister spoke to the annual conference of the Ontario Institute of Chartered Accountants and he said two things in that speech. The minister said: "The Canadian government has made clear its basic goal in the talks. The goal is secure and broader access to the American markets. The Ontario government supports that goal'' The minister also said. "Negotiations always involve tradeoffs -- giving up something to gain something."
My question to the minister is, in view of the caveats that are being expressed by other members of his administration about the free trade talks, could he tell the House exactly what it is that he is willing to give up in order to see the trade talks succeed?
Hon. Mr. O'Neil: It is just a shame that the member does not have time to read the whole speech because I think a lot of that was explained in the latter part of the speech, that there are going to have to be tradeoffs, we are looking at those tradeoffs and what we are being asked to do. We are certainly not going to agree to any trade agreement until we know what those are.
Mr. Gillies: I say, I hope kindly, to the minister that these kinds of platitudes and generalities are doing us no good at all. The minister is going around the province speaking publicly in support of the government of Canada's trade initiatives. At the same time, he will not share with the House what it is that he is willing to put on the block in order to see those talks succeed.
Will the minister specifically tell us what is on the block, what jobs are on the block and what arrangements he is making for the transition towards free trade which he so generously embraces?
Hon. Mr. O'Neil: Again, if the member had time to read the whole speech, I think -- he is not really taking from context -- that speech is very plain about all the questions that we have asked as a government, the things that we originally raised which a lot of the other provinces did not and things that we are going to safeguard for this province.
Mr. Gillies: What are they? Tell us.
Mr. Speaker: The member for Oakwood is waiting patiently. New question.
Mr. Grande: My question is for the Premier before he leaves. My question to the Premier has to do with the attitude that this government has towards multicultural Ontario. In the last week or so, an ad has appeared in 15 ethnic newspapers across this province, an ad entitled Heritage Languages Programs of Ontario, in which the Ministry of Education explains to the ethnic communities this yellow paper entitled Ontario Heritage Languages Program.
I want to ask the Premier a simple question. Why does this ad not appear in the English-speaking and French-speaking media around this province?
Hon. Mr. Peterson: Let me refer that to the Minister of Education, who is responsible.
Hon. Mr. Conway: I want to say to my friend the member for Oakwood that we did, in response to a lot of interest in the community, place those ads. I might add I was happy to receive an invitation from CBC Radio the other day, which I think the honourable member is aware of, to go on the air last Thursday to speak at length about the proposals we have introduced.
I want to make very clear that this government is very anxious to put that proposal before the community. We have made no effort to do anything but encourage a wide dissemination and certainly a broadly based discussion. I am very pleased that the honourable member has seen the ads and I am absolutely confident they will encourage a better understanding of what the government intends to do to improve, enrich and expand the very successful heritage language program we have in many school boards across the province.
Mr. Grande: Of course, the minister does not answer the question and I assume the minister does not have an answer to that question.
It is too bad the Premier decided not to answer the question because my next supplementary had to do with another ministry of the government, but I will go with a supplementary to the Minister of Education since that is the way the Premier deemed it to be.
Since, as I say, this ad appeared in 15 languages in 15 ethnic newspapers across this province and supposedly the attitude is that multicultural Ontario does not speak or read English to get the information from the English media, can the minister please tell me why his yellow paper, the paper where the people can check-mark to get a copy, is only in English and French and not in the 15 languages in which the minister advertised?
Hon. Mr. Conway: If the member for Oakwood is suggesting, and I think he is, that we publish that advertisement in the French- and English-language media of this province, I am delighted to take that under notice. I will be more than delighted to do it. I am absolutely proud of what we are doing. I have nothing to hide, if that is the suggestion. I want to make him very comfortable with the idea that I will put those ads in the English- and French-language press without delay.
The difficulty, and the reason the document is in the two official languages, is of course that I wanted to get the paper out. It delayed the process some time just to have those advertisements prepared -- trans-created, I think, is the language. I am quite prepared to do all I can to encourage the dissemination. It will of course require the expenditure of additional dollars, but if the House wishes it, I am more than pleased to do so. I am prepared, as I was last Thursday, to go on CHIN Radio in the morning and on CBC Radio in the afternoon to put one position to the entire community.
ONTARIO STUDENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
Mr. Eves: I have a question of the Minister of Colleges and Universities. In response to a question of mine in the Legislature on June 11, the minister said that if there was a problem with the Ontario student assistance program currently in place for single parents, he was going to change it.
Can the minister tell us what steps he has taken to change the current inadequate, and I might add discriminatory, OSAP provisions for single parents?
Hon. Mr. Sorbara: First, the system is not discriminatory. Second, the system is an alternative. Every student who is currently registered can use the new model of all grant, no loan or the old model of part grant, part loan. Third, we are looking at it. We are determining if any student is aggrieved and cannot take advantage of the appeal procedure, and if so we are going to ensure that student has the financial resources to attend a college or a university, if qualified.
Mr. Eves: It would make far more sense for the minister just to change the policy. It has already been pointed out that he was on Metro Morning about two weeks ago with Joan Wilson. She explained to him that she had a problem. He has received several letters -- l have a copy of one here -- from other concerned students.
I quote from this one: "By some twisted rationalization process, OSAP is suggesting that they are helping single parents by saving them from burdensome debts. I can only conclude that this is a weak and twisted excuse for their blatant discrimination against a predominantly female group because of their status of being single with children."
Can the minister explain to this House why single parents, most of whom are women, will be getting less money under his new plan and why the Ontario Advisory Council on Women's Issues has asked the Ontario Human Rights Commission to initiate a complaint against his ministry because of this discriminatory practice?
Hon. Mr. Sorbara: If my friend the member for Parry Sound would do a little more investigation in his capacity as critic for the Ministry of Colleges and Universities, he would know that one of the very serious problems of students leaving college or university after a number of years of study is that they are saddled with very substantial debt loads.
Mr. Harris: So let us not give them any money; if we do not give them any money, then they do not have to pay it back.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: Read the Hansard, my friend.
Mr. Speaker: Order. The member for Nipissing and the member for Scarborough West, order.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: I told Bette Stephenson in 1979 and somebody should tell you now, sir, we do not need patronizing attitudes.
Mr. Speaker: The member for Scarborough West does not have the floor.
Hon. Mr. Sorbara: My friend the member for Scarborough West is calling it patronizing.
Mr. Speaker: Response?
Hon. Mr. Sorbara: Let me just say that in this area we are trying. Perhaps we have got it wrong, and I am willing to admit that; I do not know whether that was the case in the previous government. We are trying to facilitate the accessibility of single parents to our institutions. At the same time, we are trying to reduce unacceptable debt burdens. I am telling you, Mr. Speaker, as I tell my friend the member for Parry Sound, that we will achieve that result and they will say we have done it when they see it.
Mr. Speaker: Order. There may be some other members who would like to ask questions.
Mr. Allen: I would like to come back to the Minister of Education on the question raised by the member for St. George (Ms. Fish), who I see has retired from the fray after that shouting match.
The minister will know that two important events took place today on these grounds. One was a media conference by a new network of teachers, directors and trustees in the public education system and the second was a literacy conference held under a tent out on the front lawn.
What we have heard today is essentially this: that this superbly wealthy province ranks fifth in per pupil expenditures in education in the elementary and secondary panel. It is second to last among the provinces in the spending of personal income on education. In the latest figures, the provincial share of education costs have gone down two percentage points from the last budget announcement, to 42.7 per cent, and only $35 per functionally illiterate adult is spent on literacy programs in Ontario.
Can I not press upon the minister the seriousness of those statistics and ask him --
Mr. Speaker: Order. Do you have a question?
Mr. Allen: I said, "Can I not press upon" --
Mr. Speaker: Please do.
Mr. Allen: Can I not press upon him the seriousness of those statistics? Would it not be better for all concerned for him to do something about those statistics rather than to hold the party --
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: You cannot let the Premier get away with his preambles and cut that off. Very selective.
Hon. Mr. Conway: I appreciate the honourable member's concern. He has, over his time in this Legislature --
Mr. R. F. Johnston: You smile when the Premier does his little bit, Mr. Speaker. All you do is smile.
Mr. Speaker: I would remind all members that interjections are out of order. Would the minister respond?
Hon. Mr. Conway: I repeat, I appreciate the honourable member's concern. He has been one of the most vocal advocates of an appropriate level of funding from the province for public education. I just want to say that the data contained in the document from the Ontario Public Education Network, to which the honourable member makes reference, in some respects are very incomplete. It is projection.
I want to repeat to the member, I like to think in our time in office we have moved forward on a number of fronts. More remains to be done, to be sure. As I said earlier today, we are now providing some 55 per cent of the approved expenditures. We have a report that suggests a variety of changes that might inject more equity and fairness.
l conclude by drawing everyone's attention to the fact that if we were today to commit this province to 60 per cent of expenditures we would have to find an additional $1.1 billion.
Mr. Allen: The absolute statistics the minister uses may be correct; the relative ones of myself and the member for St. George may be correct. When you split the difference, the province is not moving anywhere, let alone forward.
Since the minister is not picking up the large question, may I put a small question to him? Last fall, when he instituted a $1,900 per adult student expenditure level for the adult education delivery service in this province, he grandfathered those boards -- northern boards, rural boards and Catholic boards -- which have very high overhead expenditures, and allowed their costs for the rest of the year until August 31.
However, the minister's research team, at-tempting to establish the real costs of adult education in this province, has not completed the work and now those boards will be dropped off the end --
Mr. Speaker: The question?
Mr. Allen: -- they will be reduced to the standard figure. Will the minister give a commitment to this House today that he will immediately reinstate the actual expenditures of those boards as legitimate costs going to the Ministry of Education as a symbolic gesture of the same things he was talking about outside this afternoon?
Hon. Mr. Conway: I have tried, as we have looked at the funding to which the member makes specific reference, to do what the school community requested. I indicated when I made that change some months ago that we would, on the basis of additional research, try to find a more permanent formula that covered the actual costs of delivering those particular programs.
As the honourable member knows, I am a very reasonable person. I want to say in a very special way to my friend the member for Hamilton West that I will take his advice into particularly serious consideration because I know of his very strong commitment to this whole public policy area.
I also want him to recognize that the resources of Ontario are not limitless. This year, as I said to my friend the member for St. George, we are spending $9 billion, both provincially and locally, to educate some 1.85 million elementary and secondary students.
I also want to note that as we look at the challenge of education it is not just a matter of additional money, although that is an important component. There are other very significant questions, such as those the honourable member knows in terms of renewing our teaching professions, student assessment, better access, all of those things.
WINTARIO TRAVEL GRANTS
Mr. Rowe: I have a question of the Minister of Tourism and Recreation. On Monday, June 15, I asked him why he cut back provincial government funding for the Provincial Women's Softball Association of Ontario. In response to this inquiry I made on behalf of this important sports group and the member for Erie (Mr. Haggerty), the minister said, "I can assure the member they have not been cut back."
Since I do not want to have to accuse the minister of misleading the House, I wonder if he would like to try and answer my question again today.
Hon. Mr. Eakins: When the honourable member asked me the question the other day we were referring, I think, in my reply, to some of the school sports being supported by our ministry. I said at that time they had not been cut back and indeed that some $30,000 had been added to that program.
There are other programs in which we have provided funding. Many of those programs have not been cut back, but we provide a lump sum to that particular program and it is distributed from within that program by the people involved.
Mr. Rowe: I was not discussing school sports then and I am not now. I am talking about the Provincial Women's Softball Association.
Given that response, can the minister explain why Paul Finley, a sports consultant with the Ministry of Tourism and Recreation, told the executive members of Softball Ontario last month that their Wintario travel grants would be cut from 50 per cent in 1986 to 27 per cent in 1987? That is a drop of 13 per cent, and it sure sounds like misleading information to me.
Hon. Mr. Eakins: I will review the figures the honourable member has given. I can assure him it will not be cut from 50 per cent to 27 per cent.
Mr. Rowe: I rise to correct the record. In my question to the Minister of Tourism and Recreation, I stated that Wintario travel grants would be cut from 50 per cent in 1986 to 27 per cent in 1987 and I stated a drop of 13 per cent. To correct the record, it is a drop of 23 per cent.
Mr. Swart: My question is to the Minister of Financial Institutions and it follows up on the revelation by my leader yesterday about the tremendous increased profits of the insurance companies, particularly at a time when the motorists and other insurees in this province are suffering excessive rates and great injustices.
Is the minister aware that the same Statscan figures from which those great increases of the insurance companies' profits came show that while the total premium income over the last two years was up 39 per cent, the total of claims paid out was up only 17 per cent? Would he not agree that gives the lie to the insurance company statements that massive claims increases are forcing up the premiums in an unconscionable way?
Hon. Mr. Kwinter: The member continually raises these questions, and I am saying we have a solution. Support our rate review board. It will be able to examine all these areas and it will be able to make a determination. That is what it will be there for.
Mr. Pollock: I have a petition which reads:
"To the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:
"We, the undersigned, do hereby petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to reject the recommendations of the Powell study. We understand that this study recommends the opening of government-run abortion clinics. We believe that there are already too many abortions done in this province and would like to see access restricted and not made easier."
It is signed by 53 people from the southern part of my riding.
CONSOLIDATION OF SCHOOLS
Mr. Hennessy: I have a petition which reads:
"We, the undersigned taxpayers and concerned parents, reject the decision made by the school trustee committee regarding south zone rural school consolidation on the meeting of May 12, 1987. That decision being that Blake and Slate River schools be consolidated in one school situated at the Slate River school site, and that Riverdale, Vickers Heights, Rosslyn Village and Rosslyn Road schools be consolidated in one large school of approximately 462 students at the Rosslyn Road school site. We ask that the school board consider this and other petitions presented before making its final decision."
I am presenting this to the Minister of Education, hoping that he will look into the matter. It is signed by approximately 400 people of Thunder Bay in the riding of Fort William. I am sending it over to the minister at the present time.
Mr. Speaker: There are quite a number of private conversations. They may be necessary but they are quite noisy.
Mr. Sheppard: I have a petition to the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario which reads:
"We, the undersigned, beg leave to petition the parliament of Ontario as follows:
"Whereas it is our constitutional right to have available and to choose the health care system of our preference;
"And whereas naturopathy has had self-governing status in Ontario for more than 42 years;
"We petition the Ontario Legislature to call on the government to introduce legislation that would guarantee naturopaths the right to practice their art and science to the fullest without prejudice or harassment."
Mr. Allen: I have a petition to the Lieutenant Governor and the government of Ontario from the parents and students of St. Bernard School, Gloucester South, which reads as follows:
"We, the undersigned, express deep disappointment in the Ministry of Education. Your recent budget failed to meet the financial needs of St. Bernard School in Gloucester South. We have been petitioning the CRCSB for funds for the much-needed extension. St. Bernard's total student capacity is 315. Our present enrolment is 530. Change rooms are being used as classrooms. Remedial work is done in the hallways. We have a schoolyard full of portables whose students must enter the main building to use the washroom facilities. Our kindergarten portable is in dire need of repair, or better still, in need of demolition.
"Despite our appeal to Mr. Gilles Morin, MPP, the school board trustees and Mr. Cousineau of the ministry (all agreed that the school should be slated for immediate action) nothing was done.
"We urgently request that the Ministry of Education capital allocations be reviewed and the money we so urgently need for our school be found."
REPORT BY COMMITTEE
STANDING COMMITTEE ON RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT
Mr. Laughren from the standing committee on resources development presented the following report and moved its adoption:
Your committee begs to report the following bills without amendment:
Bill 151, An Act to amend the Ontario Highway Transport Board Act;
Bill 152, An Act to amend the Highway Traffic Act.
Your committee begs to report the following bill as amended:
Bill 150, An Act to regulate Truck Transportation.
Motion agreed to.
Bills ordered for committee of the whole House.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
EMPLOYMENT STANDARDS AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Shymko moved first reading of Bill 93, An Act to amend the Employment Standards Act.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Shymko: The bill adds Remembrance Day to the definition of "public holiday." Presently, under subsection 26(2) of the act, employees are entitled to a paid holiday for each public holiday, and Remembrance Day would be such. This is through the urgency of our veterans, who have asked that in the private sector they be treated the same way as those in the public sector.
MUNICIPAL CORPORATIONS QUIETING ORDERS AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Grandmaître moved first reading of Bill 94, An Act to amend the Municipal Corporations Quieting Orders Act.
Motion agreed to.
MUNICIPAL PRIVATE ACTS REPEAL ACT
Hon. Mr. Grandmaître moved first reading of Bill 95, An Act to repeal Certain Private Acts Related to Municipalities.
Motion agreed to.
NOTICE OF DISSATISFACTION
Mr. Speaker: I would like to inform the members that pursuant to standing order 30, the member for Port Arthur (Mr. Foulds) has given notice of his dissatisfaction with the answer to a question given by the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Sweeney). This matter will be debated at 6 p.m. today.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
House in committee of the whole.
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY AMENDMENT ACT (CONTINUED)
Consideration of Bill 79, An Act to amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
On section 3:
Mr. Chairman: We have in front of us Bill 79. When we departed yesterday, I think we had in front of us or were beginning Mr. Martel's motion to do with section 3, proposed clauses 22c(1)(c) to (e). There was apparently some compromise or there were some negotiations going on.
Mr. Martel: I think we have consensus on the next three amendments, which we worked out over the evening and on into today. We can move them individually. I do not think it is going to take very long. Perhaps I could move the first one. I do not think there is going to be any disagreement, so they should move quickly. We will do them one at a time rather than in the way I had suggested yesterday, because we now have an agreement.
Mr. Chairman: Are you moving the same amendment?
Mr. Martel: l move that clauses 22c(1)(c), (d) and (e) of the act, as set out in section 3 of the bill, be struck out and the following substituted therefor:
"(c) furnished by the employer to the medical officer of health of the health unit in which the work place is located;
"(d) furnished by the employer to the fire department which serves the location in which the work place is located; and
"(e) filed by the employer with a director."
Mr. Chairman: Excuse me. That (e) was "filed"?
Mr. Martel: "Filed by the employer with a director."
Mr. Chairman: Right. Can I have a copy? That is not the same as the copy I have.
Mr. Martel: Yes. l am giving you my only copy, Mr. Chairman. Because we are going to get consensus, there will be no vote on it anyway, so I will leave that with you.
Mr. Chairman: Do you wish to move all three together to be discussed at one time?
Mr. Martel: Yes. Let us move all three of them.
Mr. Chairman: Is that correct, member for Sudbury?
Mr. Gordon: Agreed.
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Martel moves that subsection 22c(2) of the act, as set out in section 3 of the bill, be struck out and the following substituted therefor:
"(2) The medical officer of health, at the request of any person, shall request an employer to furnish a copy of the most recent version of the inventory or of an unexpired material safety data sheet, as the case may be.
"(2a) At the request of any person, the medical officer of health shall make available to the person for inspection a copy of any inventory or material safety data sheet requested by the person and in the possession of the medical officer of health.
"(2b) A medical officer of health shall not disclose the name of any person who makes a request under subsection (2) or (2a)."
Mr. Chairman: I had that written down originally as Mr. Wrye's amendment. Correct?
Mr. Gordon: I wonder if we can back up on this for just a second with the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel). Do I understand that what we have agreed to, under section 3, clauses 22c(1)(c), (d) and (e) -- we have already agreed to those? Do I understand that, Mr. Chairman? We are just stacking the votes then?
Mr. Chairman: No. Yesterday there were separate amendments put in, and today they are slightly amended, but I believe Mr. Martel is moving three amendments together so that they can be discussed at the same time.
Mr. Gordon: Okay. So we have not voted on them as yet.
Mr. Chairman: No.
Mr. Gordon: Does this allow us to go back? For example, I have an amendment that I will be bringing forward in section 22a, a new subsection 6. Does that mean we can go back?
Mr. Chairman: Yes, because we have not carried that. We are still on section 3, so yes, you would be able to move that.
Mr. Gordon: Thank you.
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Martel, do you have a third amendment?
Mr. Martel: Mr. Chairman, with your indulgence, I want to confirm something on this with my friend. It will take merely a second, because apparently there is a little glitch here.
Mr. Chairman: I think that is acceptable in committee.
Mr. Martel: I move that section 22c of the act, as set out in section 3 of the bill, be amended by adding thereto the following subsection:
"(4) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may by regulation establish dates by which the employer in any industry or class of industry must provide inventories or material safety data sheets under clauses (1)(c), (d) and (e). An employer to whom the regulation applies shall have until that date to comply with these clauses, unless the medical officer of health, the fire department or a director requests the employer to provide a copy of the most recent version of the inventory or of an unexpired material safety data sheets."
Hon. Mr. Wrye: May I be helpful?
Mr. Martel: Yes.
Hon. Mr. Wrye: The confusion my friend had was in line 4. He has "inventories or material safety data sheets" and it should read "inventories or inventories and material safety data sheets" so that both can be done. I will supply this and this will be the amendment. I guess you will have to read it, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman: Thank you.
Mr. Martel has moved that section 22c of the act, as set out in section 3 of the bill, be amended by adding thereto the following subsection:
"(4) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may by regulation establish dates by which employers in any industry or class of industry must provide inventories or inventories and material safety data sheets under clauses (1)(c)(d) and (e). An employer to whom the regulation applies shall have until that date to comply with those clauses, unless the medical officer of health, the fire department or a director requests the employer to provide a copy of the most recent version of the inventory or of an unexpired material safety data sheets."
Do we really mean "an unexpired material safety data sheets," plural and singular both?
Mr. Martel: It should be "data sheet."
Mr. Chairman: Fine. Thank you. "Data sheet," singular.
We have three clauses that have been moved. What do we do with -- and that is not anticipating a smart remark -- the amendments to section 3, clause 22c(1)(e) and subsection 22c(2), that were delivered yesterday, one by Mr. Wrye and one by Mr. Martel?
Mr. Martel: Scrap them. They are replaced by the three we have given you today.
Mr. Chairman: Thank you. Mr. Martel has moved those amendments. Comment, please.
Mr. Martel: I will be extremely brief. We have reached agreement on these. I think it does what we were concerned about, in that it eliminates the necessity for people to write or phone for material. That includes the health unit or the fire department.
At the same time, it ensures the ministry has time to receive the material in an organized fashion, other than a mass of 50,000 substances coming in; and in that case, where the schedule has not been arrived at or the date reached, if an inquiry is made then the health unit, the fire department or the director has the ability to request of the employer that the information be forthcoming.
I think it covers all the bases all of us were concerned about, gives us what we were interested in ensuring and I think provides the ministry with the tools to be able to cope with the material when it comes in.
Hon. Mr. Wrye: I share the views of my friend the member for Sudbury East, and I believe there is unanimity among the three of us, both critics and the minister, on this matter.
It had always been our view to ensure that this material came to the ministry and indeed to medical officers of health and fire departments in a logical order and in a way that, in particular, the fire departments and medical officers of health, who have many other things to do, would not be absolutely overwhelmed and swamped with material. I know something about being swamped, and I took note of that, and that was why we backed off on the earlier proposal to simply provide a flood of paper to the MOHs and the fire departments.
On reflection, I think what we have arrived at here is a very useful compromise. It allows for the Lieutenant Governor in Council to establish dates by which there must be compliance for any industry or class of industry. Over and above that, even in those cases where that compliance date may not have been set, it allows any person to come forward to a fire department or to a medical officer of health and say, "I want information on industry X or business Y," and that will be provided. The amendments to subsection 22c(2) will allow that to happen, and I think what we have here in terms of community right to know is now a package that this Legislature can be very proud of.
Motions agreed to.
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Wrye moves that section 22a of the act, as set out in section 3 of the bill, be amended by adding thereto the following subsection:
"6. Except as may be prescribed, subsection 1 does not apply to an employer who undertakes to perform work or supply services on a project in respect of materials to be used on the project."
Hon. Mr. Wrye: This restores a section of the bill which was taken out, I hope due to an oversight, yesterday. While we were attempting to put in a very important amendment that the member for Sudbury East had proposed -- which I believe is the amendment which establishes February 1 of each year as the date on which inventories must be updated and must be filed -- we simply, I am sure by mistake, took this subsection out. We are restoring it.
It really simply makes no sense except "as may be prescribed," and there will be some situations in which we will prescribe it, to demand this information on construction sites. In a word, it would create a very chaotic situation and that is why this has been put in. There are some exemptions to that rule and that is why we have made provision for those exceptions. I am sure my friends will want to support this amendment.
Mr. Martel: We agree that it has to go back. I hope the minister could indicate in a little more detail what is going to happen on construction sites because there is a concern. I can understand if there is a small project that is going to last two months, three months or something like that. One is not going to have time to file the inventory with the minister. Let us say we are talking about the domed stadium. I think that is going to be a lengthy thing.
I think what the minister is saying to us is that in projects of a substantial nature which are going to take a prolonged period of time to construct, or in fact if one is dealing with substances -- let us say the reconstruction of a courthouse where one knows that there are substances -- there have got to be ways that those things are signalled and the ministry should have a way of coping with them. It might be helpful just to put that on the record, but we will support the amendment.
Hon. Mr. Wrye: In trying to be helpful, my friend has made a couple of useful suggestions. The size of project may be one criterion. The use of various substances within the project may also be a criterion. My friend yesterday raised the issue of asbestos. The use of various substances on a project may be another criterion. I say to my friend the member for Sudbury East that we intend to have discussions not only with the construction industry but also with the building trades council on this matter, seek their advice and we will then move by regulation where appropriate.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Chairman: Yesterday we stood down an amendment by Mr. Martel to section 3 of the bill, proposed subsection 22a(2). That was stood down. If the members will recall, it was striking out "and" at the end of clause (a) and adding clause (ab). What do the members wish done with that?
Mr. Martel: The minister could respond. I understand there might be a serious problem with this one too for the minister, which he might want to explain today. I was not aware of it until I think just a very short time ago. I think all we were trying to accomplish was that the quantities be laid out so as to assist. I understand that poses a real threat in terms of the confidentiality problem that some producers might be faced with.
Maybe if I could hear what the minister is saying, then I might be prepared to withdraw it.
Hon. Mr. Wrye: I want to be helpful here because the honourable member has just touched on a real problem. The amendment, as now written, would really get us very quickly into the whole area of trade secrets. If one were to spell out the hazardous material by quantity, then one very quickly would really violate, without wishing to, the trade secrets mechanism at the inventory level.
I know what my friend's concern is and I want to advise him and my colleagues in the House that some information in this area will be provided in the material safety data sheets, as I think my friend will know. The concentrations by weight in a range will be provided in the material safety data sheets. I remember the member for Brantford (Mr. Gillies) raising the issue yesterday of whether we could provide ranges. I think that really is the answer. It is not as if there will be nothing.
Some of the ranges of these concentrations will be provided in the MSDSs and, as my friend from Sudbury East will know, the medical officers of health and the fire departments will be under the added provisions that we have put in this changed Bill 79. This is an area where Bill 79, I would argue, is strengthened from Bill 101, in that there are going to be occasions when MOHs and fire departments will be provided with material safety data sheets. I think my friend will agree this will answer some of the concerns he has.
Mr. Martel: With that, I will withdraw that amendment.
Mr. Chairman: The member for Sudbury East.
Mr. Martel: I just stood and indicated to the Chairman that I was prepared to withdraw that amendment.
Mr. Chairman: You wish to withdraw that?
Mr. Martel: Yes.
Mr. Chairman: Are there any other amendments? We have one by Mr. Gordon. Are there any more of yours to section 3, Mr. Martel?
Mr. Martel: Yes.
Mr. Chairman: I have one for 22h. Is that still standing?
Mr. Martel: Yes, I have a 22h.
Mr. Chairman: Fine, thank you. I will take others before that. I wanted to know if that was still standing. That is the only one we have remaining in section 3 on section 22. Correct? Thank you.
Mr. Wrye, there is one here in section 3 to subsection 22c(4).
Mr. Gillies, I had one from you, subsection 22d(1) and subsection 22d(3).
Mr. Gillies: That is still standing.
Mr. Chairman: Fine, thank you. I think we are at the point of moving those -- no, sorry. We have another one before that. Mr. Gordon, we have one in section 3, a new subsection 22a(6). Do you want to move that, please?
Mr. Gordon: I believe that a new subsection 6, "The employer shall provide the director and any other prescribed agencies with a floor plan of the work place showing the names of all hazardous materials and their location," is perhaps a way of --
Mr. Chairman: Let us get things straightened around. You are moving that a new subsection be added to section 3 of the bill, proposed section 22a of the act, which perhaps should be a new subsection 7, since there was a new subsection 6 added.
Mr. Gillies: I will try to be a little helpful on this. Yesterday, Mr. Martel moved an amendment to 22a, which at the time I agreed to and I still think it has some merit. That section was the one which would have the floor plan of the plant on the exterior of the building with the location of hazardous chemicals on the floor plan so that in the event of a fire or other emergency the fire department would know where they were located. I think the thrust of that is something we would all agree to.
The concern has been brought forward to our party that the public posting, if you will, of such chemicals on a building could be an invitation to terrorists in the event of the attempted theft or other illegal use of such materials. You are telling them where they are. This is the concern I just shared with the member for Sudbury East.
What my colleague is going to suggest is a change to the amendment, which we hope might be accepted on a friendly basis, which would have those floor plans for the plants, including the locations, on file with the fire departments and other authorities, so that when there is a fire at ABC Chemicals, they take it with them and know where the stuff is, as opposed to looking for it on the building.
Mr. Martel: That really will not provide the protection. In the middle of the night there is a fire and people rush out to fight the fire and then they have to run back and say, "Wait a minute, we have to look at company ABC and we have to pull the file and we have to get it out of the computer" -- it is three in the morning -- "so we know where these substances are located." Can you imagine the panic as people try to get somebody who knows how to operate the computer to get it to flip out before they start down the road to fight the fire?
Firefighters do the whole thing in a matter of seconds. They are down the pole and into the fire truck and gone; then somebody is going to say, "Wait a minute, we have to go back and find out what company this fire is with and we have to pull it out of the computer to know where the substances are located." It is not going to happen, because who is going to have time? Who is going to take the time to know precisely what company, get it out of the computer and tell the firemen where the substances are? Are we going to wait around for that to happen? People will be in an absolute panic. Does the member think they are going to wait around two, three or four minutes to start to seek out this information?
I moved the motion I did because it is convenient -- I do not care where you put it on the building; it could be at the front near the entrance, something like that, in some sort of container which will not be breakable -- so people can come and assess what it is or where it is or what procedure they are going to use before they start to fight the fire.
What we are asking firemen to do today is to go into a fire, into a major building, not even knowing what is there. They are the ones who risk their lives. They do not know what they are up against. They do not know if there is flammable material next to something that is explosive, or that if two compounds come together they become flammable when originally they were not, or whether two things coming together are going to blow the place to hell. We ask firefighters to do that every day of the week, willy-nilly. I just think there has to be a better way.
The job is dangerous enough without asking firefighters to go in to fight something blind. At least let us give them the tools with which to proceed in an organized fashion. To suggest we leave it at the firehall and hopefully it is going to catch up to them somewhere -- the firefighters have to see it and have it with them. That is why I say, if you have it at the site and it is on a building, they just look at it and the fire chief or lieutenant has something with which he can advise the workers how to best proceed.
I can recall the case of a couple of firemen dying and it was not anything that was explosive. In fact, bundles of paper, rolls of paper, were stacked and they got so wet. The firemen did not realize that, and they walked into this bloody building and the things collapsed on top of them and crushed them. There is no necessity for that. We have to give them as many of the tools as possible since they cannot refuse to work. We have to give them as much protection as possible for them to fight that fire. I think the only way we can do it is by having the material right there so they can read it.
Mr. Chairman: It may be helpful to the members to know that Mr. Martel's amendment from yesterday was stacked, the one about posting it on the exterior of the work place. That vote has been stacked to the end of the bill. I just want to let the members know that.
Mr. Gordon: The member for Sudbury East has an obvious and very genuine concern when it comes to the health and safety of workers, and also of course for the firemen being able to find the source of the fire and the location of the hazardous goods. But I suggest to the House that in the age we live in today, many fire departments across Ontario make it a practice of going to industry and commercial establishments, saying, "We would like to look around your premises because we would like to identify where some of the natural fire hazards are, whether they be chemical, paper or certain areas such as a computer room, in a firm."
They want to know where it is and they draw up a map of that firm. They put that map on file. They put it in the computer. When there is a fire, what the modern fire department does is that as soon as the firemen get to the scene, if they have not already identified the exact number of the building where the fire is taking place, it is immediately flashed back to the station house and they say: "There is a fire at ABC Chemical. We have located the building." Those data are immediately flashed forward to the fire truck. As a matter of fact, many of them are now beginning to carry that kind of information with them.
One might say, Are you sure, Jim?" Yes, I am sure because, for example, they do that in the city of Sudbury right now. For years the fire department has been going around to various establishments identifying the floor plans and memorizing them, so that when the firemen get to the building they know where to go. I am suggesting in this House that the chemical company would file an inventory with the fire department, as well as a map of where certain hazardous goods are. That is on file. The fire department has it. There is no mistake about where they are going or what they are going to do when they get there.
I suggest this is a better way to do it than to say to all the companies in Ontario that might have some kind of chemical hazard on their premises, "Post something outside so that when the firemen get there they will be able to find it." Can the members imagine it? You tell me to post something outside. You tell the Minister of Labour who runs company B. You get the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Bradley) who has company P, for pollution. We are all going to make our own little map, just as in kindergarten.
Do the members know what the map is going to look like? There are going to be 10 different maps, some that anybody in kindergarten could read and others that even the most sophisticated person could not figure out. We will get some intellectual in one of these chemical companies and he will come up with a grand design. He will even put little blocks and little modules on the paper. When the fire department gets there, they will not even be able to read it. Who is to say it will remain legible after a period of time? Are we going to lay down regulations and specifications for some kind of time capsule that is made out of plexiglass? I think not.
We do not want to give this to arsonists, terrorists or saboteurs, or people who are looking for chemicals to do God knows what with. Maybe some young adolescents have discovered that a certain chemical will give you a better high even than angel dust or any of those other things that are out there. We are going to post it on the front of the building? I think not. The responsible thing to do, I suggest, and I am sure this would more than satisfy the member for Sudbury East, is to see that the fire department has the map and that it is going to be flashed immediately to the fire truck or be part of the fire truck's computerized system and will do things in an up-to-date and modern way.
I think the Minister of Labour is going to welcome this friendly amendment, and so will the member for Sudbury East from the New Democratic Party.
Hon. Mr. Wrye: I do not think we are terribly wild about this amendment either but I think it is better than the one now stacked for a vote. I think all of us are concerned about the issue we are trying to address here, and that is providing the greatest possible amount of information for fire departments in the case of fires, in the case of these dangerous situations. I do not think there is any disagreement in any party on this. The question is how to do it.
There really are a number of problems with the amendment which stands in the name of the member for Sudbury East and which is now stacked for a vote, and I think at least some of the problems have been overcome by the amendment proposed by the member for Sudbury. I will not go into it, but the member for Brantford mentioned that the member for Sudbury East's amendment really is an invitation to terrorists and burglars. It is unpractical in some cases, and I do share that concern also with the member for Sudbury's amendment. There are going to be some companies where there is almost more information than can be put on a floor plan.
I guess, on balance, my greater problem and the reason I am inclined to accept the amendment of the member for Sudbury -- and that the government will support the amendment of the member for Sudbury and not that of the member for Sudbury East -- is that in a very practical sense, in a great number of fires, the ability of the firefighters to get close enough even to see the floor plan is going to be at risk. If it is in the part of the building where the floor plan has been posted on the exterior, that wall could have collapsed before the fire department even gets there.
I believe it probably would have been better to do all this by regulation but, if we had our druthers, we would go with the amendment of the member for Sudbury. I do not share the concerns of my friend from Sudbury East on whether departments will be able to access this information quickly. Because they are more concerned than we are about the health and safety of their own firefighters, I am sure they will develop very quickly methods of accessing this information almost instantly in the event of a fire and literally within minutes will have these floor plans with the indications of where the hazardous materials are located on site.
One of the problems with that -- and it is a limitation I hope we all understand -- is that those hazardous materials move from place to place within the factory and within the plant. Obviously, there is going to be a bit of a guessing game, but perhaps as we develop the floor plans, it can be indicated that the hazardous materials move from place to place in the plant. Certainly, anything which will be proposed and which will be given here will be superior to what we have now.
I would simply ask the mover of the motion, the member for Sudbury, if he would accept a very small friendly amendment, that is, where it says, "the employer shall provide the director," to make it say instead "a director." I would move that the word "the" in line 1 of the amendment to subsection 7 be struck and the word "a" be substituted therefor.
Mr. Chairman: That is an amendment of an amendment. If you want to get a little less fancy, perhaps Mr. Gordon will change it. It is the fifth word in the fast line which is changed from "the" to "a."
Hon. Mr. Wrye: I will give it all to the member for Sudbury, if he will accept it.
Mr. Gordon: I would so move.
Mr. Chairman: Good. Thank you. Further comments on the amendment?
Mr. Martel: Let me make just two short comments. I know all the fire departments beyond Sudbury and Toronto have computer equipment. They really do, those little firefighting departments in the unorganized townships. I know Fort Erie has a computer and it is going to be able to relay that as the firemen are travailing along to the fire. That makes me feel secure and I am sure it is going to make the firemen in all these other localities that do not have computers feel secure. They know all they have to do is press a buzzer and it is going to flip out and tell them where everything is.
When it comes to the latter point, it blows my mind, quite frankly. What was the word they used?
Mr. Gillies: Terrorism.
Mr. Martel: Terrorism. My God, we have to be careful of the terrorists. We have lots of them in northern Ontario. We have them in the Bruce Peninsula. I know in Erie they have more terrorists than you can shake a stick at. We really have to be fearful of that.
I do not think with this sort of amendment -- and I can understand why the minister is going to accept it. All the prattle from my friend the member for Sudbury about whether we are going to have something that is fireproof or waterproof -- what is he talking about? What we want to do is protect people.
The minister got up and joined in. He said: "It must have been a long fire. It must have smouldered all night through spontaneous combustion or otherwise it blew the hell out of the building." I want to know the fire, in the first five minutes when the fire truck is there, that is on the outside and so dangerous people cannot get near it. There they are now with their firefighting equipment standing next to the building pouring water into it. All I am saying is: have something outside so the firemen know full well what it is they are fighting with.
What the minister has done by accepting this amendment is do the firefighters a disservice. I want to tell him that every fire department does not have computers yet. If he wants to risk the lives of those firemen, he should accept that amendment. What he is doing is putting firefighters, where there are no computers, at risk, because they will never have the information. The minister can play all the silly games he wants with my friend from Sudbury, but where there are no computers that means firefighters will not have the protection so that they can look at the material they are going to fight in the fires they are exposed to.
If the minister wants to say "Put it 50 feet from the building" so be it, but he should not pretend that everybody in this bloody province has a computer on which to draw. If he is saying that, he is nuts, and so is the member for Sudbury.
Mr. Gordon: Certainly it would not be my intention to prattle on about this, but I would suggest to the House that in communities in Ontario that are as small as the member for Sudbury East has suggested, if they did have a chemical plant, I think it would be incumbent upon the fire department to have the plan sent to it and to do a little bit of homework as part of its daily duties.
Without listening to the derogatory terms coming from the member on my left, I might point out that volunteer fire departments in this province are well known for the fact that they spend endless evenings wanting to learn more and more and more about the hazards that happen to be in the area they are serving. They spend many, many evenings. I am certainly not going to downgrade those volunteer fire departments or their members. I think they can learn this material and even they, if you quizzed them, would tell you it is a much superior way to do it.
What are we going to do? Are we going to go out and delegate, first of all, a special form? We are going to have to bring people in from all over Ontario to teach them how to make this special form that is going to be hung up somewhere. Is it going to go up on a chain link fence? Is it going to go up on a red brick building? Where is it going to go?
I am not going to carry on any further. I just had to get up, when I hear terms like "prattle." What can I say?
Mr. Martel: What about "plagiarize"?
Mr. Gordon: "Plagiarize" too. There is another term that is coming from the left.
Mr. Martel: That amendment came, like so many others the member was going to move, from the list I handed him the other day and which he was prepared to use. Only his critic, who carried the bill yesterday, had the decency to say, "I will not try to move those, because I know full well they are the ones you presented on Thursday afternoon." Do not give me prattling.
I want to say there are volunteer firefighters as well -- small brigades in the north, things like that --where they will never have a computer. My friend shakes his head, but I recall just two years ago, a volunteer organization fighting a fire in the north -- the Ministry of Natural Resources, to be exact --where people were seriously injured because they did not know. They were inadequately trained.
He makes it sound so simplistic, as though everyone has the equipment with which to do it. I do not see any problem, I say to my friend, the minister. I look at every company. They have a sign outside -- in glass, under lights, most of them --spotlighting their products. Now, that is important; that sells. However, to protect firefighters, who have one of the most risky jobs in the business, we say, "We are going to put it on the computer or they can memorize it all."
There is somebody here from the city of Toronto -- I want to know how many plants we are talking about that firefighters should have imbedded in their skulls. "If we go to plant X, these 273 substances are there. If we go to plant Y, it is another 500 substances. You remember where they are." My friend the member for Sudbury says it is simply a case of memorizing.
One studies at night. How many companies in a fire station? How many streets? How many blocks? There could be 1,000 companies. What my friends are saying is, "Well, they can remember them all. They can remember the amount of designated substances. They can memorize the location for each of those substances." Who are the members trying to kid? Who in God's name are they trying to kid -- that one can put it down to memory?
I cannot get over the terrorists. That is the one that really clinches it -- the terrorists. We have got to watch them.
Hon. Mr. Wrye: I cannot let all of this go -- and I really have some reservations about involving myself in this family feud from Sudbury. However, I say to my friend from Sudbury East, I really do not need a lecture from him on whether we are nuts or not. Here we have placed a better amendment, which in my considered judgement will provide for the health and safety of firefighters in a better way than is proposed by my friend from Sudbury East.
I do not know where my friend from Sudbury East comes from out of left field -- he always comes out of left field with his idea of computers. I suppose we will put all of these floor plans, in his view, in a computer. I would think that in a few fire stations they are going to have these floor plans right in a filing drawer. When the fire begins they will open the drawer and pull out the floor plan. Even in this high-technology era of 1987, it will get no more sophisticated than that.
Mr. Martel: You are crazy. You are mad. Keep going, Bill, and they will memorize it all.
Mr. Warner: You are the Mad Hatter.
Mr. Chairman: I am sorry, I did not realize the minister had completed. I was listening to the Mad Hatter.
Mr. Haggerty: If anybody works in the industrial sector, and I have worked in it as a millwright, I will tell you this much: If you come into a hazardous area in any of the plants, they usually have a sign there. Some of them even have a plan, mapped out on a steel plate. It tells you every check valve there is, so in case of an event, a fire, in this particular area or that tank, one knows where to go to shut off the valve, to check it there, so it does not spread through the building.
Normally, this is available inside the plant doors, for the workers. However, the member for Sudbury East said it should be on the outside. Yes, I quite agree with him. There should be something out there to warn any firemen going in there.
Mr. Breaugh: We do not want to intervene in this family dispute.
Mr. Haggerty: No, but I just draw to members' attention, those who are not familiar with the industrial sector, that this is what takes place. I suggest that there are a number of fire departments that do have an index of all the hazardous materials located throughout the community. Normally, when the alarm comes in and there is a street number, they will pull the file out and say, "Yes, there is hazardous material there," and they can disperse the equipment. But I suggest that when you get into a larger chemical plant, then they do have ways of informing the employees themselves of what to do in that event.
One of the things I think the member for Sudbury East forgot to mention in this warning is that there should also be a sign out there that tells you how to neutralize that chemical. Sometimes water, if you want to put it that way, may cause further gases out there that may be of a serious, toxic nature.
I suggest the member has a good point.
Mr. Martel: Thank you. May I ask the minister about the split in the family, the feud?
Mr. Chairman: Are there any further comments on Mr. Gordon's amendment? There being none, this is Mr. Gordon's amendment to section 3, proposed section 22a, and it is a new subsection 7. Shall that carry?
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Martel: I have my own section. Could I ask the Chairman, before he does this --
Mr. Chairman: No, it is carried.
Mr. Martel: No, just a moment. Let me ask the Chairman a question for help then, for guidance. You already have a section in here on a stacked vote, and you are now accepting another amendment to a different section, which is essentially the same motion.
Mr. Chairman: No, they can both exist.
Mr. Martel: All right, I just want to know that; because we are going to have to vote on the first one when we come to it in a little while.
Mr. Chairman: I looked at that before, and not only are they technically sectioned in different ways, but one is stating, "Put it on the outside of the building," and the other is saying, "Provide records to certain people." So I do not find them at all contradictory. Thank you.
Now, the next amendment. Mr. Gordon, I believe you have two amendments, subsection 22d(1) and subsection 22d(3).
Mr. Gordon moves that subsection 22d(1) of the act, as set out in section 3 of the bill, be amended as follows:
"Where so prescribed, an employer shall assess, through an independent laboratory approved by the joint health and safety committee, all biological, chemical and physical agents produced and used in the work place to determine if they are hazardous materials."
Mr. Gordon: To be very brief on this, obviously we know that very little is known about the majority of biological, chemical and physical agents that are in the work place. This gives the workers, under the aegis of the joint health and safety committee, the power to see that these chemicals and biological and physical agents are assessed by an independent laboratory if they so wish.
Mr. Chairman: Thank you. Are there further comments?
Mr. Martel: It is interesting, as I watch my friend the Minister of Labour on this one, because both the Tories, when they were in power, and the Liberals of the time, opposed premarket testing.
Actually what you are doing is not premarket testing. I guess you are going to prescribe the testing of some 50,000 substances, and I would agree with that. Yesterday I called for premarket testing of all new substances, and at the same time I called for the testing of all those substances in the work place, because we really do not have one substance known in the work place that has been fully tested.
Yesterday I quoted at length the statistics from studies done in the United States, so I am delighted to support this amendment, which for the first time is going to demand testing of all substances in the work place. It is a great shift by the Tories. I am delighted with it.
Hon. Mr. Wrye: The member for Sudbury East will not be surprised to hear that we shall not be supporting the amendment.
Mr. Breaugh: We do not even care.
Mr. Warner: That is irrelevant.
Hon. Mr. Wrye: That may be; indeed that may be totally irrelevant.
Mr. Breaugh: Wait till we hear from the member for Erie (Mr. Haggerty).
Hon. Mr. Wrye: That is two out of three falls and it seems to be we do not get to round three; I am not absolutely certain I can carry the caucus on this.
We will not be accepting the amendment. We believe the amendment is far too inflexible. In some cases, the employer could do the assessment in-house if he has the facilities; and any further tests, if they are required, could be required under section 28. Without getting into it in any great depth, we will not accept the amendment and we will not be voting for it.
Mr. Chairman: Are there any further comments on this section?
Shall the amendment of Mr. Gordon to subsection 22d(1) of the act carry?
All those in favour will please say "aye."
All those opposed will please say "nay."
In my opinion, the ayes have it.
Mr. Chairman: I believe the member for Sudbury has an amendment to subsection 22d(3), but again I think it is a bit incomplete. I believe this is a new section. You might move that this be added, some wording to say that it be added to section 22d of the bill.
Mr. Gordon: The motion reads: "The employer will cause an independent laboratory, approved by the joint health and safety committee, to regularly test air quality in each separate work place of a factory, mine, mining plant or project and the results of this air testing will be made available to the workers as established in section 22d, subsection (3)."
I so move; and I might add --
Mr. Chairman: No, can I carry that; or at least get it on the record?
Mr. Gordon moves that a new section 22d(3) be included or added to section 3 of the bill, which states as follows:
"(3) The employer will cause an independent laboratory, approved by the joint health and safety committee, to regularly test air quality in each separate work place of a factory, mine, mining plant or project and the results of this air testing will be made available to the workers as established in section 22d, subsection (3)."
I am a bit confused about the reference to section 22 at the end, subsection 3. Really, would that not be what we are dealing with now? Do you really mean that subsection?
Mr. Breaugh: Do you not really mean that the amendment is out of order, Mr. Chairman?
Mr. Gordon: Like hell it is.
Mr. Chairman: The chair is trying to be very helpful with these many amendments, many of which are a little --
Mr. Martel: No, ours were not.
Mr. Breaugh: Rule them out of order and let's proceed.
Mr. Chairman: No, I am asking a question here. If he means subsection 22d(3), that is the very number of the amendment he is proposing.
Mr. Martel: I think we better find out if this in fact is going to jazz up the WHMIS agreement. If I understand the WHMIS agreement, this sort of thing might in fact -- actually I am not sure, but would the amendment being proposed at present --
Hon. Mr. Wrye: Do you mean subsection 22d(3)? Subsection 22d(3) has nothing to do with WHMIS.
Mr. Martel: That is right. I just do not know if this --
Hon. Mr. Wrye: Subsection 22d(1) did not have much to do with it either.
Mr. Martel: The last one. Let me speak to this motion then, because --
Mr. Gordon: Mr. Chairman, it is my motion.
Mr. Martel: Well then you might get up and present the damn thing.
Mr. Gordon: Why do you not sit down?
Mr. Martel: It is out of order to start with.
Mr. Gordon: Unless it comes out of your bailiwick it is no good.
Mr. Chairman: Order. Would both members please sit down?
Mr. Chairman: Order. In fairness, not everybody has had their amendments in tickety-boo shape when they were presented. We have been very lenient with some of the amendments. Maybe it would be easier to stand this down for the moment, go on to the next amendment and then I am sure the member for Sudbury will be able to tell me whether that is exactly correct.
Do I have unanimous consent to stand this down?
Mr. Gordon: You can stand it down temporarily. Then we will come back and debate it.
Mr. Chairman: Right, thank you. The next amendment I have is from the member for Carleton-Grenville (Mr. Sterling), an amendment to section 3, proposed section 22d.
The member for Carleton-Grenville moves that section 22d of the act, as set out in section 3 of the bill, be amended by adding thereto the following subsection:
"2. On the request of an employee, an employer shall make an assessment to determine the levels of tobacco smoke present in the area or areas of the work place in which the worker works and the degree of hazard to workers in each such area."
Mr. Sterling further moves that subsection (2) of the said section 22d, as printed, be renumbered as subsection 22d(3) and that the said subsection 22d(3) be amended by inserting after "one" in the first line, "or two".
Hon. Mr. Wrye: Before the member speaks to the substance of this, I would ask that the Chairman rule this amendment out of order. I would cite paragraph 725 of Beauchesne in which, as the Chairman will know, it says, "A motion for leave to bring in a bill, the objects of which are substantially the same as those of a bill upon which the House has come to a decision in the current session, is out of order."
The member for Carleton-Grenville has Bill 71 before the House right now, which deals as well with the hazards of smoking. I think it can be argued in this case that passage of second reading of that bill -- and indeed the bill has been to committee -- is "a decision" of the House.
I would further argue that under standing order 117: "It shall be an instruction to the committee of the whole House to which bills may be committed that it has the power to make such amendments therein as it thinks fit, if they are relevant to the subject matter of the bill, but if any such amendments are not within the title of the bill, it shall amend the title accordingly and shall report the bill to the House."
I think the fact of the matter is that this amendment, well intentioned as it is -- I have no problems with the intention that my friend brings in this amendment and I want to make that clear -- but it is totally and conceptually different, as are a number of the other things that are going on here, from the provisions of Bill 79, which deal with inventories, labels and material safety data sheets.
Bill 79 is integrated with a federal bill -- which is, I believe, this afternoon receiving second reading in the House of Commons and which will pass the House of Commons this Friday which specifically excludes the subject matter of the motion.
I ask you, Mr. Chairman, to rule the motion out of order.
Mr. Sterling: I find it rather amusing that the Minister of Labour uses my private member's bill, Bill 71, the Non-Smokers' Protection Act, as one of his bases for calling this motion out of order. The fact of the matter is that Bill 71 has languished in Orders and Notices waiting to be called for third reading since January of this year.
The fact of the matter is that this government continues to ignore the significant problem of controlling smoking in the work place. Bill 71 does not deal with testing of smoking in the work place; it deals with controlling smoking in the work place and is my preferred approach to dealing with this particular problem. However, we have a government which continues to ignore the whole problem and continues to stonewall on it. I have asked the ministers at various times during question period and estimates what their objections are to Bill 71. They keep saying, "We have no objections"; yet they do nothing.
On a second point of order, Mr. Chairman: The minister says this is introducing a new matter into the bill. I would argue very strenuously against that. If you read the explanation of the purpose of the bill in the explanatory note, this bill is being created for two different reasons. One reason is to have employers "prepare inventories of hazardous materials," and the other is "to provide information to their workers respecting hazardous materials and hazardous physical agents" in the work place.
Then we go to subsection 22d(1), which says that "an employer shall assess all biological and chemical agents produced in the work place." The limitation in this particular section is that it is prescribed. It limits this to those particular biological and chemical agents that would be prescribed by the government, in other words by order in council.
What I am attempting to do here is to prevent the government from not acting on the chemical and the biological pollution agents that are produced by tobacco smoke. We know it is a hazard, and I just do not trust this government in regard to prescribing tobacco smoke in its regulations. It has sat on its hands for six months on Bill 71, the Non-Smokers' Protection Act. Members of the government have indicated their lack of desire to deal with this problem.
I would argue strenuously that in fact this government, under subsection 22d(1) could prescribe tobacco smoke as one of the biological and chemical agents that an employer was responsible for testing, as provided under 22d(2). All I am doing here is preventing the government from not prescribing or regulating tobacco smoke as one of those biological and chemical agents.
Mr. Chairman: I have looked at the various references cited by the minister. He referred to section 725 of Beauchesne, I believe. That talks about "a motion for leave to bring in a bill, the objects of which are substantially the same," and so on. Here the member for Carleton-Grenville is not bringing in a bill but is bringing in an amendment.
The minister also referred to standing order 117, where it says, "It shall be an instruction to the committee of the whole House to which bills may be committed that it has the power to make such amendments therein as it thinks fit, if they are relevant to the subject matter of the bill."
When I look at the explanatory note, it talks about hazardous materials and hazardous physical agents. To try to find out what hazardous materials are, because the amendment of the member for Carleton-Grenville refers to hazards, I look for a definition in Bill 79 and I see that hazardous material means a hazardous material as defined in the regulations and a hazardous physical agent is a hazardous physical agent as defined in the regulations. Since we have no regulations in front of us, that does not help me.
As far as the federal bill is concerned, and the argument of the minister that the member for Carleton-Grenville's amendment has something to do with the subject matter of a federal bill, the chair has no way of knowing what the federal bills are or what is happening in Ottawa.
For that reason, I am ruling the amendment in order.
Mr. Sterling: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I will speak to the substance of the motion.
On this particular amendment --
Hon. Mr. Nixon: That from the member for Oxford (Mr. Treleaven) --
Hon. Mr. Wrye: Nice job. Rule by consensus; keep working on it.
Mr. Harris: You have had this bill here for over a year. You have done nothing for workers.
Mr. Chairman: Order. The member for Carleton-Grenville has the floor.
Mr. Sterling: The Minister of Labour injects a remark directed at our House leader: it is this government that has refused to do anything on this particular matter, so let us get on with it.
Mr. Chairman: Can we restrict ourselves to your amendment --
Mr. Sterling: I am sorry, Mr. Chairman. Yesterday when I was speaking on this particular matter, I would have preferred that this government do something with regard to controlling smoking in the work place. This amendment at least gives employees one small right in dealing with smoking in the work place. It gives them the right to know how bad it really is and what the hazard is that is associated with that particular tobacco smoke.
As I said yesterday, this particular amendment deals with what is perhaps the most common hazard in the work place across Ontario. Therefore it is appropriate that it be put in this bill and that it be dealt with by this government at this time.
I say to the minister we have been shaking our heads too long. We have not been doing anything in this regard. The minister has allowed the city of Toronto the right to pass bylaws to control smoking in the work place, but he continues to ignore me and the questions I have placed on behalf of 30,000 people in Ontario who support Bill 71; he just cannot keep going by and shaking his head and doing nothing.
Therefore, I ask the support of the members of the Legislature for this particular amendment.
Mr. Martel: I must tell members that this morning my colleagues approved a nonsmoking item with our union. I do not think this would do anything to the work place hazardous materials information system agreement.
The minister is going to have to convince me that it would, because WHMIS as I understand it -- in fact the minister should have been on his feet when we did section 22d. The minister, if he had been smart, should have been on his feet telling my friends to my right that in fact the WHMIS agreement, part of it, is that it is not a testing program. That is part of the agreement he has with the feds and that all the provinces joined in on. But the WHMIS agreement is not specifically a testing agreement.
Of course, the reason I love to support it is that I have been advocating in this House for years that we have to premarket-test all new substances before people are exposed to substances being either used or sold.
Yesterday, I referred to thalidomide and the fact that we did not premarket-test it and the dire consequences. The same applies here. The minister was not on his feet saying: "Wait a minute. Clause 22(d)(3) is a violation of the WHMIS agreement."
Hon. Mr. Wrye: We have not done it yet. Wait until we get to it.
Mr. Martel: Yes, we have done the first part; it is the second part. The minister should get on the ball. Is it subsection 1?
Mr. Martel: They tell me subsection 1. All right, we have done that. So the minister has a contravention to start with. Of course, my friend has studied the bill.
But I cannot see how this one violates anything, because I say to my friend the minister that he has put in the community right to know and that does not contravene the agreement. The minister is going to have to explain to me how it contravenes the federal agreement; otherwise my caucus and I have decided we should support this amendment, because we think it is time we got serious about it.
I am one who smokes the odd cigar occasionally. I am going to suffer when we bring that into our caucus, because I cannot even smoke in my own office any more. That is how ludicrous it is. I cannot smoke at home. My wife does not let me smoke at home. The only place I can smoke is in my car, so no one can travel with me in future. The only place left I am going to be able to smoke is in my car.
I want to hear what the minister is going to say. As I say, we will support this unless he can convince me that it is a violation of the agreement.
Mr. Dean: If it is in order, I would like to say a very short piece in support of the amendment we are discussing right now.
It seems to me it has to be a very obtuse or uncaring person who would think that it is not a hazardous material to have tobacco smoke in your environment. Although I am not a smoker myself, I do not consider I am a fanatic about it, because I have endured a lot of smoky meetings and other smoke in the work place. But there was ample evidence brought to a committee of this Legislature last fall, and earlier than that in 1986, specifically about secondhand smoke. That is really one of the things we are talking about here.
As a person who tries to love his fellow man and woman, I am concerned about the person who is smoking. But it is a deliberate decision on the part of that person to smoke, and except for the fact that it creates a very onerous burden on society to care for the illnesses that develop in himself or herself as a result of that person smoking, that is his or her business.
However, the effect of the sidestream smoke, as it is called, has been amply demonstrated by many tests, examinations and surveys. I do not think there is any doubt that it is a major health problem It is a major concern about people in the work place and the environment there.
I have here a brief account from the Canadian Press that was published in many newspapers on February 27, 1986. It is headed with what should be an arresting headline: "Secondhand Smoke Kills 500 Canadians a Year." It is the result of a study that has been done of the causes of death.
Because of that concern and the fact that investigation has shown that the kind of smoke you get from an idle cigarette that is just smouldering in an ashtray or that you get coming from a smoker if you are near that person -- I am quoting -- "That kind of smoke contains much higher concentrations of many toxic and cancer-causing chemicals than does mainstream smoke." That is the kind of smoke the smoker inhales, because the smoker frequently has some of it filtered out. Also, chemically speaking, it is at a cooler level and, therefore, the material is more stable and more likely to cause problems.
I would like also to refer members of the committee to a further statement from it.
"It is not surprising because of this to note that involuntary smoking" -- that is, what happens when you are in the work place, a social place or anywhere else, but we are talking here about a work place - "has been associated with cancers at multiple sites, not just the lungs. It includes the lungs, the nasal sinuses, the brain, leukaemia, lymphoma, the breast, uterine, cervix and endocrine glands," according to the study.
This is almost incredible, Mr. Chairman, but I know that you as a fair-minded person, even though you come from Oxford, will believe that secondhand smoke contains more than 3,800 chemical compounds, more than 50 of which are potential carcinogens or known to be hazardous to health. If a nonsmoker is exposed to that kind of atmosphere for even 20 hours a week, he will inhale between one per cent and 20 per cent as much of those poisonous materials as active smokers do. That is from the Department of National Health and Welfare.
The study parallels recent US studies which estimated that 5,000 American nonsmokers die annually. Involuntary exposure to tobacco is the second-largest cause of lung cancer in the US, between the first-largest cause, active smoking, and the third-largest cause -- l know my friend from Sudbury East is concerned about coke-oven work, but coke-oven work is less of a hazard than secondhand smoke.
I think there is no doubt that action should be taken on this bill. Where else in our society do we cater to the needs of addicts? Are we going to say next, because somebody requires cocaine to feel good, that we are going to allow that in the work place without testing to see whether it is harmful?
I do not need to prolong debate on it except to remind members there is ample support for this sort of thing from such august groups as the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, in a considerable essay it has written on the subject, the Canadian Cancer Society and the Atlanta Centers for Disease Control. Besides the actual sickness, there is also the absenteeism and the high cost to industry and to fellow workers of the absence of the people who are involved in this.
I urge the minister to see the value of this and to come out like a hero by supporting the amendment.
Hon. Mr. Wrye: First, I would raise with my friends opposite -- the change of heart in the third party overnight is astounding, breathtaking.
Mr. Martel: I am not changing.
Hon. Mr. Wrye: My friend from Sudbury East --
Mr. Laughren: You have no friends in Sudbury East.
Hon. Mr. Wrye: Well, the member for Sudbury East.
It will be interesting to see how the employer will assess the degree of hazard to workers in each such area. That will be interesting. It will be quite enlightening because eminent scientists the world over cannot do that, but we are now going to try to do that in Ontario.
My friend the member for Sudbury East wants a reason to try to convince his caucus to get back to the position he originally espoused. Let me just point out to him that what this bill is -- as we go on, we seem to be losing track of what this bill is -- is a bill which is a tandem bill with the federal amendments to the Hazardous Products Act. I know it is a bill which ultimately is to provide warning labels, material safety data sheets and training and education. That is what is defined when it says "provide information" in the explanatory note. We are providing information in terms of warning labels and material safety data sheets.
Where one talks about hazardous materials, again while I can have all the sympathy in the world for my friend's position, this amendment in a sense is an empty amendment, though one which may well upset the delicate balance. There is a delicate balance that people in this Legislature appear to be forgetting. I think my friend the member for Sudbury East understands that; if he does not, he has not been talking to the leadership of the labour movement and the leadership of industry lately.
The amendment to section 22d proposed by the member for Carleton-Grenville will do absolutely nothing. If I can take my friend back to the beginning of the bill where we define "hazardous material" as a biological or chemical agent named or described in the regulations, the reason it will be named or described in the regulations is that it will meet the definition nationwide and will meet the WHMIS definition now being put on in the amendments to the Hazardous Products Act.
The WHMIS consensus and the federal legislation being debated this week specifically exclude tobacco and tobacco products. Much as the member may be well-meaning on this, and much as this Legislature, if it votes for it, may be well-meaning in doing so, it will be an exercise in futility in terms of the definition of a hazardous material. Nothing can flow from it, because tobacco and tobacco products are one of a number of items that are specifically excluded.
WHMIS is intended to apply to products that are sold for use in the work place. Tobacco products do not fit that description. As I said, tobacco and tobacco products were specifically excluded from the WHMIS consensus. I should point out to my friend that also excluded from the consensus are consumer products and manufactured articles. Tobacco smoke is therefore specifically excluded and, second, is excluded as a byproduct, the use of a consumer product and a manufactured article.
To support the motion would be to violate the WHMIS consensus, which the federal government and our sister provinces are attempting to reflect. In this case, it is somewhat different than the community right to know and the inventory issue, which went beyond the WHMIS consensus but did not in any way violate it. I would argue to my friend that this goes beyond it.
I would hope my friend the member for Sudbury East and members of his party would remember three long years of difficult negotiation between industry, labour and government and would realize and accept that there was some give and take. Perhaps they would leave this issue to be dealt with, as quite rightly it should be, at a later time and on a later date, and not deal with it here, where to do so might have the unhappy result of upsetting a balance that is very delicate. It might not, but even if it does not, I would say to my friend the member for Carleton-Grenville that because the issue of tobacco smoke is not caught in the definition of hazardous materials, one may be able to do a consensus but nothing will come of it.
Mr. Sterling: I guess I have a question of the minister. What happens if this Legislature decides, as it has decided on various other sections, to extend the scope of the legislation in other areas? What happens, for instance, if the minister brought in a bill tomorrow -- l am not holding my breath that he might -- that did the very same thing? What is going to happen to Ontario? Ontario will have a law that will take care of workers in the work place to a greater extent than will those in other provinces. So what is the big deal? The minister does not object to that, I presume. He is not arguing about whether this can go beyond or to another step.
I think when you enter into an agreement with the federal government and with other people, you decide that you are going to meet a bare minimum. Then if the Legislature in its wisdom desires to go beyond that agreement -- to expand, to go deeper, to protect the worker in the work place in a wider focus -- it is free to do so. This is what we are elected here to do. We can go beyond. That is what some of the amendments here have done in terms of other parts of this particular statute.
I do not know how he refers to the definition section in terms of dealing with hazardous material. I thought the section stood on its own, in conjunction with those other sections, because it does not really refer to hazardous material. It does not rely on the government to say whether tobacco smoke is a hazardous material or not. It is an assumption in the amendment that it is a hazardous material, and that will be what the law of Ontario will be, that tobacco smoke is a hazardous material. The section is self-explanatory in terms of dealing with it. I just do not follow the minister's arguments along those particular lines.
I would be very upset if the Legislature did not desire to pass this, because it is not within the purview or the thinking of this government to do anything about controlling smoking in the work place. This would be the first step in doing that on a province-wide basis. I do not think it is enough to leave it up to municipalities to decide on a one-by-one basis across this province to deal with smoking in the work place.
Mr. Martel: I think we have to get something clarified. I said to the minister that he would have to convince me, and he tries to turn it around in a silly way. What I was trying to find out was whether acceptance of this is considered a testing program which would violate the WHMIS agreement. Rather than deal with it seriously, as he usually does, the minister tries to make someone else look as though he is not with it.
I go back to the minister and I say to him that if we cannot test, then maybe he should tell me what the rest of subsection 22d(1) means: "Where so prescribed, an employer shall assess all biological and chemical agents produced in the work place for use therein to determine if they are hazardous materials."
If that is not a testing program, then what is it? That is why I was asking him to indicate whether this is considered testing. If it is, what does that section do? If the WHMIS agreement is not a testing program -- and that is what my understanding of it is, that it is a labelling program. l indicated that yesterday when I spoke. I did not think it was such a hot bill, and I did not think we really had made much progress. It took five years, not three, as the minister would suggest. The whole process started in 1982, and it has taken five years to get here. It is really a labelling/data-sheet/education process about what is being used in the work place.
I tried to twit the minister about earlier sections which had been passed -- I guess it was subsection 22d(1), the amendment of my friend the member for Sudbury which called for all the testing. The minister, who is so slick on his feet, did not even notice that. My research staff sent that to me immediately. Let me read the note. They said: "Wait a minute. This is a violation of the WHMIS agreement."
The minister gets up in his usual smart way. He did not even have the brains to get up and say: "Wait a minute. If subsection 22d(1) is calling for all the testing, then it is a contravention of WHMIS." He gets up 20 minutes later, when somebody finally goes over and pats him on the shoulder and says, "Buddy, you are wrong," and he tries to get smart with somebody else in the Legislature. He did not even understand his legislation, and he certainly did not understand the agreement.
Instead of trying to score cheap brownie points, he might tell us what section 22d means, whether it is testing or not, and what WHMIS is all about, whether it is testing and whether it is a contravention of the WHMIS agreement if we are testing and therefore it endangers the WHMIS agreement. That might be helpful.
Hon. Mr. Wrye: Yes, subsection 22d(1) -- because it requires testing of those used in the work place -- is testing. Thus, it is a violation of WHMIS.
Subsection 22d(2) is questionable. I say to my friend from Sudbury, it may stand alone because tobacco and tobacco products are excluded from the definition of "hazardous materials."
Mr. Martel: Deal with them separately, if you would.
Hon. Mr. Wrye: With subsection 22d(1), we have just violated WHMIS and I am not sure whether we will on subsection 22d(3). I do not think so. But certainly, subsection 22d(1) does. My view would be that subsection 22d(2) does not violate WHMIS in that tobacco is not caught under the definition. If I can be helpful to my friend, this is my problem with this whole amendment. I do not have a problem with where my friend from Carleton-Grenville is trying to go, but it just stands alone. In essence, the amendment as proposed has nothing to do with this legislation, because this legislation is to deal with hazardous materials, hazardous physical agents and to provide information on them.
Since, for purposes of this bill, tobacco and tobacco products are not considered to be hazardous materials -- my friend would argue they are, but for the purposes of this bill, they are not; they are of no consequence for this bill -- l do not know where, in essence, this amendment goes.
Mr. Martel: Might I help the minister? I notice that the government House leader has vacated the premises, but the Minister of Labour might implore his colleague -- l realize it almost looks like blackmail, and it might be useful blackmail to some degree -- he might ask his House leader if he is prepared to call item --
Hon. Mr. Wrye: Bill 71.
Mr. Martel: Yes, we might get out of this dilemma if he could find his House leader. Call him -- I know he has escaped -- and say to him, "Look, Robert" -- pardon me, I must apologize to the chair -- "the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk, Treasurer, Minister of Revenue, government House leader" -- what else? -- "acting Chairman of the Management Board of Cabinet, if they want to call Bill 71 today or tomorrow for third reading, that might get us off the hook."
I understand full well what my friend is doing. He is forcing us -- not us, this Legislature -- to call a bill which has been endorsed by all three parties but for some strange reason the government does not want to bring forward. I do not blame him a bit in pushing it that way, because he has no other recourse, having appealed, pleaded, begged, coaxed and coerced the government to do it. Now he forces them by this route, which becomes a detriment to another piece of legislation, so he might look for Bobby and ask him if he is going to call that.
Hon. Mr. Wrye: I could raise that with my colleague the government House leader at the appropriate time, when I next see him, but it would be my view that if Bill 71 proceeds, it should proceed on its merits or perhaps there may be other ways to deal with the problem. I know that members of the government, including myself and other ministers, have been working quite diligently on a comprehensive package of changes and they will come forward at the appropriate time. I think my colleague the Minister of Health (Mr. Elston) has indicated that before.
I would suggest to my friend from Sudbury that as I look at this, to be quite candid, I think there will be a very real concern among the business community of having this added to this particular piece of legislation. I am not sure. I think it will be very difficult to assess the degree of hazard. I do not know really what happens out of this. As I said, it is almost a stand-alone item. I understand what my friend is getting at but I really do not think this piece of legislation is the place to do it, and I can only say I hope the House, and I hope my friend the member for Sudbury East and the members of the third party will not support the opposition on this matter.
Mr. Sterling: The section has been ruled in order. The Minister of Labour says this particular section does not contravene the WHMIS agreement. The minister has not opposed it on principle. We are going to be voting, I presume, and this vote will be stacked at a quarter to six.
Mr. D. W. Smith: When you are finished.
Mr. Sterling: Whenever we are finished this bill, at a quarter to six or whenever, when the votes are stacked. If the government House leader gives me assurances that he will call Bill 71 before that vote is called, then we can deal with it in that particular manner. That gives the House leader an hour or so to talk to me about it.
Mr. Martel: Let us stand it down.
Mr. Sterling: No. Let us carry it.
Mr. Chairman: Shall Mr. Sterling's amendment to section 3, proposed section 22d, carry?
All those in favour will please say "aye."
All those opposed will please say "nay."
In my opinion the nays have it.
Mr. Chairman: We stood down Mr. Gordon's amendment that section 22d of the act, as set out in section 3 of the bill, be amended by adding thereto the following:
"(3) The employer will cause an independent laboratory approved by the joint health and safety committee to regularly test air quality in each separate work place of a factory, mine, mining plant or project and the results of this air testing will be made available to the workers as established in subsection 22d(2)."
Those are the sections the way they stand now.
Mr. Gordon: First, I think we all recognize in this House that it is long overdue that those people who are working in the mining industry, in the smelters in northern Ontario, have a right to know what kind of air they are breathing.
If we were to examine the past, we would see that many of the workers who worked at the smelter or in a sintering plant have died of cancer. They died of cancer because they did not know the hazard and no one bothered to test to see what was going on. Today, those men's widows live alone without their husbands. Those men are not around to see their grandchildren. They are not around to see the quality of life they could have had, because, cavalierly, government thought it was not necessary.
I say to this House that it is necessary that the air in the work place be tested to see what chemicals are there, to see what is contained in the dust in the uranium mines.
Just a week ago here in this Legislature the widows of gold miners came to see us to talk about their husbands, to ask for justice, to ask that they be compensated for their husbands being gone due to silicosis.
This motion that has been put forward which says, "The employer will cause an independent laboratory approved by the joint health and safety committee to regularly test air quality in each separate work place of a factory, mine, mining plant or project and the results of this air testing will be made available to the workers as established," is the kind of information workers must have.
We have too many instances today where working people are coming back to the government, they are coming back to their members, they are going to the Workers' Compensation Board and they are saying: "I am sick. I am sick with this particular illness, with this cancer, with this bronchial condition or with this skin condition because of the chemicals and because of the kind of conditions I work in."
Do the members know what is said to them? What is said to them is: "We cannot prove that, you know. Do you have anything you can base that on?" Those workers cannot go back and get a sample of the air 10 years ago, 20 years ago or 25 years ago. Those workers have every right to know when they leave their houses to go to work and when they leave their families that they are going to a work place that is as safe as we can humanly, possibly make it. That is the right of every working person.
Would the members of this Legislature demand any less? When they leave their homes to travel here to be legislators and to pass laws, would they expect any less than that: that they are going into a safe place, that the air is not going to kill them, that it is not going to create skin problems, bronchial problems, heart problems or cancer problems?
I can remember well one summer about 14 years ago when I went out to my dad's place. He was building a wall at the time and he was not feeling well. I said, "Are you not feeling very well, dad?" and he said, "No, I am not." He was not a man who ever complained. He very seldom told you what was bothering him or why, but he turned to me and said, "Jim, you know, anyone who worked in the gold mines as long as I did cannot expect to have good health." I never forgot that.
I never forgot that because he was not talking about operating a diamond drill and he was not talking about climbing mine ladders. What he was talking about was the work environment, the quality of the air and the kinds of dust that he worked in. He was dead five days later. He got his cheque from the federal government the same day we buried him. That is the kind of problem we have in northern Ontario. That is the kind of problem we have in southern Ontario.
When the minister says he cannot support the testing in the motion that reads, "Where so prescribed, an employer shall assess, through an independent laboratory approved by the joint health and safety committee, all biological, chemical and physical agents produced and used in the work place to determine if they are hazardous materials," when the Minister of Labour says he cannot support that testing, then I have to say to him that in the year 1987 the workers of Ontario who work in establishments where chemicals are being used and where the air is poor can have little faith in what this government offers them.
I have to repeat what the member for Sudbury East has said. He is right on the money when he asks, what good is an inventory, a list of materials? What good is a list? In fact, I would say this to my colleagues here today: What use is right-to-know legislation when you do not know what you are handling in the way of chemicals and when you do not have the right to see that those chemicals are being tested? What good is a right to know if there is nothing to know?
I say to the members that the testing of chemicals, whether they be biological or physical agents, should be an absolute requirement in this last half of the 20th century. We have to have the moral fibre and we have to have the concern to see that it happens. I would urge this Legislature to pass both of those motions; they are long overdue. If those sintering plant employees could rise from the dead -- prematurely dead -- they would come into this House and say, "You people are going to be condemning more and more workers in this province to death unless you are ready to test these agents."
Why would they say "more and more"? Because every schoolchild knows -- and I would point this out to the Minister of Labour -- that if there is one thing for sure in our society, it is this: that we are producing more and more chemicals and more and more goods out of chemicals. This is having a profound effect on the lives of our people. So much so that we know today, even though the Ministry of Health and many doctors are not willing to admit this, that there are people who cannot even leave their homes, who have to find what they call "environmentally sound" places to live because the materials we are using in this part of the 20th century have virtually made them into people who are very, very ill if they are exposed to nylon carpets or any kind of goods.
Yes, it will cost some money; it will cost industry some money; it will cost government some money. But if the minister looks at the unfunded liability right now of the Workers' Compensation Board, it is at $5.8 billion. If he goes to the WCB, it will tell him: "Oh, we are very sorry, but no one can prove the reason they died in a gold mine or the reason they died at the sintering plant or the reason they are going to die in increasing numbers in the uranium mines is a result of what they are exposed to."
No one can prove that is the way it is; we do not test for those things. So you are not compensable, you cannot get a pension. Unless you hurt your back or have something wrong with your shoulder or have some ailment that you can see with an X-ray, that is due to some degenerative type of breakdown, you are out of luck.
I do not think that working people, other human beings, should have to face that kind of life, and I do not think their widows should have to face that kind of life, either. Do not forget that when these guys die, they leave behind a wife and a family. Not only that: usually, when they do pass away, it is after 20 or 25 years of illness, which means that man and his family have not had the kind of quality of life that many other people in this province are able to have because they do not work in those kinds of conditions.
So I say to members as legislators, would they be prepared to come into this place if they thought that hazardous chemicals and the air were going to kill them? What is good for the goose is good for the gander.
Mr. Martel: As one who was involved in the fight on behalf of the sintering-plant employees back in the early 1970s -- 1971, 1972, 1973 -- I want to tell you, Mr. Chairman, the greatest resistance was from the Conservatives. I find that strange. When I was involved in the battle over the miners in Elliot Lake with my colleague the member for Nickel Belt (Mr. Laughren) and my leader then, Stephen Lewis, and Linda Jolley, we had to fight the government of the day tooth and nail. I was involved in the Bendix situation in my friend's riding a long time ago on behalf of Lucie Dunn. I wish I had got some support years ago as we waged this lonely battle.
I can recall demanding premarket testing of substances many years ago, and the minister of the day and the staff of the Ministry of Labour frowned upon me, sneered at me. I am delighted today that we have someone speaking out in addition to me on behalf of this battle. I must tell this Legislature the first question I ever raised 20 years ago was on occupational health and safety, and now 20 years later we have made that much progress. People still die by the hundreds because we have not had a government that has had the courage to really get out there and protect working people.
Members have all heard me day after day harass my friends across the way on health and safety. I guess it depends on where one sits. When the minister sat on this side of the House he used to join in with me. Now that he is minister, it is somewhat different. My friend, when he was on that side of the House, did not say much. Now he is over on this side of the House he joins in with me. I am delighted to get the support when people are on this side of the House. It would be nice if I could get some support some day for people who sit on that side of the House and make the laws. Just think what we could do for working people.
It is funny when the sides change the great concern for workers dies very significantly. On Saturday, I heard Vic Pulkanis say in Sudbury, "The minister's number one priority in his ministry is health and safety." I said to the minister yesterday, "If you want to give workers, the greatest protection you could possibly give them, you would give them power on the committee system." It would do more than all the legislation we could combine, if workers had equal power. I have given them more power in my bill, but if they had equal power even. If the minister were sincere, when he has his staff saying it is the number one priority, if he wants to give them protection he should give them the power to protect themselves.
I love the amendment, as I did clause 22(1)(d), which called for the testing of everything; and this one calling for the testing of air everywhere. I have complained in this House until I am blue in the face about testing being done with the windows open. All I have asked for is that people be there when the testing is done to make sure it is guaranteed that it is under the conditions workers work under. I have not even been able to move it that far yet.
If workers knew that the conditions being tested were the conditions they were exposed to the rest of the day, not just when somebody from some ministry or some consulting firm is in there testing, I could feel secure; but workers are fired when they go to watch tests being conducted, they cannot leave their work place.
I have said to the minister, give the workers some power and let us stop the mayhem. I have to support this amendment in my heart. I have been advocating it for 20 years. But what do I do if it kills the WHMIS agreement? I know that is what the minister is going to say. As little progress as that has been, and it has taken five years to get there, do I risk that five years and have nothing? If I risk that, I blow everything.
It has taken organized labour, management --which has been the real resistance to it, I might add -- 10 provincial governments, the federal government and the territories five years to reach an agreement. I wish with everything I had I could support that today, but I risk everything else; and so l am forced into a position where I have to say no, I cannot afford to blow it.
I suppose someone will go around the province and say, "See, Martel backed off." But I know the fight we are in and everything we have to take. One thing in this party I am particularly proud of is that we have had to take on everybody. People who are on the other side do not understand. They say, "You guys come on so strong all the time." But when you are taking power away from those who have all the power, economic and otherwise, they surrender it so miserably.
We are not making much progress in WHMIS, but it is more than we have. I am not prepared to blow it, despite my own conviction that, by Jesus, we should test everything before people are exposed to it.
Hon. Mr. Wrye: I can understand the concern and the dilemma which faces my friend the member for Sudbury East on subsections 22d(1) and (3). I understand and appreciate what he is saying.
I say to my friend that there are a number of points I could have made within the amendment itself where the wording is really quite unworkable. I take both members back to subsection 22d(1), which has the same problem; it pre-scribes that "an employer shall assess." All this shall be done through the joint health and safety committee; of course committees are not in all work places, and that is another problem with the wording.
I just say to my friend opposite that he knows, as I am sure does my friend the member for Sudbury, who spoke eloquently of his concern about air testing, that this is really an issue for another day.
As my friend the member for Sudbury East points out, we have made some progress under WHMIS. I say quite sincerely to all members of the House, tripartite progress was made only after a great deal of compromise among the parties. Quite frankly, my colleagues in both opposition parties would be aware that this is quite an unusual compromise. Over the last two to two and a half years, that compromise agreement almost came unstuck a few times.
These matters under subsections 22d(1) and 22d(3) are really matters that could cause the agreement to become unstuck. In addition, they are in violation of WHMIS. Also, subsection 22d(3) is quite hopelessly flawed. What does "regularly" mean? What does "each separate work place" mean? There is the fact that it is only committees. What are we testing air quality for?
For all those technical reasons, but also for the main reason that it begins to move against the WHMIS consensus, the government will not support the amendment.
Mr. Chairman: All those in favour of Mr. Gordon's amendment to section 22d will please say "aye."
All those opposed will please say "nay."
In my opinion, the nays have it.
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Martel moves that section 3 of the bill he amended by adding thereto as a section of the act the following:
"22h(1) The council of a municipality may by bylaw name one or more persons to act as an enforcement officer for the purpose of sections 22a to 22g, inclusive; and,
"(2) An enforcement officer appointed under subsection (1) has all the powers of an inspector for the purposes of enforcing sections 22a to 22g, inclusive. "
Mr. Martel: I understand the purpose of the bill is that the Ministry of Labour bears the responsibility for going out and inspecting. I do not think there is anyone who has pushed harder over the years than I to get the minister and the ministry to do that.
But we say "may" here; we do not say "shall." There are only certain municipalities, like Toronto or maybe Windsor, that might want to do that. I say to my friend the minister, it is not compulsory. Most municipalities will not do it because the health units simply do not have the funding. In my own area --and I have checked with a number of other health units -- they do not have the funding to go beyond their mandate. In fact, most of them tell me they cannot even meet their mandate.
There is a division in Toronto. By the way, I have worked with some people from Toronto to prepare this. There is a split. The council, I think, has adopted it. I am not sure the mayor is pushing it very hard. What the minister is going to say is that the mayor does not want it. That is right, but
the mayor did not carry the day. The members of council who were on that committee carried the day; they are looking for the authority. I understand it rests with the minister, but he needs all the help he can get.
Since the minister has only 241 inspectors for the whole province, he needs another 1,000 plus; and since he is not going to get them, he needs all the help he can get. A municipality such as Toronto, which has two million people at least, could relieve some of the burden on his staff, even though the main purpose is with the Ministry of Labour.
We do give the community the right to know. The lead problem in the riding of Riverdale has been there almost since the day I came here. I remember my colleague the late James Renwick arguing that thing, it has to be back 15 years ago, and trying to get it. Nobody had a right to go in; yet kids were allowed to play there. As I said yesterday, there is no barrier. There is not a wall big enough to keep all that in. That material does not know the fence is there, theoretically, to keep it in; it goes between the cracks.
If Metropolitan Toronto has the ability to hire people to help, that is a benefit, that is a plus for us. If they want to pass a motion to do so, we should say to them: "Heaven help us; Billy Wrye has only 241 inspectors. He cannot do the job." As I said in the House yesterday, I know an inspector who has 1,400 facilities which he has to look at. He will never get there; never. In five years he still would not inspect them all. If they want to provide some help -- it is "may" in the act, which does not make it compulsory -- should we not be seeking help wherever we can get it?
I would urge the minister to accept this amendment because, first of all most municipalities will not do it because they do not have the funding, but we should be prepared to accept the help of those prepared to do so unless the minister can assure us he is going to be able to have and hire enough staff to do the inspections of the several hundred thousand work places in this province -- but he ain't going to get it.
Hon. Mr. Wrye: I want to indicate at the outset that the government will not support the amendment. Because it is so all-encompassing -- I am sure my friend understands how all-encompassing he made the amendment; I do not need to point that out to him -- it has thus created municipal enforcement of WHMIS, contrary to the WHMIS consensus. He just spoke about his concerns about violating the WHMIS consensus, and that is the effect of this amendment.
Obviously, in certain areas -- and understanding and not wishing to enter into a polemic on whether we have enough inspectors and what they do -- it does duplicate the effort of the ministry and could result in conflicting decisions by both municipal and provincial authorities. Having an opt-in for Toronto and maybe for Windsor and elsewhere could provide uneven enforcement across the province.
I will say to my friend that I had an opportunity this morning to meet with a delegation from the city of Toronto, including Mayor Eggleton and Alderman Layton. We had a very positive meeting. We reviewed with those individuals the proposed amendments to section 22c. In doing so, I think they came away very supportive of the effort that resulted in the amendments put by my friend this afternoon.
I did indicate on the key matter they are concerned about, the one outstanding matter from Friday's motion in council, which is to allow the medical officer of health to go in to verify inventories, that we would not support this amendment for now, but we would consult with the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and review the matter ourselves. Should we decide to do it, we would do it in one of two ways: we would bring it forward as an additional amendment under general amendments to the act, or we would simply allow it through a private bill mechanism.
I say to my friend, I am not rejecting the concept Toronto has asked for, of allowing municipalities to involve themselves with the enforcement of inventories, but I think it would be more useful to have more time, particularly to consult with the association of municipalities. I think my friend would agree with that.
Second, I think he would understand that what is proposed in his amendment to section 3 of the bill, in the new section 22h, goes far beyond what any municipality -- the city of Toronto or the city of Windsor -- has asked. It would set out enforcement powers that are quite unacceptable under the WHMIS consensus and would turn over to the municipality the job of the province. We will not be supporting the amendment.
Mr. Chairman: Shall Mr. Martel's amendment to section 3, adding section 22h, carry?
All those in favour will please say "aye."
All those opposed will please say "nay."
In my opinion the nays have it.
Mr. Chairman: Are there any other amendments to section 3? No.
Section 4 agreed to.
On section 5:
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Martel moves that subsection 29(4a) of the act, as set out in section 5 of the bill, be amended by striking out "may" in the fifth line and inserting in lieu thereof "shall."
Mr. Martel: If we look at it, it says:
"In addition to the orders that may be made under subsection 4, where an inspector makes an order under subsection 1 for a contravention of section 22b or 22f or a director has been advised of an employer's inability to obtain an unexpired material safety data sheet, the inspector may order that the hazardous material shall not be used or that the thing that causes, emits or produces...."
If it is a hazardous substance or if they think it is a hazardous substance, why should they have the right to say, "We think you can continue to work with it"? I do not think that should be discretionary. If it is hazardous to someone's health, there should be no discretion: "You do not work with it."
If they want to bring in equipment and so on --What we do is we force them to write the order. If they are going to have to use some sort of protective equipment during the process until it is cleared up, so be it. We should always err on the side of safety, I say to the minister. If it means writing an order that they have to use a respirator for a week or so, fine.
To say it is up to the discretion of the inspector is a lot of baloney. When I think about three inspectors who have been sensitized themselves when testing isocyanates for the ministry, I say there is something wrong. If the minister cannot even protect his own staff from becoming sensitized to isocyanates and will not ensure the appropriate equipment, then I say to him I am not prepared to allow his inspectors the discretion.
He has to say to them, "Write the order." If the Tories weasel out of this one, then all the platitudes I heard a few moments ago from the member for Sudbury are not worth a tinker's damn, because what this says is, if there are hazardous substances or we think they are hazardous, it is not necessary to write an order.
He should read it carefully, because if he does not, then all the rest has been huff and puff. I say to my friend the minister, I hope he makes it mandatory and says: "You write the order. If it takes 10 minutes to clear it up, so be it. If it takes half an hour to clear it up, so be it. If it takes two weeks, we will err on the side of safety." I suggest to the minister he should accept the amendment.
Hon. Mr. Wrye: I would always wish to err on the side of safety, but here the matter is really a technical amendment. If we were to change "may" to "shall" on the stop-work subsection, it would require an inspector to issue an order where the employer has acted immediately to comply with the act. In other words, as I am advised, if a warning label fell off a canister and was lying on the floor, the inspector would have to write an order, in spite of the fact that the employer could pick up that warning label, put it back on the canister, put some Scotch tape on it and the order would be complied with. The inspector would then still have to write the stop-work order.
I want to remind my friends of subsection 22b(3) of the bill, which places a duty on employers to "ensure that a hazardous material is not used at a work place unless the prescribed requirements concerning labelling, material safety data sheets and worker instruction and training have been complied with." So the bill already contains an absolute -- not a partial but an absolute -- prohibition against the use of the hazardous materials, unless these matters have been complied with.
It certainly would be my view that the discretionary reference would be used very rarely, in only the kinds of circumstances that I have described, but I am advised that this wording is the appropriate legislative wording in the circumstances, and so the government will oppose the amendment.
Mr. Martel: If the inspector writes the order and it is complied with, then the order does not matter, does it? The guy puts the label on the container, he tapes it on, the order that has been written is immediately complied with, and the ball game is over. Then he just walks away. The order has been complied with. It is there. I have listened to some of the silliest arguments in the past five days about this act. Really. To say, "Well, this is the type of thing we are talking about" -- spare me.
Mr. Chairman: Are there any further comments on Mr. Martel's amendment?
All those in favour of Mr. Martel's amendment will please say "aye."
All those opposed will please say "nay."
In my opinion the nays have it.
Sections 6 to 9, inclusive, agreed to.
Mr. Chairman: It was unanimously agreed yesterday that the vote would be held at the end of the bill at an agreed-upon time. According to the standing orders, it is a 10-minute bell.
Mr. Harris: Ten minutes may be enough, and I am not trying to prolong the vote, but we were specifically requested originally for a timed bell at a quarter to six. In fact, we agreed to that, but then the New Democratic Party said: "No, that is no good. We would like to vote at the end."
We did not agree to a specific time. We agreed, at the end of it, that that is when we would vote and we agreed not to have a specific time, and I would suggest to you, Mr. Chairman, that unless you allow all members to know what that time is, then there is no way you can just limit them to a 10-minute bell.
Mr. Chairman: We had unanimous agreement to vote all stacked --
[Failure of sound system]
Mr. McClellan: On a point of order, Mr. Chairman: I think you have hit on the solution. I do not think your reading of standing orders is correct.
I am reading standing order 120(f), "where the time for a vote in the House is pre-arranged by agreement of all parties, the division bell shall be limited to 30 minutes."
Mr. Chairman: This is committee.
Mr. McClellan: Well, then your previous suggestion was that we apply common sense by unanimous consent and take the vote at 5:55 p.m., or when the whips can get here.
Mr. Chairman: What I am hearing is a specific time --
Mr. McClellan: My suggestion is unanimous consent to wait for the whips.
Mr. Chairman: An unlimited bell. Is that unanimously agreed? I am hearing no.
Ms. E. J. Smith: There was no agreement on time, in hopes of holding it earlier. It certainly was not in hopes of holding it later than 5:45 p.m.
Mr. Chairman: It was unanimously agreed to hold it at the end of the bill. That is where we are sitting now unless there is unanimous consent to differ from that.
Ms. E. J. Smith: It was agreed in discussion they would hold it as soon as possible and not -- l think we discussed 5:45 p.m. and then discussed the option of sooner. We certainly never discussed an option of later.
Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Chairman, the simplest thing, it now being about 5:35 p.m., would be to let the 10-minute bell happen. We will try to have the vote at 5:45 p.m. If the whips are not quite ready, I think we would all be agreeable to delaying it slightly, but we should try to conclude this bill today.
Mr. Chairman: It was agreed the bill would be stacked. It is stacked and the vote will be held. It is a 10-minute bell.
Mr. Harris: That is not what the member suggested. I do not know why you think an unlimited bell means we are not going to vote. We will vote when the whips are ready. With respect, Mr. Chairman, you said a 10-minute bell when a time is agreed on. We have not agreed on a time. We never agreed on a time. We said in the normal course, when the bill finishes, we will have the vote right away. That means, ring the bells and if it takes an hour, that is when we have it.
Mr. Chairman: Excuse me, the chair is going to differ. The time that the --
Mr. Harris: I am challenging the chair's ruling. You can vote on that for the next half hour.
Mr. Chairman: Order. Let me finish my sentence. It was agreed that the time of the division would be at the end of the bill.
Mr. Harris: Right.
Mr. Chairman: Correct.
I seem to have advice that we have an either/or. We will have the 10-minute bell in the way standing order 121(b) calls for or, if the whips are not ready at that point, the bells will continue to ring until the whips are ready. Good. Unanimous? Agreed.
The committee divided on Mr. Martel's amendment to section 2, which was negatived on the following vote:
Ayes 19; nays 68.
Section 2 agreed to.
The committee divided on Mr. Gordon's amendment to section 3, proposed subsection 22d(1), which was negatived on the following vote:
Ayes 28, nays 59.
The committee divided on Mr. Sterling's amendment to section 3, proposed section 22d, which was negatived on the following vote:
Ayes 26; nays 61.
The committee divided on Mr. Martel's amendment to section 3, proposed section 22h, which was negatived on the following vote:
Ayes 19; nays 68.
Section 3 agreed to.
The committee divided on Mr. Martel's amendment to section 5 which was negatived on the same vote.
Section 5 agreed to.
Bill, as amended, ordered to be reported.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Nixon, the committee of the whole House reported one bill with certain amendments.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Morin): Pursuant to standing order 30(b), the question that this House do now adjourn is deemed to have been made. The member for Port Arthur (Mr. Foulds) has given notice of dissatisfaction with the answer to his question given by the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Sweeney) concerning the expansion of the bursary program in Ontario universities.
The member has up to five minutes to debate the matter, and the minister may reply for up to five minutes.
Mr. Foulds: I am not satisfied with the answer from the Minister of Community and Social Services to my question on the desperate need for speech pathologists in northern Ontario on a number of grounds.
To start with, the Premier (Mr. Peterson) has made him the fall guy. It is the Premier, as Minister of Northern Development and Mines, who said last February, "If it is easy to solve we will solve it." When I suggested to the Premier that it might be nice if he would solve the problem even if it were difficult to do so, he replied, "It will take another week in that case."
Now, four months later, the Premier passes the buck back to the Minister of Community and Social Services. It was this minister, ironically, who wrote to me as late as June 5, 1987, saying: "Because the MCSS bursary program has been in existence for only a few years, discussions regarding this program are ongoing. l have asked my regional director in northern Ontario to bring this matter to the attention of the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines. In the interim I regret I cannot provide you with an immediate resolution to this issue."
Yet yesterday, the Premier, as the Minister of Northern Development and Mines, passed the buck back to him, the Minister of Community and Social Services. This was in spite of the fact that the Deputy Minister of Northern Development and Mines, Mr. Tough, said last February: "We can say that we are seized of the need to make a major expansion in the program and we expect to have some details on that very shortly." Further: "We will make a public announcement very shortly thereafter." Four months later, nothing has happened, and the Minister of Health (Mr. Elston) has not knocked the heads together in his ministry to make that bureaucracy respond to the need.
Talk about the blind leading the blind or, as T. S. Eliot would say, "Here we go round the prickly pear, the prickly pear, the prickly pear," and a prickly pear it is indeed. This government has a bursary program that is simply not working, because it is not available to those who need it, northern students who are forced to study outside the province because there are not enough spaces for them in the province's universities, and the government has not created enough spaces for speech pathology in Ontario.
Very few, if any, northern Ontario students get admission to the two existing programs at the University of Toronto or the University of Western Ontario. The government needs to take the following three steps: First, it needs to double the number of bursaries available for northern students from the present nine to 20. But this will work only if the government, second, makes sure the bursaries are available to any Ontario student studying speech pathology inside or outside of Canada, provided that student agrees to return to northern Ontario to practise.
Third, it will work only if the Minister of Skills Development (Mr. Sorbara) doubles the spaces available in Ontario's universities from 35 to 70 by September. But the universities will not do this willingly; they must be shamed into it. They should be embarrassed that there are so few spaces in speech pathology in Ontario at the present time when there is such a crying need, not just in northern Ontario but all over the province. All three steps need to be taken concurrently.
If the present schools offering the program are reluctant to expand their spaces, as the Minister of Community and Social Services indicated yesterday, then I am sure that either Lakehead University or Laurentian University would be absolutely delighted to have permission and funding from the present government to establish a new program for speech pathology in northern Ontario. It makes sense to locate those spaces in the north.
The way the present system works, the admission criteria of the University of Western Ontario and the University of Toronto discriminate against northern applicants from Laurentian and Lakehead universities. For example, at Western Ontario, only five of the 25 positions at the masters level are available to applicants from outside its own bachelors program. They get 125 applicants for those five spaces and they take them from the established universities like McGill University, University of Toronto and McMaster University.
Promises are not good enough any more. Northerners need action now, and the Premier, who made the commitments to me in February, must meet those commitments before this House adjourns. I am not satisfied. I will be satisfied when there is a speech pathologist in Elliot Lake. I will be satisfied when kids throughout the north do not have to wait a year for assessments, let alone a program. I will be satisfied when stroke victims get the immediate attention they deserve and I will be satisfied when the minister or the Premier announces the expansion of the bursary program and the expansion of spaces in Ontario's universities, but not until then.
Hon. Mr. Sweeney: The honourable member indicated that the Premier, as Minister of Northern Development and Mines, indicated in February that within a few weeks an announcement would be made. I draw to the member's attention an announcement I made, dated March 18, a few weeks after the Premier's comments. I will read only the first paragraph, because I think it responds to his question.
"A total of 39 bursaries valued at $251,000 -- a substantial increase over last year's 20, worth $128,000 -- have been awarded this year to graduate students in psychology, social work and speech pathology who will work in underserviced areas in northern Ontario after graduation, said John Sweeney, Minister of Community and Social Services."
As the member has just indicated, that is a doubling of the total number of bursaries that were given the year before. The honourable member will be aware of the fact that both my ministry and the Ministry of Health have bursaries. I would draw to the honourable member's attention, simply because of the health-relatedness of speech pathology, that there are more bursaries awarded by Health for speech pathology than there are from my ministry, but we have to keep them both together. I would point out to the member that speech pathology, occupational therapy and physiotherapy are the bursary programs for Health, whereas for my ministry, speech pathology, psychology and social work are the primary ones.
As a matter of fact, the member did indicate that in the 1986-87 year, my ministry awarded three speech pathology bursaries and the Ministry of Health awarded six speech pathology bursaries. Let us take a little look at the history. Since 1981-82 when this program was begun, Health has awarded bursaries for speech pathology and audiology -- and as the member knows, those two go very closely together -- to 24 students. Of those 24, only 14 are currently practising in the north. Three of them just simply handed the money back and said, "Thank you very much, I am going somewhere else."
I was just advised today that in my ministry in the very first year of the program the two students who accepted the bursaries both handed them back. In this past year, of three students who graduated in 1986, two of them are in the north and one of them handed it back. As I just indicated, we gave three. We have no guarantee that they are all going to accept a job in the north. The point I am trying to make is that there has been a significant growth, and there will continue to be.
I am equally concerned with the member's comment about northern students who want to get into these programs and have difficulty doing so. As I have already indicated to the member, I have shared that concern with the Minister of Colleges and Universities (Mr. Sorbara) who shares it with us and with the Minister of Health. He is quite prepared, and in fact has already done so.
Let me go back for a minute. Following the February comments of the Premier, he indicated to the four ministers I have just described, "I want something done about this." Our announcement was something done about it. I would draw to the member's attention again that the April 28 speech from the throne said -- l will not read the whole thing -- "The bursary program to subsidize their education" -- speech pathologists -- "will be improved." The Minister of Colleges and Universities is speaking to the universities and is prepared to try to expand them. He does not have the authority to order them to do so.
As I indicated to the member yesterday, if by this coming September we cannot resolve this issue, we are quite prepared to look at students studying outside Ontario. As he probably knows, one of the students now is already studying at McGill University. We are quite prepared to take a look at some of the northern American states which have very good programs.
We have two concerns. First, the cost is about five times, and for the total package of dollars we have -- and the member knows it is limited like everything else; I can get more, but there is a limit to what I can get -- for one student, we have to spend five times as much money in the United States as we do in Ontario. That is just a factor.
Hon. Mr. Sweeney: Okay. I am just saying it is a factor to consider.
The second thing we have to be sure of is that the credentials they get will be accepted in Ontario. All this being equal, we are prepared to move.
The House adjourned at 6:14 p.m.