The House met at 1330.
The Speaker: Just before I call the first order, I would like to draw the attention of the House to our visitor at the table, Doug Schauerte, clerk of committees of the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories, who is visiting us under the attachment program in the Clerk’s office.
SENIOR CITIZENS’ FACILITIES
Mr Kormos: On Sunday, down in Welland, I was at the 24th annual picnic at Sunset Haven. It is a senior citizens’ home, and, I tell members, one of the finest in the province. We, along with the residents of the home and their families and friends and the volunteer staff, the auxiliary that works so hard to make this event possible -- as I said, for 24 years -- were outside in the hot sun.
The pleasantness of the day was marred when Tony Mete told me, as I should have known, that his father-in-law, Mr Kit, although he enjoyed the heat and the sun outdoors, has to endure heat of not just 70 but 80 and 90 degrees, sometimes up to 100 degrees, in the non-air-conditioned halls and rooms of Sunset Haven. That is not unique to senior citizens’ homes. Our hospitals, and once again, Welland County General Hospital, one of the newer hospitals in the province, similarly have large wings which are not air-conditioned and in which the patients and the staff have to endure stifling heat, not just hour after hour but day after day.
It is remarkable that in 1990 few of us would think about buying a car without air-conditioning or about living in a home without air-conditioning, but we force our seniors and our sick people to live, on a day-to-day basis, in stifling and sometimes even deadly heat. Why does this government not get off its butt and do something about funding for those institutions so they can be properly air-conditioned?
Mr Cousens: It is with a great deal of sadness that I rise today to express my party’s sympathy at the passing of Janet Enright.
As general manager of Theatre Plus in Toronto, Mrs Enright made a significant contribution to the arts and to our culture. Her enthusiasm and passion for the arts was evident as she worked tirelessly to bring exciting new works to the 1990 season at the St Lawrence Centre.
However, her accomplishments went much further than her position with Theatre Plus. From 1974 to 1989, she worked in both the broadcast and print media as a journalist and during the 1970s as a researcher for Time magazine in Montreal and as an editor at Maclean’s in Toronto. She was also a cultural producer for CBC’s The Journal and CBC radio’s Morningside. For the past two years Mrs Enright wrote a column in the Toronto Star on parenting.
Seven years ago Janet -- whose husband, Michael, is host of CBC radio’s As It Happens -- gave birth to their daughter Nancy. For her 40th birthday she held a fund-raising gala and raised more than $15,000 for the Nancy Enright fund, named for her developmentally handicapped daughter. Today, with the assistance from this fund, a program is run by the city of Toronto at Swansea Community Centre. Here, children like Nancy can stay for a two-week period to give their parents and families some respite from the stress associated with their care.
On behalf of the Ontario Progressive Conservative caucus, I extend our condolences to her family: her husband, Michael; her children; her mother, Jean Leaman; and her sisters, Nancy Leaman and the Honourable Barbara McDougall, Minister of Employment and Immigration. She will be sadly missed.
TOURETTE SYNDROME AWARENESS MONTH
Mr Neumann: June is Tourette Syndrome Awareness Month in Canada. Tourette syndrome, a multiple-tic disorder of neurochemical origin, manifests itself in involuntary behaviour such as motor tics and vocalizations. Early diagnosis is critical. Misdiagnosis can lead to the wrong treatment and thus to severe psychological problems.
While there is no known cure for this lifelong disorder, drugs are becoming more effective in controlling the symptoms in many cases. Public awareness can help to create tolerance and understanding for the Tourette sufferer. There are many undiagnosed children and adults in our society. Greater awareness can lead to proper diagnosis. Frustrated families and individuals will then understand what they are facing and will learn to cope effectively.
I speak from experience in this matter in that a member of our family was diagnosed after my wife and I read an article in the Toronto Star a couple of years ago. I can say that since establishing a Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada chapter in our community, a number of adults have come forward and have diagnosed themselves and had it subsequently confirmed by doctors.
Indeed, at the recent annual meeting of the Tourette Syndrome Foundation in our community, Dr William Fulton of Hamilton indicated that the most debilitating factor for Tourette syndrome sufferers is dealing with the reaction of others to their behaviour, and therefore it is very important to create public awareness of Tourette syndrome.
CHILDREN’S HEALTH SERVICES
Mr Farnan: I want to bring to the attention of the Minister of Health the case of a boy who was admitted to a Montreal hospital where a magnetic resonance imager was not available. Waiting for an MRI, the paralysis became permanent. The child is now a quadriplegic, and this could have been prevented if an MRI was available immediately.
In Ontario there is an eight-month waiting list for this diagnosis. Ontario parents like those of Lindsay Remnant, fearing for their children, are being forced to go to Buffalo for diagnosis. They are being forced to pay 25% of the cost of the $750 in addition to travel and accommodation.
The Ministry of Health will cover 100% of the cost only in an emergency. However, we must ask the Minister of Health what constitutes an emergency. Surely, if a child cannot lead a normal life such as attending every day of school or social functions due to being in a lot of pain, does that not constitute an emergency? These children cannot afford to wait eight months for MRI diagnosis. How can the Minister of Health justify sending approximately 400 children a year from this area to Buffalo?
What constitutes an emergency? Is it life and death? If we are talking about the limbs of a child, does being a quadriplegic mean that those limbs are dead? Surely these children should have 100% cost for their care.
Mr McLean: My statement is for the Minister of the Environment and it concerns a publication I recently received from his ministry. Like all members of this House, I received a brochure outlining the publications from the Ministry of the Environment. On the cover of this brochure are the words “printed on recycled paper.” I am pleased that this ministry is using recycled paper at least in some cases. My difficulty is that this small brochure arrived at my office in an envelope that measured 13 inches by 10 inches. As I can tell, the envelope was not made from or printed on recycled paper. I cannot think of a better example of a minister saying, “Do as I say, not as I do.”
I would like to take this opportunity to give the minister an example of show and tell, or in the minister’s case it should be called think and do, which most young people are familiar with. The minister can see that just by folding this envelope over once, he could have saved 50% of the packaging he wasted with this one mailing to me.
The minister claims he is placing a greater emphasis on the 3Rs -- reduce, reuse and recycle. This recent mailing is a clear indication that the reduction aspect of the 3Rs has taken a back seat to the Minister of the Environment’s obsession with recycling. The minister should clean his own backyard before he tells the people of Ontario to get their houses in order, and show some leadership.
Mr Faubert: As we sit in the House today, an important part of our culture and heritage is quietly disintegrating at an alarming rate. Millions of books are deteriorating in Canadian libraries, and librarians are alarmed at the fast pace that this is taking place. Modern paper is weaker and due to its acidic base is more subject to deterioration than paper made before the 19th century.
This acidic problem is destroying our books within as little as 30 years. To combat this, librarians are advocating a number of possible solutions. Treatment plants can remove acid from paper. One such plant does exist in Ottawa, but more are needed. Other ways to preserve our books are controlling environmental conditions in our libraries, consistent cleaning of materials, using higher quality, more stable raw materials in the production end, improving the manufacturing process, improving methods of storage and handling and considering such processes of preservation as de-acidification, microproduction and computer technology.
Preserving our heritage should be a priority for all levels of government. Librarians are calling for a national book preservation strategy. Such a strategy should be established by the federal government which would need to involve the participation of the provinces and municipalities across our country. However, since 60% of Canada’s libraries are here in Ontario, I would urge the Minister of Culture and Communications to take a lead in encouraging and co-ordinating such a preservation and conservation program in this province. The problem is known, the causes and cure are apparent. What is needed is remedial action now.
AIR SERVICES FOR THE DISABLED
Miss Martel: In February 1990 Air Canada eliminated its DC-9 air service to Sudbury, replacing it with small commuter aircraft. The loss of that service, combined with the loss of Air Canada agents, was a blow to our community. But the shift to smaller aircraft has also caused tremendous problems for people confined to wheelchairs who require air service. Many of these passengers are travelling to southern Ontario for needed medical care.
For the physically disabled it is next to impossible to board, disembark, move about or store wheelchairs in a small aircraft. The lack of mechanisms to deal with access problems for the elderly, the physically disabled and those confined to wheelchairs is a form of discrimination which both the provincial and federal governments must respond to.
Mid-Canada Equipment of Winnipeg has developed a prototype platform lift system to be tested at two Canadian and three US airports. This is a first step and one which must be encouraged. The Canadian federal Department of Transportation is also working with the US Federal Aviation Administration to develop a transfer chair. The National Transportation Agency of Canada has now convened a committee to study aircraft accessibility. However, the disabled continue to find aircraft travel being denied to them. The National Transportation Agency has received complaints from northern Ontario residents who cannot access small commuter aircraft.
I wrote to our Minister of Transportation on 28 May to ask what action he plans to take to ensure the needs of the disabled residents will be met. The minister must involve himself in this matter to end the discrimination which does exist.
Mr McCague: I was flipping through the spring issue of Sandesh magazine when I saw a letter from the honourable member for Downsview, reportedly Ontario’s Minister of Culture and Communications. This will be news to most of us who thought, until her recent hasty departure, that portfolio had been filled by the member for York East. Clearly, our friend the member for Downsview was anticipating that the Liberal government would, in the not-too-distant future, be Hartless and got an early jump on his campaign for that soon-to-be-vacant position.
For all we know, he already has been appointed and the Premier has simply forgotten to tell us. The Premier loses cabinet ministers like overshoes. It must be difficult for him to remember at any given time who is in, who is out or who is on the way out of his cabinet, and to keep straight which of his cabinet colleagues he is going to hang, as in the case of the member for York East, or hang with, as in the case of the member for London South.
The Premier is confused. The member for Downsview is confused. The public is confused. Things could be worse, however; if we had a shuffle every time a member of this cabinet stumbled, they would be playing musical chairs in the Premier’s office on a daily basis.
Mr Riddell: As chairman of the interministerial steering committee on zebra mussels, I would like to tell the House about the public information program being conducted to help prevent or slow the spread of this pest.
As members know, zebra mussels have invaded the Great Lakes and could spread to inland waters. They are causing millions of dollars’ worth of damage to water intake and outlet pipes and threaten to cause serious damage to our fisheries.
The ministry’s communications efforts are designed to inform municipalities, anglers, boaters and other water users about the problems zebra mussels will cause and how best to deal with them.
The ministry has prepared a detailed guideline and fact sheet to encourage anyone moving live bait fish or equipment from the Great Lakes to help slow or prevent the spread of zebra mussels, particularly into inland waters.
It has produced posters, outdoor signs and brochures and will be distributing these to marinas, yachting clubs, fishing licence issuers and businesses in docking areas.
It has produced public service announcements for radio and television stations across Ontario. It is producing displays, videos and slide shows and is placing ads in the summer issues of cottaging, fishing and boating magazines.
It has invited experts on zebra mussels to provide its field staff with the latest information so staff can quickly and effectively pass on this information to the public. It is also maintaining close links with agencies in the United States to ensure that information is being shared internationally.
These efforts are part of the government’s comprehensive approach to addressing the zebra mussel problem.
Hon Mr Phillips: I wonder if I could have unanimous consent of the House for all parties to make statements with regard to the visit of the deputy president of the African National Congress, Nelson Mandela.
Hon Mr Phillips: I guess there are really few experiences in our lifetime that we will for ever remember as high points of our existence. I feel I can say today that this is indeed one of those rare occasions -- not only for me personally but, I think it is fair to say, for all of us who are assembled here today -- to honour Nelson Mandela.
Nelson Mandela is an individual who brings to mind images of resistance, fortitude and hope. He is an individual who has become a true symbol and a real inspiration for us all, a symbol of resistance to injustice, discrimination and the violation of basic human rights. He indeed is a symbol of fortitude and courage in the face of adversity and suffering. He is a symbol of integrity, fidelity to principle and, perhaps most important, hope that justice ultimately will prevail.
We are here today to welcome Mr Mandela and Winnie Mandela. We are here today to tell them how the province is honoured by their visit and how so many of us have long awaited this visit. But more than anything, we are here today to open our hearts to their example and to express our support for their vision of a free and just society for people all around the world.
They have sacrificed, and Mr Mandela has sacrificed personally almost 30 years of his life to ensure that his children and grandchildren would be able to enjoy what he was so cruelly denied. During those long years of captivity, and indeed humiliation, he has had the unrelenting support of his friends, his family and all the people around the world who share his ideals.
Nelson Mandela’s sacrifice was not in vain. Indeed, as time passed and the international anti-apartheid campaign gained momentum, more and more he became an inspiration for people around the world who were struggling against injustice and oppression. We are fortunate in this province, and indeed in this country, to be the beneficiaries of the work and dedication of people from all origins, from all backgrounds and from all cultures.
Mr Mandela, there are no words to express our deep admiration and respect for you and your cause. Humanity is indebted to you for your personal sacrifice, which will be remembered by many generations to come.
On behalf of the people and the government of Ontario, I warmly welcome Mr Mandela to our province. I thank him for his visit and I sincerely wish him and Mrs Mandela, on behalf of all the people of Ontario, health, happiness and success.
Mr B. Rae: I am sure that all members of the House who were here will remember with great emotion the visit to our assembly of Bishop Desmond Tutu, the Anglican Archbishop of South Africa who was here as he was travelling around the world raising the attention and the eyes of the world on the situation in South Africa.
I can vividly recall the words that Desmond Tutu said on that occasion when he reminded us that he was far more able to speak to democratic assemblies around the world than he was in his own country. Indeed, it was an interesting and to me very evocative echo of that remark when I watched Nelson Mandela this morning, as I am sure many members were watching, as he spoke to the House of Commons, and made note of the fact that while he was honoured to be able to speak to the Canadian people and the elected representatives of the Canadian people, he was not able to do so in his own country, nor had he ever been invited to in his own country, nor had he ever been invited as a guest in his own country to speak to people who were elected in South Africa.
I do not normally do this, but I endorse every word that was spoken by the Minister of Labour today. He was speaking on behalf of all of us when he said how proud he was of the fact that Toronto, and indeed Queen’s Park, is going to be a home temporarily for Nelson Mandela as he reminds all of us of how much is still to be done in South Africa.
Nelson Mandela is a hero to hundreds of millions of people around the world. He is a hero because he has had the courage of his convictions. He is a hero because he has been prepared to suffer for what he believes. He has been a hero because he has demonstrated to everyone that integrity is a value that can be found in public life. He is a hero because he has understood the importance of the basic human virtues of courage, of goodness, of love, and of all things a love for justice.
Together with all the other citizens of this province, I join in the celebration of the visit of Nelson Mandela to this province and to Canada. I hope it makes us redouble our efforts as we work together with the people of South Africa for the end of the apartheid regime and for the creation of a united and democratic South Africa where the principles of liberty, equality and fraternity will be embraced, recognized and given the kind of strength in a new constitution that they so desperately need.
C’est un plaisir pour moi de dire combien nous sommes fiers de la présence, ici en Ontario et même à Queen’s Park, de M. Mandela. C’est un homme extraordinaire et courageux qui a un amour pour la justice et pour ses concitoyens dans le monde et qui est maintenant un exemple pour tous les gens et tous les citoyens du monde.
Nous cêlébrons l’arrivée de M. Mandela et en même temps nous nous consacrons encore une fois à la cause de la justice, la cause d’une nouvelle dêmocratie pour l’Afrique du Sud et à une nouvelle constitution, constitution de justice et de démocratie pour toute la population de l’Afrique du Sud.
Mr Brandt: I would like to join with my colleagues in the other two parties by extending a very warm welcome to Nelson Mandela as he comes to Canada and to Ontario, and also on behalf of the Ontario Progressive Party.
The name Nelson Mandela has become synonymous with integrity and with dignity. During those long 27 years in prison he refused to compromise his beliefs and refused to bend under the incredible pressure that was brought to bear on him. He would not accept personal freedom if it meant that he had to betray his ideals and his people.
Our Prime Minister has called Nelson Mandela an authentic hero. It is truly outstanding that he has survived the ordeal to which he was subjected and has come through in such remarkable physical and emotional health. Mr Mandela has said as he arrived here in Canada that he brings a message of hope, that he does in fact see a light at the end of the tunnel. That is indeed good news for all people throughout the world who value freedom.
The government of Canada has supported Nelson Mandela’s goals by initiating and sustaining many economic sanctions against the South African government’s policy of apartheid. Mr Mandela believes that the sanctions applied by many countries have helped bring about some changes in attitude, as well as his own freedom. His message to us is to continue the economic sanctions and to keep up the pressure, because the battle against apartheid is still far from over.
He has said that he has travelled here to Canada to say thank you to the many ordinary Canadians who have helped both him and his country, but it is we who should be saying thank you to him. Thank you for showing us what commitment and dedication to a cause really mean. Thank you for showing us that one person can truly make a difference.
We hope and pray that the delicate negotiations with the South African government will continue and eventually lead to a true democracy, as well as equality and freedom for all the people of South Africa.
All of us look forward to meeting the man who is a legend in his own time. His presence among us is a great honour and we respectfully pay tribute to Mr Mandela on his success to date, as well as the success this giant among men will no doubt achieve in the future.
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY WEEK
Hon Mr Phillips: As honourable members will know, today marks the beginning of Canadian Occupational Health and Safety Week.
The aim of Occupational Health and Safety Week is to make all Canadians conscious of the vital need for sound health and safety programs in our workplaces. Throughout the week there will be organized campaigns across the country to increase this awareness among employees, employers, the general public and the news media.
This is the fifth anniversary of the event. It is spearheaded by the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering, with support from the Canada Safety Council, the Canadian Standards Association and the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety.
We are privileged to have in the members’ gallery John Irwin, the chairman of the Ontario steering committee for Canadian Occupational Health and Safety Week. Mr Irwin is a health and safety inspector with Nova Petrochemicals in Sarnia.
You might recognize Mr Irwin; there he is there.
On behalf of the government, I would like to commend these organizations for their commitment to the promotion of health and safety in the workplace.
This year’s theme, “The Young Worker,” is particularly appropriate because the campaign begins at a time when many young people are looking for their first full-time job or for summer employment. Statistics show that more young people are hurt on the job than older workers, so there is no better time for workers to learn the importance of occupational health and safety than early in their work life.
We are at the beginning of a new decade and I know all members of the assembly will join me in urging employers and employees to make workplaces even healthier and safer over the next 10 years.
LANDLORDS’ RESTRICTIONS ON PETS
Hon Mr Scott: Later today I will introduce for first reading the Landlord and Tenant Amendment (Animals) Act, 1990. The purpose of this bill is to protect tenants from eviction if they have well-behaved pets that have not caused harm and are not dangerous.
Mr B. Rae: Oh, I see.
Hon Mr Scott: Just cool it.
Until last year it was clearly understood that breach of a no-pet provision in a lease was not a sufficient ground for eviction. Eviction is only permitted if the landlord proves that one of the grounds set out in the Landlord and Tenant Act has been met. Eviction is possible if, for example, a pet has substantially interfered with other tenants.
On 31 May of this year, however, a judge evicted three tenants although there were no complaints about behaviour of their pets. The judge decided, in a wide-ranging decision, that the mere presence of a pet, even a harmless pet, could amount to a substantial interference with others. The judge relied heavily on the fact that all tenants had signed leases prohibiting pets. A similar result in a narrower framework occurred in a case last year.
The amendments in this bill will ensure a careful balancing of the rights of landlords and tenants.
The amendments recognize that in a building where animals have caused problems, it may be difficult for the landlord to identify specifically which pet or pets are responsible. If a landlord is seeking to evict a tenant because of a pet, therefore, the amendments will require the landlord to prove that animals of the same species as the tenant’s have caused problems.
Specifically, the landlord will be required to satisfy the judge that (a) the past behaviour of an animal of that species has substantially interfered with others, (b) the presence of an animal of that species has caused the landlord or another tenant to suffer a serious allergic reaction or (c) the presence of an animal of that species or breed is inherently dangerous to the safety of the landlord or the other tenants.
If the landlord proves that there was substantial interference or a serious allergic reaction, then the tenant will be able to avoid eviction by showing that the tenant’s own pet has not contributed to or caused the problem.
In addition the amendments provide that in determining whether the grounds for eviction exist, the court will no longer be able to consider the fact that the tenant or other tenants signed no-pet agreements.
Another feature of the amendments is that applications for injunctions based on no-pet leases will be governed by the same criteria as applications for evictions.
All of these amendments will apply to any court hearing that is completed after the act receives royal assent. If an eviction order is made before the act receives royal assent, the tenant will still obtain the benefits of the amendments if an appeal is taken and the appeal is heard after the act receives royal assent.
I believe these amendments strike a fair balance that will permit action to be taken against irresponsible pet owners but will protect tenants whose pets are well behaved, do not cause harm and are not dangerous.
POLICE TACTICAL UNITS
Hon Mr Offer: I rise today to inform the House that I am tabling the Ontario Police Commission report on police tactical units.
As members of the House will recall, at the time of the coroner’s inquest into the death of Bernard Bastien, this government directed the Ontario Police Commission to undertake an inquiry into the operation of police tactical units in Ontario.
Following the coroner’s inquest, the jury made recommendations, several of which the OPP immediately implemented. To enhance public security, tactical teams are now clearly identified with standard uniforms, and tactical unit communications and training are being improved.
In response to the government’s request, the Ontario Police Commission held public hearings across the province. The commission has received input from all sectors of the community. The commission’s report makes a number of recommendations.
I want to assure this House and the citizens of Ontario that all of the Ontario Police Commission recommendations will receive careful consideration by my ministry. I anticipate being able to provide a full response to this very important report in the near future.
POLICE TACTICAL UNITS
Mr D. S. Cooke: I would like very briefly to respond to the Solicitor General and say that I am happy this report has finally been tabled. He will know that the family and the lawyer representing the family have been encouraging his department to release this report for quite some time, since he has had it for many weeks already.
I continue to feel that the way the government handled this whole issue was not appropriate, that to have a coroner’s inquest and to have this review by the Ontario Police Commission was not adequate. The Solicitor General should have responded to this type of tragedy with a full public inquiry involving the community, reviewing the specific circumstances as well as some of the general policy areas.
I will review and read the report, but I also continue to believe that the fundamental question of whether tactical units should exist in the way they do in Ontario has not been answered. Specifically, in the Bastien case, why there was ever the calling in of a tactical unit in a case where a 19-year-old was threatening suicide, and then all of the ramifications and tragedy that came out of that, those questions still have not been dealt with.
The confidence that my community lost in the policing system in Ontario has not been fully restored, because I do not think the Solicitor General has dealt with this in the full, upfront way that he should have from the time Mr Bastien was killed by the Ontario Provincial Police.
LANDLORDS’ RESTRICTIONS ON PETS
Mr Kormos: We welcome these amendments to the Landlord and Tenant Act, and well we should because it is New Democrats in this Legislature, like the member for Etobicoke-Rexdale and the member for Beaches-Woodbine, who have been championing the cause of pet owners in apartments for a long time now. It is incredible that this government would finally wake up and understand what is going on with poor tenants across Ontario.
The sad reality is that it is seniors who often as not have been victimised by landlords who want them and their little pets out of apartments. For a senior citizen, a pet, a cat, a small dog, perhaps even a bird can be the raison d’être, the reason for carrying on and maintaining a structured lifestyle. It is about time that this government finally showed even this most modest amount of sensitivity to seniors’ needs, because Lord knows, when it comes to other areas of needs of seniors, this government is deaf and blind, and quite frankly mute.
Shame on them for waiting so long. Shame on them for not having responded to the member for Beaches-Woodbine and the member for Etobicoke-Rexdale earlier. It is about time. The real challenge is to see whether these guys will make sure that this amendment is passed before they shut this place down in preparation for their big fall election.
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY WEEK
Mr Mackenzie: The second paragraph of the minister’s statement, “The aim of Occupational Health and Safety Week is to make all Canadians conscious of the vital need for sound health and safety programs in our workplaces,” begs the question, why this self-congratulatory approach and when are we going to decide that we are going to bring about equality in terms of workers’ participation in health and safety in this province?
We have just finished Bill 208 in this House, where we did not trust our own public sector workers, where we did not deal adequately in terms of repetitive strain and where there are all kinds of other weaknesses in the piece of legislation that was passed. When are we going to decide that workers have a right to have some equality in the decisions that affect them and health and safety in the workplace, rather than calling another week’s celebration? It is the adequacy of the bill we needed, not this kind of statement.
Miss Martel: Just to follow up on the comments made by my colleague the member for Hamilton East, I want to point out the irony of the minister’s statement today compared with some legislation we dealt with on workers’ compensation. He said in his statement: “Statistics show that more young people are hurt on the job than older workers. So there is no better time for workers to learn the importance of occupational health and safety than early in their work life.”
Those members who sat on the committee hearings know full well that is exactly what we in this party argued, that those new workers would be inexperienced, that they more than anyone else should have a right to be reinstated with accident employers, to know that when they got hurt on the job they would be taken back, looked after and would continue on to a productive life with that particular employer. The minister knows full well that his government would not listen to us, that the exemption in the bill says that you have to have one year’s full continuous service with an employer before you enjoy these rights.
I think it is just ridiculous today that we hear about the need for health and safety, a focus on young workers in particular, and that is the same group his government excluded from that particular piece of legislation and those rights.
Mr Cousens: We just cannot take health and safety for granted. One week a year is maybe a help, but we have got to be far more committed to the safety of all our workers in the workforce.
All it takes is for any one of the members of this House to receive a constituent who has been injured in the workplace and cannot get a job, cannot get back to work and is hardly able to live on the money he is given now. It makes it all the more imperative for each of us in positions of responsibility to make sure we are doing everything possible to promote safety in the workplace.
First of all, I want to thank the inspector from Sarnia, John Irwin, for being here. He has one of the very important jobs in our society. It is a responsible job and the fact he is out there conscientiously working to make sure that people are being trained and that the workplace is safe is something we admire and respect very much. We thank him immensely.
We have to start with education, start with the young, start with the school system, start in the workplace where people are being more and more educated on it so that there is a commitment, not in the words that come so easily from the mouth of the minister but from the heart, that people today know we as politicians and parliamentarians out of Queen’s Park are genuine in our intent to fight for safety in the workplace.
We have come a long way in recent years, but there is still a long distance to go. I believe it does start with young people in the workplace and it does start in the hearts and minds of everyone who is going out there in the workplace, to know that we want it to be safe. We want them to be productive and we want this as a country that will grow with everybody not being taken advantage of but having a chance to make a worthwhile contribution.
I thank the minister for naming this as a week for health and safety in the workplace. I just hope that every one of us can do something within our own ridings and our own constituencies and wherever we might be to promote more health and safety. May those people who are out there doing their thing inform us of anything we can do better to help make it a better place for them to work.
Ontario is a great place to live. Let’s make sure we keep it that way.
POLICE TACTICAL UNITS
Mr Sterling: I would first like to comment on the report by the Solicitor General today on the review of tactical units. The minister follows a long tradition of his ministry in providing full responses to reports of committees, as he has in the past. However, there is also a long Liberal tradition, that it is now taking for ever for this government to provide any real response to those reports. I only need remind the minister of the government’s recent promises to amend the Police Act. It was over four years after the promises before they were brought to this legislative chamber. In particular, the recommendations call for an increase in the training of officers. I hope the government will provide the appropriate funding for this immediately.
LANDLORDS’ RESTRICTIONS ON PETS
Mr Sterling: I would like to respond to the remarks of the Attorney General today on the introduction of the Landlord and Tenant Amendment (Animals) Act. The Attorney General really is a pussycat when he is dealing with this issue.
The Attorney General well knows that our standing order 66 provides that no government public bill introduced during the last eight sessional days in June in the period provided for in paragraph etc shall be called for second reading. In other words, the Attorney General has introduced a bill here which no doubt is brought to the attention of the Ontario public for election purposes, and election purposes only. He has no real intent of bringing this issue to the fore of this Legislature for second reading. He has no right to bring that legislation before this Legislature ends on 28 June.
We can only draw one of two conclusions. Either the Attorney General does not know the rules of the Legislature or he has introduced this legislation as a sop to many very troubled tenants who are caught in a two-way situation here. We want the Attorney General to do something in this regard and we think it is very late in the electoral game to partake in this kind of cynical step.
TRADE WITH SOUTH AFRICA
Mr B. Rae: A question to the Premier today: I know that the Premier, according to a schedule that I have seen, is going to be meeting with Mr Mandela when he is here this afternoon. If Mr Mandela were to ask why Ontario’s imports from South Africa in 1989 were 26% higher than they were in 1988, I wonder if the Premier could tell us what his explanation would be.
Hon Mr Peterson: I doubt Mr Mandela would raise that question. He might. My honourable friend just has a different view of the situation, but I am sure that he is aware of Ontario’s record in this regard. I am not suggesting it is perfect. I do not have a specific answer for that question, but I can tell the member from a governmental point of view, we have undertaken another number of initiatives and I think he is well aware of that.
Mr B. Rae: Ontario’s trade with South Africa, according to the ministry’s own figures, shows very clearly that in 1987 imports were worth somewhere in the area of $60 million and in 1989 imports were worth some $85.7 million. That is happening at the same time as both the government of Canada and the government of Ontario have been trumpeting to all who would listen how much they were doing with respect to sanctions on apartheid.
If the Premier is not prepared to answer the question in the original context in which I asked it, I would like to ask the Premier, after he has made so many efforts to advertise his opposition to apartheid and his support for sanctions, can he explain how it would be that imports from South Africa would have gone from $60 million two years ago to over $85 million in 1989?
Hon Mr Peterson: I do not have a detailed breakdown of that and I do not have the explanation at my fingertips. He may well bring it to my attention. I have told my honourable friend of, and he is familiar with, the number of the initiatives that we have undertaken from the point of view that we have any control from the governmental point of view. As I said, Mr Mandela is probably very much aware of that.
Mr B. Rae: Let’s take this issue seriously. If Ontario is part of the international strategy which is designed to bring the government of South Africa to change completely the way in which it deals with its citizens and is designed in fact to create a multiracial, democratic South Africa, if that is the purpose of what he is doing, does the Premier not think it is his obligation to find out how it could possibly be that since 1987 imports from South Africa have gone up over 26%? Does he not think he has an obligation to do that, and does the Premier not have an obligation to sit down with the business leaders of this province and say to them that it is time that everyone, including the business community, got behind this issue of sanctions and stopped talking out of their mouth and at the same time continuing trade on an increased level since 1987? Does he not think he should do that?
Hon Mr Peterson: I think if one looks at the initiatives of this government with respect to a number of things -- with respect to procurement, with respect to some of the rule changes with respect to pension funds where we have direct control, of not being involved with syndicates here for Ontario Hydro that are involved in transactions with South Africa -- one could make the point that some leadership has been provided by this particular province. As the member knows, I am not a dictator. We do not have the capacity to punish companies that do that kind of thing, but I think a number of them have shown leadership in that particular regard.
Mr B. Rae: I have a question to the Minister of Health. This morning, the minister apparently pulled a $5.4-million rabbit out of the hat in response to the immediate crisis at the Hospital for Sick Children.
In 1989, in more than 13 leadoff questions in question period, our party raised issues surrounding the acute nursing shortage in the province and the impact that this nursing shortage has had on the quality of care across Ontario. The minister has given us all kinds of answers going back through 1989, 1988, 1987 and 1986. I want to ask the minister, is she now prepared to admit that there is an acute nursing shortage in the large teaching hospitals in downtown Toronto and that this problem is what lies at the very heart of the extraordinary difficulties that are being encountered not on a week-to-week basis but on a daily basis in these hospitals?
Hon Mrs Caplan: The Leader of the Opposition is aware of the fact that I met with the board chairman and the president of Sick Children’s Hospital this morning. What we discussed was a continuation of the paediatric network which I began last March. These discussions have been ongoing. I told them that I would do everything in my power to make sure that the children of this province have the care that they need. I want the Leader of the Opposition to know that is what we discussed this morning and that is what we are doing.
Mr B. Rae: The minister did not answer the question. Last week, in answer to questions here and outside this House, she said it was a temporary problem, she said she understood it would be solved and she never made any mention of the fact that it was going to require a $5.4-million salve from her in order to deal with this issue. Every time there is this kind of government by headline. Now we have a situation where St Michael’s Hospital says it also has an acute nursing shortage. We know that the nursing shortage in other major teaching hospitals has caused considerable delays in terms of surgery, not just for children but for heart patients, for patients of all kinds in this part of Ontario.
I want to ask the minister, is she now, after all her time as the Minister of Health, prepared to admit that the nursing shortage is not temporary, that it is not short-term, but that it is a deep, structural problem that lies at the heart of the provision of health care in this part of Ontario? Will she admit that finally?
Hon Mrs Caplan: I know that it is the job of the Leader of the Opposition to criticize, but the facts are as follows: This morning was another plank in the program to establish a paediatric services network across this province. Sick Children’s Hospital is one important partner in that network, as are the children’s hospitals in London and in Ottawa. I announced that in this House in March. In May I announced a component of that and on 1 June I also announced a component. This discussion that I had has been ongoing for months because of my determination to ensure that the kids of this province get the services and the care that they need.
Mr B. Rae: There is a nursing shortage at the Ottawa Civic Hospital in the dialysis unit. According to our phone calls this morning, St Michael’s Hospital said it is having what it describes as an acute nursing shortage. I have a very specific question to the minister. I have now asked it twice. I will ask it a third time and we will continue to ask it until we get a straight answer from the minister.
What has to happen before she will finally recognize and admit that the problem at the heart here in this city and in other communities across the province is a nursing shortage that is not temporary, that is not cyclical, that is not going to go away, that is not coming here one week and going away the next week. It is a deep, structural issue. It lies at the question of the quality of care for hundreds of people who are now on waiting lists. When is she going to finally come clean and admit that that has been the problem ever since she became Minister of Health?
Hon Mrs Caplan: I have stood in this House on a number of occasions and shared with the Leader of the Opposition the fact that nursing is changing around the world, that there are many challenges for the profession and that we have a package of initiatives here in Ontario which is addressing that, which is a systemic problem dealing primarily with the role of women. What we discussed this morning was an ongoing attempt to make sure that the hospital can achieve its mandate.
We know that the Hospital for Sick Children is unique in this province. Its situation in downtown Toronto gives it some of those other features which are present in downtown Toronto that are different from other parts of the province. I am prepared to share with him a copy of the letter, and I will send it to him now, so that he can fully understand that what we did this morning was to ensure a paediatric cardiac services program for the Hospital for Sick Children. They developed it, they said it will solve their problems, and it is part of our paediatric network across this province.
Mr Eves: On exactly the same issue, to the Minister of Health: Last Thursday I stood in --
Hon Mr Elston: Ernie-come-lately.
Mr Eves: Ernie-come-lately my foot. The former minister will know I have asked these questions about the nursing shortage since the day that person became the Minister of Health.
Hon Mr Scott: Oh, sensitive, sensitive. Derailed before he started.
Mr Eves: If the Attorney General would not have four martinis at lunch, he might be able to hear what I am saying.
Hon Mr Scott: Mr Speaker, ask the honourable member to withdraw that.
The Speaker: Will you withdraw?
Mr Eves: I withdraw.
The Speaker: Place your question.
Mr Eves: My question is to the Minister of Health. I asked the question of the Minister of Health last Thursday in this House about the ICU nursing shortage at the Hospital for Sick Children. She said in a scrum afterwards that this is just a “temporary stress” on the system. No action was planned. “This is an unusual situation.” “It’s very short-term.” “I understand they should be coping very well by next week.” Those are all direct quotes attributed to the Minister of Health in a scrum after question period in response to my question.
Has the Minister of Health had a change of heart over the weekend or does she finally appreciate what the problem is, and has been, at that hospital for a couple of years now?
Hon Mrs Caplan: As I said in my previous answer to the Leader of the Opposition, these discussions have been ongoing for months. I met this morning with the chairman of the board, and he suggested that perhaps the doctors were not fully aware of or up to date on the status of the discussions with the ministry. Our officials were at the hospital last Tuesday. I can tell him that this announcement and discussion were imminent. We said we would have the network operational in June. It is now June.
Mr Eves: Spokespeople for the hospital say it will take them about three months to get their ICU unit in cardiovascular surgery up and running at full capacity now that the minister has finally responded to their problem with $5.4 million this morning. We asked this question over the last several years and more recently, specifically about this specific shortage, on 21 March, 12 April, 16 April, 18 April, 23 April and as recently as last Thursday. Is it not true that the minister is just responding to the crisis by headline? When she gets heat from the people up there then she responds. Is that not so?
Hon Mrs Caplan: The member opposite is absolutely wrong. On 25 May we announced $5.6 million to the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario; $3.6 million to Ottawa Heart Institute for the development of a paediatric network; on 1 June enhancement of services in London. I said we would have this in place by June, and that is exactly what we are doing. However, I know that in this partisan environment nothing that I say is going to satisfy the member opposite even if it is the truth.
Mr Eves: Speaking of the truth, the minister will know -- not according to me but according to Dr Robert Filler at the Hospital for Sick Children -- that there are 120 children on the waiting list for major surgery today. He said that their conditions will continue to deteriorate the longer they wait.
I am sure that the minister is aware of a couple of cases that were made known by the media over the weekend: the case of Gregory Hecktus, who is three years old and has had his cardiovascular surgery postponed twice, and the case of Adam Kraft, who is two and a half years old and has had his cardiovascular surgery postponed five times.
In the last 18 months well in excess of 200 children have had their cardiovascular surgery postponed at the Hospital for Sick Children, and according to Dr Robert Freedom, the chief cardiologist at that hospital, there have been two deaths of children on the waiting list. We have been trying to get this through the minister’s head for two or three years. Now she is responding because she is responding to the crisis in the media.
The Speaker: The question?
Mr Eves: Will she not admit that she does not even have a plan? She responds to crisis by crisis. We try to tell her but she refuses to listen.
The Speaker: Order.
Mr Eves: She does not know what is going on. She would not even know they had a meeting, only I told her.
The Speaker: Order. Perhaps we will just wait a moment until everyone cools down a bit.
The Speaker: Order. The minister may want to respond.
Hon Mrs Caplan: I know that it is the job of the member opposite to criticize, but the theatrics of question period really do not do justice to this situation.
The member knows my commitment is to make sure that the kids of this province get the care that they need. We have developed a paediatric network, which I am told will respond to that. I want him to know that we are doing everything that we can in working with the hospitals to encourage them to work together. I will do everything in my power to see that the children of Ontario get the care that they need.
Mr Brandt: My question is to the Minister of Housing. Last week, as the minister may recall, I raised some questions in the House in connection with co-operative housing in the province of Ontario. The minister is no doubt aware that 250,000 families are paying in excess of 30% of their income for their housing requirements in the province, which is the benchmark for affordability as we understand it in this assembly and also throughout the province.
In view of the information which has come to our attention and which the minister is also aware of about high-income families occupying co-operative units, is the minister prepared to consider some kind of an upper cap on income before tenants are allowed to move into some of those co-operative units? In other words, is he prepared to look at a change in the legislation which will cap the income admissibility for those particular types of units?
Hon Mr Sweeney: My honourable friend will be aware of the fact that, I guess it was about 15 or 16 years ago, the government of the day decided that it did not want to continue to build housing solely for low-income families. Apparently the tenants of those buildings at that time indicated to the government of the day that there would be a preference to have more mixed-income social housing. As a result of that, the federal and provincial governments entered a series of agreements whereby non-profit and co-op housing would be mixed income, and that is what we have today.
My friend will also be aware of the fact that up until about 1985 co-op housing was funded just by the federal government. Since then, of course, it has been funded either jointly by the two levels of government or just by the provincial government. In each case we have left it up to the non-profit corporation or the co-op corporation to determine who the people at the upper end would be. We made it reasonably clear that we thought they should use discretion. We have not dictated that figure to them.
On the basis of the question that the honourable member raised last week, however, I have asked the co-ops if they would do an informal review of the tenants they have and report back to me; let’s find out just how widespread the problem is.
Mr Brandt: I want the minister to be assured that our party does in fact support the concept, the philosophy of cooperative housing programs and also mixed incomes within those particular units. In fact, it was our party that started the program originally.
Having said that, I have great concern over the fact that 43,000 families are on a waiting list in this province to get into that type of shelter which is affordable, while others with extremely high incomes are occupying those units.
In order to keep in place the mixed income concept, will the minister still agree that some form of upper cap on income is reasonable, realistic, fair and equitable, in order to help some lower-income people get into those units and get the rich into the open market?
Hon Mr Sweeney: Again I would point out to my friend that, on average, the first 70% of tenants in non-profit and co-op housing are rent-geared-to-income and the last 30% are what we call market-rent. Therefore, we would have to determine who was displacing whom. There are two different segments.
The second point I would make to him is that it is normally my practice, and I think my honourable friend would agree with me, that you determine first how widespread the problem is before you introduce a solution that may impact on an awful lot more people than you intended it to. So we are doing the survey. We are trying to determine how widespread it is. On the basis of that, I am meeting with the non-profit association -- I think it is Thursday of this week -- and that is going to be one of the items of the discussion.
I really believe it is important that we know how serious the problem is. If it is minuscule, I think we can deal with the individual co-ops where the problem exists. If it is more widespread, then we should have a solution that is more widespread.
Mr Brandt: By way of comment, I hope that the minister will have an opportunity to look at the books to assure himself and be absolutely convinced in his own mind that the situation is fair.
Another item I would like the minister, if I might by way of question, to put on the agenda for his discussions is the whole issue of ownership upon the retirement of the mortgage on those particular properties.
Will the minister give an undertaking to this House that he is prepared to make a change to the legislation so that those units which are co-operative units, paid for in part by the taxpayers of those province, will remain in the hands in perpetuity of the province? Is he prepared to look at that kind of legislative change?
Hon Mr Sweeney: I am prepared to say very clearly to my honourable friend, as I think I did last week either to him or to one of his colleagues, that the non-profit co-op housing which is subsidized by either the federal and provincial governments co-operatively or just the provincial government would remain in perpetuity as social housing and supported for the intents that it was intended. I am clearly prepared to make that commitment.
I would also point out to the member, as I think I told him before, that we are currently having discussions with the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Affairs to determine whether the Corporations Act is the proper vehicle in order to do that. If it is, that is the one we will use; if it is not, I will assure him we will find something that does it.
EMPLOYMENT IN NORTHERN ONTARIO
Mr Morin-Strom: I have a question for the Premier with respect to economic development in northern Ontario, particularly with respect to the fact that we still are in a province which is really two Ontarios, the one in the north very different from the one in the south, with an unemployment rate approximately double in northern Ontario compared with southern Ontario.
Last week, Statistics Canada reported its estimate that there are 3,100 fewer people working in Sault Ste Marie in the district of Algoma than in the same month in 1989 and that the Sault’s unemployment rate, for example, has increased from 8.3% to 11.1%. This is reflective of the need for jobs in a more balanced economy in Sault Ste Marie and many communities right across northern Ontario.
I wonder if the Premier could tell us what specific initiatives he has undertaken in order to balance the economy of this province and what he will do about the high unemployment rate in northern Ontario.
Hon Mr Peterson: I am very mindful of the fact that the northern Ontario economy tends to be more cyclical than other parts of the economy. My honourable friend is aware of some of the cycles in the resource industries, particularly in pulp and paper and mining, as well as in the steel industry. He is also aware, I am sure, of the influence of high interest rates, a policy with which this government, as he knows, disagrees very strongly. It is putting pressure on the economy right across this province.
That is compounded by special problems in northern Ontario, but I think it is fair to say that this government has been very mindful of those things for the last period of time and indeed has undertaken a number of initiatives to try to stabilize things in northern Ontario, the Sault specifically. My honourable friend is aware of the jobs that are being moved there, of both the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Ontario Lottery Corp. That is happening in Thunder Bay and in a variety of other communities in northern Ontario, and many people think it is one of the most significant initiatives ever undertaken by a government.
As my honourable friend is also aware, with the northern development fund and the northern Ontario heritage fund there is a new emphasis on community development and assistance to communities to deal with their problems. I think if my honourable friend is fairminded in looking at the programs of the government, he would think there has been a great myriad of initiatives to try to assist with this cyclical economy.
Mr Morin-Strom: The Premier, as has been the case over and over, refers again to the transfer of some 1,600 jobs that was announced during the minority government period of the last government four years ago. During this majority government of three years we have not had any similar announcements of initiatives coming to northern Ontario.
On the day of the budget, the Treasurer stated that as many as 6,000 more Ontario jobs may be transferred from Toronto over the next several years and that the government was intending to accelerate this program as a means of stabilizing many resource-industry towns through periods of economic downturn. I wonder whether the Premier could tell us specifically when those jobs are going to be announced for northern Ontario, how many of them are going to be located in the north and when those jobs will actually be transferred.
Hon Mr Peterson: My friend refers to the very significant initiative undertaken by this government. I know how very proud he is of that initiative by the government. I remember in his last brochure in the last election he stood out there in the lot and tried to take credit for the entire matter. Obviously he wants to associate himself with the initiatives of this government.
Mr Laughren: It was his idea.
Hon Mr Peterson: In fairness, it was not his idea, but then again I understand it is called the coattail effect. I do understand people trying to take credit for these matters. There are so many good things going on in this government that we do not mind sharing credit with whoever wants to try to get credit, because that is the way it is.
The Treasurer did make the point in his budget that we are looking at further decentralization of jobs in a number of areas. As the member knows, other members in his caucus and other caucuses stand up and try to take credit for all those matters. He also knows how difficult it is with the public service.
So when we make announcements in the future and they have to be carefully worked out, I want the member to stand up and support us. I do not want him to stand up in this House and scream, hoot and holler about job transfers from Toronto. I know the member will be enormously supportive in that regard as this government continues to bring economic opportunities and fairness across this province.
Mr J. M. Johnson: My question is to the Minister of Health. The minister will recall my questions of 28 March and 2 April regarding the hospital redevelopment plans in Guelph, in which I expressed serious concern over the ministry’s change of direction in the 1987 plans to redevelop these two facilities in Guelph, the Guelph General Hospital and St Joseph’s Hospital.
At that time the minister reassured the House that the newly formulated redevelopment plans would be expedited. From all reports, nothing positive has happened in the last three months and the process has completely broken down. What does the minister intend to do now to get this project back on track?
Hon Mrs Caplan: The answers that I gave to the member stand. Our commitment to ensure that the health and health care needs of the people of Guelph and community are met is undisputed. The financial commitment that we have made is firm. We are committed to the development of one acute care facility and one long-term facility to meet the needs of that community not only for today but into the future as well.
Mr J. M. Johnson: That is rubbish and the minister knows it. Just this morning --
The Speaker: Order. Maybe the member for Wellington would like to start again.
Mr J. M. Johnson: May I repeat “rubbish”?
Just this morning I received an urgent telephone call from James Gibbons, the Wellington county representative on the Guelph hospital board, in which he stated that the members of Guelph city council, the Guelph Chamber of Commerce, the Wellington Medical Society and the Wellington-Dufferin District Health Council are very unhappy about what is happening.
The project is further behind than it was in 1987.
It is imperative that the minister meet immediately with representatives of both hospitals, the county and the city, to resolve this impasse. Will the minister commit herself to such a meeting prior to the House recessing?
Hon Mrs Caplan: I want to say to the member opposite that discussions are ongoing, that we are in communication with all of the interested parties and that we hope to have an announcement in the very near future about a process that will accomplish the stated goals which I very clearly stated in response to his first question.
Mr J. B. Nixon: My question is for the Minister of Education. He will know that the Premier’s Council’s first report entitled Competing in the New Global Economy made the point that while education and training are often seen as social programs, they are really investments in our economic future.
The report makes reference to the development of Japan, Sweden and Germany over the last 20 years and links that economic prosperity and development directly to their human resource development and their intensive investment in skills training.
The report makes the point that Ontario’s competitive position has been seriously challenged and that in order to restore that competitive position we have to invest in our people. We have to invest in their excellence and we have to invest in their ability to take jobs in the scientific and technological world.
Last Saturday the Toronto Star highlighted the point that those students who are not aiming to be doctors, lawyers, accountants and other various professionals may be left behind because they are not getting the necessary training in scientific skills to fill the high-tech jobs of the future.
What work is being done by the Ministry of Education and the local school boards to improve the quality of technical and scientific education in our schools?
Hon Mr Conway: My friend raises a very good point and one obviously that excites the interest of members like our friend from Rexdale as well. I want to tell the member that as a result of advice that was offered by the council and others in the educational and general community, this government not only has undertaken but is well along in implementing a number of major changes to provide a better future for students interested in science and technology, specifically at the elementary and secondary level.
We have embarked upon very significant reform of the curriculum at the secondary level. My friend the member for York Mills will know that we have announced major reform of the curriculum in the area of technological studies. We are going to be supporting that curriculum reform with substantial new financial resources to ensure that there is equipment in the schools to underpin that.
We have also embarked upon some new initiatives in the area of counselling because, quite clearly, it is one thing to have the programs, but it is another thing to have some of the old attitudes that have been real barriers. I would say to my friend the member for York Mills and to others in this Legislature that we can undertake curriculum reform at all levels and we can provide new equipment, but we also have to change attitudes and encourage young people, male and female, to the exciting possibilities that are out there in science and technology.
Mr J. B. Nixon: I thank the Minister of Education. I could not agree with him more about changing attitudes. From my brief experience on the parliamentary assistants’ committee on small business, talking to small business about skills training or talking to students in schools in my riding like Victoria Park Secondary School, where the member for Nickel Belt used to teach, I get blank stares when I start to talk about a profession or taking a job in the skilled trades in the technological industries and the scientific industries.
I am sometimes taken aback when people suggest that it is entirely the responsibility of the Ministry of Education. I would suggest to the members that our industry and our commerce and our businesses, which so frequently are the direct beneficiaries of our trained and educated students, should be taking a leadership role in working with local boards, local schools and indeed the ministry not only to change attitudes but to assist in perhaps the funding, if you will, of some of the necessary equipment for programs in the scientific and technological area in our schools. Does the minister think that is a good idea?
Hon Mr Conway: I want to say to my friend that government, in a variety of ways and levels, is supporting more partnerships between various constituencies. I can tell him, a member from the North York area, that very recently I attended a session sponsored jointly by the North York Board of Education and the university women’s group in North York to focus attention in that part of Metropolitan Toronto on what could bc done to stimulate a greater interest in and graduation from programs in this area.
We ourselves at the ministry have undertaken the so-called school-workplace apprenticeship program to bring apprenticeship training into the high schools so that young people, male and female, can begin the track into apprenticeship at the high school level. We have seen a number of those initiatives. We are going to be sponsoring and supporting countless others.
Mr Kormos: I have a question of the Minister of Financial Institutions. On 9 June, I picked up the Toronto Star and I saw this big, expensive ad touting his Bill 68. I read the Globe and Mail of the same day; same ad. I read the Toronto Sun; same ad. Four days later, there was another round of big, expensive display ads, not just in the three Toronto papers but in papers, dozens of them, across Ontario. The question simply is, how many hundreds of thousands -- no, how many millions -- of dollars of taxpayers’ money -- because it is not just print advertising; there is this glitzy, expensive radio campaign going on too -- is the minister wasting on this garbage?
Hon Mr Elston: The short answer is that no money is being wasted on this because we have found that the people are willing to read material which is providing correct, direct and intelligent information on this bill. They have not been able to find it by viewing the Hansard reports of the honourable member’s speeches, so we are providing just over $1 million to advertise in the dailies, weeklies and the periodical papers to deal with providing information to the public on Bill 68.
Mr Pouliot: You are the Chairman of the Management Board of Cabinet; how much are you paying?
The Speaker: Order. Were you going to allow the member for Lake Nipigon to ask a supplementary? No. If we could have a little order, then I will ask the member for Welland-Thorold to ask a supplementary.
Hon Mr Scott: Now, come on, a little punch in the question.
Mr Kormos: I sure do. At the same time that this is being printed, the insurance industry itself is probably spending the same amount of premium dollars printing similar ads. The dishonesty, the half-truths, the outright lies contained in this crap that is being printed at the expense of the taxpayer -- I tell you, Mr Speaker, it is there for people to read, and they are paying for it through the nose because this minister has no respect for the drivers or the taxpayers. He does not mention the 95% of all innocent injured persons who are not going to get a penny of compensation for their pain and suffering.
The Speaker: Order. Do you agree with what the member said?
Mr Kormos: Just a moment, Mr Speaker.
The Speaker: I thought you were asking if he had agreed with that.
Mr Kormos: I was just leading up to it.
The Speaker: Order. You have already spent about 80 seconds. Will you place a one-sentence question, please?
Mr Kormos: Mr Speaker, as I say, this can all go much more quickly if I am permitted to ask my question. Why does the minister not mention the 95% of innocent injured victims who are not going to receive a penny in compensation and the $1-billion payday for the auto insurance industry that is gouged from taxpayers and drivers and victims because of his scheme, because he knuckled under to the insurance industry in this province?
Hon Mr Elston: I wish to quote the member for Wellington in his response to a previous interjection. I think the member for Welland-Thorold can read the Hansard wherein the member for Wellington indicated “Rubbish,” because he knows better than any of the people that --
Mr Kormos: More dishonesty.
The Speaker: Order. Will the member withdraw that?
Mr Kormos: Withdrawn, Mr Speaker.
Hon Mr Elston: The member knows full well that the people in the province have received, under the benefits of this plan, new enhanced no-fault benefits so that in fact we can get money more quickly to those individuals who are injured. Those people who are more seriously injured can still go to the courts. He knows that and he refuses to give a full profile of the benefits under the --
The Speaker: Order.
Mr Kormos: I am sorry, Mr Speaker.
Mr Kerrio: No, you are not.
Hon Mr Scott: You always say you are sorry.
The Speaker: Order. I wish members would show a little more respect for the institution. It is not funny.
Mr Cousens: I have a question for the Minister of Housing with regard to the announcement that was made last week by him in Markham about the 6,000 new affordable homes that are going in to the east side of Markham. I would like to thank the minister and his staff for keeping me, our council, the region and the community as a whole informed on the developments and progress on this prior to the announcement. I see this as a very significant and important initiative and sincerely hope that it will go a long way to providing affordable housing in our community.
The question I have for the minister is, when will the first non-profit unit for rent be available and when will the first affordable purchase home be available?
Hon Mr Sweeney: Speaking to the planning and engineering staff in the Markham area, their sense was that the work would begin immediately, that the infrastructure necessary to support the homes and the commercial activity would begin in 1991 and that people would actually be moving into homes in 1992. They could not be more precise than that.
Mr Cousens: The minister has a good way of leading into my supplementary, because I am concerned about getting the homes for people but also about the infrastructure. The government promised 104,000 units by the end of 1989, and 25% of those have been fulfilled. What we are concerned about in the community are the roads. Are they going to go in first? Will Highway 407 be extended east of Highway 48 to relieve Highway 7? Will the region and town receive the necessary funding to improve the network of roads around it?
Will the government build the schools in time so that the people who are coming into that new community will have schools for their children instead of busing them long distances and causing overcrowding in other schools in the community? Will the government give us the money for the necessary social services for people who come into Markham and then they find that they do not have the same kind of services as you would have in other communities or in Metro? Will the minister set aside the necessary Wintario funds so that we can build new community centres? What assurance can the minister give that the infrastructure and services will be provided for this great new community in Markham?
Hon Mr Sweeney: There are certain types of infrastructure that will have to be in before any home construction will be done at all. That has already been agreed to. There are others that may be a little bit later on. For example, I do not have a firm timetable for Highway 407, which sweeps around the bottom end of this new community project. Therefore, the decision has been made that the phasing for this development will be at the northern end. I think the first number of homes will be in the neighbourhood of about 2,400, roughly about a third of the entire project, and it will gradually move south as the necessary infrastructure will be available.
All of the various elements that the honourable member raised are parts that have to be done, because both Mayor Roman and myself made it very clear that we were not talking of building just homes but schools, churches, parks, an entire community structure, and as the honourable member knows, a new hospital just opened up on that same site about three months ago.
Mr Neumann: My question is for the Minister of Labour. The minister knows quite well that last week Fruehauf in Brantford announced the permanent closing of the plant there, with the loss of over 300 jobs. What is the ministry doing to assist the workers affected by this closure?
Hon Mr Phillips: I know the member for Brantford is extremely worried about this, as well as several other closures the member has seen in his riding. I go back to the thing I said often before, and that is the need to create jobs. Having said that, our staff is there today, as I understand it, working with the two parties to set up a committee to begin helping those workers who are affected, helping them in terms of looking for new opportunities, helping them in terms of examining the severance packages that are available, helping to ensure that there is proper counselling for the workers who are affected.
Again, the most important thing we can do is to create jobs. In the absence of that, we have our employment adjustment committee there today working with the employees and the employer to set up a program to do the best we can for those affected workers.
Mr Neumann: As the minister knows, our community went through quite a few shocks of dislocation during the 1980s with closures of Massey and White. Since the Fruehauf announcement, we have had a further announcement of the closing of a division of Sunbeam Solaray. While the economy of the city has rebounded with many new industries moving in, that does not help the workers who are affected, particularly the older workers.
What programs does the minister have available and, perhaps by pressuring the federal government because some of this is related to free trade, can he make available to assist the older workers in these plants?
Hon Mr Phillips: We have a program called the program for older worker adjustment that I think most members are familiar with. I might say it is our anticipation that we will be making another designation in the near future of additional workers covered by POWA. This is a program that affects workers who are 55 years of age and older and is designed for those who, tragically, do not look like they can get additional employment prior to retirement. That program is available.
We have a second one, called Transitions, which is a training program for workers 45 years of age and older. As the member has pointed out, it is important that we remember the federal government has the prime responsibility in labour adjustment. We intend to continue to pressure it to improve POWA, to look at ways we can provide better training for workers who are affected by layoffs.
The Premier’s Council, as I think most members know, is, I hope, nearing completion of a second major report that, I also hope, will deal with this and will also deal with how we may better work with the federal government to co-ordinate our programs to deal with workers who are affected by that.
There is POWA, the Transitions program, the Premier’s Council report and also our continued pressure on the federal government, particularly to do things like improve POWA.
Mr Reville: A young woman named Lynn Corby died on 6 May after a long and courageous struggle against cancer. During that struggle, she was supported by her family in a way that should make us feel proud of what families can do. What the family says to me now is that the last few weeks of her life were a nightmare because of the difficulty, for 15 hours at the Toronto General Hospital, in finding a resident who could adjust the pain control palliative care that Lynn Corby was receiving at the time.
I wonder if the minister has had a chance to do any investigation of the situation.
Hon Mrs Caplan: If the member opposite will send me the information that he has, I will look into the matter.
Mr Reville: I am aware that the minister gets lots of mail.
She certainly has this mail as well because she and I were both copied on the correspondence. It will have been in the minister’s mail room for some time.
I wonder what directions the minister gives the palliative care units of our hospitals in terms of the need to have residents available. In a letter that is filled with compliments for the kindness and compassion of nurses, there is, as well, the comment that the nursing authorities said that this was an untrained crew of nurses who did not realize they could increase the pain-killing medication at a time like this and waited for 15 hours for a resident to tell them that it was possible. I am sure the minister does not think that is an appropriate situation, and I would ask her to investigate and get back to me and to Lynn Corby’s family about how this could have been much better managed.
Hon Mrs Caplan: As I said to the member opposite, I will look into the situation.
Mr Sterling: I would like to ask the Minister of Health a question regarding the Queensway-Carleton Hospital in the city of Nepean. Prior to the last provincial election, there was a promise made by the former Minister of Health that it would be given approval to add, I believe, some 100 additional beds to its hospital. It was asked to go out to the community and collect money and contributions from the community.
It is a long time now since the hospital has fulfilled that part of the mandate. The Ministry of Health has dragged its feet on approvals of various stages of the planning process. It appears now that the minister is going to renege on the promise that the former Minister of Health made in terms of approving this addition to the Queensway-Carleton. When can the Queensway-Carleton expect to get its final approval and go ahead with building what was promised prior to the last provincial election?
Hon Mrs Caplan: I am pleased to answer the question. As the member opposite knows, I was recently in Ottawa. where the district health council had conducted a review and established its priorities, and we were able to announce very significant movement in the area of capital which was conforming with our capital planning framework. He knows that those announcements were extremely significant.
They involved primarily the east-end area through the East End Ambulatory Centre, as well as announcements for Hôpital Montford. There have been additional announcements for the Riverside Hospital of Ottawa, as well as significant announcements in the area of cancer care for Ottawa General Hospital.
All of the announcements in the Ottawa area are in conformity with the capital planning framework, and I can assure him that all of the planning continues and that we are working very closely with the district health council to ensure that all projects, no matter which hospital they are involved with, conform with the capital planning framework, are properly prioritized and will meet the needs of the people of the Ottawa-Carleton region.
I would also say that my colleague the member for Nepean has been very active in ensuring that I understand the needs of the Queensway-Carleton Hospital, and I want the member opposite to know that we are working very closely with all of the hospitals of this province to make sure that we meet the needs in the future.
Mr Sterling: The people of the city of Nepean understood from the former Minister of Health, who is sitting two seats from the minister, that they were promised an addition to their hospital. They, in good faith, went out to the community and asked it for donations. Does the minister think it would be fair for our candidate in the next provincial election to say that she welshed on the promise?
Hon Mrs Caplan: I do not, but I fully expect that this is what that party will say. That is the party whose policies over the course of time resulted in the highest rate of institutionalization in this province. Very clearly, I have stated on a number of occasions that the total capital dollar commitment is available to the regions, that in light of long-term-care reform and a capital planning framework we are working with the hospitals of this province to ensure that our capital dollars are used to meet the needs of the future as well as today.
Mr Neumann: My question is for the Minister of Citizenship. The province of Ontario announced some time ago a policy on multiculturalism. At the federal level, however, we have a piece of legislation which puts multiculturalism into the law rather than simply a policy statement. Is the ministry considering such a proposal at the provincial level?
Hon Mr Wong: I am pleased with the honourable member’s interest in this question. The Brantford-area community is very diverse in terms of its different cultures, races and languages. I am pleased to indicate to the honourable member that the government has been examining this possibility in view of the increasing diversity of our society. When we ask ourselves what the objectives might be, be they social, cultural or economic, we have to ask ourselves also: Are there other pieces of legislation within Ontario that already cover a number of these areas?
To make sure we can arrive at the proper solution and the appropriate initiative, the government, my ministry in particular, has been working on what I would call a working paper that at some point in time we would like to bring forth and invite public participation in order to discuss the need for such legislation.
Mr Neumann: I am aware that the policy on multiculturalism is a working policy in the sense that all ministries within the government are encouraged to implement sensitivity to the various diverse groups in our community. Is the minister satisfied that the other ministries have made significant progress in implementing multicultural policies within each of their areas of jurisdiction?
Hon Mr Wong: In the past year the Ministry of Citizenship, in working along with all the other ministries of the government, has caused the initiation of about 85 different initiatives covering about 25 different ministries. In that sense, there has been significant progress. However, the job is not done. There is still much more that has to be done in terms of changing all of our institutions so they are more culturally and linguistically sensitive.
Mr Laughren: In view of the lack of alternatives, I have a question for the Attorney General. On 19 December this Legislature passed a bill called An Act respecting the Custody of Unclaimed Intangible Property. Since that time the bill has not been proclaimed. Could the Attorney General tell us why?
Hon Mr Scott: I am not sure I can, but I will inquire into it. Has the honourable member got unclaimed property that he is worried about over the next couple of weeks?
Mr Laughren: Is it not true that since the bill would transfer from the private sector to the public trustee any unclaimed property, that since the bill received third reading and royal assent but has never been proclaimed, there has been a tremendous lobby set up by the insurance companies and others in the private sector not to make the bill retroactive but only to apply to property in the future and not to property that is already unclaimed? Is that true or is it not true? If it not true, why has it not been proclaimed?
Hon Mr Scott: I am aware that there have been those who have been lobbying that the bill should be applied immediately and there have been those who have asked for modifications in it. I think the modification about the retroactivity is whether the bill should be retroactive beyond the limitation period, which I think would be 20 years in cases of this type. The honourable member may have been subjected to a heavy lobby that we have not experienced in this matter, but I want the honourable member to know that would not be the reason for failing to proclaim the bill. I will be glad to bring his representations to the attention of the Treasurer as soon as I can.
ASSISTANCE TO FARMERS
Mr McCague: My question is to the Minister of Agriculture and Food. When is the minister going to approve drought assistance for the Georgian Bay apple growers?
Hon Mr Ramsay: Actually I met with representatives of the Georgian Bay apple growers and apple growers from right across the province up in that area about six weeks ago, and we discussed how we could possibly access some of the horticultural money that the federal government had offered. I have asked them to assist me in pushing the federal government to come to the table so we can deal with that horticultural money. I have also asked them to take a look at how we could possibly design a program that could assist them.
Mr McCague: The situation is urgent, and the minister is playing a little tag with the federal government as to whether or not this is going to be approved. As I understand it, the federal government has said how much money the minister has and it is up to him to say where it is going to go. Is it going to go to the apple growers?
Hon Mr Ramsay: I would like to correct the misimpression that the honourable member has, because in fact the federal government has not given us any allocation. I would like to explain this carefully for the member. As the member realizes, there was $500 million the federal government put on the table -- $450 million of which was for grains and oil seeds across the country; $40 million of the balance was for other crops.
The federal government and Ontario and a few other provinces have made a deal for the fur industry, but as far as the horticultural industry is concerned, it does not want to deal until the province of British Columbia has completed a report of its fruit industry in the Okanagan Valley. We are awaiting that report.
I am saying to the member, and I would ask for his assistance, to ask the federal government to deal with us now. We are ready to deal, and I would be ready to assist the apple industry of this province. I would not want to disappoint the honourable member. We are ready to go, we would like to deal. I am very sympathetic to the situation; the dry conditions have reduced the crop, and I would like to assist that industry.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
LANDLORD AND TENANT AMENDMENT (ANIMALS) ACT, 1990
Hon Mr Scott moved first reading of Bill 225, An Act to amend the Landlord and Tenant Act with respect to Animals.
Motion agreed to.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
House in committee of the whole.
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY STATUTE LAW AMENDMENT ACT (CONTINUED)
Consideration of Bill 208, An Act to amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Workers’ Compensation Act.
The Chair: If I am not mistaken, we had finished all the different sections.
Hon Mr Phillips: Mr Chairman, might I have permission to move down to the front?
The Chair: The bill is finished, Minister.
Hon Mr Phillips: It is not necessary? Fine.
The Chair: Since we are ready for the vote, there will be a 10-minute bell.
The committee divided on Mr Mackenzie’s amendment to add section 1a, which was negatived on the following vote:
Ayes 15; nays 60.
The committee divided on Mr Mackenzie’s amendment to subsection 23a(7) of the act, which was negatived on the same vote.
The committee divided on Mr Mackenzie’s amendment to subsection 3(3), which was negatived on the same vote.
The committee divided on Mr Mackenzie’s amendment to subsection 3(5), which was negatived on the same vote.
Section 3 agreed to.
The committee divided on Mr Phillips’s amendment to subsection 4(2), which was agreed to on the same vote reversed.
The committee divided on Miss Martel’s amendment to subsection 4(3), which was negatived on the same vote.
The committee divided on Mr Mackenzie’s amendment to subsection 4(6), which was negatived on the same vote.
The committee divided on Mr Mackenzie’s amendment to subsection 4(8), which was negatived on the same vote.
Section 4, as amended, agreed to.
The committee divided on Miss Martel’s amendment to subsections l0c(3) and (4) of the act, which was negatived on the same vote.
The committee divided on Miss Martel’s amendment to subsection l0c(5) of the act, which was negatived on the same vote.
Section 7 agreed to.
The committee divided on Mr Mackenzie’s amendment to subsection 20(3), which was negatived on the same vote.
Section 20 agreed to.
The committee divided on Mr Mackenzie’s amendment to subsection 24(1), which was negatived on the same vote.
The committee divided on Mr Mackenzie’s amendment to add subsection 24(3a), which was negatived on the same vote.
The committee divided on Mr Mackenzie’s amendment to subsections 24(1) (2) and (3), which was negatived on the same vote.
The committee divided on Mr Phillips’s amendment to section 24, which was agreed to on the same vote reversed.
Section 24, as amended, agreed to.
The committee divided on Mr Mackenzie’s amendment to subsection 23a(1) of the act, which was negatived on the same vote.
The committee divided on Mr Mackenzie’s amendment to subsection 23a(2) of the act, which was negatived on the same vote.
The committee divided on Mr Mackenzie’s amendment to subsection 23a(6) of the act, which was negatived on the same vote.
The committee divided on Mr Mackenzie’s amendment to add section 23aa of the act, which was negatived on the same vote.
The committee divided on Mr Mackenzie’s amendment to section 23c of the act, which was negatived on the same vote.
The committee divided on Mr Phillips’s amendment to sections 23a, 23b and 23c of the act, which was agreed to on the same vote reversed.
Section 25, as amended, agreed to.
The committee divided on Mr Mackenzie’s amendment to add section 31 a, which was negatived on the same vote.
The committee divided on Mr Mackenzie’s amendment to clause 37(1)(a) of the act, which was negatived on the same vote.
Section 34 agreed to.
The committee divided on Mr Mackenzie’s amendment to clause 41(2) of the act, which was negatived on the same vote.
Section 37, as amended previously, agreed to.
Section 40 agreed to.
The committee divided on whether the bill, as amended, should be reported which was agreed to on the same vote reversed.
On motion by Mr Phillips, the committee of the whole House reported one bill with certain amendments.
The following bills were given third reading on motion:
Bill 104, An Act to amend the Mining Tax Act;
Bill 106, An Act to amend certain Acts with respect to Easements and other matters;
Bill 108, An Act respecting Business Names.
LIQUOR LICENCE ACT, 1990 (CONTINUED)
Resuming the adjourned debate on the motion for second reading of Bill 175, An Act to revise the Liquor Licence Act and to amend the law relating to Liquor.
The Deputy Speaker: If I remember well, the member for Beaches-Woodbine had the floor.
Ms Bryden: Last Tuesday I led off the New Democrats critique of Bill 175, which as we know is to amend the liquor laws of this province. I pointed out that the bill completely fails to meet the philosophy of liquor regulation enunciated in the opening pages of the report of the Offer advisory committee, which had been commissioned by the Liberal government in June 1986 to study the liquor laws and suggest how they could be updated. The report came out in 1987 and stated:
“Beverage alcohol regulation involves dualistic and at times contradictory goals: the provision of access to beverage alcohol for the enjoyment of responsible drinkers and the prevention of problems associated with irresponsible use. The attainment of these goals necessarily involves a balancing of interests. Public order and public health issues must be weighed against the public desire for reasonable access to alcohol and the economic interests of the hospitality industry and the beverage alcohol producers.”
The minister in his opening remarks on second reading said that Bill 175 is “the transformation of the Offer task force work into legislative language.” This bill goes far beyond that. It gives the government the power to wipe out the system of holding public hearings on most liquor licence applications. It does not require any specific type of notice to the public on applications. It simply says that notice shall be done “in the prescribed manner” as set forth in the regulations.
There are no draft regulations before us yet so we do not know what the prescribed manner is and we do not know how much notice will be given when an application is received. When the board decides that it will not have a public hearing but will have a public review, we do not know what “a public review” means. In fact it does not use the word “public.” It says that the board may grant the licence or order a hearing or call for a review of the application.
There are no regulations telling us what happens in these cases: how much notice the public will receive before these things happen, how much they will be allowed to participate or how much information will be given to them.
There are 34 classes of regulations that are authorized under this bill. They cover everything, from exempting any person, product or premises from any provision of this act or the regulations. Could anything be more sweeping? This is not legislation. This is the creation of an all-powerful bureaucracy to regulate the sale and consumption of liquor in this province.
The Offer advisory committee had no public members on it. They were all officials of the Liquor Licence Board of Ontario and the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, plus the Solicitor General as the chairman.
This bill needs much fuller study by a select or standing committee of the Legislature so that the public can be ensured of a full role in liquor regulation and licensing in this province. It provides no guarantees of any such role.
Only with full public participation will the residents’ interests be considered, will the residents’ concerns be part of the consideration of an application. Only by seeking advice from those dealing with the social and health effects of liquor consumption will the government know what measures are needed to balance public health, public order and the economic interests of the hospitality industry and the beverage alcohol producers.
In my area, most of the liquor outlets are on commercial strips with residential premises cheek by jowl to them; very close. Therefore, there is great concern that the residents’ interests must be considered in the granting of any application: the hours that the premises can be open, the kind of licence it has, whether it has a patio licence, which can also create much greater noise and much greater disturbance of the neighbourhood.
This law will not give the residents the opportunity to make their case as to why it is not in the public interest to grant a specific licence. If a public hearing is held, they may try to establish that since that phrase is still in the act, the board must decide whether it is in the public interest and meets the needs of the residents of the municipality. But as I pointed outlast week, there is no definition of what is in the public interest. The liquor board takes no responsibility for considering things like parking, extra traffic congestion, litter, noise and the effects on the lifestyle of the community. Also, liquor outlets will require more policing and that has an effect on the lifestyle of the community.
So why is the government ramming through Bill 175 without this kind of full study on what kind of liquor regulation we really need, a study which will involve the public and all parties in the Legislature? I can see one reason only. The government needs money for a coming election campaign. Contributions from the liquor industry and producers have been an important source of campaign funds for past elections in this province, under both Progressive Conservative and Liberal governments. The Liberal government, however, has gone much further than its predecessor in virtually handing over the regulation of liquor sales and consumption and of liquor advertising to the industries concerned, through the powers that it has in this act. It is really a sellout similar to the sellout to the insurance companies in Bill 86. It is sellout, I think, in pursuit of support for election contributions.
There are one or two other matters I wanted to mention. One is the elimination of appeals to the Commercial Registration Appeal Tribunal against Liquor Licence Board of Ontario decisions, which were in the previous legislation. Instead of a specialized tribunal with some knowledge of retail and manufacturing businesses among its personnel, the bill transfers appeals to the Divisional Court. This means more formal rules, long delays in getting a hearing and much greater expense to residents, who usually have to hire lawyers to deal with a case before the Divisional Court. There is no intervenor funding for such hearings as there is in many other hearings under the different regulatory agencies in this province, such as the Ontario Energy Board. Besides, the Divisional Court can only deal with matters of law or procedure. They cannot deal with the question of whether the application is in the public interest. That is what the Commercial Registration Appeal Tribunal may consider, and then may decide whether the LLBO has gone beyond its mandate or has not fulfilled its mandate.
I would like to the tell the House that my experience with an appeal to the Divisional Court, on the Racing Commission Act, was not a happy one. When Sunday racing was allowed, a group of residents decided to appeal the decision of the Ontario Racing Commission that it could grant Sunday racing and that it did not have to consider the concerns of the residents affected. Yet the Greenwood Race Track in Toronto is unique in that it is cheek by jowl to a very large residential district.
The group of residents that went to the Divisional Court to question the commission’s refusal to listen to the concerns of the residents had to put up about $5,000 or $6,000 to hire a lawyer and get into court. They lost the case, and the racing commission asked for costs. The costs they asked for were about $4,000. That was a very great burden on those residents. I will say that they did make an out-of-court settlement and reduced the cost request to about $2,000, but it still was a very costly process for the residents and certainly not one that I would recommend for very many groups of residents to try if they are dissatisfied with the decisions of the liquor licence board.
I think that we must consider whether this bill really should be proceeded with. In my opinion, it should be withdrawn and it should also be sent to a standing committee or a select committee. I hope the minister will deal with this item and make a commitment to do that even if it has to be done after the election, assuming the bill passes. If he withdraws the bill right now, we will have much more opportunity to send the bill to a standing or select committee.
The sort of issue that a standing or select committee could discuss is the whole question of whether the government is providing sufficient funding for the treatment of alcohol addiction. In fact, it could also look and see whether our statistics are adequate on the extent of alcohol addiction. It should also study the effect on our families and children and individuals of the effects of alcohol addiction. It should look at the adequacy of our programs for rehabilitation of people with alcohol addiction. It should look at the funding for education in avoiding alcohol addiction. All of these are matters which we need a great deal more research on and a great deal more understanding of.
We know that there is now quite a lot of concern about drinking and driving, but there is very little concern about the effects of drinking on battered wives and on children in families where one or another of the members of the family is an alcoholic or a person with alcoholic addiction. We know very little about the health effects of long-term drinking or of becoming a victim of alcoholism. We know very little about the effects on recreational needs and how much recreation is not proceeded with because of so much more time being spent on alcohol-related activities, which the television programs tell us, of course, are very healthy. As long as you do not show the bottle of beer, it is all right to say that Molson’s is advocating this kind of activity.
Again, I think the advertising of alcohol is something that must be looked into. The original regulations which were brought out in the spring of this year, new advertising regulations, are still no very great improvement over the old ones. There is still allowance of a considerable amount of sexist advertising in alcohol ads. There is still a considerable amount of indicating that it is really fun and the only kind of fun really is to have alcohol-related recreational and sports activities, or the 19th hole, whereas I think we have got to be looking at our whole recreational and health opportunities and the alternatives to an alcohol-related event as being the main form of entertainment.
I urge the minister to comment on the need for this kind of study, and I hope he will promise it. I also hope he will reconsider the bill itself and see that we certainly have proper amendments to maintain public hearings. Our party will be introducing some amendments to spell out more precisely what kind of notice must be given on public hearings and to restore the opportunity for public hearings in most cases and for adequate advertising of the public hearings so that the public will know and will have an opportunity to register its objection. I hope we will also have localized public hearings in the neighbourhoods so that people do not have to go down to the Lakeshore establishment in working hours and that they will have an opportunity to have a real say in liquor regulation in this province.
I urge the minister to respond to my requests.
Mr Sterling: This act undertakes some reforms to the Liquor Licence Act. We welcome them in a positive manner and wish to discuss them in a positive manner. There are some parts of the bill which we think should be strengthened, and we also believe that just perhaps there is much too much left up to the cabinet to make regulations on its own. You only need turn to the regulation section of this bill, section 62, and it has no fewer than 34 separate paragraphs allowing the cabinet of Ontario to do almost everything but take over the government of Ontario in terms of liquor. I would have preferred, as opposition parties always prefer, to have more of the specifics contained within the bill.
I want to also talk briefly about the selling of liquor to people under age. The age for buying liquor in the province of Ontario is 19 years. I believe that this bill does not go far enough in penalizing those who contravene that law. In many states in the United States if a server of liquor is caught serving a person under the age that is approved in those states for buying liquor -- and it is 21 in many, many states now -- then the licence for that establishment is immediately revoked. I believe that only through that kind of sanction will there be due diligence on the part of the people who are entrusted to serve liquor, which is a form of drug, to young people who are not qualified in age to do that.
It is also interesting that there is a distinction made, in section 30, between those who sell liquor to a person under the age of 19 years and those people who serve a person under 19 years of age with liquor. I cannot quite understand why the minister puts a different requirement or burden upon the person who might sell a young person a bottle of liquor as opposed to somebody who goes into a bar and purchases one glass of liquor. It seems that the way the act is structured it would be easier for young people to buy a bottle of liquor than it would be for them to buy a drink of liquor, and that somehow seems contradictory in terms of the requirement of people who are running Brewers’ Retail stores, who are running government liquor stores and who are running agency stores under the Liquor Control Board of Ontario in small communities across Ontario. Somehow they are not required to ask for proof of identification that a young person is at least of the age of 19 years.
Therefore, we have a bit of difficulty with the act as it now stands and perhaps we will be making some suggestions in terms of amendments when this bill will be referred to the committee of the whole House, as I understand it will be.
I agree with the member from the New Democratic Party who was speaking prior to myself, the member for Beaches-Woodbine, that it is perhaps a kind of bill that should be given vetting by the public. However, we do not see that this is a major piece of legislation, and quite frankly we do not have the time before the end of this session to do it properly. If all the rumours are as they are touted to be, that there will be a provincial election coming along, it is perhaps our party’s position that we would prefer to see some amendments to this act at this time than have nothing happen at all.
When this bill was first introduced in the Legislature I had an opportunity to respond to the minister’s statement. One of the things I mentioned in that response was the problem that we seem to be having in “small-town Ontario” with groups that are rather small in their size and structure and that want to hold a small party where they would sell liquor. It has been the policy of this government, and I see it within the confines of this bill, in terms of making higher demands on the people who are serving liquor, to make it harder and harder to hold a small event and serve liquor at that event, the reason being that with the increase in the qualifications for the people who are serving liquor there are going to be fewer people who will be able to fulfil those requirements.
Second is that the government has already taken one of the most drastic steps against small-town Ontario and small nonprofit groups that want to run their own events on Friday and Saturday night or whatever. I mention briefly a small theatre group in my riding, the Kanata Theatre group, which runs its play on several occasions during the year, four nights of the week. They usually have a very good crowd out, but at intermission they would like to offer the patrons an opportunity to buy a glass of wine. Quite frankly, because it is a family event, there may be, out of a crowd of 150 to 250, 50 people who would take advantage of the opportunity to buy a glass of wine.
This government has introduced a standard fee for a special occasion permit of $100. The Kanata Theatre group and many other groups like the Kanata Theatre group cannot afford to pay $100 a night for a liquor licence. That means they have to pay $400 for the four nights on which they hold their play in a local high school. It really leaves them in the unenviable position of either not offering their patrons the opportunity to enjoy a glass of wine or encouraging their patrons to buy much more wine, and offering other kinds of liquor as well, in order to cover the cost of the $100 special occasion permit.
I think that is contrary to what we should be encouraging in this province in terms of consumption of alcohol. We remember that alcohol is a drug and we should, as even the breweries are recognizing, have people consume in moderation and consume less quantity, if that is possible. I know that operates against our liquor companies and our breweries, but I think even they realize that excessive consumption is not good for the people of Ontario.
I commend Molson Breweries, for instance, on its Take Care program, on which it has spent over $18 million in advertising on television that women should not drink while they are pregnant, that if you are in a bar and you are drinking there should be a designated driver and that people who are drinking should not drive home. I commend that kind of action.
But this government, by its policies -- part of them being put forward in this bill -- are not saying to our people, “You should drink less,” or “Moderate your consumption as best you can.” This bill and the actions of this government have said to the people, “You’ve got to drink a lot to make it economically viable.” According to this bill, you are going to have to hire people who are skilled in bartending and serving liquor and whatever, whereas before you used to be able to get the secretary of the association or the president or the vice-president, as happens in the Kanata Theatre group; anybody who is close stands behind the bar and serves a glass of wine.
I think what is happening here, the formalization of the process, in order to protect society against some larger problems that are out there, is going too far and hitting at the smaller groups that are operating in a very responsible manner. I have now been a member of this Legislature for 13 years and I do not know how many times there has been a special occasion permit issued in my riding, but it is thousands and thousands. and I cannot remember one occasion when the privilege or the licence was abused by the people of my riding.
I think there is a bit of overkill with regard to the special occasion permits in this bill and I would hope that there would be some moderating force put forward.
We would like to see a single licence classification system, and we think the idea is a good one. We should eliminate the great number of classes there are. I think there are 11 classes of licences now in place. It is time to modernize that whole part of it. I hope, under the new regulations, that our liquor licence inspectors will not spend all their time going around looking at till receipts and matching how much liquor has been consumed in the premises and how much food has been served. That, quite frankly, was a waste of time, it was archaic and our liquor licence inspectors should be involved and concerned with other issues, perhaps issues like the one I mentioned at the beginning of my remarks, that is, the service of liquor to underage people.
This new legislation will require server training. While I have said we are in favour of that in a qualified way, we would like to see there be some limitations with regard to special occasion permits, perhaps on the size of the event or whatever. The minister may say that that would require more administration, and I say so what? Perhaps there should be some cross-subsidization of the small events for the small communities if in fact that is necessary within the whole liquor system.
We have experienced in the most recent past that every time a special occasion permit is asked for there seem to be more and more letters that have to be received from various and different officials. Quite frankly, I believe that the officials are probably giving out the letters almost from a photocopy machine. I would only ask that the minister keep them within reason.
We were pleased to see that there seems to be some rationalization of serving alcohol at major professional sporting events. It seems to make some sense to expand what has been in place for some years in a more reasonable and rational way.
We intend to support this piece of legislation on second reading. I know my colleague the member for Leeds-Grenville will no doubt have some comments to make when we get to the stage of committee of the whole House. We have some minor amendments which I believe the government may in fact be agreeing with and which the minister is aware of.
In summary, we would therefore ask perhaps that the minister look again at section 30 with regard to serving and selling liquor to people under the age of 19. We would also ask him to consider the amendments which we have placed before him in private letters to him from the member for Leeds-Grenville.
Mr Farnan: My colleagues have already pointed out a great many of the concerns we have, particularly my colleague the member for Beaches-Woodbine. I am going to limit my remarks to some extent to two or three topics.
The first particular topic I want to draw attention to will refer to some amendments that I will be putting on the floor when we move to committee of the whole. The first of those amendments is that the Liquor Licence Board of Ontario allocates 1% of the net profits of the board for the purpose of alcohol rehabilitation programs.
I do not think you can have an overview of liquor licensing and the sale of alcohol in Ontario and the entire document be without reference to rehabilitation programs for alcoholism. That I find absolutely extraordinary. I want to go on record immediately by saying that neither I nor the New Democratic Party would have objection to alcohol. That is not the problem. But I think we all have to realize that there is a dark side to alcohol. There is a dark side to the promotion of alcohol, and even the brewers of Ontario have recognized this fact.
This government is in the business of generating as much revenue as possible. That is the name of the game, whether it is in the area of alcohol or whether it is in the area of lotteries. Recently, in a debate concerning the Ontario Lottery Corp, I moved a motion that one half of 1% of lottery profits be designated for the education and the treatment of pathological gambling. In this House, the minister repeatedly said to me, “But there is no strong evidence that there is a correlation between lotteries and pathological gambling.” The fact of the matter is that we had committee hearings last week and many individuals who are pathological gamblers came forward and said that there and that indeed it has ruined their lives.
Mr Neumann: Get on the subject.
Mr Farnan: One of the few government members who happens to be present during the course of this debate is saying, “Get on the subject.” I am saying to the member for Brantford that I want to speak to the subject. If the member for Brantford does not think that alcohol is a problem that must be addressed in Ontario, I have news for that member, because I believe the people of Brantford realize that, although alcohol can be used socially, there is a dark side. A government that fails to address the dark side of alcohol is failing to address a very significant problem in the province of Ontario.
I know the government can point to some areas and say, “Yes, we have this particular treatment or that particular treatment available.” But I want to tell the member for Brantford that if one happens to be suffering from the disease of alcoholism and one is looking for treatment in Ontario, one may well be out of luck because the waiting lists in the rehabilitation centres are extraordinary. Many people are being referred to the United States for treatment at considerable cost to the province. The waiting lists are such that people with alcohol problems are dying for lack of treatment in Ontario and, because they cannot afford the 25% of treatment in the United States, that option is not open to them.
I say to the minister it would be a bold step indeed, it would be a courageous step indeed, if this government had the courage and the vision to say, “We are going to place one percentage of all the liquor licensing board’s profits into alcohol rehabilitation.”
There are more progressive jurisdictions, in handling this particular issue in the North American continent, which are in fact taking this kind of initiative. They see the absolute correlation between the sale of alcohol, the widespread use of alcohol, but more significantly the abuse of alcohol, and a government that is receiving extraordinary revenues from that sale. For 1% of total profits we could have the best clinical treatment in the world, if we were to take that kind of strong step.
The brewers of Ontario. already realizing that the general public is questioning the aggressive marketing of alcohol and alcohol beverages, are taking some steps, but we all know the dark side of this issue. You will never see the brewers of Ontario saying: “Here are the broken bodies. Here are the smashed cars. Here are the ruined lives. Here are the families that are broken up. Here are the battered victims of domestic violence as a result of alcoholism.” We never see that in the advertisements.
Admittedly, there is a creeping responsibility on the part of brewers to say, “If you’re pregnant, this isn’t the time to be drinking.” There is more evidence of brewers saying, “Okay, if you’re driving, don’t drink.” But let’s say to the government of Ontario, show the leadership, accept the reality. The reality of the matter is that as they expand the amount of alcohol that is available and expand their profits, there is a percentage of individuals whose lives must be rehabilitated. I will be unchallenged on this fact.
I can name all kinds of individuals who have to go to the United States for treatment. The Minister of Health is not here today, but I say to the minister, if I were to bring forward somebody today and say, “Look, this person is in desperate need of alcohol rehabilitation and there is not a place for this individual in the province today” -- he can go on the waiting list, and maybe, if he is lucky, months later he will get the treatment -- the government would say, “We’ll facilitate treatment in the United States.”
If you are an individual who is suffering from the disease of alcoholism, you have already burned your bridges. You have probably lost your family or you may well have lost your family. Certainly your financial assets may have disappeared and you are not in a position to pay that 25% of the cost of a United States clinic. You have broken the bridges with the people who might help you out. So I would ask the government to look at a courageous step.
Last week, we took the issue of lottery tickets to the general government committee. At that committee, we asked for half a per cent of lottery profits to go to pathological gambling rehabilitation. The committee was so impressed with the delegation that came forward, with the medical evidence, with the counsellors, with those individuals who have the disease of pathological gambling, that it passed a motion, which will be read when the committee reports back to this House. That motion says that the Minister of Health give priority funding for those suffering from the disease of pathological gambling.
I would say to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations and to the Minister of Health that exactly the same requirement must be made for those who suffer from the disease of alcoholism. When you take a bill like this, and it is a very, very comprehensive bill, and you deal with all kinds of details of licensing and availability of alcohol and you do not give one sentence or one reflection on the downside of alcoholism in Ontario, then the government certainly has some questions to answer.
I want to repeat that social drinking and social gambling for most individuals are not a problem, but for some individuals they are a disease. The government of Ontario, which is filling its Treasury with all kinds of revenues from the sources of alcoholism and gambling, has to answer these questions: Why is it that the pathological gambler in Ontario and why is it that the individual suffering from the disease of alcoholism in Ontario have to be sent to the United States for treatment?
We are generating $500 million in lottery profits. God knows what kind of profits we are generating in the province through the sale of alcohol. Yet those individuals who suffer from these two diseases have to go south of the border for treatment and they have to make this payment of money at a time when the disease has taken away their ability to pay.
I appeal to this government, to this minister, to the cabinet and particularly to the Minister of Health. Those people who suffer from these diseases from which this government is earning revenues -- surely we have a responsibility. Surely we must be able to build the kind of clinics in the province that can take care of the people of Ontario who are sick.
The second amendment I will be putting forward is an amendment that my colleague the member for Beaches-Woodbine has spoken to so eloquently, and I will not attempt to replicate her efforts in that regard. However, it is in the area of notice of a licence and notice to all residential and business premises. There is no indication in the bill that residences and businesses surrounding the site of an application for a licence will receive any written notice. What the bill says is that the notice for the licence will appear in the newspaper. That is fine, but we must insist on a written notice to every home and to every business that could possibly be affected by the licence.
Not only must we give the neighbours the information that a licence is being sought, but we must specify what type of licence. Many of the members of this House will be aware that a great deal of the antagonism and frustration of the neighbours often comes around the issue of adult entertainment establishments, often around the concept of strip clubs, and it is fairly understandable that the neighbours would have objections to this. It does not really help to say to the neighbours that there is a licence being sought on this particular site if the neighbours do not know whether it is going to be an adult entertainment establishment or strip club. Therefore, we would say to the minister that surely we have to work in order to get a process in motion in which the neighbours know what is taking place.
There has been no greater champion of residential neighbourhoods, of small business communities, than the member for Beaches-Woodbine. There is nobody in this House who is more knowledgeable of the difficulties and the depth of feeling that people have when this kind of licence is being thrust upon the area.
I would be the first to say I do not know exactly how this can be nailed down. I have gone to the member for Beaches-Woodbine because of her experience in this particular field, and I want to suggest she has certainly been the author of the amendment that we will be putting forward adding subsections 7(1a) and 7(1b).
It reflects her experience and it reflects her commitment. When one is drafting legislation, surely one goes to the champion of the issue on the part of the public. That is why I went to the member for Beaches-Woodbine, because over a career as the representative for that area, both within her own community and within this House, the member has been a consistent champion of protecting her constituents’ residential areas and small business areas from the negative aspects of issuing licences.
The minister was nodding his head in agreement, I have to tell members, when I spoke in high praise of my colleague and recognizing the fact of her experience. The minister nods his head in agreement. All he has to do now is go that one step further and accept the advice that has emanated from my colleague’s experience and support the amendment we are putting forward.
I can tell members that there is not a community in the province, there is not a residential area in the province, there is not a small business section in the province that does not want to see us put in place, whatever it takes, the kind of regulation that will give them advance notice if there is going to be an adult entertainment establishment or a strip club coming in as a neighbour.
That is all we are saying as New Democrats. We are not ruling out the fact that these things may exist. All we are saying is that the neighbours have the right to know in advance that public hearings will be held as a result of one of these neighbours’ filing a complaint.
As I said, my colleague the member for Beaches-Woodbine has elaborated very diligently in this area. That is already in the record. I just simply wanted to underscore my own feelings. I know in Cambridge we have had a lot of dissension surrounding this issue and, as I said, I suspect in communities right across the province. Just because it is a tough issue does not mean that as legislators we should run away from it or say, “Well, we are not going to solve that one.” My suspicion is we have not solved that. We look at the legislation; we have not solved it.
I want to talk very briefly about the LCBO stores and the employees thereof. The best protection for the responsible handling and sale of alcohol in Ontario rests very firmly with the professional men and women who work in the LCBO outlets. We are very concerned. The minister and the government are saying they want responsibility in the sale and the control of alcohol on the one hand, but on the other hand are in fact moving towards agency stores where the professionalism and the controls certainly do not meet the standards of the professional men and women who work in the LCBO stores.
That is very important. I hope that the government will recognize that fact, back off from its expansion of agency stores and go back and put its trust in the professionalism of the men and women who work in the LCBO outlets.
I am grateful, I want to mention, for a moderate response to a concern that I put forward with regard to taxi drivers.
When I first came in contact with the legislation and it came to my notice that taxi drivers could be charged up to a $650 fee for the permission to deliver alcohol, it struck me as very exorbitant. We have conflicting views, I suspect, in all three parties on this. In my view, the taxi drivers of Ontario play many roles. I do believe that the taxi driver is part of the social fabric of the community, part of the economic fabric of the community. Many taxi drivers in small towns have very regular customers. There are certain children that they have to drive to school. Sometimes they do a run for a senior citizen who cannot get out on his own and perhaps pick him up a bottle of booze. That is fine. The reality of the matter, though, is that to suggest to these taxi drivers that there would be a $650-fee for perhaps simply providing a social service really, in effect, is just mind-boggling.
Not only that, these people -- I know the men and women who drive taxis in my community -- are the most responsible individuals you could possibly imagine. Certainly they judge situations in a very common sense way. They do not abuse the privileges that they have, but if there is an act of kindness or an act of generosity that they can fulfil, these men and women do it.
When I saw the suggestion of $650 as an application fee, I certainly signalled to the government representatives that it was something that we could not support. We are happy to say that there has been a response to that particular aspect, and the draft regulations are being revised to eliminate the application fee in the case of taxis holding a municipal taxi licence.
Certainly this is an improvement, but under the new proposed fees, a taxi company would pay $225 for a two-year licence and $100 per vehicle every two years. I certainly would like the men and women who drive taxis to have an opportunity to respond to this. Therefore, when it goes to committee, it is something that I hope we can look at.
Hon Mr Sorbara: Okay, let’s get there.
Mr Farnan: I am always impressed with the enthusiasm of the minister to move business forward and I want to co-operate as much as I possibly can. The minister says. “Let’s get there.”
I want to speak again from my experience of Cambridge, part of small-town Ontario. We in Cambridge are in that magnificent situation where we have all the amenities of a large community and yet we have the very warm and personable atmosphere of small-town Ontario. I want to reinforce comments that were made about what is happening in terms of small non-profit groups.
This legislation, legislation that allows licences at $100 for small groups, has a negative aspect. I am thinking of the Galt Little Theatre or a little gathering of the library board or whatever. This government is saying that it is going to cost $100 in order to serve a glass of wine at that function. This is an extraordinary approach on the part of the government to basically non-profit groups that have shown the most extraordinary accountability over the past many years.
On every weekend, and perhaps on the odd occasion during the week, hundreds of these licences are given out. Whether it is in Cambridge or in the surrounding communities, right across the province thousands of licences are given out, and they are not abused. Yet in order for a small non-profit group to apply for that licence at a cost of $100 -- it is basically almost an incentive to them, where you say, “You’ve got to find ways in which to get people to drink more, because if they don’t drink more, this licence is going to end up costing you in the pocket.” It does not make sense. I think a little application of common sense to this particular issue would resolve the matter and would make it possible for small groups to serve a glass of wine or a drink without having to go the route of having a whole function at a cost of a $100 fee for a licence.
My colleagues have put forward a whole variety of suggestions to the minister. They have put forward a whole variety of concerns, which we know the minister and his ministry will take seriously. I believe there are some positive elements within the legislation. Of course, what is positive, we will support; what is not positive, the minister has to expect we cannot. I suppose the other final point is, for a vision for the future, we hope the minister will listen to some of the suggestions that we put forward.
Hon Mr Sorbara: I just want to wrap up debate on the bill as quickly as I can. I know there is other business that the House wants to consider this afternoon.
I want to begin by saying that I really did enjoy the debate. I think each of the members, including the member for Scarborough West raising concerns about the age of drinking; the member for Beaches-Woodbine; the member for Cambridge and my good friend the member for Carleton made comments that were relevant to the broader public issues and the question of the regulation of beverage alcohol.
I do not want to spend too much time in responding to the concerns, because many of them can and, I tell my friends, will be dealt with in the regulations that are made under this act.
My friend the member for Scarborough West suggested that we must not derogate from the Human Rights Code and create a drinking age that is beyond the age of majority as recognized under the Human Rights Code, and that is 18 years of age. I understand why he is saying that, and this is a matter that has had some debate in the province on an ongoing basis. I can only say to him that in the interest of keeping beverage alcohol out of high schools, in the interest of keeping beverage alcohol out of the hands of minors, in the interest of a society that puts a premium on ensuring that one is a full adult before using beverage alcohol, we have decided that we would maintain the age of majority for the purposes of beverage alcohol at 19, and that is why the act has an amendment to the Human Rights Code.
Second, some comments were made -- and I think this was the other important point, by the way, that the member for Scarborough West raised and that is the question of advertising. He was appalled that there was an element of sexism and exploitation of women in ads for beer, and perhaps wine and spirit commercials, on television and in newspapers. That may be the case, but the fact is that this act is not designed as a means of censoring or qualifying the commercial freedom of speech that we have in our society. It may well be that legislators somewhere want to consider some constraints on media in those areas, particularly the exploitation of women. But if we were going to do that, why would we say that we would do it with beverage alcohol and not with the sale of cereal or furniture or, heaven knows, cars or perfumes or whatever? Although I understand what he is offended by, I simply say to him that that which is offensive in our society ought not necessarily to be illegal.
My friend the member for Beaches-Woodbine spoke at length about provisions respecting notice. I want to tell her, if we can get to committee of the whole expeditiously on the bill, or when we do, I hope to introduce an amendment that will allay some of her concerns -- I say “some” and I emphasize “some” -- in respect of notice. I do not agree with her that we ought to canvass within a 500-metre range, because many of the objections that she spoke to when she talked about the bill relate to the municipality’s responsibility to regulate the use of premises; for example, the famous adult entertainment parlours, as we call them so carefully. It is not for the Liquor Licence Act to regulate that. It is for the municipality to decide questions of use of space and the licensing of adult entertainment parlours through its zoning mechanisms, not for this act, which has a broader and more comprehensive responsibility.
Other matters that she mentioned, as my good friend the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere points out, have to do with parking and use of premises that again fall within the ambit of the municipality. She did mention, and others mentioned, the appeal to the Commercial Registration Appeal Tribunal. I understand that argument and I have heard it expressed almost 20 different ways. Where should we provide for an appeal? I simply say that the Liquor Licence Board of Ontario is a mature, quasi-judicial body and I am satisfied that, given their ability to rehear a matter, the qualification for appeal, that is, to the Divisional Court on a question of law, is an appropriate one, because it reflects that which is available to all other quasi-judicial bodies in the province.
I do want to say just a word about the issues raised by my friend the member for Leeds-Grenville, although he is not here today to hear the responses and the end of the debate. He was concerned that we were actually putting provisions in the act dealing with boating and that we were stating in clear terms, “We want to be certain about this, that it is an offence to consume beverage alcohol on a boat, just like it is in a motor vehicle.” There are exceptions -- when the boat is anchored and it is used as a residence, of course. But surely to goodness, if you listen to the kinds of concerns that our police have, particularly police dealing with boating and on waterfronts, the extent to which boating and drinking is a problem demands that we put these provisions in the bill, and I am very proud of them, notwithstanding what my friend the member for Leeds-Grenville said.
Finally, on the comments of my friend the member for Cambridge, I understand why he is putting forth provisions relating to a 1% tax on sales to deal with rehabilitation. We all have to be concerned with rehabilitation because, as he says, and as I have said, as we all acknowledge, we are dealing with a powerful substance when we deal with beverage alcohol. But I am not sure what he suggests is the appropriate solution. I think the solution is in this bill: a better form of regulation, a better form of control, a control that really will give us the ability to license establishments and control establishments to minimize abuse. He also was talking about notice and complimenting our friend the member for Beaches-Woodbine on her remarks.
I have a copy of the amendments that they propose to introduce. I hope we can debate those thoroughly when we go into committee of the whole House on the bill.
I would simply end by thanking them for participating in the debate and suggesting that we deal with this bill expeditiously so that we can pass it into law.
Motion agreed to.
Bill ordered for committee of the whole House.
VITAL STATISTICS AMENDMENT ACT, 1990 / LOI DE 1990 MODIFIANT LA LOI SUR LES STATISTIQUES DE L’ÉTAT CIVIL
Mr Sorbara moved second reading of Bill 150, An Act to amend the Vital Statistics Act.
M. Sorbara propose la deuxième lecture du projet de loi 150, Loi portant modification de la Loi sur les statistiques de l’état civil.
Hon Mr Sorbara: The members will recall that I introduced this bill some time ago in the House. I said at that time and I reiterate at this time that it is a rather technical bill but an important one none the less.
The changes that are provided for in Bill 150 will affect the way in which registration of births, marriages and deaths are recorded and stored in the province. With the new computer technology called auto-imaging, documents and other information will be rapidly transmitted and recorded and will be stored in machine-readable form. In addition, security safeguards will be vastly improved.
What this bill does -- these amendments to the Vital Statistics Act -- is provide us with the statutory authority to store records in this way and to transmit information in ways that are now available to us through modern technologies. The innovative technology that I have referred to will also allow the office of the registrar general to operate out of a head office in Thunder Bay. This is one of the moves that will be taking place over the next while in conjunction with the government’s northern relocation program.
I should point out as well that, of course, a walk-in centre will be located in Toronto using one set of the records that will be generated under the act under the responsibility of the registrar general.
Grâce à cette technologie de pointe, le bureau du régistraire général à Thunder Bay pourra partager un seul ensemble de données avec son bureau satellite à Toronto.
These amendments will also permit many of the registrar general’s historical documents to be transferred to the archives of Toronto, where services can be better provided to historians and genealogists.
Housekeeping amendments have been included to streamline the administration of the act.
The government believes that these changes will greatly improve the services of the registrar general and provide the people of Ontario with greater accessibility to Ontario’s historical records.
With that, I urge that all members support this legislation, which would allow the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations and the registrar general to proceed with their program of improving the technologies, relocating the offices and providing a better service to the people of the province.
Mr Sterling: In that my caucus colleagues have not had an opportunity to look at this piece of legislation, and due to the fact that we are expecting very shortly Mr Mandela to appear on the front steps of the Legislature, I move adjournment of the debate.
The House divided on Mr Sterling’s motion, which was agreed to on the following vote:
Ayes 22; nays 2.
House in committee of the whole.
LIQUOR LICENCE ACT, 1990
Consideration of Bill 175, An Act to revise the Liquor Licence Act and to amend the law relating to Liquor.
Hon Mr Sorbara: Mr Chairman, with your permission, I might just move down to the front of the chamber for consideration of the bill. There are some amendments that will be presented.
May I just point out that I think we have given notice to the opposition parties and the Chair that the government has amendments to section 7 and section 62. I understand that the opposition parties have a couple of amendments as well.
The Chair: From you I have an amendment proposed to subsection 7(l) -- 7(l)(a); 7(1)(b) -- and subsection 62(1). You have two, correct? Do your critics, Hansard and the interpreters all have copies?
Hon Mr Sorbara: I understand they do.
The Chair: Does the third party have any proposed amendments? No.
Minister, your official opposition critic says he does not have copies of your proposed amendments.
Hon Mr Sorbara: I will arrange that copies of those amendments be sent to him.
The Chair: The official opposition has two proposed amendments, correct? The member for Cambridge, do you have two proposed amendments?
Sections 1 to 6, inclusive, agreed to.
The Chair: Mr Sorbara moves that subsection 7(1) of the bill be struck out and the following substituted:
“7(1) Subject to subsection (2), the board shall give notice of an application for a licence to sell liquor to the residents of the municipality in which the premises are located by giving notice,
“(a) in the prescribed manner in a newspaper having general circulation in the municipality, and
“(b) in any other manner that is prescribed.”
Hon Mr Sorbara: This provision, if you compare it to the unamended section in the bill, points out more clearly the responsibility to advertise in a newspaper so as to give notice to as great a number of people as possible of an application as proposed.
Ms Bryden: I am glad the minister saw the light enough to recognize that at least it should be advertised in a newspaper in the community. In my amendment I suggest two newspapers, if there are two, in order to give the maximum coverage. Until he brought in this amendment, we did not even have a requirement of any advertisement in a newspaper. I think he is seeing the light rather late. It indicates that the whole method of notifying the public about an application is still very much left to the manner prescribed by the minister.
In his amendment there is no other requirement except advertising in a newspaper. It does not say anything about the length of notice he must give to people as to when the hearing will be and it does not say anything about the type of licence that will be in the advertisement. I think the amendment our party will be moving is much more full. So I would have to vote against this amendment because it is incomplete and our amendment goes much further.
Also, I would like to draw to the attention of the minister that if there had been this kind of notice, the very important issue that came up in my riding this spring about whether or not licensed premises should be allowed in a city park -- the residents would never have heard about that proposal at all. Presumably, also there would have been no interdiction against it, because at that time a city park was considered subject to the provincial act, since there was no specific definition of what a park was or whether liquor could be allowed in it. At the present time, the only liquor allowed in parks is under special legislation that covers Exhibition Stadium and some places on the island and things of that sort in Toronto. I do not know about elsewhere in the province.
The new act, under paragraph 34 on the regulations, mentions that this law will control the possession of liquor and the sale of liquor in provincial parks, the Niagara Parks Commission, the St Lawrence Parks Commission, the St Clair Parkway Commission and lands controlled by a conservation authority.
Ms Bryden: I am just pointing out that the adding of paragraph 34 under the regulations section would have ruled out the possibility of --
Mr Sterling: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I am having difficulty hearing over the bongo drums outside and was wondering if it might be advisable if we adjourned the House at this time.
Hon Mr Sorbara: In consideration of the visit of Nelson Mandela and the music outside, perhaps I might move that the committee rise and report.
On motion by Mr Sorbara, the committee of the whole House reported progress.
The House adjourned at 1717.