36th Parliament, 1st Session

L050 - Mon 1 Apr 1996 / Lun 1 Avr 1996






















































The House met at 1332.




Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): All of St Catharines, Ontario and Canada are hailing the victory of Marilyn Bodogh and her successful rink at the world curling championships at Copps Coliseum in Hamilton this past weekend.

When Marilyn and teammates Kim Gellard, Corie Beveridge and Jane Hooper Perroud took the provincial crown, the people of St Catharines, Toronto and Brampton were extremely happy and proud. When the Bodogh rink was the Canadian champion in Fort William, people from across Ontario were delighted. When the world women's final finished with the Bodogh rink claiming victory for Canada, the whole nation was ecstatic.

The St Catharines Curling Club on Grantham Avenue in St Catharines has its very own world champion in the person of Marilyn Bodogh who, 10 years after her world championship victory in 1986, has returned with new teammates to bring glory and positive attention to a community which has experienced its share of hard knocks over the past few years.

Perhaps the St Catharines Standard said it best in its editorial today, "Bodogh's second world title is a tribute to persistence and hard work in a sport which offers little in monetary reward and drew limited public attention until Bodogh, sister Christine Jurgenson and teammates Jan Augustyn and Kathy McEdwards shook up the staid Canadian women's curling world 10 years ago with their exuberance."

Congratulations to Marilyn and her new rink.


Mr Tony Silipo (Dovercourt): Last week I commented on the rush to the right that seems to be taking hold more and more within the Conservative caucus, and today we see another sign of that, as the Toronto Sun reports, "Young Tories Start Shift to Reform." I think the Conservatives are discovering that they are acting, at least here in Ontario, more and more like Reform and the only thing that's left for them is to change their name.

Mr Peter Kormos (Welland-Thorold): Reform-a-Tory.

Mr Silipo: That's right, to change their name. But this great move towards the right, this lean and mean attitude we are seeing, is not limited to what Mike Harris is doing here in Ontario, because today marks also the beginning of something called the Canada health and social transfer. And what do we see there? We see the Liberal government carrying on a great tradition started by the previous Mulroney regime, of cutting transfers to the provinces and saying they're balancing their budget simply by slashing funding for education, for social services, for health care. That, it seems, is becoming more the direction.

We saw it again the other day when the Minister of Education and Training announced in this House the absurd position of now asking property taxpayers in Ottawa and Toronto today, and maybe in Hamilton next year, to take money and send it back to him so he can pay for the 30% tax cut he wants to give to his rich friends. That is the future of --

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): The member's time has expired.


Mr Bert Johnson (Perth): I rise today to congratulate the members of Ontario Street Baptist Church in Stratford. During this time of fiscal restraint, the members of this fine Stratford congregation have rallied together to provide a lift, similar to an elevator, for handicapped members of the church who found climbing the stairs difficult, if not prohibitive.

The lift was originally estimated to cost in the range of $75,000, but thanks to various members of the congregation who donated a total of approximately 800 hours of labour, the cost was kept down significantly to a total of $55,000.

This is an excellent example of how the people of Perth work together to provide within their communities. All the money was raised in just under two years, through donations and the church's annual rummage sales. No government money was used. As a matter of fact, the congregation even turned down an available provincial grant, preferring to raise the money itself.

Once again I stand in the House to applaud yet another example of how the people of the great riding of Perth are working together to improve Ontario.


Mr Dominic Agostino (Hamilton East): I rise to speak on the impact of the education cuts on school boards in Hamilton and Hamilton-Wentworth.

We all remember the promise made in the Common Sense Revolution by Mike Harris that "Classroom funding will be guaranteed." The PC response to an ARCH TYPE magazine questionnaire in 1995 was, "We have stated that any funding cuts to education will not come from the classroom." That is clearly another broken promise, another betrayal.

The Harris government's cuts will jeopardize Hamilton schools and the quality of education in Hamilton schools. It's going to jeopardize our children's future and represents clearly another broken promise. Mike Harris is stealing our children's future to fund a tax cut for the rich across Ontario.

The Premier was clear when he promised that classroom funding would be guaranteed. Well, he can tell that to the people of Hamilton-Wentworth, who saw a cut of $25.4 million in our educational system, a layoff of well over 1,000 employees and over 500 teachers in Hamilton-Wentworth. This includes, in the Hamilton board alone, 228 elementary teachers and 209 secondary teachers. This is not supposed to impact on the classroom?

This has all been done to finance a tax cut for their wealthy friends. This government is willing to sacrifice our children's education, to sacrifice the future of education in Ontario to give their rich friends across this province a tax break. I hope they're ashamed of themselves. They're going to pay the price for this in four years.


Mr Peter Kormos (Welland-Thorold): Two statements, and I trust Hansard's going to document them appropriately.

First, congratulations to the women and men of OPSEU, who won, who won handily. When they win, the people of Ontario win. Thanks and gratitude to them.

Second in the same statement, congratulations to the Loblaws Five, all members of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty who tried to utilize the advice of the Minister of Community and Social Services to haggle with their greengrocer. And what happened? They got busted and thrown into the slammer. Their charges were stayed today. Justice prevailed.


I was honoured yesterday to meet with the Slovak Minister of Environment, Jozef Zlocha. Jozef Zlocha was travelling throughout Canada, along with a contingent of leading members of the Slovak Republic and leading business people, investigating environmental alternatives and indeed prepared to share them with us. Branislav Galat, who is the president of the Canadian Slovak League, Branch 23, arranged for them to be hosted in Welland. I was proud to attend and speak with Mr Zlocha and his associates about some very common issues.

It's time, though, to point out that eastern Europe is eager to initiate trade with Ontario. I submit to you that this government would be well directed if they were to consider Bratislava, for instance, as a location for an Ontario trade location so that we could initiate this important and productive process.


Mr Wayne Wettlaufer (Kitchener): I'd like to draw your attention to the gallery, to a young lady by the name of Christine Ichim. It is with great pride that I stand here to acknowledge a courageous young lady from Kitchener. She is 18 years old, but with a maturity well beyond her years. She has decided to spend her summer in-line skating across Canada to raise $5 million for leukaemia research.

Christine's mother has been battling leukaemia for eight years, and Christine, along with her brother Thomas, has been very active in dealing with the situation head on. Their concern for their mother was the motivation behind a gold medal performance at a 1994 Canada-wide science fair. Now their attention has been focused on a 104-day in-line skate across the country.

Christine, like Terry Fox and Rick Hansen before her, is driven by a certain vision and possesses the determination to realize that vision. These are precisely the qualities that make her a role model for others and this is why she deserves our support.

I know I join all members of the Legislature in wishing Christine the best of luck this summer and hope that her dream becomes a reality, both for her mother and for all those afflicted by this illness.


Mrs Sandra Pupatello (Windsor-Sandwich): Today is the day Conservatives celebrate. Today's is April Fool's Day, and fooling people is something the Conservatives do very well. They fooled people during the election when they said it was possible to cut $5 billion, balance the budget and not touch one penny from health care, classroom education or law enforcement, and they are still trying to fool people today.

Let's take the finance minister, for example. He thinks he can fool people into believing his $5-billion tax cut has nothing to do with the daily flood of pink slips being issued across this province. Let me tell you something, Mr Speaker: When the finance minister said, "We are not laying off thousands of people to pay for a tax cut," he didn't fool anybody.

He didn't fool the 200 people losing their jobs at the Peel Memorial Hospital; he didn't fool the 559 people, mostly teachers, losing their jobs at the Lincoln and Niagara South school boards; he didn't fool the 418 people, again mostly teachers, receiving layoff notices from the York Region Catholic school board; and he certainly didn't fool the up to 27,000 public servants whom the Conservatives are planning to lay off.

Unfortunately, the pain and hardship caused by this government is not practical, it is no joke and it begs the question, who are the real fools in all this?


Mr Howard Hampton (Rainy River): The Dryden Board of Education is one of the revenue-poor boards of education in the province. This past week it received news that the Harris Conservative government was cutting its budget by $1.25 million in 1996, with further reductions in 1997. The Harris Conservative government says, "These cuts won't affect students and won't affect classrooms."

But let's look at what is being cut: the full budget allocation for elementary and secondary sports activities; the budget allocation for the cultural events that enrich daily student life; cutting the budget for grades 7 and 8 technology and design programs; doing away with library technician programs, the very people who help children develop their interest in reading and create a reading environment in our schools.

What does this say about this government? It says very plainly: This government doesn't understand that programs like cultural activities, like the reading program, like the technology program, like sports and athletic events make schools alive. They make schools interesting places for children; they make the school something that a child looks forward to every day and wants to attend. They broaden the school experience so that all children find something in school and all children are able to achieve. What is happening is that those very programs that make schools interesting for children are disappearing from our schools, and our children will indeed be affected.


Mr Douglas B. Ford (Etobicoke-Humber): Last week I had the pleasure of visiting an Etobicoke-based business that is an excellent example of a company thriving in the current economy. The proprietor is Soheil Mosun and his company, Soheil Mosun Ltd, manufactures bronze and steel architectural products for commercial buildings around the world. I was given a tour of their impressive facility.

The company's finely crafted work has been in shrines and office towers around the world, but they also have the honour of supplying the Genie, Gemini and MuchMusic video awards to outstanding Canadian artists. In addition, the company has made a significant contribution to the wellbeing of another national icon. Soheil Mosun Ltd is producing bronze frames that will be located on the observation deck of the Peace Tower in Ottawa, which is currently being renovated.

Not surprisingly, the company recognizes that the opportunities are not limited to our nation's geography. Soheil Mosun himself recently accompanied the Premier on a Team Canada trip to Asia, where the company signed a joint agreement to share its expertise in Malaysia. People in the Far East now will have the pleasure of witnessing the products for which Soheil Mosun Ltd has become respected.

I am pleased to speak of Soheil Mosun Ltd and the successes it has achieved. I am confident there will be other similar success stories as this government continues to get Ontario back into shape.



Hon David H. Tsubouchi (Minister of Community and Social Services): I want to inform the members of the Legislature of another step taken by this government to protect Ontario's welfare system for those most in need. I would like to announce to the House a joint initiative with the federal Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Lucienne Robillard. This initiative will reform Canada's family sponsorship program.

As members of this House will know, under Canada's family class immigration program, residents are able to sponsor family members who wish to immigrate to Canada. Individuals who agree to sponsor family members are financially responsible for them. When a sponsorship breaks down, family members are forced to rely on the province's welfare system. An estimated 30,000 sponsored immigrants are relying on social assistance in Ontario today.

Working with the federal government, we have achieved an agreement on a regulation change that will result in sponsors being held more responsible and more accountable. It will also provide Ontario with another tool to protect the welfare system.

Our government believes sponsors must live up to their obligations. As a result of these changes, the federal government will be able to go to court and seek to recover welfare payments on behalf of the province. Some cases may not be appropriate for legal action, such as abusive relationships. People who really need our help will not be affected by these changes.

Our government is committed to protecting the welfare system for those who truly need it. This initiative is just one more example of our ongoing efforts to keep that commitment.


Hon Ernie L. Eves (Deputy Premier, Minister of Finance and Government House Leader): I rise today to table information made public for the first time under the Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act. This marks a major step forward in improving the openness and accountability of the provincial government and the organizations it funds.

This government promised in the Common Sense Revolution plan that we would give taxpayers the information they are entitled to about compensation of the most senior people in the public sector.

The Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act, also referred to as the sunshine law because of the light it casts on information that was previously shrouded in unnecessary secrecy, was one of our priorities as a new government. Under this legislation, public sector organizations and government ministries must, by March 31 of each year, disclose the names, positions and compensation paid to employees whose salary was $100,000 or more in the previous calendar year. By setting a threshold of $100,000 in salary for public disclosure, the legislation parallels similar requirements in the private sector.


This gives a much better picture of how an organization's priorities and performance, and the responsibilities of a position, stack up against compensation levels for senior people. It returns meaning to the word "public" in public sector salaries. Greater accountability in public sector salary disclosure is also in line with the recommendations of Ontario's Information and Privacy Commissioner.

Organizations subject to the legislation include municipalities, school boards, hospitals, colleges and universities, all ministries of the Ontario government, the Legislative Assembly, provincial crown corporations and agencies such as Ontario Hydro, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario and the Workers' Compensation Board. It applies to any organization that receives transfer payments from the province of at least $1 million, or 10% of its gross revenues if that amount is $120,000 or more on an annualized basis.

Today, the information on compensation for the 1995 calendar year is being made available. In the spirit of openness and accountability that underlies the legislation, this information is being made available today to the Legislature and to the public. The data being released today include information on the health, municipal and educational sectors, as well as all government ministries and agencies.

Members will note that the document released today does not include the salaries of any MPPs or ministers, even though members of the assembly are subject to the legislation. This is because in 1995 no member of the House received a salary of $100,000 or more.

The reason for this is that the numbers reported today are taken from T4 records prepared for Revenue Canada and do not include the hidden tax-free allowances that members receive. Taking into account the tax-free allowances, the pension plan and other benefits, the Premier's total compensation is estimated to be the equivalent of $166,443, according to the Brown commission, which recently prepared a report on MPP compensation entitled Setting the Benchmark. On the same basis, the compensation of a minister of the crown was estimated to be the equivalent of $132,341, and a member's was the equivalent of $93,389.

Members are aware that last week the Legislature passed a bill that freezes members' indemnities and allowances at levels in place on March 31 of this year, the same levels they have been at since 1993. This bill prevented reinstatement of the 5.5% by which allowances and indemnities had been reduced because of the social contract, which expires today.

Individuals in all segments of society are doing their part to address the province's fiscal situation. We believe members have a responsibility as well. To that end, we are committed to ending the gold-plated pension plan and tax-free allowances for members, and that is exactly what we will be doing in the very near future.

We have made a commitment to the people of Ontario to take a more open and accountable approach to government, and this is just another step in the process of being more responsible to all Ontarians.


Hon David Johnson (Chair of the Management Board of Cabinet): I am pleased to be able to report to the House that the public service strike is over and that the government was able to end the strike through the free collective bargaining process.

Yesterday, both the union and the government ratified a new collective agreement, the first ever negotiated in a right-to-strike environment in the Ontario public service. The agreement is fair and reasonable to both the members of OPSEU and the taxpayers of Ontario, who have to pay the bills.

We expect a speedy reintegration of employees into the workplace, both those who exercised their right to come to work and those who exercised their right to strike. However, I will re-emphasize that this government will not tolerate under any circumstances harassment or intimidation of employees who exercised their right to come to work.

When the strike started more than one month ago, the government had a fair and reasonable offer on the table which would have cost between $150 million to $200 million to implement, while the union was demanding a contract which would have cost the taxpayers of Ontario more than $1.5 billion. I'm happy to report that the government was able to keep the cost of the final agreement well within the $150-million to $200-million range, making the taxpayers of Ontario the big winners today.


The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): The member for Welland-Thorold is out of order.

Hon David Johnson: Moreover, the contract we negotiated provides the government with the wage stability and the management flexibility it needs to implement its restructuring agenda in a cost-effective and timely manner.

Some of the key features of the package include:

There will be no increase in base wage rates for the term of the contract through to December 31, 1998.

There is no cost-of-living clause.

The job offer guarantee has been eliminated.

More restricted bumping rights are in force. Before there were unlimited bumping right provisions; now there are only three bumps allowed. Previously the bump could be exercised at the end of the notice period; now it will have to be exercised in the first two weeks of the notice period.

Notice periods have been reduced from up to 11 months to a standard of six months.

Also, despite speculation to the contrary, the contract does not include a successor rights provision. Rather, it commits the employer to make a reasonable effort to ensure that the employee follows the job in the case where work done by the public sector is taken over by a new employer.

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate members of the government's negotiating team, in particular Mr Angelo Pesce, Mr Kevin Wilson and Mr Doug Gray, who did a superb job and achieved a very positive result for both the employer and the people of this province.

Also, I must, on behalf of the government, thank the public service managers, the thousands of people who exercised their right to work and the members of the other OPS unions for their dedication and efforts during the past five weeks. While it was not business as usual, they were able to keep the province running and working.

Now that the strike is behind us, the government will move quickly to implement its commitment to restructure the public service and to deliver better services at lower costs. It is my hope and belief that all our employees will participate in that effort and that all employees will, as they have in the past, place first priority on serving the people of Ontario.


Mr Dominic Agostino (Hamilton East): I guess what the minister announced today is the reannouncement of a November 11 announcement regarding the crackdown on immigration fraud and to crack down on people who don't live up to those commitments. What the minister hasn't spoken about today of course, though, has been the total mismanagement of the welfare system during the strike by this government, a strike that was forced by the government, a strike that the government brought on the people of Ontario and, being ill prepared for it, caused total chaos in the social services system.

This government allowed thousands of cheques to go out to people who should not have received them. This government allowed thousands of cheques to go out to people who were being investigated for fraud. This government allowed cheques to go out to people who were in jail during the strike, because of its mismanagement. This government allowed deadbeat dads to get away with payments during the strike. This government allowed STEP, the supports to employment program, to fall into total chaos during the strike so people who were working often received gross underpayments or, in some cases where people had stopped working, gross overpayments by this government.

These were the initiatives that this government was not prepared to undertake and these were the glaring weaknesses in a government that forced a strike upon the people of Ontario and then ensured that people on welfare who should not have received cheques continued to receive them despite all its talk about welfare fraud. This is the government that has not moved on mandatory direct deposits, as we urged them to, has not allowed government access to income tax information and some of the real initiatives that will help crack down on welfare.

What I say to the minister and to this government is, if you want to take care of welfare problems in Ontario, do what you promised to do: Create the jobs so these people can get off welfare and get into the workforce.



Mr Gerry Phillips (Scarborough-Agincourt): We in the Liberal caucus welcome the Minister of Finance's tabling of the salary information. It is a useful process for the province. It's fair to say that in every case there is a public body that has set these salaries. I think the public will find it helpful to know the salaries and, where they may have some problems with it, to discuss that with the public body. So we certainly find that a useful process.

I wanted to say, though, that I find it a bit of a double standard when the government talks about a sunshine law, it talks about making the finances of this province more open and accountable, and this is the same government that, the public should be aware, refused to table a budget -- the first time in the history of the province of Ontario we have not had a budget tabled in this Legislature. It is the same government that has given private, confidential information to credit rating agencies and refused to give that information publicly. It is the same government that, in what we call pre-budget hearings, refused to give us information that had been provided to every single pre-budget hearing for the last 15 years. So I find that we have a double standard here. You want a sunshine law, you want more open and accountable finances, and we have never run into a government more secretive, more closed about the legitimate information the public deserves.

I think it's time you looked in the mirror and passed a sunshine law that required you to provide the necessary data for the public of Ontario to understand where you are in the finances of the province.


Mr Joseph Cordiano (Lawrence): We are all glad, of course, to see that the government was able to end the strike through the free collective bargaining process, but let's be very clear: This government intentionally prolonged the strike for its own political ends. That is very clear to the people of this province. Let's also be clear, I might add, that this government failed in its objectives to break the union -- miserably failed. As well, this strike demonstrated the absolute futility of your ideologically driven feeding frenzy to try and divide and conquer the people of this province. The people of this province will not be divided; they will not be conquered by your efforts at doing so. It's very clear that the people of this province have a great deal more to say to this government about its efforts to divide, its efforts to pit one group against another. They will not allow for that.

It is very clear to the people of this province as well that this government's every effort to continue to practise those kinds of politics will be proved to be futile in the future. Time and again the people have spoken very clearly. This government has to get on with its economic agenda to make it meaningful, to create jobs, to bring people together in this province, not to pit them one against the other, to divide and conquer. It is very clear the people reject that.


Mr David S. Cooke (Windsor-Riverside): Obviously, our caucus supports the agreement that has been achieved between the province and the federal government with respect to sponsorships. This is something that was well under way in the negotiations when the current government took office. But rather than talking about the whole concept of fraud, I would like to ask the minister when he is going to get around to doing something in a positive way about the social assistance system in this province.

The only thing this government has done to date is to attack the poorest people in this province. Whether it's the rate cuts that were announced shortly after this government took office, whether it's the so-called eligibility restrictions that the government has put in place, whether it's the attacks on the disabled -- and we'll hear more about that soon from this government -- whether it's the Ontario drug benefit copayments and the attack on welfare recipients under that program, or whether it's the housing cuts, everything this government has done and everything this minister has done is to say that welfare recipients are lazy and that they should be attacked.

We know that's not true. We know that the majority of people on social assistance in this province are children. They need the assistance of this government. Any money that is spent is an investment in the future. Our caucus continues to believe that this government is shameful in the way it's attacking the poorest citizens and the poorest children in this province.


Mr Tony Martin (Sault Ste Marie): In response to the statement by the Chair of Management Board, I'd like to say a couple of things: Number one, I'd like to offer my congratulations to OPSEU; number two, I'd warn the general public out there not to get too complacent. The onslaught has just begun.

Leah and all the members of OPSEU, you did good. You got in the ring with Captain America and you went the distance. You went toe to toe with the bully and you scored a victory for all of us, particularly for the labour movement. This was not Ronald Reagan and the air traffic controllers. You won. You were solid, you were focused and you won, and it was a win for all those men and women out there who will be empowered by your show of resolve and the gains you made.

Many thought you couldn't do it, you wouldn't last, but you did. And so the poor and women and children and the disabled and health care workers and social workers, citizens across this province, today feel more empowered, feel less overwhelmed and despairing than they did, and we thank you for that.

It is important to note, however, that this is just the beginning. The onslaught on jobs and services continues, and we must be vigilant. We must continue to challenge and to resist.

I remind the government of the 20,000 people who showed up in London on the coldest day of the winter, the 50,000 who gathered at Queen's Park in January and the up to 120,000 who gathered in Hamilton. The snowball is rolling. We do not agree with your slashing jobs and services to give the rich a tax break.

Who will ever forget the images of the 1996 OPSEU strike? Secretaries, social workers, snowplow operators, forestry technicians surrounding government buildings; our friends and neighbours gathered around bonfires in barrels singing and huddling in their parkas to keep warm; and the storm troopers, the bloody confrontations and the steely resolve, and all for the sake of justice and fairness. Just by being there, OPSEU, by going the distance, by continually acting in good faith you set an example, you gained for yourself and you gave all of us a new respect for compassion and caring.

It's okay, you said, to care about people and to put people first, and you won for us the right to do that too.


The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): Order. The member for London North is out of order.



Mrs Lyn McLeod (Leader of the Opposition): In the absence of the Solicitor General, my first question is for the Deputy Premier. Minister, there were some very disturbing revelations made in the news media this weekend about the police handling of the situation at Ipperwash Provincial Park last September 6, which as we all know sadly resulted in a man's death.

The chief superintendent of the OPP now acknowledges that the police made a conscious decision to use massive force to confront an unarmed group of people at Ipperwash, and this force included the use of snipers and the OPP riot squad.

This is disturbing in part because this new information appears to contradict statements that were put out both by the OPP and by the government at the time of the shooting occurrence. The Premier's press secretary has said that there were ongoing meetings among government officials here at Queen's Park to discuss the situation at Ipperwash prior to this massive use of force.

I ask you, Deputy Premier, if you can tell us who in the government was participating in those meetings, who in the government was then aware of the decision, the deliberate decision, to use massive force at Ipperwash, and did your government concur with that decision?

Hon Ernie L. Eves (Deputy Premier, Minister of Finance and Government House Leader): I have absolutely no knowledge of these events, and I would refer this question, in the absence of the Solicitor General, to the Attorney General.

Hon Charles Harnick (Attorney General, minister responsible for native affairs): I would like to advise this House that the issue that the Leader of the Opposition brings up today is an issue that is presently being investigated by the special investigations unit. As well, I would like to advise the Leader of the Opposition that there is a civil action pending, and as well, there have been criminal charges that have been laid as a result of this. So any comment would be inappropriate at this time.

I also point out to the Leader of the Opposition that I believe it's Chief Superintendent Coles, who was in charge of the southwest region of the Ontario Provincial Police, indicates quite simply this was a police matter, not a political matter, and there was no political interference.


Mrs McLeod: With all due respect to the Attorney General, first of all, you raise an issue I am not raising today. I believe my issue is a separate issue and I believe it deserves a direct response from you. I'm well aware that the special investigations unit is investigating the circumstances surrounding the death and will render an opinion in that regard fairly shortly.

The issue I'm raising is the issue of a deliberate decision to use force to confront the people who were occupying Ipperwash Provincial Park. I'm also aware of what was said, that it was a police action, not a political action. My question related to the fact that there were meetings being held, that it was a tense situation, that the Premier was being questioned daily. We are given to believe he was being advised, on a regular basis, of actions being taken. It seems reasonable to suppose he was advised of this decision to take action and therefore would have been in a position to either concur or not concur, or to ask his Solicitor General to investigate it.

I think they are legitimate questions, Minister. I can tell you that I believe they are also legitimate in the context of the decisions that were made by your government in response to our concerns with the use of this particular unit in dealing with the picketers outside the Legislature. I am truly concerned about what appears to be a pattern in the use of this particular OPP unit, first at Ipperwash and then at the Legislature, when in both cases there appears to have been a decision to use force out of all proportion to the situation.

So I ask you, Minister, to deal with the issue I raise today, which is not the investigation being carried out by the special investigations unit, but given the new information from the chief superintendent of the OPP, the deliberate decision to use force in a confrontation, would you not agree that the actions of the police at Ipperwash should be examined as part of the public inquiry into the OPP's conduct on March 19?

Hon Mr Harnick: I can only say that any political interference in the operations of the OPP would be highly inappropriate. There was no political interference. The police made decisions as a police force and acted in accordance with the decisions they made, and that is very clear.

Mrs McLeod: I say again, my question was about awareness on the part of the Premier and members of the government. While the Attorney General may wish to dismiss this as a question about political interference, I have to remind him that the Solicitor General is responsible for the Ontario Provincial Police. You simply cannot avoid that reality. That means the Solicitor General and the Premier are undoubtedly privy to information and could be in a position of concurring with this decision or questioning it before it occurred.

I also want to remind you, Minister, that we have the OPP this weekend acknowledging that it fully intended to use force to confront, and that's the word that was used, "confront," an unarmed group of people at Ipperwash. As a result of a confrontation then that was deliberately sought, we've seen the outcome, unfortunately, of someone being killed.

I do understand that's being investigated by the special investigations unit, but Minister, we are in agreement that there will be a public inquiry to look at the use of the OPP squad, what we believe to be excessive force, on March 19. I believe the decision to use this unit in Ipperwash, questions about the way in which they're deployed, the way in which this unit is trained, the instructions they're given to deal with these very sensitive situations, are a legitimate part of the public inquiry, whether it is dealing with Ipperwash or March 19. I have to ask you why the government is willing to look at the actions of the OPP riot squad here in Toronto but appears to be unwilling to look at the actions of that same squad in the Ipperwash situation.

Hon Mr Harnick: I think the situations are very different. Again I reiterate that we already have criminal charges laid surrounding the Ipperwash situation. We also have an investigation ongoing by the special investigations unit. Finally, we have a civil action for which we have received notice, and that in and of itself distinguishes the situation as between Ipperwash and the other issue to which the Leader of the Opposition refers.

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): New question, the leader of the official opposition.

Mrs McLeod: I will place a new question, although sadly, I believe this is an issue the government will not be able to avoid so easily.


Mrs Lyn McLeod (Leader of the Opposition): I will place my second question to the Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism. This year, once again, we are seeing young people in this province facing staggering levels of unemployment. In fact, most people would agree that close to 30% of our young people are unemployed and that unemployment -- and this is alarming, Minister -- among our college and university graduates may be higher than it has ever been.

We know that those same university and college students are starting to write final exams. They're already in the full swing of searching for jobs. They're hoping to find a summer job or to find their first job and yet we've had absolutely no announcement from your government as to any kind of jobs programs to help them.

I ask you today, Minister, do you have any plans to introduce a program that will help young people? Will you provide any hope that your government is prepared to help them even a little?

Hon William Saunderson (Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism): To the Leader of the Opposition, I'd like to correct one statement that you made. The youth unemployment figure in Ontario is not 30%, as you said; it is 16%. I know that's high, but it's wrong and I think you should check your figures.

Also, our government is concerned about employment for young people and I'm very happy, as we have mentioned in the last week or so, that the statistics of employment in February were 31,000 new jobs created, which are the most jobs created in the month of February since 1981. This carries over to jobs for young people as well. As far as I'm concerned, our policies will benefit our young people, and I'm sure that if the Leader of the Opposition would look and consider, she'd feel the same.

Mrs McLeod: Since the minister sees fit to correct my statements, let me correct the minister's statements. First of all, those are not employment statistics you just offered to this House, Minister; those were jobs numbers. The employment statistics will show you that there were 7,000 more people not working last month. That means the unemployment levels were slightly higher, Minister, not slightly lower, and higher by some 7,000 additional people. That's why your statistics about the 16% unemployment level for young people are different from the real unemployment level for young people, because the real unemployment level, people will agree, is closer to 30%. Because young people don't expect to find a job, they're not out there looking for jobs. The 16% is only those people who are out there day after day trying to find employment and not finding employment, and that's why we're concerned and that's why we will keep raising this question.

Last week, Minister, when my critic raised the question with you, you said that freezing the minimum wage was your answer for job creation programs for young people. Well, I have to suggest to you again, to correct your statement of last week, that that is not a jobs program. You suggested to us last week that people like the northern Ontario tourist outfitters welcomed the minimum wage freeze, and I'm sure they did. But they didn't give you any indication that they're going to create more jobs as a result of it. In fact, our critic, since you made that statement, has asked many people whether or not the freeze on minimum wage is going to lead to new jobs being created. So far, nobody's been able to say it will.

So I ask you, Minister, has anyone told you that they're actually going to hire more young people as a result of your wage freeze? Do you have any evidence at all that your wage freeze is going to cause employers to hire more people this summer? If you have no evidence that it will, what other steps are you prepared to take to make sure there is some opportunity, some help for young people facing record levels of unemployment?

Hon Mr Saunderson: Again to the Leader of the Opposition, I'd like to tell her that I have been told that the freezing of the minimum wage is very helpful to the small business people whom you referred to.

Mrs Sandra Pupatello (Windsor-Sandwich): We're talking about youth employment.

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): The member for Windsor-Sandwich.

Hon Mr Saunderson: However, if I can proceed here, I would like to let you know that the ventures program is being reviewed, as part of government reviews being made for all programs, and I'm sure that we will be able to make an announcement in the near future that will be very helpful to students.

Mrs McLeod: If we can move the minister away from his wishful thinking that freezing the minimum wage is magically going to lead to jobs, he does begin to get at the nub of the question, which is rumours that we hear about this review of the government's job programs for students. Obviously, we're all anxious about where that review is going to lead. There are rumours that you might even be thinking about cutting the program in order to find, once again, dollars for your tax cut.

Minister, we've heard you say and we've heard your Premier say that you do not believe in government directly creating jobs or funding jobs. But surely you believe that young people who are facing record unemployment levels deserve some assistance in trying to get a summer job so they can go back to school or a first job so they can get some experience in the workplace.


University and college students are going to be graduating in a matter of weeks. They are going to be in the job force. They're going to be adding to those unemployment numbers that you see. We need to know how long they will have to wait before you announce what you're prepared to do to help. Tell us what the status is of your programs. When will you announce what you're going to do, or are you simply going to stand by and let the months go on and the unemployment numbers increase while you try to decide whether you're prepared to help at all?

Hon Mr Saunderson: I'm very happy to respond again to the Leader of the Opposition. We have not been standing by over these last few months; we have been making a number of changes in this province. We have changed the labour legislation. We have frozen hydro rates. We are reducing the workers' compensation rates.

Mr Mike Colle (Oakwood): What are you doing about jobs?

The Speaker: Order.

Hon Mr Saunderson: We are trying, and are succeeding, in creating a climate that says Ontario is open for business, and that will create jobs for all levels of people.

I also might say that the personal tax rate cut will be a big boost for the students. I understand that you must have a hard time understanding this, because you did not appreciate this during the campaign.

Mr Colle: Oh, that's going to help the kids.

The Speaker: The member for Oakwood is out of order.

Hon Mr Saunderson: We were elected on a program which I have just outlined, in part, to you. Now, you just sit back and watch how it works.

The Speaker: New question, the leader of the third party.

Mr Bud Wildman (Algoma): I guess the students who are finishing classes now and will be out of school in a couple of weeks can sit back and watch while this government figures it out. They won't have any work this summer though, unfortunately.


Mr Bud Wildman (Algoma): I'd like to return to the minister responsible for native affairs, as it relates to the Ipperwash matter. I recognize that the minister has said that he cannot or will not respond in relation to issues that are perhaps under investigation by the SIU, so I would ask about a matter that does not relate to that but is of significant importance.

As the minister knows, we're into spring. The camping season will begin very soon. This is not a question for the Minister of Natural Resources, I believe; it is for the minister responsible for native affairs. He will remember that in the closing time of that confrontation at Ipperwash Provincial Park, the federal minister responsible for Indian affairs provided evidence dated 1937 from the then assistant deputy minister of lands and forests indicating that the issue around burial grounds at Ipperwash Provincial Park would be dealt with according to the wishes of the Indians.

Have the minister and his staff investigated that evidence? If so, what conclusions has he come to with regard to the assertion by the aboriginal people that there is indeed a burial ground at the park? What is he prepared to do to try to resolve this matter so it does not become a confrontation again this spring?

Hon Charles Harnick (Attorney General, minister responsible for native affairs): There has been no formal claim made by anyone pertaining to the issue of some portion of the Ipperwash park containing a burial ground. We have been very clear that if that is the case, we would do whatever we have to do to ensure that this particular area is respected. That has been made clear.

The other thing I say to the interim leader of the third party is that the property that makes up the Ipperwash Provincial Park was conveyed to the province of Ontario after it had been owned by the federal government. The federal government conveyed that property first to an individual, I believe, and then from that individual to the province of Ontario, and they conveyed that property on the basis of good title being conveyed. As I indicate to the interim leader, if there is a burial ground there, the province is prepared to do everything necessary to respect that burial ground.

Mr Wildman: From the minister's comments, it appears that in six months, since this confrontation took place and since the federal authorities provided the evidence from 1937, this minister hasn't done anything with regard to determining whether or not the matter is substantial, whether or not there is indeed a burial ground in the park. How can it be that in six months after this confrontation, you stand here in this House saying there has been no formal claim? This is an issue that has been ongoing since the 1930s and certainly since the 1940s. There have been issues raised with the provincial authorities going back to at least the 1970s.

Do you agree there is evidence that there is a burial ground in the park or not? If you do agree, then what are you prepared to do to protect that ground and avoid another confrontation this spring?

Hon Mr Harnick: I say to the interim leader that if this was going on through the 1930s and 1940s and 1970s, he had ample opportunity at a time when the park wasn't occupied to make a determination and to find out exactly what the status of that property is. Unfortunately, it demands an onsite inspection and investigation. We have not had an opportunity to do that, and the interim leader knows full well that you can't look in a book or on a map and make that determination. If that's the way he prefaces the question, it begs the answer of why he didn't do it when he was the minister for so many years.

Mr Wildman: The minister demonstrates a complete misunderstanding of the events. The evidence wasn't provided to the provincial government until 1995, by the minister responsible at the federal level, after this confrontation, not before -- not before the change of government. It was when you were in government that the evidence, the letter dated August 19, 1937, from the Deputy Minister of Lands and Forests came to light. The demands were there. A claim on the side of the aboriginals was there, but there was not conforming evidence from the provincial government.

The Premier said in a press release dated September 12, 1995: "Our government is committed to restoring hope, economic opportunity and jobs for the first nations people of Ontario. The minister responsible for native affairs and his officials will continue to work with first nations to address these issues."

That was issued by the Premier at the time of the confrontation at Ipperwash. What have you done in the last six months to resolve this matter so that it is not going to become another confrontation this spring when the camping season starts?

Hon Mr Harnick: We certainly do not want this to become the focal point of another confrontation, but the member knows full well that the information he has does not indicate a location of the burial ground. He also knows full well that it involves an onsite investigation, which he knows full well has not been able to take place as a result of (a) the occupation and (b) the winter.



Mr Howard Hampton (Rainy River): My question is to the Minister of Community and Social Services. Minister, we understand that you spent last Friday in a cabinet meeting getting approval for more cutbacks in your ministry, in this case more cutbacks to the most vulnerable people. The Minister of Finance promised last November in his economic statement that genuine need will be met with compassion and support.

Can you tell us, where is the compassion and support in taking from children the back-to-school and winter clothing allowances, in taking away between $174 and $233 a year from every school-aged child who is dependent on social assistance? Where is the compassion in that, Minister?

Hon David H. Tsubouchi (Minister of Community and Social Services): Obviously the member is speculating, and I'm not going to respond to a speculative question like that.

Mr Hampton: If it ain't so, the minister could always say no. Let me try again with the minister who claims to know nothing. We know you are planning to take $70 million away from disabled people by changing the definition of "disabled." Can you tell us how denying income support to these disabled people, to these people who have the most difficult circumstances in life -- can you tell us how taking $70 million away from disabled people means you're showing compassion and support?

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: Along with the speculation this member is doing, he's also indicating he has a few claims. I would suggest that the member who's asking the question is the one who probably doesn't have an idea of what he's speaking about in this particular case.

We have been working with the disabled community over the past several months and we have a commitment to work with the disabled community into the future. Clearly, we're trying to make the system better so we can work with the communities and provide them with the services they truly need. The difficulty we've had -- I know this House has heard this several times, but this is quite a mess we've inherited and we're still trying to clean this up.

The disabled community has indicated -- and not only the disabled community, because the member speculated about another area as well. For example, Mary McConville, the executive director of the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies, has indicated in the past that it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that there are probably better ways to spend your money and more effective ways to deliver your service. The prior government didn't pay attention to this and now we have the responsibility to make sure the system is better.

Mr Hampton: Unless I'm mistaken, the minister over there has been the Minister of Community and Social Services since late in June. It's about time he takes some responsibility instead of standing up and saying, "I don't know, and even if I do know, it's not my responsibility." Are you the Minister of Community and Social Services or not?

My final supplementary: We have heard that one of the other areas to be cut is help for developmentally handicapped people in Ontario, that you intend to cut $30 million from that budget. Are you simply going to write off developmentally delayed and handicapped children in this province? Is that your strategy? If you look at the numbers, cutting $30 million means there is virtually nothing left. What are you doing?

Hon Mr Tsubouchi: Yes, I am the Minister of Community and Social Services. It's taken you quite a long time to notice that, but thank you very much for that confirmation.

Clearly, the member didn't hear what I said prior to answering his specific question. We are working with the disabled community. I don't know what part of that he doesn't understand. We're trying to work with the caregivers of this province, the families affected. They're having an opportunity to deal with us and work with policy. This is something the prior government never did. They didn't offer the ability for people to come forward and have real input in terms of the policies affecting the disabled community. We're doing this. We're consulting with them and we're working with them. I don't know how much those members don't understand about this process, because this is a government that's willing to consult with people.


Mr Mike Colle (Oakwood): A question to the Minister of Education.


The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): Order. Who's your question to, sir?

Mr Colle: The Minister of Education. Minister, how can you justify to the hard-pressed property taxpayers of Metropolitan Toronto, who get no provincial funding for education, the fact that you are now going to claw back from local property taxes that are intended for local schools and grab that money for the provincial treasury? Is this not just plain taxation without representation? Is this not just a plain new surtax on the taxpayers of Metropolitan Toronto to pay for your tax cut for the wealthy?

Hon John Snobelen (Minister of Education and Training): In response to your question, no. As you know, we intend to table legislation that will allow school boards that are in a negative grant position to participate in the fairness and equity of financing the education of young people across this province, because this government believes that every board in this province should participate actively in reducing the money that is spent outside of the classroom in our education system across the province. That is the requirement that this government will have and will do so with negotiations with all school boards across the province.

Mr Colle: I guess this is like a deal that you can't refuse. You know, do you have much choice?

Isn't it bad enough that the property tax base in Metro is haemorrhaging -- in fact last year it haemorrhaged by $110 million as a result of assessment appeals -- and now you introduce this new surtax that could be up to $60 million on the people of Metro Toronto? How is this going to help the quality of education in our classrooms in Metro? What is it going to do about the hard-pressed property taxpayers in Metropolitan Toronto? Mr Minister, doesn't this just plain and simple amount to a shakedown of the taxpayers of Metropolitan Toronto to pay for your tax cut for the rich of this province?

Hon Mr Snobelen: I will agree with the honourable member on one point, and that point is that the current system we have for funding education in the province of Ontario results in inequities in the amount of money that is spent and is available for students in different boards across the province. I think that's regrettable, and this government intends to do something about it. It's unfortunate that the previous government and the government before it chose not to address this situation.


Ms Frances Lankin (Beaches-Woodbine): My question is to the finance minister. Minister, rumours are beginning to fly and we're getting more and more details daily about your plans to drastically slash public sector jobs. We're concerned, of course, that most of them are going to be the front-line, moderately paid jobs, not the $100,000-plus jobs that you announced earlier today.

But what's most upsetting and alarming about the impending slash of jobs and services is that it wouldn't be necessary if this government wasn't intent on proceeding with its tax cut that will put most of the money into the pockets of the richest people of Ontario. Minister, there is still time to see reason. The budget is more than a month away. Why not give up the tax cut and try and preserve jobs and services in this province?

Hon Ernie L. Eves (Deputy Premier, Minister of Finance and Government House Leader): As I have indicated to the honourable member and others in this chamber before, to date every measure that this government has taken is to reduce the severe overspending that this government inherited last June. It has absolutely nothing to do with anything else to date, and the honourable member will have to wait and see what happens in the budget this year before she can comment on that.

Ms Lankin: Slashing services in order to pay for the tax cut never made sense from the beginning, but we know that the Premier promised to resign if he didn't live up to that commitment that he had made.

Now we have the spectacle of the Premier, and I'm amazed, today joined by the finance minister, trying to convince us that the tax cut's not going to cost us a penny, somehow it's going to finance itself. Yet we know this government has plans to drastically cut public sector jobs. You won't tell us how many; you won't tell us if it's 13,000 or 17,000 or 20,000. You refused to tell the finance and economics committee what the cost of your tax cut will be or what kind of stimulus to the economy it will or won't produce.

Minister, isn't it time to provide that information to the people of Ontario and let them tell you whether they think the price they're going to have to pay for that tax cut in order to save your Premier's job is worth it or not?

Hon Mr Eves: I think the Premier's job is relatively secure.

This government is committed to restructuring the way the province of Ontario does business, to spending more wisely the way the province of Ontario spends hard-earned taxpayers' money in the province of Ontario. The member is going to have to wait until individual ministry business plans are finalized before anybody can tell her exactly what restructuring is taking place in each ministry. If she will be a little more patient and if she waits until those business plans are finalized and she waits until the budget is introduced this spring, she will have the answer to many of her questions.



Mr Dan Newman (Scarborough Centre): My question is to the Minister of Education and Training. Minister, one of the greatest tragedies we encounter in the education system is the sudden death of a young person. Such was the case for the residents of Scarborough when a student died of acute food reaction almost two years ago. What steps is the minister taking to increase awareness of and deal with anaphylaxis, the life-threatening allergic reaction to peanuts and other food products?

Hon John Snobelen (Minister of Education and Training): I thank the member for Scarborough Centre for the question. Anaphylaxis is certainly a serious problem for parents, for families and for schools, and most school boards across the province have developed policies to address this and other medical conditions. Recently, my ministry sent a memo and a consensus report from the Anaphylaxis Task Force to every school board across the province in the hope of supporting them in developing programs and developing policies to respond to this condition so that another child's life won't be lost.

Mr Newman: Parents have been calling for the introduction of EpiPens, a needle containing lifesaving shots of adrenalin, in the classroom and on school field trips. What solutions is he prepared to offer to ensure the threat to students is minimized and that if an anaphylactic attack does occur, the best medical help is available to that student?

Hon Mr Snobelen: In addition to the task force I mentioned a littler earlier, we have also consulted extensively on this subject with the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology and also with the Allergy Asthma Information Association and asked them for their information. In fact, we have sent out some of the reports from these organizations to schools and to school boards across the province. There has been a variety of responses by school boards to these medical conditions and I think the best practices are those that are most successful, and those should be copied by other boards. In fact, some boards permit and allow students to wear EpiPens on a cord around their necks, and train staff to properly apply those. That certainly is a very useful way of responding to the need.


Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): I have a question for the Minister of Environment and Energy. People who care about the environment in our province will consider today to be a major step backward in our province; a major step backward for all who are concerned about the environment. Today you are abandoning one of the most valuable instruments that the citizens of this province have to protect our environment, to effectively scrutinize development proposals for garbage dumps and incinerators and nuclear generating stations. You are abandoning intervenor funding --


Mr Bradley: -- which the member for Etobicoke West obviously finds amusing, and I don't.

Why have you capitulated to the well-funded and influential waste management association and abandoned environmentally concerned citizens of this province?

Hon Brenda Elliott (Minister of Environment and Energy): I thank the member opposite for the question. The Intervenor Funding Project Act was begun in 1988 as a pilot project. It was sustained for three years and then extended for another five years. The member opposite is quite right: This government has allowed that legislation to sunset. We very carefully thought about this program and whether or not we would allow it to continue or would allow it to sunset as the former government had intended. Our top concern when we reviewed this was a continuation of the effective public participation process. From the experience gained under the intervenor funding process, we believe that the process in fact may have helped prolong a lengthy and costly dispute without adding significant environmental benefits to the process. The objective of this government is to maintain a solid public participation process and ensure access to decision-making.

Mr Bradley: By allowing the intervenor funding act to expire, the minister has removed an entire layer of protection, not just from the environment but also from public finances. The minister will know that almost all projects coming under the EA are public sector proposals. Funded intervenors have a track record of asking the kind of questions which will force proponents to doublecheck their assumptions and sometimes reach radically different conclusions.

Are the finances of Ontario Hydro and the treasury of Ontario, which guarantees Ontario Hydro's debt -- for instance, because Hydro abandoned its program for extensive construction after the intervenor funding was provided and after some hearings took place, are you prepared to now abandon that? Are you so flush in this province, for instance, that you can afford to trash this layer of environmental and financial protection? With a mind to saving money for her colleagues and the Minister of Finance, will the minister commit now to asking cabinet to reinstate intervenor funding and not returning Ontario to an era of bake-sale environmentalism?

Hon Mrs Elliott: I would remind my colleagues that this was a project originally intended to sunset, and we have allowed that. The decision that we have taken is consistent with our government's intention to return to efficiency and to streamline the process.

There are a number of avenues for participation in environmental decision-making. Cost awards are still eligible to participants.

Mr Bradley: After the fact.

Hon Mrs Elliott: Yes, that is true, after the fact. I would also like to say that voluntary upfront funding is encouraged, and we will continue to encourage that. In fact, it is to the proponents' benefit to make sure that they have involved decision-makers and interested parties at the outset of the environmental process. I would also like to indicate that there's no supporting evidence that the lack of upfront funding is a disincentive to participation. In fact, under the Ontario Municipal Board or the National Energy Board intervenor funding has never occurred.

Ms Marilyn Churley (Riverdale): I have a question for the Minister of Environment and Energy on the same subject. I have to tell you that I'm shocked by your response so far. I'm going to give you an opportunity to try to revise what you said, because you're totally wrong when you say the previous NDP government was going to sunset the Intervenor Funding Project Act. We had some independent studies done, all of which -- I assume you haven't seen them -- justify the need for intervenor funding. Our government would have, if not come through with the same act, put something in its place. So this is absolutely a real blow to the environmental movement.

You know that intervenor funding pays the expenses of citizen groups appearing at hearings before the Environmental Assessment Board. These hearings deal with megaprojects like dumps and incineration, highways and expressways, which can drastically pollute neighbourhoods and our environment at large. Your government claims that scrapping intervenor funding will streamline the process, but the fact is that this is just another attempt by this government to muzzle opposition and take away their democratic rights. That's what's going on here.

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): Put your question.

Ms Churley: We know that big government or garbage companies can afford all the lawyers they want to justify their needs, but citizens will not get a fair chance to stop polluting projects in their backyards. How can you justify -- and do not give the same answer that you gave to my colleague because it isn't correct -- curtailing citizen rights to a fair and balanced hearing in this province?

Hon Mrs Elliott: Again, I say that there is no evidence that lack of intervenor funding does deny participant response. The participant involvement and proposals going before the Ontario Municipal Board are high. Those who do go before under the Environmental Assessment Act or the Ontario Energy Act are still subject to cost awards.


Ms Churley: Cost awards after the fact didn't work in the past and won't work now. That's one of the major reasons why the Liberal government brought in intervenor funding and our government proceeded with intervenor funding. You are saying that people should hold bake sales now to hire lawyers and legal experts and scientific experts to assist them in hearings? That's ridiculous.

You are saying that you want big government to have more power and citizens to come forward as volunteers. Let me say to you that this government has not learned the lessons of Bill 26. People will not put up with that arrogance.

We know that the government has another agenda here. They want to clear the way for more privatization. I note that the Ontario Waste Management Association, the private garbage industry lobby, has praised the minister's decision.

Minister, I want to ask you to commit today: Will you at least make sure that when a private proponent wants to place a dump in someone's backyard, citizens' groups get funding from that company to present their case before the Environmental Assessment Board? I'm asking you, if you're scrapping this intervenor environmental funding, that you at least find something else to replace it.

Hon Mrs Elliott: During our review, our consideration was to ensure effective public participation, and our decision not to allow this to continue is part of our consistent commitment to efficient and decisive decision-making in this province.

Cost awards are still allowed under the Environmental Assessment Act and the Ontario Energy Board Act. We encourage proponent pre-hearing funding, and certainly proponents benefit from that in moving forward under the Environmental Assessment Act.

When we come forward with our changes to waste reform under the Environmental Assessment Act, we believe we will be able to help participants get their views known up front.


Mr Jerry J. Ouellette (Oshawa): My question is for the Minister of Labour. Minister, recently you announced reforms to the occupational health and safety system in Ontario. At that time you said the reforms, which were made in response to the recommendations of the review panel on occupational health and safety, are an important step towards our goals of preventing workplace injuries and illness and creating a coordinated and cost-effective course to making Ontario workplaces among the safest in the world.

One of the needed reforms you mentioned in your statement was the identification of priorities and goals for health and safety, with a focus on prevention through improved performance evaluation measurement. Will you explain the importance of monitoring and measuring our progress with respect to the government's overall objective of making Ontario's workplaces among the safest in the world?

Hon Elizabeth Witmer (Minister of Labour): I would like to indicate that it is our objective to prevent illness and injury in the workplace. It is our intention to create workplaces that are the safest in the world, and in order to do so, we need to do what the agency had never done. In fact, the Provincial Auditor indicated in his report that one of the greatest shortcomings of the Workplace Health and Safety Agency was the fact that they had never been able to demonstrate that they had been able to indicate there was a reduction in workplace injuries and illness.

We are determined to set standards. We are going to monitor, we are going to measure and we are going to evaluate in order to ensure that there is progressive reduction in the number of illnesses and injuries in the workplace. Only in this way can we focus on prevention and use our resources in the most effective way.

Mr Ouellette: My second question is with respect to the comments made in your announcement on March 21, 1996, to the member for Hamilton Centre, David Christopherson. The member's comments were about core certification training and what the training will include once reformed. The member seemed to suggest that the new training program would, among other things, exclude training with respect to musculoskeletal injury prevention and health and safety law.

Minister, will you clarify the confusion that exists and tell us what the core certification training will include?

Hon Mrs Witmer: In response to the question, I would like to indicate that our objective is to ensure that the training that we provide is going to be responsive to the needs of the individual workplaces and is going to be cost-effective and also allow the greatest number of people to participate.

There are actually two programs, and I think the member opposite probably was somewhat confused the other day. We have in place an interim program which presently is a four- and a seven-day program, and we are still including health and safety within that program.

We also are establishing new standards. Those standards are presently out for discussion. Stakeholders have an opportunity to provide us with input until the end of April. There is a basic certification standard being developed, and also there will be a workplace-hazard-specific standard that will be developed. Again, there will be the opportunity for the inclusion of health and safety, and also a discussion of musculoskeletal injury if the workplace parties, when they are doing their assessment of hazards in the workplace, determine that to be necessary for their particular workplace.


Mr Bruce Crozier (Essex South): My question is to the Minister of Transportation. Minister, I quote from Hansard on March 26, 1996, where you said: "This government is committed to ensuring municipalities have the freedom and flexibility to make decisions about their road system.... We are going to be phasing in numerous highways across this province.... But we will allow municipalities ample time to make the adjustments in order to meet their commitments."

Minister, in your comments to the Legislature on that day, I noted that you didn't use the words "reasonable" and "fair," yet in a February 5, 1996, letter to the municipalities you said, and I quote again, "This policy must be reasonable and fair to the affected municipalities." As it relates to the transfer of some 3,700 kilometres of roads -- provincial highways -- in this province to municipalities, would you, for this Legislature, define what you consider reasonable and fair?

Hon Al Palladini (Minister of Transportation): I certainly would like the opportunity to answer the member. However, I would like to correct one thing, if I may: There are approximately 1,759 kilometres that will be transferred over the next three years in the province of Ontario. And yes, I would like to once again reiterate that this government will do the transition in an orderly way, and we are going to be reasonable in our negotiations.

Mr Crozier: Perhaps the minister has deducted all the Palladini potholes from the total kilometrage and that's how he came up with it, because I have a letter from the warden of the county of Essex that says, "The province originally identified 3,700 kilometres of potential highway transfers." Two hundred and fifty have already been transferred, and you're now considering an additional 1,765. I'm sure that he is concerned, as well as all the others, about what you're going to do with the other 1,685. Maybe you'd like to tell us today that you're not going to transfer them.

In any event, these highways are still important to the future of the province of Ontario for tourism and for economic growth and development. MTO guidelines from July 1995 say all transfers must be of good financial benefit and costsaving to the ministry and the municipalities to ensure good value for the taxpayers' money.

The Ontario Good Roads Association, in a resolution, urged the province of Ontario to withdraw the proposed downloading of their unwanted highways unless they, the province, are prepared to provide adequate funding to all the affected municipalities. As you know, Minister, some municipalities have already agreed with the ministry and have received adequate funding, 100% funding, whereas now it's suggested at least that others may only receive 22%.

My question is this then: How are municipalities to address the needs of existing roads and bridges with reduced grants and then be handed even more additional financial responsibilities without compensation? Will block funding be increased accordingly to address the increased maintenance costs?

Hon Mr Palladini: The honourable member would like us to believe it's the Conservative Party or the Mike Harris government that's initiating highway transfers. This has been an ongoing process. In terms of economic development in the province, this government recognizes the importance of our highway infrastructure; that is one of the areas. Your government, when it was in power, should have put more money back in the infrastructure. However, we do have a commitment. We are going to be transferring highways that serve a municipal purpose so we can put more money back in our highway infrastructure, so we can develop economic development.



Mr David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre): My question is to the Chair of Management Board. The thick pile of documents you tabled recently raise a couple of clear questions and discrepancies, and I'll come back to that at a later date. Today, I want to focus on the plight of the 30 cleaners who have lost their jobs and indeed what has happened to the 47 who have jobs.

Of the remaining 47 who have jobs -- again, 30 of them are now unemployed, thanks to your Bill 7 -- they have had their wages cut by 29%. Further, the new contractor has refused to honour the collective agreement, refused to honour the union of choice of these workers and refused to use seniority rights as a key determinant in who would stay and who would go.

When I raised these issues with you in the House before they happened, you said: "I will stand on my feet here today and say that the very provision which we have put on the table for OPSEU, we will observe with the people involved in this particular contract."

Given that OPSEU, as a result of its victory in this recent strike, now has seniority rights strengthened and guaranteed and that you have promised to try to get new employers to match current salaries and benefits -- in fact, if OPSEU members are asked to take a job that has a 15% wage cut or more, they can refuse and qualify for enriched severance -- are you prepared today to stand in your place and honour your commitment to give those same rights to those workers as you've now given to OPSEU?

Hon David Johnson (Chair of the Management Board of Cabinet): First of all, we should acknowledge that successor rights are not in place today for the civil service. The contract that was negotiated with OPSEU does not contain a successor rights clause.

What we said we would do with OPSEU, what is in the contract, is that the government would make reasonable efforts to attempt that the jobs would go with the new employers. That's exactly what we've done in this case where the employees are not actually employees of the government. The cleaners are not employees of the government; they're employees of another contractor.

What has happened is that through the bidding process -- and I mentioned this in the House the other day -- the Ontario Realty Corp reviewed the bids of the five bidders, and one of the reasons the successful bidder was chosen is because the successful bidder agreed to take as many employees as possible who are currently employed by the other contractor.

That, I believe, is honouring the obligation of what I said we would do in this House in terms of attempting to ensure that the employees would go with the job. In fact, all the employees who have been hired have gone with the new contractor.

Mr Tony Silipo (Dovercourt): Minister, that just isn't good enough. That's not what you said. That's not the commitment you gave in this House. As my colleague said to you, and he quoted back the same words you used last week: "I will stand on my feet here today and say that the very provision which we have put on the table for OPSEU we will observe with the people involved in this particular contract." You knew all the facts at the time that you made that commitment, Minister. You're now retracting from that commitment.

You can talk about process all you want, but let me talk to you about the people we are dealing with here, because behind your process what you are doing is affecting real people, people with long service, people who have cleaned your offices and our offices for years and years. They're people like Fernanda Gomes, who for 16 years has been doing this work; Maria Fresens, who for 15 years has been doing this work; Maria Pereira, who for 17 years has been doing this work. They're but three of the 30 people who no longer have a job because of the actions you and your government have taken.

What do you say to these women, many of whom live in the riding that I have the privilege of representing, but also women in the rest of the city of Toronto, who are out of a job because of your actions? You are now also saying that you're not living up to the commitment to be fair. Why, Minister?

Hon David Johnson: Obviously, this is a difficult situation. This government reviewed carefully the situation. The compensation levels in terms of pay and benefits amounted to about $19 a person. We put the contract out for bid on behalf of the taxpayers. A contractor came in, recommending a reduction of almost $2.5 million over the course of two years to the taxpayer. The commitment I made through the contract to OPSEU was that we would make reasonable efforts to ensure that the employees would go with the contract. We did make reasonable efforts. In fact, we chose a bid that was not the lowest bid. The reason we chose the bid which was not the lowest bid was primarily because the winning bidder chose to take the existing employees. If that isn't a reasonable effort, I don't know what is.



Mr Monte Kwinter (Wilson Heights): I have a petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

"Whereas the final report of the Metropolitan Toronto District Health Council hospital restructuring committee has recommended that North York Branson Hospital merge with York-Finch hospital; and

"Whereas this recommendation will remove emergency and inpatient services currently provided by North York Branson Hospital, which will seriously jeopardize medical care and the quality of health for the growing population which the hospital serves, many being elderly people who in numerous cases require treatment for life-threatening medical conditions;

"We petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to reject the recommendation contained within the final report of the Metropolitan Toronto District Health Council hospital restructuring committee as it pertains to North York Branson Hospital, so that it retains, at minimum, emergency and inpatient services."

I have affixed my signature.


Mrs Marion Boyd (London Centre): I have a petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

"Transportation Minister Al Palladini is proposing legislation that will cost many towns their bus service.

"Bus companies are currently required to provide service for smaller towns as a condition of being given the rights to high-profit routes and charter markets. Minister Palladini's plan to deregulate will eliminate all conditions and requirements. As a result, hundreds of smaller communities like ours will lose bus service.

"Minister, people in smaller towns need bus service just as much as people in big cities. We depend upon buses to visit friends and family, to get to appointments in nearby towns, to ship our Christmas presents and to receive our repair parts. The undersigned call upon the members of the Legislative Assembly to oppose bus deregulation and the elimination of our bus service."

This is signed by over 60 people in London and area. I'm proud to affix my signature.


Mrs Lillian Ross (Hamilton West): I have a petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

"Whereas the community living in the vicinity of Twenty Road and Highway 6, regional municipality of Hamilton-Wentworth, consider this intersection as very hazardous and dangerous due to poor visibility and traffic volume,

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:

"The undersigned petition the Ministry of Transportation to begin road improvements and install a stoplight at the intersection of Twenty Road and Highway 6 immediately to facilitate the safety of all motorists accessing these roads."

I affix my signature to this petition.



Mr Dwight Duncan (Windsor-Walkerville): "Whereas St Mary's Family Learning Centre of Windsor Inc, being funded by the Ministry of Community and Social services, provides support and educational opportunities for parents, home child care providers and resources for licensed child care centres to approximately 500 adults and 2,000 children;

"Whereas St Mary's Family Learning Centre of Windsor Inc relies on donations, user fees and volunteerism as well as Ministry of Community and Social Services funding to provide current services; and

"Whereas only 3% of the total Ministry of Community and Social Services child care budget is spent on family resource programs such as St Mary's Family Learning Centre to support families who choose home child care as an option; and

"Whereas all families pay taxes that support child care but a vast majority of the current child care budget is spent on licensed child care spaces that are used by only 8.5% of children; and

"Whereas the other 91.5% of families have few publicly funded services available to them,

"Therefore, your petitioners call upon the Legislative Assembly to maintain funding to St Mary's Family Learning Centre."

I support this and affix my signature to it.


Mr Gilles Bisson (Cochrane South): I have here a petition from a number of people throughout the Metro area and they petition the Ontario Legislature as follows:

"To Premier Michael Harris, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Al Leach, and members of the provincial Legislature:

"Whereas to abolish rent control in favour of a market system would be disastrous for tenants and give further power and allow unnecessary profit for landlords,

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislature of Ontario to support universal and mandatory rent controls which reflect a fair balance between the ability of tenants to pay and the necessary costs of supplying well-maintained and secure housing."

I have signed the petition.


Mr Bill Grimmett (Muskoka-Georgian Bay): I have a petition which I'm presenting on behalf of the member for Simcoe East. It relates to child care. It's signed by some 26 people.


Mrs Elinor Caplan (Oriole): I have a petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:

"Do not implement user fees and/or copayments to the Ontario drug benefit program. User fees are not the solution; they only deter the most vulnerable from getting the help they really need. These fees will further diminish universal health care in Ontario, with the poor and the seniors bearing the brunt of your proposed actions."

This is signed by constituents from the riding of Oriole, and I am pleased to affix my signature to their important petition.


Ms Shelley Martel (Sudbury East): I have a petition addressed to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario which reads as follows:

"Whereas Mike Harris's Conservative government of Ontario is planning to destroy the present system of rent control;

"Whereas Mike Harris and the Conservative Party made no mention of scrapping rent control during the election campaign of 1995 or in the Common Sense Revolution document;

"Whereas a number of Conservative candidates in ridings with high tenant populations campaigned during the 1995 election on a platform of protecting the current rent control system;

"Whereas the government has consulted with special-interest groups representing landlords and developers while cutting funding to organizations representing the 3.5 million tenants in Ontario;

"Whereas eliminating rent control will result in skyrocketing rents in Ontario,

"Therefore we, the undersigned, call upon the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to stop the attack on the 3.5 million tenants of this province."

I have affixed my name to this and I agree with the petitioners.


Mr Ted Arnott (Wellington): I have a petition that reads as follows:

"To the Legislature of Ontario:

"Whereas the matter of selling Ontario Hydro is likely to come before the Legislature in the near future;

"Whereas we, the undersigned residents of Ontario, who have, through the payment of electricity rates, paid for Ontario Hydro, are concerned about privatization of Ontario Hydro, leading to higher rates, lower reliability and compromised nuclear safety,

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislature of Ontario as follows:

"Please preserve the public ownership of Ontario Hydro and refuse to sell this important public asset."


Mr John C. Cleary (Cornwall): To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"We, the undersigned of Cornwall area, petition the Parliament of Ontario as follows:

"Whereas the provincial government's deep cutbacks and cancellations of public services cause tremendous harm to the local economy; and

"Whereas this attack on the social fabric of our community goes far beyond the agenda of the Common Sense Revolution; and

"Whereas these cuts will cause unacceptable damage to the community health, justice system, child protection, road safety and education services; and

"Whereas we represent well-informed service providers and a significant portion of the local base;

"Be it resolved that we call on the provincial government to cease all announcement of cutbacks to ensure that they are all subject to open, democratic consultation and debate."

I've also signed the petition.


Mr Howard Hampton (Rainy River): I have a petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

"Transportation Minister Al Palladini is proposing legislation that will cost many towns their bus service.

"Bus companies are currently required to provide service for smaller towns as a condition of being given rights to high-profit routes and charter markets. Minister Palladini's plan to deregulate will eliminate all conditions and requirements. As a result, hundred of smaller communities like ours will lose bus service.

"Minister, people in smaller towns need bus service just as much as people in big cities. We depend upon buses to visit family and friends, to get to appointments in nearby towns, to ship our Christmas presents and to receive our repair parts. The undersigned call upon the members of the Legislative Assembly to oppose bus deregulation and the elimination of our bus service."

This is signed by 15 individuals, and I'm affixing my signature as well.


Mr Gary Fox (Prince Edward-Lennox-South Hastings): I have a petition today to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, with 1,092 signatures:

"Whereas section 35(1) of the Constitution Act, 1982, recognizes and affirms both the aboriginal and treaty rights of the aboriginal peoples of Canada as they existed in 1982;

"Whereas the Mohawks of Tyendinaga do not have aboriginal or treaty rights to fish or hunt off their reserve unless they do so under the same laws that apply to non-natives;

"Whereas several infractions under conservation laws have been reported and documented over the past few years, such as spearing fish in fish sanctuaries, gill netting, commercialization of the resource, and hunting out of season, and no charges were laid;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:

"The government of Ontario take immediate action to stop all illegal hunting and fishing activities by the Mohawks of Tyendinaga and enforce conservation laws for both natives and non-natives equally, as dictated by the Supreme Court of Canada."

I have affixed my signature.


Mr Alvin Curling (Scarborough North): This is a petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"We, the undersigned citizens of Ontario, do not want the rent-geared-to-income program to be eliminated. This program provides decent housing for low- and middle-income tenants, consisting of 40% seniors, 42% families, 18% special-needs and disabled tenants.

"We believe a change to the US-style voucher system proposed by this government will destroy our communities and change the fabric of life in Ontario."

I so agree by affixing my signature to this petition.


Mr David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre): I have a petition to the Minister of Health and the Hamilton-Wentworth District Health Council:

"Whereas the Hamilton-Wentworth health action task force, as part of their report, has recommended the closure of St Joseph's Hospital in Hamilton; and

"Whereas it is recognized that the health care system should be made as efficient as possible; and

"Whereas the quality of health care in our community should not be sacrificed in the name of efficiency; and

"Whereas the Mike Harris government promised to protect the quality of health care in Ontario; and

"Whereas we, the undersigned, believe that maintaining the presence of St Joseph's Hospital in downtown Hamilton is a vital component of our health care system;

"Therefore, be it resolved that the Minister of Health and the Hamilton-Wentworth District Health Council ensure the continuance of St Joseph's Hospital at its present site."

I affix my signature also.



Mr Dan Newman (Scarborough Centre): I rise today with a petition signed by a number of residents from Scarborough. The petition reads as follows:

"To the Legislature of Ontario:

"Whereas the recommendations of the Metropolitan Toronto District Health Council to close inpatient paediatric beds, the special care nursery and the burn unit at Scarborough General Hospital resulting in significantly reduced access to paediatric, newborn and burn care for a large geographic area of Scarborough; and

"Whereas the paediatric unit, special care nursery and burn unit at Scarborough General Hospital provide very cost-efficient, quality care;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislature of Ontario to:

"(1) Continue paediatric services including inpatient paediatric beds,

"(2) Continue special care nursery services,

"(3) Continue and combine Metropolitan Toronto's burn care

"At Scarborough General Hospital!"

I am pleased to affix my name to this petition.


Mr Pat Hoy (Essex-Kent): "To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas Transition House in Chatham has provided emergency shelter to troubled or abused youth as well as support, counselling and life skills training since 1990, and operating on a five-year budget of $865,000 they have counselled over 400 youth and served over 20,000 meals;

"Whereas the city of Chatham and the county of Kent rely on Transition House to meet the needs of its troubled youth and there is no other facility to serve the needs of the community;...

"Whereas it has been shown that massive cuts to health services, school systems and social services have a definite impact on statistics of children and youth in crisis;

"Whereas the government of Ontario has cut its direct funding to Transition House by almost $48,000 annually and placed the existence of Transition House in jeopardy;

"Be it therefore resolved that we, the undersigned, urge the government of Ontario to reverse its decision to cut the funding of Transition House in Chatham."

I affix my signature to it.


Mr David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre): I have a petition to the Legislative Assembly and the Minister of Labour.

"We, the undersigned, are opposed to your government's proposed changes to Ontario's workers' compensation system including elimination of the bipartite board of directors; reduced temporary benefits; introduction of the three-day period from the time of injury with no pay; legislated limits on entitlement, thereby excluding repetitive strain, chronic pain and stress claims from eligibility for compensation; reduced permanent pensions and pension supplements.

"Workers' compensation is not a handout; it is an insurance plan for which premiums are paid; it is a legal obligation that employers have to employees who 80 years ago traded their right to sue employers in return for this insurance plan.

"Therefore, we demand no reduction in existing benefits, improved re-employment and vocational rehabilitation, tightened enforcement of health and safety to prevent injuries, no reduction in current Workers' Compensation Board staff levels and that the bipartite board structure be left intact."

I affix my signature also.


Mrs Helen Johns (Huron): I have a petition for the Legislative Assembly of the province of Ontario.

"Canada was founded on Christian-Judaeo principles. While the multicultural mosaic of our nation is clearly recognized and celebrated, we, the undersigned citizens, concerned about the lack of religious content within the public education system, implore the government of Ontario to give serious consideration to the return of the Lord's Prayer to the classrooms of our schools, since the content of the prayer should not be offensive to any religious tradition or nationality. The intent is not to impose one particular belief, but rather to maintain the foundation upon which our country was founded."

This petition has 350 signatures on it.



Resuming the adjourned debate on the motion for third reading of Bill 20, An Act to promote economic growth and protect the environment by streamlining the land use planning and development system through amendments related to planning, development, municipal and heritage matters / Projet de loi 20, Loi visant à promouvoir la croissance économique et à protéger l'environnement en rationalisant le système d'aménagement et de mise en valeur du territoire au moyen de modifications touchant des questions relatives à l'aménagement, la mise en valeur, les municipalités et le patrimoine.

The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): When we adjourned, the member for Rainy River had the floor.

Mr Howard Hampton (Rainy River): I was of course speaking when we last were dealing with this matter. I intend to make a few brief comments today about the bill and, generally, my views on the bill after sitting on committee and hearing some of the views of those people who came forward.

I indicated last day that in my view the bill was not going to provide the kind of environmental protection that we need in terms of land use planning. I indicated that for the most part this bill is simply a wish list for that part of the development industry that wants to make a quick buck at the expense of the environment, and the shame of it all is that this government actually believes that that contributes to sustainable development, that that's the kind of development you want to base your economy around.

I think we know from examples elsewhere in the world that that is exactly the kind of development you don't want to base your economy on, that it is quite wrongheaded, that down the road the costs of that kind of quick-buck approach are far more than the few dollars the government might stand to make or the development industry might stand to make by the kind of irresponsible land use planning that will be engendered in this bill.

I want to say a few words about agricultural land, because I believe it is in terms of agricultural land that a great deal will be lost. What this bill will allow is the kind of haphazard development out there which will ensure that our prime agricultural land is eaten up on a piecemeal basis. Let me mention just some of the things I believe are going to happen.

First of all, we need to keep context in mind here. If the Ministry of Natural Resources is going to shed 2,000 of its staff -- I think it may be more than 2,000 of its staff -- we will simply not have the ecologists, the foresters, the land use experts in that ministry to ensure that environmental integrity is preserved. Conservation authorities are losing well over 50% of their staff, so they will not have the people available to ensure that good conservation measures are followed and to ensure that conservation of the land and conservation of resources is part of the development strategy.

The Ministry of Environment is also going through drastic cuts, so they will not have the personnel who will ensure that conservation rules and conservation principles are followed. Finally, the Ministry of Agriculture is going through at least a $156-million downsizing, which will mean that expertise will no longer reside in the Ministry of Agriculture either.

With all of that, with that loss of expertise, with that loss of knowledge and experience and wisdom and judgement from those ministries, there won't be that second stage, that second line of support that might be able to help out in the case of weak legislation. What it means then is that not only will this be very weak legislation, but the people who could have helped somehow to ameliorate weak legislation simply won't be there.

I predict that what will happen is we will see acre after acre, township after township of good agricultural land eaten up by unplanned development, by let's-make-a-quick-buck development, by development that frankly is not in tune with the kind of land use planning we need to see as we enter the 21st century.

As our agricultural production is becoming more important, as our agricultural land has greater and greater potential in terms of producing for not only the Canadian market but the North American market and even the offshore market, as all of this potential is developing, this government's legislation is going to negative that potential and is going to eat away, decimate the possibilities of agricultural production in this province and is going to decimate the very best agricultural land in this province.

What are we left with? Where are we headed at the end of the day with this government and this legislation? Viewed from the broader context, this creates a very bad precedent indeed. As a province, as part of Canada, we are trying to persuade other jurisdictions to clean up their air, to participate in the cleanup of the Great Lakes, to participate in the lowering of sulphur dioxide in the air, to participate in the lowering of carbon monoxide in the air.

We are trying to persuade jurisdictions in other continents not to burn away the rain forest and further deplete the world environment. We are trying to persuade other jurisdictions to preserve chunks and pieces of their natural environment so that we preserve the environmental diversity of the world, the ecological diversity. Yet when we try to make those arguments, when those governments, when those jurisdictions point the finger back at us and say, "What have you done?" we will have nothing to show.

Worse than that, this government will have to admit that it has done less than was being done in the 1980s and the early 1990s, that it has gone back to a substandard approach to environmental planning, a substandard approach to land use planning, which sets no example for the rest of the world, which gives us no basis to argue from, which frankly puts us in the position of being one of the worst offenders.


Not only is this legislation bad for Ontario and bad for Ontario's land use planning, bad for Ontario's natural environment, bad for the future of our water resources, our air resources and our land resources, bad for our agricultural production in the longer term, bad in terms of the money it's going to cost because of the extra infrastructure costs associated with sprawling urban development; not only is it bad because of all those things, but it puts us in a very bad position in terms of the relationships we have with other jurisdictions when we talk to them and try to persuade them to clean up their environment, try to persuade them to be a more environmentally responsible jurisdiction on the world stage. We have absolutely no place to argue, no stage to argue from. With this bill and with the cuts that are happening in the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Natural Resources and the conservation authorities, Ontario has become one of the worst offenders. That is a shame.

But this government, because it is so preoccupied with making a quick buck, doesn't understand that you don't have to scratch very far with almost every individual in this province to find that people really do care about the environment. I will say that three or four years down the road, when people have had a chance to reflect on this government's abysmal environmental record, on its abysmal record for the protection of the landscape, its abysmal record in terms of being an ecologically responsible government, they will turn on this government and this government will be taught a lesson about how important environmental issues are to all people: people who have money, people who do not have money, people who have wealth and status, and people who come from the ordinary communities of this province.

So the government can go ahead and pass this legislation. They will be taught a lesson, because this is shameful legislation, it is destructive legislation, and when people have an opportunity to understand that, they will come back and they will punish this government for it.

The Acting Speaker (Mr Gilles E. Morin): Questions or comments?

Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): I was glad the member took the full time to speak because it allowed him to talk about many of the problems that exist with this particular bill, one that some people have called a bill designed to destroy planning and environment in the province of Ontario. That's probably an overstatement, but it certainly is a concern that people have about the provisions of this bill. The member dealt with a number of those provisions whereby he recognized that the long-term implications of this legislation are to be worried about.

We heard today that the government was abandoning intervenor funding, which has allowed citizens in our province to be able to hire legal counsel and experts in various fields in order that they may participate in various hearings. With the loss of the environmental intervenor funding in combination with this bill, we see a major step back in terms of the planning process and the ability of individual citizens to have appropriate and effective access to that system. I think what we will see will be a number of mistakes that will be made that in the long run will be costly.

If you look at some of the projects which were stopped or considerably altered as a result of intervenor funding, for instance in the planning process because planning is environmental planning as well as what we call Ontario Municipal Board-type planning, if you look at the number of projects that were significantly altered as a result of good intervention by citizens' groups, you would find that governments in the long run will save money.

Unfortunately, many of the provisions of this bill represent a step backward because they allow people less access to the system. They give developers a leg up, which the government wants to do because they want development to take place in the province. Development, however, when it takes place, should be good development, and I think that this bill is a step in the wrong direction in terms of ensuring good development in Ontario.

Mr Gilles Bisson (Cochrane South): I'd like to take these few minutes to congratulate my colleague from Rainy River in regard to the comments he made around land use. I would say in keeping with that, he's quite right. Really what you've got here is a government that's intent on changing the rules of the game so that it's so heavily weighted towards the developers that in the end the very people that the projects are supposed to benefit are really the ones that are going to be left by the wayside, especially so when you take a look at what they're doing in regard to the provincial policies in the province. When the provincial policies are being rewritten, I think they're being rewritten in such a way that the weight of those rules are really put in the favour of developers, to the point that I think we're forgetting what the whole idea was in the first place, which is to have policies that reflect good planning in the province of Ontario but also policies that reflect protection of our environment.

When my colleague from Riverdale today asked the question of the Minister of Environment and Energy in regard to the whole question of intervenor funding, I think it's only another piece of the puzzle that we're seeing. We're seeing that the government, under Bill 20, is changing the rules so that they're so weighted towards the developers that a lot of projects will go forward I fear that shouldn't go forward or are not good for the community in regard to their net impact on the environment.

After that, you see what happened today with my colleague from Riverdale when she asked the question to the Minister of Environment. The Minister of Environment is saying, "Well, intervenor funding isn't important," and that the people will be able to go out and move forward their complaints through the courts by doing a number of things, short of having intervenor funding from the government.

I would just say it was a comment made in jest, but she's suggesting almost that people, in order to get the money necessary to go to the courts, would have to do bake sales in order to raise the dollars --

Ms Marilyn Churley (Riverdale): Not in jest.

Mr Bisson: No, I'm just saying it's --

Mr John Gerretsen (Kingston and The Islands): Shame.

Mr Bisson: -- shameful. She's suggesting that they can go out and do bake sales in order to raise money to go forward with complaints against bad development in the province when it comes to larger projects. So I would move that we change her title and we call her the minister responsible for bake sales.

Ms Churley: This gives me a two-minute opportunity to do a little bit of summing up here. I want to congratulate my colleague from Rainy River. It's very clear that what this government is doing is curtailing public participation in the planning process, just as today we saw with intervenor funding where public participation is being almost completely curtailed. It's not correct when the minister says that after-the-fact funding, when the hearing is over, there could be, might be, some funding awarded. We don't know that. There are not a lot of experts and lawyers out there who are able to or who are willing to work for free in a sometimes lengthy, complicated process.

This government is acting almost in secret. Most of the things that they're doing, dismantling environmental protection, which we have built up for over 20 years in this province, we're seeing it all go down the drain right under our noses, and overall the public aren't even aware that it's happening.

It's the same thing with Bill 20. In the long run, we know that the ramifications of this bill will be that it'll cost taxpayers more in the long run. Urban sprawl costs taxpayers more money. Bad environmental development will cost taxpayers more money down the road, and furthermore, the government will not even achieve its stated goal with this bill, and that is to cut the length of the process, to cut red tape.

What we see very clearly, what will happen is that there'll be a lot more site-by-site specific hearings before the OMB, either from the developer or from community or environmental groups. So it isn't even going to achieve what they hoped to achieve. I would suggest they withdraw --

The Acting Speaker: Thank you.

Mr Gerretsen: There's perhaps one other aspect to the whole public process that can be mentioned at this time. We all realize that the time limit that the public has to respond to the various proposals has been drastically reduced by 10 days. The general theory by the government is that this somehow speeds the planning process along, when we well know that what usually takes the length of time in the planning process is the length of time that, administratively, a planning staff or a city council or indeed the various government departments here at Queen's Park take to actually deal with a development proposal. By taking 10 days away from the public appeal process, we really aren't doing anything at all.


The other thing that ought to be said about the public process is that quite often when you get the public involved in a project early on in the game and when everybody around the table knows exactly what everybody's position is, you can actually end up with a development proposal and with a final development that is a lot more appealing and attractive to everyone. This notion that by getting the public involved you are somehow hindering development and that things just will not be approved as quickly as possible or that that will detract from the development is completely erroneous. It's always been my experience that public input is something that can be valued and something that in effect can lead to an improvement of the final product.

Finally, I would just say one thing with respect to the one-window approach, simply this: Unless we know what the public protocols are between the various departments and unless those protocols are being delivered publicly so that the public knows exactly what the process is internally -- the kind of program you're setting up by having the one-window approach is a secretive process -- the public will not know the manner in which the final decision is reached by the government.

The Acting Speaker: The member for Rainy River, you have two minutes to reply.

Mr Hampton: Since this brings to an end the debate and I understand we're going to vote in a couple of minutes, let me just say in response a couple of things about the comments that were made.

First of all, the member for St Catharines -- I know that he stands almost alone in his party in opposing this legislation -- I want to thank him for his courageous position and his courageous response, because I know there are many Liberal backbenchers who in fact support what the government is doing here and think this kind of helter-skelter, quick-buck development is more than acceptable, is good for people. So I want to thank the member for St Catharines for his comments.

I want to thank the member for Cochrane South as well. As the housing and municipal affairs critic for our caucus, he knows very well what some of the repercussions of sprawling urban development will be in terms of the increased costs of infrastructure and providing services, and in effect the subsidy that taxpayers will have to provide to the private developers. I suspect that, given this government, they think it is quite proper for taxpayers to provide subsidies to private developers. In fact, I think it's part of their overall strategy that you take money from people on social assistance, you take money out of education, you take money out of health care, but you subsidize private developers. I think that's very much in line with their vision of the world.

I also want to thank our environment critic, who knows full well the long-term environmental consequences of this very destructive piece of legislation.

As I said earlier, I think this is a shameful piece of legislation and will put Ontario in a very dishonourable position on the environmental record.

The Acting Speaker: Time has expired. Any further debate? If not, the parliamentary assistant, the member for Oxford, Mr Hardeman, has moved third reading of Bill 20. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?

All those in favour will please say "aye."

All those opposed will please say "nay."

In my opinion, the ayes have it.

Call in the members. This will be a 30-minute bell.

Mr David Turnbull (York Mills): Mr Speaker, I believe we have all-party agreement that this should be a five-minute bell.

The Acting Speaker: Agreed? Agreed. This will be a five-minute bell.

The bells rang from 1545 to 1550.

The Acting Speaker: Will the members please take their seats.

All those in favour of the motion will please rise one at a time and be recognized by the Clerk.


Arnott, Ted

Hardeman, Ernie

Rollins, E.J. Douglas

Baird, John R.

Harnick, Charles

Ross, Lillian

Barrett, Toby

Harris, Michael D.

Sampson, Rob

Bassett, Isabel

Hastings, John

Saunderson, William

Beaubien, Marcel

Hodgson, Chris

Shea, Derwyn

Boushy, Dave

Jackson, Cameron

Skarica, Toni

Brown, Jim

Johns, Helen

Smith, Bruce

Carr, Gary

Johnson, Bert

Snobelen, John

Clement, Tony

Johnson, Ron

Spina, Joseph

Cunningham, Dianne

Kells, Morley

Sterling, Norman W.

Danford, Harry

Klees, Frank

Stewart, R. Gary

DeFaria, Carl

Leadston, Gary L.

Tascona, Joseph N.

Doyle, Ed

Marland, Margaret

Tilson, David

Elliott, Brenda

Martiniuk, Gerry

Tsubouchi, David H.

Eves, Ernie L.

Maves, Bart

Turnbull, David

Fisher, Barbara

Munro, Julia

Vankoughnet, Bill

Flaherty, Jim

Mushinski, Marilyn

Villeneuve, Noble

Ford, Douglas B.

Newman, Dan

Wettlaufer, Wayne

Fox, Gary

North, Peter

Wilson, Jim

Froese, Tom

O'Toole, John

Witmer, Elizabeth

Galt, Doug

Ouellette, Jerry J.

Wood, Bob

Gilchrist, Steve

Palladini, Al

Young, Terence H.

Grimmett, Bill

Parker, John L.


Guzzo, Garry J.

Pettit, Trevor


The Acting Speaker: All those opposed to the motion will please rise one at a time and be recognized by the Clerk.


Bartolucci, Rick

Curling, Alvin

McGuinty, Dalton

Bisson, Gilles

Duncan, Dwight

McLeod, Lyn

Boyd, Marion

Gerretsen, John

Patten, Richard

Bradley, James J.

Grandmaître, Bernard

Phillips, Gerry

Caplan, Elinor

Hampton, Howard

Pouliot, Gilles

Christopherson, David

Hoy, Pat

Pupatello, Sandra

Churley, Marilyn

Kormos, Peter

Sergio, Mario

Cleary, John C.

Lalonde, Jean-Marc

Silipo, Tony

Colle, Mike

Lankin, Frances

Wildman, Bud

Cooke, David S.

Laughren, Floyd

Wood, Len

Cordiano, Joseph

Martel, Shelley


Crozier, Bruce

Martin, Tony


Clerk of the House (Mr Claude L. DesRosiers): The ayes are 70, the nays 34.

The Acting Speaker: I declare the motion carried.

Resolved that the bill do now pass and be entitled as in the motion.


Mr Snobelen moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill 31, An Act to establish the Ontario College of Teachers and to make related amendments to certain statutes / Loi créant l'Ordre des enseignantes et des enseignants de l'Ontario et apportant des modifications connexes à certaines lois.

Hon John Snobelen (Minister of Education and Training): I am pleased to table for second reading Bill 31.


The Acting Speaker (Mr Gilles E. Morin): Wait for just a minute. Wait until the House simmers down, and you'll have the floor.

Hon Mr Snobelen: This is an act that will establish the Ontario College of Teachers and recognize teaching as a profession in the province of Ontario in a self-directed manner similar to other professions in the province.

We have, as you are aware, announced reforms to secondary school to make it more relevant to the needs of students and of the businesses that hire them. We are committed to establishing --

Mr Peter Kormos (Welland-Thorold): All the teachers are being laid off. What do they need a college for?

The Acting Speaker: Please, there's too much noise in the House.

Mr Kormos: There are no teachers left. You've cut the classrooms.

The Acting Speaker: Order, please, the member for Welland-Thorold. I've heard you loud and clear.

Mr Kormos: It's true. Niagara region lost 450 teachers last week. Mr Snobelen is talking about preserving classroom quality. What a lie.

The Acting Speaker: Order.

Hon Mr Snobelen: We are committed to establishing a demanding, province-wide core curriculum and high standards for student achievement and a comprehensive testing program for the province. To increase parent involvement in our schools, we are moving forward with the establishment of school councils. We have taken action to deliver on our pledge to have an affordable education system, one that provides real value for the taxpayers of Ontario, by introducing a saving strategy that provides school boards with more flexibility and helps them to realize savings in the sector. Our goal is to achieve a responsive and effective system in which taxpayers can see value for their investment and children can receive excellence in their education.

Bill 31 represents a significant step forward for the profession of teaching --

Mr Kormos: How can students achieve when their teachers are being fired? How can they get excellence when there are no teachers left?

The Acting Speaker: Order. The member for Welland-Thorold, you're disturbing the House. You really are. I would ask you please to refrain from shouting.


The Acting Speaker: You leave me with no other choice --

Mr Kormos: Four hundred fifty from Niagara region alone. Why should he not talk about the teachers who are being laid off?

The Acting Speaker: Please. The member for Welland-Thorold, I would ask you just to leave for a few minutes to cool off.

Mr Kormos: No.

The Acting Speaker: No? Then if you won't --


The Acting Speaker: Sergeant, please.


The Acting Speaker: Yes, I name you to leave. I do name you. Please, go. You are named to leave the House.

Mr Kormos left the chamber.

The Acting Speaker: Minister.

Hon Mr Snobelen: Bill 31 represents a significant step forward for the profession of teaching in Ontario and for our system of education. Many eminently qualified people have come to the same conclusion.

Mr Gilles Bisson (Cochrane South): Oh, give me a break. No wonder he got kicked out.

The Acting Speaker: The member for Cochrane South, I would ask you to take your seat.

Mr Gilles Pouliot (Lake Nipigon): Teachers are still being laid off.


The Acting Speaker: Order. It is the privilege of everyone to have the opportunity to voice your opinion --

Mr Pouliot: Where's the common sense?

The Acting Speaker: The member for Nipigon, I would ask you to refrain from shouting.


Mr Doug Galt (Northumberland): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: While they are interrupting our speaker, I notice the clock is still running. That seems rather unfair. I think that clock should have been stopped.


The Acting Speaker: Order. Thank you for your comments, but the clock operates for everyone.

Hon Mr Snobelen: Many eminently qualified people have come to the same conclusion: A self-regulating College of Teachers is essential to improving the quality of education in Ontario. This is an idea whose time has finally come. By giving teachers the power to regulate their own profession, we are putting the responsibility for excellent teaching in the hands of those who are best qualified to know what a teacher should and must be today and in the future.

This initiative will strengthen teaching and will also increase public confidence in education. In creating the Ontario College of Teachers, we are fulfilling two important objectives of this government: We are fulfilling our promise to maintain and improve the quality of education in Ontario, and we are fulfilling our promise to make our education system more accountable to the public for how well our schools prepare our young people. These objectives will be met because it will be teachers who, like other Ontario professionals, will set the standards --

The Acting Speaker: Order. I would ask the members to refrain from discussing too loudly, please. I ask you to cooperate. It's as simple as that.


The Acting Speaker: Order, the member for Cochrane South.

Hon Mr Snobelen: These objectives will be met because it will be teachers who, like other Ontario professionals, will set the standards by which they are trained and by which they practise their profession throughout their careers. In developing this legislation, we have learned from the same basic public policy that characterizes more than 30 other self-regulating professional bodies in Ontario.

With Bill 31, we reify an idea that has been recommended and debated for more than 30 years in Ontario. Starting with the Hall-Dennis commission in 1967 and culminating with the Royal Commission on Learning last year, many task forces on education have recommended the establishment of a College of Teachers. The royal commission's recommendation in its final report, For the Love of Learning, was based on consultations with hundreds of individual teachers, with parents and students and taxpayers.

Teachers told the commission that a more coherent approach to teacher education is needed, along with meaningful professional learning opportunities for both new and experienced teachers. Indeed, it is not often we bring forward an initiative for which there has been all-party support. I would like to express appreciation to the former government, which established an Ontario College of Teachers implementation committee, and to members in all parties for their suggestions and for their support.

This new initiative will have important benefits for Ontario's teachers, parents, students and taxpayers. The college will give teachers more say in defining and controlling the quality of professional conduct and practice. The public and students will gain greater confidence in the education system because they will know what standards of performance to expect from teachers and how teachers pursue their own professional development. As part of their professional growth, teachers will be required to develop skills and knowledge throughout their careers. The College of Teachers will establish a process for teachers' ongoing education, recognizing that many of Ontario's teachers are already engaged in these activities.

Now let me turn to what the college's specific responsibilities will be. The college will be a governing council of 31 members, more than half of whom must be qualified teachers. The public will also be represented on the council, ensuring that the college serves the interests of the broader community as well as the professional interests of teachers.

What will this governing council of teachers do? Through the college, teachers will develop standards of what teachers should know and be able to do in a classroom at each stage of their careers. The standards of practice the governing council establishes will apply to all educators who are certified to teach in Ontario. This means all educators, whether working in the classroom or in school administration, will have high standards of professional training and requirements for professional development relevant to their experience and particular assignment.

The college will be responsible for the certification of teachers. The college will be responsible for developing a process of ongoing education for their profession. The college will investigate complaints concerning the professional misconduct of college members. The college will be responsible for the accreditation of pre-service and in-service teacher education programs, ensuring that they meet professional needs. Through the college, teachers will be responsible for accrediting the groups that deliver professional development programs.

While designed for teachers, the college will also have important implications for and accountability to the public. As is the case with other self-regulating professional bodies, the College of Teachers will have significant public representation on its governing council and committees. The governing council will report annually to the minister and to the Legislature on its activities. Meetings of the council and its disciplinary committees will be open to the public.

As I have said before, excellence in teaching is key to excellence in education. Today we are taking another positive step forward towards that excellence. I look forward to cooperating with my colleagues in the weeks ahead to ensure that the best possible legislation is passed as soon as possible.

The Acting Speaker: Questions or comments?

Mr James J. Bradley (St Catharines): I'm quite amazed, at this time when so many front-line teachers in the classroom are being given their pink slips, that the government is spending its time on this particular piece of legislation. In the speech the minister has given, I'm surprised he didn't talk about the fact that the quality of education cannot help but be lowered by the fact that there will be fewer front-line teachers in the classroom to deal with the students. While one can talk about the role and responsibility of the College of Teachers, the primary issue when I talk to parents and students and members of the teaching profession is how many teachers there will be to work with those students, especially those who have special difficulties.

Special education was initiated by this Legislature when the Minister of Education was the Honourable Bette Stephenson, and she at the time indicated how important it was that we have special services for those young people. Subsequently, it was built upon by other ministers of education in the Liberal and NDP governments. We had some good programs, which are quickly disappearing, for those people who are at a disadvantage.

In the long run, I think we recognize that what's going to happen is that those students as they grow up, because they don't have the same access to services that those just a few years ago would have had, are going to present more problems for society than might otherwise be the case -- witness junior kindergarten disappearing, witness grade 13 disappearing, witness many of the special programs for those who are disabled in one way or another and want to be part of the process of education in the regular flow of things.

I see nothing this bill will achieve that will help education in our province, and I'm quite surprised that the government would be bringing this legislation forward at this time.

Mr Bud Wildman (Algoma): In line with the comments made by my colleague from St Catharines and my caucusmates, a bit of a surreal atmosphere is created to be discussing this matter in a vacuum when this government is hell-bent on destroying the education system in the province.

The removal of $400 million in one year from the public education system of the province, which annualized works out to $1 billion, means the layoff of thousands of teachers. We're seeing, just with four boards recently in southern Ontario, over 4,000 pink slips already issued -- just four boards. It is true that perhaps some of those people will not be finally laid off when the final numbers come through after the end of May --

Mr Bradley: They will be next year, though.

Mr Wildman: Exactly. The government has just said it intends to have further cuts next year -- this from a government that said it had no intention of harming classroom education. To be talking about this piece of legislation at a time when the budget for classroom education in the province is being gutted is a little bit silly. I will be speaking later in the debate about the position we have with regard to a self-governing profession, but what is happening to the profession? What's happening out there in the real world? We're seeing many, many teachers being laid off and established programs that have come to be expected by parents and students gutted, and we're discussing this before the Legislature.


The Acting Speaker: Any further questions or comments? If not, Minister, you have two minutes to reply.

Hon Mr Snobelen: First, let me say that I'm somewhat surprised by the comments made by the representative of the official opposition, because I read in this interesting book, the red book, I think it's called, the Ontario Liberal plan that was put out to the people of Ontario before the last election -- I read with interest on the bottom of page 42, "A Liberal government will proceed with the creation of a College of Teachers." Perhaps my colleague from across the floor is a little confused today, because it's very clear in this book that this is supported.

As far as the comments from the leader of the third party are concerned, I'm not so surprised. I'm not surprised that the member has a difficulty in understanding doing better for less across the province, and I'm not surprised that the member has trouble with a government that's actually taking on the real-world problems and challenges that face Ontario in an effort to create a future for this province that's worthy of our students. I'm not surprised that the member opposite would ignore that.

What I am surprised by is that the leader of the third party would speak in any way against this act, this College of Teachers. I believe if he asked his colleague from Windsor-Riverside, he would find that there has been support, in fact a lot of activity, to bring a professional college to this province for teachers, that this is a positive move for teachers and for the public and it will lead to greater accountability in our education system. I'm surprised that the leader of the third party would not support that initiative.

The Acting Speaker: Any further debate?

Mr Richard Patten (Ottawa Centre): I would like to seek unanimous consent to have my time shared with my esteemed colleague from Kingston and The Islands this afternoon.

The Acting Speaker: Is there unanimous consent? Agreed.

Mr Patten: I welcome the opportunity to participate in the debate this afternoon on Bill 31. As I have done in the past, I would like to congratulate the members of the implementation committee for a very detailed piece of work. The study and the report that was put forward, The Privilege of Professionalism, is a very good start and a basis on which we can move forward as we look at the legislation.

The minister comments on his surprise at some questions that were raised by my colleague from St Catharines. I must say to him that yes indeed, all three parties had identified in principle and in concept their agreement with the College of Teachers, but now we come down to on what basis, and what form does it take, and does it live up to the recommendations and the expectations of teachers and people who are concerned about the creation of a sound professional body? That, of course, is where we are at today, where we begin the debate on the details of the legislation as put forward and whether it achieves and addresses the objects of the legislation.

The discussion surrounding the establishment of a self-regulating body for the teaching profession has been quite extensive over the years, indeed for the past 30 years or so. It has been mentioned, for example, in the Hall-Dennis report of 1969; in Teacher Education in Ontario: Current Practice and Options for the Future; again in 1987, the Final Report of the Teacher Education Review Steering Committee; and in 1988 again Hall recommended the creation of -- I keep referring to this, and I will souligner, underline this -- a self-regulatory body.

In 1994, For the Love of Learning: Report of the Royal Commission on Learning proposed the following:

"Our conviction is that teaching should be a self-governing profession, with greater responsibility and greater autonomy for teachers." Our caucus agrees with that.

To continue from the report, membership "must include representatives of the public...a majority of the members would be teachers, directly elected by all certified teachers...that no one interest group" should be in a position of control, and that the college should be "separate from and independent of the teachers' federations."

The main recommendation from the royal commission was, "That a professional self-regulatory body for teaching, the Ontario College of Teachers, be established, with the powers, duties, and membership of the college set out in legislation." Of course, that's where we are today. As we know, it was the recommendations of the royal commission which led us to the current effort to establish a College of Teachers.

I would like to state at the outset, however, that I support in principle the creation of a College of Teachers as a self-regulating body; that this means it is for teachers, by teachers, with significant participation and representation from the public.

Bill 31 represents a significant development in the area of teacher education. To date, there has been considerable debate and discussion over this principle. Debate has centred around, however, the report of the implementation committee. With the tabling of this legislation, now we move into a new area of discussion over whether the legislation in front of us today accomplishes the objectives of an improved mechanism for teachers and for teacher qualifications development in Ontario.

Ontario students will achieve the highest standards only if teachers meet standards that are equally high. The essential role played by teachers in the educational system cannot be underestimated. Because of that, I will have to share my view with the member for Algoma and the member for St Catharines this afternoon that within the overall context of introducing this legislation is a sense of dread, a sense of fear on behalf of many teachers, especially young teachers and some who have been in the profession only a few years, concerning their future and whether indeed they have one in Ontario.

In that kind of a climate, the member for Algoma mentioned the surrealistic context in which this is introduced, and I have to agree with him. However, I will discipline myself to address the bill but share the view that many teachers are living in a high degree of insecurity.

Teachers must, as we know, be well qualified, and as in any profession, stay up to date throughout their careers. This ongoing professional learning ensures constant renewal in the system, and we all win. We must, of course, support our teachers to have enough time to develop the skills they need to meet the challenging and complex needs of students today and in the future.

I'm particularly pleased that the proposed college would be responsible for the full spectrum of teacher education, from pre-service to in-service training. But I want to set out clearly that the focus must be on the educational and professional development needs of teachers while establishing clear standards of practice for the teaching profession itself. In addition, it is hoped that the College of Teachers, within its disciplinary capacity, will maintain the integrity of a profession that is so important to the future success of our students.

I believe that a College of Teachers should accomplish the following: strengthen teacher education through new initiatives such as internship, extended teacher training, graduate programs and cooperative programs with school boards; expand ongoing teacher education and require teachers to upgrade their certification on a periodic and regular basis; develop a variety of ways that teachers can upgrade their certification, such as peer review and evidence of ongoing professional development; and identify best practices in teaching, in methods, in learning materials and resources, testing techniques, teacher education and the use of technology and promote these usages through such means as computer networks.


Throughout my discussions and contacts with teachers in the various federations, I have heard, as I am sure many of you have as well, a number of areas of concern with Bill 31 which establishes the College of Teachers, and the first major area has to do with the self-regulating body. What does that mean?

I support a college that is, in the truest sense, self-regulating. This is the case for the British Columbia College of Teachers and for other self-regulating bodies: the Law Society of Upper Canada, the College of Nurses, the College of Physicians and Surgeons etc, and teachers expect no less.

Section 4 of the legislation sets out the composition of the council at 31 members through the following: 17 representatives to be elected by members of the college in accordance with regulations, and 14 are to be appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council in accordance with regulations.

The composition of these 17, as outlined in the recommendation of the implementation report, The Privilege of Professionalism, in terms of elections of members, has been a source of concern for many of the representations I have received.

We can look at British Columbia for an example of representation. In BC, 15 of the 20 members -- which is 75% -- of the governing council are elected classroom teachers, each representing a geographic zone, and each zone representative is elected by members of the college working or living in that particular zone.

While the Royal Commission on Learning cites the concerns that the BC teachers' federations held undue control over the BC college, discussions by my office with Earl Cheerington, who is the acting registrar general of the college, found that in fact this was not a concern -- and he is the acting registrar general -- there is no undue influence held by the BC teachers' federations in terms of their operation, and I would suspect a good deal of that has to do with the percentage of elected teachers on that particular council, which is 75%.

There are two issues, the first of which pertains to the proportion of the council which is appointed versus the elected. It is felt by teachers in Ontario, by nature and by virtue of their representations, that there is too large a proportion of the council appointed by the Lieutenant Governor, 14 out of 31 or 45%. For a body that is supposed to be self-regulating, that is a very small percentage when we look and compare this to other self-regulating professional bodies. If 10% or 15% of the members are appointed, that would certainly be sufficient representation from the general public and in line with many of the other professional bodies that we have here in Ontario.

The second point pertains to the composition of the elected members of the council. The teachers' federations maintain that the inclusion of representatives from the class of supervisory officers, a representative from a private school and a representative elected from the faculty of education does not guarantee that classroom teachers have a majority on the council.

There is a considerable amount of debate that revolves around this point with respect to the teacher status of the supervisory officer, the representative from a private school and the representative from the faculty of education. Now, I'm aware that the reasoning of this lies in the fact that the college would have an additional 40,000 members who are not part of the Ontario Teachers' Federation.

While this is a worthy point, we need to look at the composition of the 14 Lieutenant Governor appointments. It would contain individuals representing the public and individuals representing other sectors of the educational community in Ontario. Included here, right at the top, are three appointments from the English and from the French faculties of education in Ontario. So it would seem to me that there could be some question over the status of the representatives of education. Are they considered representatives from the broader educational community or are they viewed as teachers?

I think we need to have a discussion about how the composition was arrived at and what it was that was expected to be accomplished in terms of representation on the council. A key question is the principle of teachers for teachers in terms of their professional development, feeling that they really have a fair degree of control over that mechanism and are prepared to accept the accountability that goes along with it.

Mr Minister, I believe it's important that you move wisely towards a conclusion in passing this legislation. You must not move forward without regard to the views and the input of teachers. As I pointed out to you during discussions in estimates, some teachers get emotional when you say, "You know, I think you're doing a fairly good job." They feel there's a tremendous amount of insecurity in the educational system today. I don't think that severe criticism of teachers all the time brings out the very best in the human condition in a large system when people feel beat up. I think that if they feel there's a high degree of support and there is some acknowledgement of their professionalism and some acknowledgement of the heart they put into their work, this will provide a much greater sense of optimism and enthusiasm.

They want to be part of the process. In terms of the College of Teachers, the issue of a self-regulating body is germane, one in which teachers feel a sense of ownership, not one in which they feel they will be lorded over in an atmosphere of distrust. I would caution you, the Minister of Education and Training, to move cautiously on this particular point and to leave room for flexibility.

A concern has been expressed that classroom teachers are not in a majority on the council and that, as such, the College of Teachers is not self-regulating or self-governing in the full sense of the meaning by teachers. In order for this to be so, classroom teachers should be clearly in a majority. I hope the minister will consider this matter. The minister and I have already spoken about this. However, I want to bring it up once again for the reason that it seems to be the major source of opposition to the college. My suggestion is that an adjustment of a couple of teacher representatives, in favour of teacher representation on the council, might alleviate this particular problem. Possibly there is sufficient room for movement on both sides. I think certainly this is something that has to be addressed.

I'd like to address an area that likewise is of concern. It has to do with the privacy concerns and the powers of investigation and discipline. The issue of powers and investigative powers is an area which this House is very much aware of through the debate on Bill 26, the omnibus bill. There are some very serious concerns that similar issues are at play in this legislation. Whether this is as a result of the manner in which the legislation has been drafted or an explicit desire to confer such powers to the college, we shall have to hear out both sides.

The primary concern with the access-to-personal-information provisions of these bills is that the proposed powers to collect, use and disclose personal information may go beyond what is reasonably necessary to achieve the goal of the bill, thus leading to the erosion of privacy protections. This was, however, the same concern of the Information and Privacy Commissioner, you will recall, in respect to the access-to-personal-information provisions of Bill 26. The exercise of the power is limited only by the broadly framed objects of the respective bills. This concern was previously articulated by the Information and Privacy Commissioner in respect of Bill 26. It is similarly relevant to the analysis of Bill 31.

In terms of the relevant provisions of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, and likewise the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, they define "personal information" to mean "recorded information about an identifiable individual, including," and they go on to identify eight particular items, items that would be sources of information to be provided to a council, to a committee or the body that would be seeking information. I would like to address and point out four of those items that give me concern, and I present my case before the House in terms of the importance of contesting that this would be required and is necessary under the confines of this bill.


First, "information relating to the race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation or marital or family status of the individual," under clause 38(a); (b) "information relating to the education or the medical, psychiatric, psychological, criminal or employment history of the individual or information relating to financial transactions in which the individual has been involved"; I'll skip (c) and (d); (e) "the personal opinions or views of the individual except where they relate to another individual"; I'll skip (f) and (g) and go to (h), "the individual's name where it appears with other personal information relating to the individual or where the disclosure of the name would reveal other personal information about the individual." It also includes personal information that is not recorded, that is, information collected orally.

The purposes of the privacy provisions themselves, both privacy acts, are of course to protect the privacy of individuals with respect to personal information about themselves held by institutions and to provide individuals with the right of access to that information.

Part III of the privacy act contains provisions governing the protection of individual privacy, including safeguards relating to the collection, retention, use, disclosure and disposal of personal information held by institutions.

Under section 44 of Bill 31, what does it say? Under subsection 44(1) it says, "For the purpose of carrying out its objects, the college may require the provincial schools authority, a school board or any person or body designated by the regulations to provide the college with information, including personal information within the meaning of...the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act or under section 28 of the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, in respect of members of the college."

Then under 44(5), "If required by the college for the purpose of carrying out its objects, the minister may provide to the collection information, including personal information within the meaning of section 38." It goes on under 44(6), "For the purpose of carrying out his or her duties under the Education Act, the minister has the authority to collect from the college information, including personal information within the meaning of section 38 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, in respect of its members, former members and applicants for membership."

I contend that the information is overly broad and that the powers are really not justifiable. The Information and Privacy Commissioner noted the overreaching nature of similar provisions in Bill 26. His concern, as expressed in the attached written submission to the standing committee on general government was, "With the sweeping powers these amendments provide, there arises the danger that health care information may be collected, used and disclosed beyond what is reasonably necessary to achieve the goal of reducing health care fraud."

This same concern exists with respect to Bill 31. The only limitation on the power to access and use personal information in the bill is provided by the broadly drafted legislative objects, and I contend that this is a weak limitation, as the list of objects is even less clearly defined than the goals in Bill 26; for example, in Bill 26, of reducing the potential for health care fraud. As we know, Bill 26 was amended as a result of this information and this intervention by the privacy commissioner, and therefore it begs the question as to why this section of Bill 31 is there. I think it's clear that an amendment to remove section 44 of Bill 31 would be in order.

The need for such powers has not been clearly established. Currently, there is no similar provision in the statutes governing other self-governing bodies, such as under the Law Society Act or the Regulated Health Professions Act. These bodies have similar objects, including investigation and the discipline of members, but there is nothing in the Education Act requiring disclosure of personal information as is proposed with section 44 of Bill 31.

Other statutes do provide a similar, though more constrained, right of access to personal information. For example, the Family Support Plan Act allows a director, for the purpose of enforcing a support or custody order, to obtain personal information from other institutions. The Workers' Compensation Act gives the Workers' Compensation Board the power, subject to the approval of the Lieutenant Governor in Council, for the purpose of administering the act, to enter into agreements with other institutions to allow and give access to information held by the institution.

Under the area of confidentiality, section 45 of Bill 31 contains a confidentiality provision. It provides that persons engaged in the administration of the act shall preserve the secrecy of all matters that come to their knowledge in the course of their duties. This, however, does not provide justification for section 44 of the bill, I would contend.

In terms of disciplinary hearings under Bill 31, section 26, the discipline committee, a committee of the college, of course, is authorized to conduct public hearings to determine whether a member is guilty of professional misconduct or incompetence. The hearing will be public unless the discipline committee is satisfied that financial or personal matters may be disclosed.

These matters must be of such a nature that the desirability of avoiding public disclosure of them in the interest of any person affected, or in the public interest, outweighs the desirability of adhering to the principle that hearings be public. Thus, hearings will be held in public unless the affected person, the teacher, can satisfy the committee that their interest in keeping the information private outweighs the need for a public hearing.

In other words, the onus is on the affected person, and the decision to hold the hearing in camera is at the discretion of the committee. In my opinion, this bill should state that the council will exclude the public from a meeting when the meeting deals with a disciplinary matter. I do not support the notion of dealing with such matters in a wide open display that leaves little or no room for the protection of an innocent individual's reputation.

Any complaint about a teacher should first go through the normal channels to the school principal and to the superintendent. If the complaint is serious enough, or the person making the complaint is not satisfied, then he or she may go to the council. There is the potential for the council to spend far too much time investigating complaints that prove to be unfounded or frivolous, or that complaints do not relate to professional misconduct or to competence.

Mr John Gerretsen (Kingston and The Islands): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: It's my understanding that while a critic is responding --

The Deputy Speaker (Mr Bert Johnson): What is your point of order?

Mr Gerretsen: I'm trying to explain that to you, Mr Speaker. While a critic is responding to comments that the minister made on second reading of a bill, it is customary for either the minister or the parliamentary assistant to that minister to be in the House. Neither one is here, and I wonder if you could rule on that. My colleague has some very important information to convey to the minister and to the PA about this matter, and there's no one here from the department to --

The Deputy Speaker: There is no requirement that he be in the House. There is no point of order.


Mr Patten: I'd like to thank my colleague. I see the parliamentary assistant arriving in the chamber to listen to the debate and to respect the views of those who have considered very carefully the nature of the legislation that is before us. I want to thank my colleague for pointing out that fact.

If I may continue, I would like to also say that the council for the College of Teachers should only deal with very serious complaints that have some substance to them. It seems to me that this section gives far too much power to the council and the registrar of the college. If it is necessary to break down a door, search a home, seize materials, usually in daylight, it is certainly the time to have the professional law enforcement officers conducting the activity. This is no place for elected or appointed members of the council.

Under subparagraph ii of paragraph 3 of subsection 28(4), where it says "periodic inspections by the committee or its delegate," this council should work closely with the school principals, with the school boards. It is the principal who works daily with his or her teachers and who knows the situations in the various classrooms.

I am very concerned about, and I quote the section, "or its delegate." Who will this be? Will it be a professional educator, a principal, someone off the street, a friend? We don't know. We will debate this of course in committee.

I'm just trying to point out a variety of areas where I believe there should be some amendment to this legislation. Under section 34:

"(1) A justice of the peace may, on the application of an investigator, issue a warrant authorizing the investigator to enter and search a place....

"(2) A warrant...does not authorize an entry or search after sunset and before sunrise unless it is expressly stated in the warrant."

Under section 35, "An investigator may remove a document or object...."

Many of these things need to be questioned.

There's another section under section 28, clause 28(3)(b), which deals with a basis for disciplinary action. Physical or mental conditions are listed as grounds for designating a member incompetent and subject to disciplinary action. This provision I view as overly harsh. Equating a physical or mental disability with inappropriate conduct is not the same thing. It has been suggested that the term "incapacity," as is found under the Regulated Health Professions Act, may be a better designation for such a condition. This would remove the negative stigma associated with discipline. Rewording should be pursued on this.

In terms of vacancies and how those might be dealt with, under sections 7 and 15, "Where one or more vacancies occur in the membership of the council" -- or a committee -- "the members remaining in office constitute the council so long as their number is not fewer than a quorum."

Paragraph 7 of subsection 37(1) -- "governing the filling of vacancies created on the council by the departure of elected members of the council" -- the only provision for filling vacancies would be left up to regulations, which is linked to quorum being met without any definition in the legislation so far as to what that quorum is. What that means of course is that teachers could lose a majority of seats on either of the bodies in between elections, due to attrition, due to illness or for whatever circumstances. The provision of vacancies and replacement of positions on the council needs to be addressed.

In British Columbia, the College of Teachers sets out provisions for by-elections in section 12 of its act and prescribes a quorum of the council. In this particular legislation, the actual quorum level is not set out in the act. There is no quorum provision for the committee of the college. The act only speaks to the minimum number of council members who are to sit on committees and to the minimum number who are to come from the elected and appointed members. The British Columbia College of Teachers sets out a quorum in the bylaws of the college.

I hope that the minister will take some of these as examples of some of the recommendations that need to be addressed in terms of amendments to Bill 31, that these will be seen as constructive recommendations to enhance what is there, to address the concerns that many teachers have.

There is a historical basis of consideration of considerable thought on this matter, and the government should show flexibility on the issue and concerns that have been raised. In doing so, it can demonstrate maturity in addressing the makeup of this college, for in the final analysis, to remove some of the provisions of this bill will show trust, and only through trust can you have trust.

The government needs to move cautiously and optimistically. I hope that the minister will be referring this legislation to committee and will listen to all sides of the debate and that there will be time to review the concerns and the thoughts and the reactions of teachers, for in the final analysis, it is the teachers whose interests are paramount with this bill, and if they feel that this is not an encouragement towards their professionalism, then this would not be a good start indeed as a next step to help strengthen the quality of teaching in Ontario.

I urge the minister to show flexibility, to enable the teachers to attend hearings and to address the bill, as they will, in the most responsible manner.

At this time I'd like to pass over to my colleague the member for Kingston and The Islands the additional part of my time.

Mr Gerretsen: Let me first of all state that we're once again dealing with a situation that deals with optics rather than something that's really happening or really changing. It's very much like Bill 20, which the government sold on the basis that it was going to move the development industry along a lot quicker by changing some time frames etc, but really nothing is changed at all. It's very much like this bill as well.

We're dealing here with the establishment of a college for teachers etc, which I think there's widespread agreement on, except perhaps for the teachers' federations. Undoubtedly we'll hear from them; we ought to hear from them and we ought to have an open mind when we have our hearings on this matter. But from what I've heard so far publicly from the three parties in the Legislature, there seems to be some sort of consensus that the notion of a College of Teachers is warranted.

But it doesn't deal with the real situation as to what's happening in the educational system right now, and that is the number of teachers who are getting pink slips and the number of teachers who are once again going to graduate from our teaching colleges in the next couple of months who will be unemployed. I'm sure we all know teachers who graduated three, four, five years ago who are still unemployed, who have maybe had some occasional work since that time, are maybe doing some part-time teaching or some supply teaching etc, but these are young people who literally have not been able to get into their profession.

Undoubtedly it will be a lot tougher from here on in, because when you take $400 million out of the system -- and we can all play games with the fact that, "We're not taking it out of the classroom system; we're taking it out of administration etc." From an individual board's perspective, if it has less money to spend and if we're going to make it responsible for carrying out the educational functions within its board operations, it's going to decide how many teachers are going to be employed. If you give them less money to work with, obviously there will be fewer teachers in our system, obviously class sizes will increase and the people we're really doing all this for, the youngsters of this province, will in effect suffer as a result thereof.


Rather than dealing with that situation, rather than dealing with the commitment the government made when it was on the election trail in May last year and stated, "We will not take any money out of classroom funding," we're dealing here with the notion of setting up a college of teachers. As laudatory as that may be, it is just not dealing with the real problems in education today.

We all know what the hidden agenda is; we all realize that. The hidden agenda is to be involved in some sort of a wealth distribution in this province where we've already taken money from the most vulnerable and the poorest people in this province, whether it's through welfare cuts, whether it's through services that are no longer available, whether it's through the closing of halfway houses, you could just go on and on and on --

Interjection: That was the last government.

Mr Gerretsen: What do you mean it's the last government? It's your government that closed all the halfway houses etc.

Mr Joseph Spina (Brampton North): That's socialism. Redistribution.

Mr Gerretsen: The rehabilitation of offenders has nothing to do with socialism or capitalism. It deals with the reality of the situation, what happens with people after they've served their time and whether or not you want them to make a useful contribution in our society from then on. The only way you're going to do that is through some sort of rehabilitation program.

In any event, what's happening is that money is taken away from these lower sectors in society, from the most vulnerable in our society for only one purpose, and that purpose is to give a tax cut to the wealthier in this province. If the government at least had the courage of its convictions and admitted that's what the hidden agenda is, that it's out there for everyone to see, then at least I would respect them to that extent. But basically they're still holding on to this notion that no, it's not costing anybody anything.

Their economic statement of November 29 clearly indicated that the debt of this province is going to rise over the next four to five years from $95 billion, where it currently stands, to over $120 billion, an increase of some $20 billion to $25 billion, which just happens to equate the amount of the tax cut. That's really what this is all about. It's not about setting up a College of Teachers. We're throwing in that issue to get some favourable press out there so the people of Ontario will think, "Well, maybe these people are doing something in this area," without really dealing with the problems taking place in our education system right now.

On the bill specifically I find, in reading it over the last few days since it was given first reading, there are some very interesting sections in it dealing with the powers of the registrar. My colleague has already mentioned some concerns we have with respect to powers. Maybe it's my legal training or whatever you want to call it, but I am always very wary of giving more powers, particularly discretionary powers, to individuals or organizations, because they can be misused. That's not to say they are going to be misused by anyone in particular but they have the potential of being misused. The one thing that certainly makes us different as a democracy is the fact that we want to curtail the discretionary powers that people have.

When you look at part VIII, "Registrar's Powers of Investigation," you would probably say if the registrar is going to do his job and if there are going to be disciplinary hearings, there needs to be a power of investigation; most people would agree with that.

However, section 33 states:

"Where the registrar believes on reasonable and probable grounds,

"(a) that a member has committed an act of professional misconduct or is incompetent;

"(b) that there is cause to refuse to issue a certificate applied for...

"(c) that there is cause to suspend or revoke a certificate...the registrar may appoint one or more investigators to investigate whether such act has occurred."

What I find very curious about that is that the preamble to this section states if "the registrar believes on reasonable and probable grounds" that one of these things has happened. It seems to me there shouldn't be any discretion on his part at that point in time as to whether or not an investigator is going to be appointed. If he really believes, on reasonable and probable grounds, that something like this has occurred, then I think the registrar ought to appoint an investigator to determine whether or not those reasonable grounds that the registrar has in his or her mind do actually exist.

What this is really saying is that the registrar could very well believe in certain circumstances that one of these four matters has occurred and still not appoint an investigator. That, to my way of thinking, just isn't right. If the registrar truly believes, on reasonable and probable grounds, that a particular situation has happened, then that registrar ought to investigate that, and there should not be any discretion at that point in time as to whether to investigate it or not.

The other issue that is of some interest deals with this whole notion of the disciplinary hearings. My colleague made some reference to that earlier, but I would just like to repeat that because I think it's a question of where we place the onus in this particular matter. It all deals with whether or not a hearing ought to be held in private or in public. Let me, at the outset, say that I think, generally speaking, people would agree that hearings of any kind of judicial or quasi-judicial nature ought to take place in public. People have a right to know what's going on.

However, we're dealing here with a situation that I think is a little bit different than that. We're dealing here with a situation in which a person's professional conduct, or misconduct, is brought into question and, as the bill states, the hearing will be public unless the discipline committee is satisfied that "financial or personal or other matters may be disclosed at the hearing of such a nature that the desirability of avoiding public disclosure of them in the interest of any person affected or in the public interest outweighs the desirability of adhering to the principle that hearings be open to the public." Thus such hearings should be held in public unless the affected person can satisfy the committee that their interest in keeping the information private outweighs the need for a public hearing. The onus, as I've indicated before, is on the affected person and the decision to hold the hearing in camera is in the discretion of the committee.

If it's completely in the discretion of the committee, it seems to me that there may very well be situations where the affected person may be denied this service. To completely place the onus on that person to convince the committee that it ought to be held in camera may not be justified. It is my view that in a case of professional misconduct such hearings ought to be held in private unless it can be proven that by making them public it will not infringe on the benefits of innocence until proven guilty. In other words, I think that the onus ought to sit the other way, because I think we've all heard of situations where somebody's reputation and somebody's professional competence can be not only challenged but very quickly affected in a negative way if matters that are later on proven to be not correct come out in the public view without their say in the matter.

Since the college deals only with professional misconduct and not with criminal prosecution, it should only render public its decision to strip a member of his or her membership into college. Criminal charges would be made public upon criminal conviction in a court of law. Obviously, if there are criminal charges that come out of this kind of a situation, then the criminal courts ought to deal with them.

There are other powers in part VIII of the act as well that, in my opinion, simply give the registrar too much power to carry out an investigation, and too much power without the person that's going to be affected by it being able, early enough in the game, as it were, to do something about that investigation. This is a matter I hope the committee will take a good look at and that undoubtedly we will be hearing some presentations on as well.


It's a little bit like Bill 20. It's taking the approach that the new bureaucracy that is being set up is being given, in my opinion, powers that go beyond the reasonable powers that ought to be given under those circumstances in order for them to effectively carry out the function of their undertaking.

It is my belief, and I'm sure this is shared by some members in the chamber as well, that in order for us to fully understand the impact of particularly the investigation and the discipline sections of this act, there has to be a full and public debate, particularly by those individuals and organizations that may be affected by it.

I therefore hope that not only those matters I'm particularly interested in but also other sections, such as dealing with the membership of the college itself -- I know there are many good arguments that can be made to make sure that the majority of the members are in effect members of the teaching profession. It's very interesting that other boards and organizations that were almost completely dominated by members within a profession, such as the legal profession for example, have over the years had more and more lay representation on them, and I'm not so sure whether or not the general trend of membership to self-regulating bodies and organizations isn't away from almost exclusive membership of members that are involved in that particular organization or association.

I simply will wind up by saying it's unfortunate we are not here to discuss the real problems in education. The real problems deal with matters such as class size, deal with matters such as the tremendous unemployment situation that exists among the teaching profession in our province, that undoubtedly will get worse as the $400 million that is being cut away from the education budgets of the school boards of this province takes effect, and that we're dealing with a matter that, to my way of thinking, is more optics than anything else.

Let's deal with the real issues that confront this province, whether it's education, whether it's health care or social services. It seems to me that this bill just isn't doing it. We will have public hearings on it, so I understand, and it's my hope that during that period of time all of those different individuals and organizations, including the teachers' federations, that want to make presentations will come forward so that there can be a full and open debate on these particular matters.

The Deputy Speaker: Questions and comments?

Mr Ted Arnott (Wellington): I wish to compliment the members for Ottawa Centre and Kingston and The Islands for the presentations they put forward this afternoon. I've found their presentations to be very thought-provoking. In fact, I've heard from a great number of teachers in Wellington county about some of their concerns about the education system, and I'll leave my comments on the whole range of issues to another day, but speak directly to this bill today.

Many teachers in Wellington county are very concerned about this bill, and I think a poll was taken and in excess of 90% of the teachers in Wellington county were opposed to the bill as it presently stands. It's my view that if that's the case there may very well be problems within this bill that should be addressed.

I've worked and met extensively with teachers in Wellington county to discuss this bill, and I find that some of their concerns, in my view, are valid ones. I wish to share with the House some comments that I gave to the minister back in November on this issue: "It is my own view that a College of Teachers, with a mandate to improve educational outcomes, would enhance the professional status of teachers.

"However, many teachers have expressed their strong reservations to me about the formation of a college. I believe it is extremely important that you consult with teachers and solicit their comments and views before moving forward on a College of Teachers. It is extremely important that the government seek the advice of teachers on the creation of such a body, taking into consideration their ideas and concerns.

I go on to say: "I would suggest that it would be wise to draw on teachers' knowledge and practical experience about what educational techniques and strategies are effective in the classroom, and what improvements can and should be made. In this regard, I strongly believe that a majority of the board for the College of Teachers should be made up of active classroom teachers. It is extremely important to place authority in the hands of classroom teachers, because they have a practical, current and hands-on understanding of educational challenges, techniques and problems."

So I would like to indicate my support for one of the points that came forward from the opposition side, that the governing council should be comprised of a majority of active classroom teachers. I feel very strongly in that regard. I would encourage the minister to give consideration to sending this bill to a standing committee of the Legislature for full public hearings so that we can bring forward a bill that is acceptable to teachers.

Mr Gerretsen: I certainly would like to respond to the member for Wellington. You know, it's nice to see, after having been in this place for some eight months, that there is at least one out of the 82 Tory members who is actually willing to say something to improve a situation and to actually take on his own government on not only this issue, but also regarding the tax cut as being a reckless proposition. I urge you to make that letter public to all of the members of the House and to the media as well. It's very refreshing to actually meet a Tory -- and there are many good people here, even on the government side. Unfortunately --

Mr Bob Wood (London South): Name names.

Mr Gerretsen: Name them? That would take too long. You're all good people. The problem is that none of you think for yourself except for that member for Wellington. I think he ought to be congratulated on taking it up for the teachers, on calling the tax cut reckless -- and it's something that I've had the privilege of quoting on at least five or six occasions during the past week or so. I will tell you, in eastern Ontario you are held in great esteem. As I go around, they say, "You mean there's actually one Tory who thinks up there?" I say: "Yes. I've met him. He's actually written the Premier a couple of letters in which he is at least questioning some of the things that are going on."

I see my friend from Bruce-Owen Sound.

Mr Bill Murdoch (Grey-Owen Sound): Grey-Owen Sound.

Mr Gerretsen: Grey-Owen Sound. I have great hopes for him too, because he shows at times a bit of individuality, and of course the caucus chair there, but of course now she's been muzzled because of the elevated position she holds within your party.

Mrs Margaret Marland (Mississauga South): Me? Muzzled? Are you kidding?

Mr Gerretsen: Well, they're all hoping so. At least I hope the committee will take a look at all these various suggestions, and I hope you're a member of this committee so that we can have some more of your insights into these matters.

The Deputy Speaker: I would like to address the member for Grey-Owen Sound. I didn't see you. You may ask for unanimous consent. I think that would be the only way you could take your time.

Interjections: Agreed.

Mr Murdoch: I appreciate that, Mr Speaker. Thank you very much. I was going to speak on the two minutes on what the two members across the way just spoke on, Bill 31. I was going to mention a lot of things my friend from Wellington said, that we do have some concerns with this bill but there are some good things about it too.

I've talked to a lot of teachers in my riding and they have grave concerns with this bill. I hope their concerns can be addressed here in this House, because --

Mr Wildman: In your riding there are a lot of grey areas.

Mr Murdoch: That's right; there are a lot of grey areas in our riding. That's true.

As I was saying, the teachers have concerns about this bill. I think we have to hear and listen to their concerns and we don't want this bill to go forward too fast. I hope that it will go to a standing committee so that they will get a chance to come to the various places that the committee will go and to address their concerns and be able to tell us what they think should happen.

One of the things you talked about over on the other side is that we need teachers on this board. We certainly do need that, and they have to have the majority on this board so that they do have a lot to say when this College of Teachers is formed.


I think we need to talk a lot about this. I'm certainly looking forward to hearing what my other colleagues in the House have to say about this because, as I said, there are a lot of things at stake here. The education of our kids is very important. If we're going to do it properly in this province, we have to make some changes, but let's make the changes right and let's do it together. It's one of the few times I've sat in this House -- I haven't been here that long, but I've been here for six years -- that all three parties have agreed on something. You've got to agree with me that we've not always agreed, but I'd like to see that this time. We also have got to talk together on this and bring the people in who have a big stake with the college of teachers.

I'm glad to hear our colleagues across the floor talk about it, and we're certainly looking forward to your concerns, your comments, so that when the College of Teachers is finally done and this bill is passed, we have everyone's concerns addressed and we will have a good bill to help education in this province.

Mrs Marland: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I feel it's important for me to rise in my place and advise the member for Kingston and The Islands that indeed the new Premier does not muzzle the members.

The Deputy Speaker: Your point of order?

Mrs Marland: I would like to assure him that I am not in any way muzzled. I feel as free to speak now, as chair of caucus, as I ever did in opposition. I'm proud of our new Premier and his ability to receive our input, and the example of the letter from my friend the member for Wellington confirms that.

The Deputy Speaker: There is no point of order.

Mr Bisson: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: In light of the comments made by my friend across the way, I just want to contest that yes, the Premier does muzzle the backbenchers. There's no question about that.

The Deputy Speaker: There is no point. Further debate?

Mr Wildman: Unfortunately, Speaker, you're quite correct: In many cases in this House whenever there are exchanges across the way, there is no point.

Just in starting off, I would like to make the observation that the member for Wentworth North, the parliamentary assistant who is responsible, as I understand it, for elementary and secondary levels, is here with us, and I appreciate that. I know it would be out of order for me to comment on the presence or absence of the minister, so I won't comment on that.

Mr Gerretsen: Is he here?

Mr Len Wood (Cochrane North): If he's here, he's invisible.

Mr Wildman: I'm sure all of us would agree that it would be most appropriate for the minister to be here to listen to the debate, at least the leadoffs for the opposition parties, to get an understanding of what the opposition's views might be with regard to the first piece of legislation he is bringing before this House for debate. I'm sure he would feel that he should be here, so I know that he is with us in spirit, if not physically.

I also listened with care to the comments my friend the member for Wellington made. I appreciate them because I've known Mr Arnott, the member for Wellington, for some years, and I've always considered him a thoughtful person, perhaps in the mould of his predecessor, whom I'm sure he would consider it a compliment to be compared to.

He is very thoughtful and never reckless, so I would like to know if the document from which he was quoting in his comments is a public document, whether or not his views with regard to this piece of legislation and what might be required in order to make it even better than it is in draft form now, as presented to the House -- I'd really like to know whether this is a public document. I noticed after his comments that the member for Wellington delivered the document to the Hansard table so that it could be properly quoted to avoid any mistakes. I really would like the member to consider seriously tabling the document with the Clerk so we could all see exactly the context within which the quote is delivered so we would know exactly what his views are.

I said a few moments ago when the minister was in his place -- and I'm not commenting on the fact that he is not in his place now, because that would be unparliamentary -- that I thought it was most unfortunate that we are debating this piece of legislation at a time when the minister has just introduced to the House legislation designed to make it possible for the government to go forward with major cuts in education, cuts that I believe will seriously affect classroom education in the province.

Speaker, you will know that this government has already announced a total of $432 million in cuts to the education sector, and the government has also indicated that it expects to have further cuts to the education sector. That $432 million, I would point out, is directed only to elementary and secondary levels; it does not count the additional $430 million that the government has cut from post-secondary education in the province.

Ms Shelley Martel (Sudbury East): What did they promise?

Mr Wildman: My colleague asked me, "What did they promise?" I know I don't have to remind you, Speaker, that the Conservative Party, when it was running in the election campaign, made it very clear that all the people of Ontario could trust it not to harm classroom education, that classroom education would be protected in this province; that there would be administrative cuts, cuts of fat, that the boards would be required to eliminate all the out-of-classroom expenditures that could be identified as unnecessary, but that there would be no cuts to classroom education.

That's why I'm mystified that we're debating Bill 31 at a time when the minister is carrying out a program that inevitably will mean that large numbers of teachers will be laid off in this province. There's no question that somewhere in the neighbourhood of 10,000 to 15,000 teachers in this province will lose their positions this year because of cuts in funding from this government.

I suppose some people in Toronto might feel complacent about that, saying, "Of course that only affects boards that receive grants from the provincial government," that the Metro Toronto region is protected from this because the board of education does not receive grants from the provincial government. That is also the case, I might point out, in Ottawa; the Ottawa Board of Education does not receive grants from the provincial government either. The reason, for those who don't understand -- I digress a little -- is that the assessment levels are much higher in these two urban centres than they are in the rest of the province. It's true that the Toronto Board of Education has been hit with a number of assessment appeals which have been successful and have meant they are receiving less in property taxes from large bank towers downtown. All these banks, of course, are in such financial trouble that they have to protect their situation in terms of property taxes. But even with those changes in assessment, the city of Toronto is in a much stronger position with regard to commercial and industrial property taxes than are most of the boards in the province, so they don't receive any grants, and neither does the Ottawa board.

But we will know, in terms of the other piece of legislation the minister has just introduced into the House, that this government, for the first time in history, is going to legislate a clawback of a portion of the property taxes from the people of Toronto and the people of Ottawa, so their property taxes will go to help fund the operations of this government here. Of course those people are already paying a good portion of their incomes in income taxes and sales taxes and other types of taxes, so they're being hit with a double whammy. But I know that's not directly addressed in this legislation we're talking about today.


My concern is that we are discussing Bill 31, the College of Teachers, at a time when we're laying off so many teachers. The government is wont to say: "Well, we're not laying them off. That's being done by the boards." But they understand that even the public boards in Ottawa and Toronto will be faced with cuts because of the legislation that the government is bringing down. We are seeing the devastation of the junior kindergarten program, we're seeing changes in the way that adult education is funded, and what are we debating as the top priority for this government in education? The College of Teachers.

It must seem rather strange to teachers to see this kind of priority given at a time they don't know whether they're going to have any jobs. And teachers I know are as concerned about their charges, the pupils in their classrooms, as they are about their own jobs, because that's why they're teachers. They are very concerned about classroom education and they're very concerned that this Conservative government has broken one of the central promises on which it was elected, that it would not harm classroom education.

Having said that, I want to deal specifically with the matter at hand under Bill 31, the establishment of the Ontario College of Teachers, a self-governing body for teachers in the province. As we all know, this legislation follows a commitment made by the previous government, our government, in response to the Royal Commission on Learning. This has been something that has been debated and discussed from time to time over the years in Ontario, whether or not the teaching profession should be self-governing and how that might be achieved. There's been discussion among educators, discussion among bureaucrats and politicians over many years about this issue, and it has been quite controversial.

In theory, in philosophy, most people would accept the view that the teaching profession, just like other professions, should be self-governing. Obviously, our party will be supporting this legislation, as it is in line with the initiatives that we took.

Having said that, I want to make clear that we are determined that the government should agree, and I hope that they are prepared to agree -- I understand they will -- to hold hearings so that all of the interested parties will be able to come forward and put forward their views on the College of Teachers in general and specifically on the clauses of Bill 31, to make suggestions about how the bill might be improved to better serve the profession that it is designed to make self-governing.

Under Bill 31, the college has responsibilities that are similar to other professional bodies in the province: setting standards for the practice of teachers, coordinating and monitoring professional learning, disciplining members for professional misconduct or incompetence, and regulating teachers' qualifications.

It's been suggested that this legislation really brings teaching and the teaching profession into line with other professions, such as the regulated health professions, in this province. As we know, there's legislation that deals with all of those professions, as well as engineers and others, that makes it possible for those professions to control their own affairs, to deal with these aspects of professionalism and professional development and ensuring that the standards that everyone expects from a profession can be maintained.

I think it's important, though, that we recognize, as was suggested by my friend from Wellington and my friend from Grey-Owen Sound, that there are a number of teachers, a very large number of teachers, who are very concerned about certain aspects of this proposal and about aspects of the bill. I think it's very important that we recognize that work has to be done so that everyone can understand the components of the legislation and understand why the legislation is designed as it is.

I think my friend from Kingston and The Islands said in his presentation that everybody was in favour of this legislation except the teachers' federations. Well, I guess there is some truth in that.

Mr Gerretsen: Thank you.

Mr Wildman: I wasn't suggesting that you wouldn't tell the truth; I was just saying that it is a rather unusual situation where we are bringing forward legislation that all of us in this House support, all the parties support, for which there is general support I think in the public of the people who are interested in this matter, and yet the teachers' organizations themselves have expressed serious concern, both to our government when we were in government and to the Conservative government.

Some of the federations have argued that the legislation is unnecessary because the Ontario Teachers' Federation carries out most of the functions that are being proposed by the college, certainly in regard to discipline. They've also argued about the costs and how they will have to pay a certain portion of their paycheque, a small portion, to pay for the implementation and operation of the college.

I'm not sure that those are the central issues that are concerning teachers, however. I think what is bothering them the most is that the self-governance that is proposed in the legislation is not provided in a way that they think is acceptable. They think there are inadequacies in this legislation.

One of them has been spoken to by a number of members and that is the makeup of the council. Seventeen of the members of the council are to be elected to represent the teaching profession, people who hold teaching certificates in the province, and 14 are to be appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council. So the implementation committee, which I see is represented here today, has pointed out, and the minister has pointed out, that 17 and 14, there's a majority of people with teaching certificates who will be elected to the council and therefore this is a situation that the federation should be happy with.

Federations have argued that three of the 17 are non-teaching -- one's supervisory, one's for private schools -- and as a result of that they don't have a majority and this is not the same as other professions which are self-governing in the province -- they point to the College of Physicians and Surgeons, for instance -- and they've raised concerns about this.

Obviously, if the matter is sent to committee, we'll be able to hear the views of the implementation committee, we'll be able to hear the views of the ministry legal people and the bureaucrats, we'll be able to hear the views of all of the representatives of the teachers in the province, the federations, the OTF, and they'll be able to make the arguments around this and hopefully we'll be able to come to some agreement as to how section 4 could be properly designed to resolve this particular matter. I don't think it's one that should be central or paramount in determining whether or not the legislation should be supported.

There are other issues, though, that are of concern that the federations have raised. For instance, in section 12 the minister has the power, it appears, to issue orders to the council, and if they are not carried out, the minister can then bring an order in council and pass a regulation within 60 days. Many of the federations have raised questions about the independence of the council because of this. They point to the Regulated Health Professions Act and argue that in that legislation the applicable minister can make requests of the self-governing bodies, but the minister then cannot require, through the hammer of regulation, that the body go forward.


I'm not quite sure of that. I've read the Regulated Health Professions Act, I've looked at it, and I don't see the same difference that is being suggested by some of the federations. But I don't pretend to be a legal beagle, and so I would like to hear the views of those people who have more legal expertise than I in this matter.

Also, the questions around discipline: In subsection 25(8), it's been suggested that there should be provision for the right for an individual to have a hearing and that that should not be denied, as it appears to be. Again, this is a matter that is of significance, obviously, for the teachers, and I think that we should be able to hear their views and hear the views of others who are experienced with the other pieces of legislation for other professionals and determine in what way we could try to alleviate the concerns of the teaching profession.

In the same way, under clause 28(3)(b), where there is provision made for the removal of a teaching certificate because of mental incapacity, perhaps it would be helpful if we looked very carefully at the Regulated Health Professions Act again and substituted the wording that is used under that piece of legislation for the wording that is proposed in this piece of legislation.

There have been particular concerns raised on sections 33 and 34 about search and seizure powers. It's clear from my reading of the Regulated Health Professions Act and the College of Teachers, Bill 31, that similar wording is in both pieces of legislation. Some teachers have argued that the situation is different because, unlike physicians, generally teachers have an employer that is responsible for carrying out investigations into accusations of professional misconduct or incompetence and that the employer has access to records, that there are established procedures for dealing with these matters and that we should not have to establish what many teachers have said are possibly onerous provisions in the law to allow for search and seizure of records. They've also raised questions about why there would be the possibility of carrying out these kinds of actions at night; what it means to have "other persons," since it's undefined and so on. But again, I emphasize that these things are similar to the Regulated Health Professions Act, and I think they're pretty standard in these matters.

Obviously, the teachers are concerned about when these provisions might be used and what would cause them to be used. I think that's understandable. I hope that as we go through the committee we will be able to analyse this not just in comparison to the Regulated Health Professions Act but look at it in terms of when the powers might be required, when they might be used, for what purposes, and be able to allay a number of the fears of the teaching profession in this regard.

I've had some serious concerns expressed to me about the protection of personal privacy in this whole process. There are teachers who are concerned that section 44 in the legislation, subsections (1), (2) and (6) in particular, appears to override existing legislation designed to protect confidentiality. I would like that clarified.

Obviously, if we're talking about serious misconduct, we want to ensure that we can properly protect our students -- or other members of staff, I suppose. We want to ensure that and that must be our first priority. Some have said we shouldn't be concerned about that, that we don't need this kind of legislation because there is already provision for the children's aid society or for the police to become involved if there are serious issues related to misconduct that might harm a student, that might mean physical or emotional damage to the child. I don't subscribe to that.

At the same time, though, I am concerned about the suggestions that have been made about the provision for protection of privacy for the teacher who might be accused. I suppose I should indicate some bias here in that I am a former teacher and my wife is a member of the teaching profession. I've been doing this much longer, more than double the time I was a teacher, but I do have some connections with members of the teaching profession, some quite close.


Mr Wildman: Yes, particularly my wife. We all must take very seriously the concern that in protecting our students, which is the paramount concern, and protecting the integrity of the teaching profession, which is also very important, we also must ensure that the individual and the individual's confidentiality should be protected where possible.

All of us will remember or will have seen cases where individual members of the teaching profession have been wrongly accused. While they may have been vindicated in the end, there are still many people whose reputation may have been harmed because of that kind of process, a process that currently does not involved the college. Obviously, it involves the outside agencies I mentioned and the Ontario Teachers' Federation.

The other side of the coin -- I'm trying to be fair about this -- is that there have been a couple of cases recently, in the last few months, where individual members of the teaching profession have been accused of very serious misconduct. While the OTF, I believe, has a very good record in terms of dealing with disciplinary issues in general, in a couple of cases -- and there are only a couple I am aware of -- the minister has not acted and an individual has gone back into the classroom. I don't know the details of those particular cases, I haven't studied them in depth, but it does concern me.

Ultimately, this is a balance, and it's a difficult balance, and it will be difficult for the members of the college and the committees that will deal with this. In achieving that balance, though, we have to ensure that we have the support of the people who are going to be directly involved. They have to have confidence that they will be dealt with fairly and that they do have a significant say, a controlling say really, in the operation.


As a result, I think we have to look very seriously at the concerns that have been raised by members of the teaching profession with regard to the specifics of the legislation, the role of the minister, the makeup of the college -- the council -- and how it's going to operate.

I must say, in supporting the legislation, it does strike me as passing strange that all of us in this House, or at least the three parties, are supporting this legislation, ostensibly to help the teaching profession, against the wishes of many in the teaching profession. That does seem a little odd and I find myself feeling a little bit strange about it. I hope that in passing the legislation we will listen very seriously to the concerns raised by the federations and by the individual members of the profession.

I know all members have received many, many pieces of mail on this matter. I've received a mountain of mail, the vast majority of it from teachers who are opposed to the legislation. I would admit that there have been some letters that have been in favour, and I'm gratified by that. I would also point out that a number of the letters that I received in opposition appeared to be form letters. Over the 20 years or so that I've been in this place, I've never paid a lot of attention to form letters. I know, Speaker, that you would uphold the traditions of this assembly and would point out to me that petitions, for instance, go back a long way in our parliamentary tradition and that every citizen has the right, since Magna Carta, to petition the crown and so I should respect petitions. But I will tell you honestly, in general, I have even less respect for petitions than I have for form letters.

I'll tell you why. When I was teaching many years ago, I did an experiment with my students.

Mr Wayne Wettlaufer (Kitchener): Was that before the Magna Carta?

Mr Wildman: No, it was just after the Magna Carta.

I did an experiment with my students. I had my students go out on the street corner one day with a petition and ask for signatures. They solicited signatures to the petition.

Mrs Marland: Anybody will sign anything.

Mr Wildman: Well, not quite. There were people who refused to sign, but a lot of people signed the petition. So we brought it back in and the next week we sent out the same students to the same corners with the opposite petition. What was really amazing was the number of signatures that were the same on both petitions.

Mr Marcel Beaubien (Lambton): What does that tell you?

Mr Wildman: Well, it tells me that I should care very seriously about letters that are written by individual members of the public to me and to respond to them, and that I should look at petitions and form letters, but that I should not give them quite the same weight that I give individual letters that are written by individual members of the public. At least, that's how I interpret it and that's how I've operated for many years.

I will point out, though, that I did receive a number of individual letters from teachers -- which were not form letters -- who complained about the fact that I was supporting the College of Teachers as proposed and who objected to the implementation of the legislation that we are now discussing. They raised a lot of the concerns that I've listed as I've talked about this legislation here today. I take those concerns very seriously, because an individual person took the time to sit down and compose a letter based on the concerns they had after looking at the situation and hearing the arguments on both sides. I hope those kinds of people, whether they be leaders of the federations or individual teachers, will be able to have a say before the committee to ensure that their concerns can be properly dealt with.

I support this legislation. I think it's been discussed back and forth for many years in this province, the possibility of having a self-governing profession of teachers. We now have had the experience and the suggestions of the royal commission, and all members of the House or at least all parties in the Legislature are prepared to act on that and to support it. This is a rather unique situation; we don't often get support from all three parties for a piece of legislation. So I think it's something we should be prepared to act upon and act as expeditiously as possible, ensuring that the possibility of amendment is there as we go through first the hearings before committee and then the clause-by-clause before the committee after second reading is passed.

I'm sure we'll be able to deal with these concerns, either demonstrate that they are not well-founded if they are not, or if they are indeed well-founded, be able to come up with wording that deals with them in a way that ensures that the teachers' interests are served individually, as well as the profession as a whole.

I want to congratulate the minister for moving forward in this regard, but I reiterate what I said at the outset: I find it most unfortunate that we're debating the establishment of a College of Teachers in this province at a time when we are destroying the jobs of many of the teachers across Ontario. Even more than that, I regret that this government is not prepared to keep its promise to protect classroom education for students across Ontario and has instead embarked on a policy which is designed to take as much money as possible as quickly as possible out of education in a way that will inevitably adversely affect classroom education; not just destroying junior kindergarten, not just changing adult education in a way that makes it more difficult for people who want to return to school and get the training and upgrading they need, but affecting every student in the province, every classroom in the province, and harming teachers and education in general in the process. I deeply regret that.

I wish the minister were as willing to listen to what members of the opposition are saying about the cuts he's determined to make as he apparently is with regard to the college and the recommendations of the royal commission in that regard. What about the other recommendations of the royal commission? What did the royal commission say about early childhood education? What did the royal commission say about the role of teachers in education? While he's implementing the college, he's not acting on any of the other recommendations that the commission made that would have strengthened the role of teachers and protected education in the province.

That's most regrettable, and I call on the minister to review what he's doing with regard to education in Ontario to ensure that we do indeed protect classroom education rather than just continuing to hear the rhetoric he spouts while he cuts more and more from the education of our students.


The Speaker (Hon Allan K. McLean): Questions or comments?

Mr Murdoch: I'd like to comment on Bill 31 and try to stick with Bill 31. Unfortunately, sometimes members across the floor get swayed and get off on some other topics. But that's normal and that's acceptable in this House sometimes, so we'll let it go at this time.

I want to thank the other two parties for supporting the bill. As I mentioned before, though, I do have some concerns with Bill 31 and I hope that in the debate that follows, those concerns are looked after. In my riding, as I said before, a lot of the teachers have had concerns with this bill and that there hasn't been enough consultation yet. I hope that after we talk about it in the House here it goes to a standing committee and goes across the province so that all the teachers and the educators and people who are concerned have a chance to speak on this bill. As I said before, education's for our younger people and that's what we got to keep in mind, that this is something that will help our education system, to help educate the people we want to educate, not something that's the politically correct thing to do.

Mr Len Wood: You should listen to the teachers in your riding.

Mr Murdoch: The members across the floor say I should listen to the teachers from my riding. I hope I listen to everyone in my riding, whether they be teachers or not. I'm sure the speakers who have just spoken to this bill also do. The member who just spoke did mention that we have concerns and we want this bill to go through.

It is something to think about when all three parties have agreed. I've sat around here for a long time -- maybe not as long as some over there -- and we don't often get a bill that all three parties can agree to. Hopefully, this time when we come to the end, after a lot of discussion and after our teachers and other educators have had a chance for input, we come up with a conclusion that everyone can support in this House.

Mr Patten: I must share many of the views expressed today by the member for Algoma in identifying what many of the teachers are concerned about, but I must express my enthusiastic surprise and pleasure at hearing some members opposite talk about truly being prepared to listen very carefully to not only having hearings at committee but hearings that would tour the province to listen to teachers in different parts of Ontario. I think that's fabulous and I support that as well.

I hope the members for Grey-Owen Sound and Wellington really have the ear of the minister. I'm sure with their views now, with what they have presented in other contexts and have perhaps received feedback on, this is a sign of some flexibility. As everyone has said, all three parties in concept and in principle support this, and indeed many teachers have supported this, and if the issues identified today have been faithfully identified -- but you're never sure. Therefore, it's important to provide firsthand experience, for those to come forward and share their views, particularly teachers at this time. I would truly compliment the government if it did so, listened and made the necessary amendments to this legislation so that teachers felt very good and felt enthusiastic about being acknowledged as professionals, as they truly are.

Mr Bisson: I just want to commend my colleague for Algoma for the comments he made. I too am generally supportive of what this bill does. It is time we recognized that teachers are truly professionals in their own right, and as such we should allow them the same privileges that other professions, the nursing profession and others, have to deal with internal matters and regulate themselves. They're of that calibre, are able to do it, and we need to move forward and give them those powers.

I want to repeat what the member for Algoma said, issues that have been raised not only in my riding but in other ridings around the province. There are some concerns out there and I think some of them are legitimate. The powers the act will give the court to seize records and to search I think are already covered under other acts; the crown is able, if they're doing an investigation, to do that. I wonder why it's there. We need to have some good explanations in regard to those particular powers.

On the question of representation in regard to who will actually sit and control the College of Teachers, there is an argument that the representation needs to be modified somewhat. I would certainly hope that we listen to those concerns brought forward by the OSSTF and others -- not only the OSSTF, but other teachers' associations -- to make sure that we truly have a board that's representative of the teaching profession and not just of the management people within the teaching profession.

I want to repeat as well, though -- the member for Algoma makes the point -- that this is at the very time the government is cutting classroom funding by reducing junior kindergarten by half for those school boards that still have it, by reducing by half the funding for adult education for students over the age of 21 and others. It's quite regrettable the government is taking those actions in light of what it promised during the election.

Although I support this legislation, I also understand the government is looking for something positive to do in education to try to balance out some of the negative they do. None the less I will support the legislation but look forward to the committee work.

Mrs Marland: I'm very happy to comment on the member for Algoma's debate this afternoon on Bill 31. I too share the commendation and the pleasure of all three caucuses on this bill. To finally give one of the oldest professions the professional recognition they deserve through their own self-regulating college, the same as other professions in this province, is long overdue.

All previous governments have discussed this, and I know for a fact that the dean of our House, the member for Nickel Belt, who has sat in this place since 1971 and also is a former teacher -- I'm quite sure we could guarantee, if we have a recorded vote, that he will be on his feet in support of Bill 31. Isn't it wonderful that after all the debate about whether or not we should do this, and some criticisms on some sections of the bill, there is going to be a bill that all three caucuses in this Parliament will agree on and vote on in unison?

Some of the concern by some of the teachers frankly has been difficult for me to understand. I have met with my teachers and my federations and I think ultimately everyone will benefit from the establishment of this college and the passage of this bill.

The Speaker: The member for Algoma has up to two minutes for his wrapup.

Mr Wildman: I'd like to express thanks to my colleagues for their comments. Like the member for Ottawa Centre, I'm very gratified that Conservative members are talking about listening to teachers. My friend from Cochrane South talked about search and seizure. I think he was talking about the investigators and the powers that are proposed here, and that is one of the concerns, but again I would emphasize that we should look carefully at the Regulated Health Professions Act in looking at how those powers are dealt with.

Specifically, the member for Grey-Owen Sound said that he wanted the opportunity in the committee, which I believe will be sitting here in Toronto, for teachers to come forward and make their views known, and he hoped that the government would listen to the teachers. I find that commendable. I would hope that the government and the members of the committee will in fact listen to what the teachers have to say and attempt to respond in terms of amendments to this legislation.

I hope the government will follow the advice of the member for Grey-Owen Sound and listen to teachers in other specific issues as well. I hope the government would listen to the many teachers who are among the 100,000 people who marched in Hamilton outside of the government party's annual meeting, where they said they were there to represent the concerns of teachers about the cuts in education. I hope the member for Grey-Owen Sound will be a leading member, along with his friend from Wellington, in opposing the determination of this government to cut classroom education despite the promises they made as a party in the election campaign, and reverse their determination, apparently, to keep only one promise; that is, to cut taxes at a time when they are threatening education in the province.

The Speaker: It being almost 6 of the clock, the House stands adjourned until 1:30 of the clock tomorrow.

The House adjourned at 1800.