LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF ONTARIO

ASSEMBLÉE LÉGISLATIVE DE L'ONTARIO

Tuesday 19 April 2005 Mardi 19 avril 2005

MEMBERS' STATEMENTS

CONSERVATION

KAWARTHA CHOICE
FARMLAND FOODS

BOWMANVILLE FOUNDRY

STEEL INDUSTRY

CECILIA ZHANG

LONDON CLEAN AND GREEN

FORMATION PROFESSIONNELLE /
SKILLS TRAINING

HIGHWAY 7

HEALTH CARE

WEARING OF RIBBONS

REPORT OF CHIEF ELECTION OFFICER

VISITORS

STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
AND RESPONSES

ELECTRICITY SUPPLY

VISITOR

DEFERRED VOTES

ONTARIO HERITAGE
AMENDMENT ACT, 2005 /
LOI DE 2005 MODIFIANT LA LOI
SUR LE PATRIMOINE DE L'ONTARIO

ORAL QUESTIONS

MUNICIPAL FINANCES

LONG-TERM CARE

ELECTRICITY SUPPLY

MINISTRY OF TRANSPORTATION EMPLOYEE

ALLEGED SEXUAL ABUSE
OF MINORS

MUNICIPAL FINANCES

COLLÈGE DES GRANDS LACS

ELECTRICITY SUPPLY

WINDSOR BORDER CROSSING

LABOUR UNIONS

HERITAGE CONSERVATION /
CONSERVATION DU PATRIMOINE ONTARIEN

PETITIONS

SPORT PARACHUTING

SCHOOL CLOSURES

ANAPHYLACTIC SHOCK.

REGIONAL CENTRES FOR THE DEVELOPMENTALLY DISABLED

CREDIT VALLEY HOSPITAL

CANCER CARE

CARDIAC CARE

REGIONAL CENTRES FOR THE
DEVELOPMENTALLY DISABLED

ANAPHYLACTIC SHOCK

GASOLINE PRICES

REGIONAL CENTRES FOR THE
DEVELOPMENTALLY DISABLED

ORDERS OF THE DAY

PRIVATE SECURITY AND
INVESTIGATIVE SERVICES ACT, 2005 /
LOI DE 2005 SUR LES SERVICES PRIVÉS
DE SÉCURITÉ ET D'ENQUÊTE


The House met at 1330.

Prayers.

MEMBERS' STATEMENTS

CONSERVATION

Mrs. Julia Munro (York North): On Friday, April 15, I was pleased to attend the 17th annual Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Foundation fundraising dinner. This event is one of the key fundraising activities of the foundation. It supports conservation programs throughout the watershed. These programs serve a variety of conservation needs, such as raising public awareness throughout the watershed, programs designed specifically for teaching children about conservation and the importance of the lake, rural watershed management practices and urban retrofitting projects. These are all important undertakings for the other "Great Lake," Lake Simcoe. Lake Simcoe is a $200-million annual economic resource. It is the drinking water source for many communities. The lake provides recreational opportunities for over half the population of Ontario.

Many municipalities around the lake were represented at the dinner by their councils. The federal level of government was represented by Belinda Stronach, the MP for Newmarket-Aurora, and Peter Van Loan from York-Simcoe. The province was represented by Frank Klees of Oak Ridges and me.

The best news is that Friday's dinner raised a net $60,000 for the foundation. Congratulations to the organizers and to the generous guests at the great dinner at DiNardo's in Aurora.

KAWARTHA CHOICE
FARMLAND FOODS

Mr. Jeff Leal (Peterborough): I'm pleased to be able to speak to the House today about Kawartha Choice Farmland Foods, a local Peterborough-Kawartha initiative that has now been running for just over a year.

The Kawartha Choice initiative is designed to provide marketing and branding material and concepts to local agricultural producers and the companies that sell their products. Specifically, Kawartha Choice is a local initiative focusing on promoting the wide variety of agricultural products grown and produced in the Kawartha region.

The original intent was to develop a "Buy Local Beef" campaign; however, once the logo was established, the concept expanded to include other local agricultural products. From beef to buffalo, honey to maple syrup or apples to sweet corn, the Kawartha Choice logo is your assurance of the quality and integrity of locally grown products.

After nearly one year, there are more than 75 participants displaying signs on their farm gates, displaying a sign on their farm market booth, hanging a banner at their event or preparing a dish in a restaurant featuring locally produced product and telling their customers by displaying a banner or including a Kawartha Choice logo on their menu.

The Kawartha Choice initiative is designed to support local producers and the companies that sell their products by providing marketing tools and the official Web site, www.kawarthachoice.com. The goal is simply to help them clearly identify local products for consumers.

The initiative's benefits are: Local producers will sell more product, local companies will either process more products, such as local butchers, or sell products, such as local marketing vendors, grocery stores and specialty shops. Local marketing/promotion companies will benefit from the purchase of Kawartha Choice marketing materials. Tourism events, such as fundraising barbeques, will benefit from the increased "BBQ in a Bag" promotion.

BOWMANVILLE FOUNDRY

Mr. John O'Toole (Durham): I rise in the House today to recognize the publication of a new book that celebrates the history of a foundry in my riding. The book is entitled Iron in the Blood, and is subtitled The Bowmanville Foundry: One Hundred Years of Innovation.

The foundry was founded in 1901. It began operation under the ownership of Christian Rehder. It remained in the Rehder family for most of the past century, most recently under the leadership of Tom Rehder, an esteemed member of our community. Today's proprietors, President Michael Patrick and David Boothman, along with their team, continue the tradition of entrepreneurship, innovation and excellence.

Throughout its history, the foundry has employed many generations of men and women in Bowmanville. It has overcome technical challenges, two world wars, a global depression, several recessions, fires and flood.

I'd like to pay tribute to the two local authors, Helen Bajorek MacDonald and Helen Lewis Schmid, who are the co-authors. Their book successfully combines family history along with community, labour and economic history.

The official launch of Iron in the Blood takes place this evening at the Bowmanville Museum. The book recognizes a pioneer business that remains a vital part of the local economy in the 21st century.

I'm pleased to commend the authors for launching the book on the Bowmanville Foundry, and the Bowmanville Foundry and its current operators for their continued service to jobs and the economy in my riding of Durham.

STEEL INDUSTRY

Ms. Andrea Horwath (Hamilton East): This morning the city of Hamilton's planning and economic development committee, backed by the mayor, approved a resolution supporting our steelworkers in their effort to have Stelco entertain a new offer.

Also this morning, I had hoped to hear back from my Liberal MPP colleagues from Hamilton. Yesterday I asked them to sign a joint resolution urging their government to become actively involved in pushing for Stelco to at least consider the USWA-Tricap plan. They had until noon today to express interest in signing a resolution from all of Hamilton's MPPs urging Stelco to sit at the table with steelworkers and their financial adviser and drum up the best possible deal for all workers, past and present, including funding workers' pensions. I regret to say that the phone calls from my Liberal friends never came. They wouldn't sign on to help our city's number one industry, steel, and its largest employer, Stelco, in their time of greatest need.

The company needs to be looking seriously at every option out there. It can't afford to summarily dismiss proposals out of hand. The Ontario government needs to be there to ensure that all proposals receive due and fair consideration.

I hold no illusions that the USWA-Tricap proposal is a panacea for all that ails Stelco. Nevertheless, the Ontario government needs to be there to send the right signals to ensure Stelco can sustain itself and grow again over time for workers who give the company its strength.

Here in this House I've been asking to see the government's plan for modernizing the steel industry, winning projects that will benefit steel and resolving its pension problems. Today, I will be tabling a resolution supporting steelworkers in Steeltown. I hope Premier Dalton McGuinty and his Liberal MPPs come out of hiding and use their influence to help Hamilton and the people who elected us to represent them.

1340

CECILIA ZHANG

Mr. Mario G. Racco (Thornhill): I rise in the House today in memory of Cecilia Zhang. We all remember the story of the little girl's disappearance and the tragic news of her death in March 2004.

Her parents set up a beautiful memorial Web site and numerous memorial funds. They have openly shared their lives and that of their daughter's with the world.

Cecilia was a caring little girl who loved animals and had the gift for music. The Web site features a wish list that Cecilia wrote. It is not your typical nine-year-old's wish list. She wished nothing for herself. Perhaps the most profound wish she made was "that there are no more wars in the world and that equality is everywhere."

It is with this in mind and her love for music that the Cecilia Zhang Memorial Music Award was created by my wife, Councillor Sandra Yeung Racco, and the Royal Conservatory of Music. This memorial award will be granted to a music student between the ages of nine and 10 who possesses musical ability but not necessarily the financial means. It provides equal opportunity to all deserving young musicians.

Tonight, at the City Playhouse Theatre in Thornhill, the Cecilia Zhang memorial concert will take place. The concert will feature performances by many young students from the Royal Conservatory. All the honourable members in this House are invited.

Special thanks go to Cecilia's parents, the Royal Conservatory of Music and my wife, Councillor Sandra Yeung Racco.

Cecilia's memory will live on through the Cecilia Zhang Memorial Music Award. Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for listening.

LONDON CLEAN AND GREEN

Ms. Deborah Matthews (London North Centre): While recently visiting the grade 5 and 6 classes at Trafalgar Public School in my riding of London North Centre, I asked the students what we could do to make our community better. A young woman named Courtney Denda suggested something very practical: planting trees and cleaning up Vauxhall Park, near her school. Several other students immediately volunteered to help.

So, in the spirit of spring and Environment Week, Courtney, myself and many others are doing our part to clean up the environment. We have pulled together the Deb Matthews clean-and-green team as part of the London Clean and Green initiative, which coordinates a number of organizations to clean up London every spring.

On Saturday, April 23, thousands of Londoners will be donning their gloves and rubber boots to work together to help clean and green neighbourhoods and parks around our city. We will pick up litter, remove graffiti and plant trees. Please join us. When you do, you can be proud of being part of a growing trend across Ontario, Canada and North America that happens every April.

London Clean and Green is a local version of a national community cleanup program, Pitch-In Canada. Many other cities across Ontario promote citizens to get outside and clean up their neighbourhoods, including Toronto, Mississauga, Waterloo and Windsor.

Come and join me, Courtney Denda, students from Trafalgar school and our Deb Matthews clean-and-green team at Vauxhall Park on Saturday morning. Let's all work together to make London clean and green.

FORMATION PROFESSIONNELLE /
SKILLS TRAINING

M. Jean-Marc Lalonde (Glengarry-Prescott-Russell): Il me fait plaisir de partager avec vous et tous mes collègues aujourd'hui une initiative importante du gouvernement McGuinty.

Vendredi dernier, j'étais au campus de la Cité collégiale de Hawkesbury en présence de la présidente, Andrée Lortie, pour faire part d'un octroi au montant de 214 $ mille pour la conception d'un nouveau programme de soudure qui permettra aux jeunes femmes de Glengarry-Prescott-Russell de se lancer dans ce métier.

Yes, this new welding program will help 20 young women in the riding of Glengarry-Prescott-Russell to start careers in welding.

Compte tenu de la pénurie de soudeurs dans les métiers, ce nouveau programme suscitera un vif intérêt chez les usines de la région telles que IVACO et Gray Hawk.

J'ai eu le plaisir d'entendre le témoignage de Sonya Plouffe, qui a fait son cours de soudure avec des jeunes hommes. Non seulement travaille-t-elle maintenant comme soudeuse, mais c'est elle qui forme les nouveaux arrivants chez Gray Hawk. Dorénavant, les jeunes femmes de cette région intéressées par la soudure auront l'opportunité de faire leur cours en français, une première en Ontario.

Oui, M. le Président et chers collègues, le gouvernement McGuinty a su répondre à la pénurie de soudeurs sur les chantiers de construction ainsi qu'au besoin d'intégration des jeunes femmes dans le métier.

I am proud of this new direction in the trades brought forward by the Minister responsible for women's issues.

Il était temps pour les femmes et il était temps qu'elles soient reconnues dans cette compétence, soit le métier de soudeur.

HIGHWAY 7

Mr. Norman W. Sterling (Lanark-Carleton): Unfortunately, I must rise again to tell members of this House of another tragedy which has occurred on Highway 7 near Carleton Place. On Saturday, a mother and her young daughter from Ottawa were killed in a traffic accident on this dangerous stretch of highway.

I was very proud when I, as Minister of Transportation, committed $85 million to widen this stretch of highway. I knew that I was announcing something that would make a difference in the lives of my constituents. At that time, the project was scheduled to start last year.

Unfortunately, since the McGuinty government came to power, they have said they remain committed to this project but have not yet started any construction. I have written to the Minister of Transportation many times, and I have made statements in this House asking about this issue, and I will continue to do so until construction really does begin.

This accident occurred on a stretch of highway that would not have been affected even if construction had begun as we had planned before. In February, the last time I asked for a timeline, the minister said construction would not likely begin for another year. That is too long for my constituents. Too many people are being injured and maimed and killed. Today I call upon the minister to do everything in his power to get this project started now.

HEALTH CARE

Mr. Phil McNeely (Ottawa-Orléans): I came across an article by Sam Roberts, a columnist at the New York Times, that I want to share with this House.

Sam Roberts's wife called him at work and said she had inexplicable heaviness in her chest. Mr. Roberts asked his wife to phone her internist. When the internist heard the symptoms and her family history, he said, "Go, go, go to the emergency room," which she did. On arrival, she was tethered to heart monitors, intravenous tubes were inserted and tests were conducted. The specialists ordered she be admitted overnight. The Roberts family was insured, so Mr. Roberts phoned the Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield that covered them. They assigned a number and case to Mrs. Roberts. Nothing was discovered, so she was released the next night and urged to take more tests, including an echocardiogram.

Three days later, the insurance company, through a letter, denied coverage for the cost based on their doctor's judgment that the requirement for acute in-patient hospital stay for evaluation of chest pain was not medically necessary.

A week later, the hospital bill for $4,900 came; $500 for a cardiologist; $900 for an internist; $1,308 for additional tests ordered by the internist; and $1,718 for the tests at the hospital. The total bill payable by Mr. Roberts was $9,375. Even if Empire Blue Cross changes their decision and does accept to pay their share, the Roberts family will still pay $4,400.

If the chest pains come back, what will they do next time? Imagine: This happened with health care coverage. What about the 40-million-plus Americans who are not covered?

When the Leaders of the Opposition, both federally and provincially, want to take us down the slippery slope of private health care, think twice.

WEARING OF RIBBONS

Hon. George Smitherman (Minister of Health and Long-Term Care): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I seek unanimous consent to allow all members to wear the green ribbon in recognition of organ and tissue donation week.

The Speaker (Hon. Alvin Curling): Do we have unanimous consent as requested by the Minister of Health? Agreed.

REPORT OF CHIEF ELECTION OFFICER

The Speaker (Hon. Alvin Curling): I beg to inform the House that I have laid upon the table the 2003 Annual Report of the Chief Election Officer of Ontario.

VISITORS

The Speaker (Hon. Alvin Curling): In the members' east gallery we have Walt Elliott, a former member from Halton North in the 34th Parliament; also, another distinguished member, Hugh O'Neil, a former member for Quinte from the 30th to the 35th Parliaments. Welcome.

Mr. Mike Colle (Eglinton-Lawrence): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: Also in the east gallery, an illustrious council member for the city of Toronto, Toronto Centre-Rosedale, Kyle Rae is here.

We also have the Order of Canada award winner and the former mayor of the city of Toronto, John Sewell.

The Speaker: Thank you very much. My eyes must be fading. I can see you from there and you are all welcome to the House.

1350

STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
AND RESPONSES

ELECTRICITY SUPPLY

Hon. Dwight Duncan (Minister of Energy, Government House Leader): I am pleased to announce during Earth Week that the McGuinty government is moving forward to help our province meet the growing demand for electricity in a way that respects the environment and the air we all breathe.

Last April, our government initiated a call for proposals for 300 megawatts of new renewable energy capacity, opening the door to a significant increase in the number of clean power sources in Ontario, such as wind, solar, water, biomass and landfill gas. As a result, shovels are going into the ground on 10 new renewable energy projects that will provide Ontario with 395 megawatts of clean, green power. Not only will these projects bring an estimated $700 million in new investment to Ontario; they will also increase Canada's current installed wind capacity by approximately 80%.

Our government understands that finding clean, affordable, sustainable sources of electricity must be a top priority of this government, especially as the entire country seeks to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. That's why we have set a target of generating 5% of Ontario's total energy capacity from renewable sources by 2007, and 10% by 2010. Achieving these goals would make Ontario a clear leader in encouraging alternative power and greener forms of energy. The strongest interest from our last call for proposals demonstrated that there are plenty of people interested in renewable energy who want to help us meet our needs.

I'm very pleased to announce that our government is taking another giant step forward to embrace cleaner, greener sources of electricity by issuing a call for proposals for up to 1,000 megawatts of new renewable power, enough to power 200,000 homes. The RFP will be released this Friday, April 22, and proponents will have until August to submit proposals for wind, water, solar, biomass and landfill gas projects with a capacity of 20 megawatts or more. The range of proposals we expect to receive will allow us to choose the most viable, cost-effective projects for Ontario's electricity consumers, and we expect that successful projects will be announced as early as this fall.

Our government is creating a brand new industry in our province. For example, when we took office, there were only 14.6 megawatts of wind power capacity in Ontario. We expect that by 2007 there will be more than 1,000 megawatts of wind power capacity, and that is a 75-fold increase. This power will not only help us reduce our reliance on fossil fuel generation and help clean up our air; it will mean approximately $1.5 billion in new investment in Ontario.

More renewable energy means more jobs, more innovation and more economic growth in the province. It also means new and exciting opportunities, such as the potential for new wind turbine manufacturing plants right here in Ontario.

But it's not only large-scale projects that are of interest to our government. We want everyone interested in renewable energy to help us achieve our potential. That's why our government has announced that in June it will be issuing an additional call for proposals for up to 200 megawatts of power from small and medium-sized renewable energy projects under 20 megawatts. This RFP will be coordinated with a strategy initiated by my colleague the Minister of Natural Resources to make crown sites available for water power development, as many of these sites have the potential to provide up to 20 megawatts of power.

Our government is also currently exploring a strategy to encourage very small community- and agriculture-based renewable energy projects. My ministry is consulting widely on the options available, and we expect to make an announcement later this year.

When it comes to clean, renewable energy, every megawatt of clean power counts. Ontario has enormous potential for clean and efficient electricity generation. That's why our government is working on innovations such as Ontario's first wind atlas, which will identify areas of the province with the best wind power potential. That's why we're allowing development of wind and water power sites on crown land. And that's why we have introduced a regulation to allow net metering, which will make it more attractive for small generators such as farmers to produce green power by allowing them to receive credit for the excess electricity they produce.

There is much more to come. Through these initiatives, we're making it more attractive to explore renewable energy options in our province. We're removing barriers, freeing up resources and implementing new ideas to help us meet our supply needs in an environmentally responsible way. We're cleaning up our air and creating a healthier Ontario. We're acting decisively to protect the best interests of the people of this province today and for future generations to come.

The Speaker (Hon. Alvin Curling): Could I have a little less chatter in the House as ministers make their statements? Responses? The member from Durham.

Mr. John O'Toole (Durham): Yet another announcement by the Minister of Energy. He should really follow the media reports today. There's more clarity and more sincerity in the reports I'm reading.

"Six Reactors in Ontario Out of Service Again" -- from the Toronto Star this morning. The fact that the minister had to reduce the voltage on the lines by 5% should cause concern for small business and households. It will delay and potentially burn out motors. Also, on the very next page of the clippings this morning, there's a National Post article entitled "Paying for the Peak."

He should be honest with the public today. What's missing here is any honesty and integrity in terms of, at what price?

Clearly, our leader, John Tory, is committed to safe, reliable, affordable power, with a stress on conservation.

Their Minister of Finance, in his first budget, eliminated the sales tax rebate on the Energy Star program. This was to incent consumers to conserve. This is our core message. This announcement is yet more hot air, shall we say?

When in government, our minister, Elizabeth Witmer, who's here today, made the commitment to close the Lakeview plant, which will take place this May, next month. I might say that Jack Gibbons and the Clean Air Alliance are presenting Elizabeth Witmer with an award for cleaning up our environment.

The work being done by this government is a continuation of the work that was done by the alternative fuels committee, an all-party committee that unanimously endorsed a report that committed, in very strong terms, to raising the renewable portfolio standards. For those members of government who don't understand this -- because the minister doesn't seem to -- renewable energy is on the books for all caucuses, whether it's the NDP or the current government. But certainly we led the way with an all-party report that committed to renewable energy.

The real problem here is, when and where and at what price? In the articles I've referred to today, in the last 18 to 24 months, the only real information we've had is more announcements with no commitment regarding, at what price?

The conflicting outcomes here are these. The irresponsible election promise by the now Liberal government, the Dalton McGuinty government, was to close the coal plants by 2007. In fact, the government itself is now backtracking on its ability to close the coal plants. If you want to know more about it, I know two communities that are highly concerned. Atikokan and Thunder Bay and 230-plus employees are very concerned about the closing of those two coal plants, which represent about 500 megawatts of energy. There's nothing in this announcement today that assures me that we're going to have safe, reliable, affordable power by 2007. In fact, the government should come clean and say the renewable power that they're committing to today -- I am asking the minister, on the record here today, to tell the people of Ontario, at what price?

According to the article today that I've cited, "Paying for the Peak," I just want to put the consumers of Ontario on notice -- I'm on your side on this -- that you're going to be paying double, 100% more, for electricity this summer. It's going to be 9.3 cents a kilowatt hour. When we were in government, we froze it at 4.3 cents. The Liberals, in opposition, agreed with that. They supported that. Their very first post-election action was to break that promise and whack the consumers of Ontario with an increase in electricity -- an unannounced, non-consulted, high-handed, arrogant policy development on the fly.

It appears to me that this RFP does nothing to resolve any of my concerns about adequate replacement power for shutting down 7,400 megawatts of coal-powered plants. They haven't produced one new kilowatt of energy since they took over government. More announcements; no content, no details. Who he's leaving in the dark here are the consumers of Ontario.

I remain strongly concerned, and I can assure the consumers of Ontario that the opposition party, under the leadership of John Tory and Elizabeth Witmer, will remain vigilant and committed to the environment. Conservation is the first initiative. I hear nothing from this minister, although these were also election promises.

1400

Mr. Howard Hampton (Kenora-Rainy River): I'm pleased to respond on behalf of New Democrats and to say that we have yet another announcement by the McGuinty government of potentially some electricity down the road, at the very time when Hydro One has to reduce voltage in the lines because there is not enough electricity from day to day to supply demand as we have it now.

It is very interesting: We get announcement after announcement, but no plan in terms of electricity pricing, which is a very important issue for industry; no plan in terms of how to close coal-fired stations; no plan about how to ensure that we have adequate supplies of electricity.

I don't think there is anyone in Ontario who would disagree with wind power. That's like motherhood and apple pie. People would say this is fine. But what people want to see is a plan, and there are several questions that people need to start asking about this government's lack of a plan.

For example, on the price issue, we found from the last request for proposal that this government proposes wind power at 8.5 cents a kilowatt hour. Why is Manitoba able to deliver wind power at 5.3 cents a kilowatt hour? I wonder, does it have anything to do with that long line of Liberal insiders, like the president of the Ontario wing of the Liberal Party, who are collecting the gravy on these contracts, who will be collecting, as we say, a lot of money? Is that why wind power in Ontario will cost 8.5 cents a kilowatt hour, while in Manitoba they can deliver it for 5.3 cents a kilowatt hour?

The other thing people need to start asking is, how real are some of these announcements? A few months ago, the Minister of Energy announced to Ontarians that the government was going to proceed with the development of a number of water sites. One of the water sites that were identified was stage 2 of the Ear Falls generating station. That was the announcement. Just this past week, OPG was forced to announce that the project is not going to go ahead; it is delayed. Why is it delayed? Because before making the announcement, this government did not sit down and reach a settlement with Lac Seul First Nation on the outstanding grievances with respect to the damming of Lac Seul and the river, and the flooding which happened. So here is one site that was announced by this government that is not going to happen: 13 megawatts of power. I wonder how many of those other sites that have been announced by this government, particularly water power sites, are never going to materialize because the McGuinty government didn't bother to sit down and negotiate real issues with First Nations whose territory these potential water sites are on.

There are some other questions that I think need to be asked. Last week, we heard the government announce two new natural gas sites. Yes, there were some other things; there was some money for Loblaws. I'm sure Loblaws, a very profitable corporation, will appreciate getting money from the hydro consumers of Ontario. But it boiled down to two natural gas plants, and I searched and searched through the announcement to find information on price. The government was too embarrassed to announce price. I know why: because those bids came in at over 10 cents a kilowatt hour and the government doesn't want to announce to the people of Ontario that very soon their your hydro bills will see yet more increases, more substantial increases.

I also noticed in that announcement last week that while the government had asked for 2,500 megawatts in that request for proposal, even with the window dressing they were only able to muster a little over 1,500 megawatts. What does that say? Once again, this is a government that is desperate to make announcements because they don't have a plan.

We need to see the plan, Minister. What's your plan for those industries in Ontario that are very sensitive to increases in the price of electricity? Are you simply saying to the pulp and paper industry, the mining industry, the smelting industry and the steel industry that the McGuinty government doesn't want them? They need to know your plan for price.

Secondly, we need to know the plan for coal. This won't enable to you to close down Nanticoke coal, and the announcements you made a week ago will not enable to you shut down Nanticoke coal -- by your own admission, the largest polluter in Ontario. What's the plan, Minister?

VISITOR

The Speaker (Hon. Alvin Curling): I understand we'll be on our best parliamentary behaviour today, because I want to draw to the members' attention that present in the gallery is our former Lieutenant Governor, the Honourable Lincoln Alexander.

Applause.

The Speaker: I was about to point out that anyone who is in the gallery as a visitor should not partake in the applause, but understanding that the former Lieutenant Governor did so, I withdraw all my comments in that regard at this moment.

DEFERRED VOTES

ONTARIO HERITAGE
AMENDMENT ACT, 2005 /
LOI DE 2005 MODIFIANT LA LOI
SUR LE PATRIMOINE DE L'ONTARIO

Deferred vote on the motion for third reading of Bill 60, An Act to amend the Ontario Heritage Act / Projet de loi 60, Loi modifiant la Loi sur le patrimoine de l'Ontario.

The Speaker (Hon. Alvin Curling): Call in the members. This will be a five-minute bell.

The division bells rang from 1406 to 1411.

The Speaker: All those in favour, please rise one at a time and be recognized by the Clerk.

Ayes

Arnott, Ted

Arthurs, Wayne

Barrett, Toby

Bentley, Christopher

Berardinetti, Lorenzo

Bountrogianni, Marie

Broten, Laurel C.

Brownell, Jim

Bryant, Michael

Cansfield, Donna H.

Caplan, David

Chambers, Mary Anne V.

Chudleigh, Ted

Churley, Marilyn

Colle, Mike

Craitor, Kim

Crozier, Bruce

Delaney, Bob

Dhillon, Vic

Dombrowsky, Leona

Duguid, Brad

Duncan, Dwight

Dunlop, Garfield

Flynn, Kevin Daniel

Fonseca, Peter

Gerretsen, John

Gravelle, Michael

Hampton, Howard

Horwath, Andrea

Hoy, Pat

Jackson, Cameron

Jeffrey, Linda

Kormos, Peter

Kular, Kuldip

Kwinter, Monte

Lalonde, Jean-Marc

Leal, Jeff

Levac, Dave

Marchese, Rosario

Marsales, Judy

Martel, Shelley

Martiniuk, Gerry

Matthews, Deborah

Mauro, Bill

McMeekin, Ted

McNeely, Phil

Meilleur, Madeleine

Miller, Norm

Milloy, John

Mossop, Jennifer F.

Munro, Julia

O'Toole, John

Orazietti, David

Parsons, Ernie

Peters, Steve

Phillips, Gerry

Prue, Michael

Pupatello, Sandra

Qaadri, Shafiq

Racco, Mario G.

Ramal, Khalil

Ramsay, David

Rinaldi, Lou

Runciman, Robert W.

Sandals, Liz

Smith, Monique

Smitherman, George

Sorbara, Gregory S.

Takhar, Harinder S.

Van Bommel, Maria

Watson, Jim

Wilkinson, John

Wilson, Jim

Witmer, Elizabeth

Wong, Tony C.

Wynne, Kathleen O.

Zimmer, David

The Speaker: All those opposed, please rise one at a time and be recognized by the Clerk.

Nays

Flaherty, Jim

Hardeman, Ernie

Hudak, Tim

Ouellette, Jerry J.

Sterling, Norman W.

Yakabuski, John

The Clerk of the Assembly (Mr. Claude L. DesRosiers): The ayes are 77; the nays are 6.

The Speaker: I declare the motion carried.

Be it resolved that the bill do now pass and be entitled as in the motion.

ORAL QUESTIONS

MUNICIPAL FINANCES

Mr. Tim Hudak (Erie-Lincoln): I have a question for the Minister of Municipal Affairs. When you replaced the community reinvestment fund with the new municipal partnership fund, you claimed you were going to bring in a more fair program. But all across Ontario, municipalities are discovering that when they lift the thin veil of short-term transition funding, the reduction in funding to municipalities is some $47 million annually.

Minister, you know it's going to result in program cuts in municipalities, increased taxes or both. How can you stand in your place and say this is a fair program when the reduction is some $47 million?

Hon. John Gerretsen (Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, minister responsible for seniors): I'll refer that question to the Minister of Finance, since it's a finance matter.

Hon. Greg Sorbara (Minister of Finance): I simply tell my friend from Erie-Lincoln that we are very proud indeed of the new Ontario municipal partnership fund. We've replaced an old, archaic model that the previous government developed, which was expensive, inequitable and unreliable in terms of municipal funding. The new system of funding creates a grant that has elements of equity in it. It specifically deals with the increased problems of northern and rural communities, and specifically reflects, by way of a grant, additional costs for policing in smaller and more remote communities. We are very proud indeed of this new fund.

Mr. Hudak: That may be what the minister says and what some of his backbenchers say here in the House, but it's not what municipalities are saying across the province. Let me give you some examples:

Ron Leavens, the mayor of Pelham, says, "I think we need to launch some kind of lobby with the Ministry [of Municipal Affairs and Housing] that the changes they've made with the formula are still inequitable -- even more so than in the past."

"Niagara is losing as a result of the program."

The mayor of St. Catharines says, "Over a period of three years we'll be whittled down to nothing," in transfers from the province. In fact, across the region of Niagara recent headlines have shown some $5 million annually cut from funding programs to municipalities. That's not what you promised, and the result: cuts to programs and increases in taxes.

Minister, just confess: You're downloading $47 million of services on Niagara's municipalities and on municipalities across the province. Will you correct the funding formula and address the concerns of regions and municipalities like those in Niagara?

Hon. Mr. Sorbara: I need to quote my parliamentary assistant, the member from Eglinton-Lawrence, who accurately describes that member and that party as the kings of downloading. During the period from 1995 to 2003, the added burden on municipalities as a result of initiatives taken by that government was simply unconscionable. That's why we had to fix the old community reinvestment fund, and that's why we've created this new partnership fund.

In addition to that, I might point out, in the area of municipal funding, the agreement by our government to take on added costs in public health, the agreement to transfer two cents per litre of gas tax so that we can build stronger public transit systems. The community of Port Colborne in the member's own riding will receive an additional $1 million --

The Speaker (Hon. Alvin Curling): You may tell him in the supplementary. Final supplementary.

1420

Mr. Hudak: I say to the minister that when it comes to cuts to municipalities, there is a new king. His name is Dalton McGuinty, the same man who is the king of broken promises, because this sure ain't what he promised during the election campaign.

Minister, it's not just localized to Niagara. In Lambton county some $3.8 million has been stripped from local municipal budgets. Lambton county, Strathroy, Petrolia -- Mike Bradley, the mayor of Sarnia, had this to say about the new funding formula: "The formula is way too complicated, but the bottom line is that the province is saying we get nothing by 2006. Lambton county isn't being treated equitably either. We're struggling to understand this." St. Clair, Lambton Shores, Petrolia, Strathroy, Dawn-Euphemia, Plympton-Wyoming, Warwick, Enniskillen all have cuts under the Dalton McGuinty Liberal funding formula.

Minister, how is this fair to Lambton county and the municipalities I've mentioned?

Hon. Mr. Sorbara: Again, I would simply point out to the people of Ontario that what they want to know and what I can reassure them of is that we have finally put in place a funding formula that treats local municipalities fairly and equitably. Under the old system, for some municipalities the grant was much in excess of their needs, and other municipalities were absolutely struggling, so we've created a grant that is more equitable.

I'm very surprised at my friend from Erie-Lincoln, knowing, as he should, that his own region of Niagara will be receiving a 10% increase in funding this year over what they received last year.

The Speaker: New question, the member for Whitby-Ajax.

Mr. Jim Flaherty (Whitby-Ajax): My question is for the Minister of Finance. The minister says he is proud of this program, but it is the people of Ontario, including southwestern Ontario, who are going to pay the price of your pride. In fact, many ridings in southwestern Ontario are being severely punished under your new funding formula. Let's look at the facts. For example, the member from Perth-Middlesex is left trying to explain lamely to his constituents why their municipal budgets are being slashed by your government. The town of Southgate is down $600,000. The city of Stratford is down $2.8 million. The county of Perth is down $2.7 million.

Minister, is this the program you're so proud of, so proud that these municipal taxpayers will see their municipal taxes increase because of your abrogation of your responsibility, your imposition of an additional tax burden on Southgate, Stratford and Perth county?

Hon. Mr. Sorbara: I'm looking for a way to deal with this delicately, with my friend from Oak Ridges, because the alleged information he put to this House in his question simply does not represent the facts at all. Firstly, what the people of Ontario need to know in respect of the grant for this year is that not one municipality will receive one cent less than they did in the previous year. Secondly, he should know that, for example, Lambton county is getting $88,000 more through the public health system increase. Even in his own community, a wonderful community like Whitchurch-Stouffville will receive more than a $500,000 increase, because their old, archaic system, which has the former minister's fingerprints on it, was inequitable, unfair and simply did not work for the vast majority of municipalities.

Mr. Flaherty: Just to help the minister, I know he doesn't know the numbers in the finances of Ontario, and he also needs a lesson in geography. Although Whitby starts with a W, like Whitchurch-Stouffville, it's a little bit different. The people in Whitby know they're not living in Whitchurch-Stouffville, unlike the Minister of Finance.

It's just as bad east of Toronto as it is in southwestern Ontario. You've got Mr. Leal, the member for Peterborough. Do you know what the director of finance for the county of Peterborough says? He says, "The recently announced fund did not help fund these costs (highways, bridges, ambulance services, child care, social services) at the county level." That's what the poor member for Peterborough --

Interjections.

The Speaker: I'll give you your time back. Order, member from Peterborough. Order.

Mr. Flaherty: I know it's not easy being the Liberal member from Peterborough when this is happening. Do you simply ignore the member from Peterborough when you make a move like this, Minister, which reduces by over $700,000 the budgets of Peterborough and surrounding communities? That's east of Toronto, now, Minister. We've dealt with the southwest; they're getting less. Now, east of Toronto, they're getting less.

You say that you've fixed the fund. You've fixed the people of Peterborough.

Hon. Mr. Sorbara: I'm incredulous at my friend from Whitby-Ajax. He really knows how to put his foot into it. He mentions funding for highways, bridges, ambulances -- all the stuff they downloaded on municipalities and made municipal government intolerably expensive. We're starting to turn that around.

I want to speak specifically about Peterborough. I want to talk for the moment about the new hospital that my friend the Minister of Health has announced for Peterborough. Because it is an underserviced area, I want to mention the new family health team that my friend the Minister of Health has announced for Peterborough. In discussing Peterborough, I want to reiterate how quickly this government moved to action when that wonderful community was hit with that terrible flood, lo these many months ago. We are very proud of our commitment to Peterborough.

Mr. Flaherty: Bad news in Perth-Middlesex, bad news in Peterborough. Do you know where it's the worst, though?

Hon. Jim Watson (Minister of Consumer and Business Services): Whitby.

Mr. Flaherty: No, this is in Chatham, in southwestern Ontario. The member for Ottawa will know that this is in southwestern Ontario, even if the Minister of Finance does not.

Some $12.8 million has been slashed under this so-called fairer program. According to the Chatham Daily News -- that's a newspaper in Chatham -- municipal taxes could rise 10.5% as a result of this program. I'll quote from an editorial in the newspaper: "If the ... funding changes go through as proposed, local MPPs Pat Hoy and Maria Van Bommel should be treading on thin ice. Their government will have badly let the residents of this municipality down."

Minister, is a $12.8-million cut to municipal services your idea of a fairer program for the burdened people of Chatham?

Hon. Mr. Sorbara: I could take up the rest of question period describing the increases that will come to communities right throughout southwestern Ontario. But I want to quote my colleague from Perth-Middlesex, who has actually gone through the numbers and says that Perth county is a net beneficiary in the new funding.

Do you know what? It's not about choosing favourites. What it's about is bringing forward a reform package that treats communities equitably so that the funding responds to their needs. In our view of the world, it was important to pay specific attention to help municipalities, smaller municipalities, with their social service costs, to help those municipalities with their policing costs and to help municipalities, particularly northern and rural municipalities, really be able to discharge the burden of municipal finance, and to clean up some of the terrible mess left by an administration that we threw out of office, partly because they did not understand the realities in communities across Ontario.

1430

LONG-TERM CARE

Mr. Howard Hampton (Kenora-Rainy River): My question is for the Acting Premier. Over the last eight weeks, a coroner's inquest has investigated the tragic events at Casa Verde nursing home in North York, where a 74-year-old resident suffering from dementia murdered two other residents. The inquest heard evidence of 11 such homicides at Ontario long-term-care facilities since 1999 and more than 3,000 reported incidents of aggression.

Yesterday, the jury released its findings: "Nursing homes are in dire need of more funding, stiffer regulations and better-trained workers." It also urges the McGuinty government "to revise the funding system presently in place ... within the next fiscal year," and made 85 other recommendations.

Acting Premier, lives are at risk. Will those seniors in Ontario who deserve good care see a revision of the funding formula in this budget for this next fiscal year?

Hon. George Smitherman (Minister of Health and Long-Term Care): I'm pleased to acknowledge that the incident the coroner's court recently investigated is an incident from 2001. Obviously, none of us is satisfied with any circumstance arising from care in an Ontario long-term-care home that doesn't meet what we consider to be a high Ontario standard. In the days since we came to office, we've moved very aggressively on issues related to the improvement of care in those facilities.

I haven't yet had the opportunity to be a recipient of the findings from the coroner's inquest. I do very much look forward to them. I give the assurance to the honourable member and to all honourable members that in our ongoing effort to improve the quality of care in our long-term-care homes, we're going to look closely at those recommendations and seek to be action-oriented on their implementation, as we have on a variety of other initiatives already.

Mr. Hampton: I thought I asked a straightforward question: Is the funding formula going to be revised as you promised before the election and as the jury now says is urgent?

But I want to ask about another recommendation. Before the election, Dalton McGuinty promised to restore a provincial standard of care for nursing home residents. He said, "Ontario Liberals are committed to reinstating the standards of care for nursing homes that were removed by the Harris-Eves government -- including minimum 2.25 hours of nursing care daily and three baths per week." You're now into the second year of your mandate and Dalton McGuinty's promise on that front is a broken promise.

The evidence at the Casa Verde inquest showed that residents in long-term-care facilities in Ontario received just a few minutes of direct registered nursing care per day. These levels are among the lowest in the country. The jury said you must fund and set standards requiring long-term-care facilities to increase staffing levels so that you can provide 3.06 hours of overall nursing and personal care per resident per day. That was your promise. Are you going to fulfill that now?

Hon. Mr. Smitherman: As I had a chance to say to the honourable member in my earlier response, these recommendations that he's reading from have not been formally sent to the ministry and, therefore, obviously I haven't had a chance to consider them.

I can tell the honourable member that already our agenda with respect to long-term-care homes has been an agenda of action: tougher compliance; unannounced inspections; a 1-800 number action line with any call that comes in investigated very thoroughly and very promptly; a $191-million investment to improve the quality of care in our long-term-care homes; for the first time in 20 years, increases to the comfort allowance for those residents who are there and a freeze on the increases in the proportion of costs they pay; a public Web site that for the first time makes the compliance data available for all Ontarians to view; and new legislation that is forthcoming in 2005.

This is evidence of the progress we've made, the commitment that we have to long-term care and, of course, we'll be looking very closely at the recommendations the honourable member is referring to.

Mr. Hampton: I'm surprised the minister would try to come here today and say he doesn't know anything about this. I read the highlights of the report in today's paper. The last time I checked, you had a staff of over 20 in your office. I'm sure some of them read the paper and briefed you.

I want to ask you again about what you promised before the election. Before the election, you promised $420 million of new funding for long-term care on an annual basis. Eight months later, in May 2004, you announced less than half of what you promised, only $191 million. Then we checked with the long-term-care facilities to see what they got, and they got only $116 million, about a quarter of what you promised in the election. The recommendation is clear that you must, on an urgent basis, revise the funding formula. Are you going to do what the jury recommends and what you promised before the election, Acting Premier?

Hon. Mr. Smitherman: As I've had the opportunity now twice to highlight to the honourable member, we've made very, very significant progress on this file. We're the first to acknowledge that we have more work to do, but, unlike the honourable member, I don't consider my work to be sufficiently well done if I'm simply reacting to a newspaper story. That's not where I get briefed. It is not where I seek detail. It may be sufficient for the honourable member to read a newspaper story and draw all necessary conclusions, but I think that's inappropriate.

A group of Ontarians sat together, I believe for eight weeks, and carefully considered information. It seems prudent to me that I actually receive a report and have the opportunity to consider it, before I leap to the conclusions that the honourable member has.

The Speaker (Hon. Alvin Curling): New question.

Mr. Hampton: Acting Premier, you and your Premier had no trouble leaping to announcements of $420 million a year in increased funding for long-term care before the election. You had no trouble announcing that you were going to put in place a regulation requiring 2.25 hours of nursing care per resident per day. Now you've got a coroner's jury that is very, very clear. It was very easy for to you make those promises before the election. Now this jury is saying, "The promises you made are urgent." They are saying to you, "You need to do this now. You need to revise the funding formula. Put the money in now."

So I say to you, Minister, you made the promise before the election, you made several promises on this front. The coroner's jury after the deaths of these people has simply confirmed that this is what must be done. Is the McGuinty government prepared to do it or not?

Hon. Mr. Smitherman: The evidence of our preparedness is clear, and that's why we've already made so much progress.

Here is what Greg Fougere, the chair of the Ontario Association of Non-Profit Homes and Services for Seniors said in January 2005: "There has been a lot done in the past year with the revolution in long-term care, and we can see that this government is moving on many fronts to improve care and services for seniors." That has included moving forward with reinstating significant regulations that will provide an enhanced level of care for some of our most vulnerable Ontarians who are receiving care in our long-term-care homes.

I'm of the opinion that we have the right formula in place, that we're going to continue to build upon the progress that we have made. Only from the manufactured negativity of the third party could come anything short of recognition that significant improvement has been made. Of course, we're going to look very carefully at these recommendations coming forward from that jury.

Mr. Hampton: Minister, I just want to remind you of some of what you said.

On December 8, 2003, George Smitherman promised a revolution in long-term care. He said, "This is not Ontario's standard." Smitherman wiped tears away from his face, and said, "`This is a sub-par performance ... I want to bring a sense of missionary zeal to the work we do in this office...."

You haven't changed the funding formula that you promised. You haven't provided the levels of nursing care that you promised. Here are a couple of the other things that they recommend: a minimum staff-to-resident ratio, using permanent staff rather than contracting out; mandatory reporting by long-term-care facilities on how nursing and personal care envelope money is spent; major changes to the way in which residents with dementia are cared for.

Minister, you promised all of these things yourself a year and a half ago. Where are the changes that you promised before the election, during the election and when you shed your tears after the election?

Hon. Mr. Smitherman: I think the evidence is quite clear, and it is to be found all across the long-term-care-home sector. The evidence of the revolution is well underway. We've done significant progress on this.

Don't take it from me. Here is what Lewis Massad, the executive director of the Ontario Finnish Resthome Association said on January 10 in Sault Ste. Marie: "I appreciate that the government has invested significant resources in terms of the development of new care standards for long-term care and has increased the funding component to support the new enhanced standards. The ministry is also currently reviewing and preparing proposed legislation to govern long-term-care homes. Such measures are long welcomed."

The fact of the matter is that I have not concluded we are done yet. We have more work to do. I've acknowledged that in every one of our answers. The people of Ontario, based on the record we have around action on long-term care, know that, unlike the opposition party, we will deliver.

1440

Mr. Hampton: It's interesting that the Acting Premier mentions new long-term-care legislation. You promised that too, last fall. Here we are in April of the next year; still no legislation.

This is also what the Casa Verde inquest said. They said almost half of institutionalized seniors show some form of aggression. One out of every three people will develop some form of dementia. Complaints about residents assaulting other residents and staff have grown exponentially over the past five years.

You promised all these things; you haven't delivered. Let me tell what is really a serious problem here. You made promises to autistic children, to vulnerable children. You made a promise to end the clawback of money from the lowest-income children in this province. You made other promises with respect to children. All of the vulnerable seem to be forgotten. Here we have vulnerable seniors you made promises to before the election, during the election, after the election. The coroner's jury is calling you on your promises. When are we going to see the new funding formula? When are we going to see minimum hours of standard of care for these --

The Speaker: Thank you. Minister?

Hon. Mr. Smitherman: The long-term care home sector well knows that we have already installed regulations, standards for 24/7 RN coverage and for two baths a week as a minimum. This is a significant improvement to the commitments we made. Our colleague from Nipissing, Monique Smith, has done a tremendous body of work on this and continues to work alongside a variety of people, seeking and consulting around the appropriateness of the long-term-care legislation. The honourable member, at the same time, says, "Be beholden to the information that comes through, that comes across, as it will, in a formal report from that jury" --

Ms. Shelley Martel (Nickel Belt): Just keep your promise. That's what he's saying.

Hon. Mr. Smitherman: Please, if the honourable member would give his critic a question.

I think what we have is a historic opportunity to take advantage of the best information that comes forward, including from this --

Interjection.

The Speaker: Order, member from Nickel Belt.

You have 10 seconds to wrap up.

Hon. Mr. Smitherman: We're in a historic opportunity. We're working hard on drafting long-term-care legislation for the future of this sector in Ontario, and we have an opportunity to take into consideration the important work of the citizens of Ontario in that jury's work.

ELECTRICITY SUPPLY

Mr. John O'Toole (Durham): My question is to the Minister of Energy. There is growing fear in the energy sector across Ontario. There are three articles in the papers today. In one, which I mentioned earlier, there are "Six Reactors in Ontario Out of Service Again," near brownouts, reduction of voltage. I have another article here from the Post about paying the peak price for power that says that with smart meters households will be paying 9.3 cents per kilowatt hour.

Minister, clearly you've rushed in an ill-advised plan for the shutting down of coal plants. More specifically, I want to drive this to how it affects people in their lives. The Thunder Bay plant, as you well know, produces 310 megawatts of power, the Atikokan plant produces about 215 megawatts of power, and together they employ some 230 people. Would you tell the people of Ontario how you're going to replace the 525 megawatts, but more importantly, what about those jobs in Thunder Bay and Atikokan? What do you say to those people who are going to lose their jobs with an ill-conceived, ill-developed and poorly delivered plan on energy replacement for the coal-fired plants?

Hon. Dwight Duncan (Minister of Energy, Government House Leader): I'll remind you that the previous government had done nothing to create any new generation in Ontario in their entire eight years in power -- not a thing. We were left with an absolute mess.

We have announced the Niagara tunnel project, a $700-million investment that will create thousands of jobs; we did the first RFP on renewables for 395 megawatts, a $700-million, 700-job opportunity; the 2,500 megawatt proposal, which we announced the first 1,600 megawatts of last year, again $1 billion of investment. In addition, we have announced today another 1,000 megawatts of renewable power, an anticipated investment of $1.5 billion that will create somewhere around 1,000 jobs. When it comes to closing coal, there will have to be replacement and there already is replacement: $170 million invested by Hydro One that created close to 300 permanent jobs. The job creation associated with these energy projects will create more new jobs in Thunder Bay --

The Speaker (Hon. Alvin Curling): Supplementary.

Mr. O'Toole: A very long answer but no content once again. I remain concerned and remain extremely vigilant. I can only say to you that this is a plan that is at risk, and it's an issue of competency in your ministry. It is irresponsible with respect to the five coal plants, which we spoke of. You had your election promise, which was premature; you have backed away from it now, and it's another broken promise. What we need is a reliable source of affordable replacement power before you commit to the closure of these plants.

I'm going back to the story of the people's lives in Atikokan and Thunder Bay. Clearly you offer them no exit or transition strategy for what's in their lives for the future. It is not just about the consumers paying 100% more for the electricity in their home, and the seniors who will be at risk because of your ill-conceived policy; it is about the lives of 230 employees who will be out of work because your ill-conceived plan for Thunder Bay and Atikokan. Minister, tell the people in that community: what's the plan? What's the plan for their lives? Give them some hope for the future.

Hon. Mr. Duncan: I'm glad the member is concerned. I wish he had been as concerned when Paul Rhodes was given a $335,000 contract for strategic communications. I wish that he had been concerned when he was given a contract for $225,000. I wish that he had been so concerned when they refused to apply freedom of information to Hydro One and OPG. I wish you had been so concerned when, without contract, Tom Long got a $685,000 contract for Hydro One. I wish that he had been concerned when Leslie Noble got a $250,000 contract, again untendered. That government had no plan; that member had no response. This government is creating power in an efficient, respectable and sustainable way that will undo the damage that that member and his party and John Tory did to this province's electricity sector.

MINISTRY OF TRANSPORTATION EMPLOYEE

Mr. Michael Prue (Beaches-East York): My question is to the Minister of Transportation. Your government promised to set a higher standard when it comes to ethics and conduct. Is it acceptable for you or anyone on your staff to have violated the election laws passed by this Legislature?

Hon. Harinder S. Takhar (Minister of Transportation): Absolutely, we all operate within the election laws, and we respect all the laws of this province and this country.

Mr. Prue: Perhaps then you can explain to this House why you recently brought Navjeet Mangat on to your staff as a senior adviser. You can explain why Mr. Mangat, as a long-time Liberal Party operative, also worked for a lobbyist Jeff Lyons until the year 2003. You can explain that during 2000, in the city of Toronto, Mr. Mangat along with other employees of Mr. Lyons made large and illegal donations to a number of successful municipal candidates. You can explain, and we know, thanks to the MFP inquiry, that Mr. Lyons and his employees were funnelling money to those campaigns on behalf of businessman Ball Hsu, and they continued to do everything in their power to deny it until they were finally revealed. When a whistle-blower came forward, Mr. Mangat refused to verify her story to the press, and he stayed in Lyons's employ while Lyons told the media the whistle-blower was lying.

You promised a higher ethical standard. Is it appropriate that you have Mr. Mangat on your staff?

Hon. Harinder S. Takhar (Minister of Transportation): I am not aware of any allegations against any of my staff members. I am not sure where this member is coming from or what he's talking about.

1450

ALLEGED SEXUAL ABUSE
OF MINORS

Mr. Jim Brownell (Stormont-Dundas-Charlottenburgh): My question is to the Attorney General. First let me congratulate and thank you and the Premier for the realization of a full public inquiry into the sex abuse scandal that has shaken the community of Cornwall and area. I was proud to be with you yesterday at city hall in Cornwall to see the looks of relief on the faces of the victims as it became clear that the McGuinty team was fulfilling its promise to hold an inquiry. From the formation of this government, you have worked tirelessly with me and with those involved in the community and area to see that this long-standing concern was addressed.

Attorney General, you have appointed the Honourable Justice G. Normand Glaude to lead this inquiry. Could you explain to us what led you to choose him as a commissioner? And now that he has been appointed, what happens next?

Hon. Michael Bryant (Attorney General, minister responsible for native affairs, minister responsible for democratic renewal): I thank the member for his question. It was an honour to be with you in Cornwall yesterday. It was an honour to be with you in Cornwall some months ago when we sat down with your community, sat down with the victims and heard what they were looking for; namely, someone who was a senior member of the bench, someone who had experience in criminal law, someone who was fluently bilingual, someone who was not from the Cornwall area and did not have any connection to any of these matters but was willing to conduct the entirety of the inquiry in Cornwall.

Mr. Justice Normand Glaude fulfills all those criteria and then some. He's a very highly respected and experienced regional senior justice for the northeast region for the Ontario Court of Justice who has served on the bench for some 15 years and has a significant background in criminal law.

It is now in the commissioner's hands. All decisions about the commission and how it proceeds are in his hands, as they should be.

Mr. Brownell: Thank you very much for explaining this. I know many here in the House will join me in expressing our appreciation for your commitment to your promises and to the people of Cornwall.

I would also like to personally thank my predecessor, the MPP for Stormont-Dundas-Charlottenburgh, the honourable John Cleary, and also MPP Gary Guzzo for their diligent efforts on this file.

Everyone is anxious to see this issue be properly addressed so that the healing process may begin in my community. Attorney General, can you assure us that Justice Glaude has the tools he needs to finally get to the heart of the matter and to resolve this issue for the victims and their families?

Hon. Mr. Bryant: Yes, with the public inquiry, under the Public Inquiries Act, he has all the tools at his disposal to leave no stone unturned and to provide recommendations that ultimately, we hope, will lead to some reconciliation and healing for the people of Cornwall. Along the way, we will work with the commission, as the commissioner sees fit, to ensure that victims get the services they need during what will inevitably be a very painful time for them. Ultimately, with this public inquiry, we will finally get to the bottom of what happened and will get recommendations so we can proceed better in the future, in a way that not only can everybody have confidence in the system, but the victims can feel that justice has been done.

MUNICIPAL FINANCES

Mr. Jim Wilson (Simcoe-Grey): My question is for the Minister of Finance. It involves his new municipal partnership fund. That's the fund that replaces the community reinvestment fund. It's supposed to help compensate municipalities for services like roads and land ambulances and policing and social services.

Mr. Minister, the treasurers of the municipalities in Grey county met this morning, and they report the following about your new municipal funding: Owen Sound loses $2 million and property taxes will eventually go up 12.5% because of your new funding; the Town of the Blue Mountains will see a decrease of $1.3 million and property taxes will go up 17% because of your new formula; and the municipality of Grey Highlands loses $1 million and property taxes will go up a whopping 25%. That's from the treasurers themselves.

You should be embarrassed. You complained all the time about our funding formula, but never in the history of Ontario and never in the history of PC politics did we ever raise property taxes by 25%. You should be ashamed of yourself. How can you look municipalities and municipal taxpayers in the eye and say that this is a fair funding formula?

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Alvin Curling): Order.

Hon. Greg Sorbara (Minister of Finance): I was considering asking the member to repeat the question, but I'm not sure this 100-year-old structure could take it.

Let me just let my friend and the people of Ontario know what Roger Anderson, the president of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, said. He said, "Today's reconciliation announcement" -- that is, on the details of the new fund -- "shows that the Premier is listening to municipalities. The province's decision to pay money owed to municipalities for 2003 and 2004 is good news for property" --

Interjections.

The Speaker: Could I ask the members to come to order so that I can hear the Minister of Finance.

Hon. Mr. Sorbara: Even in my friend's own riding, the municipality of Wasaga Beach will receive an increase in 2005 of some $765,000. But it's not the individual municipalities that are the concern. The concern is that we have a system, finally, that is fairer, more equitable and affordable for this province. We are very proud of this system.

The Speaker: Supplementary, the member for Haldimand-Norfolk-Brant.

Mr. Toby Barrett (Haldimand-Norfolk-Brant): Minister, just two weeks after announcing $15 million for Ontario's hard-hit tobacco communities, you've pulled the rug. Funding to ag minister Steve Peters's Elgin county, a tobacco-growing municipality, will be slashed $4.4 million. That's a 68% cut under your shell game. Brant county, which I share with Dave Levac, is being cut by $2.9 million. That's a drop of 48%. Mr. Levac's city of Brantford itself is dropping by $6.7 million, a 53% drop. Mayor Mike Hancock feels a sense of betrayal; Councillor Carpenter calls it the Ontario pilfering fund. In Norfolk county, another tobacco county, $7.3 million. That's a 55% cut. Oxford county sees a 100% reduction. They grow tobacco in Oxford.

Minister, how is this fairer for the tobacco-growing communities of Brant, Elgin, Oxford, Norfolk? How is this fair for the city of Brantford?

Hon. Mr. Sorbara: The simple answer to that is that it is fairer because it is more equitable. He mentions Brantford in particular. Brantford will receive almost $800,000 in additional public health and gas-tax funding.

My friend mentions the wonderful southwestern part of this province, where tobacco farmers have gone through such difficulties. He will know, and you will know, sir, that my friend the Minister of Agriculture has a program to help the transition out of tobacco farming which is unprecedented in the province and in the country.

But the main point I reiterate: When we were called upon to govern, we found a municipal financing system that had burdened municipalities with responsibilities for highways, for bridges, for public health, for ambulance services, which was making it very difficult. Through this new funding formula, we have finally brought a very high degree of equity, fairness and predictability to municipal financing, and we're very proud of that.

1500

COLLÈGE DES GRANDS LACS

M. Rosario Marchese (Trinity-Spadina): Ma question est pour la ministre de la Formation et des Collèges et Universités.

L'ancien gouvernement conservateur a fermé le Collège des Grands Lacs en 2001 de façon illégale et anticonstitutionnelle, sans avoir consulté la communauté francophone du centre sud-ouest de l'Ontario. Malgré les promesses de M. McGuinty d'être plus à l'écoute des besoins des francophones de l'Ontario, votre gouvernement libéral appuie la décision du gouvernement Harris de fermer le seul collège francophone de la plus grande ville du Canada.

Ministre, pourquoi appuyez-vous cette fermeture ?

Hon. Mary Anne V. Chambers (Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities): I appreciate the question from the member for Trinity-Spadina. However, as I have previously indicated in a letter to Ms. Casselman, who participated in the press conference today, I really am not in a position to discuss this matter at this time because it is a matter that's before the courts. Collège des Grands Lacs is before the courts, and I gather that it's also an issue that's before the Ontario Human Rights Commission. Until that is resolved, it would be absolutely inappropriate for me to discuss it.

M. Marchese: Madame la Ministre, je vous dis ceci : les 500 000 personnes de cette région qui parlent le français ont droit à leur propre collège avec les programmes en français sur un campus francophone. Aujourd'hui, des étudiants, des travailleurs et des membres de la communauté francophone se sont joints au député provincial Gilles Bisson pour vous demander de rétablir un collège d'arts appliqués et de technologie à Toronto pour la communauté francophone du centre sud-ouest de l'Ontario sous une nouvelle administration.

Pourquoi refusez-vous de les rencontrer pour poursuivre les discussions afin de garder ouvert ce collège ?

Hon. Mrs. Chambers: I will repeat my previous response. It's absolutely inappropriate for me to meet and discuss matters that are before the courts. That is a process that must be respected.

I should also bring to the attention of this House that we have two very highly respected, well-supported francophone colleges in Ontario: Collège Boréal and La Cité collégial. I think it's really important to recognize that since the closing of Grands Lacs, Collège Boréal has been doing an excellent job in addressing the needs of francophones in southwestern Ontario.

ELECTRICITY SUPPLY

Mr. Bruce Crozier (Essex): My question is to the Minster of Energy. I see today that the McGuinty government is announcing another request for proposals for renewable energy projects in Ontario. I know the first request for proposals was very successful, resulting in 10 new projects representing 395 megawatts of clean, renewable power and an 80% increase in Canada's wind generation capacity. As you know, I come from a part of the province with good wind generation potential and would love to see more of these projects being built. Minister, what is the goal of this most recent RFP, and what sort of clean, green generating capacity is it going to create?

Hon. Dwight Duncan (Minister of Energy, Government House Leader): The McGuinty government is moving forward to protect the interests of Ontarians by enhancing the available supply of clean, renewable electricity. The types of power we're looking at are wind, solar, water, biomass and landfill gas. By seeking up to 1,000 megawatts of renewable energy, that's enough power to power 200,000 homes. We believe very strongly that finding this clean, affordable and sustainable resource is important to the vitality of our economy and to our future growth, but moreover, it's important to our environment and important to our collective public health and individual health outcomes.

We're sending a very clear signal that we want participants in the market interested in clean, renewable electricity to come to the table to help us meet our supply need. The range of proposals we expect to receive will allow us to choose the most viable, cost-effective projects for all of Ontario's electricity consumers.

Mr. Crozier: Minister, it seems to me that this request for proposals, combined with the earlier ones, is going to bring a significant amount of investment to Ontario. I expect that areas with good wind potential, like along much of the shores of the Great Lakes, are going to see an influx of investment, as will rural areas with potential biomass projects and the untapped resources of northern Ontario's rivers and streams.

I would assume that 1,000 megawatts translates into a sizable economic investment. Minister, how big an investment will it be, and how many jobs will it create?

Hon. Mr. Duncan: More renewable energy means more jobs, more investment, more innovation and economic growth in Ontario. By increasing Ontario's share of renewable energy, the McGuinty government is building a new industry in our province. When our government took office, there were 14.6 megawatts of wind power capacity in Ontario. We expect that by the end of our first mandate there will be more than 1,000 megawatts of wind power capacity, representing a 75-fold increase across the province.

We believe that this RFP will result in $1.5 billion of new investment in our province in addition to the $700 million that was invested in the first RFP. Today's announcement is the first of a phased plan designed to accommodate energy projects of all sizes to help us meet our needs. We want everyone interested in renewable energy to help us achieve our goals. We're moving to projects under 20 in June and even smaller projects this coming fall. This represents new investment, new jobs, new revenue for the province. It's good news for everybody.

WINDSOR BORDER CROSSING

Mr. Jim Wilson (Simcoe-Grey): My question is to the Minister of Transportation. Shortly after you were sworn in as minister, you travelled to Windsor, Ontario, where you promised the city that when they came up with a plan to improve the Windsor-Detroit border crossing, you would be prepared to move.

That was about 18 months ago. Since that time, the city has hired Mr. Schwartz, a consulting engineer. He has come up with a comprehensive plan and a vision for the border crossing, and they are waiting for your action. All of us who are watching the situation are wondering why your two senior cabinet ministers down there aren't prodding you to do something. Why have you not acted on the Schwartz report, after you asked for solutions from the city of Windsor and now you have not acted to implement those? You seem to have $400 million for the Windsor casino, but you're doing nothing to facilitate those US tourists coming across the border. When are you going to act on the Windsor border crossing and make improvements?

Hon. Harinder S. Takhar (Minister of Transportation): It is really interesting that this question is coming from the opposition, who did nothing for eight years. They didn't do anything at all. As soon as we came into power, the first thing we did was agree on the first phase of the Windsor crossing.

We do appreciate the work that has been done by the city with Sam Schwartz, and we are working very closely with the federal government and the municipality to come to a solution that will address the long-term issues of the border. This border is really important for the provincial economy.

Mr. Wilson: You say, "You did nothing." You must mean the federal Liberals did nothing also, because in 2003 Premier Eves, along with senior federal cabinet ministers, made the announcement, committed the money, booked the money in the budget and had a nine-point plan to improve the crossing. Since that time, you've rejected that --

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Alvin Curling): Order. Stop the clock for a minute.

I would ask the government side to allow the member to ask his question. I notice members on his side too won't allow him to ask the question. But I'd ask them to come to order. I know he takes his question very seriously, so I'm going to let him put his supplementary now.

Mr. Wilson: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

You didn't like our plan, so you asked for a new one. You've had that new plan for four months now, and you're doing nothing. In fact, your Premier was down in Washington yesterday and today, along with two of your ministers. He's down there lecturing the Americans about their passport proposal. I suggest to you that, rather than whining to the Americans, maybe if you actually did something on this side of the border in your own backyard to improve the situation, the Americans wouldn't be threatening passport controls. Why don't you do what you said you would do, make this the number one priority and get to work on improving that border crossing? Why won't you do that, Minister?

Hon. Mr. Takhar: We are very anxious to move ahead with this project. Our Premier is in Washington fighting hard to make sure that some of the issues that we need to address on the border get addressed. I also want to tell you that he is the only Premier who has taken a keen interest to make sure that some of the issues on the border get addressed. We will resolve this issue, not like them. For eight years they did nothing.

1510

LABOUR UNIONS

Mr. Peter Kormos (Niagara Centre): A question to the Minister of Labour: Today Steelworker members were here at Queen's Park visiting MPPs looking for fairness. They want card-based certification to be extended to all workers. They say that Bill 144 is unfair and discriminatory, and they're saying it doesn't warrant being supported in its present state. Why don't you extend card-based certification to all workers in this province?

Hon. Christopher Bentley (Minister of Labour): We're determined to make sure that all workers are treated fairly. That's why we're introducing fair and progressive changes in Bill 144.

But it doesn't just end with labour legislation. For the first time in nine years, this government raised the minimum wage and now we've done it two years in a row. That helps all workers, particularly those in the least-advantaged situations. For the first time in many years, we're actually enforcing the Employment Standards Act. In fact, there have been more prosecutions instituted in the last 15 months than there were in the last 15 years, including the five under the NDP.

We've brought in family medical leave to help caregivers -- disproportionately, I suspect, women. What party tried to hold up family medical leave? The NDP. Why did they? It wasn't an issue of principle. It was more postage. It's the postage party, and we don't stand for that. We stand for the most vulnerable workers in this province.

Mr. Kormos: Minister, it's not just those Steelworker members today who say you've betrayed working people across this province. Buzz Hargrove, CAW: "Fairness and equity demands that your government not overlook the needs of workers in other sectors." Emily Noble, ETFO: "There is no apparent reason why the government couldn't restore the right to all workers." Cec Makowski of CEP says simply vote against it unless it's amended. Alex Dagg of UNITE-HERE says vote against this unless it's amended. Mike Fraser of the United Food and Commercial Workers says vote against this bill unless it's amended. Wayne Fraser of the United Steelworkers of America says vote against your Bill 144 unless it's amended to extend card-based certification to every worker in this province and eliminate the discriminatory and sexist position that you are imposing on this province.

Minister, why don't you simply extend card-based certification to every worker in this province?

Hon. Mr. Bentley: We're determined to make sure that we have fair and balanced legislation that applies to all people, and it is a balance. It's progressive legislation to assist the most vulnerable. But we won't do what the NDP did between 1990 and 1995 and try to drive investment out of the province, because that drives jobs out and that affects the most vulnerable workers in the province.

We are determined that we will not delegate government's responsibility to assist the most vulnerable either to any individual or organization. We take our determination to assist the most vulnerable very seriously. That's why we've moved on employment standards issues, moved on health and safety issues, moved on labour legislation that is fair and balanced and progressive and in the interests of all the people of the province of Ontario.

HERITAGE CONSERVATION /
CONSERVATION DU PATRIMOINE ONTARIEN

Mr. John Wilkinson (Perth-Middlesex): My question is for our wonderful Minister of Culture, who is having a wonderful day today. For years, our heritage resources have been left vulnerable. We've been powerless to protect what is most important to our society: the legacy built and left to us by generations of Ontarians. That's why this government presented Bill 60, An Act to amend the Ontario Heritage Act, a stronger Ontario Heritage Act to prevent the demolition of Ontario's precious heritage landmarks and a stronger act to provide more tools and flexibility to protect local and provincial heritage.

Minister, you were able to bring this bill to fruition, where others in the past have not been successful. How does this bill differ from previous Ontario Heritage Act amendments?

Hon. Madeleine Meilleur (Minister of Culture, minister responsible for francophone affairs): I want to thank the member from Perth-Middlesex for his support of heritage buildings in his beautiful city of Stratford.

Since the Ontario Heritage Act was introduced in 1975, this is the first government to propose major improvements to bring Ontario's heritage legislation in line with leading jurisdictions in Canada and around the world.

This amended Ontario Heritage Act will empower municipalities to preserve their heritage and reinvigorate their business economies. We now give municipalities the power to prevent, not just delay like in the past, the demolition of heritage buildings. This amendment is counterbalanced by the landowner's rights to a binding appeal. We now also have new provincial powers to identify and designate heritage sites of provincial significance, as well as the power to prevent their demolition.

Mr. Wilkinson: Merci beaucoup, Ministre. This is indeed a great day for Ontario. We've made history today in this House. In my riding of Perth-Middlesex, landmarks such as the Discovery Centre at the historic Stratford Normal School in Stratford, Fryfogel Inn in Perth East, and the Carnegie Library in St. Marys are sources of historical pride and cultural enrichment for my constituents. Minister, what other Ontario landmarks enrich our culture across the province?

L'hon. Mme Meilleur: Oui, aujourd'hui c'est un grand jour par l'adoption du projet de loi 60. Dans le passé, comme députée de la ville d'Ottawa, j'ai vu trop souvent de beaux édifices historiques être démolis. Avec ce projet de loi, nous allons pouvoir protéger nos édifices patrimoniaux qui nous sont très chers.

Je pense, par exemple, à des édifices qui ont été protégés dans ma ville : le Pavillon Aberdeen dans le parc Lansdowne, la Cour des arts, le centre communautaire du Glebe, la maison Patterson et la maison Wallis.

Je veux aujourd'hui rendre hommage à Sandy Smallwood, un promoteur immobilier de la ville d'Ottawa qui a su investir pour pouvoir protéger ces beaux édifices qui sont admirés par les visiteurs et les résidents de la capitale nationale.

PETITIONS

SPORT PARACHUTING

Mr. Joseph N. Tascona (Barrie-Simcoe-Bradford): I'm pleased to present a petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario which reads as follows:

"Whereas the lives of student and novice sport parachutists have been and continue to be lost due to a systemic lack of regulation or accountability on the part of any currently governing bodies;

"Whereas inconsistent monitoring, a serious disregard for, or inability to responsibly and competently police adherence to rules, regulations and manufacturer specifications on the part of the skydiving schools and the Canadian Sport Parachuting Association creates unnecessary risk to human life;

"Whereas evidence presented at the coroner's inquest of Gareth Rodgers suggests that the current regulatory body has no desire for accountability or means of enforcing rules and regulations in the sport of parachuting;

"Whereas a system of teaching standards and regulations to safeguard novice and student sport parachutists is grossly deficient;

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

"(1) That the Dalton McGuinty Liberal government immediately pass and implement Joe Tascona's bill," the Gareth Rodgers Act for Sport Parachuting;

"(2) That the Dalton McGuinty Liberal government petition the federal Liberal government to act in a swift and responsible manner in order to ensure that the lives and safety of sport parachutists, especially student and novice jumpers, are protected by law and that the skydiving industry operates in a responsible, competent and transparent manner;

"(3) That the federal Liberal government consider immediate and responsible interim measures to suspend these activities until a viable solution to this matter may be attained;

"(4) That the federal Liberal government seriously consider the 12 sound recommendations submitted by the jury in the coroner's inquest of the skydiving fatality of Gareth Rodgers;

"(5) That the federal Liberal government make the industry both responsible and accountable for its actions and omissions, within strict standards of safety that must be governed by a competent body whose paramount mandate must be to maintain current equipment, thorough and competent record-keeping, and to ensure that manufacturer specifications are strictly adhered to and that appropriate safety standards are being observed at all times for student/novice skydivers and the equipment that they use."

I support the petition and sign it.

1520

SCHOOL CLOSURES

Mr. John Yakabuski (Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke): I have a petition on behalf of the Laurentian Public School council.

"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas Laurentian Public School in the west end of Pembroke, Ontario, is the only public elementary school in this end of the city, and as such is the centre for public education for west end residents, as well as a recreational and cultural centre for the entire city; and

"Whereas no school boundary or transportation studies were completed by the Renfrew County District School Board prior to the announced closure of Laurentian Public School in June 2005; and

"Whereas, on-line support, a call centre employing 200 people immediately, with the potential for employing 500 people within five years, has opened in west end Pembroke; and

"Whereas the economic health and development in the city of Pembroke will be severely affected by the closure of Laurentian public school; and

"Whereas the Ontario Minister of Education created new guidelines for schools titled Good Places to Learn: Renewing Ontario Schools prior to the announced closure of Laurentian Public School;

"Therefore be it resolved that the Laurentian Public School council is urgently requesting that the decision to close Laurentian Public School in Pembroke, Ontario, be reversed, and that all construction and capital expenditures related to the closure of the school be suspended immediately."

ANAPHYLACTIC SHOCK.

Mr. Kim Craitor (Niagara Falls): I'm pleased to submit this petition on behalf of NASK from the Niagara region.

"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas there is no established province-wide standard to deal with anaphylactic shock in Ontario schools; and

"Whereas there is no specific comment regarding anaphylactic shock in the Education Act" and there certainly should be; "and

"Whereas anaphylactic shock is a serious concern that can result in life-or-death situations; and

"Whereas all students in Ontario have the right to be safe and feel safe in their school community; and

"Whereas all parents of anaphylactic students need to know that safety standards exist in all schools in Ontario;

"Therefore be it resolved that we, the undersigned, demand that the McGuinty government support the passing of Bill 3, An Act to protect anaphylactic students, which requires that every school principal in Ontario establish a school anaphylactic plan."

I'm pleased to sign my signature to this petition.

REGIONAL CENTRES FOR THE DEVELOPMENTALLY DISABLED

Mr. Garfield Dunlop (Simcoe North): "To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas Dalton McGuinty and his Liberal government were elected based on their promise to rebuild public services in Ontario;

"Whereas the Minister of Community and Social Services has announced plans to close Huronia Regional Centre, home to people with developmental disabilities, many of whom have multiple diagnoses and severe problems that cannot be met in the community;

"Whereas closing Huronia Regional Centre will have a devastating impact on residents with developmental disabilities, their families, the developmental services sector and the economies of the local communities; and

"Whereas Ontario could use the professional staff and facilities of Huronia Regional Centre to extend specialized services, support and professional training to many more clients who live in the community, in partnership with families and community agencies;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to direct the government to keep Huronia Regional Centre, home to people with developmental disabilities, open, and to transform them into `centres of excellence' to provide specialized services and support to Ontarians with developmental needs, no matter where they live."

I'm pleased to sign my name to that.

CREDIT VALLEY HOSPITAL

Mr. Bob Delaney (Mississauga West): : I've got a petition here from Florian and Eunice Bergeron, who are joining a great many of our residents in Mississauga in petitioning the Ontario Legislature. It goes as follows:

"Whereas some 20,000 people each year choose to make their home in Mississauga, and the Halton Peel District Health Council capacity study stated that the Credit Valley Hospital should be operating 435 beds by now and 514 beds by 2016; and

"Whereas the Credit Valley bed count has remained constant at 365 beds since its opening in November 1985, even though some 4,800 babies are delivered each year at the Credit Valley Hospital in a facility designed to handle 2,700 births annually; and

"Whereas donors in Mississauga and the regional municipalities served by the Credit Valley Hospital have contributed more than $41 million of a $50-million fundraising objective, the most ambitious of any community hospital in the country, to support the construction of an expanded facility to meet the needs of our community;

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

"That the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care undertake specific measures to ensure the allocation of capital funds for the construction of A and H block at Credit Valley Hospital, to ensure the ongoing acute care needs of the patients and families served by the hospital are met in a timely and professional manner, to reduce wait times for patients in the hospital emergency department and to better serve patients in the community in Halton and Peel regions by reducing severe overcrowding in the labour and delivery suite."

I absolutely support this petition. I've affixed my signature to it, and I'll ask Alexandra to carry it down for me.

CANCER CARE

Mr. Joseph N. Tascona (Barrie-Simcoe-Bradford): I have a petition to present to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. It reads as follows:

"Whereas people of all ages with cancer have the right to seek treatment in their own area without the added trauma and obstacles imposed by having to travel great distances while unwell; and

"Whereas the citizens of" Barrie, "Bradford West Gwillimbury, Innisfil, East Gwillimbury and Georgina have shown their good faith and continue to fundraise for their share of the costs for the development of a regional cancer centre, enabling area patients to receive their life-saving treatment close to home, near their family and friends; and

"Whereas the building of a regional cancer care centre will remove the barrier for area patients to receive their life-saving treatment close to home;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislature of Ontario to provide the approvals and funding necessary to commence construction of the" Royal Victoria and "Southlake Regional cancer care" centres.

CARDIAC CARE

Mr. Bob Delaney (Mississauga West): I have a petition regarding Ontario's heart condition, and it reads as follows -- I'm assisting my seatmate, Kim Craitor, here:

"Whereas Niagara region has a population of over 430,000 people and has the highest 30-day death rate in Ontario for heart failure, has the second-highest one-year death rate in Ontario for heart failure, has the second-highest heart failure readmission rates in Ontario, has the third-highest post-heart-attack one-year death rate, and is 25% higher than the Ontario average for ischemic heart disease deaths; and

"Whereas in fiscal year 2002-03, Niagara region residents had 1,230 admissions to hospital for heart failure, 1,150 patients admitted to hospital for acute heart attack, 862 admissions to hospital for ischemic heart disease, 93 admissions to hospital for cardiomyopathy, a repatriation population of 458 post-angioplasty patients, 341 admissions to out-of-region hospitals for coronary artery disease, 328 post-coronary artery bypass patients, 92 heart valve replacement patients and three heart transplant patients; and

"Whereas all of the above-mentioned 4,503 heart patients are eligible for cardiac rehab in Niagara, which translates to 1,500 new patients who would access Niagara cardiac rehab services every year; and

"Whereas the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care funds cardiac rehabilitation in 24 communities but does not fund cardiac rehabilitation services anywhere in Niagara. Heart Niagara, a registered non-profit corporation, provides services in one of the largest cardiac rehab programs in Ontario at no charge to the patient but relies on funding through donations and special events;

"Therefore we, the undersigned concerned citizens of Niagara, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:

"That cardiac rehabilitation services in Niagara be funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, as they are in 24 other Ontario communities, and made comprehensive and accessible."

I support this petition. I join with my seatmate, Kim Craitor, in supporting cardiac patients in Niagara. I'm pleased to affix my signature and ask Ryan to carry it for me.

REGIONAL CENTRES FOR THE
DEVELOPMENTALLY DISABLED

Mr. Garfield Dunlop (Simcoe North): I have another group of petitions from the folks up at Huronia Regional Centre.

"To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas Dalton McGuinty and his Liberal government were elected based on their promise to rebuild public services in Ontario;

"Whereas the Minister of Community and Social Services has announced plans to close Huronia Regional Centre, home to people with developmental disabilities, many of whom have multiple diagnoses and severe problems that cannot be met in the community;

"Whereas closing Huronia Regional Centre will have a devastating impact on residents with developmental disabilities, their families, the developmental services sector and the economies of the local communities; and

"Whereas Ontario could use the professional staff and facilities of Huronia Regional Centre to extend specialized services, support and professional training to many more clients who live in the community, in partnership with families and community agencies;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to direct the government to keep Huronia Regional Centre, home to people with developmental disabilities, open, and to transform them into `centres of excellence' to provide specialized services and support to Ontarians with developmental needs, no matter where they live."

I'm pleased to sign my name to that.

1530

ANAPHYLACTIC SHOCK

Mr. Bob Delaney (Mississauga West): It's my pleasure to rise and to thank Zachary and Nicklaus Ramwa and their grandmother, Olive Seepersaud, for this petition to protect anaphylactic students in Ontario schools. It reads as follows:

"Whereas there are no established, Ontario-wide standards to deal with anaphylaxis in Ontario schools; and

"Whereas there is no specific comment regarding anaphylaxis in the Ontario Education Act; and

"Whereas anaphylaxis is a serious concern that can result in life-or-death situations; and

"Whereas all students in Ontario have the right to be safe and feel safe in their school community; and

"Whereas all parents of anaphylactic students need to know that safety standards exist in all Ontario schools, be it therefore resolved that

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

"That the government of Ontario support the swift passage of Bill 3, An Act to protect anaphylactic students, which requires that every school principal in Ontario establish a school anaphylactic plan."

I agree with this petition. I'm affixing my signature to it and asking Zoé to carry it. Once again, I thank Zach and Nick Ramwa for their help.

GASOLINE PRICES

Mr. Gerry Martiniuk (Cambridge): I have a petition signed by the good citizens of Cambridge.

"To the Parliament of Ontario:

"Whereas gasoline prices have increased at alarming rates during the past year; and

"Whereas the high and different gas prices in different areas of Ontario have caused confusion and unfair hardship on hard-working Cambridge families;

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

"(1) That the Ontario McGuinty Liberal government immediately freeze gas prices for a temporary period until world oil prices moderate; and

"(2) That the Ontario McGuinty Liberal government and the federal Martin Liberal government immediately lower their taxes on gas for a temporary period until world oil prices moderate; and

"(3) That the Ontario McGuinty Liberal government immediately initiate a royal commission to investigate the predatory gas prices charged by oil companies operating in Ontario."

As I agree with this petition, I will sign same.

REGIONAL CENTRES FOR THE
DEVELOPMENTALLY DISABLED

Mr. Garfield Dunlop (Simcoe North): "To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

"Whereas Dalton McGuinty and his Liberal government were elected based on their promise to rebuild public services in Ontario;

"Whereas the Minister of Community and Social Services has announced plans to close Huronia Regional Centre, home to people with developmental disabilities, many of whom have multiple diagnoses and severe problems that cannot be met in the community;

"Whereas closing Huronia Regional Centre will have a devastating impact on residents with developmental disabilities, their families, the developmental services sector and the economies of the local communities; and

"Whereas Ontario could use the professional staff and facilities of Huronia Regional Centre to extend specialized services, support and professional training to many more clients who live in the community, in partnership with families and community agencies;

"We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to direct the government to keep Huronia Regional Centre, home to people with developmental disabilities, open, and to transform them into `centres of excellence' to provide specialized services and support to Ontarians with developmental needs, no matter where they live."

I'm pleased to sign my name to that.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

PRIVATE SECURITY AND
INVESTIGATIVE SERVICES ACT, 2005 /
LOI DE 2005 SUR LES SERVICES PRIVÉS
DE SÉCURITÉ ET D'ENQUÊTE

Mr. Kwinter moved second reading of the following bill:

Bill 159, An Act to revise the Private Investigators and Security Guards Act and to make a consequential amendment to the Licence Appeal Tribunal Act, 1999 / Projet de loi 159, Loi révisant la Loi sur les enquêteurs privés et les gardiens et apportant une modification corrélative à la Loi de 1999 sur le Tribunal d'appel en matière de permis.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): The minister has the floor.

Hon. Monte Kwinter (Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services): Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time this afternoon with my parliamentary assistant, Liz Sandals, the member for Guelph-Wellington.

It's with great pleasure that I speak in support of the Private Security and Investigative Services Act. This bill marks the first significant improvement in 40 years to the legislative framework governing the private security industry in Ontario. This legislation is about making Ontarians safer. It's a preoccupation shared by our partners, some of whom are with us today. I'd like to recognize Doug DeRabbie from the Retail Council of Canada and Bruce Miller of the Police Association of Ontario, who are in the gallery today.

The proposed act will increase the professionalism of the industry by standardizing training and making licensing mandatory for most security practitioners. Many things have changed since the current Private Investigators and Security Guards Act was enacted in 1966. Our society has changed. The role and importance of the security industry in our daily lives has evolved, and the legislative framework governing the industry must change as well. There were roughly 4,600 licensed security practitioners 40 years ago. There are now 30,000, and the numbers keep increasing. We must ensure that those protecting us are properly trained and licensed to do so. That means mandatory licensing, standardized training and new, more up-to-date standards for uniforms, vehicles and equipment.

The regulations that will be developed if the Legislature adopts Bill 159 would better reflect the growing presence of security guards and private investigators in our society. The proposed act results from a long series of events and consultations with our partners. First, a 2002 discussion paper from the Law Commission of Canada recommended the professionalization of the security industry, and in 2003, a conference organized by the commission looked at the blurring of the role between public policing and the private security industry. Then there was a coroner's inquest held after the death of a Toronto man following an altercation with grocery store employees and security practitioners. The inquest resulted in 22 recommendations for the security industry, including those on mandatory licensing, training, licence classification, portable licensing and an effective enforcement system. I'm pleased to say that the proposed legislation addresses most of the issues raised by the jury's recommendations.

Some of my colleagues in the House have played a role as well. I'd like to thank my colleagues Dave Levac and Mario Sergio in particular. Their respective private members' bills proposed many amendments to the existing act, including changes to training, licensing and uniform standards. Bill 159 is much more comprehensive than the private members' bills introduced by my colleagues, particularly in the areas of licensing and training requirements.

Other provinces are also moving ahead in modernizing their legislation on the private security industry. Quebec, British Columbia, Manitoba and Nova Scotia are all at different stages of reviewing their legislation and introducing changes similar to Ontario's proposals. So there exists a clear momentum to update the way we legislate the private security industry.

We are moving ahead because we need to keep up with the times. It's not 1966 any longer, and the existing Private Investigators and Security Guards Act clearly lags behind the times. The current act lacks defined criteria on training, eligibility or competence, and its licensing criteria are mostly limited to criminal record checks. Almost half of those who provide security services are currently exempt from licensing requirements of the existing legislation.

It became obvious to almost all our stakeholders that we needed to update our legislation. We have worked with our stakeholders throughout the entire process. The ministry's discussion paper on the proposed changes to the legislation was sent to more than 600 stakeholders and posted on the ministry Web site in June 2003. We received 73 written submissions in response, and these submissions informed the drafting of the legislation.

We have continued to work with our partners since the Private Security and Investigative Services Act, 2004, was introduced in this Legislature in December 2004.

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Earlier this year, we held briefings for our key stakeholders to outline the key aspects of the proposed legislation and to listen to their concerns and suggestions. Ministry officials met with representatives from the Association of Professional Security Agencies, the Canadian Society for Industrial Security and the Council of Private Investigators of Ontario, among others. We also met with the Canadian Corps of Commissionaires and representatives in the retail and hospitality sectors. Officials from my ministry also met with key groups of the policing sector. Our partners from colleges, universities and municipalities also took part. We also met with union representatives. I'm pleased to say that the atmosphere during those meetings was very positive.

The ministry has built strong relationships with its partners in this industry. The goodwill generated by this positive partnership will help us develop strong and relevant regulations that will help us protect Ontarians. Our work with stakeholders will continue throughout the development of those regulations.

We are inviting key stakeholders to participate in the private investigative and security services advisory committee. Members will be announced soon, and the committee will begin its work in the coming weeks. Its mandate will be to provide key feedback and advice from all sectors involved in the private security industry. The committee will examine issues like training standards, and standards for uniforms, vehicles and equipment. The committee will assist with defining the act's accompanying regulations. We will make the committee permanent so that its members continue to provide advice and guidance to the ministry with respect to new and emerging issues in the industry.

There has been considerable interest expressed by groups, associations and individuals in serving on the committee, and I believe that we have achieved the right balance to reflect the concerns and issues of our partners. We will be announcing the makeup of the advisory committee very soon.

The committee will provide key advice on the critical components of the proposed legislation, issues such as setting standards via regulations for training and testing, code of conduct, uniforms, equipment and vehicles. I look forward to receiving this advice from the committee as we develop the regulations that will make the proposed act a more modern tool to regulate the private security industry in Ontario.

As I said earlier, we are building on the goodwill expressed by our partners during our consultations with the different sectors involved in the private security industry. Now, I don't think we will agree on everything, but we share the same objectives, and that is to make Ontario communities safer.

The introduction of the Private Security and Investigative Services Act, 2004, in December 2004 was well received by our partners. It's a good starting block to help us develop the regulations. One of our key stakeholders, the Association of Professional Security Agencies, said this through John Carter, its interim president: "APSA members have always been committed to the continuous improvement of the security industry, and as the principal organization representing the majority of the security industry in Ontario, we will continue to be available for consultation with the ministry."

The Council of Private Investigators of Ontario had this reaction to the introduction of Bill 159; here's what council President Bill Joynt said: "We support all changes designed to ensure a high level of professional service for the community at large, and we welcome the opportunity to participate in ensuring those changes are workable and accepted by the industry."

Bob Baltin, the president of the Police Association of Ontario, stated after the introduction of Bill 159: "Proper standards need to be in place. All employees and employers in the industry should be properly licensed and accountable. We look forward to working with the government on the accompanying regulations to give force and effect to this positive announcement."

Here's what the Ontario Provincial Police Association had to say, and I'm pleased to see that Brian Adkin, the president of the Ontario Provincial Police Association, is here: "The OPPA supports the changes in the Private Security and Investigative Services Act, 2004 ... because they will raise and set appropriate standards for private security services."

Brian Adkin, as I've just said, the president of the association, went even further. He is here, and he will back up that he says: "We support the government move to license and impose quality controls on private security organizations and individuals ... because it is clearly in the public interest."

The Canadian Corps of Commissionaires, the largest security practitioner organization in Canada, with over 17,000 employees, including 4,000 in Ontario, also supports the legislation. The commissionaires support the proposed act even though they are exempt from the current legislation's licensing requirements. They are doing so because they are confident in their own training and recognize the need to standardize training programs. Here's some of what James Breithaupt, the chair of the commissionaires' Great Lakes region, said in a letter to me: "We are very proud of the superior level of our current training and fully support your initiative to improve the standard of training within the industry."

Finally, the Ontario Association of Police Services Boards has also restated its interest in the issue of modernizing the legislative framework for the private security industry. As the employers of a great number of police officers in the province, we welcome their comments. Mary Smiley, the president of the OAPSB, sent me a letter outlining her association's view on the proposed act: "The OAPSB welcomes the introduction of Bill 159, the Private Security and Investigative Services Act, 2004."

We will be moving ahead in the development of the regulations with the full involvement of our partners. They will be able to channel their views and comments through the advisory committee. We know that these views and comments will be forthcoming from many areas and sectors. Almost everyone recognizes the need to overhaul the legislative framework of the security industry in Ontario.

Many Ontarians interact daily with security practitioners. We all walk by and deal with security practitioners in our workplace or when we go to a sporting event, see a movie, shop or go to a concert. Ontarians want to know that those who help keep them safe have the necessary training and background to do so. In a world of many challenges and unseen dangers, that's more relevant than ever before. Ontarians want their government to ensure basic standards, and clearly we owe it to Ontarians to improve the professionalism of the industry. That is why we introduced Bill 159 in December, and why we will continue to listen to the advice of our partners.

The feedback from the 2003 consultation paper and our briefings with stakeholders earlier this year have helped us reach general agreement on the key aspects of the proposed legislation.

Licensing requirements should be universal and based on more rigorous standards. Individual licensed security practitioners should be able to keep their licence when they change employers. Job-related skills, such as report writing and first aid, should be part of the approved training programs, and these training programs should also cover knowledge of relevant legislation and public interaction skills.

These key points of convergence have helped us draft our proposed legislation and will constitute the principles under which the regulations are developed.

Bill 159 would make it mandatory for those offering security services to be properly licensed, trained and equipped. The proposed act will make training mandatory for obtaining a licence for new security personnel, while existing personnel will be required to pass a standardized test.

The proposed act will also level the playing field. Removing most current exemptions in the existing act will help ensure that most individuals who provide direct security or investigative services are regulated by the act and meet the same standards, so we will be able to correct the current situation where approximately 20,000 individuals providing security services in Ontario are exempt from the existing legislation. It's fair to all practitioners and it will make Ontarians safer. It's clear to our government that Ontario residents must be protected, and those offering that protection, in any capacity, must be properly licensed, trained and equipped. The proposed legislative changes are necessary to better protect Ontarians, including security personnel themselves, and to reflect the roles and growing numbers of security practitioners in our communities.

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The number of licensed security practitioners in Ontario has increased by more than 700% since 1966, the year the current act was introduced. An entire generation of workers has come and gone since the current legislation was adopted. The proposed act would bring fundamental changes to the industry. Mandatory and standardized basic training requirements, portable licences and new standards for uniforms, vehicles and equipment would help bring the entire industry into the 21st century.

We have the support of our stakeholders because our proposed changes would bring new respect and professionalism for the entire industry and make Ontario safer. We expect this legislation will be passed and that its accompanying regulations will be in place by 2007. We will work with our partners to develop the standardized training programs and tests, and give the industry enough time to adapt to the new legislative reality.

Our goal is to give Ontario the most effective and modern legislation and regulations covering the private security industry in Canada. The public supports this initiative to make the province a safer place. The policing community favours the proposed changes to professionalize the security industry, while the industry itself recognizes the need for change and modernization.

The Private Security and Investigative Services Act is the right kind of legislation for today's Ontario. It will help make Ontario a safer, stronger and more prosperous place for all of us.

The Acting Speaker: Further debate?

Mrs. Liz Sandals (Guelph-Wellington): I'm pleased to rise and add my support for this important piece of legislation. The Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services spoke eloquently about the need for Bill 159, the Private Security and Investigative Services Act. The changing face of Ontario society makes the overhaul of the legislative framework of the security industry a necessity. The minister also commented about the great level of support from our stakeholders and the key role they will play in helping us develop effective regulations. I would like to add my voice to those who support this initiative that will make Ontarians safer.

I will speak on particular aspects of the proposed act to illustrate the changes it would bring and the higher degree of professionalism it would create in the security industry. The private investigative and security services advisory committee will be at the very heart of the process to develop those regulations. Our partners will have a direct channel to express their views and suggestions as we work together to put in place regulations by 2007.

The main issues addressed in the proposed legislation will fundamentally change the industry in Ontario. We will implement measures that will professionalize the security industry and make Ontarians safer in the process.

We have addressed the seven following key areas: mandatory licensing for most security practitioners; licence portability; a revised licence appeals process; a public complaints process; standards set by regulations for training and testing, code of conduct, uniforms, equipment and vehicles; insurance requirements; and increased fines and enforcement measures.

First, on the topic of mandatory licensing, the proposed act will level the playing field. Currently, an estimated 20,000 individuals who provide security services in Ontario are actually exempt from the existing legislation. The Private Security and Investigative Services Act will remove most of those exemptions. The act would apply to those whose primary role is to provide security or investigative services. Under the proposed act, an individual's licence would only be in effect if employed by a registered or licensed entity.

Mandatory licensing is in line with stakeholder feedback we received following the release of the 2003 discussion paper on the government's proposed changes to the industry. The comments indicated that licensing requirements should be universal and based on more rigorous standards. Under the proposed act, mandatory licensing would now apply, for example, to security practitioners, including bodyguards, security consultants and bouncers; the Corps of Commissionaires; in-house security personnel, including the retail sector; and municipal and hospital employees who perform security duties.

Secondly, the licence portability element of the proposed act will reduce administrative burden on employees, employers and the ministry. The proposed legislation would introduce portable licences and enable security practitioners and private investigators to move from one company to the next without having to be re-licensed each time, which is currently the situation. Licence portability would also allow part-time practitioners and investigators to work for more than one company at the same time in order to be able to earn a decent living.

Third, the act would establish a clear licence appeal process. If a licence is not going to be issued or is going to be revoked or not renewed by the registrar of the private investigators and security guards branch, the licensee would have the right, as he or she has currently, to request a hearing before the registrar. The licensee would have to show cause why the registrar should not take the proposed action. The same process applies if the registrar has attached conditions to a licence renewal or issuance. If the licensee does not agree with the outcome of the registrar's hearing, the Licence Appeal Tribunal of the Ministry of Consumer and Business Services would hear appeals of decisions made by the registrar. The tribunal would be able to uphold the registrar's decision, vary, grant or restore a licence, or impose conditions.

The fourth key aspect of the proposed act is the establishment of a public complaints process. Establishing a mechanism to address public complaints was a key recommendation of a coroner's inquest into the death of a Toronto man who, you will recall, died following an altercation with grocery store employees and security personnel in a parking lot.

Under the proposed act, the registrar would be responsible for receiving all public complaints. This will also be defined in the regulations that will be developed with the input of our partners. The complaint would be referred to a facilitator for resolution if the registrar were to determine that the complaint is related to a potential breach of the code of conduct. Under the current system, public complaints made against security guards or private investigators are received by the registrar. However, the registrar will often redirect the complaint to the company involved; that is, the company against which the complaint was lodged. Bill 159 would add more objective oversight and third-party intervention to the complaint system.

The fifth component of the proposed legislation is a critical one and deals with setting standards via regulations for training and testing, code of conduct, uniforms, equipment, vehicles and insurance requirements.

Training standards need to be high in order to protect Ontarians and to reflect the changes in our province since the current act was adopted in 1966. Made-in-Ontario training standards will be developed, building on the existing Canadian General Standards Board curriculum for security practitioners. Any company or institution will be able to deliver training programs if their curriculum meets the standards set out by regulations. This will help make the training available and accessible in all areas of the province.

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New applicants will be required to provide written proof of completion of a training program meeting the standards set in the regulations and they will have to successfully pass a standardized test. We believe this should apply to everyone, and there will be no grandfathering measure in relation to this requirement for a test. Current licence holders will also have to pass a standardized test.

These measures included in Bill 159 are in line with the feedback we received from our partners following the release of the 2003 consultation paper and during meetings held earlier this year.

The key areas of the future training curriculum for security practitioners will include knowledge of relevant legislation, communications and public interaction skills, first aid and CPR, and on-the-job skills such as report writing and note taking. The training program for private investigators would also concentrate on knowledge of relevant legislation, communications and public interaction skills, and on-the-job skills such as report writing and note taking. Testing requirements for private investigators would be the same as for security practitioners.

Any company or institution would be able to deliver training programs for private investigators if their curriculum meets the standards set out by regulations.

New applicants will be required to provide written proof of completion of a training program meeting the standards set in the regulations and of having passed the test. Again, current licence holders will also have to successfully pass the standardized test.

The regulations that will be developed in partnership with our stakeholders will also introduce the first-ever provincially mandated code of conduct for the industry. Many of our stakeholder groups and private security companies have their own code of conduct, but currently there is no legislated code of conduct for all security practitioners. Bill 159, if passed, will correct that situation.

As I described earlier, breaches of the code of conduct could be the subject of public complaints that would be dealt with according to the process included in the proposed act.

It is important to note that our meetings with our partners in early 2005 had the express purpose of getting their feedback on the proposed legislation. We asked them about the code of conduct and the importance of characteristics like professional demeanour, honesty, truth, accuracy and integrity. We asked them if they thought that maintaining a positive image for the industry, their association, members and clients should be included in the code. We look forward to continuing this important dialogue and getting feedback through the private security and investigative services advisory committee.

For many of our partners and many Ontarians, setting standards for uniforms, equipment and vehicles used by security personnel is a very important issue. Many respondents to the 2003 consultation paper favoured making the uniforms of security practitioners distinctly different from police uniforms. The proposed approach in the Private Security and Investigative Services Act, 2004, is to develop standards consistent with efforts to professionalize the industry. The advisory committee will assist us in developing regulations dealing with uniforms. We do recognize that uniforms and equipment play an important role in company identification, and we will work with our partners in that regard. Bill 159 provides uniform exemptions for personnel involved in loss prevention duties in the retail sector, for example, and those who provide executive protection.

Again, the advisory committee will assist us in developing the regulations dealing with equipment and the training required to use it. The registrar currently determines on a case-by-case basis whether it is appropriate for individual businesses to equip security practitioners with batons or to use canines and, if so, what type of training is appropriate.

The advisory committee will help us develop the regulations related to vehicles used by security personnel as well.

The current outdated requirement for a $5,000 bond by security companies is simply no longer adequate. It's necessary to ensure adequate protection for the industry, its personnel, clients and the public. Updated insurance requirements will support the professionalization of the industry. The advisory committee will look at the issues of commercial liability and other types of insurance that might be necessary to better protect Ontarians.

We believe that our proposed reforms respond to an attempt to balance the needs and interests of a diverse group of stakeholders in the security industry. We have established a great deal of goodwill through close collaboration with our partners. While the proposed act does not change the fundamental roles of security guards or private investigators, it would set more modern standards in the industry. The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services will be responsible to Ontarians in ensuring that those standards are met.

Bill 159 proposes increased fines for cases of non-compliance. Fines for individuals could go up to $25,000, and they could reach $250,000 for companies and agencies. The proposed act would also give more inspection and investigative powers to the ministry's private investigators and security guards branch.

These measures are necessary to better protect Ontarians. Bill 159 represents a huge leap forward for the security industry in our province. With the help of our partners, we will give the industry and Ontarians one of the most modern legislative frameworks for private security anywhere on this continent. It will further professionalize the industry, make its practitioners better trained and help keep Ontarians safe.

The Acting Speaker: Questions and comments? The member for Barrie-Simcoe-Bradford.

Mr. Joseph N. Tascona (Barrie-Simcoe-Bradford): Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I just want to comment on how good you're looking today.

Certainly, Bill 159 is a very interesting bill. I just want to ask the minister, through his parliamentary assistant: Why isn't there a preamble to this bill? Most bills have a preamble explaining what the intent and purpose of the bill is. This is one of the few I've ever seen that does not have a preamble. That's really quite astounding that they wouldn't have put enough thought into this bill to put in a preamble. I would ask them to look into that, because if you're going to turn this into a complaint-driven procedure where there are going to be hearings and whatever, it's not going to be much assistance to the tribunal in understanding what their role is in terms of what they're trying to accomplish. I don't even know what they're trying to accomplish here if they don't put in a preamble.

This is going to have to go to committee hearings because, quite frankly, there are so many loopholes in here under subsection 1(7) in terms of who's not covered and whatever. I'd like to know why they decided to give each one of those groups an exemption. There must be a reason as to why they would pick and choose who would be exempted from this piece of legislation.

I also don't know how it's going to affect the small mom-and-pop operator that wants to get a watchman just to look at their property, whether they're going to have to go to the big security firms, whether this is just designed to support the big security firms for them to get more business and make sure that it's not open for businesses to really get a fair deal with respect to what they're trying to do. Who knows? The government whip over there -- I know I always get him going in terms of the thought process here. I've really got his mind twisting in terms of what we're going at.

Mr. Peter Kormos (Niagara Centre): Twisted or twisting?

Mr. Tascona: Twisting. It's twisting -- and spinning, if you want to put it that way.

The way we look at it is that --

Interjection.

Mr. Tascona: The parliamentary assistant has a lot of responses to provide, and I wait to hear them.

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Mr. Kormos: I should make it clear that the New Democrats propose to be cautiously supportive of this bill at this point. We appreciate the intent of the bill; it has been a matter of concern of New Democrats and of other members of this Legislature for a good chunk of time. We have seen the inquiries and coroners' inquests which, no doubt, in no small way gave rise to the legislation.

I want to make it clear that our support is designed to reflect our support for the intent of the legislation, for the fact that it will enhance the quality of privatized policing in this province -- because that's what it is. At the same time, if properly developed and administered, it could well enhance the security and safety of police officers, for reasons I'll get into when I get my chance in just an hour's time.

I want to make it very clear that the government is going to have to accommodate a broad community when it comes to public hearings. There is a huge community out there that has an interest in this type of advanced regulation of security guards and private investigators.

I look forward to the chance to hear the Conservative critics speak to this bill, one of whom I know authored a bill with the same legislative intent in his own right. But even more enthusiastically than listening to the Conservative critics, I look forward to the opportunity to put my own remarks on the record at approximately --

Mr. Tascona: What time?

Mr. Kormos: We'll be up at around 5:10 p.m., 5:20 p.m., just up to the 6 o'clock mark. So at 5:15 I should be on the floor getting myself on the record.

Mr. Bob Delaney (Mississauga West): The Minister for Community Safety and Correctional Services has just pointed out that part of the impetus for his bill acknowledges that the world of the 21st century is no longer the world of the mid-1960s. The long-overdue changes proposed in Bill 159 make it clear that being either a private security guard or a private investigator in today's interconnected world requires security practitioners to attain and maintain a level of professionalism far beyond what still thrills readers of the literature of Dashiell Hammett and Mickey Spillane in their decades of the 1940s and 1950s.

Let me acknowledge the members for Waterloo-Wellington and Niagara Centre for helping me remember the names of the authors and some of the details of the characters.

Gumshoes like Sam Spade and Mike Hammer just can't cut it in 21st-century Ontario. Those filing cabinets likely don't contain a bottle of bourbon in the bottom drawer, and those files are more likely stored on silicon than on paper. An office on the second storey of a rundown office building that's lit by a single overhead light bulb with access screened by a full-figured, tough-talking, street-savvy secretary, probably named Velma, is, with the passage of Bill 159, now firmly and permanently consigned within the front and back covers of existing and future literary fiction. And, with a nod to Sam Spade, I say that's just swell.

Tomorrow, Spade and Archer are going to need one or more of the following licences to act as a private investigator to engage in the business of selling the services of private investigators and/or selling the services of private investigators and security guards. Ontario's 21st-century training standards and professional development mean that practitioners won't learn their best lessons by eating a knuckle sandwich, building up a stable of low-life snitches and knowing when somebody's packin' heat. With Bill 159 on the books, Miles Archer not only wouldn't have been killed at the beginning; he'd still be alive. And, more than ever, he would have been the one to have found the Maltese falcon and not Sam Spade.

Mr. Garfield Dunlop (Simcoe North): I'm very pleased to make a comment. I will be speaking very shortly on this bill. I found the last speaker's comments quite amusing. There are a lot of neat stories around private security guards etc. that we can look toward.

However, I think there are some very serious points around this bill that we have to acknowledge. I will be doing most of our one-hour leadoff today. I really want to address a lot of things that were recommended in the Shand inquiry. The Shand inquiry is really the reason this has been brought along at any kind of pace whatsoever.

I'm going to cut my comments short right now, but I look forward in a couple of minutes to continuing with my leadoff.

The Acting Speaker: The member for Guelph-Wellington has two minutes to reply.

Mrs. Sandals: Thank you to the members from Barrie-Simcoe-Bradford, Niagara Centre, Mississauga West and Simcoe North for their comments.

When we hear that the biggest concern of the Conservative members is whether or not we've got the preamble right, and when we hear that the NDP is cautiously supportive, I think we've probably got this nailed bang-on. In fact, in the words of my colleague from Mississauga West, that's just swell.

What we are going to see happening here in an industry that has not had very well defined standards -- some would say a lack of standards -- is a requirement for better training and consistent standards and a regard for making sure that those people who are members of the private security industry have the knowledge and skills to apply first aid, to know what they can and can't do inside the law and to understand their role more effectively.

Given that there has been a broad range of support for this piece of legislation, I think there is a great deal of consensus in the law enforcement community that we are going in the right direction with this legislation. Given that it's almost 40 years since the original legislation, it is high time we got on with updating the legislation and providing a modern standard, a modern legislative framework for this industry. I'm very pleased to support Bill 159 and will be looking forward to the comments from the other parties.

The Acting Speaker: Further debate?

Mr. Dunlop: I'm very pleased today to be doing the leadoff on second reading of Bill 159 on behalf of John Tory and the PC caucus here at Queen's Park. The long title of the bill is An Act to revise the Private Investigators and Security Guards Act and to make a consequential amendment to the Licence Appeal Tribunal Act, 1999. The short title is the Private Security and Investigative Services Act, 2005. That's interesting.

First of all, I think the point that has been made, that this act hasn't been amended since 1966, certainly warrants making some movement to improve the act. I support the act in that way. When you look at some of the comments the minister made, that the act hasn't been amended since 1966, that in 1966 there were 4,000 licensed security personnel and the number is now 30,000, a 725% increase, I believe that alone tells you that with the growth in this industry -- in a lot of ways, there is also a lack of understanding by the general public. If there's one thing we need to do, it's to clarify to the general public five years into this new millennium, and to make sure the general public is very aware of, these responsibilities. For that reason, I know the minister has solicited some support from some of the policing industry. I know that Bruce Miller from the Police Association of Ontario and Brian Adkin from the Ontario Provincial Police Association were here a few minutes ago and had to leave. It's important that those stakeholders, as well as a number of others, are part of this overall process.

Of course, what really drove the bill was the fact that the Shand inquest came out. The Shand inquest came up with 23 recommendations. I'll get into the Shand inquest in just a second, because I do think it's important that we put on record a number of the recommendations made by the Shand inquiry.

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Although the minister is happily trying to take credit today for this piece of legislation, I do want, just for a second, to acknowledge the work of Bob Runciman when he was the minister of community safety and the fact that they set up the discussion paper process and had over 600 stakeholders back in June 2003. I think Minister Runciman was on the right path at that time, and I thank Minister Kwinter for following along as well. I think it's important that we do that.

I also want to acknowledge another one of our ministers. I can't attend tomorrow -- of course, I wasn't even invited -- but it's interesting to note that the Ontario Fire College is having an opening tomorrow at 1 p.m. In response to the events of September 11, 2001, the Ontario Fire College received funding to build an emergency management training centre for firefighters and emergency responders. Anyone who was in this House at that time will remember what a difficult time that was, and that Premier Harris at that time made some quick decisions. Of course, that's the result of some of those decisions. I remember at the time Minister Tsubouchi being involved with that. It is good to see that facility actually having an official opening tomorrow afternoon. I guess the minister won't be in the House to answer my questions on double-hatters tomorrow, so I'll have on to put those off to another day. That being said, I want to congratulate those two ministers, as well as Minister Kwinter for his work today.

Before I get into the Shand inquiry, here is a story I was telling Mr. Delaney a few minutes ago. It's about security guards, and it's kind of a funny story. I wanted to put it on the record. This was a few years ago, and it happened in my riding. I'm not going to name the mall, and I'm not going to name the guy, but this mall actually hired a security guard. This gentlemen was a retired -- I guess you could call him a farmer. The guy fell asleep at night in the mall, and some thieves came in and robbed the mall. They actually used a forklift; they drove through the mall with a forklift. They stole the vault, then left the mall. The guy woke up in the morning when they came back and said, "We've been robbed." He said, "I didn't hear anybody." It actually was a true story.

I guess there are times when we do need to amend some of these acts, because they had the tracks of the forklift right through the mall and somehow this security guard completely did not see what happened in the mall that evening. I wanted to put that on the record, because I think sometimes we need a little bit of fun in this House, and to add a little bit of humour to some of the stories that actually take place.

Mr. Dave Levac (Brant): Did he keep his job?

Mr. Dunlop: I can't say that for sure, but likely he did.

The Shand inquiry was such an important part of this, and I'll get into this in just a moment on the private member's bill I introduced myself as a result of the Shand inquiry because I wanted to push this legislation along as well. But I did want to read into the record -- I do have an hour to use on behalf of this bill, and I think the Shand inquiry recommendations and the rationale behind those recommendations should be included in the debate.

Patrick Shand, of course, was a young man who was involved in an incident and died as a result of injuries. There was an inquiry and there were a number of recommendations from that inquiry. No one wants to see someone's life lost, but perhaps if this hadn't happened, the pressure wouldn't be on the government today -- it wouldn't be on any government -- to proceed in this way.

I want to read these in. These are coroner's jury recommendations. This was actually put out about a year ago now, and it's important that we note that, because there are some other things I want to relate on that.

Recommendation number 1 is an amendment to the Private Investigators and Security Guards Act. It reads: "The Private Investigators and Security Guards Act ... should be amended to remove the licensing exemption that presently exists for `proprietary' or in-house security practitioners and members of the Corps of Commissionaires. This amendment will provide for mandatory licensing for all privately employed individuals who, for hire or reward, guard or patrol for the purpose of protecting persons or property in Ontario (security practitioners). This amendment is not intended to affect the regulation of armoured car companies or armoured car personnel."

The rationale behind that is simple: "The current act," as we've said before today, "was passed in 1966. The world and the security industry have changed dramatically since that time. To illustrate, there are now some 50,000 persons employed in the security industry, half of whom are unregulated. Every person employed as a security professional should be licensed by the province. In 1966 most security practitioners were watchmen" -- maybe similar to the gentleman I mentioned earlier who fell asleep and the forklift drove through the mall -- "today they provide a wide variety of services with significant interaction with the public, especially in shopping malls" -- there we go again -- "hospitals, entertainment venues and other locales."

Recommendation number 2 is the need for urgent change. This is from the Shand inquiry: "We recommend that the Private Investigators and Security Guards Act ... be amended as soon as possible."

What's important about this -- I'll get into my own private member's bill a little bit later on -- and why I feel it's so important is, if we're really going to take the Shand inquiry seriously, we have to look at the fact that he has asked, as a second recommendation, that we do it as quickly as possible. That's why I have a bit of a problem with 2007 and regulations and advisory panels and all that sort of thing. If we've waited since 1966, I think there is an opportunity to make this move along very quickly. That's why I think recommendation 2, the need for urgent change, is just that: a need for urgent change.

The rationale behind that: "While it is important that all the stakeholders are consulted, the ministry has had many years to consult. When this act was passed in 1966, John Robarts was the Premier of the province and since that time there have been seven more Premiers." In fact, I heard somebody humming some Rolling Stones and Beatles songs the other day in the lobby. I think it was Michael Prue -- no, it was Marchese. The bottom line is that a generation has passed and nothing has been done with this bill in 40 years. Since that time, there have been seven more Premiers. "Any remaining consultation process should be expedited so that further delays in amendments to the act are avoided. It seems that the issues should already be well known and the ministry should be able to proceed quickly.

"If there are issues that cannot be resolved in the short term, a phased implementation may be appropriate." Again, we're talking about urgency, and I go back to the regulations and the delays.

"It is important that the government act quickly, responsibly and diligently."

"Recommendation 3:

"Mandatory training

"The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services ... should create a mandatory training program that all security practitioners must complete as a requirement for their licensing."

The rationale behind that: "Training is the key to providing the necessary skills and knowledge required by security practitioners especially in use of force instances and other areas of interaction with the public. The training is to protect both the security practitioners and the public. If the training is not mandatory for all, some security practitioners may not receive any training or receive substandard training and not have the necessary skills and training to reduce risks to the public."

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The fourth recommendation is "Training program curriculum." Again, I'm going back to the Shand inquiry because I think it is important that these are read into the record.

"The ministry should create a curriculum for the mandatory training program, through consultation with stakeholders to create industry standards based on best practices.

"For those security practitioners whose duties may include making arrests or the lawful application of force, the minimum level of training should include first aid, CPR and use of force training which identifies the hazards of restraint, asphyxia and excited delirium.

"For a security practitioner to receive a licence allowing them to carry or use handcuffs or expandable batons, they must have received and completed relevant training."

I go to the rationale behind that inquiry decision: "There should be multiple levels of training for security practitioners in the province, depending upon job requirements, the expectation of the use of force and the use of handcuffs and expandable batons. The system should be transparent in the interest and the safety of the public. The public should expect a high standard of professionalism by all security practitioners in the province. The curriculum should provide the basis for the professional standards.

"Recommendation 5, licence classification system" -- the reason I'm reading this out is I want to point out later on that in Bill 88, these were all included in the bill; they were all part of the bill. That's why I want to read these in, because I'm going to refer back to that after. "The act should be amended to provide for the creation of a licensing classification system in which each level or tier reflects the duties that the security practitioner is competent to perform based on the training he or she has received.

"The licensing classification system should also reflect the degree to which the security practitioner would be expected to interact with the public.

"The licensing classification system should ensure that no security practitioner may carry or use handcuffs or expandable batons without completing relevant training."

The rationale behind that: "One level of license or training will not meet the demands of all types of security requirements. For example, the requirements for a night watchman are different from the requirements for shopping mall security in that the use of force may be called upon when dealing directly with the public."

That's of course unless you're one of those guys who falls asleep as a night watchman in the mall and the guys drive away with the vault. I keep thinking about that as I'm talking to you today.

"Recommendation 6

"Training programs and persons with disabilities

"Any certified training program, by way of its physical requirement, should not prevent individuals with disabilities or any persons incapable of completing physical training from pursuing gainful employment as a licensed security practitioner, if his or her duties do not include making arrests or the lawful application of force."

The rationale behind that: "Equal opportunity for all individuals is an important factor in our society." The inquiry has made sure that was accomplished.

"Recommendation 7

"Recertification

"Those security practitioners whose duties include making arrests or the lawful application of force should be recertified annually with respect to use-of-force training.

"All security practitioners should be recertified for CPR annually."

The rationale behind that: "The training regarding the use of force is changing constantly and this ensures that security practitioners are up to date with modern training practices across the industry.

"Recertification of CPR is currently a best practice in most industries where CPR training is required."

"Recommendation 8

"Licence identification and renewal

"Licences should identify the classification of the security practitioner and what equipment he or she is authorized to use such as handcuffs and expandable batons.

"Licenses should be renewed annually."

The rationale behind that: "Employers, the ministry and the public will know the competency level of the employee."

"Recommendation number 9, identification" -- again this is a very simple one, but it's something that has to be addressed:

"Where a security practitioner is in uniform, licensing information should be visibly displayed on a badge including a photograph, licence number, company name and classification.

"When a security practitioner is not in uniform the identification must be readily available."

The rationale behind that: "This will provide recognition to the public, avoid confusion" -- that's an issue we have to deal with a lot during the debate on this and in committee -- "with the police and identify the person as a security practitioner."

I think that we have to really zero in on that particular one when we're dealing with our public hearings and listening to the confusion that is actually out there.

"Recommendation 10

"Method of training delivery

"The mode of delivery of the mandatory training regime for security practitioners shall be approved by the ministry, after consultation with stakeholders. A manual or guide to training and requirements should be published and updated regularly by the ministry.

"Rationale

"There are many possible methods of training, including community colleges, in-house training and computer-assisted training. Training should be flexible and tailored to meet the needs of the industry throughout the province, without reducing quality.

"Recommendation 11

"Certified trainers

"Mandatory training should be delivered by qualified trainers certified by the ministry. There should be an established competency level defined by the ministry.

"Rationale

"The quality and standards of training are vitally important. Trainers and those persons instructing the trainers must meet the highest standards relating to subject manner and adult educational techniques.

"The coroner's office should be consulted in the development of use of force training programs.

"Recommendation 12

"Record keeping and evaluation

"The ministry should develop a mode of evaluation and a system of record keeping for the delivery of mandatory training.

"Rationale

"To ensure that the training regime is effective, complete and accurate records of training should be kept and those records and other means used to evaluate the training programs on a regular basis.

"This record could also be used to track the training of an individual security practitioner over the life of their employment as a security practitioner.

"Recommendation 13

"Enforcement system

"The ministry should implement an effective system of enforcement with powers of inspection and audit. Sufficient resources should be made available to ensure compliance with the licensing and training requirements of the act.

"Rationale

"The amended act will only be as effective as the system of enforcement. This will be particularly true in the early stages of implementation.

"Recommendation 14" -- we did not include this in our private member's bill. We were asked to remove this by some of the stakeholders in Bill 88, but I want to read it into the record. This is what the Shand inquiry actually put in:

"The ministry should create an advisory board or committee comprised of stakeholders to facilitate communication and the exchange of information between the stakeholders, and for the purposes of establishing the curriculum of the mandatory training program.

"Rationale

"The advisory board or committee should be constituted as soon as possible to begin their work in conjunction with the ministry prior to the passing of the amended legislation.

"The purpose of the formation of an advisory board or committee is to provide a breadth of experience and advice to the ministry, but the ministry is ultimately responsible and should ensure that it is not used as a mechanism to delay or obstruct the process of implementation.

"Recommendation 15

"Oversight body" -- again, this was included in Bill 88.

"The ministry should create an independent oversight body to deal with complaints by members of the public in relation to the provision of security services. Access to this body should be readily available and widely publicized."

The rationale behind that:

"Security practitioners must be held accountable for their actions and the public trust ensured. Publicity should include a 1-800 number and other means of access.

"Recommendation 16

"Portability of licences

"The act should be amended to provide for the portability of individual licences.

"Rationale

"Presently, licences are obtained through the employer. Portability will allow the movement of personnel within the industry of Ontario and eliminate current delays in obtaining licences for new employees who have been previously licensed.

"Recommendation 17

"Funding model

"The funding model for the mandatory training program in British Columbia may be considered as a funding model for Ontario." This would be very interesting.

The rationale behind that:

"Training programs should be funded from an annual licensing fee charged to companies and individuals and there should be no additional cost to the taxpayers."

This recommendation alone is a reason why we should have a number of our stakeholders in here, including not only the police but also industry, because they'll be paying the bills.

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"Recommendation 18

"Reporting use of force

"Licensed security practitioners should be required to report any use of force to their employer. The employer's responsibility should be to report use of force statistics annually to the ministry. The ministry should report the statistics publicly on an annual basis." That can probably be done on a Web site or something.

"Rationale

"Record keeping and reporting will identify changing patterns of activity as well as the need for changes in training, licensing and possibly the act itself.

"This may also identify abuses of the system.

"The statistics should be reported by the ministry to ensure that the public is informed.

"Recommendation 19

"Excited delirium memorandum

"The coroner's office should update memo number 636, dated June 19, 1995, exhibit 4 at the inquest, for distribution to the security industry.

"Rationale

"This is a document that contains vital and possibly life-saving information. It is of the utmost importance that the security industry and all persons dealing with use of force and restraint are aware of the contents.

"Recommendation 20

"Training of persons authorized by an employer to make arrests

"If an employer designates employees to make arrests for property-related offences, those employees should have the same licence and training as is required of other security practitioners who are authorized to make arrests.

"Rationale

"Proper training may reduce the risk of injury to the employee or to the person being arrested.

"Recommendation 21

"Policy communication to employees

"Explicit direction both verbal and written must be communicated to each employee. A sign-off sheet must be filed in his or her personnel file as to their understanding of the expectations of the retailer with respect to the manner in which the apprehension of shop thieves is to be conducted. This communication and sign-off must be communicated on a regular basis, preferably annually.

"Rationale

"This ensures compliance and that the employee is aware of and understands the policy and their responsibilities.

"Recommendation 22," the final recommendation of the Shand inquiry:

"Compliance

"We recommend that failure to comply with the act and its regulations may incur significant fines and other penalties, including loss or suspension of licences, to the practitioner and/or company.

"Rationale

"We feel strongly that the provisions of the act especially with respect to training must be adhered to by all parties."

These are the recommendations that the Shand inquiry brought forward. I think it's really the basis for the reason that the government moved at all on this particular piece of legislation. That was brought in, I believe, on April 23 of last year. I introduced my private member's bill, Bill 88, in June 2004, and the government brought first reading in on December 9 of last year. We are finally around to actually debating that bill today.

Why I'm concerned -- and I want to zero in on Bill 88 for a second -- is that we used legislative counsel to help us draft that piece of legislation. We spent a lot of time on Bill 88. I'm not trying to brag or anything else like that, but the bottom line is, it wasn't something we just had somebody draft in 15 or 20 minutes and introduce in the House as a private member's bill. We put a lot of effort behind it and talked to a lot of stakeholders. I think we had a lot of support for it. So I was a little bit disappointed -- not that I would expect it -- that it wasn't brought forward as a private member's bill. That's one of the things I've said in this House a number of times: that too many private members' bills are brought in, we have petitions on them, we think they'll eventually become law -- boy, I can tell you, there are a few of them around here that should be law. I'm not trying to build up a couple of Liberals right now, but there's a bill I hear compliments about all the time that should be passed: Bill 3. Bill 55, Michael Gravelle's bill, the insulin pump bill that I'll be talking about to people this weekend at the diabetes forum up in Orillia -- people will be asking, "What is the status of that bill?" I had two letters the other day on Bill 3.

There are times we play partisan politics here, but if there's anything the government can do or anything that we as the 103 elected members can do on democratic renewal, it is to look at this private members' hour much more seriously. I tell you, there's some good legislation here that makes sense and doesn't cost that much. And you know what? I think it would bring a little more harmony into this place. I, for one, would support a lot of the legislation that I see brought forward here.

The member from Barrie-Simcoe-Bradford brought forward his comments a little while ago when he was doing the Qs and As on Minister Kwinter's and the parliamentary assistant's speeches. He mentioned the lack of a preamble or explanatory note. I just want to give you an example of the difference between this bill -- I think he had a good point, and I wanted to add this. I want to read the explanatory notes of both Bill 159 and Bill 88 into the record just to show you the difference in what the bills do.

First of all, I will do the minister's bill, Bill 159. The explanatory note on that reads:

"The bill replaces the Private Investigators and Security Guards Act. It regulates private investigators, security guards and those who are in the business of selling the services of private investigators and security guards.

"Licensing requirements are imposed and procedures are put in place for revoking and suspending licences, subject to appeal provisions.

"Offences and regulatory requirements are provided for, as is a process for dealing with complaints from the public.

"The minister may make regulations" -- and that's what's very important about this bill, because he's not obligated to make regulations; he may make them -- "setting out a code of conduct for private investigators and security guards."

That's the explanatory note from the bill we're debating today, Bill 159, the bill that's getting all the support from the government.

I'm now going to read the explanatory note from Bill 88. I think it's important to note why I was disappointed that the bill wasn't brought forward. I think it covered a lot of these areas off. It was called the Private Investigators and Security Guards Amendment Act, 2004. There's an explanatory note right in the bill.

"The bill amends the Private Investigators and Security Guards Act.

"It removes the present exemption from the act for members of the Corps of Commissionaires and for private investigators and security guards whose work is confined to acting for only one employer.

"An individual is not eligible for a licence under the act unless the individual has passed the examinations or attained the standards prescribed by the regulations made under the act. A corporation is not eligible for a licence under the act unless a director or officer of the corporation has passed those examinations or attained those standards. The examination and standards must be appropriate for the class of licence for which a person applies and must cover the following areas: the force that a licensee can lawfully use when acting as a private investigator or security guard and the safe use of firearms and the lawful means of making arrests, if the licensee is required to use firearms or make arrests, as the case may be, when acting as a private investigator or security guard.

"A licence issued under the act must state the class, if applicable, for which it is issued. The regulations can prescribe terms of a licence, in addition to the terms that the registrar can impose at present. The terms may be different for different classes of licences and may include restrictions on the equipment that the licensee is authorized to use or prohibited from using in performing the functions for which person requires the class of licence.

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"A licence issued or renewed on or after the bill comes into force has a term of no more than one year." Again, this is all part of the legislation, Bill 88. "The registrar can suspend or cancel the licence under section 14 of the act if the licensee is no longer eligible for the licence. A licence no longer expires when the licensee's employment in respect of which it was issued terminates.

"The bill adds several restrictions for licencees. The uniform that a security guard is required to wear while on duty must not reasonably resemble the uniform of a police officer." I'll just stop there for a second. That is a very, very important part of this overall idea of renewing or bringing more responsibility or more accountability to the private security guards act. "The minister responsible for the administration of the act can restrict the markings and colours of a motor vehicle that a security guard uses while on duty, which must not in any event reasonably resemble a marked police vehicle." We know that's not the case now. "No licensee while on duty is allowed to wear or use badges or other insignia that reasonably resemble those of a police officer. The regulations can specify restrictions on equipment that a licensee is allowed to use while on duty.

"If the regulations require a licensee to keep books and records, they must include a record of all incidents in which the licensee used force while acting as a private investigator or security guard. The licensee is required to furnish a copy of the record annually to the minister responsible for the administration of the act." In this case, it would be Mr. Kwinter's department. "The minister is required to make the record available for inspection by the public. The regulations can also set out a code of conduct that licensees are required to comply with when acting as a private investigator or security guard.

"The bill establishes the Private Investigators and Security Guards Complaints Commission composed of members appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council who are not and have not been private investigators or security guards. At the direction of the minister responsible for the administration of the act, the commission is required to advise the minister on the enforcement of the act and the regulations. The commission must also submit an annual report to the minister on its activities.

"A person can make a written complaint to the commission if the person reasonably believes that an applicant for a licence or a licensee has contravened or is about to contravene the act, the regulations or, in the case of a licensee, a term of the licence of the licensee. Upon receiving a complaint, the commission can require the person about whom the complaint is made or any licensee to provide information about the complaint. The commission can also appoint inspectors to enter a premises or vehicle in order to investigate the complaint. The commission is required to disclose information that it receives to the registrar if the information relates to the eligibility of an applicant for a licence or a licensee to hold a licence and to the minister responsible for the administration of the act if the information reasonably indicates that a person may be guilty of an offence under the act.

"The penalty for a corporation that is convicted of an offence under the act is increased to a fine of not less than $50,000 and not more than $100,000."

I bring that forward because I'm just comparing the two explanatory notes of the bills. Bill 159, the bill we're debating today, leaves it very vague. Everything is really left up to regulation at the discretion of the minister, and we're hearing today that it will be 2007. Bill 88, on the other hand, addressed 21 of the 22 recommendations right in the bill. Not that it was a perfect bill by any means, but the fact of the matter is that it would have been a lot easier bill to go to committee with --

Mr. Kormos: It may be a better bill.

Mr. Dunlop: -- and possibly, as I'm hearing in the background, a better bill.

That's not going to happen; we know that. But I want the public to know that there are private members' bills out there in a lot of areas that are as good as or better than some of the government bills. It would be embarrassing for the minister to have to accept the bill by me, his critic. I know he wouldn't do that. But maybe in this era of democratic renewal, we should take some of these things much more seriously.

I want to talk a little bit about the regulations, because the government does in fact include some of the things in its bill. I'll just go over them fairly quickly. I won't go into everything here.

Under the Shand inquest, the recommendations -- and this is what the government's claiming. I'm not 100% sure this is correct. In their press release dated December 9, 2004 -- and I wasn't invited to that press conference either -- they talked about the 22 recommendations that are apparently included in Bill 159. I won't read those all over again, but apparently the government claims it has addressed recommendation number 1 of the Shand inquiry.

Recommendation number 2 is the need for urgent amendments to the act. They claim that's addressed. Now that's what's wrong, because it's not urgent. I see my assistant, Miss Julie Kwiecinski, is over there urging me to carry on with that one. If this is an urgent recommendation by the Shand inquiry, I would have thought this bill would have been introduced last spring, after the Shand inquiry's 22 recommendations. I felt it should have been debated over the summer months in committee and passed last fall -- so that we would actually have law -- and not be debated a year later. We're actually doing first reading today. I guess next Monday or Tuesday would be one year since the Shand inquiry made its recommendations. So it's disappointing that almost one full year later we finally get around to debating this bill in the House.

Recommendation 3, mandatory training, they claim they address that; the same as 4 and 5, which are the training program curriculum and the licence classification system.

The government claims recommendation 6 of the Shand inquiry will be addressed during consultations with stakeholders starting in 2005. Again, I'm just disappointed in this part of the bill. This is why I'm worried about whether I should even support the bill, unless there's more urgency that would reflect on the Shand inquiry's recommendations.

We're starting the consultations in 2005. As I go through this list, there are a number of them that are addressed the same way.

Number 7, recertification, will be addressed during the consultations.

Number 8, licence identification and renewal, will be addressed during the consultations with stakeholders starting in 2005.

Number 9, the identification part of the Shand inquiry, will be addressed during the consultations.

Number 10, method of training delivery, again, will be addressed during the consultations.

Number 11, certified trainers, is under review. That's what the government is saying, that it's currently under review.

Number 12, record-keeping and evaluation, is currently under review.

Number 13, the enforcement system, they claim that's been addressed.

The same as number 14, the advisory board -- and I think the minister did give me some credit at one point for some of that.

Number 15, the oversight body, apparently has been addressed.

Number 16, portability of licences, has been addressed, as has number 17, the funding model. I don't know how the funding model is addressed. They claim this is addressed in the bill, but we have not had consultations with industry. They're going to be asked to pay for this. This is why I think it's going to be so important that we end up with a fairly wide variety, a wide range of committee hearings. The funding model will be a key area here.

Number 18, reporting use of force, will be addressed during consultations with stakeholders starting in 2005.

Number 19, the distribution of the excited delirium memorandum, apparently has been addressed, as has number 20, training of persons authorized by an employer to make arrests.

Number 21, policy communication to employees, is not applicable, they claim, so they claim they don't need to put that in there.

Number 22, compliance, they feel has been addressed.

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We've got these two bills. I appreciate the minister's response today, but my worry is that we're here today on the first day of debate, and I think all of my caucus members want to speak to this bill.

Mr. Kormos: Is the caucus voting on this one?

Mr. Dunlop: We won't be debating that right now.

The minister clearly indicated, as did the parliamentary assistant, that they have dealt with stakeholders. Now that the bill will be debated in the House, I'm assuming we'll have three or four days of debate, at least, in the House. I think it's important that we look at the consultation, the consultation being the committee hearings. As the critic for this area, I will be asking right up front that some of the larger communities, perhaps Ottawa, Windsor, London, Sudbury and Toronto --

Mr. Kormos: The north?

Mr. Dunlop: Maybe even as far north as Thunder Bay.

Mr. Kormos: Because life is different in small-town Ontario.

Mr. Dunlop: Absolutely. As I have just been told, life is different in small-town Ontario, and there may be different implications to the bill.

But what's really important is that we're doing this bill. It's the first time in 40 years it's been addressed. Let's get this thing right, but let's get it right long before 2007. There's no reason there can't be draft regulations made right now with an advisory panel, if we have to have it that way, so that we can deal with the regulations immediately after the bill is passed. I think that would make a lot of people in this House, at least a lot of our caucus members, much happier, if in fact that was the case.

I think that if we talk to all the stakeholders -- people like most of the police services in Ontario, the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police, the Police Association of Ontario, the OPPA -- all these folks would probably be more than willing not only to come out in an advisory role, but to come back to committee hearings and discuss this with the justice committee or whoever may end up being responsible for the bill. Perhaps the justice committee would be best.

When we're dealing with this bill, we have to look at the commercial side and the industrial side. I understand the minister said earlier that there are something like 30,000 security personnel around today. We have to make sure that the people who are paying the bills for those security personnel are invited to participate in committee hearings. That would include organizations like the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, maybe the Toronto Board of Trade, all the people who may pay the bills and who have to know that the government is bringing forth a stronger bill, but possibly a bill that will cost them more money as a result of the implementation. It looks like the Shand inquiry is recommending that this not cost taxpayers any more money. That would be hard to believe, if it didn't cost them any more money with this government, because every ministry is spending like wildfire right now.

I haven't a lot more to say on this particular bill today. I've gone on a long time as it is, and it hasn't been easy, because I've got a bad sore throat. But the problem is, we know work has to be done in this area. We know there is confusion among the general public around what a police officer is and what a security guard is, what a patrol car is and what a security guard's car is. I've even heard stories where people have been pulled over by a security car. It's not a police officer; it's some guy who wants to be a cop, and he's got a car that resembles an OPP car. He's out of his jurisdiction, and he pulls over someone and tries to fine them or something. That's not right. That confusion cannot happen in the province of Ontario, and I know that has been discussed a number of times with all the police stakeholders. It's certainly not acceptable on the part of anybody who is very professional in the security guard industry.

I thank you today for this opportunity. I would have liked to spend a lot more time on community safety issues, things like double-hatters. I know that is dear to your heart, and we have gone nowhere with that except to give a bunch of money away.

I would have liked to talk maybe a little more about Bill 110 and the fact that it's probably going to get rubber-stamped as half a bill, the same as the grow-op bill will probably be -- no, I think we're going to committee on that one. So they didn't listen to amendments on Bill 110, but this time around they might listen to amendments on the grow-op legislation. And believe me, on the grow-op legislation, when it comes up, there are serious amendments that could be made to that bill. I hope you will listen this time. Let's not keep creating these community safety bills that are half bills. Let's get something done. We don't need a bunch of weak cousins around here. We need strong legislation so that police officers in the province of Ontario and those responsible for community safety can do their job and do it right.

I think that's why I am kind of reluctant to support Bill 159 today. It has the right thought behind it, but the regulations are too vague, and what the government wants to proceed with is something that won't be available, they say, until 2007. And if you read the explanatory note, even in 2007 the minister "may" make the regulations in some cases. So we're not sure it's even going to happen. If there is a cabinet shuffle -- I hope there is not, because I think Minister Kwinter is as good a minister as you are going to find over there in that area. But if there is a cabinet shuffle, the new minister may come in and drop this thing, and it will just sort of linger out there forever without ever being passed. I think it's important that we, as the members of this House, want this legislation passed. I think people will support an act that fixes something that hasn't been corrected since 1966 and is obviously an area where there is some confusion in the province.

Mr. Speaker, I hope you have been happy with my comments. I haven't tried to get too far off topic here. I would have liked to talk about the Huronia Regional Centre today, and my bill, because it's dear to my heart, and about the site 41 landfill, which is another issue in my riding. But every time I start talking about those in my debate time, the Speaker seems to ask me to get back on topic, and that's not really part of the debate. So I thank you today for this opportunity. I know there will be Qs and Cs here, and I look forward to the comments made by the critic from the New Democratic Party, who will be going next.

Thank you so much for this opportunity.

The Acting Speaker: Questions and comments? The member for Niagara Centre.

Mr. Kormos: Well, thank you kindly. I'm concerned for the member. I know that he wouldn't have left nine minutes on the clock if something weren't seriously wrong. I hope he's well.

I listened carefully, as did everybody in this chamber, to his comments, to the minutiae of his observations. I found myself intrigued by his analysis of the issue.

He should know -- he will know -- that I, of course, supported his private member's bill. I supported it enthusiastically. It's unfortunate that he's been usurped by the minister. The minister could have simply moved Mr. Dunlop's bill forward. Look, I know the minister. The minister's a decent person, a good person, a kind person, a fair person, a long-time member of this assembly. I suspect it was some of the high-priced advice he got out of the Premier's office that sent the minister scurrying to dump, scuttle, Dunlop's very capable piece of legislation in an effort to, of course, suppress any exposure that opposition members might get as they, in this chamber, advocate for more justice and more fairness and greater levels of safety in their community.

I'm going to have a chance to speak to this bill in around eight minutes' time, and I'm going to do my best to bring the audience back. I'm going to do my best. Now, at this point I'm not sure what really can be done, but in my own simple, small-town way I'm going to struggle. I take some great motivation from the member from Mississauga West, who cut my grass just a bit but nonetheless has laid the groundwork for some sophisticated debate on this issue.

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Mr. Levac: I won't try to pick up the theme of the member from Niagara Centre, but I will talk about a couple of things that he did mention in this place. There are some comments being made that there's a deep concern about whether or not the opposition ever gets its opportunity. I think the member from Simcoe North realizes that even before the Shand inquiry I had submitted a bill, Bill 117, back in 2003. That one didn't get the light of day either. I want to sympathize with him, because I know that the member did an awful lot of work on his bill, Bill 88. There are some things in there that I think, during committee, we're going to put back on the table and have a discussion about, because the stakeholders have indicated that there are some things that they want to take a look at.

Are there improvements for the bill? Are there things that we can take a look at that sharpen it? The question that I ask is, do we want to stay focused on the purpose of this bill? The bill is about protecting the public. It's about establishing a security industry that is professional, properly trained and licensed.

One of the other things that I want to bring to everyone's attention is that when I introduced my bill, Bill 117, we were also lobbied by the OPP. We were lobbied by the PAO. We were lobbied by the industry out there, saying, "You know what? This bill really needs a good kick. We need to shore it up and improve it." So, taken step-by-step, we've had several members in this place who have spoken to the importance of making sure that this industry elevates itself.

The president of the association that's responsible for security guards indicated that they saw the need for some investment themselves. The honourable member opposite from Leeds-Grenville, I think, Mr. Runciman, had indicated that quite some time ago in some of his legislation as well. So I look forward to improvements.

Mr. Tascona: I just want to comment on the statements made by the member from Simcoe North in terms of what we're trying to accomplish here. I go back to the point, though -- because I think it's important in terms of why this bill is being introduced and why it's on the government's order table -- about the lack of preamble. It's very fundamental, having a preamble, in terms of describing what your purpose and intent is and what you're trying to accomplish. The government has not put a preamble in this bill. I don't know why they haven't. I don't know what they're trying to hide. I don't know what their game really is here, in terms of not putting a preamble in the bill.

I go back to the exemptions. I know the member from Simcoe North would agree with me that with the number of exemptions that are in this bill dealing with insurance companies, dealing with lawyers, dealing with different types of groups that are involved in security -- you've really got to question why they put all these exemptions in and why they're going to be so slow in enacting regulation. When you're slow in enacting regulation, a lot of it is because you haven't done the proper consultation in the first place.

I guess the question would be, are we going to have public hearings on this bill? Also, are we going to have public hearings on the regulations when they put this forth? This is really a complaint-driven process and putting a lot of regulation in place in terms of how they want the industry to go. We really don't know how the government wants this industry to go, whether they just want big security firms to get involved and take over the mom-and-pop stores in terms of how they want to look after their own property. When you're dealing with something like this, you also have to look at what impact it's going to have on business in terms of them being able to look after their property, which is their right under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Ms. Laurel C. Broten (Etobicoke-Lakeshore): I'm pleased to stand in support of Bill 159. We certainly have had an opportunity to hear a lot about the need for this type of legislation over the last number of years, as we heard about some incidents, and in each of our communities have likely observed some incidents where it has not been clear to the public whether the individual was someone who was a private security guard or a police officer.

When the minister spoke earlier today, he talked about times having changed since 1966. I can support the minister in that statement. Certainly times have changed since 1966. We are in a different time here in Ontario, and this legislation is a mechanism to update where the province should be. What Bill 159 does, which I think is critically important, is address issues by making mandatory the training and obtaining of licences for new security personnel and existing personnel, requiring them to pass a test and to have a certain standard. I know the member who spoke for not quite an hour, the member from Simcoe North, had brought forward some legislation during private members' time. I had an opportunity to participate in that debate at that time.

I think the legislation the minister has brought forward will respond to a number of the concerns that have been expressed. The act responds to the issues that municipal and public sector employees -- it excludes many sectors that are not likely the causes of the problems we've heard about over the years.

So I'm very pleased to support this. I think it will be well received in all our communities and will, at the end of the day, make all our communities safer and bring some clarity to this new and ever-expanding field.

The Acting Speaker: The member for Simcoe North has two minutes to reply if he wishes.

Mr. Dunlop: I'd like to thank the members from Niagara Centre, Brant, Barrie-Simcoe-Bradford and Etobicoke-Lakeshore for their responses to the leadoff I did on behalf of our leader John Tory and the PC caucus.

I really want to say that what's important at this point, as we go through the debate -- all our speakers will ask for this; I know it will be a negotiating tool on behalf of our leader. I want to make sure that we get some very clear committee hearings on this. It's important to me that we bring this back before the people and make sure, not only for the people who are directly affected, like the stakeholders, security firms and the police associations, but that we get right into talking to the general public about this bill and how it can be improved upon.

I think what's going to be really important, as we work through the committee hearings, is that we push forward to make these regulations more quickly. The member from Barrie-Simcoe-Bradford mentioned having public hearing, on regulations. I don't know whether that's possible -- it does make sense -- but I'd like to see this. We've got time to do this, I think. We've been a year to this point, from the point the Shand inquiry came out to the point where the bill is being debated.

I'd like to see this thing proclaimed and acted upon during the year 2005, not 2006 or 2007. I want to get right to work on it. I don't mind working on subcommittees or doing whatever we've got to do. It's been kind of disappointing as it is, because for the longest time I didn't think we were going to debate any public safety bills, but we've had all three of the minister's bills come forward in the last month. I'm very pleased with that. It gives me something to do down here.

I thank you for this opportunity, and I thank all the members for their comments.

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The Acting Speaker: Further debate?

Mr. Kormos: Here we are and, nuts, it's 5:20 already. I've only got an hour for the leadoff. That means it's going to be split in half. If we start the leadoff tonight, this afternoon, this evening, right now, then we'll do the balance of it in due course next time this bill is called. That will be the second day of second reading.

Before I start to address the bill, I want to tell you that the pages have prevailed upon me in a significant lobby effort -- the pages who tend to our needs here at Queen's Park -- in a very organized way. They approached me and insisted that I speak on their behalf in wishing a happy 50th birthday to their Mr. B., Wayne Butt, the deputy Sergeant at Arms. I appreciate that that's not on topic. I appreciate that I am probably out of order. But you've got to appreciate the pressure that the pages put me under. Look, I can handle the government House leader. I can handle pressure from my own caucus during a caucus meeting. But pressure from pages, no. It was sufficient to cause me to agree to join them in wishing Mr. Wayne Butt a happy 50th birthday -- Mr. B., as the pages refer to him. At 6 o'clock, the chamber is going to sing Happy Birthday to Mr. Butt.

Here we are debating yet another one of the Solicitor General's bills -- the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services. I said before and I will tell you again that I have the highest regard for this minister. I've known him for a long, long time. I am pleased to be able to be in this chamber debating a bill that he presents, one for which I have, and the NDP caucus has, as I indicated before, some very cautious support. We enthusiastically support the need for reform of the whole area of security guards and private investigators. We very much want to see this bill go to committee.

I'm going to lay it out right now. I believe that this bill is going to need some pretty broad-based and extensive committee hearings, because there is a huge constituency out there that deserves to have input to the bill. I hope to get into that in a few minutes' time.

But here we are with yet another one of the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services' bills. You'll recall the last bill of his that we were here debating was his marijuana grow-op bill, which has now passed on second reading and is going to be dealt with in committee. In the context of debating yet another bill by the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, one Monte Kwinter, and still being very cognizant of the fact that his bill around marijuana grow-ops is not yet resolved -- it's gone to committee -- I have some breaking news for you. This is right out of the Toronto Star, the Internet version of the Star: "Pot-based Drug Approved for Pain Treatment." Here in Canada, and indeed only in Canada, like that tea commercial goes. It's true. I'm reading this right off the wire from Canadian Press: "Drug regulators in this country" -- that means it's approved. It's going to be on the shelves. It's no longer clandestine, no longer underground. "Drug regulators in this country have given market approval to a cannabis-based drug that can be used for relief of neuropathic pain in adults with multiple sclerosis."

Many of us were -- and you probably were too, or if you weren't, it wasn't because you didn't want to be -- at the MS walk on Sunday morning this weekend. I was down at the end of Fourth Street, down at the hockey house behind the arena. I was so grateful because Zehrs grocery store in Welland, which is a unionized store, one which I'm a patron of and proud of the people who work there, members of the United Food and Commercial Workers -- Zehrs is a unionized grocery store in Welland. It's one of the reasons I patronize it. I encourage people to patronize unionized places; that way you have a fairly decent chance of ensuring that the money you spend there supports a little better wages, at the very least, than it would in a non-union place. That's not to say all places have to be unionized. In small mom-and-pop operations it could be very difficult, which is why I shop at Pupo's as well, a family-run place. Anyway, Zehrs was a big sponsor -- and probably in other communities too -- of the MS walk.

We've been reading and hearing from multiple sclerosis sufferers for a good chunk of time now, who smoke marijuana to relieve their pain, many of whom are the recipients and owners now of the federally granted licences to legally possess marijuana but have to go to organized crime to buy it.

Now we've got a drug company -- this is what rots my socks -- and God bless them, but here we are: "GW Pharmaceuticals and Bayer HealthCare" -- Bayer is a huge international. This is big money, right? This is power -- "announced today that Health Canada has approved Sativex, a drug derived from components of the cannabis plant that is administered via a mouth spray.

"Canada is the first country in the world to approve the drug, developed by GW Pharmaceuticals and marketed in this country by pharmaceutical giant Bayer."

The problem is, and think about this: The component that they're putting into their prescription drug Sativex is derived from cannabis. Somebody's growing Bayer's pot. Somebody's growing the marijuana that Bayer is using, because --

Mr. Shafiq Qaadri (Etobicoke North): It's synthetic.

Mr. Kormos: No, this ain't synthetic; I'll get to that in just a minute.

That was the doctor who said, "Maybe it's synthetic," Hansard, and I responded, putting him on the record, by saying, "No, it's not synthetic." I'm going to get to that in just a few minutes.

"Effective pain control" --

Mr. John Milloy (Kitchener Centre): Can't wait.

Mr. Kormos: Now the member from Kitchener or thereabouts says, "Can't wait." I've just responded to that, so that gets on Hansard, too, so at least his folks know that he's here. He may not be actively participating in the debate today, but he's responding under his breath. He's alive and well. The member from -- Kitchener?

Mr. Milloy: Centre.

Mr. Kormos: -- Kitchener Centre is alive and well. I want the folks in Kitchener Centre to know that their member is alive and well. I just heard him mutter, "Can't wait." You're not going to have to wait, because I'm going to tell you now.

"`The approval of Sativex in Canada reflects the urgent need for additional treatment options in the field of neuropathic pain in MS,' added Gordon, a neurologist and director of the Wasser Pain Management Centre at Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital."

This is not low-life; this is high-class stuff, right? Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital. This is prestigious expertise.

"Pain management is a challenge with MS patients, of which there are an estimated 50,000 in Canada....

"While there is no cure for the pain" -- I skipped a couple of paragraphs in the press release -- "caused by the disease, a double-blind study -- in which neither participants nor the researchers knew who was getting which treatment -- showed Sativex provided `significantly' greater pain relief than placebo, the release said."

This is what these people have been telling us all along -- the people who have been smoking pot to relieve their multiple sclerosis pain. Lord knows how many thousands of dollars -- tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of dollars -- were spent in the private sector as well as by the regulatory body to confirm what folks have been telling you for months and years -- these poor people who have licences to smoke marijuana as a pharmaceutical to relieve their multiple sclerosis pain but have had to go down to the street-corner organized criminal to buy the stuff.

"The companies" -- Doctor, catch this, because this is what you are interested in. The doctor was trying to rebut my proposition that somebody has to grow the pot for Bayer and these people to make this medication. So Doctor, listen closely: "The companies describe the product as a whole plant medicinal cannabis extract, containing tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, and cannabidiol as its principal components."

I don't know about you, Doctor, but where I come from, when it says "whole plant medicinal cannabis extract," that implies the whole plant, not some synthetic, not some high-tech person working with test tubes and polymers or, I don't know, neurons and neutrons and things; you know what I mean?

So this is Bayer taking pot plants and making this medicine. So somebody's growing the pot for Bayer. It can't be from Mr. Tascona's riding any more; they shut down that operation. It can't be down from Wainfleet any more; the police raided that operation.

Jim Karygiannis may be ratting out and shutting down the pot-growing operation that Bayer was using to make this legal drug. Think about it.

"Side-effects include nausea, fatigue, dizziness and application site reactions." They forgot about the incredible urge to consume huge amounts of Vachon cakes and other junk foods -- I submit that they're being less than candid with some of their customers in this regard -- and also perhaps an indefatigable obsession with Grateful Dead records. That could well be yet another side-effect.

So there, I just wanted to update you.

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Bayer, a huge international pharmaceutical company that makes millions and millions of dollars, is now trafficking in marijuana. That's the sum and substance of it. Who knows? I have no idea what this costs. A newly approved drug, Doctor, has huge costs attached to it, doesn't it? The doctor nods. Those costs are passed on to the consumer, aren't they, Doctor? Doctor once again grimaces and nods. That means people are going to be paying huge amounts for this cannabis in a bottle -- that's what it is, cannabis in a bottle -- while this government is spending huge amounts shutting down marijuana grow-ops, and while tobacco farmers down along Highway 3 in Cayuga, Delhi, Tillsonburg etc. are going bust. Maybe once again the LeDain commission report should be the subject matter of a national debate. I believe it should. Bayer obviously has got the licence to sell marijuana. That's what they're doing. They're trafficking marijuana. High test, this is high octane stuff. It's the extract alone, none of the seeds, no weeds, no stock, no stem. Bayer, a huge international drug company, is indeed right there, in the thrust of things, trafficking marijuana.

The minister's Bill 159 was in no small part a response, as has been noted by the Conservative critic, to the Shand inquiry, the death of Patrick Shand. You will recall that was a tragedy, but insofar as it permitted a coroner's jury to reflect on the manner in which private security conduct their policing activities, the levels of training, the level of regulation etc., it turned into a very valuable process.

I told you I was provoked by the member for Mississauga West, who in a two-minute question and comment went rapidly through a list of fictional private eyes, investigators, the private dick of television and movies and literature. I was impressed at his ability to recite these characters, and as I say, he provoked me, he prompted me, and gave me more than a little bit of motivation. He talked about the Mickey Spillanes of the world, and I just want to tell you that when I think private investigator, those guys, the fedora, the film noir sort of lighting -- you know what I mean, right? The camera sort of stuff: the gilt lettering on the door and the shadow it casts on the wall in the office, and, yes as the member for Mississauga West would have it, that half-empty bottle of bourbon in the lower left-hand drawer.

I have been in some offices here at Queen's Park that have been similarly equipped. It's just the nature of the beast. I'm not talking about the lettering on the door with the shadow being cast. I suppose it wouldn't be so much likely to be bourbon here, would it? A bottle of decent scotch is probably the nature of the beast. From time to time -- far be it from me -- it could be other poisons, who knows?

But I've just got to tell you, when I think private investigator, because Mississauga West went through that list, I think, this is just -- Davey Robicheaux, from the writer James Lee Burke, Dave Robicheaux, situated in New Iberia, Louisiana. I started reading the James Lee Burke series of books. They're fascinating, because Davey Robicheaux is mostly a cop, you see, working for New Iberia, and used to work for the New Orleans Police Department, but from time to time he gets fired from the police force because he's a little bit of a radical and a rebel and disinclined to follow the rules, but he takes his lumps.

His buddy Clete Purcel is a big, fat bombast of a guy, with a straw hat and a Cadillac convertible -- an old Cadillac convertible -- who runs a private investigation firm out of New Orleans, and he's always on the edge. But Clete Purcel never walked away from a bottle of whiskey or a barroom brawl. And there's Dave Robichaux. These two are partners.

I actually went to New Iberia, just because it was the location of these James Lee Burke novels. That's where the McIlhenny Tabasco factory is. The Bayou Teche flows through the town, just like James Lee Burke writes in those novels. It's a wonderful place to visit -- great seafood, great people.

The Shand inquiry revealed in a formal way some serious deficiencies in the regulation of private security and private policing. That warrants some discussion as well because, really, look what's happening. The inadequacy of support for public policing in this province, across this province, has promoted, prompted and been responsible for an incredible growth in the phenomenon of private police. Increasingly, that's what security guards, these security forces, are. We see private police being employed by business improvement areas, by commercial areas of big city/small town. We see private police being utilized and paid for by neighbourhoods, by residential dwellers.

The phenomenon of private policing, in and of itself, should be of great concern to us. The fact that we have not made the investments that, in my view, have to be made in what is an incredibly labour-intensive activity -- policing -- so as to sustain sufficiently high levels of staffing in our police services across this province, is what prompts the growth of private police forces. Clearly we have moved beyond the point in time where a department store or a plaza will hire a retiree simply to monitor what goes on there.

I don't have the data, and I don't want to start buying into the culture of fear that somehow suggests that, let's say, people who go to shopping plazas are rowdier now than they were 10, 20 or 30 years ago. As a matter of fact, if you want to read something, read Paco Underhill. I will give the spelling to Hansard before we leave. Paco Underhill is a New York-based plaza consultant and he writes about shopping plazas as being the safest of places, which is why they are so attractive, not only in reality, but in perception as well. They are cocooning people. People walk into a totally new environment. They walk off the street into this self-contained environment.

I'm not going to get into the debate about whether the nature of the plaza customer, the plaza community participant, has changed so as to make them less safe and requiring different styles and different levels of policing, but I do know that increasingly the types of security that are being used are designed to -- and in fact do -- look more and more like real police, or at least what people think real police look like.

I know a whole lot of people involved in security; all of us do. I worked with the sisters and brothers, the folks down at Casino Niagara, in their organizing drive. They got themselves organized by OPSEU -- good people, hardworking people; young people, many of whom are graduates of various policing and security programs or similar types of programs, especially at the community college level; many people -- not all of them -- who have aspired to be police officers in their own right and see this as simply an interim job, others who treat it as casual work.

We have the traditional role played by the Canadian Corps of Commissionaires. I look forward to their participation in the public hearings, because, quite frankly, I have some serious concerns.

What the bill does is set up a regime for regulating private security and private investigators, but what it doesn't understand is that there are security officers and then there are security officers. I agree with the proposition that we want to control the private police forces that dress like public police officers, try to conduct themselves, or do conduct themselves, in the manner in which they think that public police officers conduct themselves, and simply force themselves into scenarios where they effect arrests that are dubious, wherein you have hazards that were revealed in the Shand inquiry.

But is the government telling the Canadian Corps of Commissionaires that they are no longer useful?

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Mr. Levac: No.

Mr. Kormos: Mr. Levac -- I've just responded to his comment, so he gets on Hansard too -- says no. I say to Mr. Levac, get back into this chamber, take the floor and explain why not. Mr. Levac says the government doesn't deprive those people from the Canadian Corps of Commissionaires of their role in doing -- maybe not the active private police, but in doing the watch duty. A whole lot of these people are former service people, veterans. We're not talking about Second World War veterans any more; they're veterans of the Korean War and more recent military activities. The Canadian Corps of Commissionaires, for whom I have the greatest -- I think everybody does. People know who I'm talking about: the Canadian Corps of Commissionaires. We've got a branch in Thorold. The corps has its own separate branch providing security activities. I am loath to support legislation that tells these people that there is no longer a role for them in terms of the level of provision of security that they are trained and equipped to provide.

That's what bothers me about the bill. There isn't consideration of the difference between a watchperson -- let me put this to you. You hire a fellow. You've got a scrapyard, and you're in small-town Ontario. During the summer months, you know that there is greater accessibility to scrapyards. You can't have the pit bull in the scrapyard any more, because the government banned it -- the junkyard dog, right? You know what I'm talking about. So you've got a watchperson -- I was going to say watchman, but you've got a watchperson -- and their only job is to sit there and, if anybody tries to climb the fence or steal the steering wheel off that `62 Malibu that's piled up in the back, you expect them to either shoo the person away or call the police.

It's not a whole lot of active private policing. It's a watchperson. I was going to say watchman, but that would get me into trouble with some sectors, and appropriately so. It's a person keeping watch. The problem is that this bill requires that person to be licensed, requires that person to be trained and educated to the same level as a private security guard who, for instance, is patrolling a business area or a department store and who has a far greater likelihood of having to engage in arrests of people, for instance, who are boosting stuff, who are stealing stuff. Is that what the government intends to do? Do you intend to put the Canadian Corps of Commissionaires out of work? I don't know. You better say so, because they want to know.

Mrs. Sandals: They're supporting it.

Mr. Kormos: Well, the government members say they're supporting it. We'll find out at committee.

One of the problems in debating this bill is that once again the government, in what I perceive as nothing more than a demonstration of sloth, has failed to come up with the regulations. Mr. Dunlop has already spoken to that. They've had a year and a half already to at least put forward some draft regulations and haven't done it. I say that's disappointing and frustrating.

Let's face it: At the end of the day, this is going to increase costs for retailers, for industry, for every employer that hires, because it has to or because it feels it has to, private security. You can't expect security guards, private security personnel, to submit to these enhanced levels of education and training -- we don't know what they are -- without them being paid a fair salary for the investment they make in their background training and for the skills and experience that they display on the job.

I heard one commenter say earlier that public sector employees are excluded. I'm not sure of that. I'm not sure that the legislative security in this building don't have to be licensed under this legislation. I put this to you: I know those legislative security; I've known them now for a good chunk of time, just like some other people here have and, in my view -- and I think I can back this one up without hesitation or without any fear of being contradicted -- this is a very experienced, well-trained staff. They're grossly underpaid. Did you know that, Speaker? The salaries we pay to legislative security in this assembly are an embarrassment.

We expect them to protect the chamber, to protect the precincts, to do it without firearms -- because they aren't armed -- to do it with diplomacy, to do it whether it's one angry person or 1,000 angry people or more in front of the building. They do it at considerable risk to themselves. The legislative security staff do it with incredible commitment to their jobs. I'm confident they have never displayed anything but the best of humour -- to any of us; certainly to me -- politeness and grace. They've got to deal with everything from bomb scares to wacky, harassing mail. I just read today that one fellow, who I think is a frequent correspondent with everybody in this chamber, got himself convicted again. The legislative security have to deal with everything from bomb scares to the prospect of chemical problems, toxic problems. They've got to deal with people who are deranged -- I'm not talking about the members, although I suppose I could. They've got to deal with people who are very hostile, very angry, very unstable. This place is a magnet for them. They've got to deal with people who are angry in their own right, either rationally or irrationally, and they don't have the right to unionize. Think about that. I'm not saying they want to; I don't know. But they don't, do they? They don't even have the right to collectively bargain for decent salaries here in the heart of Toronto.

I find it shameful that the people who literally protect us -- and they do. They don't just protect the building. They're far more than night watchmen, or watchpersons. They're doing stuff, and you and I don't even see them when they're doing stuff, because their antennae are up, right? They hear something out there, they anticipate something. Most of their work, I suspect, is preventive. Is that fair to say, Sergeant at Arms? I suspect it's preventive. It's preventing a problem before it happens.

I want to use this opportunity to suggest to everybody in this chamber that a priority for the Board of Internal Economy should be to immediately address the salaries of legislative security and use appropriate comparators in other public security personnel as a guideline for what the wages and salaries ought to be.

The people who work here in this chamber can't afford to live in the city that the chamber is located in. I know them. They don't just commute a couple of blocks, like members do with their apartment allowances. They commute from other cities because they can't afford to live in Toronto. They're not alone in terms of Toronto workers in that regard, but their salaries are abysmal.

I say that we owe it to them to give them the right to organize into a collective bargaining unit should they so wish -- I'm talking about the legislative security right here, Mr. Levac.

Mr. Levac: It's excellent.

Mr. Kormos: You're darn right they're excellent. Then why aren't they allowed to collectively bargain? Mr. Levac says they're excellent; he agrees. And I ask Mr. Levac, why aren't they allowed to collectively bargain? I ask Mr. Levac, why are their salaries so abysmal?

The Acting Speaker: I would remind the member for Niagara Centre, when he's talking about another member, to please try to use the riding name and to make his remarks through the Chair.

Mr. Kormos: Thank you, Speaker, and through you I say to the member from Brant, whose family knows him as Dave Levac, to explain, as a senior member of the government, why the legislative security in this building cannot collectively bargain and why they are not paid salaries that are commensurate with their training, with the level of performance they display and with the incredibly challenging task they perform.

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I don't say this to be rude or even to be off topic because we're talking about security, aren't we? We're talking about the fact that if you want trained, regulated security personnel, you better be prepared to pay for it. This assembly has had a free ride with security here at Queen's Park. I believe that. I would welcome members of the legislative security at Queen's Park making presentations to the committee that eventually considers Bill 159 to publicize the inadequacy of their salaries and to publicize the fact that they don't have the power to collectively bargain, because collective bargaining isn't just about wages. It's about job security. It's about being fairly treated in terms of punishment or discipline that's meted out by bosses. It's protection against being arbitrarily dismissed. I've known these people too well for too long to not want to prevail upon other members of this assembly to move promptly.

I am worried with respect to Bill 159 when I get down to the -- well, I wanted to raise one with you, and that is the terms of part VI; that's the "thou shalts" and "thou shalt nots." One of the penalties is, "No business entity shall employ a private investigator or a security guard unless the private investigator or the security guard has an appropriate licence."

What I find interesting is that there doesn't appear to be a parallel for an employer other than a business. I'm subject to correction in that regard, but does that mean that an individual can hire security guards, private investigators, because there are different penalties for a person doing that work and holding themselves out to be without a licence, but there's no penalty for the hiring of one? I presume that means knowingly hiring. That's going to have to be cleared up as well because, if you have issues around absolute liability, you can't expect a person or a business to be found guilty of an offence if they unknowingly hire after doing, let's say, due diligence; right?

The other interesting one, though, is this. I'm going back many years ago when I used to practise law. I was constantly getting calls, somebody was getting -- Commisso's supermarket down on Ontario Road at the Commisso's plaza had great in-house security; a wonderful woman. She was very good at what she did, very, very good. She was a floor walker. She caught shoplifters. The Seaway Mall -- constantly getting calls, have to interrupt the office, run down there, "Somebody's getting arrested," and not just kids. There is a whole other phenomenon of adult shoplifting, and not shoplifting for profit, just an aberration. The Clarke Institute of Psychiatry did some major work on it, premised basically good people doing bad things and the whole phenomenon.

But take a look at section 35. "Every person who is acting as a security guard ... shall ... on request, identify himself or herself as a security guard." Think about this. You're in Sam the Record Man. I was talking about HMV and Sam just the other day. I told you I was down at Sam buying that Ramblin' Jack Elliott record. You're at Sam the Record Man and you're a kid who maybe is -- please, don't get me wrong. It's not just kids who do this. You know, you're out to do a little bit of five-finger discounting; right? You're being watched by somebody whom you suspect to be the floor walker. This statute compels that person, if you go up to him or her and say, "Excuse me, but if you're a security guard, you have to show me your identification right now" -- that's what the section says. That's the silliest thing I've ever heard. That really doesn't give much effect to having plainclothes security trying to do shoplifting prevention in a department store, a record store, a shoe store or any number of places.

That takes me to this point. Again, I am sympathetic and supportive of the intent of the legislation, but I've got a feeling that it was put together in a rushed way. I don't know; call me cynical, but I've got a feeling that maybe Dunlop's bill provoked this bill. I've got a feeling that maybe the member for Brant was ready to embarrass his own government once again with yet another private member's bill, and that prompted the government to hurriedly put together Bill 159. Because when I see provisions like section 35 -- "Every person who is acting as a security guard ... shall, ... on request, identify himself or herself as a security guard; and ... produce his or her licence." This is silly. Quite frankly, it reflects some draftsmanship by people who don't really understand, and belies the proposition that there was thorough consultation.

Somebody who's in Zellers to do a little boosting with the false pockets, the whole nine yards, gets to check out everybody to make sure -- because that's what it says.

Interjection.

Mr. Kormos: Mr. Dunlop, if you're a security guard working plainclothes to try to protect Zellers from boosters, if I asked you if you're a security guard, you have to say yes, and furthermore, you have to produce your licence. So I'm not going to boost at that Zellers; I'm going to head on down the road. I just find that a troublesome sort of thing.

I want to, and I will, get to the regulations, because that's where some of the racier stuff is -- regulations around uniforms, because what we don't want is for security guards who are not police officers and who don't have the training and accountability of police officers -- because, although this introduces some accountability, let's be fair; it's nowhere near the level of accountability that a police officer has.

We're concerned about the type of uniform. The problem is that it's going to take a fair bit of clever draftspersonship to put together a regulation. What are you saying? Do you want them in tutus, in pink leotards, so that they don't look like cops? It's silly. Obviously, anything that has a professional sort of appearance to it is going to have a police-like appearance to it. So where do you draw the line? Where do you put the controls? Do you want to allow shoulder flashes? What if it just says "Bomar Security" instead of "Toronto Police Service"? Or do you not allow shoulder flashes? Are you going to allow rank -- sergeants and so on, the chevrons? Because to a whole lot of people, the mere existence of rank implies a public official, not a private official. The prospect of a private sergeant versus a public sergeant boggles the mind a little bit, and I suspect it's used in the private security guard industry in lieu of pay increases -- "Oh, we'll promote you to sergeant." I suspect that might have happened with legislative security here at Queen's Park, because Lord knows they aren't paid, so maybe they get rank increases instead of salary increases. If they do, shame on their bosses for treating them that way, and shame on us for allowing their bosses to treat them that way.

I'm in recognition of the fact that you're ready to rise. I'm going to yield the floor until the next chance I have to take the floor to finish my one-hour leadoff on Bill 159. I want to thank you kindly, Speaker, for your patience with me.

I'm looking forward to this bill getting to committee in a pretty prompt way. I spoke with some of the police representatives who were here today, as many others did. They appeared to be eager to have some thorough hearings. I don't want to speak for them, but I'm suggesting that this is the sort of bill that might go out to committee during the month of June -- after the House, presumably, has recessed for the summer.

The Acting Speaker: It being 6 o'clock, this House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 1:30 in the afternoon.

The House adjourned at 1758.