39th Parliament, 2nd Session

L037B - Mon 31 May 2010 / Lun 31 mai 2010



Monday 31 May 2010 Lundi 31 mai 2010





The House recessed from 1825 to 1845.



Resuming the debate adjourned on May 31, 2010, on the motion for second reading of Bill 68, An Act to promote Ontario as open for business by amending or repealing certain Acts / Projet de loi 68, Loi favorisant un Ontario propice aux affaires en modifiant ou en abrogeant certaines lois.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Further debate?

Mr. Peter Tabuns: This is a bad bill.


Mr. Peter Tabuns: I know members on the government side are shocked to hear me say that.


Mr. Peter Tabuns: Some are appalled, but most of them are just shocked.


Mr. Peter Tabuns: Yes.

This is a deregulation bill. Frankly, the reality—


Mr. Peter Tabuns: I’m interested in hearing the arguments that the government will put forward on this.

The reality is that in the last year or two years, we’ve seen the impact of deregulation on the world economy and, frankly, on the environment in the Gulf of Mexico, something that my colleague Howard Hampton spoke to earlier today, in a way that one would think would take this government and bring it back to its senses.

If you look at the history of regulation and deregulation on this continent, if you look at the Great Depression and the fact that the deregulation of the financial system was central to the collapse of the financial system in 1929, led to a long depression, and that depression in turn caused the development of rules around the management of money and finance that changed the way things operated for decades—the simple reality there was that because those rules were in effect, businesses were not able to run the sorts of unjustifiable risks that they had with people’s money. They were not able to play around the way they had in the 1920s.

We went through a period in the western and industrialized world of unprecedented growth for many decades, but companies driven by the need to produce good results every quarter decided that in fact their interest was breaking down that regulation and bringing in a financial system that allowed very large-scale gambling with people’s money.

We had bubbles in the 1980s and 1990s that affected the world economy.

And in 2008, we had the great meltdown. I don’t think you can have any clearer indication of the failure of a deregulation agenda in everyday people’s lives than that particular incident.

I received an email today from people in Vancouver who are part of the group of investors who lost $35 billion in the asset-backed commercial paper market. They were not protected in a deregulated world. In fact, their retirement income was put at profound risk.

To say that the way we’re going to build business in Canada, in Ontario, is by deregulating is an abdication of this government’s responsibility for protection of the economy, the environment and the population.

This bill doesn’t deal with finances. I use finances as an illustration. It deals with employment standards, and it deals with the environment.

As my colleague from Kenora–Rainy River said earlier today, look at the growing stain of oil that is covering the Gulf of Mexico, washing up on the shores of Louisiana, for a clear picture of what happens when you let companies engage in risky activities and do not properly regulate them.

Some people think that all problems are ultimately technically fixable. I have to say to you that in fact there are some risks to populations, economies and environments that can only be prevented. They cannot be properly corrected afterward.


No one knows when that oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico will be dealt with, because we have not in the past dealt with oil leaks at that depth and at those pressures. Every measure that has been taken so far has failed. It’s my hope that something that is attempted soon will be successful to prevent the damage to that economy and, frankly, ultimately to ours, because here in Ontario we depend on oil from outside Ontario.

If offshore drilling is substantially reduced—because it produces a large amount of oil to the United States—there’s an excellent chance that it will have an impact on the cost of oil and gas here in Ontario. It will affect our economy. Louisiana produces large volumes of seafood consumed throughout North America. If that supply of seafood is cut off, it will have an impact on the price of the food that we pay for in restaurants and in grocery stores.

Deregulation under the Bush regime around environmental protection did not protect the people and certainly has not protected the economy of that country. And here we are in a situation where the minister has brought forward a change to our environmental regulations that will substantially reduce the right of people to speak to those regulations, the right of people to intervene and the responsibility of government to correctly assess what’s going on when a company wants to come forward and do something and to have the kind of oversight that we require.

Speaker, you may well be aware of the development of shale gas in Pennsylvania; you may be aware that there are many companies that are looking to develop shale gas here in Ontario. You may also be aware that in the state of New York, shale gas developments are now restricted around the city of New York and one other city—I think it’s Rochester—for fear of contamination of the water supply. Major cities like New York may have been able to protect themselves against shale gas, but there are many cities and towns and villages in southwestern Ontario that depend on groundwater for their water supplies. If shale gas development proceeds, there may well be a risk to those water supplies, and if in fact we roll back our environmental protection and we roll back the oversight of the Ministry of the Environment, if we roll back citizens’ rights to intervene and speak, then it may well be that those developments will go forward without, in the end, your constituents, Mr. Speaker, or others actually having the opportunity to intervene in the way that they need to intervene.

A media release was put out by some of the major environmental groups in this province: Ecojustice, the Canadian Institute for Environmental Law and Policy, and the Canadian Environmental Law Association. I’ll just read into the record what they have to say about the changes to our environmental protections.

“‘The proposed legislation lays the foundation for the rollback of public participation rights in Ontario,’ said Ramani Nadarajah, counsel with the Canadian Environmental Law Association. ‘The government’s action would undermine important legal rights which Ontario citizens have had since the enactment of the Environmental Bill of Rights in 1994.’”

It’s 16 years since those rights were put into place. I listened to the Minister of the Environment talk earlier about his big focus being the move from paper records to computerized records. That isn’t what’s at issue here. All kinds of administrations can go from paper to computerized records without undermining the right of participation and the right of self-protection that is afforded to people by the Environmental Bill of Rights. When you have significant environmental organizations like this one saying that this is a rollback on environmental protection, I think you have to pay attention. When you hear them saying that, you don’t have to agree with them immediately, but you should pay substantial attention to what they have to say, because they do have a fair amount of expertise and what one could call acting as a neutral party. They don’t have a partisan interest, but they do have a deep interest in and commitment to environmental protection.

“Maureen Carter-Whitney, research director with the Canadian Institute for Environmental Law and Policy, stated, ‘The Open for Business Act closes the door for citizen input into a significant number of the government’s environmental decision-making processes and will prevent potential environmental problems from being identified and corrected.’”

Why would a government do that? What is the advantage to business to come into a jurisdiction where environmental protection has been weakened? Very seriously, what is the advantage to businesses in doing that? Do you come into a jurisdiction where the water may be at risk, where the air is not fit to breathe and where there’s contamination of land? People who are listening to me today who are involved in business where people have bought land that’s contaminated know very well that if their interests are protected in the environment, they don’t have to deal with huge cleanup costs and huge liability issues.

It does no good for business to come into a jurisdiction where they have to worry about the quality of water that they take from municipal water lines or from the ground, either for consumption in a plant or use for an industrial purpose. It doesn’t help business if those environmental laws are undermined.

One of the constraints on industrial development in China has been the lack of clean, usable, fresh water for industrial purposes. And it isn’t just a question of a simple lack of water itself; the level of contamination of water is such that in many cases water is not usable even for industrial purposes because it’s so contaminated.

So I have to ask again: If the method of making Ontario open for business is undermining our environmental protection, what really is the government’s view of what kind of business you’re going to attract? Are you going to attract business that is interested in high-value, high-quality products, or the dirtiest possible? Are you looking to develop a jurisdiction where you will be engaged in a race to the bottom with a variety of jurisdictions because you in fact are a place where you can go and ignore environmental regulations because the protections have been rolled back? That is a substantial concern not just for the people who live in this province, not just for the generations to come who will depend on a stable, clean environment, but for the businesses that the government says it wants to attract. Why would they come to a low-protection, low-quality environment?

“‘The government’s proposed act weakens accountability by decision-makers,’ said Elaine MacDonald, senior scientist at Ecojustice. ‘The government will no longer be required by law to take the public’s views and opinions into account before the affected environmental decisions are finalized or implemented.’

“The environmental groups have called upon the government to amend the proposed act so as to leave intact the public notice and comment and third party appeal rights under the Environmental Bill of Rights.”

That isn’t just a question of going from paper to a computerized system; that talks about the fundamental rights of citizens to have input into the environmental decision-making that they will have to live with for decades. The government, I think, is going to have to do a lot of explaining—not to me; I don’t think they’re credible on this, but they’re going to have to do a lot of explaining to the public and say, “We’re taking away your rights and your protections because we think that somewhere out there a company like BP is going to be attracted to operating in this jurisdiction.”

BP has found that they did very well in a jurisdiction where they didn’t have to deal with the plethora of regulatory rules when it came to offshore oil drilling, and they figure, “Ontario—that’s great. Ontario’s a wonderful place; we’ll see if we can get into natural gas development there. They don’t mind rolling back environmental protection, rolling back the environmental rights of citizens in this province.”


It is amazing to me that this government has decided that deregulation is the direction to go in. This is a government that has often thought of itself or presented itself as an alternative to the approach that Mike Harris took in the 1990s, and yet here we have rollbacks that we didn’t see even then. How do they justify that in terms of the story they present to Ontario on their approach to environmental protection, their approach to democratic rights? It certainly isn’t in keeping with the story we’ve been given. It certainly isn’t in keeping with the approach that they say they have when they come to deal with this province.

My colleague from Kenora–Rainy River talked earlier about the Employment Standards Act and the weakening there, the reduction of workers’ rights. I have to say to you that I deal with constituents of mine who have been involved in work situations where they never got paid. I deal with constituents who have dealt with employers who really needed to be taken on and straightened out. This act isn’t going to help working people who need to have the government on their side protecting them, dealing with unscrupulous employers. This is a rollback. Have we decided that, instead of following a model of fairly well paid and fairly well protected jobs, we are going to compete with Brazil or Mexico in rolling back standards so that we’re more attractive to companies that don’t actually have an interest in paying people decent wages, that don’t have an interest in making sure that people can live lives they are happy with?

In the end, an agenda of deregulation is one that will leave Ontario dirtier, poorer and less attractive to investment. You may call it “open for business”; I don’t think that’s a realistic or accurate description. I think we’ve decided that some companies will be much happier if they don’t have to deal with any rules, and we’ve decided to make them happy. That isn’t going to build the economy of this province. That is a strategy that simply takes us back quite a few decades to a period when people in this province didn’t have environmental protection, didn’t have the right to environmental protection and had far less protection in the workplace.

I’d say to the government: If you want to actually open Ontario for business, then abandon this neoconservative strategy and move forward to a strategy that in fact develops 21st-century technologies, makes sure that people are paid adequately and makes sure that we have the quality of environment that attracts those businesses that have a long-term interest in operating here. Understand what provides stability in a society; understand what opens opportunity in a society. Then we’d have a strategy that would be worth pursuing.

This bill is not worth pursuing. This bill needs to be defeated, and I call on the government to look again at this bill and, frankly, drop it; let it go back into a table, into a file folder somewhere, and forget about it.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Questions and comments?

Mr. Michael A. Brown: I’m pleased to have this opportunity to comment on the speech by my friend from Oxford and perhaps comment a bit about what my friend from Toronto–Danforth has just said.

The member for Oxford said we’re not going fast enough. We’re not deregulating; we’re not getting rid of regulations. We’re not getting rid of all those things. Probably, I agree with him, because that’s not what we’re doing. We’re re-regulating, not deregulating.

My friend from Toronto–Danforth talks about the financial markets and all the deregulation this is going to do to them, I guess. Obviously, it’s not; it doesn’t deal with it at all. He talks about the petroleum industry, which we all know is causing great grief in the Gulf of Mexico. But this doesn’t deal with it at all.

We are introducing this bill to have a full debate, because we want to have a province that’s open for business, to create faster, smarter and more streamlined government-to-business services and regulations that will make Ontario attractive for business development while protecting the public interest. We are making it easier for companies to do business in Ontario, because a strong economy means a strong province for all Ontarians. By reducing the regulatory burden in Ontario by 25% by 2011, we will be building a foundation for improving services to business that protects the public interest, fosters business competitiveness and welcomes new business to this province. All our efforts are a direct response to requests for greater transparency, predictability and certainty.

I’m sure that the opposite ends of the poles we just heard from in the last two interventions would both agree that re-regulation is good for all the people of the province of Ontario, good for the environment, good for business and good for the people we serve.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Questions and comments?

Mr. Ted Chudleigh: I find myself sitting somewhere in the middle between those two opposing poles. I agree with the member from Toronto–Danforth that the direction of this bill is of great concern, but the reasons for concern are where he and I differ.

I see this bill as a re-regulation or deregulation bill, which has some appeal to it. The problem is that many of the examples we’ve had expressed in this debate in the House today haven’t been thought through well enough, so it leaves the area of business that is involved in a somewhat more vulnerable position. I’ll give you the example of agriculture, which my friend from Oxford spoke about eloquently just late this afternoon.

In that case, you are re-regulating some of the animal welfare regulations, and the consequences of that are going to fall back on the most vulnerable people in the supply chain. When that happens, of course, those vulnerable people are going to be less competitive. And if you’re less competitive because of the re-regulation the government has entered into, there are not going to be as many businesses of that type and that nature in the province.

I’m afraid that is a common theme. You’ve looked for areas to re-regulate, but you haven’t thought through the consequences. Many of the consequences aren’t going to build business in this province. Because the responsibility is falling back on those businesses, it’s going to increase their costs, and that’s going to make it more difficult for them to compete. You’re going to achieve exactly the opposite of what you intended for this bill.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Questions and comments?

Ms. Helena Jaczek: I’m very pleased to enter this debate on Bill 68. There certainly seems to be some confusion as to what we’re trying to do with this bill. Clearly, we need to have Ontario open for business. We’ve just gone through an incredibly difficult recession, and we need to respond to that by ensuring that, in every way we can, we encourage those businesses, both large and small.

Just to pick up on the member for Toronto–Danforth’s comments in relation to the changes that the Ministry of the Environment is proposing—the amendments to the Environmental Protection Act and the Ontario Water Resources Act—what we’re doing is we’re moving to a modern, risk-based approach for approvals, and the proposed changes will reduce the administrative burden on businesses.

We need to look at what we’ve been doing so far. The Ministry of the Environment receives something like 6,000 requests for certificates of approval each year. Whether you’re just asking to change a fan or a new HVAC system, or whether you’re intending to build a new steel plant, you go through the exact same process, and this doesn’t make any sense. What we are moving to is something where, for simple, low-risk activities, we’re going to create a very streamlined approach. Where there are activities that may pose more risk to the environment, there will be more time for Ministry of the Environment staff to assess those projects in a great deal more depth.

This is not any attempt at deregulation whatsoever. I feel that we’re simply moving in a way that many other jurisdictions around the world have. This is an improvement; a real step forward.


The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Questions and comments?

Mr. Norman W. Sterling: From 1996 to 1999 I was the Minister of Environment for this great province. During that period of time I was attempting as minister to take about 30 years of environmental regulations and put some rhyme and reason to them. When you build a pile from the bottom to the top, when the papers are being added on the top, the regulations on top don’t necessarily meld with those on the bottom.

When I was attempting to do this, it was necessary to change standards, to look at different factors, all based on the science presented to me by the Ministry of Environment staff. I was accused of the very same thing that the government is being accused of today: that I was deregulating; I wasn’t re-regulating. I’ve heard that comment come back from the government benches, that they’re re-regulating. That was the argument I put forward at the time for the government, and in fact that’s what I was doing during my tenure as Minister of Environment.

We have groups like the environmental law association or whatever they call themselves, and their interest is in criticizing and saying that the government deregulates, regardless of their intentions. So I say to the government: Work on through your regulations. Just make the process open, what you’re doing, and base it in science. That’s the way to re-regulate as you go forward.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): The member for Toronto–Danforth, you have up to two minutes to respond.

Mr. Peter Tabuns: I want to thank the members from Algoma–Manitoulin, Halton, Oak Ridges–Markham and Carleton–Mississippi Mills for addressing my presentation.

The Minister of the Environment has been slow on processing certificates of approval, but I think the problem has more to do with inadequate funding and staffing than it does with over-regulation. I think that’s a core problem that was not addressed in the last budget or previous budgets. The government has looked at this and said, “We’re not going to put enough money into this ministry to actually enforce the regulations we have on the books. How do we get around that?” Rather than dealing with the problem, making sure that we have adequate regulatory protection and adequate citizen involvement, we have this system of permit-by-rule, which environmental organizations that have followed this issue very closely have analyzed and looked at the legal consequences and the environmental consequences of and have said that this is a wrong step; this will reduce citizen participation, rights and protection.

I listened to the member from Oak Ridges–Markham. She said that we just went through an incredibly difficult recession. If I recollect properly, that recession was triggered by a deregulated financial environment. Someone in the United States said, “We have too many regulations on these banks and financial companies. We should peel them away so they can really produce the way they want to produce.” Well, you get consequences.

The member from Carleton–Mississippi Mills talked about being criticized for attempting to rationalize environmental regulations when he was Minister of Environment. I wasn’t around at that point. I wasn’t part of that discussion, but my guess is that the very same members who are protecting this bill criticized him.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): I beg to inform the House that I have today laid upon the table a report from the Integrity Commissioner entitled Report of the Review of Expense Claims Covering the Period April 1, 2009, to March 31, 2010, pursuant to the Cabinet Ministers’ and Opposition Leaders’ Expenses Review and Accountability Act, 2002.

Further debate?

Ms. Helena Jaczek: It certainly gives me great pleasure to continue this discussion on Bill 68, the Open for Business Act, in particular to concentrate on the modernization of approvals in the Ministry of the Environment but also to talk about some of the other important components of this particular bill.

First of all, we need to be very clear. The Ministry of the Environment is proposing to transform Ontario’s approvals process to create a modern, user-friendly approach that remains fully protective of the environment—and I want to emphasize that, as the member for Toronto–Danforth in particular seemed to be casting aspersions on what we were trying to do with this bill. We are absolutely committed to full protection of the environment.

If passed, the new system would enhance public transparency and environmental protection while improving service to business. The best interests of Ontarians remains the key priority at every step.

The proposed legislation includes provisions to develop and implement a new risk-based registry and approvals system. The proposed changes include improving environmental protection by focusing resources on activities that pose the greatest risk; enhancing public transparency through a searchable electronic registry; and providing online tools that make applying and obtaining approvals easier for business.

How will this new system work? This new risk- and performance-based environmental permitting and approvals system will feature:

—a registry for minor, low-risk activities. This is what I was alluding to earlier. If you’re going to put in a backup generator, you simply apply through the registry;

—strengthening the approvals process for remaining activities. These are the complex kinds of applications; and

—a new electronic service delivery system that will support new business processes and meet stakeholder e-business needs.

We’re going to be using a risk-based approach. Under the current process, Ontario receives more than 6,000 requests for certificates of approval each year. Many are for activities that pose a low risk to the environment and human health, yet each must go through the exact same process. There was a backlog last year. There were some 1,700 applications. It’s not a question of insufficient staffing. It was simply that there was a lot of paper processing that had to be gone through—and the Ministry of the Environment staff have gone through all those applications. There is no backlog at the moment.

It is clear that Ontario needs an updated, risk-based approach that reflects our environmental and economic values. The new process would focus resources and efforts on activities that pose the greatest risk to the environment and public health. This risk-based model has already been successfully implemented in other modern regulatory jurisdictions such as New York, mentioned by our colleague from Toronto–Danforth—in his view, as it relates to the shale gas issue—a model also introduced in California and the United Kingdom. This approach is also used in Alberta and British Columbia, and Saskatchewan will follow suit.

Modernization of approvals could save business as much as 25% of a project’s application costs.

Looking at this environmental registry, the proposed legislation would allow the province to build a modern approval system for the 21st century by creating a new environmental registry for lower-risk and less complex activities or sectors. Businesses would be able to register their activity online. An accountable person would declare that the facility will operate in accordance with registry regulations.

Key features of this registry include: a more efficient and timely process for lower-risk activities and sectors; clear rules for activities eligible for registration; online registration; a searchable database of registered businesses and activities; and then confirmation of registration provided when complete.

The activities on the registry are expected to be subject to eligibility and operating requirements. This would allow more resources to be devoted to approval applications for activities that pose the greatest risk to the environment.


In terms of the environmental compliance approvals—this is for activities that are more complex and higher risk—an approval would still be required. This new system will include features designed to match the operational realities of businesses, including single approvals for businesses with multiple activities or locations. At present, businesses with several different sites need a separate certificate of approval for each site. This is going to eliminate that requirement. The approval will have flexibility to make regular operational changes, and it will create a process that sets a level playing field for old and new businesses.

Environmental approvals are a necessary requirement of doing business in Ontario for activities that have emissions to the environment. This will not change. But if passed, the proposed legislation would strengthen Ontario’s environmental protection by providing greater transparency and focusing resources on activities that pose the greatest risk to the environment.

With this legislation, we will have in place an online transparent approvals process that allows for better data collection and sharing; there will be a searchable public website for all activities subject to registration or approval; and there will be better information-sharing to ensure informed decision-making for environmental approvals.

The member for Toronto–Danforth also implied that somehow there was not sufficient consultation on these changes, but certainly last winter the Ministry of the Environment started a series of stakeholder discussions on the proposed approach to modernize approvals. Consultations included a round table of 24 environmental and industry experts who provided advice on matters relating to developing and implementing the new process. The proposed approach was also posted on the environmental registry for a period of 45 days for public comment in March and April 2010. Ontario will invite further input from the round table and other stakeholders, including aboriginal communities, should Ontario develop regulations and implement the proposed changes.

If the legislation passes, the new approval model would be introduced and implemented over the next two years. Further regulations may follow beyond September 2012 to transition additional sectors and activities to the registry or new environmental compliance approval processes.

Stakeholders have certainly had their say. The Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, along with numerous other industry associations, including the Ontario Mining Association, the Ontario Forest Industries Association, the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association and others, wrote the Premier in December 2008 and in June 2009 encouraging the government to move forward on modernizing environmental approvals with a risk-based approach.

In fact, in 2000 and 2004 the provincial Auditor General made a number of recommendations on the Ministry of the Environment’s approvals system, including the need to improve its information systems to allow for risk-based assessments; update certificates of approvals in a timely and efficient manner; and improve the timeliness of processing new applications.

The Ministry of the Environment has been meeting and will continue to meet regularly with a stakeholder round table that includes broad representation, including business and environmental groups.

Industry is certainly supportive of operational flexibility, so that approvals would set ranges of allowed activities so that industry wouldn’t need to reapply for an approval to make small process changes.

The registration process will be well understood. It will take a registry process, as opposed to a complex environmental compliance approval process.

There will be transition provisions so that these new requirements will be phased in over time.

We expect shorter delivery times, a clear process and clear submission requirements.

Environmental groups have been supportive of the increased transparency and information access; the updating of approvals for legacy operations; and again, the multimedia approvals that facilitate an ecosystem approach, so that where there may be an impact on air, water or land, one approval process will be required as opposed to several. In fact, there will be the ability to consider past compliance history in the evaluation of the approval.

Overall, what we are trying to do is essentially a modernization, bringing up to date, improving transparency, and in no way do we feel that this is akin to any deregulation that we’ve seen through previous administrations. We are saying categorically that this registry will not diminish Ontario’s oversight and weaken environmental protection. We are committed to protecting the environment and ensuring that the best interests of the people of Ontario remain the priority at every step.

There will be new compliance tools for the registry, so that there will be administrative penalties for specific violations. There will be the ability to suspend or remove a registration if a company has shown itself to have an ongoing history of non-compliance or where there was false or misleading information provided.

There will be a public appeals process. All activities and facilities on the registry or with an approval would be published and searchable on the public information website. This would include details of the activity or facility and the conditions of operation.

The public appeals process for an activity or facility would follow the same process. Inquiries or complaints would be made to the local district office; the district office would confirm that the facility is operating within the conditions of the regulation; and if the facility is not compliant, a variety of compliance tools could be used, such as penalties, orders or tickets.

If the facility is operating within compliance but there are site-specific concerns, the director would have the ability to remove the activity from the registry to the environmental compliance approval stream.

And we are committed to continuing to consult with stakeholders and the public on the regulations that would set out what conditions an activity must meet to use the registry.

In particular, industry must remain in compliance with the regulations to protect the environment and public health. It is proposed that facilities that have a registration be required to declare on a regular basis that their registration is accurate. This ensures that registrations are maintained and that companies comply with the requirements of the regulation.

By implementing a modern approvals system with improved means of information management, Ontario would have quicker access to technical information to support decision-making. Moving to multimedia approvals would provide more information on all emissions in a geographical area, which would ensure that the ministry is able to assess the cumulative effect of activities.

Some have asked how the eligibility criteria for the registry will be determined. We are working closely with stakeholders to build a modern approvals system that would enhance environmental protection while improving service delivery to business. Eligibility criteria outlined in the regulation for a given activity would be based on the evaluation of several factors, including the activity’s risk to the environment and human health, and this may include a history of compliance. Ontario would consult with industry, environmental and other interested stakeholders to inform development of eligibility criteria in the regulations.

We will continue to have one-on-one and sector-based meetings. They have been ongoing, and they will continue.

However, if it is required and suspensions are applied to the registry, the suspensions from the registry would be subject to appeal through the Environmental Review Tribunal.

We think these processes are open, accountable, transparent and exactly what Ontario needs to move forward.


We have had considerable endorsement of our approach. The member for Toronto–Danforth quoted some organizations. I would like to quote Bob Oliver, executive director of Pollution Probe, who said, “Pollution Probe supports Ontario’s commitment to build a streamlined modern approval system that is good for business while protecting the environment. The proposed risk-based approach could help achieve this balance. Pollution Probe looks forward to ongoing consultation on this process.” This certainly sounds like an endorsement to me.

Not surprisingly, business is impressed with what we are proposing. Alex Gill, executive director of the Ontario Environment Industry Association, said the following: “Ontario Environment Industry Association ... is supportive of the approach and specific proposals put forward by the Ministry of the Environment.... We have been calling for changes to the approvals process for some years.”

Also, Adrianna Stech, manager of environment and sustainability for the Ontario Mining Association, has said, “To the mining community, the proposed framework for modernizing environmental approvals signifies a welcome move toward enhancing the business climate in the province on a par with other leading jurisdictions, while improving the efficiency and efficacy of environmental protection measures and ensuring worker health and safety.”

So, it is clear that we have broad support for the way we intend to modernize our approval system.

I’d like to emphasize, in the short time I have remaining, that in fact this system will increase environmental protection by issuing multimedia and site-wide approvals instead of separate ones for air, water and waste. We will better be able to assess potential environmental impacts from an ecosystem perspective.

The online registry will provide far greater transparency. Anyone will be able to look up information about environmental approvals and registrations in their community, seeing where they are and the conditions that are in place.

The new process would require existing facilities with approvals issued decades ago to come back to the ministry for review. This will ensure that facilities are meeting today’s stringent standards, not the ones that were in place decades ago when they first received their approvals.

The requirement for mandatory reviews would also be incorporated into new approvals, meaning that facilities would be required to come back to the ministry so we could ensure they are kept up to date with the best science and standards.

Right now, as I said before, all approvals, big or small, go through the exact same process. Changing a fan or an HVAC system goes through the same process as applying for a permit for a new steel plant. By using a risk-based approach, ministry staff could focus their efforts on those proposals that are more complex and pose a greater risk to the environment. Through electronic submissions, we would be better able to look at applications in the broader context of their location and get a better understanding of potential environmental impacts.

All in all, this is a very good step forward.

I was hoping to have time to talk about other initiatives, so in the last few seconds that I have—it isn’t only, of course, the Ministry of the Environment that is looking at this kind of an approach of streamlining the approval process. The Ministry of Natural Resources is proposing amendments to the Conservation Authorities Act that would streamline the approval process, ensure greater consistency in permit decisions, and ease compliance obligations for business. These changes aim to address issues raised by the building and land development industry.

We must listen to business, but we must also always protect the public interest. We believe that with the Open for Business Act, we have struck the right balance. We are being prudent and we are ensuring environmental protection while making sure Ontario is open for business.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Questions and comments?

Mr. Paul Miller: I listened to the speech from my office, and I think they mean well. I think they certainly want to improve the environmental laws of this province.

However, I sat on a committee in Hamilton on the Taro landfill a few years ago. Trust me; you can have all the best intentions in the world, but if your environmental people are not ready to enforce their own rules and fine companies and go after them—they didn’t. And not only that; we even had stuff brought in from Michigan that was hazardous material that was dumped above the mountain in Hamilton in the Taro landfill because there was no enforcement. Inspectors would come out and check one in 1,000 loads coming into there. How can you screen stuff by doing one check on 1,000 trucks? And that was under both governments, Conservative and Liberal. They did nothing to improve the inspection of and the fines on companies, because they were afraid to fine the company because the company might pull out or lay people off. That’s the real truth.

Until they can enforce the rules that they put in front of this Legislature and put out to the people, until they actually fine the companies for the pollution that’s going on—look at what’s happening in the Gulf right now. That’s criminal. You can have all the best intentions, all the rules you want, but if you don’t enforce them, if you don’t get those inspectors out and fine these companies—and not a little tap on the hand, $5,000 or $10,000; that’s chump change for them. You’ve got to hit them hard and hit them big so they don’t do it again.

I’ll tell you right now: Until they enforce the laws they put out, nothing is going to change.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Questions and comments?

Mr. Jeff Leal: I certainly listened intently to the very fine presentation that was made by my colleague from Oak Ridges–Markham. The member, of course, is the parliamentary assistant to the Minister of the Environment, but prior to coming here, she was a medical officer of health. What better person to spend some time to articulate the concept of having a science-based approach to these things—and I would note, during her professional career as a director of public health, that would be the basis on which she would make decisions in that role. She would have her staff come to her with a whole file of information on a particular issue that would be science-based, and as the medical officer of health for that region, she would make a decision based on that information. You can see how that very important philosophy was weaved very carefully through her presentation, talking about her role at the Ministry of the Environment and how we’re going to be able to move forward when applications come forward.

She also talked about the Ministry of Labour’s employment standards modernization strategy. She talked about the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and how they’re going to be handling the Drainage Act down the road. She also talked about the Ministry of Transportation: Highway Traffic Act amendments would mean enhanced interprovincial truck movements, which would benefit Ontario’s economy.

In a very short 20-minute space, she certainly packed an awful lot of information in her speech. Those viewers who are listening tonight will get the real impression that we want to open Ontario for business, and that’s reflected in the GDP numbers that were released this morning.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Questions and comments?

Mr. Norman W. Sterling: I listened intently to the parliamentary assistant to the Minister of the Environment. These are the same speeches that we were making 10 years ago when we were trying to modify the process with regard to environmental assessments and approving projects and those kinds of things.

It’s unfortunate that in our province we do have people who make it more of a hobby to step in the way of progress and in fact are not that concerned about environmental issues but are more concerned with causing mischief. I had that situation in my own riding when we were trying to four-lane Highway 7 from Ottawa to Carleton Place. It’s a project I announced when I was the Minister of Transportation. That project was put back by a year by a person who called themselves an environmentalist.

In fact, it had to do with moving the road about six feet—it was necessary for the Ministry of Transportation to do that because of a house that was going to be affected. That person thought they were very smart. They objected to it on the very last day for the objection, and that put the project off by a year. As a result, three people have perished on that road because of this environmentalist’s interjection into the process and the putting back of that project.

That’s why we need a reasonable process in terms of environmental assessment and environmental approvals. I look forward to the government putting forward a risk-based process as long as it’s fair, reasonable and it is risk-based. Those projects which are in fact a great intrusion into the environment should have a longer and more in-depth approach, as opposed to smaller and less risky projects. That’s what the Auditor General has supported in his reports as well.


The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Questions and comments?

Mr. Charles Sousa: I’m pleased to speak further on the bill, the Open for Business Act, and to reaffirm once again the importance that we place on putting a bill before the Legislature to enable businesses and others around the province to recognize that this jurisdiction is indeed stimulating economic growth, stimulating more investments in Ontario, and enabling people to feel assured that we’re not sacrificing our environment by so doing.

What we want is to create jobs. For example, we’ve already partnered with various municipalities and other levels of government in situations like BizPaL, where we can facilitate those companies when they come to Ontario to establish themselves. We’ve also taken a number of initiatives to attract businesses from around the world to come to Ontario. That wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for these initiatives.

What’s important is that we have now suffered through two years of some rather tragic economic situations around the globe, and yet Ontario, with its strong fundamentals, has been able to weather them effectively. We’ve often heard that there are situations where the financial community isn’t supporting small business, and yet in Ontario there’s more access to funds than there is in any other part of the world when it comes to traditional services. That, again, wouldn’t be possible if we as a government and we as a province didn’t make it an attractive place for them to do business.

I encourage all members in the House to support this bill as a strong indication that we in Ontario support business, we support our consumers, we support working families and we support our environment.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): The member for Oak Ridges–Markham, you have up to two minutes to respond.

Ms. Helena Jaczek: I’d like to thank the members for Hamilton East–Stoney Creek, Peterborough, Carleton–Mississippi Mills and Mississauga South for their comments in relation to my remarks.

I think it’s very interesting as we go through this debate. We each come to this place with our own perspective, our own background. Certainly, the reason I chose to seek elected office was the tragedy of Walkerton. I know that I never want to see an Ontario where environmental protection is not an absolute, strong value held by the government.

That’s why I feel so confident that what we are doing is certainly going to enhance environmental protection. What we’re looking at with the strengthened compliance requirements for more complex applications is from an ecosystem perspective. We are going to be regulating environmental standards for businesses that have not had their certificate of approval reviewed in a very long time. So there’s going to be a level playing field for business. And we have consulted widely.

I think what we’ve achieved with this is stimulation of the business community. They will save time, they will save money, and our environment will in fact be even more protected with what we are doing.

This is only one aspect of this particular bill. I know that as we go forward we will hear many of the other issues that are also addressed.

I urge everyone to support this bill.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Further debate?

Mr. Bill Murdoch: I’m glad to have a bit of time to speak on Bill 68.

You’re talking about opening doors and closing doors. There are some people out on the lawn tonight who think that maybe you’re closing the doors, and it has something to do with the labour part of this bill. They’re called “Sleepless at Queen’s Park.” “Why are we here?” the sleepless say. Well, their benefits are once again under attack. In the name of the unfunded liability, the Auditor General has recommended reducing injured workers’ benefits. That doesn’t sound like opening the door and bringing people in; not to me. The WSIB says, “Yes, reduce these benefits.” Now, isn’t that a great thing? The WSIB, I believe, is under the control of this government. Maybe they’ve lost control of it; I’m not sure. This means more poverty for injured workers. They’re already suffering too much. This means less coverage for their medication. This means reduction of their medical treatments. This means returning to work faster, when they are not well. This does not sound like opening doors to me. This means more reinjuries. This means more injured workers living in poverty and on the streets.

What happened to the historical compromise? This is the foundation of our compensation system. Sir William Meredith said, “Compensation for as long as the disability lasts.” Injured workers gave up their right to sue for fair compensation and for a just compensation system.

I think everybody in this House should go outside and talk to these injured workers, so I’ll move adjournment of the debate.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Mr. Murdoch has moved adjournment of the debate. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?

All those in favour, say “aye.”

All those opposed, say “nay.”

In my opinion, the nays have it.

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

The division bells rang from 1947 to 2017.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Mr. Murdoch has moved adjournment of the debate.

All those in favour, please stand and be counted by the Clerk.

All those opposed, please stand and be counted by the Clerk.

The Deputy Clerk (Mr. Todd Decker): The ayes are 7; the nays are 32.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): I declare the motion lost.

Further debate?

Mr. Bill Murdoch: Were we even close on that one, Mr. Speaker?

We did adjourn the debate, not to finish the debate—we’re going to work on that now—but so that all parties could go out and talk to the people on the lawn, the people from working families, about how we’re opening the doors, but then we close them when they get inside and lock them in there. I didn’t see any of you guys out there other than—my friend from Sarnia was out with me. There were some NDP, and I think some of these other people were out there, but I didn’t see a person from the government there. I don’t know what happened.

Mr. Ted Chudleigh: Liberals don’t consult.

Mr. Bill Murdoch: This was a chance to consult. I believe the speaker earlier tonight was going on about consulting. Well, here is a chance. They’re right out on the lawn—some people from working families.


Mr. Bill Murdoch: I didn’t see you out there, though. I understand that.

There was a study done on the economic and social impacts of workplace injury and illness. Some key findings: 61% of injured workers surveyed were unemployed after injury, while 89% were employed full-time prior to injury.

You won’t know these things unless you go out and talk to them and consult. Well, I guess I’m going to have to tell you.

The poverty rate amongst injured workers was two to four times higher than the general population of Ontario. Nearly one in five injured workers—18%—was on social assistance. About 20% of respondents lost their home after injury—and we’re supposed to be opening the door with this bill. One in five injured workers was living in extreme poverty after injury—less than $10,000 in income per year. Some 41% of injured workers reported an income of less than $15,000.

One in five injured workers no longer had a car after injury—but we’re going to open the doors. Maybe we’re going to give them cars—are we? I think we bailed out the car industry. Maybe if we own some of those cars we can do that.

The findings indicate a thirteenfold increase in food bank use post-injury. Sixty-four respondents reported that they had used food banks after injury, compared to five who reported having used food banks before their injury. That is startling.

The incidence of subsidized housing use more than doubled after injury. Twenty-five respondents reported using subsidized housing after injury, compared with 12 before.

Almost half, 46%, of injured workers reported depression as a result of their workplace injury. Two thirds of injured workers reported losing friends as a result of workplace injury, while 18% reported they had lost their family.

These people are out on the front lawn. They’re going to stay there tonight so that you people, the government, can go out and consult with them.

I believe people need a second chance, so what I’m prepared to do is call for adjournment of the House so that the government of the day can go out and talk to these people on the lawn. I call for adjournment of the House.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Mr. Murdoch has moved adjournment of the House. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?

All those in favour, say “aye.”

All those opposed, say “nay.”

In my opinion, the nays have it.

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

The division bells rang from 2022 to 2052.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Mr. Murdoch has moved adjournment of the House. All those in favour, please stand and be counted by the Clerk.

All those opposed, please stand and be counted by the Clerk.

The Deputy Clerk (Mr. Todd Decker): The ayes are 6; the nays are 31.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): I declare the motion lost.

Further debate?

Mr. Bill Murdoch: I don’t know what more I can do to help the government out when they mentioned that they wanted to consult. They’ve made many speeches in here over the last six, seven years that they’d like to consult. I gave them a chance to consult, and I didn’t notice any of you out there again. The people who are sleepless and are going to spend the night out there will be here tomorrow, so I’m sure that any of you—


Mr. Bill Murdoch: There seem to be many people who want to get in on this. We may be here all night debating this, because it sounds like a lot of people on the other side would like to say—


The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): I’ll help the member by asking for order.

Mr. Bill Murdoch: I guess this is one of these midnight shifts that we’re doing. Mr. Speaker, I don’t know whether you’ve ever worked in industry, but I’ve had to do this before. We used to have a shift from 4 o’clock until midnight. I guess we’re getting into shift work, so you can’t say that we don’t understand how some people have to work at night. But I just wonder how much we’re getting done here. We are debating Bill 68.

I want to again, though, mention that we did go outside—my good friend from Sarnia was right there with me all the way—and there are some really serious concerns, and there are concerns about this bill all through the people of Ontario. They are certainly concerned. Some people would say this—now, I really wouldn’t. It’s not a bad word, I don’t think, but it is “pathetic.” It’s not a word that I use a lot, but it is pathetic that it took almost seven years in office for the McGuinty government to finally introduce a red tape reduction act, and then they won’t call it.

Mr. Ted McMeekin: Remember Walkerton.

Mr. Bill Murdoch: What was that again, sir?

Mr. Ted McMeekin: Remember Walkerton. You cut the red tape.

Mr. Bill Murdoch: There’s a gentleman over there who wants to talk about Walkerton. I’d love to talk about Walkerton. I’m glad he opened that up. Now you might have to keep me here.

Walkerton was—

Hon. Monique M. Smith: You’ve got 11 minutes to finish off.

Mr. Bill Murdoch: It’s bad enough having a whip in my own government; now I have one from the opposition telling me how long I’ve got to speak. I’ve been well whipped here tonight. I do appreciate her concern, because she actually has been good to me—I guess she’s not a whip; she’s a House leader—when I sat as an independent.

But we have to get back to this Walkerton thing. The member wants to talk about that. He wants to talk about the two drunks who didn’t do their jobs. I wonder if he knew them or not. I don’t know; maybe he did. They were two people who didn’t do their jobs. It wouldn’t have mattered if we’d had hundreds of people working for the government; they never would have caught this when the reports were falsified by two people who didn’t know what they were doing. They obviously had a problem, and they drank a little too much. Unfortunately, this thing happened, and no one liked to see it happen, but two people caused this. The people of Walkerton know that. But you get these other people—and I’m proud of the fact that I represented Walkerton. Actually, I won in Walkerton after the tragedy. It’s unfortunate that we even had a tragedy.


The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Would the speaker take his seat?

I don’t know what’s so difficult to understand—


The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Take your seat just for a minute.

I don’t know what’s so difficult to understand about the word “order,” but I’d like to have some.

Hon. Deborah Matthews: Oh yeah? Okay.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Oh, yes, Minister, I would like to have some.

Mr. Bill Murdoch: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I certainly appreciate that you bring some order to the House, because they’re getting carried away a bit here. I guess it’s unfortunate that they didn’t live in Walkerton. I live up there. I know exactly what happened. I was there. It was a tragedy, there’s no doubt, but it’s not the way some people like to portray it. Maybe some of these people who like to do a lot of talking and yelling about it should go and talk to some of the people who actually live in Walkerton. They would like them to come and talk to them and maybe consult. It’s called “consulting.” It’s easy to go and blame the government.

Mr. Ted Chudleigh: They wouldn’t even go out on the lawn.

Mr. Robert Bailey: If they won’t go on the lawn, they won’t go to Walkerton.

Mr. Bill Murdoch: I guess not. We have people out on the lawn right now who are upset with the government. Maybe they should go there and speak to them first.

But we can talk about Walkerton all you want, and what really happened there. As I said, again, when two people falsify a report, it wouldn’t matter how many government people you had working for you, because they’re going to look at that report. Those people were in charge and they said there was no problem, so things did happen, which is unfortunate. But if you really want to know what happened, the thing would be to go there. Go there and see. You always say, “The next election will prove that you were wrong.” You know something? In the next election, they did vote for me. I don’t know why, because the gentleman across the way is saying that it was all my fault or something. The people up there knew that there was a problem. What happened? They really did know what happened.

You have the government of the day wanting to blame something in the past. You have the media that’ll always be on this. If I was a member of the government, I would be very careful of what I might say right now because the media just loves to jump on you. So they would want to be pretty careful of what they do say because if they ever get on the wrong side of the media, they’ll be in a bit of trouble, and with this bill it looks like they are, because what are we doing opening the door again? The horse is out, and we’re trying to bring it back in. This open-door thing—I have no understanding of what they’re trying to do.


Right now they want to ruin rural Ontario and northern Ontario; that’s what they want to do. They get down here to Toronto, they look and they’ve got one windmill, yet you can put hundreds out in rural Ontario, and who cares? This government says, “But we will decide. We will not let the local people decide where you’re going to put wind farms. No, no. We’re go to keep the door closed on that one.” That doesn’t sound much like an open-door policy to me over here when you tell people in the rest of Ontario, especially rural and northern Ontario, “You will do what we tell you to do down here, not what you might want to do.”

It does seem rather odd—


Mr. Bill Murdoch: I sure hope that gentleman gets a chance to speak today, because he certainly has a lot to say.

Mr. Robert Bailey: He’s feeling restrained.

Mr. Bill Murdoch: Well, I guess so. Maybe his House leader has told him to be quiet. You never know.

Anyway, we get into this open-door thing again. We’ve got a government that says, “Hey, we know best, and we’ll tell you where you’ll put the wind farms. You don’t get a chance to even choose where you want them. It may be good.” That does not sound like an open-door policy to me. That’s closed. “We will decide. We are better. We know where it’s going to go.” They’re doing it to rural Ontario all over, and northern Ontario. They’re telling them what to do.

Interjection: The Oakville power plant.

Mr. Bill Murdoch: Yes, the Oakville power plant.

Mr. Bob Delaney: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I have looked very carefully in the bill under discussion, and pursuant to standing order 23(b)(i), I can’t find a single reference in it to windmills. Perhaps the member would like to address the topic of the bill under discussion.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): I understand the point of order the member is trying to make, but the bill title talks about open doors and business, from what I have heard. Therefore, I’ll keep a very close ear to see that we keep on the debate issue.

Mr. Bill Murdoch: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I certainly appreciate that, because that’s what we’re talking about. You’re exactly right. You mention something, and what does the government of the day do? They shut the door. “Don’t let them talk about it. We don’t want them to talk about that. No, that might be something that’s true, mightn’t it?” Nice try over there. Nice try to close the door again.

“It’s an open-door policy.” That’s what you say it is, and I don’t know why you don’t stick to that, but you don’t. You say you’re going to open the door, and then you close it and everything.

I’ll go back to the wind farms. You’ve closed anything anybody has to say about it other than your cabinet and your Premier, which will decide—

Mr. Robert Bailey: Probably not all of cabinet.

Mr. Bill Murdoch: Well, no. I’m not sure all of cabinet gets to say anything. If it’s like anything else, the Premier decides what’s going to happen, and he, in his wisdom, has decided that rural Ontario will have wind farms whether they like them or not, whether they work or not. They don’t even know whether they hurt people or not. They don’t know that.

Mr. Robert Bailey: They don’t want to know.

Mr. Bill Murdoch: That’s for sure. They don’t want to know. Then, they want to pay huge amounts for this.

I know that the members from northern Ontario are upset with this, but they get clamped, shot down again. I wonder where the rural members are when it comes to this open-door policy. Have you put those people in a closet, closed the door and said, “Don’t come out until we get this passed”? Because I can’t believe there isn’t somebody over there from rural Ontario who will stand up and say, “There’s something wrong with this bill. There’s something wrong with what we’re doing over here altogether. We’re not opening the door for policies. We’re not doing that.”

I’m surprised and almost appalled that some members of the government would stand up and even say that we’re talking about something we shouldn’t be. They should be with open arms because they talk about open doors. They should be happy to hear a debate in here about something. Maybe it might just trigger something—that maybe they are doing something wrong. Everybody has a chance to do that, you know. Until we stand up in this House and start thinking for ourselves, nothing will change.

Now, we’re no better than you are over here when it comes to that, but until this House starts to speak for themselves—


Mr. Bill Murdoch: No, I’ll tell you like it is, if you want to talk about it.

You have a Premier, we have leaders, and you might as well let the three of them sit here. Maybe nothing will happen, but they will run the show.

You are told how to vote. I’ll be very surprised if one of you doesn’t stand up and vote against this—you should. You’ll be told what to do because the Premier wants this. That’s the open-door policy here.

You talk about an open-door policy. We don’t have an open-door policy in this House, and you know it. You can sit there and look down at the floor and things like that, but you know that you’re told how to vote and you come in here and you vote that way. It’s not only your party. They all do that, and it’s wrong.

We don’t have real democracy in this country. Until we get back to a representative democracy, which it was meant to be in the first place—we don’t have that. That would be an open-door policy. Think about it. You could vote the way you wanted, not the way you’re told to vote. And it would work over on this side, too. But when is that ever going to happen? Well, it starts with you guys, because you’re the government, you’re the majority. When you start to speak out against things that happen in your ridings, this will be a much better place. Until you do that—you can talk about all the open-door policies, closed doors, whatever the heck you want—there will be one person in this place who decides what we’re going to do, and that’s the Premier of the day, whoever it is. Unfortunately, that’s not right.

There are 107 of us who got elected. There should be 107 free votes in this place all the time. That’s the way it should be, but unfortunately it isn’t that way because we don’t have an open-door policy here. It goes back to this bill. And when somebody tries to say something different, you get somebody over there who gets all upset about it. But who told you to get upset? Did that come from the Premier’s office too? “Don’t let them talk about democracy. Don’t talk about open-door policy, because we really don’t have that. We just like to let on we do.”

I appreciate the time I’ve had to speak on this bill—

Mr. Ted McMeekin: So do we.

Mr. Bill Murdoch: —and some of them over there, maybe.

I’m sure a lot of members over on that side and on this side would like that too, but unfortunately this place isn’t opened up yet to an open-door policy. When that happens someday, I hope that some of you are here to be able to vote the way you want to vote, not the way you’re told to vote. I hope someday that happens. Then, we’ll have true democracy in this place. Until that happens, we will never have it.


Mr. Bill Murdoch: There’s a member who was in Ottawa, and I’m sure she had an open-door policy up there. I’m sure Chrétien let you say whatever you wanted. That’s why you’re here—

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Thank you. Questions and comments?

Mr. Michael Prue: It is indeed a pleasure and an honour to sit here some nights and listen to the member from Bruce–Grey–Owen Sound as he pontificates. He has these home truths. He says things that I think others are afraid to talk about in this House, and one of those is that he feels that he has a duty and an obligation to stand up and speak on behalf of the people he represents in Bruce–Grey–Owen Sound.

I know he has been stuck there in the corner for a while because his caucus kicked him out—I remember that—and then they invited him back. But the reason he was in that corner is that he has never stopped speaking for the people he represents, and he has never stopped saying things that he thinks they want to hear and that they agree with.

Earlier this year, I was a called to a couple of television stations to talk about the divorce of Toronto from the rest of Ontario, and it was his idea. I’m not sure that all the people he represents like the idea, but I’m sure that some of them do.

He talked about things that he feels passionately about. I’m not sure how they were involved with the bill itself. But he did talk about things that I know really are important to the people he represents. He talked about the massive wind farms that are in his riding. He talked about Walkerton. I know that Walkerton was a tragedy, and he knows that Walkerton was a tragedy. I know and he knows that the government was culpable to some degree on it. But he is also right that there were a couple of people there who didn’t do their job right.

The people in his riding did not punish him when the Conservatives went out in a tide. He was not swept out with that tide. He was elected twice again because I do think that he speaks his mind on behalf of his constituents, and for all of that we should say bravo to him.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Questions and comments?

Hon. Monique M. Smith: To the member for Bruce–Grey–Owen Sound: Bravo.


The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Questions and comments?

Mr. Robert Bailey: I’d like to echo the comments from the member from Bruce–Grey–Owen Sound. I did attend with him and a number of the people who are demonstrating out on the lawn, and they did speak to the member for Bruce–Grey–Owen Sound and myself about their concerns. I understand why the member offered those two opportunities for the members of the House to go out and to consult. As they like to say, they like to over-consult sometimes.

In his remarks, he talked about what will make Ontario any better: If we have more and more regulations? All the regulations in the world, as the member from Bruce–Grey–Owen Sound said, wouldn’t have made any difference in Walkerton if people didn’t do their jobs at the end of the day. There’s a certain amount of responsibility that has to take place. People have to do what’s right. They have to do their job.

Also, with the wind farms, he talked about the opportunities for people in rural Ontario to comment on the intrusions on rural Ontario. I hear from people all the time in my riding—farmers, people in the urban areas who are going to be impacted—and I know the rest of the members in the House do as well. I know they must. They don’t just come to my riding and give petitions to me and make phone calls. I get emails all the time. I can certainly echo what the member from Bruce–Grey–Owen Sound says about how rural Ontario feels that they’re not being listened to, that they don’t have that voice in the government around the cabinet table, that these windmills, for example, are being foisted upon them with no opportunity to have recourse because of the Green Energy Act.

There are over 500,000 regulations, as I understand it, at last count in the province of Ontario. I don’t think Bill 68 is going to do anything. We talk about this open-door policy; I think it’s an open-and-shut case. That’s not going to be the case. Thank you for the opportunity to respond, and I commend the member from Bruce–Grey–Owen Sound.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Questions and comments?

Hon. Christopher Bentley: Open for Business really is about being open for the opportunities that families, our children and our grandchildren need for today and in the future. It’s about making sure that we can provide in the future what many of us have been able to take for granted in the past. I can’t imagine why we’re spending so much time criticizing what is essentially a very simple proposition: to make sure that everybody who would like one has a job and an opportunity by opening ourselves up to the world.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): The member for Bruce–Grey–Owen Sound, you have up to two minutes to respond.

Mr. Bill Murdoch: I want to thank everyone who spoke. I know they feel passionate about different things here. The member from Beaches–East York: We’ve been at some things together and we certainly enjoyed that. The member from North Bay, as I say, tries to keep me on track here, too, so I appreciate that sometimes and I consider her a friend. The member from Sarnia–Lambton: Of course, we’ve been friends for a long time and I appreciate what he had to say. The member from London: That’s my daughter’s riding, so I’ll call it my daughter’s riding because he represents my daughter, and she tries to keep him on the straight and narrow, but it’s tough sometimes.

Hon. Christopher Bentley: She’s a good person.

Mr. Bill Murdoch: That’s nice to hear.

The whole thing is, we’re here and sitting until midnight. Are we really accomplishing a lot? I guess some people think we are and some don’t. I go back to what I really passionately feel, though, in this whole House: If we wanted it to work, it would work so much better if we were all individuals in here. I don’t mind the party system too—it has to be there—but it would be nice if the party system was just what it’s called but didn’t run this House. It does run this House. We have a party democracy. We do not have representative democracy, which we should have. It’s unfortunate we don’t have that. Everybody just follows their party’s lines. I know there are things sometimes that I may think you’re doing right, and I should be able to stand up here and say that. I’m sure there are times over there when you think, “Why are we doing this?” but don’t speak out because you’ll end up outside or in the corner or something like that.

We need to change this House somehow and I don’t know how to go about it. If any of you have ideas, work on that because it’ll never be right unless we change it to have representative democracy.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Pursuant to the standing orders, there having been at least six and a half hours of debate on this bill, the debate is deemed adjourned unless the government House leader specifies otherwise.

Hon. Monique M. Smith: No further debate on this bill.

Second reading debate deemed adjourned.


Hon. Monique M. Smith: I move that, pursuant to standing order 47 and notwithstanding any other standing order or special order of the House relating to Bill 46, An Act respecting the care provided by health care organizations, the Standing Committee on Justice Policy be authorized to meet from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., and at 6:45 p.m., on Tuesday, June 1, 2010 for the purpose of clause-by-clause consideration of the bill; and

That the deadline for filing amendments to the bill with the clerk of the committee shall be 1 p.m. on Tuesday, June 1, 2010. At 8 p.m. on that day, those amendments which have not yet been moved shall be deemed to have been moved, and the Chair of the committee shall interrupt the proceedings and shall, without further debate or amendment, put every question necessary to dispose of all remaining sections of the bill and any amendments thereto. Any division required shall be deferred until all remaining questions have been put and taken in succession with one 20-minute waiting period allowed pursuant to standing order 129(a); and

That the committee shall report the bill to the House no later than Wednesday, June 2, 2010. In the event that the committee fails to report the bill on that day, the bill shall be deemed to be passed by the committee and shall be deemed to be reported to and received by the House; and

That, upon receiving the report of the Standing Committee on Justice Policy, the Speaker shall put the question for adoption of the report forthwith, and at such time the bill shall be ordered for third reading; and

That, on the day the order for third reading of the bill is called, one hour shall be allotted to the third reading stage of the bill, apportioned equally among the recognized parties. At the end of this time, the Speaker shall interrupt the proceedings and shall put every question necessary to dispose of this stage of the bill without further debate or amendment; and

That there shall be no deferral of the third reading vote allowed pursuant to standing order 28(h); and

That, in the case of any division relating to any proceedings on the bill, the division bell shall be limited to five minutes.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Further debate? Does any other member wish to speak?

Mrs. Christine Elliott: I would just like to say a few things with respect to the time allocation motion with respect to Bill 46, the so-called Excellent Care for All Act, which was really introduced in this Legislature with startling speed. I recall just having a briefing on it on a Monday afternoon and speaking to it on the Tuesday morning.

As far as a lot of stakeholders are concerned, this bill is going to be passed through this Legislature by the time we finish sitting, if in fact the House rises on June 3, as we suspect it will, without a lot of the stakeholders even knowing that a bill was brought forward. There has been said to be a lot of consultation with respect to this bill, but frankly I don’t think a lot of stakeholders or members of the public of Ontario even know what this bill contains. We have done our best to try and inform stakeholders, but there was only one day that was set for committee hearings with respect to this bill. We had about 10 or 12 organizations that came forward, a couple of individuals, but I think that it was the not fact that there was not that much interest in it, but really the fact that a lot of people didn’t even know that it was coming forward.

We heard some really interesting suggestions with respect to this bill, and when you’re talking about Open Ontario, opening opportunities, as the member from Bruce–Grey–Owen Sound indicated in his previous comments before this House, what we really should be talking about is giving every member in this House the opportunity to vote as they see fit, as their constituents are telling them how they want to see voting on these sorts of bills. But the fact of the matter is, there we were in committee with this bill. Ten or 12 good suggestions came forward—actually a number—and we put forward a whole package of amendments that we will be introducing during the clause-by-clause discussion of this bill tomorrow afternoon, and perhaps into the evening.

Some of the suggestions that were made, which included the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, suggested that we should be opening up hospitals, as part of the MUSH sector, to review by the Ombudsman of Ontario—I certainly would support that—and to freedom-of-information requests, and to open it up so that the public and members of this Legislature can know how monies are being spent exactly and can have that kind of public scrutiny that I think we all want to see happen. But the fact of the matter is that we don’t have that. I suspect that’s not going to be something that this House and members of the committee are going to see fit to accept, because they will be basically told not to. I don’t think that’s a good thing, because we did have some very knowledgeable people who did come forward.


We also had some members from the Ontario Hospital Association come forward. They made the suggestion that some of the surveys that are going to be done as part of the continuous quality improvement in hospitals and other health care organizations that’s going to be happening—which I think is a good thing. They’re suggesting, however, that some of the employee surveys should only be done on a biennial basis, that we shouldn’t do it annually because it is very time-consuming, and by the time you would implement a plan that the employees would be able to work through, you’d be running up against another survey. So it doesn’t really seem to be time-effective or resource-effective to be able to do that. I do hope the government will take heed of that amendment, and we’ll have to see what amendments come forward from the government side of the House when we go into the clause-by-clause review of this bill come tomorrow.

We also heard from some of the other organizations. Principally, I would say the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario brought forward a number of very good suggestions for amendment with respect to Bill 46 that I think should be given considerable weight by this government, especially because the nurses have done a lot of work on evidence-based clinical practices for nurses and nurse practitioners. That’s part of what this bill is aimed at dealing with, to bring in best practices across the province of Ontario through the quality health council. Again, I think that’s a good thing. But we really should be listening more to what the RNAO has to say in this matter. They’ve also brought forward some suggestions regarding, in addition to best practices, that there should be some changes with respect to the composition of some of the committees in the hospitals, that they be more representative not just of physicians who are practising in the hospitals but also represent all of the health care professionals—and not just nurses, I should say here, but you should have represented the other health care professionals who practise in the hospital so that all of the voices will be heard around the table and the proportion of other health care professionals who are allowed on these committees will be in proportion to the number of people in that particular practice who are practising in health care organizations.

There was also a suggestion that some of the these practices that are being implemented shouldn’t just be in public hospitals, they should be in all health care organizations. I think that would make sense. That was brought forward by the chiropractors’ association of Ontario. They suggested that if we’re looking at best-quality health care across the board, we shouldn’t simply be looking at public hospitals. There are many other health care organizations and also some suppliers of health care services that are currently not funded through our health care system but perhaps should be, such as chiropractic services, which are no longer listed under OHIP. There is some suggestion that there are other organizations that should be represented here and that we should expand the net if you’re looking at developing quality-based health care principles across the board.

There were a lot of suggestions that were brought forward. I hope that we will have an opportunity to have a fulsome discussion when we do get into clause-by-clause discussion of this bill tomorrow. Because this bill has been time-allocated, that appears to be one of the few opportunities that we have left for a full discussion on this issue. It is certainly my hope that we will use the time wisely, that the government members will be amenable to suggestions for amendments and that we will be able to have that full discussion so that we will actually be able to achieve excellent care for all in Ontario and not just say it in the title of the bill. Thank you for the opportunity to speak.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Further debate.

Mr. Michael Prue: I’m not standing up here on the bill; I’m standing up here on the entire process. I remember when the Liberals were in opposition. I remember what they would say if a horrendous thing like this was done by the Harris or the Eves government.

This is a bill that only came to this House a couple of weeks ago. This is a bill that was ramrodded through with one tiny afternoon of public hearings that were only announced the day before, so that nobody had an opportunity to show up. This is a bill that hasn’t had any real debate in this House. This is the bill where the government House leader stands up and reads off regulation after regulation after regulation, how each and every member of this House has to act: There shall be only five minutes of debate. There shall be this happening, then the government shall do this, then the opposition can’t stand up and speak; the members of the Legislature can’t stand up and speak, and if it does go to committee, it can only happen for a few minutes—and on and on and on it goes.

Why are you people here? Why were you elected, to do this? To stand here and take this? Because that’s what each one of you are doing. You’re standing there and saying, “I am useless at my job because I don’t have anything to do except to stay here until midnight and vote yes to whatever my government House leader says.”

I think that this is an affront to this House, this is an affront to democracy, this is an affront to this Legislature to stand here—and I don’t even have a copy. I wish I did, because I think I’d like to frame this motion; I would like to frame it and put it on the wall so that if anybody wants to run for the Legislature, I’ll just show them exactly what happens here to a government that doesn’t want to hear anything, doesn’t want to debate anything, doesn’t want to even let its own members speak to the bill, doesn’t want to have any committee hearings and is ensuring that the Speaker is neutered so that everything has to be called and is deemed to be passed if any questions are asked.

What are you doing here? Why are you here? Are you going to stand up when the next election comes, those of you who are going to run again, and talk about this very proud day in the Legislature, what a good job you and your party have done, how you’ve introduced a bill that nobody has had a chance to look at or to talk about, how you introduced a motion at 10 o’clock at night that doesn’t allow anybody to do anything with it at all?


Mr. Michael Prue: Sorry, 9:30. I was getting a little ahead of myself.

This is what’s happening. I’m standing up not to talk about the bill, the merits of the bill—I’m going to leave that to my colleague from Nickel Belt—but I am standing here to tell you that I feel ashamed. I hope most of you feel ashamed for what is happening here today, because this is not why I ran in the election and I’m sure it’s not why you ran in the election. I’m sure that the Minister of Health, who desperately wants this bill to be passed, is not very happy at the way it is being rammed through this House.

Hon. Deborah Matthews: I’m thrilled. I couldn’t be happier. Look at this.

Mr. Michael Prue: Yes, oh, she couldn’t be happier. I guess if you get what you want and I guess if it’s all forced through, you can be happy. But for the rest of us, please, please, think about what’s happening here, because this is not—


The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Will the speaker please take his seat?

The member for Sarnia–Lambton may wish to withdraw that comment.

Mr. Robert Bailey: Withdrawn.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Further debate.

Mr. Michael Prue: Thank you. I wish I had heard it. I’ll bet you it was a good one.

Anyway, that’s really the nub of what I have to say. I feel quite ashamed for this House, for this process, for the things that people have fought and died for, for the things of our tradition and our parliamentary democracy. To see it reduced to such trivia at a time like this.

I don’t know how important the bill is, because it seems to me like a pretty routine bill, but it is, in fact, something that we all should have had an opportunity to read, to digest and to look at. Any time that any government does what you are doing, then that takes away a great deal from this House and from the members who were elected to serve it.


The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Further debate?

Mme France Gélinas: I, too, have a little bit of a problem with this bill. It was introduced on May 3. That was a Monday. A few days later, we had done second reading. On May 20, four days after they were announced, we held hearings. Then we were off for a week, and the first day back, at 9 o’clock at night, we’re going for a motion for time allocation. I don’t understand this process—why, all of a sudden, everything seems to be rushed.

We don’t disagree with the intention of the bill; it’s not a bill that is very contentious. But are there opportunities to make it better? Absolutely. I have started to work on a number of amendments which I hope everybody will consider at their face value, and I hope that I am able to contribute to the debate and make this bill even stronger. In order for this to happen, debate has to take place, and when we hear those time allocation motions coming and you have 40 minutes to spit out everything you have to say about this bill, it seems like the process is set up so we don’t have a chance to be heard.

Bill 46 is called An Act respecting the care provided by health care organizations. It has been called the Excellent Care for All Act. I would say that every Ontarian and health care worker wants quality throughout our health care system, and this is basically at the bottom of what this bill is trying to do. It is trying to put a quality lens on our health care system—mainly focused on hospitals as a start, I may add.

This is something new to some hospitals. It is something that has existed in other hospitals for a long time, but it is now something that the province will be doing province-wide on an equitable basis and through the introduction of this bill—nothing, as I say, that anybody would disagree with, but as is often the case, the devil is in the details, and in order to get to the details, you have to have time to talk about the bill.

There’s not a whole lot in the bill, although it has a rather catchy name. Don’t we have an obligation to act upon the recommendations of the few people who have had time to come and talk to the bill? Mind you, I must say that quite a few more managed to meet the deadline for written submissions, but very few actually were able to meet the deadline to come and present on Thursday. I can tell you that for people from the north it would have been physically impossible to come and make a deputation in time because the timeline to speak to this bill was so short. Some of them did manage to send in a written proposal, but unless we have time to put on the record what those people have put in their written requests and written proposals, how will Ontarians ever know? How could they really influence this bill to make it a better bill? They took this really short time frame that was given to them and responded in writing because they didn’t have time to drive down here to meet the deadline. And now, in 40 minutes, it will all be finished and done with.

To speak more specifically about the bill, the bill is a broad stroke. It gives us a tendency as to where the government wants to go and then it says that everything else will be in the regulations. To me, the bill needs to have a little bit more definition because we know that once we’re into regulations, the opposition, anyway, has very little influence on this process.

The bill is centred around producing quality health care, which will include setting targets, measuring outcomes and reporting on these assessments. One of the main things that I would like to see in the bill is a definition of what “quality” means. There’s no definition of “quality” in this bill. Although the bill is all about providing quality care and taking this quality lens to improve our health care, there’s no definition. To me, this is a big part missing, and the few deputants who were there spoke about it. The people who were able to write and phone would certainly like to see this definition put into the bill and not left in regulation, where there is no guarantee that they will have an opportunity to be part of that process.

There are also huge issues with this bill when it comes to transparency. The two main ones are Ombudsman oversight and the inclusion of hospital and other health care institutions under the freedom-of-access-to-information legislation. The NDP has put forward private members’ bills many, many times before. Our leader, Andrea Horwath, was the last one to do so, where she wants—and we all want—Ombudsman oversight of our hospitals and other health care institutions.

Did you know that we are the only province in Canada that does not give their Ombudsman oversight over hospitals? This means that if somebody is not satisfied with the services they get, they will go through the complaint mechanism of the hospital, and the hospital will do its best to answer the questions of the clients and the patients and their families. Most of them do a good job of this, but sometimes they don’t. When they don’t, people pick up the phone and phone the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman gets hundreds of calls from people who have exhausted the internal process of the hospital and didn’t get satisfaction, so they turned to the Ombudsman. But the only thing the Ombudsman can say is, “I’m sorry; the government has not given me oversight of hospitals.” In his reports for many years now he has said that this has to be changed. We have opened this bill that will modify the hospitals act. What a perfect time to change this. It is not in the bill right now but is certainly something that we would like to see.

Many groups also talk about specific issues of their groups. The first one I would like to talk about are the midwives. The midwives are a relatively new profession in Ontario, although they’ve existed since there have been human beings. Women have always had midwives help them deliver their babies. In Ontario, they have been recognized and regulated as a health profession only for the last decade or so—actually, they celebrated their 10th anniversary last year, if I remember well. They were one of the groups that managed to get in here, a little bit late actually, but they managed to come and do their presentation. Basically, they are worried about this bill.

The first point that they pointed to was that they’re afraid that under the auspices of quality care, hospitals may choose to close down birthing units because of the new funding model that, here again, is hinted at, but certainly nobody has any details. But here again, through a little bit of a taste of what’s to come in regulations, there was enough to make the midwives worry. They are concerned about the closure of birthing units because they know that it is already happening in Ontario.

It is very hard for any hospital to maximize the utility of a birthing unit. It is not like a surgical suite, where you know a hip replacement will take you an hour and a half, a knee replacement you can do in an hour, you book them back to back and you maximize. Babies are not like this. They come in due time, in their own time, so that means that it doesn’t matter what you do, you will always have downtime in your birthing units and you will have times where you have babies coming out of everywhere. Actually, they all come out of the same place, but they all come at the same time.


Mme France Gélinas: Sorry about that. The point I was making is that it is not the type of service that a hospital can maximize. There will always be downtime. When you try to get value for money out of a birthing unit, it is not a money-maker. The midwives feel that with this new push for quality, birthing units will continue to be closed, and that will be very detrimental to their model of care.

They also are worried about the role of the Ontario Health Quality Council in developing clinical guidelines. Here is just a bit of their brief on this issue. They say that the Ontario midwives have reservations about the development of clinical practice guidelines.


“Each health care profession should be able to establish and rely upon its own clinical practical guidelines, based on the best available evidence and in consultation with its own practitioners. For example, as experts in low-risk pregnancies, it is midwives who should—and indeed do—develop clinical practice guidelines for their own profession that benefit midwifery clients”—that is, pregnant moms, their babies and their families.

“Midwives support an approach to clinical practical guidelines that reflects all of the values of informed choice: the woman as a primary decision-maker, choice of birthplace, diversity and appropriate use of technology. Using this approach, clinical practice guidelines and adapted protocols are the application of evidence in context; it is the integration of clinical expertise, physiologic knowledge, patient preferences, clinical findings, the woman’s and family’s goals, values, social context, geographic location, cultural, legal and community factors.” All of this put together will specifically develop the midwifery model of care that is not necessarily universal but focused on local needs.

So they’re worried that the Ontario Health Quality Council could act and basically make it one-size-fits-all, no matter where you are. They want, instead, the Ontario Health Quality Council to act as a clearinghouse and promote the use of clinical practice guidelines, but they want to ensure that the act does not take away from the excellent quality and client experience with the midwifery model.

This is an important issue for midwives who have had a really tough time gaining acceptance within the health care system. I can tell you stories of our own hospital—at the time it was the Sudbury General Hospital; it is now part of Sudbury Regional Hospital—that when the midwives first went there, they were barely tolerated. They were allowed to use one of the birthing rooms. It was not much of a room, really; it was a room that nobody wanted to use. They had to do their own set-up. They had to change their own sheets. They had to clean the whole place after, because the hospital wouldn’t support them in anything that they did. So the midwives arrived with a history of having to fight for every right that they’ve gained for the women, the babies and the families that they work with. Now we’re talking about a model of integrated, interdisciplinary care where the tiny steps they have made for their own profession could be wiped out in a couple of words on a piece of paper. This is very worrisome to the midwives, and they would like to make sure that amendments are made to the bill so that they, like every other professional, have an opportunity to thrive and that women, babies and families have an opportunity to take advantage of the excellent service that the midwives have been providing to the people of Ontario.

Nurses also had an opportunity to come, and they have a number of general concerns. The main issues that were raised by nurses are about equal representation on the medical boards and advisory committees, as well as the new quality committee. Did you know that we have medical advisory committees in hospitals and only physicians can sit on those committees? Nurses and a series of other health care professionals that practise in hospitals have all asked to make this an interdisciplinary committee rather than solely a medical advisory committee.

The bill is open. It is our opportunity to make some changes that have been needed for a long time. When we changed the scope of practice in Bill 179, many professionals came forward and asked that the medical advisory committee be changed. All of those amendments were ruled out of order because we were not looking at the laws for Ontario hospitals. Well, we are now. Now is the time. We were told that this couldn’t be done because it didn’t have to do with the hospitals act. Well, we are talking about the hospitals act. Wouldn’t that be a good time to make those changes? I think it would be, but in order for this to happen, we have to have this discussion. We have to have a chance to bring those amendments forward.

The government still has not dealt with many of the fundamental issues that would ensure that nurses are recognized and permitted to act within their full scope of practice. For example, there is the interdisciplinary advisory committee, rather than the medical advisory committee. A lot of this has to do with nurse practitioners. Nurse practitioners still don’t have the right to admit or discharge someone from a hospital because the laws governing hospitals in Ontario do not allow them to do this. We are modifying this law. What a good opportunity to get that done so that nurse practitioners get an opportunity to work within their full scope of practice.

Here again, those are amendments that need time to explain, to discuss, and maybe through the clause-by-clause, once we get there, we can get that done. But when you rush things through, then there is a tendency for expediency, to not take the time to go to the bottom of those issues, to not listen to what is presented but just hope that the clause-by-clause will go by fast so you can vote all those down and you can be done with it. To me, this is not doing a good service to the people of Ontario. Those issues have been brought forward a number of times. We’re now talking about the hospitals act. It is time to act.

The nurses are also worried about the failure of this bill in terms of leaving too much to regulation. This is a theme that you will hear over and over from everybody who presented, everybody who sent in written submissions, as well as everybody who phoned in. Everybody is worried that the bill really only gives you broad strokes: “We are making this shift toward quality and it will be good and it will be happy and all of this.” But really, people want to know more so they can have their own judgment as to whether this bill will be good or not, and they won’t have an opportunity to do this.

I can quote directly from the nurses. They say, “It is difficult to comment on setting up quality committees in hospitals when what constitutes quality is not defined”—it’s not the first time you’ve heard this; people want “quality” defined—“and the membership, composition and governance of quality committees are to be developed in regulations”—so you don’t really know if nurses will be part of this because it’s not in the bill; it will be in regulation—“as are additional responsibilities for quality committees, but these additional responsibilities would not be subject to a public consultation process.”

They are worried about section 4(4), which provides for quality committees “‘to oversee the preparation of annual quality improvement plans.’ The objectives of quality improvement plans are not defined.” Everybody has the same worry, that under the auspices of quality, you will see the argument for decreased access to care, and the nurses—the front-line workers—are worried about this. They say this is a serious concern among many groups, including the nurses, that the quality reporting will be a way to justify a cut in services. They go on to justify where those worries come from.

I’ll quote a little bit from them:

“However, we are concerned that the LHINs have been using the language of hospital improvement plans to justify clinical service reductions in hospitals, not based on evidence-based clinical decisions or on improving quality, but in order to reduce expenditures in hospitals and to force hospitals to balance their budgets.”

They, like many other groups, “want to be assured that quality committees will indeed be concerned with quality care, not solely the cost of care. We also believe that quality improvement plans should require review of patient and worker health and safety performance. We recommend that Bill 46 provide clear definitions regarding the objectives of quality improvement plans and prohibitions be set out for hospitals and quality committees from using quality improvement plans to justify cuts to hospital clinical services and front-line clinical positions.”


The nurses are worried. There is enough of a direction in there to lead one to believe that quality—which everybody will agree with; we all want quality care, we all want good outcomes—will actually lead to justification of cuts to services. There’s also been serious concern raised that this legislation will only apply to hospitals rather than to other health care settings. This means that the whole cycle of care is excluded. It doesn’t insist on quality care in our community.

The RNAO is worried about this. I think the minister gave the example that 140,000 patients were readmitted. Those are patients who had been in the hospital, had received treatment, had received their discharge, and 140,000 of them got readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of original discharge. The minister agreed that was too high and we could do better, and the New Democrats agree with that statement.

The problem is that the readmission may have nothing to do with the quality of care in the hospital. The hospital care might have been as good as could ever be dreamed of, but the care that the patient received through home care, the care that the patient received in the community, is where the system failed. The way the bill is written right now, the Excellent Care for All Act really focuses on hospitals. I have no problem with the step-in approach, where we start with hospitals, but here again the bill is silent as to when it will be extended to the rest of the health care system. When will it be expanded to home care, to home support, to long-term care, to primary care, to rehab, to everything else outside of the hospital setting that also has a role to play to make sure that after people are discharged from the hospital, they have a successful recovery?

We don’t know because it’s not in the bill. The bill hints that it’s about to apply to everybody but we don’t know when, we don’t know how, we don’t who’s in, we don’t know who’s out. We know for sure that the hospitals are in, but the rest of them—is primary care in? When will that be in? Those are valid questions. A dialogue would probably help answer those questions. And if there’s not an answer, at least we will know what the process is to get to the answer, but we won’t have a chance to do any of that because Monique Smith put a time allocation motion on, and I have 11 minutes left and that will be the end of that—that will be the end.

We also have an issue that the new hospital funding model applies to small, rural and northern hospitals. To their credit, the government has announced that the new funding model will not apply to smaller hospitals. That’s very nice of this minister to say this, but we would like to see it in the bill. I haven’t been here that long and there have been three Ministers of Health since I’ve been here. So what’s to tell me that the next Minister of Health thinks that small, rural and northern hospitals should be included? Not that I doubt her words, but she may not be there. What if the next one changes it?

People have a right to ask to see those promises in writing. Let’s see them in the bill. We don’t really know exactly what the new funding model will be. We hear hints of it. We hear parts of it sometimes in the paper, but I can tell you that there’s very little of it in the bill. There are a few mentions of it in the budget, actually, of all places, but that doesn’t help us in our case. We would like to see it in black and white in the bill.

I will be bringing forward amendments that ask to do just that. I hope I will have a chance to fully present my arguments for those changes and that the government and my colleagues from all parties will be open to a debate. If we are serious that the new funding model should not be applied to small, rural, and northern hospitals, then why wouldn’t we want to put in it writing? Give the confidence out there in the field that this is a battle they don’t have to fight anymore. “Rest assured, as long as we have a definition as to who is small, rural and northern, you don’t have to worry about this new funding model; it won’t apply to you.” The minister has said so already. Isn’t it time to put that in writing?

I will introduce amendments to do this. I hope I will have an opportunity to present them, because we know from the motion that it’s at 6:45, I think. If I haven’t had time to present those, they will be deemed rejected without debate, without going on the record. This is what a time allocation does: It takes away the opportunity for debate.

As I said, this is not even such a controversial bill, because there’s so little in it. But it’s still a bill, and if we’re going to do something, let’s do something right, let’s do something good and let’s listen to what people have to say about it. If there’s an opportunity to make it better, why not act upon this opportunity?

I just came back from a 12-city tour of small and rural hospitals with the Ontario Health Coalition, and I can tell you that there are a lot of small hospitals out there that are very, very worried. A lot of small hospitals have lost some of the key services they offer and are worried that with those changes, the door will be open to more change and to more cuts.

The government created a rural and northern hospital panel, but this panel has yet to listen to the voices of the people who live in those communities and are affected by the health care providers in those communities.

The Ontario Health Coalition put out a panel made up of an ex-Liberal, myself, physicians, nurses, members of the public, trustees of hospitals. We travelled to 12 rural and northern communities and listened to what they had to say and put forward a report. In this report, you have 1,467 stories of people who have been affected by changes, by cuts, decreasing access in their hospital systems, in the small rural and northern hospitals of Ontario.

So you can see how important this is to people. They see what’s happening on the ground right now. They hear a minister who says, “We are not going to apply this new funding model to you.” They want to see this in writing. Wouldn’t that bring a sigh of relief from all of those people? But what the people see right now is that services have been closed in smaller communities, and they often have not been accountable to residents in these towns. The government is not accountable for what those people are supposed to do.

When I was in Picton in March, the physio department was scheduled to close on March 31. We were there about 10 days before the closing. The people had already received their layoff notices. There were dietitians and physiotherapists who came and presented, and there were also physiotherapy patients. A person with a brand new hip replacement came in a wheelchair. There was a lady with severe trauma to an elbow, who was undergoing intensive outpatient physiotherapy at the hospital. She had been told that as of March 31, she had to find alternate physiotherapy services because the hospital was no longer going to provide those services. There was a private physiotherapy clinic close by, but this particular person did not have the financial means to pay for physiotherapy and did not have any insurance for that type of service. So, for her, it meant travelling a long distance to an urban hospital and hopefully getting on the waiting list for their outpatient physio or doing without.

That’s not exactly very reassuring for people living in rural Ontario. They would like to see changes to the bill. They would like to see amendments move forward. I hope we will get to see this.


I know that my colleague talked about the chiropractors. They had a chance to come and present, and they also made some good points. One of them was about the need for the Ontario Health Quality Council to examine clinical guidelines for not only publicly funded services, but also those that are not funded. We all know that physiotherapist, chiropractor and optometrist services were delisted, which means they are no longer covered, they are no longer considered a public service. If the Ontario Health Quality Council only looks at services that are being paid for, then that means that some of the best practices—if you look at some of the best practices for whiplash, for neck injuries, for a lot of musculosketal injuries, they will include what chiropractors have to offer, what physiotherapists have to offer, but, because the government has delisted them—they’re now outside of the public system, they’re not going to be considered by the Ontario Health Quality Council—or are they? The bill is not clear.

We would like to bring clarity, and I will be bringing amendments to bring clarity. If they are to be included—I kind of doubt it. I didn’t see anything in the bill that said that they would be, but I didn’t see anything in the bill that says that they are specifically excluded either. Why not make it clear so that you make sure that if the Ontario Health Quality Council is going to be developing best practices for all sorts of problems, including whiplash, the one I’m talking about, you make sure that the care the chiropractor has to provide is included in this? They certainly made good arguments for that in their deputation.

The patients who use those services, the services that have been delisted, deserve the same high-quality care as anybody else, but we will only do this if they are included in the Ontario Health Quality Council development of good, quality services.

A similar argument was made by the association of medical laboratory technologists that, in terms of non-hospital settings, it should be included in the scope of the Ontario Health Quality Council. Most people who go to their family physicians and ask for a blood test of any kind go to a private lab, either MDS or MSL or any of the private labs. Right now, the way the bill is written, none of the care that is provided by the private labs is going to be taken into account. I’m giving an example of some of the amendments that I will be bringing forward, but really it’s an opportunity for debate that I would like to see.

I’m just looking at the clock. All I have are seconds left and I still have all of those pages that I haven’t gone through. I kind of have given up. There is no way I’m going to have an opportunity to even put them on the record.

This is what a time allocation motion does. It basically does not allow us to go fully in depth as to what is good in this bill, what is problematic, what needs to be clarified and what certainly needs to be improved. When a time allocation comes forward—I have all of 19 seconds left on the clock to tell you about another 40 pages that we’ve received from people who want to have their voices heard so that they can influence the bill, but they will never have a chance to be heard because my time is up.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Further debate? Does any other member wish to speak?

Ms. Smith has moved government notice of motion number 24. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?

All those in favour, say “aye.”

All those opposed, say “nay.”

In my opinion, the ayes have it.

Call in the members. This will be a 10-minute bell.

I have, dated May 31, to the Speaker and pursuant to standing order 28(h), a request that the vote on government motion number 24 be deferred. This will be deferred until tomorrow after question period, and that’s June 1.

Vote deferred.


Hon. Monique M. Smith: I move that, pursuant to standing order 47 and notwithstanding any other standing order or special order of the House relating to Bill 65, An Act to revise the law in respect of not-for-profit corporations, when the bill is next called as a government order the Speaker shall put every question necessary to dispose of the second reading stage of the bill without further debate or amendment and at such time the bill shall be ordered referred to the Standing Committee on Social Policy; and

That the vote on second reading may be deferred pursuant to standing order 28(h); and

That the Standing Committee on Social Policy be authorized to meet for one day of public hearings in each of Toronto, Kitchener, Sudbury and Kingston, and for two days for clause-by-clause consideration of the bill, on dates provided for in a schedule of meeting dates agreed to by the three party whips and tabled with the Clerk of the Assembly; and

That the committee shall report the bill to the House no later than September 13, 2010. In the event that the committee fails to report the bill on that day, the bill shall be deemed to be passed by the committee and shall be deemed to be reported to and received by the House; and

That, upon receiving the report of the Standing Committee on Social Policy, the Speaker shall put the question for adoption of the report forthwith, and at such time the bill shall be ordered for third reading; and

That, when the order for third reading of the bill is called, two hours shall be allotted to the third reading stage of the bill, apportioned equally among the recognized parties. At the end of this time, the Speaker shall interrupt the proceedings and shall put every question necessary to dispose of this stage of the bill without further debate or amendment; and

That the vote on third reading may be deferred pursuant to standing order 28(h); and

That, in the case of any division relating to any proceedings on the bill, the division bell shall be limited to five minutes.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Debate?

Mr. Michael Prue: I don’t know whether the member was here when I spoke the last time. I know she has been in the House almost all night. But I don’t know what we’re doing here. I don’t know why Liberals are sitting there and smiling and thinking, “Why was I elected?” I come here and there aren’t even chances to debate. There are no chances. Everything’s closed before we even know what the bill is about. Here it is, introduced at the last minute. Here it is. We’re all going to run off and do it exactly in a routine and systematic way that satisfies the government House leader to get things done with maximum efficiency. I didn’t think that that’s what a Legislature was for. I didn’t think that’s why she got elected or I got elected or anyone else got elected—for maximum efficiency, for one person to tell you how a bill is going to be debated? How many people are going to be able to speak to it?

When it comes back to the Legislature, all of the circumstances under which it will be—the votes will be held and the Speaker will have to rule on it and everything else. I don’t understand the rush. I do understand, had there been some negotiation with the government House leader and the House leaders of the other two parties, that these kinds of things could have been resolved. If it’s necessary to have hearings over the summer recess, I’m sure that could have been resolved. But that’s not what’s happening here. What is happening here is that the government, by fiat, is ordering how everything is going to happen in this House, and 106 other people, other than the government House leader, have absolutely no say.

I’m seeing all the Liberals sitting over there. I’m seeing all the government members who will put their hands up and allow this to happen.

I don’t understand, because when I was here before, when it was the Eves and Harris governments and this kind of thing was taking place in the House, there were eloquent statements made by most of you about how bad it was. Now, all of a sudden, you accept it. You accept the diminution of your power and your authority as MPPs. You accept that there is nothing you can do and you blindly go along on whatever is being told to you by the government whip.

I am ashamed. I said it before and I’ll say it again: I am ashamed for this House and for this process, that we have come to this point, that this is the way things are done. I have seen this in other places around the world, and we don’t like it. We don’t like it when it happens in other places around the world, but we accept that it happens here. We accept that we are diminished in our role. It is wrong. It was wrong when you criticized it when you were in opposition, and it’s wrong today when you’re in government, doing the self-same thing with no rational reason given—absolutely none.

I’m not going to vote for this. I know you’re going to all put up your hands and do it, but I’m not going to vote for it. I think this is disgraceful, what is happening to this House.

Interjection: Adjourn the House.

Mr. Michael Prue: No, I’m not going to do that either. I’m not going to play into that.

It is disgraceful what you are allowing to happen to this House and it is disgraceful what the government members are allowing to happen to this institution. Thank you very much.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Further debate?

Mr. Ted Chudleigh: I echo my friend’s comments from across the way: This government is running down the road far too quickly. There were debates in front of the people of Ontario; for instance, the harmonization of the sales tax, the so-called HST, in which we wanted to have a day’s debate, in which we wanted a free vote for the members of this House to cast a ballot as to how they felt about this particular bill, whether they thought it was good for Ontario. The government talks about how good it is for Ontario. We wondered how many people over there would have voted for it. We were very concerned about not having an opportunity to vote for it. Now we go rushing down the road with this time allocation stuff. The member from St. Catharines used to rail against time allocation motions when we brought in a couple. This government is running their government with time allocation. You’re running your government by time allocation.


Mr. Ted Chudleigh: It’s no more of an exaggeration than what this government is doing.


The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Order.

Mr. Ted Chudleigh: They won’t listen to reason, Mr. Speaker.

I move adjournment of the debate.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Mr. Chudleigh has moved adjournment of the debate. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?

All those in favour, say “aye.”

All those opposed, say “nay.”

In my opinion, the nays have it.

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

The division bells rang from 2213 to 2243.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Mr. Chudleigh has moved adjournment of the debate.

All those in favour, please stand and be counted by the Clerk.

Take your seats, please.

All those opposed, please stand and be counted by the Clerk.

The Deputy Clerk (Mr. Todd Decker): The ayes are 7; the nays are 28.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): I declare the motion lost.

Mr. Chudleigh.

Mr. Ted Chudleigh: This bill, of course, was based on some studies the government did. They did those studies two years ago, in 2006-07, I believe. Then two years later they brought it in to the House. When they brought it into the House, they introduced the bill on, I believe, a Tuesday afternoon after caucus, and they introduced debate almost immediately, on the Wednesday, which didn’t allow us to caucus the bill or to take a party position on it.

This has happened more and more, with bills being introduced by this government and rushed through after the government having lots of time to decide whether to bring it in. I guess what I’m getting at is that there’s just no co-operation whatsoever from this government. That makes the democratic process, being prepared for debate in this House, very difficult. You’re always doing it on a hurried-up basis. There’s no opportunity to caucus, there’s no opportunity to consult with organizations and trade associations and various voluntary organizations that may want to have some comment on the bill. That makes it all very difficult.

This bill also talks to voluntary organizations. As they talk to voluntary organizations, it makes it very difficult, because they talk about making it easier to become a voluntary organization, but they don’t have anything in the bill that I can see that would protect the public from those charity or volunteer organizations which may take advantage of the goodness of the Canadian public. They talk about Canada being the second most active volunteer country, the Netherlands being first, the United States being fifth, I believe, and Canada being second. Those are all admirable qualities, but so often when you draw forth the best people in our society, you also drag up some of the worst people in our society. I don’t see anything in this bill that protects the public from those who would take advantage of the giving nature of Canadians. I think that’s a real shortcoming of this bill as well.

All in all, this bill leaves a lot to be desired. It needed more time in debate, I think it needed more time in committee and I think it needed more consultation with those people it was designed to help. The problem is that this government just hasn’t taken that time. I think that perhaps the government doesn’t want to spend the time on the bill, so I don’t see why we should spend that time in the House. I would move adjournment of the House.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Mr. Chudleigh has moved adjournment of the House. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?

All those in favour, say “aye.”

All those opposed, say “nay.”

In my opinion, the nays have it.

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

The division bells rang from 2248 to 2318.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Mr. Chudleigh has moved adjournment of the House.

All those in favour please stand and be counted by the Clerk.

Take your seats, please.

All those opposed please stand and be counted by the Clerk.

Take your seats, please.

The Deputy Clerk (Mr. Todd Decker): The ayes are 7; the nays are 28.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): I declare the motion lost.

Mr. Chudleigh still has the floor.


The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Further debate?

Mr. Robert Bailey: It’s a privilege to have the opportunity to rise this evening at this late hour to take part in this debate on Bill 65, even though it’s short notice and very little detail to work with.

Mr. Jeff Leal: Not too many people are watching in Sarnia.

Mr. Robert Bailey: Not too many people are up at this hour. They go to bed early; they turn in early there. They all get up early.

Mr. Jeff Leal: They have to be up too early.

Mr. Robert Bailey: They’re down at the coffee shops early in the morning, so they’re all in bed early. They’re all up consulting at that time of morning, so they don’t do their consulting in the evening.

Mr. Ted Chudleigh: The good, honest folks who have a job.

Mr. Robert Bailey: All the ones who are working are up early. They go to the coffee shop.

Anyway, this bill refers to the non-profits, which is a very important sector of the corporations that are represented in Ontario. I’m thinking of all the non-profit organizations like Goodwill, the Optimists, all the service clubs, a number of United Ways, and a number of these organizations which would be impacted by this bill. It would be very important that we have input from them, have an opportunity for them to speak to us, speak to the members, all the different MPPs from across the province, so that they have an opportunity to see how this bill would affect them with its impact when it is inputted, and as the debate takes place, so that we make sure we hear from all these non-profit organizations, so that their boards of directors and all of the employees also know how they would be affected by this.

On the short notice that’s given for us to interact and to consult with people across Ontario—it’s always mentioned by the government that it’s a very important part, that they should have consultation. It pains me much, but I would like to ask that we have—I would move adjournment of the debate at this time.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?

All those in favour, say “aye.”

All those opposed, say “nay.”

In my opinion, the nays have it.

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

The division bells rang from 2322 to 2352.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Mr. Bailey has moved adjournment of the debate.

All those in favour, please stand and be counted by the Clerk.

Take your seats, please.

All those opposed, please stand and be counted by the Clerk.

Take your seats, please.

The Deputy Clerk (Mr. Todd Decker): The ayes are 7; the nays are 27.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): I declare the motion lost.

Mr. Bailey.

Mr. Robert Bailey: I see the vote is getting closer. The count is getting closer, so we’re going to try again; we’re going to keep working on this.

I appreciate the opportunity to stand and talk about Bill 65 and the impact it’s going to have on the non-profit organizations. I know it’s going to have a serious impact. One thing I’ve been thinking about is if there was some way, perhaps, that this bill was delayed overnight, people would have an opportunity through the night and overnight to get to us—fax us, phone calls, telegrams, whatever—and there would be opportunities for the members to hear from all of their constituents. I know they’d like to do that.

Also, something else: I had the opportunity, during that intermission, to go out and interact with our friends on the lawn again, who we spoke about earlier this evening, the injured workers. They commended the members of the opposition in both parties who took the opportunity to come out and sojourn with them, who had an opportunity to understand their issues. So I think at this time I’m going to move adjournment of the House, which would give the opportunity for the government side to go and interact with those people.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Mr. Bailey has moved adjournment of the House. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?

All those in favour, say “aye.”

All those opposed, say “nay.”

In my opinion, the nays have it.

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

The division bells rang from 2354 to 0024.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): Members, take your seats, please. It’s getting late.

Mr. Bailey has moved adjournment of the House.

All those in favour, please stand and be counted by the Clerk.

You can take your seat now.

All those opposed, please stand and be counted by the Clerk.

Take your seats, please.

The Deputy Clerk (Mr. Todd Decker): The ayes are 1; the nays are 19.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bruce Crozier): I declare the motion lost.

Debate deemed adjourned.

It being somewhat past 12 of the clock, this House is adjourned until Tuesday, June 1, at 9 of the clock.

The House adjourned at 0025.