L155 - Tue 5 Apr 2016 / Mar 5 avr 2016

LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF ONTARIO

ASSEMBLÉE LÉGISLATIVE DE L’ONTARIO

Tuesday 5 April 2016 Mardi 5 avril 2016

Orders of the Day

Supporting Ontario’s First Responders Act (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder), 2016 / Loi de 2016 d’appui aux premiers intervenants de l’Ontario (état de stress post-traumatique)

Waste-Free Ontario Act, 2016 / Loi de 2016 favorisant un Ontario sans déchets

Introduction of Visitors

Wearing of ribbons

Oral Questions

Autism treatment

Fundraising

Fundraising

Fundraising

Autism treatment

Fundraising

Refugees

Renewable energy

Collective bargaining

Government services

Fundraising

Autism treatment

Agri-food industry

Drive Clean

First responders

Visitors

Deferred Votes

Supporting Ontario’s First Responders Act (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder), 2016 / Loi de 2016 d’appui aux premiers intervenants de l’Ontario (état de stress post-traumatique)

Waste-Free Ontario Act, 2016 / Loi de 2016 favorisant un Ontario sans déchets

Members’ Statements

Charlie Guy

Fire in Pikangikum

Pope John Paul II

Ontario Bioscience Innovation Organization

The Bridge

Economic symposium / Symposium économique

Steve Merker

Leon Korbee

Events in Port Hope

Reports by Committees

Standing Committee on Government Agencies

Standing Committee on Public Accounts

Introduction of Bills

Bud Monahan Guitar Sales & Service Ltd. Act, 2016

Motions

Private members’ public business

Appointment of Deputy Speaker

Committee membership

Statements by the Ministry and Responses

World Autism Awareness Day / Journée mondiale de la sensibilisation à l’autisme

Petitions

Hydro rates

Workplace safety

Sexual violence and harassment

Health care funding

Special-needs students

Prompt payment

Ontario Drug Benefit Program

Hospital funding

Éducation postsecondaire en français

Special-needs students

Health care funding

Special-needs students

Orders of the Day

Smoke-Free Ontario Amendment Act, 2016 / Loi de 2016 modifiant la Loi favorisant un Ontario sans fumée

Concussions

Members’ birthdays

The House met at 0900.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Good morning. Please join me in prayer.

Prayers.

Orders of the Day

Supporting Ontario’s First Responders Act (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder), 2016 / Loi de 2016 d’appui aux premiers intervenants de l’Ontario (état de stress post-traumatique)

Mr. Flynn moved third reading of the following bill:

Bill 163, An Act to amend the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 and the Ministry of Labour Act with respect to posttraumatic stress disorder / Projet de loi 163, Loi modifiant la Loi de 1997 sur la sécurité professionnelle et l’assurance contre les accidents du travail et la Loi sur le ministère du Travail relativement à l’état de stress post-traumatique.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Mr. Flynn.

Hon. Kevin Daniel Flynn: It is a pleasure to rise today, certainly. I’m going to share the short time we have with the Honourable Yasir Naqvi, the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services. It’s a pleasure to be here and to be joined by so many members of our first responders community. I know I speak for the entire government when I say how proud we are to bring forward Bill 163, Supporting Ontario’s First Responders Act.

I want to take this opportunity to thank the member from High Park. I know she’s as proud as anybody in this House today, and rightfully so.

Bill 163 will presume that PTSD diagnosed in first responders is work-related. It’s going to provide timely access to WSIB programs and to benefits. It will also provide a sense of security for first responders and their families.

I’m proud of this bill, but our strategy in this respect is much larger than just this bill. Presumptive legislation is extremely important, but our strategy is more comprehensive. We want to prevent people from suffering from PTSD in the first place. That’s why, along with Bill 163, our PTSD strategy includes an awareness campaign that some of you may have started to hear; a free online tool kit with resources on PTSD for those who can’t create their own programs; an annual leadership summit to highlight best practices, recognize leaders and monitor progress in dealing with PTSD; and grants to support research into PTSD so that Ontario remains a leader and we stay on top of the newest information.

To ensure that employers of first responders have proper plans in place to prevent and deal with PTSD, the legislation also allows me, or any future Minister of Labour, to require all employers to provide their plans to the ministry.

This piece of legislation is the right thing to do. We owe it to people who put themselves in harm’s way each and every day to ensure our protection. I think, coupled with prevention and the resiliency training the province is putting into place, this bill is a huge step forward in recognizing the importance of psychological health in the workplace.

I’m going to turn it over to my colleague now.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Government House leader.

Interjections.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Leader of the official opposition.

Mr. Patrick Brown: Mr. Speaker, it’s my pleasure to stand here today in support of Bill 163, the Supporting Ontario’s First Responders Act. I’m honoured to support this bill, and I’m honoured to see such non-partisan support for this initiative. I can tell you that I’ve worked closely with first responders since I was first elected a city councillor 16 years ago in Barrie, and I’m proud to call myself a friend of the community. One of my greatest honours is actually being named an honorary firefighter. I take that designation very seriously, because these individuals never shy away from an opportunity to stand up for their communities. to protect the safety that we all cherish. I have great respect for the hard work and the sacrifice that they put forward.

Each day, there are reminders of the courage of first responders, who face unforeseen risks in their work each day in an effort to protect others. This includes post-traumatic stress disorder, Mr. Speaker. It’s a risk that they take on. When I speak with police officers in Midland or firefighters in Sault Ste. Marie or paramedics here at Queen’s Park, as I travel the province, I am told again and again about the dangers of post-traumatic stress disorder. Some I have met with have suffered PTSD themselves; others have watched their friends and colleagues suffer. PTSD isn’t something you can shake off; PTSD is real.

I remember being in London, Ontario, meeting with Dan Axford from the London Police Association, who told me, “We have to see things you never want to see.” He told me a story about an officer who had to carry a young boy in his arms who had been hit and killed by a car. He said that those are the types of moments that shake you. He said that he couldn’t sleep afterward. He had nightmares, and he didn’t realize at the time how much that incident affected him. There are countless stories like that across the province of Ontario, and when these brave men and women ask for help, it must be available.

A story closer to home: I think of my good friend Kevin White, who was the president of the Barrie Professional Fire Fighters Association. I remember sitting with him at his fire hall 10 years ago and him telling me that when Billy Wilkins ran into a fire and lost his life, everyone on the force was affected, but particularly those who served with Billy needed help for years but didn’t have the ability to receive that help. We need to make sure that people who see things we never want to see have that treatment available. They are our heroes, and we need to provide that service for them.

PTSD is a growing problem. First responders experience PTSD at two times the rate of the average population. The prevalence of PTSD for emergency services is 16% to 24%, compared to 8% in the average Canadian population. Thirty-eight first responders died by suicide in 2015. Between January 1 and February of this year, nine first responders have committed suicide; seven of them from Ontario.

We need to make sure that we’re providing our front-line emergency personnel with the help they need when they need it. If you are a first responder with PTSD, you shouldn’t have to spend years fighting with WSIB bureaucracy to prove it. This is an issue that I’ve been proud to bring forward. I’m proud that on my first day as leader of the Ontario PC Party—my first day as leader of the official opposition—this was my second question in the Legislature, because I have heard countless stories across the province. I said at the time that there is no monopoly on a good idea. It doesn’t matter which party puts it forward; if it’s for the betterment of Ontario, we will support it.

When the NDP put forward thoughtful legislation to help move forward the yardsticks on treatment for PTSD, we enthusiastically supported it. Today we have legislation put forward by the Minister of Labour. It doesn’t matter that he is on the other side of the aisle; it is good legislation. It will be a step forward for first responders in their need for treatment for PTSD. I say thank you to the Minister of Labour for doing the right thing, for putting forward thoughtful legislation, and I am proud to stand in support of it; I’m proud that our caucus—our PC caucus—is supporting Bill 163. This bill will provide faster access to resources and treatment for first responders who face serious challenges related to PTSD.

I hope that all members in this House will support this important law. This isn’t about politics; this isn’t about what side of the aisle we sit on. We cannot afford to let Ontario’s first responders suffer from this serious condition any longer than we already have. Let’s show the people of Ontario that public policy can be used as a force for good, that it has the ability to improve the lives of those at risk who risk their lives every day to protect our safety, and hopefully it can be used to save lives this time, but save the lives of first responders.

0910

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): The member from Parkdale–High Park.

Ms. Cheri DiNovo: It’s indeed a pleasure and an honour to rise today. The first people I want to thank are the first responders themselves, because without their support from day one on this bill, this bill would not have become a reality. I want to thank them for what they do for us every single day. Police, fire, corrections, paramedics: Thank you all. You deserve a round of applause.

When I think about the life of this bill, its early iterations as my bill and later as a government bill, I also want to thank everyone in this House, all of my colleagues, for making this a possibility. It’s a rare non-partisan moment when we can celebrate something like this, and I think we should.

I also think of a couple of faces that come to mind—first and foremost, a young paramedic named Shannon Bertrand, who walked into my office eight years ago. She was the one who confided in me her troubles and her troubles getting coverage with WSIB, which is where this all started. Paramedics got behind it, police got behind it, fire got behind it, corrections got behind it, and I’m going to talk about the other groups that got behind it, too.

The very first iteration of this bill said “all workers.” That’s what it said. It was very clear the government would not back that, it would not pass that, so we narrowed it down to the obvious ones, the first responders. We heard the leader of the official opposition talking about who those groups are and their high rates of post-traumatic stress disorder.

The other person I think about, and I will never get this memory out of my mind, is the suicide call that we received in my Queen’s Park office. It was a suicide distress call from a firefighter. He said, “Please don’t call first responders,” because he knew what it was like to be a first responder and go to a suicide call. He didn’t want his brothers and sisters having to do what he had had to do that brought on his own post-traumatic stress disorder. Of course, as responsible citizens, we couldn’t do anything but. We phoned the first responders to go to the house of a first responder to prevent that suicide. So I think of him. He will be unnamed, but I think of him and I send my prayers and love out to him and his family.

A couple of things: In the committee hearings on this bill, we would have liked to have seen some broadening of the scope. Here was a historic opportunity—not that this isn’t, and we celebrate this passage, but I want to let everyone know that in the New Democratic Party, we’re not going to rest at this. We’re going to continue to fight until nurses are covered by this, until special constables are covered by this, bailiffs and parole officers and anyone else who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder on their job. That truly is where we should be going in the future.

The other aspect of this bill we would have liked to have seen different was the coverage period itself. Some 24 months is not time enough; it should have been five years. Again, that’s something that we hope to see in regulation down the years from now.

The other one that’s particularly egregious, I think, is that anybody who has had a claim rejected by WSIB for PTSD cannot reopen that claim. I think that’s sad. That’s a truly missed opportunity because many of the people whose stories brought us to this place had claims rejected by WSIB. Those are the heroes who we should be celebrating today, and the fact that they are written out of this bill is a laugh. It’s a sad thing. So on their behalf—many of them are quite angry about that, I must say, and with good reason—we’ll keep fighting on in the New Democratic Party until they are also covered and given the dignity that they deserve, again, hopefully through regulation in the years to come. We want to see that day come as well.

In terms of prevention and what we do moving forward: Constable Garda, who committed suicide—his sister was in my office and had great ideas.

So rest assured, all first responders: We’re not stopping here. From here on out, we will be working with the Minister of Labour on what those regulations look like, what the protocols should look like to prevent PTSD, to help those with PTSD. In the wake of a traumatic incident, what do you do with folk who have been part of that? That’s a huge piece of work, and we in the New Democratic Party are not going to stop until that work is done. Until those who race into danger for us are really covered and really looked after, our work in this Legislature has only just begun.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Government House leader.

Hon. Yasir Naqvi: It’s a great honour for me to speak on this bill in a very short period of time. I want to start by thanking the Minister of Labour, whom I personally call a friend. I know personally his passion around PTSD-related issues and healthy workplaces. I really want to thank him for his passion in this matter.

Most importantly, Speaker, to all our friends who are here in the House from fire, police, paramedics, corrections: Through you, I want to thank all your members, all our first responders across this province, for everything they do in making us safe every single day.

Speaker, this is a very important issue. I think we all have heard stories of first responders in our communities who have put their lives on the front line to make us safe, but then have suffered some serious consequences around their mental health.

There is a lot of work to be done. This is just the beginning of the work; I think everybody will acknowledge that. That is why I would argue that the work around prevention is the most important aspect of this strategy. The presumptive piece of legislation is important to make sure that those who suffer from PTSD get the care they need. But most importantly, Speaker, we need to make sure that people don’t even suffer from PTSD at the outset, that they have the right type of supports in terms of building resiliency, in terms of making sure they get the care, if diagnosed, so they can continue in their chosen profession. One thing I have learned from first responders is that this is not a job; it’s a calling. In order for you to live your calling, we need to make sure that all the necessary tools are there.

Speaker, one thing I’m particularly proud of about this bill, which I thought was a serious oversight in the NDP bill, is that corrections officers and correctional nurses are included in this bill. That is a very important aspect. I have seen first-hand the kind of work they do in our correctional facilities, and I’m really happy that those first responders are included in this bill.

I also recognize that probation and parole officers, who also face unique stresses, were not part of this bill. But, as I said, I know that more work needs to be done in order to address the challenges they face and the emotional impact these can have. I want to be clear that we will continue to work with our probation and parole officers to ensure that we build on and enhance existing programs, and that they have supports they very much need.

Once again, I thank all the members for their kind remarks. This is a very important bill, and we’ve taken a huge step forward in ensuring that our first responders are protected in the province of Ontario.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): I’d also like to welcome the first responders to the Legislature today.

Applause.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Pursuant to the order of the House dated March 2, 2016, I am now required to put the question.

Mr. Flynn has moved third reading of Bill 163, An Act to amend the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 and the Ministry of Labour Act with respect to posttraumatic stress disorder.

Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?

I heard a no.

All those in favour, please say “aye.”

All those opposed, please say “nay.”

In my opinion, the ayes have it. This bill is deferred for a vote after question period.

Third reading vote deferred.

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Waste-Free Ontario Act, 2016 / Loi de 2016 favorisant un Ontario sans déchets

Resuming the debate adjourned on March 23, 2016, on the motion for second reading of the following bill:

Bill 151, An Act to enact the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act, 2016 and the Waste Diversion Transition Act, 2016 and to repeal the Waste Diversion Act, 2002 / Projet de loi 151, Loi édictant la Loi de 2016 sur la récupération des ressources et l’économie circulaire et la Loi transitoire de 2016 sur le réacheminement des déchets et abrogeant la Loi de 2002 sur le réacheminement des déchets.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Further debate?

Mr. John Fraser: It’s a pleasure to rise today and speak to Bill 151, the Waste-Free Ontario Act, which I fully support. It’s good to hear in this debate the support that exists around the House for this bill and the importance of reducing waste in Ontario.

Last weekend, I was out knocking on doors in my community, and I ran into a man named Don. Don said, “I’ve been meaning to come and see you. I have something really important I want to talk to you about.” He said it is unbelievable, how much stuff people throw out.

Don is a man of limited means. Part of the way he supplements his means is he cashes in returnable bottles that he gets out of people’s blue bins, so he sees a lot of waste and a lot of garbage. He was really quite passionate about it, telling me about what they were doing in different places in Canada and some places in the United States. It wasn’t just because it was his income. It was because he saw that we are still having very serious challenges in Ontario with what we throw in our garbage.

As I said, I’m pleased that there’s a level of support for this bill. I know the member for Leeds–Grenville said, “It’s a very substantial act, and I want to thank the ministry for including some of the suggestions that our party and others in the province made on the previous bill, Bill 91.”

We all put out our blue bins and our green bins—if you have green bins in your city. I do it Sunday night before I leave to come back here to Queen’s Park. It feels great that things have changed and that we put more effort into recycling in homes. But when I actually look at it at night, when I put the stuff out on Sunday nights, I go, “There’s still an incredible amount of stuff in that recycling.”

One of the challenges is, are we actually reusing, or reducing the level of packaging that we are using in the things that we sell? That’s why it’s so important that this bill addresses producer responsibility. It’s clear, inside the industry, inside the sector, that there’s an understanding that what we have now is not good enough. The status quo is not good enough. By increasing producer responsibility and giving some flexibility, we will be able to reduce, reuse and maybe reincarnate some of those—it will give some imagination to producers as to how—and some initiative and some force—to increase their commitment to ensuring that we don’t fill our landfills up with stuff. We just can’t keep digging holes in the ground and burying our garbage ad infinitum. There’s a limited resource out there.

I know the minister is very passionate about this. I congratulate him for bringing this bill forward.

I also know that the member from Renfrew–Nipissing–Pembroke said, “We’re largely in support of this act.

“We can act on waste diversion in a way that truly, truly reduces the amount of waste we are turning to our landfills in this province, because it’s something we must do.”

I can’t agree with him more.

This act will also revamp waste diversion in Ontario, and the oversight and authority. Waste Diversion Ontario will be changed to a non-crown authority which will have stronger oversight powers and provide a framework in which we can ensure that we are going to achieve those goals and targets that we have set forward.

Mr. Speaker, my background is in the grocery business. I spent about 20 years working in the grocery business. That business realized a long time ago that it could utilize—and it was actually an economic benefit to utilize—things that were generally thought of as waste. For instance, recycling cardboard began when I first started working in that industry; we used to bale cardboard. Rendering of meat products—organics. Those products were reused. They weren’t just dumped in a landfill; they were used to make other products. There was an economic benefit in that industry to do those things and take a look at that.

Actually, really innovative and smart industries take a look at the waste products they have and how they can utilize them to increase their profitability and viability. It’s not just a socially responsible thing to do, to ensure that we are not increasing the amount of waste we are putting into the ground or the air; it’s a smart economic play.

As I said, it’s good to see the support for this bill. The member for Prince Edward–Hastings called it a good initiative. The member for Chatham–Kent–Essex said, “Just to clarify things, we will ... be supporting the bill....” It’s good to know. My colleague from Nepean–Carleton has indicated that she supports this legislation.

Mr. Speaker, we have been debating this bill in the Legislature for a while. As we can see, there is a good level of support. I think this bill is ready to go forward. I’m sure there is interest on all sides of the Legislature in getting this bill to committee.

As I said, this is Bill 151; we did have Bill 91 in a previous session. This bill has seen nearly 10 hours of debate, and almost half of the members of the Legislature have debated this bill, so there has been a wide range of viewpoints.

Mr. Speaker, I think there are other pieces of legislation that we could get to, and that would be the most effective use of this Legislature’s and this assembly’s time.

I move that the question be now put.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Mr. Fraser has moved that the question be now put. I have discussed this with the Clerks’ table. I am of the conclusion, and am satisfied, that there have been 10 hours of debate on this question and over 26 members have spoken to it.

Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry?

Interjections: No.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): All those in favour of the motion that the question be now put, please say “aye.”

Those opposed, please say “nay.”

I believe the nays have it.

This motion will be voted on after question period.

Vote deferred.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): Orders of the day.

Hon. Bill Mauro: Speaker, no further business.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paul Miller): This House stands recessed until 10:30 this morning.

The House recessed from 0928 to 1030.

Introduction of Visitors

Mr. Ernie Hardeman: I’m pleased to rise today to introduce Innis O’Grady, a Ryerson University student who is in the gallery with us today. I’ve been fortunate enough to have him working in my office as an intern for the past couple of months now, and I’m extremely grateful for all his hard work. Welcome again to Queen’s Park. There he is in the gallery: Innis.

Ms. Cheri DiNovo: We’re absolutely honoured to have in the House today members from the Ontario Provincial Police Association, the Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association, the Police Association of Ontario, the Ontario Paramedic Association, the Toronto Paramedic Association, the Tema Conter Memorial Trust, OPSEU paramedics and correctional workers, CUPE paramedics, Unifor and the Civic Institute of Professional Personnel. We welcome them all.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Thank you. The member from Barrie.

Applause.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Just so that you know, I’ve recognized the member from Barrie for introductions, but it looks like there are quite a few. Let’s keep them brief and no explanations, please; just the introductions, so that we can get on with it.

The member from Barrie.

Ms. Ann Hoggarth: From my riding of Barrie, I would like to welcome paramedic Natalie Harris to the Legislature. Natalie founded the Wings of Change-Peer Support program, which strives to help first responders, health care providers, military members and communications officers cope with the difficulties in their line of work.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Thank you for the very short, brief introduction.

Mr. Robert Bailey: I’d like to introduce, in the gallery today with the EMS, Joe Emilio from Sarnia–Lambton, representing Lambton county’s EMS. Also, in the other gallery: Rory Ring, formerly of Sarnia, the new president of the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce.

Hon. Kevin Daniel Flynn: I have a number of first responders to introduce today: Carmen Santoro, the president of the Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association, and his members; Jeff Van Pelt and Chris Day from CUPE ambulance; and Chris Stolte and Joe Emilio with the SEIU.

From corrections, we have Tammy Carson, the provincial health and safety co-chair; Alex Sawicki, the second vice-president; and Monte Vieselmeyer, ministry employee relations.

From the police, we have Bruce Chapman, the president of the PAO; Stephen Reid, the executive director of PAO; and from the OPPA we have Chris Hoffman.

Please welcome all of the first responders to Queen’s Park today.

Hon. Tracy MacCharles: I’d like to welcome three people: Kirishika Ethayarajan, Jessica Ngo and Kyle O’Brien. These are students from the child and youth program at George Brown College. They live in the riding of Scarborough–Rouge River. As part of their final-year project, these students have created a website to help victims of child pornography. Welcome to Queen’s Park.

Hon. Bill Mauro: I’d like to introduce Greg Stephenson from the Thunder Bay Police Association and Eric Nordlund from the Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association, the district 7 vice-president from Thunder Bay.

Ms. Jennifer K. French: It is my pleasure to welcome so many to the Legislature. Members from OPSEU—welcome to Clarke Eaton. From corrections, we have Tammy Carson, Monte Vieselmeyer and Alex Sawicki. We also have Joel Usher and Tim Szumlanski from OPSEU. Welcome to Chris Hoffman of the OPPA, and from the PAO, Bruce Chapman, Stephen Reid and Michael Duffy. From the Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association there’s Carmen Santoro. And Jeff Van Pelt, I see you in the corner, from my area, from CUPE ambulance—and so many other familiar faces. Thank you for all you do and for coming today.

Hon. Jeff Leal: In the members’ west gallery today, I would like to welcome Jeff Chartier, president of Peterborough Police Association, and Dave McFadden, past president of Peterborough Police Association and of the Police Association of Ontario.

Mr. Peter Tabuns: It’s my pleasure to introduce Xiao Chen, mother of our page captain today, Jierui Jiang.

Mrs. Laura Albanese: I would like to introduce two SEIU paramedics, Chris Stolte and Joe Emilio. Welcome to Queen’s Park.

Mr. Joe Dickson: I’d like to introduce two firefighters from Durham: Dan Bonnar, of the Ajax Professional Fire Fighters Association, and, from a neighbouring community, Neil Delory, secretary of the Pickering Professional Firefighters Association. Welcome, gentlemen.

Mrs. Lisa Gretzky: It’s my pleasure to welcome to Queen’s Park some Windsor firefighters: Wayne Currie, Andre Gingras, and the president of the Windsor Professional Fire Fighters Association and, I might point out, the author of the incredibly moving letter I read during my time on the PTSD bill, Duane Janisse. Welcome.

Hon. Reza Moridi: Mr. Speaker, please join me in welcoming members from the Ontario Bioscience Innovation Organization: Dr. Cameron Piron, president of Synaptive Medical; Dr. David Young, CEO of Actium Research; Brian Courtney, CEO of Conavi; Arun Menawat, president and CEO of Novadaq; and also, Gail Garland, president and CEO of OBIO. They are in the west gallery. I invite all members to attend their reception in the legislative dining room this evening.

Ms. Daiene Vernile: I’m delighted to welcome, from Kitchener Centre, Mike Sullivan, with the Kitchener-Waterloo police association.

Ms. Eleanor McMahon: I’d like to introduce two first responders from my riding: Rob Todd from the Halton Regional Police Association, and Dan VanderLelie, from the Burlington Professional Firefighters Association—and, if I may, the family of my page, Deanna Clark: mother, Tracy Beazley Clark; dad, Michael; and brother Connor. Welcome to Queen’s Park.

Mr. Todd Smith: I’d like to welcome Daniel Perry. He’s a Loyalist College student who has been working for the last couple of months in my Belleville constituency office. Welcome to Queen’s Park, Daniel.

Hon. David Orazietti: I’m pleased to introduce Monica Dale, president of the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce; Rory Ring, executive director of the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce; and Richard Bennett, a Sault Ste. Marie paramedic.

Mr. Grant Crack: It’s an honour for me to welcome the executive director of Badge of Life Canada. We have Mr. Bill Rusk with us this morning for question period. Welcome, sir.

Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde: A constituent of mine is here today, part of our wonderful paramedic team in Ottawa: Mr. Norm Robillard. I would like to welcome him to our Legislature.

Mrs. Kathryn McGarry: I’d like to welcome two members of the Cambridge Professional Fire Fighters’ Association: John Holman and Jordan Armstrong, both constituents and friends of mine from Cambridge.

Mr. Lou Rinaldi: I’d like to introduce Chief Paul Charbonneau from Frontenac county, representing the Ontario Association of Paramedic Chiefs. Welcome.

Mme Gila Martow: Je souhaite la bienvenue à Amanda Simard, qui est ici dans la galerie. Elle est conseillère de la municipalité de Russell dans la circonscription de Glengarry–Prescott–Russell—mon amie est ici aussi.

Ms. Jennifer K. French: It is my privilege to welcome Ralph and Kyra Thistle, who are joining us here in the Legislature. We met them at committee for Bill 163. Welcome back.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Kingston and the Islands.

Ms. Sophie Kiwala: Mr. Speaker, I know you were saving the best for last. But it is my great pleasure to welcome Chief Paul Charbonneau of the county of Frontenac, one of the two oldest and longest-serving chiefs in Ontario, with over 40 years of service to the industry. He is with us today representing the Ontario Association of Paramedic Chiefs. I would also like to welcome Fred Leblanc, one of our firefighters in Kingston, and acknowledge Ann Bryan, president of the Kingston Professional Firefighters Association. Thank you very much for being here.

Mr. Yvan Baker: It’s my pleasure to welcome Brent Heppell from the Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association. He’s a district 1 vice-president. Welcome to Queen’s Park.

Mr. Shafiq Qaadri: Mr. Speaker, Premier and all members of the Legislature, I would ask you respectfully to help me to welcome, not only to the Legislature of Ontario but also to Canada, a group of Syrian refugees: Loqman Yousef Al Masri and his wife, Yusra, and their children, Adnan, Emad, Mohammed and Jury; Bilal Abo Al Hawa and his wife, Marwa, and their children, Alian and Miral; and Yasmine Musto and her children, Rawan, Areej, Malaz and Mahmoud.

1040

Also, members of COSTI Immigrant Services—Bruno Suppa, Mario Calla, Tanaz Pardiwalla, Mirna El Sabbagh, Lynde Yasui, Mary Gharwal, Yasmine Dossal, Andrea Brambilla—and Mr. Fares Sultan.

Welcome them, Speaker. They touched down in Canada six weeks ago.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): We welcome all of our guests.

We have with us, also in the Speaker’s gallery today, 20 teachers from across the province, participating in the fifth annual Legislative Assembly of Ontario Teacher’s Forum. Welcome to our teachers from across Ontario. We’re glad you’re here.

Wearing of ribbons

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Point of order: The Minister of Children and Youth Services.

Hon. Tracy MacCharles: Thank you, Speaker. I believe you’ll find that we have unanimous consent that all members be permitted to wear ribbons in recognition of World Autism Awareness Day.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The minister is seeking unanimous consent to wear the ribbons for World Autism Awareness Day. Do we agree? Agreed. Carried.

Oral Questions

Autism treatment

Mr. Patrick Brown: My question is for the Premier.

After the recent budget, I applauded the government’s investment for autism funding. But just days before World Autism Awareness Day, this government announced their new plan. The result of a Toronto Star investigation—reported on April 1 that families were left “devastated” by the changes to the autism program. The government is kicking over 2,000 children off the IBI autism treatment waiting list. In exchange, the government offered a pittance of transitional funding to cover private therapy.

Mr. Speaker, where does the Premier expect parents to find $50,000 to pay for this private treatment? Won’t the Premier listen to the Toronto Star?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: Ahlan wa Sahlan, to our visitors. I want to welcome everyone to the Legislature today.

I want to just say that we are committed to improving the lives of children and youth with autism, and we’re committed to providing them with the best possible services based on the best possible evidence. It is incredibly important that we look at what is working and look at the evidence.

With the prevalence of autism increasing, so were wait times increasing. That status quo was unacceptable, and that’s why our budget makes a historic $333-million investment in a new Ontario autism program.

It’s very important that through this investment, the new program will give 16,000 more children access to services: 500 to IBI, which is the intensive behavioural intervention, and 15,500 to access applied behavioural analysis.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary.

Mr. Patrick Brown: Back to the Premier: Putting the spin aside, the reality is the Liberals are kicking children off the wait-list, without the new programs ready to go. I understand that the government wants to reduce wait times for autism treatments. But their solution is to kick children off the wait-list? Really? This seems to be a pretty heartless way to score political points and tout shorter wait times.

The government said the cost of inaction was too high. Is that what they’re telling parents of autistic children who say they now have to pay $50,000 a year for private treatment?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: Mr. Speaker, let’s just go through what this investment will do. It will give 16,000 more children access to services. That’s 500 getting more IBI, and 15,500 getting applied behavioural analysis. We’ll cut the wait times for service in half within the next two years.

What the evidence shows, what the science says, is that IBI is very, very effective in the early years. There were children sitting on the wait-list—young children—when the window of opportunity for IBI was absolutely closing. So what we need to do is to make sure that younger children get that IBI and that the applied behavioural analysis is available to them. That’s why we’re providing $8,000 for people who are going off the wait-list to be able to buy services, and subsequently providing access to a new ABA program that’s more intense, that’s longer and is specifically tailored to those older children—

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Thank you. Final supplementary.

Mr. Patrick Brown: Mr. Speaker, back to the Premier: I haven’t got an answer on why the government is kicking children off the wait-list. The government’s changes will lead to children falling through the cracks of an already underfunded system. You can’t stop these programs without something to replace it with.

Parents are telling you that autism does not stop at age five. I—

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Stop the clock. I would hope that I would not have to be interrupted while I’m speaking. I would also hope that I don’t have to repeat yesterday’s need for control. This will be the last time I speak—as a group.

Leader.

Mr. Patrick Brown: Parents are telling the government and stressing that autism does not stop at age five, but the government isn’t listening. How are these parents, these families living with autism, going to be heard? Do they have to buy a $6,000-a-plate dinner to get a meeting with the Premier?

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Stop the clock. Be seated, please.

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Order. Order.

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The deputy House leader, come to order, please. The member from Oxford, come to order.

Interjection.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The member from Leeds–Grenville, come to order.

Premier.

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: Minister of Children and Youth Services.

Hon. Tracy MacCharles: Let me just say off the bat that this government listens to families, this government listens to experts, and we listen to service providers. We did this before the announcement. We did it—

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The member from Hamilton Mountain, come to order. The member from Lambton–Kent–Middlesex, come to order. If it continues, I’ll ramp it up to warnings.

Minister.

Hon. Tracy MacCharles: Thank you, Speaker. I continue to meet with families who have children on the autism spectrum scale. I hear from them all the time. I met with more yesterday.

Speaker, I know change is hard. I’m a mother of a child with special needs. I know what it’s like when programs transition. But I’m very proud to say that the families who are going to experience change under our new and enhanced program will get the services they need when they need them.

Yes, there will be $8,000 that goes towards any services a family wishes to buy immediately. That will immediately move kids off the wait-list. It’s three times more than what was provided under the old—

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Thank you. Stop the clock. Two things: First of all, I’m sitting in the chair and I will do my job. I don’t need people from that side, or any side, telling me how to do it, because if I was ready to do something, you just stopped it from happening.

New question.

Fundraising

Mr. Patrick Brown: My question is for the Premier. The Minister of Energy is a prolific fundraiser for the Liberal Party, because he needs to meet his cabinet seat quota—

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): I am now moving to warnings. The member from Glengarry–Prescott–Russell is warned.

Carry on.

Mr. Patrick Brown: Mr. Speaker, we appear to have hit a nerve once again.

It is reported that the Minister of Energy’s fundraising target was as high as $300,000. That’s not an easy task for anyone. Some could raise that money through—

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Stop the clock. Deputy House leader will stop raising his prop. Thank you.

Carry on.

Mr. Patrick Brown: Some could raise that money through hard work, or maybe the minister found other ways.

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Mr. Speaker, will the Premier tell us, has any Minister of Energy solicited donations for the Ontario Liberal Party from companies seeking grants or contracts with the government of Ontario? Yes or no? It’s not a complicated question. Yes or no?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: I appreciate the question from the Leader of the Opposition. As he knows and as I’ve said, our government has already undertaken a number of initiatives to make our elections more accountable and transparent. In 2007, we introduced third-party advertising rules for the first time. We introduced real-time disclosure for political donations. I announced last June that we’re committed to making further changes. As I announced yesterday, our government plans on introducing legislation on political donations this spring and moving to ban corporate and union donations.

I think we have to lead by example, and that’s why I’ve made the decision to immediately cancel the upcoming private fundraisers that I attend. I’ve also asked the same of my ministers.

I think it’s important that we get this right. Everyone in this House is part of the current set of rules. We need to get this right. That’s why I’ve invited both party leaders to join me for a meeting within the next few days to discuss these important issues.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Mr. Patrick Brown: Back to the Premier: That wasn’t the question I asked. I’m hoping that this time I can get an answer about how the Premier’s ministers are conducting themselves.

Let me give an example. Seven renewable energy companies donated $255,000 to the Liberal Party over the last few years. All seven of those companies were awarded contracts from the Ministry of Energy just a couple of weeks ago. How can the Liberal Party, how can this government possibly claim that their decisions were impartial and fair when seven of those companies gave over a quarter of a million dollars to the Liberal Party’s coffers? Would all of those contracts have been approved if it wasn’t for a quarter of a million dollars in donations to the Liberal Party? It’s unconscionable.

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Be seated, please. Thank you.

Premier.

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: Deputy Premier.

Hon. Deborah Matthews: You just heard the Premier say that she has determined that she will cancel all private fundraisers going forward. I think if you look at your calendar, on April 19, you will see that there’s a scheduled $10,000-a-plate exclusive dinner. I believe it’s at the Albany Club.

So let me ask the Leader of the Opposition: Is he prepared to follow the Premier’s lead and cancel all future fundraising events? You can take out your eraser and take out that April 19 event right now. Show the leadership.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Final supplementary.

Mr. Patrick Brown: Back to the Premier: I’d appreciate if we don’t deflect questions and I can get an answer to my question about the donations to the Liberal Party that resulted in contracts.

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Very good timing.

Mr. Patrick Brown: We in the opposition are not awarding contracts. It is the government. The crux of the problem is that donors are feeling, the fundraisers are feeling that to have the ear of government, that any group has to donate to the Liberal Party. That is not how you conduct the business of the people of Ontario. That’s not how you award contracts.

Let me give another example of how this line has been completely blurred between the Liberal Party and the government of Ontario. Mr. David Thornton, who happens to be the largest donor of the seven companies and used to be employed by the Ministry of Energy, has donated 194 times, giving over $100,000—

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Thank you.

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Stop the clock. Be seated, please.

Interjections.

Hon. Charles Sousa: Suck and blow.

Mr. John Yakabuski: What kind of language is that, Speaker? What kind of language is that? We’re House representatives.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): I would wish that the member was very anxious to curb himself. Moving to warnings might not do it; there are lots of votes today.

Deputy Premier.

Hon. Deborah Matthews: If the Leader of the Opposition is suggesting that he has never accepted donations from people or organizations who want them to oppose government policy—for example, the ORPP—I think I’d like to hear that coming from the Leader of the Opposition.

Speaker, if he’s not prepared to cancel the April 19 fundraiser at the Albany Club —$10,000 a plate for 10 corporate executive types—I wonder about May 4? I understand there’s another fundraiser on May 4—a bargain at $5,000 per plate—at Barberian’s.

So, Speaker, whether it’s the Albany Club event or the Barberian’s event, I ask the Leader of the Opposition: If you really mean what you say, you will follow the Premier’s lead and cancel your corporate fundraisers coming up.

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Be seated, please. Thank you.

New question.

Fundraising

Ms. Andrea Horwath: My question is for the Premier. Does the Premier believe that it should be one party, the Liberal Party, and one party leader, her, that should be responsible for making the rules that govern how all election campaigns are funded?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: As I said yesterday and have said again this morning, I think that we do need to get this right. I’ve invited both party leaders to join me, to talk with their colleagues to bring advice to us, but we are going to bring forward legislation this spring. We are going to move to ban corporate and union donations. I look forward to the public debate that will ensue when that legislation is introduced. Before that, I look forward to input from the leaders of the opposition parties.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Ms. Andrea Horwath: Ontarians deserve to have faith in the democratic process and in our shared political system. I believe that the Premier putting herself in charge of making the rules that govern political campaigns is just wrong. Using the government’s majority to force through changes on how our democracy is financed will only lead to more public cynicism. That’s why it’s important to take the politics out of this process and put Ontario’s non-partisan Chief Electoral Officer in charge.

Will the Premier do the right thing and ask the Chief Electoral Officer to head up this process?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: I very much respect the advice of the Chief Electoral Officer—the member opposite knows there are recommendations that have come forward, and we’re looking at all of those.

But on the issues we’re discussing today, particularly the banning of corporate and union donations, I think there is pretty widespread agreement that that’s where we should go. That’s why we’re going to introduce legislation this spring. I look forward to input from the opposition leaders, and I expect that the opposition leaders will talk with their colleagues and with other people and bring that advice.

Of course, there will be a very broad public discussion once the legislation is introduced. That’s why we have moved the date of the introduction of the legislation up from the fall to the spring, so that we can have a good opportunity for the committee to talk to people around the province and have an opportunity to hear from people in every corner of the province.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Final supplementary.

Ms. Andrea Horwath: When people believe there is one level of access for wealthy donors and another level of access for ordinary Ontarians, it’s bad for our democracy and it makes people cynical. When people see the same Premier who took advantage of those lax rules now in charge of drafting the new rules, they become even more cynical.

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Will this Premier commit today to creating a process that is not led by her office and Liberal political staffers, and instead is led by Elections Ontario together with academia, civil society, business, labour and all major political parties?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: As I said last June, I believe there need to be changes. That’s why we’re bringing legislation forward. There’s been a broad discussion.

If we look at the federal government, we see that there has been a change there for some years banning corporate and union donations. I think there is a broad consensus that that’s the direction that we need to go.

I am absolutely open to hearing from people across the province. That’s why I want to get the legislation introduced so that we can get that commentary, Mr. Speaker. As the leader of the third party knows, we hear from people all the time. I talk to people all the time across the province. I listen to people and then we make decisions based on that input and based on what we believe is in the best interests of the people of the province. That’s how we will move forward, bringing legislation in the spring.

Fundraising

Ms. Andrea Horwath: My next question is also for the Premier. Yesterday, the Premier said she’s “open to an open process,” but she also said that everybody makes suggestions to her—in fact, she just said that again this morning—then she goes away and sets the rules, and they’re passed by a Liberal majority, no matter what the opposition, civil society, academics, business or labour have to say. That’s not an open process; it’s not democratic. Will this Premier do the right thing and listen to her own advice and make this an open process?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: I believe that we have an open process, Mr. Speaker. I believe that having legislation where there has been input from the opposition leaders, where there has already been a public discussion about this issue, where there seems to be a consensus on some very fundamental aspects, and then a broad discussion—I would say to the leaders of the opposition that they have an opportunity to bring forward, into the public realm—because they can talk with me about it in the meeting but obviously they will want to talk publicly about what it is they would like to see changed, what they would like to see the parameters to be around the new fundraising rules. That is, I think, important for this process—

Interjections.

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: —is that they engage in a real way in this conversation, because there are no absolutes here.

The fundraising rules have been changed from generation to generation. Every party in this House has been in office and has contributed to the design of fundraising rules at one time or another. This is the next iteration. I look forward to their input, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Ms. Andrea Horwath: It wasn’t that long ago that the Premier was promising an open process on the budget, but instead of listening to Ontarians through a pre-budget process, we got a Liberal government public relations exercise. The minister sent the already-written budget to translation before the pre-budget hearings had actually even finished. Now, it’s déjà vu all over again. It’s clear that the Premier didn’t take the budget consultations seriously. I’m concerned that she’s going to do the same on this very issue.

Will this Premier take this process out of her office and put Ontario’s non-partisan Chief Electoral Officer in charge?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: I’ve said what our intention is. We will bring forward legislation in the spring. We will have a broad public discussion. I look forward to the leaders of the opposition parties bringing their commentary forward.

Let’s talk about the budget. Let’s talk about the budget that the leader of the third party has said she will be proud to vote against.

Let’s talk about whom we listen to and the input that we got on something like the free tuition. The Ontario university student association, the Canadian Federation of Students and the college student association all said to us that we need to target the support—

Interjection.

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: —target the student assistance supports for low- and middle-income families. That’s exactly what we have done, Mr. Speaker. That input, we heard over many months, and it found its way into the budget.

I’d like to talk about the environmentalists who have talked to us for years about cap-and-trade, about the system that is going to reduce greenhouse gas emissions—

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Wrap up, please.

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: We have listened to them, and that is part of our budget and part of our strategy going forward. That is what the leader of the third party is proud to vote against.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Final supplementary?

Ms. Andrea Horwath: And I would do it again, Speaker. I would do it again.

Yesterday, the Premier said she was already working on the changes to how campaigns are funded, long before any consultation. What that says to me is that the Premier is planning unilateral changes. Frankly, Ontarians have a right to be concerned that these changes will be more about strengthening the Liberal Party than Ontario’s democracy.

It is not too late for the Premier of this province to do the right thing: to ask the Chief Electoral Officer to head up a truly non-partisan, non-politicized process and ensure Ontarians that this is not, once again, all about her and the Liberal Party. Will this Premier do the right thing and open up this process?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: As I said today, it is very important that we get this right. I announced yesterday that our government plans on bringing the legislation forward—not in the fall, but in the spring—and will move to banning corporate and union donations. I said this morning that I’ve made a decision to immediately cancel upcoming private fundraisers that I have attended in the past, and I’ve asked the same of my ministers.

It is important that we get this right and it is important that all of the voices are heard. There is a high degree of consensus on some of the issues, like the banning of union and corporate donations. But I am very eager to hear from the leaders of the opposition parties on what they are hearing and what they think should be in these changes. So far, I really haven’t heard any substantial recommendations coming from them. I look forward to our meeting. I hope we’ll have a good, constructive conversation.

Autism treatment

Ms. Sylvia Jones: My question is to the Minister of Children and Youth Services. Last week, as soon as the news broke that children with autism over five years old would no longer receive intensive behavioural intervention, I started hearing from families who were devastated by the minister and her broken promise: families like the Sturgeons, whose son Daniel turned five this past November and has been on a waiting list for two years. Now the minister has removed Daniel from the wait-list because he’s five. Just imagine how devastating that is, to be so close to receiving this necessary support and then having it ripped away from you.

Families like the Sturgeons just don’t trust you to do the right thing. Will the minister do the right thing today and reverse her decision to remove children like Daniel from accessing IBI therapy?

Hon. Tracy MacCharles: I think it’s important to note that the $333 million is entirely for new services and programs for children. Let’s not lose sight of that.

Applause.

Hon. Tracy MacCharles: Thank you.

As the Premier mentioned, the program also involves creating 16,000 new spaces for children to receive the therapies they need in the appropriate developmental window. As children over five transition off the IBI wait-list, they will receive more services under the new integrated autism program.

We’re going to work directly with families to work on transition planning to make sure they get the services they need, and there will be new diagnosis pilots as well.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Ms. Sylvia Jones: The minister wants to talk about other issues. I want to talk about the children over five who have been removed from a waiting list. You made great hay talking about how there were going to be no more wait-lists. I don’t think anybody thought “no more wait-lists” would mean “you’re off.”

Another family: The MacIsaacs’ son Dale was diagnosed with autism in June—

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Come to order.

Ms. Sylvia Jones: These are real families. It’s not a laughing matter.

Another family, the MacIsaacs: Their son Dale was diagnosed with autism in June 2013. Dale turned six on April 2. Now there’s no hope for him to receive IBI therapy from the province. Giving $8,000 to the MacIsaacs to find their own solution while this family is currently paying over $16,000 per year for eight hours of therapy—when will the minister provide real support for families with children with autism?

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Be seated, please. Thank you.

Minister?

Hon. Tracy MacCharles: Well, Speaker, I think $330 million is real money; it is real support.

The cost of inaction is too high. We know that prevalence rates are up. The wait-lists are far too high, and if we do nothing, those wait-lists will go from one or two years—

Interjection.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Order.

Hon. Tracy MacCharles: —to five years by 2018. That’s unacceptable to me; that’s unacceptable to this government. We will provide direct support to families wherever they are in this journey to the new program.

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If the member is asking me—that we should make changes, further changes—I think what she’s suggesting is that it prevents children under the age of five from receiving the intervention when they need it most. Clinical experts have advised us about the appropriate developmental window—

Ms. Sylvia Jones: You’re pitting families against each other. I’m not.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The member from Dufferin–Caledon is warned.

You have a wrap-up sentence.

Hon. Tracy MacCharles: It’s also important to note that the one-time funding for—families who have children over the age of five coming off the list will receive enhanced ABA support when that $8,000 expires. There’ll be more support—

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Thank you.

Fundraising

Ms. Catherine Fife: My question is to the Minister of Finance. Can the minister tell Ontarians if major donors to your party get special treatment?

Hon. Charles Sousa: We listened to the people of Ontario on all matters pertaining to the development of policy. They’re the ones that are important in the development of this budget. We also listened to the members of the opposition and the standing committee when they did their review. A lot of that is incorporated into this budget. That’s what we listened to, that’s what’s important and that’s what we’ll continue to do.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary.

Ms. Catherine Fife: In 2015, EllisDon contributed more than $24,000 to the Ontario Liberal Party. In 2015, the Liberal budget—

Interjection.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Deputy House leader, you’re warned.

Finish, please.

Ms. Catherine Fife: In 2015, the Liberals’ Budget Measures Act changed the Labour Relations Act to specifically help one single employer: EllisDon. Nobody else was asking for it, and it didn’t help any other businesses.

Now, the year before, the Premier backed off a previous deal to support a private member’s bill that would have done the exact same thing, which does leave one wondering: Did the money make the difference? I’m sure the minister can see why some people might be skeptical.

Can the minister explain to the people of this province what happened here?

Hon. Charles Sousa: What is happening is that members of the opposition have fundraisers. What is happening is that they receive donations from the very same people. I have a list here of NDP donations, as well as the corporations and the unions that they receive funding from. It is happening, and we are looking at changing that.

We ask the members of the opposition to stop their fundraisers as well, as the Premier is doing right now.

Refugees

Mr. Shafiq Qaadri: Ma question est pour le ministre des Affaires civiques, de l’Immigration et du Commerce international, the Honourable Michael Chan.

To our guests in the upper gallery: Salam alaikum. Marhaba. Ahlan wa Sahlan.

Speaker, I wanted to let the youngest of our visitors know that they no longer have to sleep under their beds here in Canada, as many continue to do in order to avoid being bombed or shelled.

Ontario has welcomed over 14,000 refugees as part of the federal effort to bring 25,000 Syrians to Canada. I am humbled, honoured, grateful and proud of the province of Ontario, under Premier Wynne, as well as Prime Minister Trudeau, for the open and genuine welcome extended to these newest of Canadians. In addition, we’ve provided funding to support Lifeline Syria’s effort to help resettle refugees from the Syrian conflict in the GTA through private sponsorship.

Would the minister describe for this House what Ontario is doing to support refugee resettlement in Ontario?

Hon. Michael Chan: I want to thank the honourable member from Etobicoke North for asking the question. I also want to welcome the newcomers from the Syrian conflict to Ontario and to Canada. They are one of us.

At the same time, I want to thank the great work done by the settlement services agency called COSTI. They have done great work.

Ontario has supported, and continues to support, refugees and other vulnerable people from all over the world. That’s why, last year, we announced $8.5 million to support the travel, arrival, settlement and integration of refugees in Ontario. We also committed $2 million for international aid. Ontario has allocated over $6 million to enhance sponsorship supports and resettlement services in targeted communities.

Speaker, we are proud of the work that we have done so far.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Mr. Shafiq Qaadri: As an MPP and MD, I was disheartened and disturbed when the former Harper government cut health care services for refugees in Canada, who, as you will know, are some of the most vulnerable people on the planet. In fact, it is a matter of public record that the Leader of the Opposition, in an earlier incarnation, voted to cut federal refugee health care.

Health professionals saw the suffering caused by these unilateral cuts, and even the Supreme Court of Canada called the cuts “cruel and unusual.”

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): And your question on government policy is?

Mr. Shafiq Qaadri: Our government reinstated access to these essential health care services for refugee claimants through the Ontario Temporary Health Program. Ontario has always been a place that stands up for people fleeing from war, famine and persecution.

Would the minister please inform this chamber about our government’s health care for refugees and new Canadians here in Ontario?

Hon. Michael Chan: Minister of Health and Long-Term Care.

Hon. Eric Hoskins: I would also like to welcome our guests here today. Ahlan wa Sahlan. Salam alaikum. Marhaba.

Mr. Speaker, I’m proud to announce that as of last Friday, April 1, the federal government fully restored the refugee health program, which was, as we know, drastically cut in 2012.

To date, our province has welcomed over 14,000 Syrian refugees here in Ontario. That’s something that we all should be proud of, and we can share credit for welcoming these individuals.

At the Ministry of Health, we’re working with all our health care providers, with a range of partners, with our community service organizations, to ensure that, together with our federal government, all the proper health supports are provided for our new guests to this country.

Welcome again. I’m so proud to be here with them this morning.

Renewable energy

Mr. John Yakabuski: My question is to the Premier. During the latest round of wind and solar procurements, the Liberals gave contracts to seven major companies. These companies donated more than a quarter of a million dollars over the past few years alone.

This all comes while the Auditor General has said we don’t need to be procuring more energy. We’re already on pace to export 52 million megawatts over the next five years, which is enough to power Nova Scotia until 2020.

Will the Premier admit that these renewable contracts aren’t signed because Ontario needs the power, but that they’re just the Liberal Party’s way of paying back the quarter of a million favours these companies have done for them?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure.

Hon. Brad Duguid: To be frank, I thought the member opposite was better than that. The innuendo in that question, Mr. Speaker, is absolutely inappropriate. When I think about it—I mean, we could send the same thing back to them. We won’t, because we’re going to be above that.

This process has a fairness commissioner involved in it that oversees every one of these contracts. It is completely unfettered when it comes to any kind of politicization of these types of contracts. They’re administered through a process. They’re done through the Independent Electricity System Operator. The member has been a critic for energy. He knows that.

That’s an unfair innuendo, and I think the member should be embarrassed by even making that allegation.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Mr. John Yakabuski: Back to the Premier: I’m not embarrassed, but that answer certainly should embarrass you.

The Premier can deflect from the real reasons these unnecessary contracts are being signed, but we all know she’s just paying it forward. After all, her Minister of Energy—

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Now the member is getting too close to the line. I want to guard him against making a comment that impugns the motive. The member will reword that.

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Mr. John Yakabuski: The Minister of Energy has to meet a $300,000-a-year quota. What better way to meet the quota than to hand out government contracts to his favourite donors? Yet three companies, Enerfin, SWEB Development and Innergex—wind companies who applied for contracts—got none. Coincidentally, they never made a single donation to the Liberal Party.

How can the Premier claim this is an impartial process when the companies that don’t donate get nothing and companies that donate a quarter of a million dollars get signed lucrative contracts—

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Thank you.

Minister?

Hon. Brad Duguid: Mr. Speaker, the only thing that is substantive in his question is smear and innuendo.

The fact is the large renewable procurement process is administered by the Independent Electricity System Operator. It’s completely arm’s-length and completely non-political. The member should know that because he’s a critic, but he can’t help himself. He has to get into innuendo; he has to get into smear, and I think that’s beneath them. I think the member—

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The member from Renfrew–Nipissing–Pembroke is warned. The member from Prince Edward–Hastings is warned.

Finish, please.

Hon. Brad Duguid: Let’s be very clear. All of the contracts that come through this process are public. They’re circulated publicly, and all of the donations he’s referring to are public. This is nothing but empty innuendo. As I said, it’s very much beneath the dignity of that member.

Collective bargaining

Mme France Gélinas: Ma question est pour le ministre du Travail. Does the minister believe that workers should have the right to choose their union freely?

Hon. Kevin Daniel Flynn: In the province of Ontario, we have a history of labour negotiations and a Labour Relations Act that has served this province well. I think the tenet that the member across has just described is one that is shared by all members of this House.

As we’re going through the Changing Workplaces Review with the advisers, we’re taking a look at the Labour Relations Act. We have an open period in construction that serves this province well.

To summarize my answer, I would have to say yes.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary.

Mme France Gélinas: In 2015, the Service Employees International Union, better known as SEIU, contributed more than $30,000 to the Ontario Liberal Party. In previous years, SEIU contributed even more money to the Liberal Party, and in 2015, Bill 109 was introduced and became law. Bill 109 made changes to our labour law that specifically helped SEIU.

Other unions in the sector say that Bill 109 is not fair, and they are hoping to defeat it through a charter test. Some skeptics might be wondering what was going on. Can the minister shed some light on that process?

Hon. Kevin Daniel Flynn: Speaker, that’s a bit of a stretch, to say the least.

What has happened is that when we have a merger of organizations, often there are bargaining unions attached to each of the organizations that merge. What happened is that some members of the labour movement came forward and said, “Is there a better way of doing this? Is there an easier way of doing this that doesn’t cause as much strife and unrest as that transition is taking place for the implementation of a first contract?”

Some members of organized labour were on this side of the bill; other members of organized labour were on that side of the bill. We listened to both. We introduced legislation in this House. We’re still listening to both parties as to ascertaining what number of people should apply in the regulation that follows from this. This is a perfect example of government listening to organizations that bring good ideas before it, having the proper debate in this House and bringing forward strong legislation.

Government services

Mr. Arthur Potts: My question today is for the Minister of Government and Consumer Services—and, Speaker, you’ll be pleased to know it has nothing to do with the $1.6 million that the Leader of the Opposition raised from his corporate friends in his leadership campaign.

The 2016 Ontario budget commits our government to many programs that will make life easier for all Ontarians. I know that ServiceOntario will play an important role in this by making front-line services easier to access, more reliable and more affordable. While many people prefer having one-on-one, person-to-person contact in transactions, it’s essential that our government evolve with technology to provide good online services.

This budget announced that it will enhance customer experiences at ServiceOntario.

Speaker, would the minister please share with this House, my constituents of Beaches–East York and my mother who’s here on her birthday today in the west gallery his plans to improve the delivery of government services for Ontarians?

Hon. David Orazietti: I’ll start by wishing the member from Beaches–East York’s mother a very happy birthday. I also want to thank him for the question. I’m pleased at the progress we’re making through ServiceOntario to continue to modernize services that Ontarians count on.

As the budget emphasized, ServiceOntario is transforming and improving service delivery by increasing access to a wide range of services. In the past four years, customer interactions at retail contact centres have increased by 8.6%, and 4.1% in the last year alone, bringing it to 49 million transactions. This creates a need for us to match the growing demand at our 300 retail centres by increasing online availability. That’s why we’re working to develop an online renewal option for health cards in Ontario. We’re also planning to align how Ontarians change their address for both health cards and driver’s licences.

I’m pleased with the progress we’re making, and I’ll have more to say in the supplementary.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Mr. Arthur Potts: Thank you to the minister. We know he’s doing tremendous hard work in the ministry to improve services. We expect modern service delivery and our government has shown this leadership, so working with customers and stakeholders to provide more services online has been a priority. This allows Ontarians to spend less time in lineups and more time with their loved ones. Businesses also expect that government services will be delivered efficiently and reliably, and they appreciate the convenience of online services provided by ServiceOntario.

I understand, Minister, that these steps are being taken while we are also ensuring that the new services are fiscally responsible and will protect an individual’s private information.

Speaker, would the minister please update the House on the many steps that his ministry has taken to increase access to online services for Ontarians while ensuring their privacy?

Hon. David Orazietti: Again, to the member from Beaches–East York: Thank you for the question.

As the member mentioned, the ServiceOntario commitments that we’ve made as part of the budget were part of an extensive ongoing effort to improve access to convenient, safe and secure online services.

ServiceOntario completes 10.5 million online transactions every year, offering more than 40 services online such as driver’s licence renewals, licence plate sticker renewals, newborn registrations, address changes, vehicle information packages and, of course, birth certificates. Parents can now register their child’s birth and apply for a social insurance number, a certificate and other benefits in a four-in-one package. And in 2013, we became the first province in the country to provide drivers with an online renewal service.

With the rapid expansion of these programs, we’re constantly monitoring security measures as well. With the use of our 24/7 security operations centre, we’re ensuring that the sensitive information of Ontarians is securely protected. I look forward to building on the progress that we’re making.

Fundraising

Mr. Victor Fedeli: Good morning, Speaker. My question is for the Minister of Finance. Yesterday, the minister gave a vague answer to my question about dealings he and his office had with stakeholders when it comes to political donations and access.

Based on the minister’s comments last week and the Premier’s new agenda, I can see why he was squirming. Last week’s Globe and Mail headline stated, “Sousa defends secret ... fundraiser as ‘part of democratic process.’” Now he’s been called out publicly and his tune is suddenly different.

My question is, where in the minister’s mandate letter does it state that part of his job requirement is to raise $500,000 a year for the Liberal Party?

Hon. Charles Sousa: My mandate letter is very, very public and the work I do is very public. In fact, it’s written in a document that expresses the values and the priorities of Ontarians of all stripes, of all ages and of all levels. Be it in corporate, be it in academics, be it in hospitals, be it children, be it unions, or be it professionals, all the people of Ontario are represented in the document. That’s a document that matters. That’s a document that that member is opposing.

He’s opposing supports for more hospitals. He’s opposing more supports for more education. He’s opposing free tuition for the most vulnerable in our society. That is what concerns us. That is our priority. That is what we’re moving forward. That’s what’s in my mandate letter.

1130

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Mr. Victor Fedeli: To the minister: Hopefully I’ll get an actual answer to this question.

Here are his words as quoted by the Globe and the Toronto Star: “It’s not something that I have been concerned about,” and “I don’t worry about fundraising.” Really? No concern about organizing a secret $7,500-a-plate funder last year, in which the banks that profited from the privatization of Hydro One helped him raise about $165,000? Executives representing several financial services firms that were part of the Hydro One syndicate were also there, according to the emails obtained by the Globe and Mail.

Is the minister really going to stand there and insist that cabinet access hasn’t been sold through the Ministry of Finance office?

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Be seated, please. Thank you.

Minister?

Hon. Charles Sousa: The Premier has made it very clear, and I’ve advised my campaign staff, that we are to cancel all private fundraisers, as we believe the member of the opposition should as well. We ask: Are you going to now cancel your April 19 private and exclusive fundraiser at the Albany Club? Cancel that. Are you going to cancel your May 4 exclusive $5,000-per-head fundraiser at Barberian’s? Are you going to do that? We believe you should, and we will as well.

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Be seated, please. Thank you.

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): You won’t know when I’m going to strike.

New question?

Autism treatment

Miss Monique Taylor: My question is to the Premier. Last week, the government announced that it was reducing the wait-list for autism treatment by kicking children five years and older off the list. Families and kids who have been languishing on wait-lists for years because of this government’s inaction and misplaced priorities are now being told that they will never access the service that they have been waiting so long for. In some cases, they are being denied just weeks after being told that they have been finally approved for services. It’s disgraceful. Families came to Queen’s Park to talk about their life on the wait-list, and this government responds by kicking them off that list. It’s absolutely shameful.

Will the Premier admit she is failing families of kids with ASD and immediately grandfather all children currently on the wait-list at the time of their announcement?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: Minister of Children and Youth Services.

Hon. Tracy MacCharles: It’s important to note, by making these changes, we’re actually taking children off the IBI wait-list. We’re giving them immediate support with the $8,000 and transitioning them to an enhanced ABA program. We’re doing that. That will, as I said before, create 16,000 new therapy spaces.

I do want to thank the member for the question. However, it is important to note that in November of just last year, she said study after study shows that early intervention is critical for children with autism. We agree with that. We’re following the evidence. The evidence shows that children receiving the services in the right developmental window is important.

I know the member opposite also asked us to reduce wait-lists and get kids the services they need as soon as possible, so that’s what our investment of a new $333 million will do.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Miss Monique Taylor: This government allowed that list to grow out of control and now they want kids to pay the price for it. More than 8,000 parents have signed an online petition begging this government to reverse its decision. My office has received literally hundreds of emails from families who are completely devastated by the news. I’m going to send over the many letters that I have received to the Premier and the minister.

If the minister thinks that she is doing the right thing, she should respond personally to each family. Parents who were told weeks ago that their kids were ideal candidates all of a sudden are being kicked off the list.

Will the Premier explain to families of kids with ASD why she doesn’t think their kids deserve access to life-changing treatment?

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Be seated, please. Thank you.

Minister?

Hon. Tracy MacCharles: I have been talking with families, and I understand that change and transition can be difficult. But as far as I’m concerned, as the Ontario Minister of Children and Youth Services, the cost of doing nothing is far too high. We’ve been investing heavily—$190,000 a year in autism—but the prevalence rates are higher, Speaker—

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: One hundred and ninety million.

Hon. Tracy MacCharles: —$190 million a year; thank you—and the wait-lists are high, so we need to address that.

Speaker, if the opposition doesn’t want to hear from me about this, let’s hear what the experts say. The executive director for Autism Ontario said, “Families raising children with autism have been waiting a long time for this announcement. Providing early, evidence-based intervention, when it matters most, will set children with autism on the best path forward.”

Let’s hear from the Regional Autism Providers of Ontario. They said, “We are very excited about what this historic investment means for children and youth with autism and their families. More families will receive the right services at the right time.”

And there are others, Speaker.

Agri-food industry

Ms. Ann Hoggarth: My question is to the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

Minister, this side of the House is very proud of agriculture’s contribution to Ontario’s economy, generating over 781,000 jobs and over $35 billion in GDP each and every year.

Ontarians also know that when they buy local food, they help to create jobs and economic growth in communities all across this province. In my riding of Barrie, we benefit from several agri-food businesses that are innovating and attracting a growing clientele.

Could the minister please inform the House on how—

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): I’ve been standing for quite some time because I wanted to get the attention of somebody else on the other side.

I believe the minister has heard the question, but you can have one sentence to wrap up, please.

Ms. Ann Hoggarth: Could the minister please inform the House on how the government recognizes the work that is being carried out by food producers and processors to innovate and compete both locally and globally?

Hon. Jeff Leal: I want to thank the member from Barrie for her question this morning. I do know that, in the Barrie area, she’s a champion of the farmers in that area.

Mr. Speaker, as we all know, Ontario’s agri-food sector is among the most innovative in the world. That’s why, in 2006, we announced the launch of the Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence to help foster innovation in Ontario’s agriculture and food sector.

To date, more than 475 award-winning initiatives have been recognized by our government. These innovative projects are boosting the agri-food sector by adding value to existing products, helping to create jobs, and contributing to economic growth. Award recipients are eligible to receive prizes from $5,000 to $75,000, grants that can go towards further investment in their agri-food businesses.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary.

Ms. Ann Hoggarth: Thank you to the minister for that answer. I’m glad to see that our province is celebrating the agri-food sector’s job creation and economic growth potential.

In 2014, I had the opportunity to hand an award to Barrie Hill Farms, which started a trial to freeze and sell surplus asparagus spears. Businesses and individuals like these are contributing to the Premier’s growth challenge to the agri-food sector to double its growth rate and create 120,000 jobs by the year 2020. I have no doubt that the individuals and businesses in my riding would be interested in applying for these great awards. Can the minister please provide another example of last year’s recipients, and whether Ontarians can apply for the agri-food innovation awards for this year?

Hon. Jeff Leal: I thank the member from Barrie for her supplementary question. I know that, in the weeks to come, she’ll be joining her farmers out in the fields to see how we start the crop-growing season for 2016.

Last year, we handed out about 50 agri-food awards across the province. Last November, the Premier joined me in recognizing the top award winner, the Van Groningen family in Simcoe county, who created their own training program to provide nine students with the skills they needed for the operations of VG Meats, whose products can be purchased at Longo’s and other retail operations across the province of Ontario.

1140

I’m pleased to inform the House that we’re handing out the Premier’s awards again this year, but time is running out. You’ve got to apply before 5 p.m. on Friday, April 15. I encourage all members to reach out to their innovative agri-food businesses in their riding and apply immediately.

Drive Clean

Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: My question is to the finance minister. Speaker, the Liberals were caught four years ago using the Drive Clean program to rake in massive multi-million dollar profits. The Auditor General specifically warned the Liberal government that it could not claim Drive Clean was revenue-neutral while using the program to make money. But that’s exactly what the Liberals did. In fact, the Auditor General reported the government would generate $50 million in profits by the end of the current Drive Clean contract.

My simple question to the minister is this: What was the total surplus the government generated from the Drive Clean program from 2011 to 2016?

Hon. Charles Sousa: I appreciate the question; I know we’ve had this one before. We have moved to have a cost recovery of the program as is necessary. That’s what we admitted to and that will proceed, unlike what the member opposite’s party had introduced initially, which created excess revenues. We’ve curbed that activity and we made it cost-neutral.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Speaker, it’s very disappointing that this finance minister struggles to even answer a simple question he should have the number for. So let’s try again.

The Liberals have generated millions of dollars in profits from the Drive Clean program, which the Auditor General pointed out is an unlawful tax and must be paid back to Ontario drivers. Yet the Liberals have not followed the Auditor General’s recommendation. Instead, they are continuing the Drive Clean program and will likely pay for it using the profits they’ve accumulated.

Again, Speaker, will the minister disclose the total surplus and explain whether the government plans to use the money it overcharged Ontario drivers to pay for Drive Clean for the next two years?

Hon. Charles Sousa: Minister of the Environment, Speaker.

Hon. Glen R. Murray: Mr. Speaker, as the member may know, there are actually going to be no charges for the Drive Clean program because, in the budget, we eliminated it.

Mr. Speaker, only the Conservatives could see the elimination of a fee as somehow costing people something, but their math has never been that good.

Second, it’s interesting. This is a very successful program. I get lobbied by businesses and people in—

Interjections.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Finish, please.

Hon. Glen R. Murray: You know, we get lobbied by many other provinces. Quebec does not have a Drive Clean program, Mr. Speaker. The problem Quebec has is that old cars are dumped into the Quebec market, increasing their carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions.

This program is very well regarded internationally. My ministry gets many requests to help other jurisdictions introduce such a dynamic and effective program.

First responders

Ms. Cheri DiNovo: My question is for the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. Before I ask it, I just want to acknowledge that Shannon Bertrand, the young paramedic who came into my office about PTSD and kicked this whole thing off about eight years ago, has joined us in the House. To all of our first responders here, I just want to say thank you.

While I’m thrilled that there is recognition that first responders in this province experience post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of what they experience on the job, I’m of course disappointed that many groups of front-line workers are still excluded from Bill 163. The original iteration—my bill—talked about all workers.

Can the minister tell me why he didn’t stand up for one group in particular, front-line nurses, to recognize that nurses experience PTSD on the job?

Hon. Eric Hoskins: The Minister of Labour.

Hon. Kevin Daniel Flynn: Thank you to the member for this question.

Speaker, when this idea was first discussed around these halls, the idea was to pass a bill that really only protected firefighters, protected police officers and protected paramedics. It excluded corrections officers; it excluded dispatchers; it excluded First Nations people.

What we did is we went through an exhaustive exercise with these groups. We consulted. We talked to people that were coming to speak to us from the associations, many of whom are represented here today. They told us to move ahead, that this had taken far too long and that it was time to take those steps forward.

In corrections, we’ve included nurses. We’ve looked at our first responders, who are twice as likely to get PTSD as anybody else in this province, and we’ve moved ahead to include them. That’s what the people in the audience have asked us to do: to pass this bill. That’s exactly what I hope we do about five minutes from now.

Visitors

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The Associate Minister of Finance on a point of order.

Hon. Mitzie Hunter: It’s my pleasure to welcome a group from my riding, with their teacher Joseph Wong: the West Hill ESL Centre. Please welcome them.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The member from Beaches–East York on a point of order.

Mr. Arthur Potts: My mother wasn’t in the House when we had introductions earlier. I would like to wish her a happy birthday today. We’re going to go have lunch in the Legislature. Dawn Potts, welcome to Queen’s Park.

Deferred Votes

Supporting Ontario’s First Responders Act (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder), 2016 / Loi de 2016 d’appui aux premiers intervenants de l’Ontario (état de stress post-traumatique)

Deferred vote on the motion for third reading of the following bill:

Bill 163, An Act to amend the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 and the Ministry of Labour Act with respect to posttraumatic stress disorder / Projet de loi 163, Loi modifiant la Loi de 1997 sur la sécurité professionnelle et l’assurance contre les accidents du travail et la Loi sur le ministère du Travail relativement à l’état de stress post-traumatique.

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

The division bells rang from 1146 to 1151.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): All members please take their seats.

On April 5, 2016, Mr. Flynn moved third reading of Bill 163, An Act to amend the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 and the Ministry of Labour Act with respect to posttraumatic stress disorder.

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

Ayes

  • Albanese, Laura
  • Armstrong, Teresa J.
  • Arnott, Ted
  • Bailey, Robert
  • Baker, Yvan
  • Ballard, Chris
  • Barrett, Toby
  • Berardinetti, Lorenzo
  • Bisson, Gilles
  • Bradley, James J.
  • Brown, Patrick
  • Campbell, Sarah
  • Chan, Michael
  • Clark, Steve
  • Coe, Lorne
  • Colle, Mike
  • Coteau, Michael
  • Crack, Grant
  • Damerla, Dipika
  • Del Duca, Steven
  • Delaney, Bob
  • Dhillon, Vic
  • Dickson, Joe
  • DiNovo, Cheri
  • Dong, Han
  • Duguid, Brad
  • Fedeli, Victor
  • Fife, Catherine
  • Flynn, Kevin Daniel
  • Fraser, John
  • French, Jennifer K.
  • Gates, Wayne
  • Gélinas, France
  • Gretzky, Lisa
  • Hardeman, Ernie
  • Harris, Michael
  • Hatfield, Percy
  • Hillier, Randy
  • Hoggarth, Ann
  • Horwath, Andrea
  • Hoskins, Eric
  • Hudak, Tim
  • Hunter, Mitzie
  • Jaczek, Helena
  • Jones, Sylvia
  • Kiwala, Sophie
  • Kwinter, Monte
  • Lalonde, Marie-France
  • Leal, Jeff
  • MacCharles, Tracy
  • MacLaren, Jack
  • Malhi, Harinder
  • Mangat, Amrit
  • Mantha, Michael
  • Martins, Cristina
  • Martow, Gila
  • Matthews, Deborah
  • Mauro, Bill
  • McDonell, Jim
  • McGarry, Kathryn
  • McMahon, Eleanor
  • McMeekin, Ted
  • McNaughton, Monte
  • Meilleur, Madeleine
  • Milczyn, Peter Z.
  • Miller, Paul
  • Moridi, Reza
  • Munro, Julia
  • Murray, Glen R.
  • Naidoo-Harris, Indira
  • Naqvi, Yasir
  • Natyshak, Taras
  • Orazietti, David
  • Pettapiece, Randy
  • Potts, Arthur
  • Qaadri, Shafiq
  • Rinaldi, Lou
  • Sandals, Liz
  • Sattler, Peggy
  • Scott, Laurie
  • Sergio, Mario
  • Singh, Jagmeet
  • Smith, Todd
  • Sousa, Charles
  • Tabuns, Peter
  • Takhar, Harinder S.
  • Taylor, Monique
  • Thompson, Lisa M.
  • Vanthof, John
  • Vernile, Daiene
  • Walker, Bill
  • Wilson, Jim
  • Wong, Soo
  • Wynne, Kathleen O.
  • Yakabuski, John
  • Yurek, Jeff

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

The Clerk of the Assembly (Ms. Deborah Deller): The ayes are 96; the nays are 0.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): I declare the motion carried.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Be it resolved that the bill do now pass and be entitled as in the motion.

Third reading agreed to.

Waste-Free Ontario Act, 2016 / Loi de 2016 favorisant un Ontario sans déchets

Deferred vote on the motion that the question now be put on the motion for second reading of the following bill:

Bill 151, An Act to enact the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act, 2016 and the Waste Diversion Transition Act, 2016 and to repeal the Waste Diversion Act, 2002 / Projet de loi 151, Loi édictant la Loi de 2016 sur la récupération des ressources et l’économie circulaire et la Loi transitoire de 2016 sur le réacheminement des déchets et abrogeant la Loi de 2002 sur le réacheminement des déchets.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): We have a deferred vote on the motion for closure on the motion for second reading of Bill 151. Call in the members. This will be a five-minute bell.

The division bells rang from 1155 to 1156.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): On February 16, 2016, Mr. Murray moved second reading of Bill 151, An Act to enact the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act, 2016 and the Waste Diversion Transition Act, 2016 and to repeal the Waste Diversion Act, 2002.

Mr. Fraser has moved that the question be now put.

All those in favour of Mr. Fraser’s motion, please rise one at a time and be recognized by the Clerk.

Ayes

  • Albanese, Laura
  • Baker, Yvan
  • Ballard, Chris
  • Berardinetti, Lorenzo
  • Bradley, James J.
  • Chan, Michael
  • Colle, Mike
  • Coteau, Michael
  • Crack, Grant
  • Damerla, Dipika
  • Del Duca, Steven
  • Delaney, Bob
  • Dhillon, Vic
  • Dickson, Joe
  • Dong, Han
  • Duguid, Brad
  • Flynn, Kevin Daniel
  • Fraser, John
  • Hoggarth, Ann
  • Hoskins, Eric
  • Hunter, Mitzie
  • Jaczek, Helena
  • Kiwala, Sophie
  • Kwinter, Monte
  • Lalonde, Marie-France
  • Leal, Jeff
  • MacCharles, Tracy
  • Malhi, Harinder
  • Mangat, Amrit
  • Martins, Cristina
  • Matthews, Deborah
  • Mauro, Bill
  • McGarry, Kathryn
  • McMahon, Eleanor
  • McMeekin, Ted
  • Meilleur, Madeleine
  • Milczyn, Peter Z.
  • Moridi, Reza
  • Murray, Glen R.
  • Naidoo-Harris, Indira
  • Naqvi, Yasir
  • Orazietti, David
  • Potts, Arthur
  • Qaadri, Shafiq
  • Rinaldi, Lou
  • Sandals, Liz
  • Sergio, Mario
  • Sousa, Charles
  • Takhar, Harinder S.
  • Vernile, Daiene
  • Wong, Soo
  • Wynne, Kathleen O.

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

Nays

  • Armstrong, Teresa J.
  • Arnott, Ted
  • Bailey, Robert
  • Barrett, Toby
  • Bisson, Gilles
  • Brown, Patrick
  • Campbell, Sarah
  • Clark, Steve
  • Coe, Lorne
  • DiNovo, Cheri
  • Fedeli, Victor
  • Fife, Catherine
  • French, Jennifer K.
  • Gates, Wayne
  • Gélinas, France
  • Gretzky, Lisa
  • Hardeman, Ernie
  • Harris, Michael
  • Hatfield, Percy
  • Hillier, Randy
  • Horwath, Andrea
  • Hudak, Tim
  • Jones, Sylvia
  • MacLaren, Jack
  • Mantha, Michael
  • Martow, Gila
  • McDonell, Jim
  • McNaughton, Monte
  • Miller, Paul
  • Munro, Julia
  • Natyshak, Taras
  • Pettapiece, Randy
  • Sattler, Peggy
  • Scott, Laurie
  • Singh, Jagmeet
  • Smith, Todd
  • Tabuns, Peter
  • Taylor, Monique
  • Thompson, Lisa M.
  • Vanthof, John
  • Walker, Bill
  • Wilson, Jim
  • Yakabuski, John
  • Yurek, Jeff

The Clerk of the Assembly (Ms. Deborah Deller): The ayes are 52; the nays are 44.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): I declare the motion carried.

Mr. Murray has moved second reading of Bill 151, An Act to enact the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act, 2016 and the Waste Diversion Transition Act, 2016 and to repeal the Waste Diversion Act, 2002.

Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? I heard a “no.”

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 five-minute bell.

The division bells rang from 1200 to 1205.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Would all members please take their seats?

Mr. Murray has moved second reading of Bill 151, An Act to enact the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act, 2015 and the Waste Diversion Transition Act, 2015 and to repeal the Waste Diversion Act, 2002.

All those in favour of the motion, please rise and be recognized by the Clerk.

Ayes

  • Albanese, Laura
  • Armstrong, Teresa J.
  • Arnott, Ted
  • Bailey, Robert
  • Baker, Yvan
  • Ballard, Chris
  • Barrett, Toby
  • Berardinetti, Lorenzo
  • Bisson, Gilles
  • Bradley, James J.
  • Brown, Patrick
  • Campbell, Sarah
  • Chan, Michael
  • Clark, Steve
  • Coe, Lorne
  • Colle, Mike
  • Coteau, Michael
  • Crack, Grant
  • Damerla, Dipika
  • Del Duca, Steven
  • Delaney, Bob
  • Dhillon, Vic
  • Dickson, Joe
  • Dong, Han
  • Duguid, Brad
  • Fedeli, Victor
  • Fife, Catherine
  • Flynn, Kevin Daniel
  • Fraser, John
  • French, Jennifer K.
  • Gates, Wayne
  • Gélinas, France
  • Gretzky, Lisa
  • Hardeman, Ernie
  • Harris, Michael
  • Hatfield, Percy
  • Hoggarth, Ann
  • Horwath, Andrea
  • Hoskins, Eric
  • Hudak, Tim
  • Hunter, Mitzie
  • Jaczek, Helena
  • Jones, Sylvia
  • Kiwala, Sophie
  • Kwinter, Monte
  • Lalonde, Marie-France
  • Leal, Jeff
  • MacCharles, Tracy
  • MacLaren, Jack
  • Malhi, Harinder
  • Mangat, Amrit
  • Mantha, Michael
  • Martins, Cristina
  • Martow, Gila
  • Matthews, Deborah
  • Mauro, Bill
  • McDonell, Jim
  • McGarry, Kathryn
  • McMahon, Eleanor
  • McMeekin, Ted
  • McNaughton, Monte
  • Meilleur, Madeleine
  • Milczyn, Peter Z.
  • Miller, Paul
  • Moridi, Reza
  • Munro, Julia
  • Murray, Glen R.
  • Naidoo-Harris, Indira
  • Naqvi, Yasir
  • Natyshak, Taras
  • Orazietti, David
  • Pettapiece, Randy
  • Potts, Arthur
  • Qaadri, Shafiq
  • Rinaldi, Lou
  • Sandals, Liz
  • Sattler, Peggy
  • Scott, Laurie
  • Sergio, Mario
  • Singh, Jagmeet
  • Smith, Todd
  • Sousa, Charles
  • Tabuns, Peter
  • Takhar, Harinder S.
  • Taylor, Monique
  • Thompson, Lisa M.
  • Vanthof, John
  • Vernile, Daiene
  • Walker, Bill
  • Wilson, Jim
  • Wong, Soo
  • Wynne, Kathleen O.
  • Yakabuski, John
  • Yurek, Jeff

The Clerk of the Assembly (Ms. Deborah Deller): The ayes are 94; the nays are 0.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): I declare the motion carried.

Second reading agreed to.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The Minister of the Environment.

Hon. Glen R. Murray: Social policy committee, please.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): So ordered.

There are no deferred votes. This House stands recessed until 3 p.m. this afternoon.

The House recessed from 1209 to 1500.

Members’ Statements

Charlie Guy

Mr. Steve Clark: I rise to celebrate the life of Charlie Guy and the remarkable event he and his family created. Brockville lost one of its most community-minded citizens when Charlie passed away on February 16. Diagnosed with prostate cancer in the 1990s, Charlie won that battle, but it was a close call, so he decided to help other men at risk. With his wonderful wife, Kay, his daughters Cathy and Carol, and their families, he teed up what would become the Care and Share golf tournament.

The first event at their family-owned Brockville Highland Golf Club was held in 1999. Over 12 years, they raised an incredible $600,000 for prostate cancer research. The tournament also saved lives by raising awareness for men over 50 to get a PSA test. In 2011, the tournament’s beneficiary became our beloved Brockville Cardiovascular Program. Over five years, the event raised $310,000 more.

It’s important to note that Charlie never asked for a dime in green fees all those years. Every cent raised went to the charities. After losing their dad, Carol and Cathy recently made the difficult decision that last year was the tournament’s final round. But we all understand that after so many years of giving, it’s time to put family first. Besides, it just wouldn’t be the same without Charlie, Mr. Care and Share himself, there to welcome all of us to the Highland.

On behalf of the entire community, I extend my deepest condolences to Kay, Cathy, Carol and family. You should be so proud to know the legacy you helped Charlie leave is one that won’t be forgotten.

Fire in Pikangikum

Ms. Sarah Campbell: On behalf of the people of Kenora–Rainy River, I would like to extend my deepest sorrow and heartbreak to the community of Pikangikum, who lost a family of nine to a house fire this last week. The impact of this tragedy was felt across the province, where people everywhere reacted with horror and heartache. Vigils were held in communities across the riding, and the community of Sandy Lake in particular rallied together to deliver a truckload of donations to help the people of Pikangikum.

While the cause of the fire is still being investigated, what is already known is that in many First Nations communities, many are left without basic fire suppression equipment such as fire trucks, and they lack enough trained volunteers and have no 911 service. Inadequate housing with severe overcrowding serves to further compound these issues.

In the case of Pikangikum, where 95% of the homes don’t have running water, there is a fire truck but the roads were in such terrible condition that, tragically, the truck did not make it to the fire. Speaker, we cannot sit idly by and watch while these deaths needlessly occur. We can’t blame other levels of government or continue the legacy of stalling and delaying.

When listening to members of the community as well as NAN Grand Chief Fiddler and Ontario Regional Chief Day, we know the work that needs to be done. Ontarians across this province are looking to this government and to this Premier to act boldly to create a safe and fair society for all Ontarians.

Pope John Paul II

Mr. Peter Z. Milczyn: This past Saturday on April 2, and on the 11th anniversary of his passing, Ontarians across the province celebrated the life and legacy of Saint John Paul II.

As a Polish Canadian and someone whose family hails from Wadowice, Poland, the birthplace of Karol Jozef Wojtyla, I’m especially proud that Ontario became the first jurisdiction in Canada to officially proclaim a special holiday to annually honour the legacy of one of the greatest spiritual leaders of our time.

It was particularly special when my colleague MPP Damerla passed a bill in this House before John Paul II’s canonization so that we were able to celebrate both the province’s first Pope John Paul II Day and his becoming a saint.

Saint John Paul II was a universal figure whose lasting legacy is marked by his strong commitment to peace, equality, human rights and multi-faith dialogue and understanding. As a young man, Saint John Paul II lived in a world divided. He dedicated his life and pontificate to piecing it back together. His efforts ranged from the small and humble to the profound and historic. He served as a beacon of hope especially for millions of youth who were encouraged by his message of faith and activism. He visited Ontario and Toronto twice and he was the key instrumental figure in Communism’s downfall.

No other pope of the modern era has had greater spiritual and political impact. This is the legacy Ontario commemorates every April 2.

Ontario Bioscience Innovation Organization

Mr. Bill Walker: I rise today to recognize a non-profit group that has a unique approach to engaging in the development of a health innovation economy for Ontario.

Ontario Bioscience Innovation Organization, also known as OBIO, has struck an MPP Health Science Caucus made up of MPPs from all three parties. We meet on a regular basis to discuss ways to grow our health science economy and to enhance our health technology’s treatments and services, all of which present an excellent opportunity to offset future health care costs and benefit our society overall.

This caucus is a new and unique opportunity to engage the public through MPPs in discussions on innovation and health sciences, which is a $9-trillion global health science economy. Here in Ontario, this sector employs more than 80,000 highly skilled workers. A recent report entitled How Canada Should Be Engaging in a $9-Trillion Economy, released just last month, stated that the best way to enhance our health science industry, to nurture the start-ups to make them viable for investment and to ensure our province takes a leadership position in the global health science economy is to:

(1) Improve time to market by streamlining regulatory processes;

(2) Ensure a clear, transparent and consistent health technology assessment process;

(3) Invest in electronic medical records, patient databases and big data that are accessible to industry;

(4) Accelerate adoption of innovative technologies and simplify the procurement process; and

(5) Build a trust and strengthen relationships between government and industry as a mechanism to build a competitively successful health science industry.

I invite all members to join OBIO’s CEO Gail Garland, along with leading CEOs Arun Menawat of Novadaq, Brian Courtney of Conavi, Cameron Piron of Synaptive, David Young of Actium Research and all the OBIO member companies displaying at tonight’s reception. Join us from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the legislative dining room to learn more about this health care industry and hear about great ways to help our province.

The Bridge

Mr. Paul Miller: I rise today to speak about The Bridge, an important community organization in the Hamilton area. By providing temporary housing and essential rehabilitation support services, The Bridge assists in reintegrating people who have been in prison back to the community. They receive help to build better lives, heal from their past hurts, find housing and jobs, and make important changes in their behaviour.

The Bridge Hamilton is not a halfway house. The program provides discharge planning for those returning from correctional facilities and prisons in the Hamilton area, short-term accommodation for up to six men at a time, a safe atmosphere of support for women and their families who are affected by incarceration, individual help for each ex-offender to develop new goals and action plans, and group support programs.

The Bridge operates under the philosophy of restorative justice, so it wishes to expand its supportive ideas to the victims and their families. Often, men and women who have been released from prison hear about the program’s distinct benefits and make the choice to attend. The Bridge receives funding from the federal government, the city of Hamilton and the provincial government, but it is sustained primarily through charitable donations and fundraising events.

Thank you to the staff and volunteers at The Bridge for their truly valuable work.

Economic symposium / Symposium économique

Mrs. Marie-France Lalonde: On March 31, I was glad to be part of a great event in Orléans : An Economic Symposium: Future Positioning of Business and Industry, which was the first by the Orléans Chamber of Commerce. It was a half-day gathering that brought together a combination of established businesses looking to expand, start-ups, developers and entrepreneurs who just want to get their ideas off the ground. This was in order to help them navigate through the complex dealings of government agencies for funding and support and to learn what would drive their businesses to the next level.

Local businesses were able to network and establish contacts in person with economic development representatives and hear from speakers who covered topics from supports for grants, loans, doing business with the federal government and exporting to foreign markets to intellectual property.

Ce fut une vitrine impressionnante de ce qu’Ottawa-Est a à offrir. J’étais d’ailleurs fière de voir à quel point nos entreprises locales ont le désir de propulser leurs entreprises et leur plan d’affaires vers l’économie de demain.

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Thank you to the Orléans Chamber of Commerce for this initiative, especially the co-chairs of the economic development committee, Deborah O’Connor and Sean Crossan. Special thanks to Orléans MP Andrew Leslie, parliamentary secretary Greg Fergus, city councillors Bob Monette, Stephen Blais and Jody Mitic, and Mayor Jim Watson for being part of this event.

Steve Merker

Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: Today I would like to celebrate the accomplishments of Steve Merker, a cycling enthusiast who has been named one of Canada’s top 14 most influential cyclists.

Steve has been a champion of cycling and active living over the years. He is known to cycle along Huron–Bruce roads en route to Bruce Beach. He first began cycling in preparation for a series of triathlons in the early 1980s. Amazingly enough, Steve continues to commute from his home north of Toronto to just across the street here, approximately 40 kilometres each way.

Steve’s contributions to improving Canadians’ health extend beyond his impressive cycling regime. Nine years ago, Steve helped build the Ride to Conquer Cancer event, which brings together thousands of Canadians to raise funds for cancer research.

To hear more about Steve’s work, check out cyclingmagazine.ca. Steve was inspired to help fund this event by his wife, Cathy Buchanan, who just happens to be my first cousin. It’s safe to say we both get our unbeatable spirit from our moms. It’s important to know that Cathy fought and survived an aggressive form of leukemia in the mid-1990s. Since its inaugural year, the ride has raised over $119 million for the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation.

Steve leads by example and is an inspiration. I sincerely hope everyone will support this month’s Daffodil campaign.

Leon Korbee

Mr. John Fraser: Just before Easter, Leon Korbee, a member of our Queen’s Park family and friend to all, passed away. It came as shocking and sad news to many of us.

You only need to consider the words people used in the conversations in the hallways and offices, in the outpouring of messages online or at the beautiful celebration of his life last week to understand what Leon meant to many of us here, words like: wonderful, genuine, kind, ethical, decent, generous, fun, humble.

There was a certain ease about being with Leon. Always smiling, always positive, he made no distinctions between people. He showed a genuine interest in whoever he was with. Many people have said that he made them feel special, and he had a penchant for nicknames, like Bud and Buddy a lot.

In this place, where it’s really easy to surrender to cynicism and often really hard to build trust, over 20 years as a journalist and as an adviser to two Premiers, Leon understood the importance of generosity in small, everyday kindnesses and used them to lift up those people around him.

We all knew Leon loved golf and hockey and, most importantly, loved his family. He was especially proud of his children, Hannah and Lanny.

To Brenda, Hannah, Lanny, his mother Karin, Hedy and Greg, and all of Leon’s family, Leon’s Queen’s Park family offers our sincerest condolences. Leon’s easy smile and kind heart left a mark here and we’re all the better for it.

Events in Port Hope

Mr. Lou Rinaldi: This past week, I had the pleasure of delivering some great news in the municipality of Port Hope that will continue in the efforts to build Ontario up.

Over the past few years, it’s become more and more apparent that the Barrett Street Bailey bridge has created some safety concerns and emergency access issues, as Port Hope is separated by the Ganaraska River and this is one of the very few crossings, Speaker.

A new, two-lane bridge will alleviate traffic congestion and provide enhanced load capacity to handle today’s transportation needs. Municipal studies indicate that over 1,700 vehicles cross the bridge each day. I’m delighted that the province has recognized the need to invest in infrastructure projects in rural Ontario and contributed almost $1 million for the replacement of the Barrett Street bridge.

Port Hope mayor Bob Sanderson tells me that the one-lane Bailey bridge was installed almost 40 years ago as a temporary solution when the existing bridge was damaged during a flood of the Ganaraska River. He is elated that this bridge is finally being replaced with a long-term solution.

Mr. Speaker, I’d also like to invite all members of the House to come to Port Hope on Saturday, April 16, to watch and/or participate in the annual Float Your Fanny Down the Ganny event. The community event has been ranked in the top 100 festivals in Ontario, and is held every year in recognition of the March 21, 1980, Ganaraska River flood that devastated the Port Hope downtown area. It is a 10-kilometre race in a canoe, kayak or whatever popular or crazy craft, where folks create homemade vessels to float down the river. It’s always a great time. I hope to see you all there.

Reports by Committees

Standing Committee on Government Agencies

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): I beg to inform the House that today the Clerk received the report on intended appointments dated April 5, 2016, of the Standing Committee on Government Agencies. Pursuant to standing order 108(f)(9), the report is deemed to be adopted by the House.

Report deemed adopted.

Standing Committee on Public Accounts

Mr. Ernie Hardeman: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to present a report on the public accounts of the province, chapter 2, 2014 Annual Report of the Auditor General of Ontario, from the Standing Committee on Public Accounts and move the adoption of its recommendations.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Mr. Hardeman presents the committee’s report and moves the adoption of its recommendations.

Does the member wish to make a short statement?

Mr. Ernie Hardeman: Mr. Speaker, as Chair of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, I’m pleased to table the committee’s report today, entitled Public Accounts of the Province (Chapter 2, 2014 Annual Report of the Auditor General of Ontario).

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the permanent membership of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts: Lisa MacLeod, Vice-Chair; Han Dong; John Fraser; Percy Hatfield; Harinder Malhi; Julia Munro; Arthur Potts; and Lou Rinaldi.

The committee extends its appreciation to officials from the Treasury Board Secretariat, the Ministry of Finance, and the Ontario Financing Authority who appeared before the committee on November 4, 2015.

The committee also acknowledges the assistance provided during the hearings and the report-writing deliberations by the Office of the Auditor General, the Clerk of the Committee, and staff in the Legislative Research Service.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I move adjournment of the debate.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Mr. Hardeman moves adjournment of the debate. Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

Debate adjourned.

Introduction of Bills

Bud Monahan Guitar Sales & Service Ltd. Act, 2016

Mrs. Martow moved first reading of the following bill:

Bill Pr41, An Act to revive Bud Monahan Guitar Sales & Service Ltd.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion carry? Carried.

First reading agreed to.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Pursuant to standing order 86, the bill will stand referred to the Standing Committee on Regulations and Private Bills.

Motions

Private members’ public business

Hon. James J. Bradley: Mr. Speaker, I believe we have unanimous consent to put forward a motion without notice regarding private members’ public business.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The deputy House leader is seeking unanimous consent to put forward a motion without notice. Do we agree? Agreed.

Deputy House leader.

Hon. James J. Bradley: I move that, notwithstanding standing order 98(g), notice for ballot items 33 and 34 be waived.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Do we agree? Agreed. Carried.

Motion agreed to.

Appointment of Deputy Speaker

Hon. James J. Bradley: Mr. Speaker, I believe you will find that we have unanimous consent to put forward a motion without notice regarding the appointment of a new Deputy Speaker for the 41st Parliament.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The deputy House leader is seeking unanimous consent to put forward a motion without notice. Do we agree? Agreed.

Deputy House leader.

Hon. James J. Bradley: I move that Ms. Soo Wong, member for the electoral district of Scarborough–Agincourt, be appointed Deputy Speaker and the Chair of the Committee of the Whole House.

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The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The deputy House leader moves that Ms. Soo Wong, member of the electoral district of Scarborough–Agincourt, be appointed Deputy Speaker and the Chair of the Committee of the Whole House. Do we agree? Agreed.

Motion agreed to.

Committee membership

Hon. James J. Bradley: I believe we have unanimous consent to put forward a motion without notice regarding changes to the memberships of eight standing committees.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The deputy House leader is seeking unanimous consent to put forward a motion without notice regarding standing committees. Do we agree? Agreed.

Hon. James J. Bradley: I move that the following changes be made to the membership of the following committees:

That on the Standing Committee on Estimates, Mr. Thibeault replaces Mr. Balkissoon, and Mr. Potts replaces Mr. Ballard;

That on the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs, Mr. Dong replaces Ms. Wong;

That on the Standing Committee on General Government, Ms. Malhi replaces Mr. Dickson, and Mr. Rinaldi replaces Ms. Kiwala;

That on the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, Mr. Milczyn replaces Mr. Dong, and Mr. Ballard replaces Mr. Potts;

That on the Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly, Mr. Dhillon replaces Mr. Balkissoon, and Ms. Kiwala replaces Mr. Ballard;

That on the Standing Committee on Social Policy, Mr. Fraser replaces Mr. Thibeault, and MadameLalonde replaces Mrs. Mangat;

That on the Standing Committee on Regulations and Private Bills, Mr. Dickson replaces Mr. Kwinter, and Mr. Delaney replaces Ms. Vernile; and

That on the Standing Committee on Government Agencies, Mrs. Mangat replaces Mr. Fraser, Mr. Kwinter replaces Mr. Dhillon, Ms. Vernile replaces Ms. Malhi, and Mr. Qaadri replaces Mr. Rinaldi.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The deputy government House leader is moving that the following changes be made to the membership of the following committees—

Interjections: Dispense.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Dispense? Dispense.

All in favour? Carried.

Motion agreed to.

Statements by the Ministry and Responses

World Autism Awareness Day / Journée mondiale de la sensibilisation à l’autisme

Hon. Tracy MacCharles: Last week I had the pleasure of visiting Surrey Place Centre, a renowned organization that works diligently to improve the lives of people with developmental disabilities and autism. They make an important difference in Ontario, and I was there to make an important announcement about autism services in Ontario.

Like Surrey Place, our government is committed to making a difference for young people with autism and their families. We’re investing heavily in autism services for children and youth. We’ve done that by increasing our investments by 120% since 2004.

Mais les temps ont changé depuis que nous avons mis en oeuvre notre premier programme de services en matière d’autisme il y a plus de 10 ans.

But times have changed since we implemented our first autism program over a decade ago. As science progressed and we continued to learn more about autism spectrum disorder, prevalence rates have continued to increase, and so have the wait times for key services. Despite our annual investment of over $190 million a year, families and children are still facing wait times upward of two years. Speaker, that’s beyond two years in some parts of the province.

We’ve listened to parents, service providers and medical and clinical experts, and we know that the current system isn’t meeting the needs of Ontario families. That’s why I’m delighted and proud to stand before this House a very few short days after world autism day to reaffirm our government’s investment of an additional $330 million over the next five years so that children and youth with autism receive support at the right time and the services are better matched to their needs.

To make this happen, we are moving to an expanded and integrated autism program, one that makes it easier for families to access services for their children, and one where children receive services that are more flexible and responsive, based on their individual needs. Families, stakeholders and experts, including the Autism Spectrum Disorder Clinical Expert Committee, have told us that the current autism programs are not serving the right children at the right time and that children with autism and their families need a more responsive and comprehensive continuum of services.

Donc, que signifie notre nouveau Programme ontarien des services en matière d’autisme pour les enfants atteints d’autisme et pour leur famille?

What will our new Ontario Autism Program mean for children with autism and their families? The short answer is “better outcomes”—much better outcomes. Among other benefits, children and families will receive services sooner. Within two years, provincial wait times are projected to drop by more than half, on average. By 2021, the goal is to achieve average wait times of six months or less in the new Ontario Autism Program.

Families will have better service experiences, with one entry point into a new integrated program. More children will be able to access intensive services during the critical developmental window of ages two to four.

Les familles auront de meilleures expériences de service, avec un seul point d’entrée vers un programme intégré.

More children will receive individual services based on their needs, as more than 16,000 new spaces are being created over the next five years.

Importantly, the new Ontario Autism Program will also allow children to transition between interventions at varying levels of intensity as their needs change over time. I think, Speaker, we agree that children generally change over time.

We know that the changes that we are proposing are bold, but they’re grounded in scientific evidence and research. Clinical and research evidence compiled by the expert committee informed their numerous recommendations on how to improve service delivery for children with autism in Ontario. These recommendations in turn informed our work to date on the new Ontario Autism Program. They also reflect the most current evidence, which suggests that providing early intervention during the key developmental years can have an important impact on a child’s developmental outcomes.

Nous allons continuer à demander l’avis du comité d’experts alors que nous mettons nos changements en oeuvre.

We will continue to seek guidance from the expert committee as we move forward with our changes.

We know that these changes will take some time to implement, and we need to get this right. That’s why we’re supporting children and families as we transition to the new program over the next two years. The families of children over the age of five who are currently on the wait-list for IBI services will receive $8,000 in one-time funding to immediately purchase the services best suited to their child’s specific needs. This is more than what is provided in other Canadian jurisdictions. These families will still be eligible for enhanced and more appropriate developmental services for their child.

As we implement the new integrated Ontario Autism Program, service providers will work closely with families to ensure the smoothest transition possible. We’ll also be hosting online sessions, in partnership with Autism Ontario, starting this week for families to learn more about the new Ontario Autism Program. My ministry will establish an advisory group of service providers, parents and other experts to provide strategic advice during the transition to the new program.

We are also mindful that Ontarians with autism need support throughout their lives. That’s why we’ll continue to partner with other government ministries to support and strengthen services for all people with autism, including students when they’re in school and youth transitioning to post-secondary education, employment and community life.

Notre gouvernement sait qu’il n’est pas toujours facile de changer les choses.

Speaker, our government knows that change is not always easy, but we also know that if we’re doing the right and fair thing by all children and youth with autism in Ontario, it is the right thing to do. They and their families deserve nothing less than our absolute best efforts. While our significant investment is another step forward for children and youth with autism and their families, we know that our work is not done. With the ongoing support of our dedicated partners, our government will continue to work hard so that all young people with autism in our province have every opportunity to reach their full potential.

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Je vous remercie. Thank you.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Responses?

Ms. Sylvia Jones: I am pleased to rise today on behalf of my leader, Patrick Brown, and the Progressive Conservative caucus to recognize World Autism Awareness Day. April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day, a day to raise awareness for individuals with autism spectrum disorder, or ASD.

Autism is a life-long neurological disorder that affects the way a person communicates and relates to the people and world around them. It is one of the most common developmental disabilities in Canada, and there are approximately 100,000 Ontarians on the autism spectrum.

I was proud to serve on the Select Committee on Developmental Services. Throughout the course of the committee, we heard that there is a wide variation in the services and supports available to the people with ASD, depending on where they live in the province.

That is why in our final report we recommended that there be a co-ordinated provincial strategy to address ASD through appropriate support services for individuals in all communities and regions, including access to early diagnosis and interventions, professional accreditation for autism service providers and consistent evaluations and benchmarks for implementing the ASD therapeutic interventions.

In 2014-15, there were 16,158 children with autism on the wait-list for IBI and ABA therapy. Only 10,817 children are receiving ABA and IBI therapy from the province. Instead of finding ways to provide the necessary support to the thousands waiting for therapy, this government has decided that children five and older will be ineligible to receive IBI therapy. This is a tragedy, and yet another example of this government breaking faith with families across Ontario.

The government is clearly telling families with children five and older with autism, “You’re on your own.” Many of these families have been waiting for years to receive the necessary help their child deserves. Now, government has completely shut the door on these families.

Families are outraged at the government’s recent decision. Since the announcement last week, my office has been contacted non-stop by families expressing anger, disappointment and betrayal. I want to read an email from a parent who is devastated by the government’s decision:

“George is five years old. His birthday was October 6. He has been on the IBI waiting list for over two years now. He was placed on the IBI waiting list soon after he was diagnosed with moderate to severe autism spectrum disorder in November 2014....

“The new changes are extremely upsetting to myself and my family. This poor child has been on countless waiting lists, only to be shuffled onto other lists for services. Now, after waiting so long, we are told that he will be removed and we are to be given $8,000. That won’t even pay two months of IBI therapy....

“I want all children to have access to this life-saving therapy, but I feel upset and so cheated that it has been ripped away from my child.

“I have attended all the ‘mandatory’ sessions, attended workshops, read books and have paid out of pocket to help my son. I do not regret any of these measures that I have taken. I am a hard-working taxpayer and I only want what my son was ‘supposed’ to receive from the provincial government. This change will devastate my son’s future and countless other children who have been waiting on the list.”

Mr. Speaker, parents are devastated and frustrated by this government’s decision. This goes against the principle of inclusion, which is what World Autism Awareness Day is about. This decision pits families with children under five against children over five. In the spirit of World Autism Awareness Day, I urge this government to reverse this poorly-thought-out plan. Autism doesn’t end at five.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Further responses?

Miss Monique Taylor: I’m honoured to rise in my role as the Ontario NDP critic for children and youth services, and as the MPP for Hamilton Mountain, to speak to World Autism Awareness Day. I have to say that I am also very honoured to wear my pin in the House today.

I wonder if the government is aware of the turmoil and the devastation that they have caused to families of kids with autism spectrum disorder across the province. Last November, I raised the issue of families languishing on wait-lists for essential autism services. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that I would be responding today to a situation where some kids are actually worse off than they were before.

Linda DiMambro and Kara Onofrio came here and shared their stories of their sons languishing on wait-lists for services that they so desperately needed. How did this government respond? By ensuring that Justin and Anthony will now never receive funding for IBI therapy, because they are over the age of five.

They are just two families. I have heard from hundreds and hundreds of families from right across this province, expressing their complete devastation with this government’s decision. I delivered those letters today to the Premier and to the minister. If they think that they are truly doing the right thing, they should personally respond to each family, and explain to families why they don’t think that their kids over five deserve access to life-changing therapy, explain why families who were told just last week that their children were ideal candidates for IBI are now, at the stroke of a pen, not eligible, and explain why they decided to reduce the wait-list by simply kicking kids off the list.

They should listen to parents, to what parents are experiencing while they’re languishing on the lists or having to sell their houses to pay for private therapy, all because the government failed them, failed to appropriately invest in services for children with autism, and failed to ensure that parents have the supports they need best to support their kids with ASD.

They should listen to parents who have seen the extraordinary success of IBI for their children over the age of five—a sentiment that has been backed up by a number of behaviour specialists who work with their kids and have contacted me. They should hear the joy that they experience when their child says their first words at the age of six, or the relief they feel when they no longer have to rely on diapers.

I do not dispute that early intervention is crucial. I have made that point several times in this House. But that doesn’t mean that later intervention is meaningless—far from it. It is very unfortunate that this government is choosing to put that spin on this announcement.

Now they are failing those same kids—who have been stuck on those wait-lists—all over again. Parents are contacting my office, talking about a lost generation of kids with ASD who waited and waited for services, never to get them. This is the government’s legacy and it’s nothing to be proud of.

Liberal members need to ask themselves what they would do if it was their child being kicked off a wait-list because the government needed to make an announcement. They should speak to the devastated families in their communities. I know they are there, because I have heard from them, and they need you to hear them as well. Those parents, who have already given everything that they have, now have to lead this fight once again for their children, for all children with ASD.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. At the very least, the government should ensure that kids who were on the wait-list at the time that the government made this decision are grandfathered in. It’s the least thing that they could do for families. How many parents need to come forward, begging this government to help them?

I ask the minister today to respond to parents and ensure their kids get access to life-changing therapy. Kids with ASD touch our lives in the most significant ways. They teach us a new way to look at the world. Let us make sure that they get the support they need. It’s one decision away.

On autism awareness day, I ask this minister to immediately stop kicking kids off the wait-list and to do the right thing for all of us, because when kids with ASD have the support they need, we all benefit.

On behalf of the NDP caucus, we urge the minister to please stop these changes.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): I thank all members for their statements.

Petitions

Hydro rates

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The member from Wellington–Halton Hills.

Mr. Ted Arnott: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, for recognizing me. I appreciate it.

I have a petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, and it reads as follows:

“Whereas the price of electricity has skyrocketed under the Ontario Liberal government;

“Whereas ever-higher hydro bills are a huge concern for everyone in the province, especially seniors and others on fixed incomes, who can’t afford to pay more;

“Whereas Ontario’s businesses say high electricity costs are making them uncompetitive, and have contributed to the loss of hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs;

“Whereas the recent Auditor General’s report found Ontarians overpaid for electricity by $37 billion over the past eight years and estimates that we will overpay by an additional $133 billion over the next 18 years if nothing changes;

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“Whereas the cancellation of the Oakville and Mississauga gas plants costing $1.1 billion, feed-in tariff (FIT) contracts with wind and solar companies, the sale of surplus energy to neighbouring jurisdictions at a loss, the debt retirement charge, the global adjustment and smart meters that haven’t met their conservation targets have all put upward pressure on hydro bills;

“Whereas the sale of 60% of Hydro One is opposed by a majority of Ontarians and will likely only lead to even higher hydro bills;

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

“To listen to Ontarians, reverse course on the Liberal government’s current hydro policies and take immediate steps to stabilize hydro bills.”

I support this petition and have also affixed my signature to it.

Workplace safety

Mr. Percy Hatfield: “To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas the day of mourning is a day to remember and honour those who have been killed, injured or who suffered illness as a result of work-related incidents and to honour their families. It also serves as a day to protect the living by strengthening our commitment to health and safety in all workplaces in Ontario for the common goal of preventing further deaths and injuries from occurring in the workplace;

“Whereas a workers day of mourning is recognized in more than 100 countries around the world;

“Whereas 1,000 Canadian workers are killed on the job each year and hundreds of thousands more are injured or permanently disabled;

“Whereas it is expected that more than 90% of workplace deaths are preventable and raised awareness of this fact is necessary. Every worker is entitled to a safe work environment, free of preventable accidents, and that we, as a province, are committed to reaching such a goal;

“Whereas our MUSH sector (municipal, universities, schools and hospitals) as leaders in their communities are not doing enough to recognize and raise awareness of the seriousness of workplace injury and death;

“Whereas the flag symbolizes us as a province, and the lowered flag is a powerful symbol of our shared loss and respect, brings focus to the issues and symbolizes we are united on this front as a province at all levels....;

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

“To support the workers of Ontario with swift passage of Bill 180, Workers Day of Mourning Act, 2016, that would require all publicly funded provincial and municipal buildings to lower their Canadian and Ontario flags on April 28 each year.”

I support this. I’ll give it to Amelia to bring up to the front.

Sexual violence and harassment

Ms. Daiene Vernile: This petition is to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

“Whereas one in three women will experience some form of sexual assault in her lifetime. When public education about sexual violence and harassment is not prioritized, myths and attitudes informed by misogyny become prevalent. This promotes rape culture.... Sexual violence and harassment survivors too often feel revictimized by the systems set in place to support them. The voices of survivors, in all their diversity, need to be amplified. Survivors too often face wait times for counselling services as our population grows and operating costs rise for sexual assault support services.

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

“Support the findings and recommendations of the Select Committee on Sexual Violence and Harassment’s final report, highlighting the need for inclusive and open dialogue to address misogyny and rape culture; educate about sexual violence and harassment to promote social change ... and address attrition rates within our justice system, including examining ‘unfounded’ cases, developing enhanced prosecution models and providing free legal advice for survivors.”

I agree with this petition. I will put my name to it and give it to page Khushali.

Health care funding

Mr. John Yakabuski: I have a petition here signed by hundreds of people concerned about health care cuts here in the province of Ontario.

“Petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas Ontario’s growing and aging population is putting an increasing strain on our publicly funded health care system; and

“Whereas since February 2015, the Ontario government has made an almost 7% unilateral cut to physician services expenditures which cover all the care doctors provide to patients; and

“Whereas the decisions Ontario makes today will impact patients’ access to quality care in the years to come and these cuts will threaten access to the quality, patient-focused care Ontarians need and expect;

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

“The Minister of Health and Long-Term Care return to the table with Ontario’s doctors and work together through mediation-arbitration to reach a fair deal that protects the quality, patient-focused care Ontario’s families deserve.”

I support this petition, affix my name to it and send it to the table with page Madeline.

Special-needs students

Mrs. Lisa Gretzky: I have a petition to stop the closure of provincial and demonstration schools.

“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas provincial and demonstration schools in Ontario provide education programs and services for students with special education needs;

“Whereas there are four provincial and three demonstration schools for anglophone deaf, blind, deaf-blind and/or severely learning-disabled students, as well as one school for francophone students who are deaf, deaf-blind and/or have severe learning disabilities;

“Whereas even with early identification and early intervention, local school boards are not equipped to handle the needs of these students, who are our most vulnerable children;

“We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to:

“(a) oppose the closure of provincial and demonstration schools and recognize that these specialized schools are the last hope for many children;

“(b) stop the enrollment freeze at these schools in order for students and their families, who have exhausted all other available resources, to have access to equal education for themselves without added costs, to which they, like all students, are entitled.”

I fully support this, will sign my name to it and send it with page Chandise.

Prompt payment

Mr. Monte McNaughton: I have a petition entitled “Support Prompt Payment Legislation in Ontario,” and it reads as follows:

“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas delayed payments are a harmful practice in Ontario’s construction industry;

“Whereas Ontario’s trade contractors incur significant costs when payments are delayed from general contractors;

“Whereas cash flow risks have forced many contractors out of business and discouraged others from investing in capital or hiring new workers;

“Whereas payment delays have led trade contractors to hiring fewer apprentices, which will lead to fewer qualified tradespeople in the future;

“Whereas prompt payment legislation offers government the opportunity to provide stimulus to the economy without spending a dime;

“We, the undersigned, call on the Ontario Legislature to support Ontario’s construction industry by adopting prompt payment legislation as a means to address the payment delay issues in Ontario.”

I’ve supported this for a number of years. I’m happy to sign my name to this petition.

Ontario Drug Benefit Program

Mr. Wayne Gates: “Petition to Stop the Plan to Increase Seniors’ Drug Costs.

“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas the government of Ontario will require most seniors to pay significantly more for prescription drugs, starting on August 1, 2016, under changes to the Ontario Drug Benefit;

“Whereas most seniors will be required to pay a higher annual deductible of $170 and higher copayments each and every time they fill a prescription at their pharmacy;

“Whereas the average Ontario senior requires at least eight different types of drugs each year to stay healthy and maintain their independence; and

“Whereas many seniors on fixed incomes simply cannot afford to pay more for prescription drugs and should not be forced to skip medications that they can no longer afford and to put their health in jeopardy;

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

“Stop the government’s plans to make ... Ontario seniors pay more for necessary prescription drugs and instead work to expand prescription drug coverage for all Ontarians.”

Hospital funding

Mr. Jim Wilson: “Whereas Stevenson Memorial Hospital is challenged to support the growing needs of the community within its existing space as it was built for a mere 7,000” emergency room “visits and experiences in excess of 33,000 visits annually; and

“Whereas the government-implemented Places to Grow Act forecasts massive population growth in New Tecumseth, which along with the aging population will only intensify the need for the redevelopment of the hospital; and

“Whereas all other hospital emergency facilities are more than 45 minutes away with no public transit available between those communities; and

“Whereas Stevenson Memorial Hospital deserves equitable servicing comparable to other Ontario hospitals;

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

“That the Kathleen Wynne Liberal government immediately provide the necessary funding to Stevenson Memorial Hospital for the redevelopment of their emergency department, operating rooms, diagnostic imaging and laboratory to ensure that they can continue to provide stable and ongoing service to residents in our area.”

I agree with the petition and I will sign it.

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Éducation postsecondaire en français

Mme France Gélinas: I want to thank Mrs. Valérie Dalcourt, qui m’a fait parvenir cette petition.

« Entendu que ... le 10 février le RÉFO, l’AFO et la FESFO ont présenté le rapport du Sommet provincial des États généraux sur le postsecondaire en Ontario français;

« Entendu que le rapport a indiqué un besoin et un désir pour une université de langue française;

« Entendu que le 26 mai ... la députée France Gélinas a présenté un projet de loi pour créer cette université;

« Nous, soussignés, pétitionnons l’Assemblée législative de l’Ontario ... de commencer la création de l’Université de l’Ontario français dès que possible. »

J’appuie cette pétition et je vais demander à Cooper de l’amener aux greffiers.

Special-needs students

Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: “To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas demonstrative schools in Ontario provide incredible necessary support for children with special education needs; and

“Whereas the current review by the government of Ontario of demonstrative schools and other special education programs has placed a freeze on student intake and the hiring of teaching staff;

“Whereas children in need of specialized education and their parents require access to demonstrative schools and other essential support services;

“Whereas the freezing of student intake is unacceptable as it leaves the most vulnerable students behind;

“Whereas the situation could result in the closure of many specialized education programs, depriving children with special needs of their best opportunity to learn;

“We, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario” and the government of Ontario “to immediately reinstate funding streams for demonstrative schools and other specialized education services for the duration of the review and to commit to ensuring every student in need is allowed the chance to receive an education and achieve their potential.”

I totally agree with this petition. I’ll affix my signature and send it to the table with MacFarlane.

Health care funding

Mr. Percy Hatfield: To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas Ontario’s growing and aging population is putting an increasing strain on our publicly funded health care system; and

“Whereas since February 2015, the Ontario government has made an almost 7% unilateral cut to physician services expenditures which cover all the care doctors provide to patients; and

“Whereas the decisions Ontario makes today will impact patients’ access to quality care in the years to come and these cuts will threaten access to the quality, patient-focused care Ontarians need and expect;

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

“The Minister of Health and Long-Term Care return to the table with Ontario’s doctors and work together through mediation-arbitration to reach a fair deal that protects the quality, patient-focused care Ontario’s families deserve.”

I agree with this petition. I will give it to Christina to bring up to the table.

Special-needs students

Mr. John Yakabuski: I have a petition signed by many, many people in my riding of Renfrew–Nipissing–Pembroke.

“To the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

“Whereas demonstration schools in Ontario provide incredible necessary support for children with special education needs;

“Whereas the current review by the government of Ontario of demonstration schools and other special education programs has placed a freeze on student intake and the hiring of teaching staff;

“Whereas children in need of specialized education and their parents require access to demonstration schools and other essential support services;

“Whereas freezing student intake is unacceptable as it leaves the most vulnerable students behind; and

“Whereas the situation could result in the closure of many specialized education programs, depriving children with special needs of their best opportunity to learn;

“Therefore we, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:

“To immediately reinstate funding streams for demonstration schools and other specialized education services for the duration of the review and to commit to ensuring every student in need is allowed the chance to receive an education and achieve their potential.”

I support this petition, affix my name to it and send it to the table with page Jerry.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): That concludes the time we have available this afternoon for petitions.

Orders of the Day

Smoke-Free Ontario Amendment Act, 2016 / Loi de 2016 modifiant la Loi favorisant un Ontario sans fumée

Resuming the debate adjourned on March 23, 2016, on the motion for second reading of the following bill:

Bill 178, An Act to amend the Smoke-Free Ontario Act / Projet de loi 178, Loi modifiant la Loi favorisant un Ontario sans fumée.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Further debate?

Hon. Glen R. Murray: I’ll be sharing my time with the great Minister of Education, who I know is very concerned about this.

Every time we get into smoking in public places—this was a movement that really started in Canada about 15 years ago. The first city to ban smoking in indoor public spaces was the city of Ottawa. The Minister of Energy was the mayor of the city at that time. We were a little competitive—I was the mayor of the city of Winnipeg at that time—as to which city was going to be the first to ban smoking in indoor public places. I am happy to report that Ottawa beat Winnipeg and my friendship with Minister Chiarelli survived that very competitive thing.

I actually kind of freaked my election campaign out. Usually we were very studied and careful about what we said during elections, and we decided the day before the vote that I would announce that we would be doing it immediately in the next term. Of course my campaign manager had a small cardiac arrest, because it meant that the mayoralty election was going to be, amongst other things, a referendum on banning smoking in indoor public places.

The Minister of Energy and I have often talked about that competition that he won and, in a sense, that the citizens of Ottawa and the citizens of Winnipeg won. It was within years, Mr. Speaker: By the time I came back to Ontario in 2004, almost every major city in Canada had eliminated smoking in indoor public spaces.

Now, quickly thereafter, in the decades since, we have eliminated smoking in outdoor public spaces. What it has done, as a former smoker, is that it denormalizes it; it makes it harder to do. It makes it more socially acceptable not to smoke. It normalizes healthy behaviour. Quite frankly, for all of those of us who sit on outdoor public patios or go out for a beer with a friend and sit at a bar or have lunch, it’s really nice not to have smoke around. I think that that changing of the physical environment was probably one of the things that was most consequential in reducing smoking.

Now there’s more complexity. There’s vaping, there are people who smoke medical marijuana and there’s a lot of other products out there right now that come with varying degrees of health risks and other risks. It is great to see that we are continuing that tradition in this province and this Legislature, and continuing to move ahead on reducing smoking.

It’s hard, Mr. Speaker. For most of us in this room, all of us have lost someone to lung cancer or to a cancer in which smoking has been determined to be a causative factor or certainly a risk multiplier for people. My father died at 63. I remember he became a light cigarette smoker as he got older, and he was still trying to do everything. He was self-employed—he had a small family business—and he died not much older than I am today, much too young, when he wasn’t prepared for it. My mother, who is still fortunately alive, after 43 years of marriage lost her husband, and also lost her sense of security and well-being because she wasn’t prepared for the family business. She didn’t have the ability to carry on without him financially. As we are doing work with pensions, she was one of the majority of people who did not have a pension from a small family business.

Mr. Speaker, we know that the cost of smoking, the price to pay, can often be much more severe as people are grieving the loss of someone and then have to put their lives back together. I think one of the things we are trying to do in this government—and I think that is a view shared with both the opposition parties—is that we really do not want other generations in the future to see the kind of loss of loved ones, of spouses, often in their fifties and sixties and sometimes younger, dying of cancer.

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My father died in his sixties. My uncles who were smokers and miners died in their forties and fifties. It’s interesting that my mom has a lot of sisters, none of whom smoked. My aunt in Sudbury is in her late, late nineties, almost 100. My mom—I won’t say her age because she’ll cut me off and take me out of the family will. But it’s interesting that these women who didn’t smoke lived almost to 100, well into their eighties and in most cases nineties.

How do we continue to denormalize this? The most effective tool that we’ve had is to remove it from public places. You don’t make it easy to have a coffee or a beer with a cigarette. You create the social interactions. Most of us who used to smoke—I used to live when I was in university with a can of Guinness for lunch and a cigarette. I was one of those guilt-ridden anglophones in Quebec in the middle of the Quiet Revolution, where we were all feeling guilty at university for 200 years of English colonial imperialism and the suppression of the French language, carrying all of this guilt as very active adolescents there.

I remember the thing that made you cool if you were a young, anglophone kid from the English suburbs hanging out in downtown Montreal was to smoke Gauloises or Gitanes, which are truly the most ghastly cigarettes, and to drink things like Campari just to be cool, which was really one of the most ghastly drinks. I’m sorry; I’m sure there’s a Campari distributor in my constituency who’s going to write me a nasty note now.

It’s interesting to us that smoking, while an addiction, is also a social convention. It has to do with status, popular culture, Hollywood, and what we’ve done.

I’m very pleased that we have this bill. It’s dealing with electronic cigarettes; it’s dealing with a whole range of other things. There is some possibility that marijuana may be legalized in some way, as it has been in many other places, and we want to be ready for that, should our national government decide to take steps to liberalize the laws around marijuana and start to decriminalize it.

It’s good to—

Interjection.

Hon. Glen R. Murray: Oh, I did say that.

Hon. Liz Sandals: Yes, he did.

Hon. Glen R. Murray: Yes, I did. The Minister of Education and I actually go back almost as long as the Minister of Energy and I go back. Anyone whose ministry starts with “E,” whether it’s education, environment or energy, we have to be good friends.

Hon. Liz Sandals: The E-guys.

Hon. Glen R. Murray: Yes, we’re the E-guys, the e-team.

Mr. Speaker, I do have to fill up 10 minutes. If I can be totally frank, this is just a very sensible bill. There is an incredible amount of good things to be said about it, but in the many hours of debate we’ve had before, I cannot be as inspiring or as eloquent as my predecessors. I’m sounding like a bit of a broken record, but we do have to meet our time commitments.

I think this is well supported by industry, by people who represent any kind of reasonable social or commercial interests. It’s a good thing to do—probably less said about it now and more action taken. I haven’t heard from members in this House any objections at this point in time. I do have friends who do vape as part of their process to get that. We’re not banning it. We’re just dealing with it as a social convention in the sense of the civility of public spaces and minimizing the annoyances to the public.

Mr. Speaker, I’ll be very entertained this afternoon since I am running out of things to say about this wonderful bill, and I have to speak for another minute and 26 seconds. For me to actually be at a loss for words is truly an historic event in this House, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. John Yakabuski: No, but it’s a joyous occasion for us, I can tell you.

Hon. Glen R. Murray: It is. My good friend from Nipissing, Renfrew and Pembroke in some order—

Mr. John Yakabuski: And all points in between.

Hon. Glen R. Murray: See, you would understand this. The member would understand this, because my partner is Polish and an operating room nurse with a long career in the Canadian military. I live in a house where you could bounce a dime off the bed and you could do neurosurgery on our kitchen floor.

Interjection.

Hon. Glen R. Murray: Yes, the member from Nickel Belt, who worked in health care, as I did, will understand what it’s like living with an operating room nurse who has a long history in the military. I live in this world that is basically a bug-free, sterile zone and I am so not like that. I’m not the Jack Lemmon character in The Odd Couple; let me put it that way.

Interjection.

Hon. Glen R. Murray: Well, in one way, maybe I am, but we didn’t have an out-loud word for people like me in sitcoms. They were just the very tidy gentlemen who polished their shoes too much, you know?

Interjection.

Hon. Glen R. Murray: Yes, we’ve evolved since then.

Anyway, Mr. Speaker, it has been a great pleasure. As I’ve often said during debates around sex ed and many other things, my friend from Guelph, the MPP from Guelph, the Minister of Education, can make certain things exciting, like discussions about her home city of Guelph, because she can make them passionate and compelling and exciting. When talking about respect for children and responsible sexual behaviour, she can make sex sound incredibly boring.

I will turn it over to my colleague the Minister of Education, who is truly a gifted speaker and a thoughtful leader in this House.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): I’m pleased to recognize the Minister of Education.

Hon. Liz Sandals: Thank you. Actually, it’s interesting, because my colleague the Minister of the Environment mentioned Winnipeg and Ottawa being some of the early adopters when it came to no smoking in places like bars. Interestingly, Guelph wasn’t the first, but it was fairly early in the list of municipalities that banned smoking in workplaces and, in particular, bars and restaurants. That caused quite a bit of controversy in Guelph for a while. I can quite see how your campaign manager might have had a bit of a fit if you first trotted this out as a platform 24 hours before the vote, because it certainly was a hot topic in Guelph long before this act, the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, was passed.

Where I first ran into the whole issue of where you can and can’t smoke was in terms of public health rules and the concern about high school students smoking. Another one of the things that predated this particular act was the banning of smoking anywhere in a school or on school property, which happened, if recollection serves me, somewhere back in the mid-1990s or so. It applied to both the students and the teachers. You can imagine that this caused as much angst for some of the teachers, who had been long-time smokers and allowed to smoke in the staff room, as it did for the students who had less years of becoming addicted to tobacco under their belt.

In the stories that my colleague and I are talking about, they capture the two sides of the Smoke-Free Ontario Act because part of the act is about preventing the use of tobacco by individuals: What can we do to discourage individuals, for their own health, from taking up smoking or what can we do to encourage them to stop smoking? We have a whole lot of rules about where you can sell tobacco, how it is packaged, who can buy it—not kids. That is addressing your own health.

The other part of the Smoke-Free Ontario Act is about preventing second-hand smoke. We have a lot of rules about not being able to smoke in workplaces, not being able to smoke in enclosed public places, and those are really geared at the effect of the smoker on the other people in the workplace, the other people in the entertainment venue, the other people in the bar. We’re trying to prevent illnesses that are caused by second-hand smoke.

Why are we amending the act? One of the things that came up, I think maybe back before Christmas, was this discussion about, how does medical marijuana fit into all of this? The Smoke-Free Ontario Act really talks mainly about tobacco: Where can you purchase tobacco? Where can you smoke tobacco? It’s quite explicit in talking about tobacco. So the whole issue came up back before Christmas, the fact that when smoking was banned in all these public places, it didn’t say, “Smoking is banned”; it said, “Smoking tobacco is banned,” which brought up the issue: Does that mean you can actually go to a bar and smoke medical marijuana? We’re talking about medical marijuana, and it’s legal to smoke/vape medical marijuana.

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Does that mean you can go to the workplace and sit at a desk next to somebody else and smoke medical marijuana? Does it mean you can go to a restaurant and sit at a table next to somebody else and smoke medical marijuana? Does it mean that you can sit in the lobby of your condo and smoke medical marijuana? Does it mean you can go to the theatre and smoke medical marijuana? All of those things would be banned if you were talking about smoking tobacco, but how does it apply to medical marijuana?

What we’re doing in this bill is banning the smoking of medical marijuana in places where the smoking of tobacco would be banned. This is not about, is it legal or illegal to use medical marijuana, or is it helpful to a variety of conditions to smoke medical marijuana? It is about second-hand smoke and second-hand impacts on the health of the other people in these public places that we want to ban the smoking of medical marijuana.

Basically, that’s what this bill says, although if you look at the bill, it doesn’t actually word it quite that way, and there’s a very good reason that it doesn’t. The bill itself actually talks about adding “prescribed products and substances” to what the act says. So it specifies that if you’re smoking or vaping various prescribed products and substances, that would be forbidden, and then we will define in regulation what a “prescribed product or substance” is.

Why would we do it that way? The reason we would do it that way is that it means we can say, by regulation, that medical marijuana is a “prescribed product or substance.” It also makes it quite easy to address another problem that may occur, and has not yet occurred, which is if and when at some point in the future it becomes legal to smoke or vape non-medical marijuana. Then it will be an easy regulatory matter to add non-medical marijuana use to the list of prescribed products or substances you cannot smoke or vape in public.

Just let me flip some pages here, Speaker. If you look at all the places where you will not be able to smoke or vape medical marijuana, just as you are not allowed to smoke or vape tobacco, the prohibited list of places would be enclosed public places, enclosed workplaces, restaurants and bar patios, schools, including the grounds—we mentioned that already—common areas in condominiums, apartment buildings or university and college residences, child care centres—something else I care about that comes under my jurisdiction—and places where private home daycare is provided, also for that same second-hand smoke and not wanting to injure the health of the child; that is also included. Outdoor reserved seating areas of sports arenas or entertainment venues, children’s playgrounds—again, the second-hand smoke issue—publicly owned sporting areas, motor vehicles when children under 16 years of age are present, outdoor grounds of hospitals—again, huge health risks there—and specified office buildings owned by the provincial government. That’s the list of places in which we already ban the smoking of tobacco today under the Smoke-Free Ontario Act.

With this act, we will also ban the smoking of medical marijuana in those same places.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Questions and comments?

Mr. John Yakabuski: It’s a pleasure to speak to the amendments to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act today and to listen to the comments from the Minister of the Environment and the Minister of Education. One was a story and one was kind of telling us about what the bill is actually going to do. We appreciate that.

However, let’s not lose sight of the fact that we’re debating this bill because they—not them specifically but the Associate Minister of Health—messed up when she publicly stated that medical marijuana was going to be a free-for-all and you were going to be able to smoke it anywhere you wanted. So the government was forced into bringing in this legislation to clarify the situation.

I’m hopefully going to get a chance to speak to this bill. I’ll talk about my own experiences with smoking and the effects of smoking, and smoking in the environment in which I lived and worked, and all of that kind of stuff. Just to put a period on the sentence about why we think that we need to take every step we can to restrict access to smoking—because of its long-term, proven, detrimental health effects over generations—we know a whole lot more about it than we did at the time when my father was gone to fight in the Second World War. They were issued tobacco rations because that was part of the expectations from the soldiers: God, they were out there putting their lives on the line every day; the least they could get was some tobacco.

The world has changed a great deal over the years; we all recognize that. Years ago, when we used to go to a dance hall, you would sit there all night long smoking, or be around smoking, and it didn’t bother you. Today, if somebody lights up a cigarette a mile and a half away, I can tell. That’s how conditioned we’ve become to a smoke-free environment. This is something that’s in the right direction. But nevertheless, it’s happening because they messed up.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Questions and comments?

Mrs. Lisa Gretzky: It’s my pleasure to stand and add my comments to Bill 178, the Smoke-Free Ontario Amendment Act, 2016. I just wanted to speak briefly to something the Minister of the Environment said. He was talking about “nasty cigarettes.” In my opinion, as an ex-smoker, they’re all nasty.

I used to smoke, about three decades ago. I know that’s surprising because I’m only 25, but back in high school, I used to smoke. I learned very quickly that if you had cigarettes—because often teenagers don’t have their own money—your friends would come and ask you for cigarettes because they couldn’t buy their own. So I learned very quickly that there were three options to stop people from bumming cigarettes off of you. One of them was to smoke menthol, although there were some who didn’t mind, or I would smoke Player’s filter or Export green, because they were probably the most noxious cigarettes that you could smoke. They were probably the hardest on your throat and your lungs, so nobody wanted to borrow them. My now husband, who was my boyfriend back then, used to chew the tip of the filter so it would go gooey and nobody would ask him for a drag off of his cigarette. I can certainly appreciate the comments about the different kinds of cigarettes that were being produced.

I’d also like to take the 35 seconds I have left to address comments made by the Minister of Education about how this is an amendment to a bill that was put through. I have constituents in my riding who recently opened a compassion lounge. The owner is a medical marijuana user himself. He put a great deal of money into opening this business and now is going to be out a great deal of money because he’s immediately going to have to shut down, not to mention that the staff he has hired will now be out of work. They really dropped the ball when they brought the legislation through the first time. I really think that the cost to those who opened up these compassion lounges should be addressed by the government.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Questions and comments?

Ms. Indira Naidoo-Harris: I’d like to thank my colleagues and the members opposite—the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, the Minister of Education and the members from Renfrew–Nipissing–Pembroke and also Windsor West—for their comments.

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This is a plan for the future benefit of Ontario residents and one that has direct impact on the health and well-being of people of all ages and, in turn, a direct impact on our health care system.

It’s our duty as elected members to protect people. We’re here to protect citizens from the harmful effects of smoking and, it turns out, that doesn’t just mean tobacco anymore; it includes vaporizers and it also includes medical marijuana.

As society and habits change, our rules and regulations need to evolve and improve, and that’s what we’re doing with these proposed changes. We are amending the Smoke-Free Ontario Act to allow for the inclusion of other prescribed products and substances besides tobacco. This will enable our government to move forward with proposed amendments that would prescribe medical marijuana by regulation as a substance that is subject to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act’s no-smoking rules. It’s important to be clear that these changes are specific to enclosed public spaces, enclosed workplaces and other specified areas.

In making these changes, our government will be protecting Ontarians. We will be protecting Ontarians young and old, especially children and youth, from exposure to second-hand tobacco and medical marijuana smoke, and to the potential harmful effects of e-cigarette use.

We know that our young people are vulnerable and we know that this is the right thing to do. Our government believes this is a reasonable approach that establishes precautionary safeguards against second-hand exposure to medical marijuana smoke and vapour by members of the general public. We’re helping to lower the health risks to non-smokers in Ontario. Again, as I said earlier, I think this is the right thing to do.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Questions and comments?

Ms. Lisa MacLeod: It’s a pleasure to be here today in the Ontario Legislature to talk about the Smoke-Free Ontario Amendment Act.

While our caucus obviously does support this piece of legislation, I would be remiss not to point out that this is a result of a government who pushed through a bill without consultation and now has to clean up their own mess.

I think the government has somewhat embarrassed themselves when they announced that medical marijuana could be used anywhere. I think we remember years ago, our former colleague from Burlington, Joyce Savoline, would often bring an issue to this assembly with respect to marijuana being smoked in restaurant establishments while at the same time it was illegal to use tobacco. I think that’s quite important.

That said, I will use my time in talking about how important it is to have a smoke-free Ontario. When my father was a town councillor in a small town called New Glasgow in Nova Scotia, he was actually advanced as being one of the first municipalities in North America to go smoke free. I remember the night that he was to vote for council to support his motion. They actually had to delay it because my uncle died from lung cancer—my dad’s baby brother—at the age of 42. I remember at the time people saying—and I said it in my dad’s eulogy when he died of cancer in 2007—that he stood on principle and he demanded change because he knew, in the early part of 2000, that his community could be a world leader by stopping smoking in public places, particularly in restaurants. I’m very proud of that.

The other person whom I want to acknowledge in my short time is Norm Sterling, who was a former member here for Carleton–Mississippi Mills. He was a tremendous advocate and one of the first to put forward legislation to ban smoking in Ontario. I’m very proud of both of them and their legacies.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): That concludes our time for questions and comments. One of the government members can reply.

Hon. Glen R. Murray: I just wanted to relay to my friend from Windsor West, who made those comments about the hierarchy of nasty cigarettes, that I found Gauloises and Gitanes to be very difficult cigarettes to smoke. The hipster factor when you’re a young anglophone hanging out with all your French separatist friends on the streets of Montreal was kind of an intimidating process.

I have to say that Russian cigarettes were so absolutely awful that I have to thank the Russian tobacco industry for my ability to quit because they were truly nasty. They were beautiful; they had gold tips on them.

One of my buddies when I was in university—we decided we were going to quit after about five or six years of smoking. I know, Mr. Speaker, you’ve never had a cigarette touch your lips. You’re one of the truly good people in this House.

So what we did is, we got a carton of Russian cigarettes—

Ms. Daiene Vernile: A carton?

Hon. Glen R. Murray: A carton, and a bottle of Jack Daniels. We consumed it, Mr. Speaker, at a rate that probably broke all Guinness records. I spent the evening in a small room, talking to a white bowl. Both of us, for three months, were so ill that we both quit smoking because we couldn’t look at a cigarette or anything like that for six months. So there are cigarettes that are actually nasty enough to promote quitting. I do not recommend to Ontarians this particularly aggressive, somewhat Irish approach to engineering a solution to the problem.

I think that, given how draconian some of the solutions are, this kind of bill and these kinds of measures are particularly important because it is much gentler to create the environment that dissuades people from smoking than leaving it up to the inventions of a 20- or 22-year-old who may come up with some rather bizarre and unconventional solutions to get off the stuff.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Further debate?

Ms. Laurie Scott: I’m happy to speak today on—it seems like a smoke-free day in the Ontario Legislature here today—Bill 178, which is actually an amendment to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act. We’ll get into why that is later.

The act proposes to prohibit the smoking of a prescribed product or substance in enclosed workplaces, public places and other areas. It also prohibits the smoking of the prescribed products or substances in a motor vehicle with a person who is less than 16 years old.

I remember I was a parliamentarian when that first came in, and I spoke an hour on that topic alone. I’m going to save everybody. I’m not speaking for an hour just on not smoking in a vehicle with children less than 16 years of age. Our health critic, the member from Elgin–Middlesex–London, had to talk an hour on this specific bill and he did a great lead on this bill.

There was a time in the province of Ontario when smoking was something that was thought of as normal. I think that we’ve all been sharing stories here in the Legislature about smoking on airplanes. At the back of the plane, in my day, I can remember you were still able to smoke, which is incredible to think about it now. Inside bars, restaurants—it was everywhere.

I can even tell the story of when I first started nursing in the 1980s, and nurses were smoking at the nurses’ station on the night shift, which kind of blows my mind at this second. That is the difference that has occurred since the 1980s—and I know the Minister of Education said it was in the 1990s that they were still able to smoke in the schoolyards. So that has obviously changed since the 1990s.

As the member for Renfrew–Nipissing–Pembroke said, we didn’t really notice it. You got used to the cigarette smell and the smoke. Now, you can tell immediately if someone has it on their clothes or you’re within close proximity to a smoking area or someone who just had a smoke.

Even now, we have to think of the impacts of the second-hand smoke. But those cravings and those addictions are all very real. Everyone called it a habit back then, and it is still a habit today. It is an addiction to nicotine and it is hard to kick. We don’t underestimate that. I don’t think we’ll take the recommendation to try and stop by buying Russian cigarettes. It may be recommended over on the opposite side, but he makes a point.

But second-hand smoke and the dangers of it—you had to convince people when we first started talking about second-hand smoke that it actually had an impact. Now everyone accepts that second-hand smoke has very many dangers: not just lung cancer, but emphysema, bronchitis, pulmonary diseases and, of course, the worst is death related to second-hand smoke.

We all know somebody who still smokes. Everyone in the Legislature probably knows someone who still smokes and some who have developed cancer because of it. It is still a real struggle.

There is certainly heavy propaganda from the tobacco industry: creative advertising—that was decades ago, right?—and packaging. Goodness, we mailed it off to our men in the war. When they fought the world wars, we mailed them cigarettes. It was a treat for them to get. It was innocently done, not knowing the dangers of smoking.

So we’ve had this cultural shift that’s occurred, and in 2016, here we are acknowledging the need to have this conversation yet again. As I said, it wasn’t that long ago that I spoke for an hour on stopping smoking in cars with children under 16. We keep evolving every few years, somewhat consistently. We’re tackling the smoking.

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I know people have the right to make decisions for themselves based on their own needs, but when they negatively impact others—this is kind of a roundabout way to say why we’re having the amendment to Bill 178, which is the Smoke-Free Ontario Act. It’s re-examining smoking, limiting exposure to youth and young children, especially when they’re in such an impressionable age bracket.

Now, the government has brought this bill in. I did see that the minister responsible, who brought the bill forward, has been in here this afternoon. We can basically say that the government kind of jumped the gun on the bill that they brought in, which we supported earlier. It wanted to establish a set of regulations, but it didn’t do the broad consultation is what happened here. I’m going to criticize the government here—not a real shock. They poorly executed this from the start. There are a lot of issues of how difficult life has become in Ontario.

I want to say that this government, if they had actually consulted on this, would have gotten the bill right. Basically, when they first talked about medical marijuana, it certainly backfired. While this bill was created to focus on medical marijuana, the government is now waiting for what its federal counterparts will do on the issue of legalization. While this bill should have been included in the original Bill 45, the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, it seems like the government likes to make big announcements without really realizing the complexity and the reality of how it happens on the ground. They included banning tobacco, but of course that didn’t also ban other substances that can be smoked. It’s always good to have a topic about public health and health issues here, but this should have been done from the start. It should have been done correctly.

Whenever there are reports or studies done by industry stakeholders or academic scholars, the terms “public health agenda” and “social determinants of health” are used. Creating a culture of healthy living such as exercise, nutritious and balanced diets—making good habits is a big part of that.

As I said, a year ago this was brought in and banned smoking on outdoor patios. I want to just bring in here the Peterborough county health unit’s tobacco—I was just there visiting the new facilities of the Peterborough County-City Health Unit, which I share with the member from Peterborough. They have been a very aggressive and progressive health unit. Some startling statistics were brought forward by the medical officer of health—I had a nice chat and toured the new facilities—that the provincial rate of smoking is 8% for expectant mothers. In Ontario, 20% of pregnant moms actually smoke here. Higher smoking, of course, we find in lower income and youths. And they actually have located that 130 deaths a year in the Peterborough city-county are attributable to smoking.

The other fact—the good fact—is that among the smokers they were able to survey, 75% actually wanted to quit. I know that the member from Ottawa—Nepean–Carleton, part of Ottawa—is here. The Ottawa Hospital actually has a really unique program that identifies smokers. They get counselling and start on the program before they leave the hospital. So they come into the hospital, they find out they’re smokers and they start giving them options, brochures that they can quit smoking, and then they do follow-up programs afterwards when they’re in the community. It’s a great success story, very cost-effective, and I think that we should be promoting those types of programs that are out there. I’ll leave that with the member from Nepean–Carleton to take back, that it’s been a good program.

Mr. Jim Wilson: RVH in Barrie did it.

Ms. Laurie Scott: RVH in Barrie does it, too? All right, the member from Simcoe–Grey has just said—so that’s great—Royal Victoria Hospital in Barrie does it also.

It’s important to say, “Hey, it’s good to talk about health,” and I get to share some great statistics from my riding. The situation today is that we’ve had to bring another bill and take up all our time debating something that should have been included in the first bill, which is basically that they’ve left out the fact that people could smoke medicinal marijuana in public spaces; they just put tobacco in. That had to be corrected. Again, we go back to the fact that, if they had done their homework and had done the consultation with people who are on the ground—the stakeholders, as we call them here—they would have realized that this was going to be a mistake that was brought forward.

I also have the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit. They worked with restaurants, pubs and bars and their owners and employees for last year’s legislative changes. I like to see those collaborations between government, business and the public to acknowledge issues like smoking. But as I said, we have now had to make this Bill 178 come in.

In Bill 45, the government prohibited the sale of promotional items together with tobacco products and the sale of flavoured tobacco products. A list of places where an inspector is specifically empowered to enter was broadened. Adjustments were made to the penalty and prohibitions provisions. The power to prescribe places for the purpose of the act was also amended to provide for exemptions. Amendments were also made to the Electronic Cigarettes Act, including the prohibition of the sale and supply of e-cigarettes to persons under the age of 19. Restrictions were placed on display and promotion. Packaging changed, and their use is now prohibited in closed workplaces and enclosed public spaces.

There is a bit of a nuance about vapes and e-cigarettes. The focus, of course, is to ensure that youth won’t have access to these products, but it does create undue pressures on the shops. Again, as our health critic from Elgin–Middlesex–London has said, I do hope e-cigarette shops will have the capacity to teach someone how to use the product or fix it, within the regulations, because we just don’t want them to go out on the curb and get their demonstration of how they actually use the e-cigarettes out there.

The reason why I mention these electronic products is because they can help smokers move away from smoking conventional tobacco. Much like a patch, e-cigarette liquid has different doses of nicotine, or none at all, to help people wean off smoking. It has been very helpful to a lot of people who have come up to me. When the bill was first introduced over a year ago, we were having conversations about the e-cigarettes. But it has been very effective in helping them to stop smoking. I think that’s what our goal is.

Businesses should also continue to operate and be viable. People should be able to learn how to use these devices properly. I think that’s also worth re-examining.

It’s up to the government to have a plan to make decisions that are comprehensive and thorough. Input from stakeholders and the public consultation, which we missed with this bill—and so many other bills that are brought forward by the government.

I want to give a shout-out to the member from Cambridge, who brought forward a private member’s bill. It was Bill 41. That was a bill that actually could have been included. We’re making amendments to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act anyway. They could have brought her bill forward. It creates a lung health advisory council that would make recommendations to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. We are both nurses, and I remember speaking to this private member’s bill when she brought it in.

The council would include an employee from the ministry and the Ontario Lung Association. The Ontario Health Quality Council would be responsible for providing an annual report to be tabled in the Legislature with respect to the minister’s performance in undertaking the recommendations of the council. With the consideration of the council reports, the minister would develop and implement a provincial lung health action plan to support research, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of lung diseases. Hey, that sounds good. It should also be heard in committee, actually, and could have been part of this bill.

So Bill 41 and Bill 139 could be part of the conversation about creating smoke-free environments and healthier living. As I discussed earlier, the lack of awareness for years has contributed to why smoking was so pervasive and, in some part, negatively influenced the choices that people were inclined to make.

Bill 139, An Act to amend the Smoke-Free Ontario Act and the Tobacco Tax Act, was introduced by my colleague the member from Prince Edward–Hastings to help fight contraband tobacco and the sale that is directed at our children. His wife is a teacher. She sees the evidence of contraband tobacco in our schoolyards.

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I certainly remember that butt studies were done. Literally, it’s a butt study. They go and pick the cigarette butts off the schoolyards or just out at school locations where they’re smoking. I think some 40% were contraband tobacco, which is frightening because that’s a huge health concern. You don’t know what’s in the contraband tobacco.

It’s an area that has not had enough attention focused on it. Contraband tobacco exists in all our communities, but it’s so prevalently used by our young people in our schools.

These are two components that would make some meaningful changes to our province. The first is the public education program about the health risks associated with the use of tobacco. It includes amendments to prohibit the sale of tobacco in public and private schools. In addition, the fines to those presenting illegal age identification and those convicted of selling tobacco in designated spaces are increased.

I’m glad that businesses—the convenience stores predominantly, small businesses—are vigilant about minors who present fake IDs, a big problem out there. I support the convenience stores association. The corner stores are vigilant with under-age smoking.

Health inspectors are also very diligent, certainly in my area. The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit as well as the Peterborough County-City Health Unit have been very diligent in clamping down on illegal purchases of tobacco.

Unfortunately, when it comes to contraband cigarettes, there aren’t inspectors. At the end of the day, it is a business for the people who are engaged in this illicit practice. Too many of our young kids have easy access—and the butt survey said it all for the schoolyards, when some 40% are contraband tobacco butts.

The bill brought forward by my colleague from Prince Edward–Hastings is a step in the right direction. It’s a hard stance. And these bills could have been part of the conversation. It all is part of creating healthier lifestyles.

Bill 139’s second component is the Tobacco Tax Act. It would be amended to permit the minister to share the proceeds of forfeited property with police forces who participate in the investigation that leads to the said forfeiture. Our municipalities have small budgets. They’re being stretched. They can certainly use this financial support, so that money can go toward responding to emergency situations, enhanced training on mental health, or training and awareness on the signs and symptoms of human trafficking, such as coercion, manipulation and forcible confinement.

Under this bill, enforcement powers will also be expanded to include police, and increases are made to the penalties that apply to offences relating to inter-jurisdictional importers, the manufacturers of tobacco products, the possession of unmarked cigarettes, and the purchase or receipt of marked or unmarked cigarettes for resale.

I know my colleague from Haldimand–Norfolk, a couple of weeks ago, brought forward a private member’s bill about the black market, not only in trade of tobacco but in humans and human trafficking, and in money laundering. It is a massive issue out there, and the province needs to realize the prevalence of it and bring in legislation dealing with it. My colleague from Haldimand–Norfolk has mentioned it numerous times in the Legislature, in numerous bills. He is tenacious. He doesn’t give up. He has tried again. He comes from tobacco country. Our tobacco is in other markets all over the world, and they’re wondering how that happens. That needs to be looked at. A lot of the tobacco farmers didn’t realize they were selling tobacco to an illegal trade.

Tobacco is a serious issue. Some 13,000 Ontarians die every single year because of tobacco. In this day and age, with so much public realization of how harmful it is and the programs that are available, it is still a pretty staggering statistic.

In some areas, up to 50% of the sales are due to contraband. I think that we’ve all seen a huge rise in contraband tobacco in our ridings. That statistic says that one in three cigarettes is basically purchased illegally. Manitoba averages 15%, while Saskatchewan is at 11%. Again, I will comment that my board of health for the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit inspected 440 tobacco vendors in 2015 and laid 100 charges.

I’m happy to have been able to embrace the whole Smoke-Free Ontario Act with some statistics from the ridings and some current provincial issues that need to be addressed. We’re speaking to an amendment to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act because, again, the government actually didn’t fully consult with all the stakeholders and really only addressed smoking tobacco being banned and didn’t address medicinal marijuana.

I appreciated the opportunity to speak for 20 minutes in the Legislature today on this bill.

Mr. John Yakabuski: Great speech.

Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: It was an excellent speech.

Ms. Laurie Scott: Yes, I know you were all deeply engaged.

I’ll leave it to other members of the Legislature to speak for a length of time.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Questions and comments?

Mr. Percy Hatfield: It’s always a pleasure to follow the member from Haliburton–Kawartha Lakes–Brock in the House. She is one of the most knowledgeable members; she always puts a lot of research into what she’s going to say here.

I’ve said before in the House that there is no shame in admitting to a mistake, and that’s what this bill is all about. The government is admitting to a mistake, and they’re going to correct it. There’s no harm in that, except the harm comes into it when people have gone out in good faith—when the bill was first introduced and the minister said, “You’ll be able to vape medical marijuana anytime, anyplace, anywhere”—and spent a lot of money, considerable sums of money, creating these compassion lounges. If this bill passes, that money will never be recovered, unless the government does the right thing, corrects its mistake by getting proof that the money was spent in a legitimate fashion for legitimate reasons and pays back the cost of those renovations to the people who laid out the funds.

We know that the precedent is there. The government made a huge mistake on the gas plants. They spent over a billion dollars correcting that mistake. I doubt that this one is going to cost that kind of money. I would expect it wouldn’t. But let’s be up front, let’s show some compassion to the people who spent their money in good faith and let’s correct the mistake all around, not just in the legislative wording of the bill but to look after those who went out and spent so much money on these compassion lounges and already had the renovations that were made based on the original wording of the bill. I think that’s an important thing.

I hope the government takes this advice forward. I hope that when they commit to this bill and put it through committee and bring it back to the House, there will be language in there for exactly this purpose.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Questions and comments?

Hon. Dipika Damerla: I’m absolutely pleased to rise and add my voice to this bill. I want to thank the MPP for Haliburton–Kawartha Lakes–Brock as well as the MPP for Windsor–Tecumseh for the comments that they made.

I just want to go back to November 25, 2015. This is what the leader of the Conservative Party, Patrick Brown, had to say about the regulations that we brought forward. He said that he didn’t quarrel with the regulations that we had brought forward. He said he wouldn’t make “political hay” of the issue.

He went on to say, “If it’s for medical purposes, it’s for medical purposes. There’s not going to be an overwhelming amount of people in Ontario running out to parks to have their medical marijuana.”

The reason I quote this is not so much about—it’s just to highlight the fact—

Interjection.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): I would ask the member for Renfrew–Nipissing–Pembroke to please come to order. The Associate Minister of Health has the floor.

Hon. Glen R. Murray: Point of order, Mr. Speaker.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Point of order, the Minister of the Environment.

Hon. Glen R. Murray: Yes, point of order: I hope that the member would realize that referring to a woman as being taken to the woodshed or deserving a spanking is a little inappropriate in 2016.

Mr. John Yakabuski: No, I said the Premier gave her a spanking.

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The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): It’s not a point of order.

The Associate Minister of Health has the floor, and I’ll give her some extra time.

Hon. Dipika Damerla: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I guess I touched a nerve on the other side.

The reason I brought that up is very simple: To highlight the fact that it’s a complex issue; that’s all. I look forward to working with all of the people in this Legislature because this is a complicated issue. We look forward to working and getting it right—

Interjection.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): The member for Renfrew–Nipissing–Pembroke must come for order.

Associate Minister of Health, I will allow you to conclude your statement.

Hon. Dipika Damerla: Mr. Speaker, I really don’t have much to add other than to say that instead of pointing fingers at each other, let’s just recognize that it’s a complex issue and let’s work together to get this right in the best interests of all Ontarians. That’s what we are focused on.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Questions and comments?

Ms. Lisa M. Thompson: I commend my colleague and seatmate for the important messaging that she shared over the last 20 minutes because we have to recognize this bill for what it is. It’s an effort to clean up a wrong step. It’s an effort to clean up yet another mistake this Liberal government has made and cast upon Ontarians.

There’s a disturbing trend in terms of some of the mistakes. There was the land transfer tax that they stepped back from just today. We saw in the headlines that the Ontario government is revisiting the increased cost of doing business for seniors with regard to prescription drugs. I want to encourage the government to not stop correcting their mistakes. Don’t stop there, folks. Let’s think about the Green Energy Act, and the list could go on and on.

But getting back particularly to Bill 178, An Act to amend the Smoke-Free Ontario Act: Because they made a mistake, I might add, we have to recognize that this government needs to go further. You know, it’s one thing to address vaping in public, but it’s another thing to be addressing a real root of the problem here in Ontario with regard to smoking, and that’s contraband.

I was taken aback over the last couple of weeks when they blatantly disregarded the member from Haldimand–Norfolk’s efforts to try to bring an end to contraband when we heard from the member here today that 50% of butt studies showed that contraband tobacco is prevalent here in Ontario. If this government was truly dedicated to moving forward in the right direction, they would listen sincerely to what we, in opposition, are saying and take some proper action towards contraband.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): The member for Windsor West.

Mrs. Lisa Gretzky: It’s a pleasure to rise once again to do two minutes on Bill 178, the Smoke-Free Ontario Amendment Act.

I’d like to thank the member from Haliburton–Kawartha Lakes–Brock because I learned something today. I have never heard of butt studies. If I’m going to be honest, I thought you were going in a totally different direction with that, so I’m glad that you clarified.

But I think it is important to know how many contraband cigarettes are out there and the potential danger of smoking contraband cigarettes because they are not regulated, and also the cost, the money lost to legitimate businesses that have gone through the proper channels in order to be able to sell tobacco and fall under rules where they can’t be on display for kids. I think it’s important to highlight that, and I appreciate the education today. They say it’s important to learn something every day, and I did.

The member from Windsor–Tecumseh once again brought up the concern that when the original bill was brought forward, the government side was saying that people would still be able to use their medicinal marijuana in public places. So we found people who wanted to be able to do it in a social setting. They’re being responsible. They’re not going to go into a regular restaurant and expose other people to it. They’ve opened up compassion lounges and spent a lot of money. Now they’re going to be out a lot of money, not to mention the employees they now have to fire.

The other concern that’s out there is that there’s no real clarity as to where people who have medicinal marijuana licences and prescriptions can actually smoke or vape their medication. Some think they’re not allowed to do it in their own home if they live in an apartment, a townhome or some sort of communal dwelling. I think the government needs to clarify the stance on that and let these people know where they can take their medicine, because it is medicine and it is important.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): That finishes our questions and comments.

The member for Haliburton–Kawartha Lakes–Brock.

Ms. Laurie Scott: I want to thank the members from Windsor–Tecumseh and Windsor West—it’s a Windsor day over here in the third party caucus. I also learned about compassionate lounges, which I didn’t know about before today, so education back at you. It was interesting to hear the comments and the investment that people have made in compassion lounges.

To the Associate Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, look, we’re here correcting something that was missed in the bill. But, really, the government has brought forward the bill. The government, again, should have done the consultation and got it right the first time. You should do things correctly, so you don’t have to go back and undo mistakes. My colleague from Huron–Bruce pointed that out, for sure.

As I said, I had certainly entertained the time speaking about public health. The fact is that we have brought up contraband tobacco, which I have brought up in this Legislature for, my gosh, almost a decade. We’re still fighting contraband tobacco, and it’s only increasing. We’re talking, in general, about the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, and that’s good for health care. The problem is that when you have so much illegal, contraband tobacco being consumed out there and you don’t know what is in that tobacco, do you think the health effects, going down the road, are going to be light? They are not. They’re going to be even more severe. Smoking tobacco is bad enough, but things that are mixed within tobacco, which are chemicals that we don’t even know, are not going to have a positive effect. Let me tell you, it’s a lot of young people who are smoking this contraband tobacco.

The loss of revenue for businesses was brought up. Absolutely, businesses have been crying for contraband tobacco to be dealt with. But it’s the health effects. If this government wants to do good public health policy, they should be tackling contraband tobacco next.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Further debate?

Mme France Gélinas: It is my turn to do what we call my lead, which means that I will have an hour to talk about Bill 178, An Act to amend the Smoke-Free Ontario Act.

Let’s be clear, Speaker. When the bill came out, I asked for a briefing. This is something that happens in this House. When a new bill comes out, I read it. I’m not a lawyer, so I read it with my eyes and my understanding of what I have. But then you had people who have worked on the bill—lawyers who have worked on the bill, people within the Ministry of Health—offer a briefing. So I said, “Sure, absolutely. I think I understand it, but I would like to have a briefing.”

The briefing took place in my office. From the beginning, when you introduce one another, to the time they left was all of seven minutes.

Why is it that the briefing was so short? It’s because all that this bill does is add four words to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, and those four words are “prescribed products and substances.” So we’re going through first reading, second reading, committee, third reading and royal assent to put four words into the Smoke-Free Ontario Act.

But you know, Speaker, we spent half a year, which ended on May 28, 2015, making changes to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act. It hasn’t even been a year—it’s been nine months, to be exact—since we spent half a year making changes to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act. Now we have to do this all over again because the Liberals forgot to add four words to the bill.

Speaker, I spent a lot of time in health promotion, and I support any health promotion effort that comes from any side of the House. I think this is the way of the future. I come from the party of medicare. Tommy Douglas made it clear when he said that medicare should not just be patching people when they get sick; the second stage of medicare is to keep people well. How do you do this? You do this with strong health promotion bills. How do you have strong health promotion bills? You do this by listening to what people have to say. You do this by making sure that you consult when you have a bill in front of you.

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We had this bill—it was called Bill 45—that opened the Smoke-Free Ontario Act. It was debated. It was rather controversial. Quite a few people came. I got thousands of emails regarding e-cigarettes, and so did the minister. But the Liberals always know best. The Liberals always—even if they do consult and even if they do pretend to listen, they don’t hear us. They don’t hear anybody’s but their own ideas, and they’re very good at talking to themselves but really poor at listening to anybody else.

We wouldn’t have to do this. Adding four words is not the end of the world, Speaker, you will say. They’ve made a mistake; they are correcting this. I’m all for correcting the mistakes, except that the consequences of their mistake are not going to be on them. The consequences of their mistake are going to be on those thousands of people who followed Bill 45, who brought forward, I would say, over 100—I’m going by memory—127 amendments to that bill and who saw them defeated one after the other and who looked at their business and said, “Well, for my business to still be viable, I’m going to have to do a lot of changes.” So there were lots of new businesses who were selling e-cigarettes or vaporizers; there were lots of new businesses setting up. We are talking about comfort lounges that were being set up.

They followed the bill. It was kind of a nice thing, Speaker, because it was people that don’t usually follow what’s going on up at Queen’s Park, people that don’t usually care about politics and about what we do here. They were actually following and understanding what it means to be at second reading. A ton of people asked to come as deputants—people that had never set foot at Queen’s Park before. People came and gave their thoughts as to how we could make Bill 45 better. Most of it had to do with two sections of the bill, one dealing with flavoured tobacco and the other one dealing with the regulation of e-cigarettes.

But the Liberals never listened. It’s as if they are the only ones in Ontario that don’t know that people smoke marijuana. It’s as if it came as a surprise, and now we have to do all of this. Really, Speaker? Except for the Liberals sitting in front of us, do you figure you could find one Ontarian who does not know that there are Ontarians that smoke marijuana, that there are 20,000 of them that do this with a medical licence and there are hundreds of thousands of them that do this recreationally? Apparently the Liberals didn’t know this. How can you not know this? What planet do you live on?

This is a capital waste of resources. But who pays for that, Speaker? Small businesses: people who have put their hard-earned money into starting a new business. They put in time, effort and energy to make it successful. We all know that starting a small business is tough. The first few months, the first few years, are really tough. You have to invest a whole lot up front before you get any money back. Those people did everything right. They waited till Bill 45 had been debated. They brought their ideas forward, saw them all voted down by the Liberals, one after the other after the other, and then went back to the drawing board and said, “Well, for my business to be successful, I’m going to have to do some major changes. I’m going to have to do some mega investment. I’m going to have to roll up my sleeves and put in a ton of work.” And they did that. They did that, and they tried to make their business thrive, and I would tell you that quite a few of them did.

Nine months later, the rules change again. Why? Because the Liberals did not listen in the first place, because the Liberals said that they had consulted and they had listened, but they hadn’t heard anything, and because they refused to admit that there are good ideas outside of the Liberal Party. This is shameful. This is shameful.

There are good ideas on all sides of this House. There are good ideas in all 107 of us and in all of the people we represent. Let’s take the time to listen to one another. We will do a whole lot better and we won’t have to come back nine months after we’ve debated an issue and made changes to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, and then make changes again.

Every time we make changes, somebody pays. It’s not the government, it’s not the Liberal Party, but it is the people of Ontario. The people of Ontario expect that if their government is going to spend seven months working on Bill 45—and way longer than this, because remember, Speaker, in 2008 I had started with banning flavoured cigarillos. I’d been elected in the general election of 2007. My very first private member’s bill was to ban flavoured cigarillos.

Interjection: Hear, hear.

Mme France Gélinas: Yes. I was quite proud of myself. My very first bill made it to third reading; it became law. But all for naught, because the ink was not even dry on that bill I was so proud of when the tobacco industry had already found a loophole. So right after I did my celebration, I took a deep breath and said, “Okay, we have to try again.” I reintroduced bills—bill after bill after bill—to ban flavoured tobacco.

The work leading to Bill 45 really lasted seven years. In that seven years, a lot was said—a lot was said—that it was not only tobacco that needed to be regulated. But the Liberals never listened. They went at it with their view that they are Liberals, therefore they know better—but they did not. They did not. By refusing to listen, you are hurting the people of Ontario. You are hurting small businesses that don’t deserve to be treated that way.

If they had listened, they would see that it is not only marijuana that needs to be regulated, but I will tell you that—maybe you won’t listen to me and you won’t listen to the PCs, but maybe you could listen to the Toronto Board of Health. I’m really proud to say that as of last Friday, as of April 1, the Toronto Board of Health is the first health unit in Ontario to regulate water pipes. Whether you smoke shisha or hookah pipes, the board of health has banned indoor smoking of water pipes within the greater Toronto area.

Are we going to have to come back, Speaker, and say, “Oh, yes, the first time we forgot marijuana and the second time we forgot that there are other substances that people smoke”? Right now, in Toronto, as of April 1, people are not allowed to smoke shisha and they’re not allowed to smoke water pipes within the greater Toronto area. But people smoke outside of Toronto. People smoke in Sudbury and Nickel Belt, and I’m sure that they smoke in Essex and they smoke in London and in Ottawa, and everywhere else. They’re mainly young people.

You look at this and the products always have this great big sign that says that this is herbal and it says that it’s organic, and it leads you to believe if it’s herbal and organic it must be good to smoke this stuff. This entire industry is not regulated either, so what really is in this pouch of organic and natural? We have no idea what’s in there, except that the cancer society wanted to know what was in there. The cancer society did do tests on those cute little pouches of shisha that look like they are natural and organic, like there could be miracles sitting in those. No, sir. In lots of them there was nicotine, so that they could get you addicted to tobacco. In lots of them there were added products, to keep the products fresh, which are known carcinogens. Those are no good. The Toronto Board of Health recognized that and passed a bylaw. Now the regions of Peel and Niagara are looking at doing the exact same thing.

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Then again, I come back to here, Speaker. Why is it that we are presently opening the Smoke-Free Ontario Act for the second time in nine months and there is nothing in there about water pipes, there is nothing in there about shisha, there is nothing in there about hookah pipes? We know this is a public health issue that is serious enough that the Toronto Board of Health passed its bylaws that are now in force, since April 1—and we have many others. Why is it that we would let 36 medical officers of health and their teams struggle through passing bylaws when we have the bill open right here, right now? For the second time in nine months, we have this bill open in front of us—but, no, they look at it one little step at a time. They don’t listen to what people have to say to them.

To me, keeping people healthy is a prime responsibility of the provincial government. Health is a provincial responsibility. Why don’t we have a government that takes that responsibility seriously and says that if we are going to open up a bill, we’re not going to keep opening it up every nine months because things have changed? Things have not changed. Nine months ago people were smoking marijuana, and I can tell you that nine months from now there are still going to be smokers. Nine months ago there were people smoking water pipes indoors in lots of public places in Ontario, and if we don’t change this, nine months from now it’s not going to be any different.

Why don’t they listen, Speaker? Why don’t they talk to people? Why is it that they hold consultations but they’ve already had their minds made up? The latest example of this was when they tabled their budget. They had their budget written and sent to translation before they came up north to listen to what the people of the north had to say. The people of the north who went to Thunder Bay had to travel some great distances. If you go from Kenora, Rainy River or Dryden—those people had to prepare and miss a day or sometimes a day and a half of work to come and talk to their government about what they wanted to see in their budget. The government pretended to have a consultation to hear what they had to say, but the budget was already written. It was already sent to translation. This is how Liberals listen, and this is pretty sad.

We’re seeing this pattern over and over by the Liberals, who refuse to listen, who refuse to take ideas from outside of their own party, who like to talk among themselves but refuse to listen to Ontarians.

We had many, many months when we were debating Bill 45. Of course, they called a closure motion on Bill 45, because not only do they not want to hear from Ontarians; they don’t want to hear from politicians either. They had heard enough of us. They know better. They wanted this bill to move forward in a hurry.

Where are we now? Nine months later, we’re in exactly the same place we were on May 28, when they passed third reading of this bill. We are back opening up the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, having to make changes. I expect better, Speaker. I expect way better than this.

My colleague from Windsor West gave us examples in her riding, but there are examples everywhere throughout our province of small businesses that will be put out of business by what we’re doing now. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not encouraging smoking, but I want the rules in my province to be clear enough so that businesses know that those are the rules, and that if you follow them, you will be able to have a good business. But when we keep changing the rules, that’s not a good business climate at all.

So we have this bill, An Act to amend the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, which was opened up last year at this time and received third reading through Bill 45, on May 28 last year. We now have those four words that need to be added to this bill, those four words being “prescribed products and substances.” The government has made it clear that what they mean by prescribed products and substances is marijuana. If they could have put that in the last time, it would have saved a lot of people a lot of grief, but they had not.

If people are interested, there’s already consultations going on, and those consultations will go on until April 24. To find out how to do a consultation, you better be good on the computer and go on the Ministry of Health website with a lot of time on your hands because they’re not easy to find. If you’re interested in commenting, there is an opportunity. If you don’t find it, please feel free to contact us and we’ll help you. In the consultations, they made it really clear that the aim of this change in the bill is to regulate marijuana.

What are we going to do? Well, we’re going to do a mega change from what they had first said. First, our Premier had said that given that marijuana smokers right now, the legal ones, medical marijuana—in November, our Premier had said that people smoking medical marijuana should be allowed to smoke in any public location. They then changed their mind and realized that this might not have been such a good idea and decided to bring this bill forward. Since then, there has been a lot of confusion out there. That is not helpful either.

What we have now is, we have a very polarized discussion. It’s hard to move things forward when you have let them go to the point where the conversation is very, very polarized for people for and against smoking medical marijuana in public, as well as people who have invested following the new set of rules who suddenly find themselves with their investment going up in smoke, if you’ll pardon the pun on that one, Speaker.

But at the heart of it is really, what will that mean? Well, it will mean that once the bill is passed, there will be regulations that say that marijuana will not be allowed to be smoked, even for medical reasons, in any enclosed public space, in any school, in any common areas of apartment buildings, condominiums, universities or college residences. It’s important here to realize that it’s “common area,” so in your own apartment you will be allowed to continue to use medical marijuana, but in the common area you won’t be allowed—very much like tobacco, identical. You won’t be allowed, either, in child care centres, in sports arenas or entertainment venues, in restaurants, bars, as well as patios of restaurants and bars, at playgrounds, in an enclosed workspace, in a vehicle with a person under the age of 16 and within nine metres of any entrance of a hospital or long-term-care home.

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There are specific exemptions for testing, and there are a whole bunch of fines for people who break the law. It’s $250 if you smoke medical marijuana in a car with a passenger under 16 years of age. There is a $1,000 fee on first conviction and $5,000 fee on subsequent convictions if you smoke marijuana in one of those prohibited places that I have listed.

Your employer will have to ensure compliance by posting signs and making sure that nobody smokes medical marijuana within the workplace. There are stiff penalties for them. Corporations can be fined up to $100,000, with up to $300,000 for subsequent fines. Basically, everything that applies to tobacco will now apply to medical marijuana.

We could have done a whole lot better, Speaker, had we dealt with this sooner. But this is very typical of how health promotion is handled in this province. We used to have a Ministry of Health Promotion. I was so proud when Ontario was the first province to have a ministry dedicated to health promotion. Then in 2011, this ministry disappeared, and if you look back at how it served—not so well. It was never taken very seriously.

Right now, if you look at the efforts that many partners do to bring down the rate of smoking—I will read you a letter that I got from Claire Gignac. Claire is a nurse at Health Sciences North. This is the hospital in Sudbury. It goes on:

“Madame Gélinas,

“As Health Sciences North’s tobacco treatment specialist-master, I would like to inform you that my position at Health Sciences North ... is one of the nursing positions that have been cut due to budget restraints. The good work that I have done at HSN in regard to helping all inpatients manage their nicotine addiction and managing their withdrawals will no longer be available at Health Sciences North in the next several weeks.” Many hospitals have gone down this path of helping everybody. This won’t be available anymore.

“At HSN, all admitted patients are asked if they are current or recent smokers and, if so, they are offered nicotine replacement therapy upon admission. As of November 17 of last year, Health Sciences North started with a hospital-wide nicotine replacement therapy medical directive which meant that all the nursing staff had the ability to offer patch, gum, lozenges and inhalers to identified smokers.” In order to make that happen, it was her responsibility—Mrs. Claire Gignac—to ensure that all nursing staff had the right tools to do the right job. Here are some of the tools—some of the care—that she was providing:

“(1) Free nicotine replacement therapy to all admitted patients—free medication should continue, but no counselling available for patients or assistance for nursing staff when complications arise.

“(2) Free self-learning packages to all nursing staff.” It was her job, Speaker, to make sure that there were updates to “maintain the self-learning packages for nursing staff and as a medical directive, this needs to be done every two years.” There is now nobody at Health Sciences North who has this responsibility because she lost her job, with many, many other nurses, with the cutbacks at hospitals.

“(3) Free reading materials, nicotine replacement pamphlets to patients.” She says, “I also created one for patients who smoke engaged in battle with cancer. With my not being there, who will be responsible to order and have available these materials, as well as update them as they change and create new ones as required?” Nobody will do that either.

“(4) A system that allows NRT to be dispensed in a timely fashion (NRT available in all Pyxis machines on each unit) will be available, but no tobacco specialist to update the information and education or counsel patients.

“(5) A medical directive for nursing staff allowing them to initiate NRT without having to wait for a physician’s order.” Those directives need to be revisited every two years as per policy; therefore, if no one does it, it will cease to exist altogether.

“(6) An available tobacco treatment specialist in-house Monday to Friday able to assist staff and patients when situations arise.” That was her, and her position has been eliminated. This is no longer available.

“(7) A program for all staff and their families giving them an amount of $500 each towards the purchase of approved NRT—hospital classes for these have been stopped.” There are no more classes at the hospital. “Staff now need to go to outside sources and find someone else to counsel them.” Do you know how run off their feet hospital nurses are? There is no way that they have time to reach out to somebody else in the community to deal with that.

We’re missing such a good health promotion initiative. When people are admitted into the hospital, they are in a position where they’re very interested in their own health. For health promotion and disease prevention to be effective, you really have to, I would say, capitalize on or take advantage of those periods where people are open to change in their lifestyle, including change in their smoking habits. Well, this is one example of what the layoff of nurses throughout our province has led to.

In my own community, it means that the nicotine replacement therapy programs that had been put in place by Health Sciences North and that had delivered good results—the results that the Smoke-Free Ontario Act is trying to do, that is, bring the number of smokers down—all of this is for none. We have lost our support.

She goes on to say, “The banning of smoking on hospital grounds”—this is something I will come back to because right now, it’s only within metres of the hospital, but some municipalities have actually passed bylaws to make it municipality-wide—“has already stopped working as we are seeing more and more patients and staff smoking on grounds.” When there was someone in charge of this program, it gave it validity. It showed that if it was worth investing into, it’s because it delivered results. But now she’s gone and so is the effort that had been put into this. “With the news of my leaving this position, people are already taking advantage of this situation by breaking the law ...

“You may be aware of Global Bridges with its founding partners consisting of the Mayo Clinic and American Cancer Society. Global Bridges joins forces with experienced regional partners to advance evidence-based tobacco dependence treatment and tobacco control policy. I have been honoured to have been chosen as the first Canadian introduced as their member spotlight in recognition of the work being done in the treatment of tobacco dependence in the hospital setting.” She goes on to give me the link to her award.

“Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) TEACH have also recognized me as an expert in the field of tobacco cessation.

“Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario”—better known as RNAO—“have asked me to speak across the province as a specialist in this field to pre- and post-partum women regarding smoking. I have already done several full-day education days for them. I am also on an expert panel on the revision of best practice guidelines for smoking cessation when their book is updated in 2016.

“With all of this going on and the importance of my keeping my job at HSN, it is a crying shame that HSN has elected to cut my position. All of the lives that we have improved by getting people to cut down or stop smoking altogether must count for something. What about all of the other patients coming to Health Sciences North? We have the highest smoking rate in Ontario.”

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I was giving you this example and reading this letter into the record, Speaker, because New Democrats understand that smoking cessation is important. We can cut close to 80% of all cancer if people stop smoking, exercise regularly, have a healthy weight and eat healthy food. Those are the tenets, the basis of health promotion: to get people to stop smoking, to exercise regularly, to have a healthy weight and to eat healthy food. You get this done and the population of Ontario will be so, so much healthier. The dream of our founder, the founder of medicare, Tommy Douglas, will be realized: that we keep people well.

The Smoke-Free Ontario Act is a big part of that, but the Liberal government goes at it in such small pieces. It took seven years of me and many others pushing them to finally ban flavoured tobacco. The cancer society had shown us that close to 90,000 new smokers every year started to smoke because flavoured tobacco was available. I’ll let you do the math, Speaker. Seven years and 90,000 people: That’s 630,000 Ontarians that have started to smoke because the Liberal government was so slow in bringing a ban on flavoured tobacco.

Tobacco is the only product that, if used as directed, will kill one out of two of its users. Tobacco kills. Every time you see a room with 10 smokers, five of them will die because they are smokers. If you do the math, of all of those people who started to pick up the habit—what I call the next generation of smokers, because we waited—over 300,000 of them will die because we dragged our feet for seven years. This is another example.

They are bringing this bill forward. Why not do more than change four words? I think there’s unanimity that we can do better about contraband tobacco. Why don’t we take the opportunity, while the bill is open, to put a few steps in there towards doing something about contraband tobacco? I can tell you that everywhere contraband tobacco is available, we go backwards. I can speak for my community. Contraband tobacco is widely available. All you have to do is go to Atikameksheng Anishnawbek. You can buy a carton of cigarettes for $12. You can still buy flavoured tobacco there, too, if you’re interested, not that I want to promote their sales or anything like that.

If the government was interested in speaking, in listening, in engaging—all of the things that they say they want to do but don’t do—they would have come to Chief Miller of Atikameksheng Anishnawbek and talked to him about if the First Nations have any ideas about contraband tobacco that would help people quit. They do, but nobody ever listened to them.

I was at the Six Nations of the Grand River, and at the Six Nations of the Grand River, it’s the same thing. Once you get to the First Nations, on both sides of the street, on beautiful grounds by the river, you will see smoke shacks. I happened to stop because I had somebody with me who told me he wanted a Pepsi, but what he really wanted was cheap cigarettes. So while we are stopped there to buy a Pepsi, I go in. He does buy his Pepsi but he also buys a carton of cigarettes while he’s in there. Damien, you know who you are.

We got to look around. It was the exact same. You could buy the equivalent of a carton of cigarettes, but in a baggie, for $12. You could buy a carton of just about any brand of cigarette for between $24 and $26. We know that this cheap price encourages people to smoke.

My colleague talked about—I forget what they’re called—the corner store association of Ontario. I don’t think I have that title right but you get the—

Mr. Percy Hatfield: Convenience stores.

Mme France Gélinas: The convenience stores association of Ontario—thank you—looked at how much contraband cigarettes are being smoked in Ontario. The statistics speak for themselves. In my riding, it’s close to 50%. In some areas of my riding, it is as high as 60% and 80%. You know what that means? That means that, in all of Ontario, the smoking rate is at 18%. In my riding, the smoking rate is at 28%.

When you go to other areas where contraband tobacco is readily available, you see the same statistics. You see that, although we may take a few steps forward to help people quit, there are gaping holes in the regulations. One of those gaping holes is contraband tobacco. The Auditor General was telling us that we are missing out on $1 billion worth of taxes. If we were to have our fair share of taxes on all the contraband tobacco that she was able to identify, there would be $1 billion more coming in. Not that I want to make money on the backs of smokers—I’d much rather they quit smoking. But rather than increasing the deductible of seniors to pay for their drugs and increasing the copayment of seniors to pay for their drugs, I think I would much rather we go after contraband tobacco and make sure that they pay their fair share and make sure that we don’t have areas of our province where 28% of the people smoke. When 28% of the people smoke, that means that 14% of them will die because they were smokers.

In my area, we all know people who have died of lung cancer. It’s not a pretty death. They are people who are really sick and need our support. Sometimes, because they were smokers, people discriminate against them at their worst time. Here you have people who are very, very sick because of a nicotine addiction, but rather than having people rally around them to help them through this awful disease, people discriminate against them because they were smokers. Those people were smokers, but what they really had was an addiction to nicotine.

That brings me a little bit to the next step. Remember that we just opened up the Smoke-Free Ontario Act? We finally banned flavoured tobacco, but we left a loophole in there. Remember the first time I introduced a bill that banned flavoured tobacco? There was a loophole in there.

Mr. Percy Hatfield: Menthol.

Mme France Gélinas: No. The first time it was describing a cigarillo, and the tobacco industry was on me in seconds.

In this particular bill, sure, we have banned flavoured tobacco, but we did not ban menthol. By not banning menthol, we have now opened this loophole that there is still some flavoured tobacco out there because the government goes at it in such small steps. It didn’t matter that the cancer society, the Lung Association, the nurses’ association, the medical association and public health all told them that you had to ban menthol. No. They are Liberals. They know better than the cancer society and they know better than every other expert in the field, and they did not do that.

I don’t know why. Why is it so hard to get them to do something in health promotion? I don’t know. But I just read a letter from a nurse that was dedicated to health promotion and disease prevention in a hospital. She has lost her job. She is as qualified as it comes in Ontario and in Canada, has won awards from everywhere, and we can’t even keep her employed. She is unemployed, with all of those skills—something we need so much of. But it doesn’t matter; there is very little interest from this government about health promotion.

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I also want to talk to you about the Ottawa Council on Smoking or Health. The Ottawa council has written to the Minister of Health, to basically anybody who would listen, and they cc’d me. They talked about smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke on hospital campuses. Basically—this is a long letter, so I’m not going to read all of it into the record.

“The Ottawa Council on Smoking or Health ... is a ... volunteer organization that aims to create a social environment where non-smoking is the norm; to assist in establishing smoke-free environments; to prevent youth from starting to smoke; to encourage smokers to quit; and to advocate for better smoking cessation resources.”

They are writing to Minister Hoskins, the chair of the board of the Ontario Hospital Association, and the president and CEO of the hospital association, asking about smoking by visitors and staff on outdoor campuses at the Ottawa Hospital. They are “writing in regards to ongoing complaints that we have received from patients and visitors about:

“—smoking by hospital visitors and staff on outdoor campuses of the Ottawa Hospital;

“—exposure to second-hand smoke at entranceways at the three campuses of the Ottawa Hospital.

“—second-hand smoke drifting into emergency departments due to smoking at entranceways;

“—cigarette butt litter on the hospital campuses.”

They go on to basically ask, while Bill 45, the Making Healthier Choices Act, was open, while we were talking about the smoking bill, why didn’t we include measures to make hospital campuses 100% smoke-free? There are a number of municipalities that have done that: Elliot Lake, Mattawa, North Bay, Parry Sound, Peterborough, Sault Ste. Marie, Stratford, Thunder Bay, Timmins, Woodstock, Sudbury—anyway, a whole bunch. But why don’t we put it into the law?

I think there are 444 municipalities in Ontario. Rather than leaving 444 municipalities in Ontario to struggle to bring this forward, why don’t we as legislators do this? The bill is open right now. We have an opportunity to make changes to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act. Why don’t we do this? Why do we have to take such small steps when it comes to health promotion?

When we talk about the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, basically, what we want is to de-normalize smoking. We want to make sure that the number of smokers in Ontario continues to go down. We’ve had some success in bringing the number of smokers down, but right now we are sort of losing this battle, and it’s going up the other way. Why? Everybody knows the link between smoking and lung disease, specifically lung cancer.

There is another substance that really increases your risk of lung cancer, and this is radon. Radon is a colourless, odorless, tasteless radioactive gas found naturally in the environment. It is released into the air during the natural breakdown of uranium in rocks and soil. Once released, radon breaks down into radioactive elements that can attach to dust and other substances in the air that we breathe. It is also a common type of radiation exposure.

We are exposed to radon when we breathe in contaminated air. You may be exposed to radon-contaminated air for various reasons. The first one is indoor air. It can have a high level of radon when radon is found in the soil and rocks around the home. It seeps in and builds up in enclosed spaces that are poorly ventilated. Health Canada recommends that the indoor radon levels should be kept low. I’m talking about this, Speaker, because right now there is a private member’s bill to do this which was brought by a Liberal member. If we are serious that we want to prevent people from dying of lung cancer, if we are serious that we want to prevent illness, why don’t we take this opportunity?

We’re talking about a bill that will protect people from second-hand smoke—in this case, marijuana smoke. We are talking about a bill that will regulate where people can smoke medical marijuana so that other people are not exposed, so that workers are not exposed, so that we take steps toward preventing lung cancer and lung diseases. Why don’t we take this opportunity to do more than that tiny little step? Why don’t we take this opportunity to do more than just add four words to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act? Why don’t we take this opportunity to pass, or even include in what we have to do, the radon bill that has been moved forward?

I come from Nickel Belt. Nickel Belt is the heart of the Canadian Shield. That means that everywhere you look, you see rocks. When you think of Nickel Belt, you think about hardrock mining. We have lots of mines that go deep into hard, hard rock. Our houses are also built on those rocks. You can go through many parts of Sudbury and Nickel Belt and you will find people who have rocks in their basements. It is so expensive to dynamite and get rid of the rock that people anchor their houses on rocks. I have a 12-year-old house that we built ourselves, and half of my house has a crawl space because we are built on a rock. That happens to many, many houses. As the houses move, the chances for this radon gas to come into our homes are really high. I knew about this because I come from health promotion. I made sure that we had the rock sealed properly and a good ventilation system. But for many of the other houses, especially what we call the old Inco houses and the older houses in Sudbury, those rocks are there. The drilling and blasting continues to happen throughout our town. We are a prime location for radon to come into our basements. Who goes into the basements? Kids play down there. Teenagers watch movies. More and more people turn their downstairs into a TV room or a movie room or a playroom. This is how people get exposed.

We have a very high rate of lung cancer in Sudbury and Nickel Belt. Sure, a lot of this has to do with the fact that 28% of the people are smokers; there is no doubt about it. But I’m sure that for a big portion of the people who develop cancer, it’s because they have radon in their houses.

As we are moving forward with a bill that looks at health promotion, a bill that looks at protecting people from second-hand smoke, a bill that looks at regulating medical marijuana smoking, I wish that we would do more than that; that we would take health promotion seriously and take every opportunity for this House to be proactive. There is so much more that we can do.

How long have we been talking about trans fat? How long have we been talking about this partially hydrogenated oil and taking it out of our food supply? Our neighbours to the south have passed laws to do this. Why is it that Ontario is not proactive? We could save between 1,000 and 1,800 heart attacks a year if we were to ban this. We could save between $250 million and $450 million to our economy if we were to ban trans fats in our food supply. If other legislatures have been able to do this, why isn’t Ontario doing that?

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I talked about this because we don’t have very many opportunities to talk about health promotion in this House. Not very often do we have an opportunity to talk about health promotion. But when it comes, it comes in such tiny, weeny little steps. How are we ever going to walk this long road when we only take those little steps?

During the last constituency break, I had the pleasure to go and visit with my local cancer society. I think they’re called the Sudbury branch of the Ontario cancer society. I met with Cathy Burns, Sonia De Missier and Lindsey Jones. They brought forward their top three and two of those—the first one was radon and the second one was HPV for boys.

The province of Ontario does have the HPV vaccine for girls, but contrary to many other provinces, such as Prince Edward Island, Alberta, Nova Scotia and Quebec, we don’t include boys. I don’t know why, because HPV stands for “human papilloma virus.” Basically, we have a vaccine now that can be a strong weapon in cancer prevention and that should be part of any well-rounded health promotion strategy to decrease the risk and increase screening. But here again, Ontario did one step but didn’t go all the way through.

HPV infections can cause cancer in males and females. It will affect three in four Canadians during their lifetime. HPV infection is linked to a number of cancers, such as penile, cervical, anal, oral cavity and oral pharyngeal cancer. To help reduce the risk, the Canadian Cancer Society, as well as the people who I met with in Sudbury and several leading public health organizations, recommends that males and females receive the HPV vaccine.

Here again, it’s an example of what the province could do that would be, yes, an investment upfront, but that shows huge dividends down the road. Whether we talk about—I’ll name a couple—contraband tobacco; whether we talk about having staff within our hospitals to help people quit smoking; whether we talk about radon or trans fats; whether we talk about dental care—remember, there was money dedicated to getting low-income Ontarians access to dental care. Well, we are not moving on this issue, and it’s a real shame.

We could do so, so much better. Right now, we have close to 61,000 visits to the ER—that was in 2014—for dental problems. All that the ER can do is give you painkillers. That means that every nine minutes, there is someone in Ontario who visits an emergency room for a dental issue and all they will get will be painkillers.

There are 218,000 visits to family physicians for dental issues. Here again, they will get painkillers but no treatment. We could save $37 million a year if we give people on low incomes access.

I know that I have to wrap up, Speaker, but the message I really want them to understand is that there are good ideas on all sides of the House; that when the Liberals only talk to themselves, they make mistakes. They make mistakes like the mistake they made when they called closure on Bill 45 and moved it forward without those four words. Don’t tell me that on May 28, 2015, people did not know that we had 20,000 medical marijuana smokers in this province, and that we had hundreds of thousands more recreational marijuana smokers in this province.

And yet, it didn’t matter that those issues were brought forward. It didn’t matter that those issues were shared with them. They were not willing to listen. They voted down every amendment to Bill 45, and they went ahead with what they wanted to do. I would even add that you have some pretty good people who work in health promotion within your ministry. Why don’t you listen to them? They also brought those things forward to you. Had you listened to your own staff, we would not be here right now, because they told you about this. But here again, the Liberals refused to listen. Many people will pay the price for having a piece of legislation opened twice in a period of nine months, and this is a real shame.

Ça me fait toujours plaisir d’avoir l’opportunité de dire quelques mots au sujet de ce projet de loi. C’est un projet de loi qui est extrêmement simple. On rajoute quatre mots à un projet de loi pour permettre de mettre des règles sur l’utilisation de la marijuana pour des fins médicales.

Maintenant, les gens qui utilisent la marijuana pour des fins médicales n’auront plus le droit de la fumer, sauf dans les endroits où on a le droit de fumer la cigarette. Malheureusement, c’est une « issue » maintenant qui est devenue très polarisée.

On avait la chance de faire changer cette loi-là l’année dernière, lorsqu’on parlait du projet de loi 45. On a manqué cette opportunité, et pendant ce temps-là, les commerces et les Ontariens pensaient que tout était pour aller de l’avant. Maintenant, un nouveau projet de loi a été mis de l’avant, et la marijuana pour des fins médicales va être réglementée en Ontario.

Second reading debate deemed adjourned.

Le Président suppléant (M. Ted Arnott): Merci beaucoup.

Concussions

Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Point of order, Speaker.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Point of order, the member for Nepean–Carleton.

Ms. Lisa MacLeod: I actually have two points of order, and they’re probably not points of order, but please indulge me, Speaker.

I’ll also raise this tomorrow morning, but one of the events that will happen before question period is that Eric Lindros will be joining me tomorrow in the media studio to talk about concussions. I would like to invite all members of this assembly to join us; and at 11:30 until 12:30, I would like to invite all members to a members-only event with Eric Lindros, a hockey legend, as well as a few other professional athletes, in the side room at the legislative dining room.

Members’ birthdays

Ms. Lisa MacLeod: Now for my second point of order, Speaker; I don’t know if I have to sit down and rise again. I wanted to wish two very special people to me a happy birthday: My seatmate, Mr. Jim Wilson, and of course you, Mr. Speaker, while you’re in the Chair. Happy birthday.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): Those were not points of order, but they were appreciated nonetheless.

It is 6 o’clock and this House stands adjourned until tomorrow.

The House adjourned at 1758.